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Posts Tagged ‘European Parliament’

Eurosphere agenda: “Ukraine slides into full-blown dictatorship with brutal new law…”The European elections in May, 2014…

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2014 at 14:47

Media preview

 

Ukraine will draw on new law anti-protest law to use force against demonstrators in Kiev, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said yesterday (21 January). Special ‘Berkut’ forces began their crackdown on Kyiv’s EuroMaidan square at 8 a.m., according to reports, with the first victim confirmed.

“If provocateurs do not stop, then the authorities will have no other choice but to use force under the legislation and protect our people,” Azarov said, speaking to the Russian TV channel “Vesti 24″. Azarov added that he hoped that common sense would prevail.

 

After the street fighting on the weekend, there were new clashes between government opponents and security forces on Monday. President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko both warned against an escalation of the situation. Commentators call for the stricter anti-protest laws to be repealed, and urge the West to impose sanctions

Ukraine slides into full-blown dictatorship with brutal new law

(click for full)

Despite the valiant efforts of the motley opposition in Ukraine, the tame Ukrainian Parliament has passed a brutal law that slides the country into full-on dictatorship. Forbidden under the new law on penalty of high fines and imprisonment: driving cars in columns that are more than five vehicles long; setting up an unauthorized sound system; distribution of “extremist opinion”; “mass disruptions” (10-15 years imprisonment!); collecting information on police or judges; and more.

Germany’s FDP launches pragmatic Europe campaign

After being ousted from the parliament at the general elections last year, Germany’s liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) has selected Alexander Graf Lambsdorff as its top candidate for the European elections, adopting a sober and Europe-friendly position, EurActiv Germany reports.

A big name is meant to pull the FDP out of a crisis. At the FDP convention in Bonn on Monday (20 January), 86.2% of the party’s delegates voted for MEP Alexander Graf to be the FDP’s top candidate in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

Website: MediaInitiative.eu. For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

 

 

The European Commission decided yesterday (21 January) that it would be postponing negotiations on an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the context of the EU-US trade and investment partnership (TTIP), with a view to launching a public consultation.

 

“I know some people in Europe have genuine concerns about this part of the EU-US deal,” said EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, adding that the decision reflected the EU executive’s determination to secure the right balance between protecting European investment interests and upholding governments’ right to regulate in the public interest

52% of Brits would vote to leave EU tomorrow

The latest Opinium/Observer poll published on Sunday (19 January) suggested 52% of the British public aged over 18 would vote to leave the EU tomorrow, a small increase since last November when 50% said they would vote to leave.

Sunday’s poll, carried out by Comres for the Independent on Sunday newspaper, also suggests the anti-EU and anti-immigration policies of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) remain popular even though Cameron has already deployed tougher rhetoric on both issues.

ECJ rules against the UK in landmark short-selling case

The ECJ this morning rejected all the UK’s claims against the EU’s short selling regulation. The result was surprising given that the Court’s Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen issued an opinion supporting the UK’s position last September – court rulings often, but not always, follow these opinions.

Commission says Bulgaria broke partners’ confidence

EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission monitoring report on Bulgaria, which it will publish tomorrow (22 January), will be heavily critical, with the EU executive going so far as to say that the Bulgarian authorities broke confidence with its European partners over the appointment of a controversial media mogul as chief of the national security agency, EurActiv has learned.

The report under the Cooperation and Verification mechanism (CVM), seen by EurActiv, highlights a major scandal which has triggered street protests asking for the resignation of the government.

 

Kosovo’s spectre looms over EU-Serbia talks

Serbia officially started its accession talks with the EU yesterday (21 January), but the path to membership is lined with obstacles as the country faces new procedural rules and its relations with Kosovo remain an outstanding issue.

“Serbia will be the next member state of the European Union,” Ivica Dačić, the prime minister of Serbia, confidently concluded his address to the press, after having officially launched accession negotiations for his country with the EU.

France’s European spleen

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As is now common in France, the biggest shock in the Euro elections will come from the far-right Front National, emboldened by a change in perception towards the party from many French voters. Euro elections landscape, 2014.

Election time: How to improve debates on Europe

It’s just five months until the next European Parliament elections. As with every European Election, both eurosceptics and europhiles face a key difficulty: getting people to vote. Both sides will stress how much, for better or for worse, Brussels matters in the life of European citizens. Over the coming months, we’re likely to hear politicians claim that “80% of our legislation is decided in Brussels”. Although numerous articles and think tank reports have thoroughly debunked this figure, the myth endures. It endures because it’s easy and simple to use. The widespread use of this figure matters as it frames the debate on European governance between national sovereignty and subsidiarity versus integrated European decision-making power. We argue that this frame is unhelpful, as it shapes the debate along whether the EU should or shouldn’t be instead of discussion what it should or shouldn’t do. We suggest that the 2014 European elections should be about debating different policy alternatives – and letting go of the wholesale 80% figure.

The EU is betraying its climate policy

The EU executive is staking every last bit of political capital on a 2030 energy policy gamble that could cost us the earth, argues Brook Riley.

Brook Riley is the campaigner for Friends of the Earth, an environmental pressure group.

You might not picture European Commission President José Manuel Barroso as a gambler, but on climate change he’s the most reckless of them all.

Bulgaria admits Schengen entry is now a long-term goal

Bulgaria admitted yesterday (20 January) that its accession to the EU’s borderless Schengen area was likely to take place in 2017, one year before the country is expected to take over the rotating EU Council presidency.

Foreign affairs minister Kristian Vigenin said he expected the decision concerning Bulgaria’s bid to be taken in the course of 2014.

Asked by EurActiv to elaborate, Vigenin explained that under the scenario, air borders would be opened in 2015, with land borders opening in 2017, when Bulgaria becomes a full member of the Schengen area

The European elections in May, 2014

How to make European elections coverage less boring than usual? Here is openDemocracy’s Can Europe make it? take.

These elections may be more interesting than usual for our European and global readers alike, given polarizations more dramatic across the continent than there have been for decades. The EU, originally billed as offering a new model to replace the chaos of the Westphalian system, is itself in chaos. Instead of burdensharing or offering joint multilateral efforts to mitigate severe financial, economic and social pain, EU governments have introduced various methods of punishment under the auspices of ‘austerity measures

Efficiency and renewables make Europe competitive, EU study says

55 EurActiv.com 4h  //  keep unread  //  hide  //  preview

 

EXCLUSIVE / European industry has maintained its global market position thanks to relatively low energy intensity levels and high renewables penetration, according to a study into the continent’s competitiveness due to be released by the European Commission as part of its clean energy package today (22 January).

 

Renewable energies “help reduce fuel import costs and contribute to improving the energy trade balance,” says the report by the EU’s economic and financial affairs directorate (DG Ecfin), which EurActiv has seen.

Day 2 of the #EUReform conference: Powerful debate on all levels

Day two of the Open Europe / Fresh Start #EUReform conference saw a thriving exchange of reform ideas between panelists and conference delegates, viral Twitter action for #EUReform via the Twitter wall, as well as numerous media interviews

 

French MEPs acclaimed for EU parliamentary work

While political parties in France show little interest for European matters, French MEPs usually show a good level of parliamentary activity, according to the Robert Schuman Foundation, an EU think-tank.

French MEPs were surprisingly absent from the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg last Thursday (16 January).

A new agenda for a Smarter Europe

 

2014 is the year in which the EU must speed up its effort towards building a Smarter Europe and the Greek presidency work on the mid-term review of the “Digital Agenda for Europe” will offer a unique opportunity to set an ambitious vision for the future, writes Luigi Gambardella.

Luigi Gambardella is the executive chairman of ETNO, an association representing EU’s biggest telecoms operators.

IP traffic is booming at an unprecedented pace, and it is expected to grow even more over the coming years. In 2017, it will reach 1.4 zettabytes per year, according to Cisco’s figures.This means, for example, that the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross Western Europe’s backbone IP networks every 21 minutes.

EU ministers to back sending forces to Central African Republic

European Union foreign ministers are expected to agree on Monday to send up to 1,000 soldiers to help stabilise Central African Republic, the EU’s first major army operation in six years, EU officials said on Friday (17 January).

The intervention by the 28-nation bloc comes after a senior UN official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in Central African Republic without a more robust international response to communal bloodshed.

 

In an EU election year, the current polutics of France is always an important factor in predicting the futre makeup of the European Parliament. Not only is France one of the largest countries, so with one of the largest delegations of MEPs (meaning its politicians quite often can dominate, or at least strongly influence, the two big political groups, the PES on the left and EPP on the right) but it also has always has a special place in the EU’s makeup

 

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Eurosphere agenda: Euro elections 2014… Horizon 2020 ….

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2014 at 17:30

 

What is Europe for you? What does it mean to be young and European in 2014? An exchange of views between bloggers across the continent. Can Europe make it? has the pleasure of introducing you to our guest columnists for the run-up to the European elections 2014.

Europe and me: imagining community

Where is Horizon 2020 leading us?

As the year 2014 gets underway, the Europe of Knowledge also begins a new phase with the launch of Horizon 2020. Now that the budget wrangling is over and the calls for the first grant proposals have been published, we will finally begin to discover what Horizon 2020 does to reshape the research environment in Europe. While we do have clear statements (Commission 2011c) about its bringing together the instruments for research and innovation funding under a single umbrella which covers the complete innovation cycle; simplifying and unifying many of the administrative rules and procedures; and seeking to promote the competiveness of the EU with a strong linguistic flavoring from the Innovation Union discourse; still, there are far more questions than answers

 

EU election fault lines: The free movement of labour

Cutting across concerns about immigration, wages and social dumping, the issue of free movement of labour is a hot topic not only in the UK, but also in most of the old EU 15 countries, and that will have a serious impact in the upcoming European elections, writes Julian Priestley.

Julian Priestley is a former secretary general of the European Parliament and co-author of ‘Our Europe, Not Theirs‘.

Eurostat to revise EU’s annual GDP figures higher

The European Union’s statistics office will revise upwards the EU’s annual gross domestic product figures by 2.4 percentage points when it switches to a new accounting standard in September, the European Commission said on Thursday (16 January).

The change will affect all past GDP figures and future data series, the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat said.

The switch to the European System of Accounts 2010, replacing the old ESA 1995, is part of a worldwide move to a new accounting system called System of National Accounts 2008, already implemented in the United States last August.

 

MAIN FOCUS: Opinion divided on Hollande’s reform plans | 16/01/2014

 

French President François Hollande has received the support of the European Commission for his reform plans. Praise also came on Wednesday from the French employers’ associations, while the unions remained sceptical and some voiced harsh criticism. Commentators are also divided: while some hope Hollande will give the French new confidence, others fear he will bleed the country dry

Migration adds to UK-Polish gulf

 

Cameron comment on not repatriating child benefit stokes scepticism of many Poles who doubted the UK’s commitment either to Poland or the EU

 

Parliament seeks tougher controls on Troika

MEPs have opened an investigation into the role of the Troika in the debt crisis with a view to strengthening its democratic legitimacy and the involvement of the European Parliament in its work,EurActiv France reports.

Four years after the start of the debt crisis in Europe, the economic and financial committee of the European Parliament has started a series of hearings of the main actors of the Troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – who will have to explain how they managed the crisis in the four countries where they were the primary lenders, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus.

 

Greece and the European elections: a preview

 

What is to happen in Greece in the forthcoming European elections, which, not without a certain irony of history, will take place while this country holds the EU presidency? Euro elections landscape, 2014.

Euro elections 2014 bloggers introduce themselves: Part Two

 

What is Europe for you? What does it mean to be young and European in 2014? An exchange of views between bloggers across the continent. Can Europe make it? has the pleasure of introducing you to our guest columnists for the run-up to the European elections 2014.

 

Hollande brings Europe back to top of France’s priority list

European issues occupied a great deal of François Hollande’s long-awaited speech to the press yesterday (14 January), with the restart of the EU’s Franco-German engine and strengthened fiscal and social convergence in the eurozone at the centre of the French president’s reform agenda.

Although the press conference was mostly expected because of his alleged love affair with French actress Julie Gayet, Hollande’s speech nonetheless focused almost exclusively on the economic reforms awaiting the country.

Germany: sleepwalking into Europe?

The much needed debate on Europe is unlikely to happen in the German run-up to the European elections. But instead, a controversy pro or against the Euro might well take place, should the new right-wing Alternative for Germany prove effective. Euro elections landscape, 2014.

How European? France, ahead of the European elections

European elections have never really been about Europe. Case in point: France, where the electoral campaign reeks of popular resentment, personal ambitions and widespread misconceptions. Euro elections landscape, 2014

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Eurosphere agenda: “Hollande in double trouble…”France evicted record number of Roma migrants in 2013…

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2014 at 15:38

 

MAIN FOCUS: Hollande in double trouble | 14/01/2014

 

France’s President François Holland is under considerable pressure as he prepares for his third major press conference today, Tuesday. He plans to explain the country’s futurereform programme just as reports about an alleged affair are focusing attention on his private life. Commentators scoff that the rumours are tantamount to an accolade and are struck by the simultaneous changes in Hollande’s policies and private life.

MAIN FOCUS: Hollande embarks on reforms | 15/01/2014

 

French President François Hollande wants to revive the country’s flagging economy with a reform package. At his press conference on Tuesday, he announced business-friendly measures and cuts in public spending. The president has become a fighting social democrat, some commentators applaud. Others believe Hollande hasn’t got what it takes to be a true reformer.

 

Defiance against the EU reaches record levels in France: Poll

Trust in national and European institutions has hit a record-low in France, according to a recent poll, leading to a feeling of “gloom” among a growing number of citizens, and perhaps even a rise in support for the reinstatement of the death penalty, EurActiv France reports.

“It’s not a confidence but a defiance poll this time,” said Pascal Perrineau, director of SciencesPo University’s Centre of French Political Studies (CEVIPOF).

MEPs to slam Malta’s plan for EU passports

Starting in February, Malta is planning to sell EU passports to foreigners, but a European Parliament vote on Thursday (16 January) is unlikely to overturn the decision, as the country has a long track-record of handing out citizenship for a price, EurActiv Germany reports.

Malta will sell passports to foreigners allowing them to travel through all 28 EU member states and/or reside in any of these countries. In contrast to other EU member states, Malta does not require investment or the establishment of a company to receive the document. New citizens do not even have to reside on Maltese soil.

 

France evicted record number of Roma migrants in 2013: study

 

France forcibly evicted a record 19,380 Roma migrants in 2013, more than double the figure the previous year, two rights groups said in a joint report on Tuesday.

 

Greek socialists to form new leftist alliance for EU elections

Greece’s once-mighty socialist PASOK party will team up with a new centre-left group to contest European Parliament elections in May rather than run alone, after its support was decimated by the country’s debt crisis.

The party, a junior partner in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, has been fighting to survive as a political force since backing austerity cuts and is hoping the new alliance will help revive its fortunes.

 

Candidates for President of the European Commission – where we stand in January 2014

Back in the early summer of 2013 I wrote a detailed series of blog posts about the future President of the European Commission. There were posts about EPP, PES and othercandidates. Overall those posts have stood up well over the last 6 months. But with the EP elections just over 4 months away, and with the new Commission to be decided shortly after, and with more and more jostling for top positions being covered by the newspapers (see FT earlier in January and FAZ today for example), it’s time to update the state of play.

AUDIO: Are affairs accepted in France?

 

French society may be becoming less tolerant of affairs, a news correspondent has said

What the 2014 elections will mean for EU public affairs professionals

All eyes are on the EU institutions this year given the upcoming European Parliament elections and the subsequent change of top officials. But the stream of analyses and conferences fail to address a vital question: what will these changes mean for the business community, NGOs and the wider public affairs world, András Baneth writes.

András Baneth is the managing director of the Public Affairs Council’s (www.pac.org) European office.

 

German banks too slow to cap bonuses, says watchdog

Germany’s banks have made little progress on efforts to curb bonuses of top managers ahead of new European rules designed to control the type of risky behaviour that fuelled the financial crisis, the country’s financial watchdog said on Monday (13 January).

Only four of the 15 banks that Bafin examined last year capped bankers’ bonuses at the level of their base salaries, in line with the European Union-wide rule that came into force this year.

 

IMF adds four European countries to financial risk list

The International Monetary Fund on Monday (13 January) added Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland to its list of countries that must have regular check-ups of their financial sectors, under an effort to prevent a repeat of the global financial crisis.

The International Monetary Fund in 2010 had identified 25 other countries where financial sector evaluations will be mandatory. These reviews had been voluntary prior to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which showed how quickly financial problems in one country could spread to its neighbors and the rest of the world.

EU freedom of movement. This actually matters.

Here I sit writing this blog entry on a Sunday night in Berlin. The Kreuzberg streets outside my window are quiet now; earlier today they were thronged with people in the January sun. I do not know where those people were from who were passing outside my window – Berlin, Germany, who knows where else. But those were my people. This is my city.

EU aims to clarify migrant rules

New EU guidelines are aimed at minimising disputes between EU states about migrants’ rights to welfare benefits

Scotching the Eurozone

 

Conventional wisdom suggests that Scottish independence is possible, albeit not very likely, while any country’s departure from the eurozone is fanciful. But the monetary decisions that a newly sovereign Scotland would have to make are at least as likely to be faced by some eurozone countries over the next couple of years.

Migrants contribute more than they take, fears unfounded: EU

 

Migrants contribute more than they take in their new countries, the EU said Monday, adding there has been no massive influx from Romania or Bulgaria this year as feared in Britain

EU Offers Public a Chance to Fix Copyright Law

Year after year there are cries that copyright law is not only unfit for purpose in the digital age, but also heavily biased towards the entertainment industries and their corporate masters. Many feel that such laws are simply imposed but in reality the people can have their say, if only they can make their voices heard. That chance is here.

EU and Ukrainian business: Double standards?

 

The same European politicians who try to boost their image by appearing at the pro-European protests in Kyiv deliberately ignore the Ukrainian interest in economic relations, writes Boris Kushniruk.

Boris Kushniruk is a Ukrainian economist.

Social and political events in Ukraine which took place last year can become determinative for the policy of the future EU enlargement. In 2014 the EU-integration prospects of Ukraine as well as the Union’s image will depend on the readiness of official Brussels to reconsider the EU enlargement policy.

 

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Eurosphere agenda: “Buses, planes, Bulgarians, Romanians and The Daily Mail…”Athens says crisis is ending…

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2014 at 18:07
The Daily Mail: Buses and Planes – full or not?

On 31 December 2013 the UK’s Daily Mail published a story claiming that buses and planes to the UK from Bulgaria and Romania were sold-out, fully-booked, and single plane tickets were selling for up to £3,000 each. The story carried the bold headline:

 

One of the criticisms that still gets leveled at the EU is that the Common Market is a rich kids club, and that the Common Agrigultural Policy and free movement of goods and services within the EU puts non-EU (and especially poorer / developing countries) at a disadvantage.

The European Parliament’s LIBE Committee’s Inquiry into the Electronic Mass Surveillance of European Citizens is not due to be published in March, and the Committee has voted to question the whistle-blower Edward Snowden via video-link. However The Guardian hasseen a draft of the report in which the Inquiry says the actions of the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ “appear illegal”.

The Greek government launched its European Council presidency on Wednesday with a hopeful message. The country will leave the recession that has plagued it for six years behind in 2014, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said at the official ceremony in Athens. Commentators, however, remain concerned about Greece’s future in view of record unemployment and the rise of radical political forces

 

Not all EU heads of state and government mentioned the European Union in their yearend messages, but a lot of them did. The EurActiv network brings you an overview.

 

The tradition of Christmas or New Year messages varies in EU countries. In most, it is the head of state who delivers the message, most frequently on New Year’s eve.

 

As populists gather more and more support in several EU countries, the responsibility of politicians is to limit those trends and establish a truly European debate ahead of the European elections, writes Kristian Vigenin in an exclusive op-ed he contributed to EurActiv.

 

Kristian Vigenin is the foreign minister of Bulgaria. He was appointed in May 2013 and was before that a member of the European Parliament for the group of the Socialists and Democrats.

 

The German government established a new committee yesterday (8 January) to investigate the effects of immigration on the Federal Republic. The resolution came amid rising conflict within the ruling coalition over so-called  “poverty immigration” from Bulgaria and Romania and complaints from overburdened cities. EurActiv.de reports.

 

In its first meeting on Wednesday (8 January), Merkel’s new cabinet has established a committee to investigate immigration and the effects of freedom of movement in Germany. According to government spokesman Steffen Seibert, the group will root out possibilities for abuse in Germany’s social welfare system.

 

Aware that some European countries do not view a common migration policy as an immediate priority, Greece is making a point to push for a single asylum system and a more coordinated management of illegal migration flows into Europe during its six-month EU presidency. EurActiv reports from Athens.

 

“Without safety and security we cannot have an economic recovery,” Nikolaos-Georgios Dendias, Greek minister of public order and citizen protection, told reporters in Athens.

Social issues divide France and Germany on agriculture

The German Minister of Agriculture paid a visit to his French counterpart in Paris yesterday (7 January) in a show of unity between the two sides. But divisions remain deep on social dumping, an issue that is expected to become hotter in France as the EU elections approach. EurActiv.fr reports.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, the new German minister of agriculture, met his French counterpart, Stéphane Le Foll, yesterday (7 January) in Paris to prepare the forthcoming Franco-German summit, scheduled for 19 February.

Greece bets on EU presidency to help regain credibility

Strained by a long-lasting economic crisis, Greece aims to use its presidency of the EU to regain European partners’ trust and credibility, as the country is slowly creeping along the path to recovery.

In a city blocked by police and security forces, the Greek government readied itself today (8 January) to launch its fifth presidency of the EU at an official ceremony in the Athens Concert Hall, in the presence of the college of EU commissioners.

Greece to formally assume EU rotating presidency

 

Authorities shut down roads and deployed riot police in central Athens Wednesday as Greece prepared to formally assume the European Union’s rotating six-month presidency

MAIN FOCUS: Migration debate: Tusk criticises Cameron | 08/01/2014

 

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has criticised the UK’s approach to dealing with Eastern European labour migrants. He announced that he would make a telephone call to his counterpart David Cameron to speak about the matter today, Wednesday. According to some commentators Cameron is using populist slogans to divert attention from domestic problems. Others stress that the British are genuinely concerned about the country’s economic difficulties

European Parliament Elections 2014 – Commission President

 

One of the big outcomes (supposedly!) from this years European Parliament Elections will be the nominated by the winning European Parliament Grouping in the Elections. While some believe this will lead to deadlock and confrontation, other believe it is the start of a truly democratic European Union.

So who are the European Parties nominating?

 

 

The European Commission has rejected a German plan to introduce road tolls that would provide discounts for German drivers, resulting in higher costs for foreigners. German conservatives insist that such a plan is “fair”.

 

Under the coalition agreement of the new cabinet of Angela Merkel, Germany is to introduce for the first time a road tax for cars through vignettes. But the form it will take is still unclear.

 

 

The European elections on 22 to 25 May 2014 are an event whose importance is in strict proportion to the multifaceted crisis currently affecting the construction of Europe. This great democratic rendezvous must prompt us to address three complementary political challenges, write Jacques Delors, António Vitorino and others.

 

This opinion is based on the final declaration of the Notre Europe-Jacques Delors Institute’s steering committee, from the end of November 2013. The full list of signatories can be found below.

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Eurosphere agenda: “Italian navy rescues over 1,000 migrants in one day… Merkel injured…

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 at 18:04

Italian navy rescues over 1,000 migrants in one day

The Italian navy said on Friday (3 January) it had rescued more than 1,000 migrants from boats trying to reach Europe, as an immigration crisis that killed hundreds in the last year showed no signs of easing.

Italian navy helicopters spotted four overcrowded boats struggling to stay afloat south of Sicily on Thursday and ships were sent to save them, authorities said in a statement.

The 823 men, women and children aboard the four vessels were from countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia.

 

Morning Brief: Angela Merkel Injured in Skiiing Accident

Angela Merkel Injured in Skiiing Accident

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkelfractured her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident, forcing her to cancel meetings for the next three weeks. The fall occurred over the Christmas holidays when Merkel was on vacation with her family in Switzerland.

Is there now a European Public Sphere?

 

The lack of a clear public sphere or demos across the EU has long been used as a stick to beat down any suggestion that there could one day be proper pan-European democracy, as well as to decry the EU’s supposed lack of legitimacy. (Here’s an article on the EU demos from 2005, and one on the public sphere from me from 2007.)

 

Black, male, care leaver, seeking asylum: access to higher education in Britain

 

Despite their determination and aspiration, many young asylum seekers are being barred from higher education by multiple discriminations. The current inquiry on Race and Higher Education must recognise this fact.

In November 2013, the story of Yonas and Abiy Admasu Kebede hit the front pages of national and local press in the North East of England. The two brothers had recently left care in Newcastle, having arrived in Britain nearly 10 years ago from Ethiopia seeking asylum.

Experts show cautious optimism for the eurozone in 2014

Last year was the least tumultuous for the eurozone since Greece revealed a vast hole in its books back in 2009. The consensus is that 2014 will be just as calm, a view held by some who were predicting the currency bloc’s demise little more than a year ago.

The political will to keep the show on the road has held firm, the European Central Bank’s pledge to underpin the euro continues to stave off bond market pressure and there is the prospect of economies growing at least a little.

Bulgaria’s first seven years in the EU

 

On 1 January Bulgaria has marked its first seven years of EU membership. There is a saying in Bulgarian about the first seven years of a human being: “either you have them or you don’t”. Either during your first seven years you have learned something that will make a man out of you, or you will be a burden to society.

Ten Reasons to Demonstrate: Criminalisation of Hungarian homeless

 

In 2010, a Hungarian Law was amended to allow municipalities to ban homeless people from public spaces. Although this law was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, the Consitution has been modified to allow prohibition of homelessness in 2013. I’ve collected 10 reasons why is it totally contrary to European laws and values.

Economies of Britain and France have more similarities than differences

 

Despite politicians’ rhetoric, the fight to survive in the global economy is a shared experience for the two historic rivals

As British crowing about last year’s return to growth increasingly irks the struggling administration of François Hollande, it is worth remembering that London and Paris have more in common than they care to admit.

Greek Presidency offers no perks for visiting civil servants

Crisis-ridden Greece took over the reins of the European Union on Wednesday (1 January) with a record low budget dedicated to its EU presidency of €50 million set as the “absolute maximum” the presidency is planning to spend in the forthcoming six months.

Aided by a shorter calendar due to the European Parliament elections in May this year, the Greeks are nonetheless making a few significant cuts, hoping to “set a trend” for future presidencies.

What 2014 holds for eurocrisis watchers

 

This is the year when the emphasis shifts from the policy choices of eurozone leaders to their consequences and what they mean for people

Italian coalition eyes speedy electoral reform

Italian centre-left leader Matteo Renzi called on Thursday (2 January) for swift reform of an electoral system blamed for the country’s bouts of political deadlock and said he expected an agreement could be completed within weeks.

Renzi is not in the government but as head of the Democratic Party, the biggest party in Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right coalition, he will have a decisive role to play in shaping the agenda and has already called for quicker action on reforms.

Europe’s leaders divided on EC presidency

Idea is to use European parliamentary elections to select next president of European Commission and give more democratic legitimacy to executive arm

Interactive: The race to replace Barroso

Profiles of the leading contenders to be the new president of the European Commission

Lessons from writing about the Habsburgs for writing about the EU

A review of a book I’ve been meaning to pick up (Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe,  by Simon Winder)  has some useful passages:

European Parliament Elections 2014 – Ireland

 

This year will see the 28 member states of the European Union going to the polls between the 22nd and the 25th of May to elect a new European Parliament. In Ireland this years elections will see a big change on the 2009 elections due to boundary changes and the change in the Political landscape since that election.

 

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Eurosphere agenda: “Background reading for a European Parliament election year..””EU job market open for Romanians and Bulgarians…

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2014 at 13:38

Background reading for a European Parliament election year

One of the more useful pieces I found over the festive period,  thanks to Craig Willy – a rare outsider to the European system who actually understands how it works, and as such an excellent guide who comes with limited baggage (and some occasionally forceful and thought-provoking opinions):

EU tries to calm fears of Bulgarian, Romanian exodus

The European Union sought to calm fears in countries like Britain, France and Germany that they face a mass influx of Romanians and Bulgarians following the lifting of restrictions yesterday (1 January), a change that risks fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

From 1 January, seven years after their countries joined the EU, Bulgarians and Romanians are free to live and work anywhere in the 28-nation bloc without applying for work permits.

 

Former Greek minister returns bribes

A former Greek government official who admitted taking €13.7 in bribes more than ten years ago to wave through arms contracts, has returned €7 million of the money to the state, the finance ministry said on 31 December.

Antonis Kantas, deputy armaments chief at the defence ministry between 1997 and 2002, was arrested and charged this month after investigating judges found he had €13.7 million euros of unaccounted-for money in a Singapore bank.

Kantas is the first Greek official to openly admit to taking bribes relating to major arms deals with foreign companies from countries including Germany, France, Russia, Brazil and Sweden.

Latvia joins eurozone as euro turns 15

Latvia joined the euro zone yesterday (1 January), banking on its experience of austerity to bring it prosperity in a currency union where other economies have floundered. The 2-million Baltic country adopted the common EU currency on the 15th anniversary of the launch of the euro.

The Baltic country of just 2 million people became the bloc’s 18th member at midnight (2200 GMT), taking a step further out of the shadow of neighbouring Russia a decade after joining the European Union and NATO.

MAIN FOCUS: EU job market open for Romanians and Bulgarians | 02/01/2014

 

Brussels has spoken out in defence of the removal of the last labour market barriers for Romanians and Bulgarians on January 1. Obstacles for workers are not the answer to the crisis, EU employment commissioner László Andor pointed out on Wednesday. The fact that the UK is now cutting benefits for jobless immigrants is just populism, commentators say. They argue that the economy benefits from the free movement of workers.

Europe’s Ukrainian blunder

The EU didn’t realise for years that the only motivation of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in pretending to negotiate an association agreement with the EU was to raise the price that Russia would have to pay to keep Ukraine in its strategic orbit. This EU blunder demands explanation, writes Joschka Fischer.

Joschka Fischer was German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998-2005, a term marked by Germany’s strong support for NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, followed by its opposition to the war in Iraq. This article was first published by Project Syndicate.

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Eurosphere agenda: European Commission to restore faith in US-EU data sharing in a post-PRISM world… Berlusconi.. Scotland… Ukraine…

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2013 at 15:51

European Commission outlines steps to restore faith in US-EU data sharing in a post-PRISM world

The European Commission (EC) has drafted measures designed to restore faith in the flow of data between the US and Europe following revelations about the NSA’s spying activities with its PRISM programme.

The EC today outlined what it views as the steps required to start rebuilding trust in the way that data is passed between Europe and the US.

The Top Five Career Paths for Berlusconi After Being Booted from Politics

Poor Silvio Berlusconi. On Wednesday, his colleagues in the Italian Senate effectively declared him unfit for office and voted to expel him from the body.

MAIN FOCUS: Scotland makes bid for independence | 27/11/2013

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond presented a detailed plan for Scotland’s independence on Tuesday. In September 2014 the people of Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to leave the UK. Some commentators see the White Paper as populist electoral propaganda. Others point out that London can get along just fine without Scotland.

EU Budget: a victory for the Council

The passing of the EU budget last week by the European Parliament was definitely a win for the Council and the fiscal hawks amongst the Member States. For the first time the EU budget will be cut, and cut by €35 billion (3.5%) over the next 7 year period (this “Multi-annual Financial Framework” allocates the budgets for 2014-2020).

EU parties vow to tackle far-right but see ‘no reason to panic’

Countering euroscepticism will be a central topic of the European socialist party’s campaign, according to Massimo D’Alema, the president of the the left-wing foundation FEPS, who worries about the surge of populist and extreme parties at next year’s European election.

Speaking to EurActiv, the president of the Foundation for European Policy Studies (FEPS) says that “the only way to counter such euroscepticism isn’t to defend Europe as it now exists.”

Vilnius summit: Ukraine and the Russian factor

 

The way out for Ukraine, who risks default, is only in the search of a compromise and coordinated position both with Europe, and with the Russian Federation writes Yuriy Kochevenko.

Yuriy Kochevenko is a Ukrainian political expert.

On the eve of the Vilnius Eastern Partnership the intrigue around the signing of the association agreement (AA) between Ukraine and the EU reaches its peak.  The Ukrainian government has announced its decision to suspend preparations for the AA’s signature due to the need to mitigate economic risks for the country, especially in the context of Russia’s position. At the same time, in a TV statement, President Viktor Yanukovych told his compatriots that “nothing will force Ukraine to turn from the way of integration to the European Union”.

Is Ukraine its own master?

The world was waiting for Ukraine to take its first step towards joining the EU this week, but a few days ago its president announced a not-entirely-unexpected U-turn. Valery Kalnysh reports from Kyiv.

Latvian government resigns over supermarket disaster

 

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis resigned today (27 November), taking responsibility for the collapse of a supermarket roof that killed 54 people last week and plunging the Baltic state into turmoil weeks ahead of its entry into the eurozone.

 

The departure of the Latvia’s longest-serving premier brought down its centre-right government, a measure of the scale of the political uproar triggered by the tragedy in Riga.

MAIN FOCUS: Grand coalition in Germany ready to go | 28/11/2013

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After five weeks of negotiations Germany’s CDU/CSU and SPD have reached a deal on a coalition agreement in Berlin. However, the members of the SPD must first give their approval before the country sees a new edition of the grand coalition. Commentators see the agreement as proof of Germany’s culture of consensus, and ask whether the SPD will change Chancellor Angela Merkel’s European policy.

Italian Senate approves former PM Berlusconi’s expulsion from parliament

The decision could mark a watershed in the career of the leader who has dominated Italian politics for two decades

 Coalition deal signals continuation of Merkel’s EU policy

EU ‘refines its thinking’ on its Ukraine-Russia relations

 

One day before the Vilnius summit Eastern partnership summit, the European Commission today (27 November) hinted that it was “refining its thinking” about holding trilateral trade talks with Ukraine and Russia.

 

The confession may appease politicians in Moscow, who claim that the EU-Ukraine association agreement in its current form would cause massive harm to the Russian economy.

 

The coalition agreement, announced earlier today (27 November), shows high awareness of European expectation for the new German government. Yet, the EU chapter of the deal reads like a compulsory exercise buried under domestic policy, EurActiv.de reports.

 

Europe does not feature as a high priority in the text of the new coalition agreement, unveiled earlier today by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

Sexual violence in Bosnia: how war lives on in everyday life

Rape has been recognized as a war crime in international and Bosnian law, but women survivors seldom receive the reparation they are owed. Meanwhile, persistent male violence makes daily life in Bosnia-Herzegovina a battleground for many women.

A culture of euroscepticism?

I’ve had a small flurry of late-autumn events of late, including a talk at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin (podcasted here) and a workshop here at Surrey on Croatia’s membership of the EU, organised by CRonEM.

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Eurosphere roundup: anti-Nazi protest turns violent in Athens; Record public debt in France; Reding slams France for using Roma as election scapegoats

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2013 at 15:11

Athens anti-Nazi protest turns violent

 

Greek police fired tear gas at anti-fascist protesters who hurled petrol bombs and stones near the Athens headquarters of Golden Dawn on Wednesday (25 September) following the killing of an anti-racism rapper by a supporter of the far-right party.

 

Thousands of Greeks marched towards the party’s offices earlier on Wednesday in the biggest show of public anger at Pavlos Fissas’ stabbing. Rampaging protesters set garbage cans on fire and smashed bank windows.

Greek protests against Golden Dawn

Thousands of people join protests against Greece’s third largest party – the far-right Golden Dawn – amid a wave of anger after a musician was killed.
Commission says its Gibraltar inspection ‘not a PR stunt’

 

A team of EU inspectors arrived in Gibraltar yesterday (25 September) to investigate a border dispute that has strained relations between Britain and Spain. A Commission spokesperson said the effort wasn’t “a PR thing”.

 

In a row which began over fishing waters, Britain and Gibraltar complained to the EU that Spain was applying overly zealous border controls, causing long lines for workers and tourists entering and leaving the British territory, a rocky outcrop near the tip of southern Spain.

EU-US trade deal to include ‘corporate bill of rights’

 

SPECIAL REPORT / Controversial rights for multinational corporations to sue states, likely to be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are causing a political headache for EU and US negotiators, but may also set a precedent for future trade agreements, notably with China.

 

The TTIP currently being negotiated includes so-called “investor-state” dispute clauses empowering EU and US-based corporations to lodge private legal cases directly against governments.

MAIN FOCUS: Record public debt in France | 26/09/2013

Despite plans for cuts running into the billions, France is heading for record debt levels. The Socialist government of President François Hollande on Wednesday discussed the 2014 budget, with which total debt is set to reach 95 percent of the GDP. Commentators criticise the planned tax hikes and call for increased cuts in the bloated government sector.

Q&A: Austria parliamentary election

Austria prepares to pass judgement on its government
Austrian right wing gains strength off Europe fears ahead of elections

 

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) appears likely to raise its share of the vote in Sunday elections, drawing on fears over bailouts for needier eurozone countries and the cost of supporting asylum seekers.

 

Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann’s government coalition may well survive, but opinion poll trends suggest the FPO could overtake his conservative junior partner, the People’s Party. Austria’s overall prosperity at a time of hardship in Europe has done little to dampen historic unease at immigration.

Reding slams France for using Roma as election scapegoats

 

Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding has strongly criticised the “electioneering” rhetoric of French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has called for Roma from Bulgaria and Romania to sent back where they came from. EurActiv.fr reports.

 

“If I am not mistaken, elections are in the air in France. Whenever in this country doesn’t want to talk about important things like the budget or debt, they talk about the Roma,” Reding said yesterday (25 September) onFrance Info radio station

UK lines up another court challenge against EU financial regulation

Last week, the UK launched another legal challenge at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against an unwanted piece of financial regulation – this time, the bankers’ bonus cap. This comes in the wake of some favourable legal assessment from a UK point of view, on short selling and the FTT (though both those cases are  still pending), as well as a win on benchmark regulation.

The German Election: what does it mean for Europe?

As predicted, Sunday’s German federal election resulted in a resounding victory for Angela Merkel. But with growing German euroscepticism and hesitation about the country’s future role in the Union, the results for Europe are not yet in.

Sisa: is meth use the latest face of the catastrophe in Athens?

Meth – or Sisa, as it has been called on the streets of Athens – has become the drug of choice for a rising number of drug addicts in Greece. After Golden Dawn and rampant poverty, is meth use the latest face of the catastrophe in Athens?

Britain sues EU over banker bonus cap

 

Britain has launched a legal challenge to the European Union’s cap on bankers’ bonuses which London fears will hurt its financial industry.

 

Finance minister George Osborne has long argued that Brussels has gone too far with reforms aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial crisis. But EU financial services chief Michel Barnier said the bonus cap was legal.

The EU law will limit a bonus to no more than a banker’s fixed salary, or twice that level with shareholder approval.

The UKIP class of ’09: Where are they now?

The removal of Godfrey Bloom’s whip this week, in the wake of his comments to the annual conference, reminds me that the role of MEPs in UKIP has long been an unhappy one.

Greece’s Primary Budget Surplus: How far from reality?

Recent data from Greece’s central government has showed a primary surplus for the first seven months of this year. This is the first time this development appears in debt-ridden Greece since 2010 and the first rescue package of the Greek economy. The government lies on that argument for the negotiations with troika in order to avoid an additional package. But is this surplus efficiently reclaimed?
Tymoshenko is the big unknown in EU-Ukraine talks

There are some steps left to be done for the successful signing of the Association Agreement. In particular, President Viktor Yanukovych persuades that legislation on public prosecution and elections needs to be adopted and also the “issue of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko” needs to be solved. Mr Yanukovych also reminded that the Cox-Kwasniewsky Mission is working on the Tymoshenko case.

Berlusconi faction sparks political crisis

Centre-right group in Italy’s coalition vows to quit parliament if Senate committee votes to strip former prime minister of his Senate seat

Merkel’s Victory, Everyone’s Loss: The Burden Of German Mercantilism On Europe

John Weeks

The electoral victory of Angela Merkel brings bad news to the rest of Europe. Without doubt it means the continuation of the national economic policies that have all the other euro zone countries suffering from recession. While the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies narrowly missed an absolute majority, the probability that a coalition partner would moderate austerity polices is close to zero.

More than a lobby: finance in the UK

 

Finance and the British state are mutually embedded to the point that it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. Here, Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch gives us a brief tour of the tangled web that is public life in the UK.

AfD: The party of the youth?

 

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AfD chief Bernd Lucke on the campaign trail

It’s barely been half a year since the German anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) emerged onto  the political scene (and we were one of the first to flag up the then-unknown party), but its ascent has been rapid.

Anti-fascist protests in Greece amid neo-Nazi crackdown

Greek parties and unions on Wednesday were to hold anti-fascist protests in Athens and other cities

Islam’s disruptive visibility in the European public sphere

The spectre of Islam has haunted European public debate for the last three decades. Moreover, Islam’s visibility in the contemporary European public sphere raises crucial political questions that concern the very fabric of secular society, writes Nilüfer Göle.

EU team investigate Gibraltar row

A team of European Union inspectors are visiting Gibraltar to investigate a border row that has caused recent diplomatic tensions between the UK and Spain.

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Eurosphere roundup: “one finger livened-up the German election campaign…

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2013 at 16:24

 

France Sees Great Potential in the Chinese Tourism Industry

The statistics this year for French tourism are a bit fuzzy. Minister of Tourism Sylvia Pinel remains cautious with the numbers while the results from Protourisme, the reference point for tourism studies, look gloomy .

Vassiliou: ‘Europeans should get out of their chairs more often’

Some 60% of Europeans seldom engage in sport or physical activity, says EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, who urges Europeans to get out of their chairs to help combat obesity.

Androulla Vassiliou is EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth. She answered questions by EurActiv’s Henriette Jacobsen ahead of the obesity conference “Eat well, drink well, move … A small step for you, a big step for Europe” in Brussels on 17 September, where she will be one of the keynote speakers.

What is the Commission’s new initiative on physical activity about?

 

Europe’s most radical left-wing nun

The feminist nun on a mission to tear down capitalism’s temple

Merkel’s CDU wins over Turkish minority

The Conservative CDU is the latest beneficiary of a decline in the SPD’s political dominance of ethnic voters, according to a poll out last month

 

Greek Communists beaten in suspected neo-Nazi attack: Police

Eight Communist youths were hospitalised on Friday in Athens after a beating attributed to members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, police said.

Merkel rival stirs online storm with middle-finger photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s election rival took more fire Friday for a magazine cover showing him making the vulgar middle-finger gesture

Spotlight on Slovenia

Back in the spring, we looked at who might be next in the line of eurozone bailout requests. It’s now looking increasingly likely that one of our predictions, Portugal, will require some form of further assistance to fully exit its current bailout. Now, suspicions are rising that our other tip, Slovenia, may need external aid in a not-too-distant future.

Grand coalition looms in German election

Merkel’s hopes of winning a third term as German chancellor at the head of her conservative-liberal coalition are hanging in the balance

 

How one finger livened-up the German election campaign

Peer Steinbrück, the SPD’s Chancellor Candidate graces the front cover of today’s Süddeutsche Magazine unapologetically flicking the bird.

Could the decline in Spanish house prices be bottoming out? Not just yet…

A quick update on Spanish house prices, given that the latest quarterly statistics were released this morning.

UK wins legal backing on EU’s short-selling ban

Britain has won backing to curb the power of the European Union market watchdog to ban short-selling in a boost to a campaign against the concentration of financial regulation in Brussels at the expense of the City of London.

An adviser to the EU’s top court said in an opinion yesterday (12 September) that such an emergency power, part of an EU law introduced last year, went beyond what the watchdog could do under the EU treaty.

Barroso’s State of the Union: Nothing Fresh, No Self-Criticism

President’s Barroso annual speech over the current situation of the European Union, the so-called State of the Union, offered nothing new in the debate over the future of the Union. No fresh ideas, no concerns over austerity politics, no realism in the analysis, but above all no self-criticism over the management of overdebtedness and economic crisis in Europe. It goes without saying that Mr. Barroso is a good diplomat and a-not-too-good politician, but someone could expect from this last speech a sort of pioneering. All expectations went in vain.

 

 

Barroso: I proposed putting a ‘face’ on EU elections

Commission President José Manuel Barroso said yesterday (12 September) that he came up with the idea that European political parties present their candidate for the top EU job at the European Parliament elections in 2014, and regretted that little progress had been made in this direction.

Barroso said there was a risk that the campaign would take place without a clear public debate between representatives of the different political forces competing with the role of Commission president. He insisted on the role he was playing in changing the system.

French Conservative MEPs opposed EU resolution on minority languages

French centre-right MEPs voted against a resolution on endangered regional languages, passed by a large majority in the European Parliament this week, claiming that it violated the unity of the French Republic.

With 92%, EU lawmakers gave their overwhelming backing on Wednesday (11 September) to a report, prepared by the Green group, aimed at protecting endangered and minority languages across Europe.

EU lawmakers back ‘intellectual property rights’ over biodiversity

The European Parliament has agreed to rules that would prevent EU companies, particularly in the pharmaceuticals sector, from exploiting the natural resources of the world’s indigenous communities by recognising their ‘intellectual property rights’ over local biodiversity.

In the vote yesterday (12 September), MEPs rubber-stamped the next stage of the EU’s ratification of the Nagoya protocol, a UN convention on biodiversity signed by leaders in the Japanese city in 2010.

Britain should stay in the EU, for science

At a time when Britain debates whether to remain in the European Union or leave, there is one critical area being overlooked – science, write Michael Galsworthy and Michael Brown.

Michael Galsworthy is a senior research associate at the University College London. Michael Browne is head of European research & innovation at University College London. This piece was originally published on the UK edition of The Conversation, the news website sourced from the academic and research community.

ECB ‘interested’ in bailing out Slovenia

The European Central Bank is interested in Slovenia applying for aid from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the eurozone’s bailout mechanism, according to German business daily Handelsblatt.

Slovenia has been in recession since last year and is struggling to avoid an economic bailout. On Friday Slovenian officials said they would liquidate two small banks to ensure the financial stability of its banking system.

 

UK Prime Minister Appoints New Anti-Piracy Enforcement AdvisorIn 2010 the UK introduced the Digital Economy Act, legislation designed in part to crack down on the unlawful sharing of copyrighted material, but three years on and the implementation of the law is still more than a couple of years away.

Romanian MEP faces corruption trial in cash-for-influence scandal

Romanian MEP Adrian Severin will stand trial in his country for allegedly agreeing to take money from fake lobbyists more than two years ago in return for introducing amendments to draft EU laws in the European Parliament, the Romanian press reported yesterday (11 September).

Romania’s anti-corruption agency, DNA, charged Adrian Severin with corruption over the allegations, which led Severin to being expelled from the Parliament’s Socialists & Democrats (S&D) political group more than two years ago.

 

The shaking up of Europe’s old order

Successful financial disentanglement depends on how comprehensively the old order is broken down. Neither in Italy nor Spain is the outlook clear

Third EU legal opinion of the week, this time on banking union: bad news for Germany?

It seems to be a week for big legal opinions in the EU. We’ve had opinions on the FTT, the EU’s short selling regulation and now on the European Commission’s plan for a Single Bank Resolution Mechanism (SRM) – a key component of the banking union.

Reconstruction of car accident that seriously injured Vice-President of the European Parliament

Late on Friday night 6th September 2013, police closed a section of the A1 motorway – near to the Leverkusen interchange in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany – in order to reconstruct a fatal road accident of 22nd February 2013, in which Alexander Alvaro, a Vice-President of the European Parliament was seriously injured. The aim of the exercise was to find out exactly what happened by simulating the chain of events, that took the life of a 21 year old man from Münster and seriously injured three other people including Alexander Alvaro.

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Eurosphere roundup: Shameful Miranda Investigation… Germany elections… Ukraine and Europe…

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2013 at 09:43

Czech communists to return in office for first time since 1989

The Czech parliament voted yesterday (20 August) to dissolve itself, triggering an early election that could hand the Communist Party a share of power for the first time since a bloodless revolution ended the party’s totalitarian rule two decades ago.

Opinion polls show that the centre-left Social Democrats will be the biggest party, but they will need support from other groups to govern. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said he would talk to the Communists about forming a partnership.

 

Spanish Government’s Complaint Box Causes Boomerang Effect

The Spanish Minister of Employment and Social Security, Fátima Bañez, has launched a “complaint box” to combat workplace fraud. The government is encouraging citizens to anonymously report cases of fraud committed by companies and individual workers for further investigation by the Office of Labor Inspection.

Swedish women protest attack with headscarves

Sweden women from different faiths, including politicians and TV hosts, have started posting photos of themselves in headscarves in solidarity with a woman attacked for wearing a veil

Greece’s third bailout rocks German election campaign

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Tuesday (20 August) for the first time that Greece will need another bailout, triggering a storm of protest from opposition parties five weeks before an election in Europe’s biggest economy.

While analysts have long predicted Greece will require more aid, albeit on a smaller scale than previous bailouts totalling about €240 billion, Chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to keep Greece out of her campaign for re-election to avoid angering German voters who fear they will foot the bill.

Germany as “euro conductor” of investments in Ukraine

Economic interests have joined Ukraine and Germany long ago. Although on the results of 2012 the volume of foreign investments in Ukraine from German investors decreased from $ 7.3 billion to $ 6.3 billion, Germany remains the second country in the rating of foreign investors in Ukraine. Its share accounts almost 15% of all foreign investments of the EU to Ukraine.

The attractiveness of integration to the EU for Ukraine

In the context of Ukraine’s prospects of European integration there can be different attitudes to today’s economic problems in the EU. Recent statistic data isn’t too encouraging and it becomes a news topic for supporters of Ukraine’s joining to other integration structures. In fact European economy is in a recession and according to the prognoses of the European Commission Eurozone will be able to return to the trajectory of growth only next year. With this the situation on the labor market continues to deteriorate. The experts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expect that the rise of unemployment rates will be at 12% and over.

 

U.K. Ordered Guardian to Destroy Snowden Files Because Its Servers Weren’t Secure

After NSA insider Edward Snowden absconded with thousands of sensitive U.S. government documents from unsecured NSA servers earlier this year and gave them to the Guardian newspaper, a U.K spy agency forced the paper to destroy hard drives containing copies of the documents because the agency said the newspaper’s servers were not secure.

UK requests destruction of sensitive Snowden files, EU silent

The European Commission has declined to comment on whether pressure exerted by UK authorities on the Guardian newspaper to destroy sensitive documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden constituted an attack on media freedom.

A spokesperson for Viviane Reding, the European Commission Vice President responsible for Justice and Fundamental Rights, avoided questions on the issue at the EU executive‘s daily press briefing on Tuesday (20 August).

Miranda interrogation, Guardian raid: Britain now the Iran of Europe

Glenn Greenwald with David Miranda at Rio Airport, Brazil

Britain may now be categorised as a pariah state. Over the last 24 hours it was revealed that the offices of one of the world’s most respected newspapers, The Guardian, was raided by members of the British Security Service, who demanded the editor destroy hard drives containing alleged files and documents pertaining to information sources by whistleblower Edward Snowden. On Sunday the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who coordinated the Snowden stories, was seized by British Intelligence when in transit at Heathrow Airport, held for 9 hours, threatened with imprisonment and had all his electronic devices taken for examination.

David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face

theguardian.com – Alan Rusbridger – 8/19/13 2:30 PM – In a private viewing cinema in Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me

 

European jihadists: The continuation of a historical trend

Reports have circulated for months about the growing number of foreigners fighting alongside Islamists in places such as Libya and Syria. European authorities will intensify counterterrorism efforts, but preventing all attacks will not be easy, writes Stratfor.

Stratfor is a Texas-based global intelligence company.

“In April of this year, EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove estimated that some 500 European citizens were fighting in Syria, most of them from the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. A survey by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London found that up to 600 Europeans from 14 countries, including Austria, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany, have participated in the Syrian conflict since it began in early 2011, representing roughly 7 to 11% of the total number of foreign fighters in Syria. The study showed that the largest contingent of foreign militants – somewhere between 28 and 134 – came from the United Kingdom. (The number of foreign fighters could be higher considering that many likely cycled through the fighting arena and returned home in a very short time.)

The rise of women in Italian politics

From Laura Boldrini and Cecile Kyenge to Emma Bonino, Italian politics has recently been revitalised by a new generation of active female politicians. Can they be a force for good in Italian politics?

In Ukraine, it grows on trees …Ever since becoming Ukraine’s president in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych has been preparing for his next election in 2015 – and this time he intends to win without the support of the oligarchs. But he needs cash, lots of it, and this, as Sergii Leshchenko reports, is where “self-made” Serhiy Kurchenko comes in.

The myth of Weimar Europe

Since the start of the Great Recession, it has become received wisdom that the far right is on the rise across Europe. But not often is the ‘economic-crisis-breeds-extremism’ thesis confronted with actual facts.

Greece bursts into German election

Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble says further funds will be needed to help country ‘get over the hill’ of debt financing it still faces

Olli Rehn throws hat into ring for Commission President’s job

Olli Rehn, the European Commission’s vice president in charge of economic and monetary affairs, has reportedly told the Finnish press that he may run to head the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group’s list in European elections next year, so becoming their candidate to be the next president of the EU executive.

According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Rehn may run for “the number one spot” as ALDE leader in the next European Parliamentary elections, scheduled for 22-25 May 2014.

 

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