Arrested demonstrators sit on the ground as they are surrounded ...

Arrested demonstrators sit on the ground as they are surrounded by police during a rally outside the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen December 12, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

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from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Climate pressures cloud two-day EU summit

A Copenhagen draft leaks

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

An early draft of the Copenhagen climate change agreement, which is being called the “Danish Text” and was prepared by a group of countries including the U.S., U.K. and Denmark, has been leaked to the Guardian and has perturbed delegates from developing countries:

Morning Brief: EU agrees to pay $10.6 billion in climate aid

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

Why Copenhagen matters,

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Tony Curzon Price

After two years of protracted and complex negotiations, from sunny Bali in Indonesia through to frosty Poznan in Poland, the Copenhagen climate-change conference opens today. Representatives from every country will meet to try to put in place an agreement that prevents dangerous global warming and determines what happens after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty expires in 2012.

Copenhagen summit: G2 is the key to CO2

from FT.com – Analysis
Copenhagen summit: There are 190-odd nations represented at the climate talks that started this week, but arguably only two that matter: the ‘G2’ of the US and China

Morning Brief: Rich and poor countries squabble in Copenhagen

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

China: Pessimism, skepticism and concern over Copenhagen

from Global Voices Online by John Kennedy

At the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference now into day 6 in Copenhagen, leaks of competing texts have been followed by Chinese delegates talking tough to representatives from the US to island nations such as Tuvalu, with a proposal from the latter for a Copenhagen Protocol to include stricter emission caps on larger developing nations.

List of European Parliament intergroups 2009-2014

by Julien Frisch

Via EurActiv France on Twitter I found Françoise Castex’s post containing a list of the European Parliament Intergroups (see my post on EP intergroups for the last parliament) for the period 2009-2014:

State aid in EU Lisbon Treaty: Prohibition and derogations

by Grahnlaw

The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009. According to Article 3(1)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU has exclusive competence in the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/51).

The rules on state aid ? former Articles 87 to 89 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) ? are now located in Part Three, Title VII, Chapter 1 Rules on competition, Section 2 Aid granted by states, Articles 107 to 109 TFEU (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/91-93).

Boring EU Institutions Post

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Alex Harrowell

The collectif antilibérale makes the excellent point that there is no problem with the appointments to the new jobs created by the Lisbon treaty. Two things will control their in-trays, after all – the first is the job of getting a major new institution, the EU external action service, operating and building up its credibility and budget-attracting power, and the second is the eternal one of seeking consensus between the major powers, institutions, and interest groups in a diverse confederation with a small central government.

Two capitals in Jerusalem, EU says

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
EU ministers call for Jerusalem to serve as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state in a negotiated peace deal.

Israel to Sweden: the peace process is not like Ikea furniture

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

It hasn’t been a great year for Israeli-Swedish relations. First there was the controversy over an anti-Semitic article about Israelis stealing organs in a Swedish tabloid, which both governments blew up into a much bigger issue than it needed to be. Then this week, Sweden, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, issued a proposal calling for the EU to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. EU foreign ministers adopted a somewhat watered-down version of the draft today, but the war of words between Israel and Sweden continues:

Greece blocks Macedonian talks

from European Voice – RSS – News & analysis
EU delays a decision on opening membership talks with Macedonia after Greek objections.

Greek downgrade

from FT.com – World, Europe
It wasn’t a surprise, but the downgrade of sovereign debt by Fitch to triple B-plus still came as a shock

Sarkozy calls for tolerance but also cautions Muslims about France’s identity

from Wash Post Europe by Edward Cody

PARIS — Faced with swelling unease over the place of Muslim immigrants in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy called Tuesday for tolerance among native French people but warned that arriving Muslims must embrace Europe’s historical values and avoid “ostentation or provocation” in the practice of…

The new European Commission: Opinions on Joaquín Almunia

by Julien Frisch

As I have announced when the new Commission was presented by Barroso, we should take a look at the new (and old) Commissioners to see their qualifications for the job.

Via the German-language Kartellblog I was made aware of a collection of law-firm opinions on the future Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia, so far Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, opinions that are astonishingly positive and paint a picture of a competent person – despite his left-wing political background.

A New Version of the Weak Euro Meme

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

Well, having been so lavishing in my praise of Ralph Atkins in recent posts, perhaps it is time for the administration of a gentle ?rapapolvo? (otherwise, you know Ralph, people might start to talk), and just to hand he offers me the ideal opportunity to ?discrepar?. A little instability is, it appears, a dangerous thing, but not, it seems entirely and unequivocally dangerous:

Sarkozy and Kouchner still not on the same page

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

French President Nicolas Sarkozy took to the pages of Le Monde yesterday with a partial defense of the Swiss minaret ban:

“How can you not be amazed at the reaction that this decision has produced in certain media and political circles in our own country,” Sarkozy said. “Instead of condemning the Swiss out of hand, we should try to understand what they meant to express and what so many people in Europe feel, including people in France.”

The “political circles” he mentions, may be a reference to his own Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who declared himself “scandalized” by the minaret ban last week:

Dutch drop objection to Serbia in EU

from cafebabel.com by Dave Keating
Serbia moved a step closer to joining the EU today as the Netherlands withdrew its objection to the accession.
The EU had been in an 18-month deadlock over whether to grant Serbia free trade and association, which is a precursor to membership. The Dutch, who are hosting the international criminal court proceedings against Serbs accused of genocide during the Balkan civil wars, had insisted for more cooperation from Serbia in tracking down war criminals first.

Political science blogging: Why Germans support EU membership

by Julien Frisch

This post is based on the conclusion – following a short exchange of views with Kosmopolit some weeks ago – that I should not only contribute as a European citizen to European debates, but also as a political scientist with an interest in EU affairs.

Whenever I will find interesting analyses I will thus try to provide you with latest results and debates from academic journals and other publications:

Spanish EU Presidency ‘to set precedents’

from EurActiv.com
Spain unveiled on Tuesday (8 December) its priorities for its six-month stint at the EU’s helm during the first half of 2010. Spain will be the first country to take the rotating presidency since the nomination of a permanent EU president and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Implementing the Lisbon Treaty (Swedish report)

by Grahnlaw

Grahnlaw has called on the Swedish Council presidency to report on the implementation of the EU?s Lisbon Treaty. This has now happened in the form of an implementation report, submitted to the European Council meeting Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2009.

MAIN FOCUS: Europe agonises over the question of religion | 09/12/2009

from euro|topics

What do Europeans make of religion? The Swiss have banned new minarets, the European Court of Human Rights has banned Italy from having crucifixes in every classroom. A Swedish school has rejected veils, a Dutch polytechnic shuns Christmas trees and a study claims religion stems from insecurity.

The new European Commission: Günther Oettinger in the German Bundestag

by Julien Frisch

After looking at Joaquín Almunia yesterday, there is news on Günther Oettinger.

According to the agenda of the EU affairs committee of the Bundestag (the German parliament), Günther Oettinger who is proposed as EU Commissioner for energy will stand questions of German members of Parliament next Wednesday (16 december). The agenda item that does not look final in the agenda linked above has just been confirmed by German MEP Eva Hoegl on Twitter.

Europe’s Roe v. Wade?

from FP Passport by Jordana Timerman

Ireland is cautious when it comes to defending its stance against abortion. Voters approved the Lisbon treaty on EU integration earlier this year only after stringent guarantees from other EU countries that EU law would not force Ireland to relinquish its ban on the procedure, which was backed by a 1983 referendum.

Europe Hebdo: L’Europe, ses racistes et ses islamistes

from Bloggingportal.eu – Today’s posts
(N.B. : Ce billet nous a été envoyé un peu avant l’affaire des minarets en Suisse.) Sommes-nous condamnés à être pris en tenaille entre les « idiots utiles » de l’intégrisme habile et les tenants d’une vision rance de la Nation ? On pourrait…

Out there in eurospace

by Open Europe blog team

Foreign Secretary David Miliband appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee this afternoon to discuss developments in the EU, ahead of the formal six-monthly European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday this week.

Lisbon Treaty: Changes in inter-institutional decision-making procedures

by Julien Frisch

Sometimes I start writing a post because I find informative documents that I would like to share, and then I find little treasures like Annex 4 that you find below.

But let’s start from the beginning:

The Lisbon Treaty has brought and will continue to bring a number of changes in the work of the EU, some of them concerning rules of procedure as summarised by Grahnlaw here and here, some involve the more complex nature of inter-institutional procedures.

EU Council Secretary-General Pierre de Boissieu

by Grahnlaw

When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, the European Council and the Council of the European Union immediately took a number of decisions to put the treaty reforms into practice.

estonia’s future

from Edward Lucas by Edward Lucas

I wrote an article that has appeared in Estonia’s Paevehleht newspaper. The English original is here

A crisis is an expensive lesson, and wasting anything expensive is bad. So Estonians should use these hard times to take a hard look at themselves, their society and their state, and work out how to dump bad habits and adopt good ones. Learning from your own mistakes is good and learning from other people?s is even better. So Estonians should also look south to Latvia to see what may happen if current bad tendencies persist.

MAIN FOCUS: Greek crisis endangers the EU | 10/12/2009

from euro|topics

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has declared that the current debt crisis threatens Greece’s national sovereignty. New indebtedness is being estimated at roughly 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, while the national debt also lies far above EU requirements. A situation that could soon mean trouble for all of Europe.

Employment conditions: EU new top jobs

by Grahnlaw

The Lisbon Treaty created the new top posts of the President of the European Council, the ?double-hatted? High Representative and the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union.

Implementing the treaty required decisions on the pay and perks of the new office-holders.

The decisions concerning the conditions of employment have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

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