Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and its Compatibility with EU Law

Source: Centre for European Policy Studies Abstract: In the wake of the disclosures surrounding PRISM and other US surveillance programmes, this paper assesses the large-scale surveillance practices by a selection of EU member states: the UK, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Given the large-scale nature of these practices, which represent
Audit report shows errors in ‘all main spending areas’ of EU budget

 

The error rate on EU budget spending was almost 5% in 2012, according to the annual report by the European Court of Auditors, published on Tuesday (5 November).

 

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) presented its annual report to the European Parliament?s budgetary control committee on Tuesday (5 November). The report discussed the audit of the EU?s budget for 2012.

 

European Commission forecasts fragile recovery in the eurozone

The European Commission today released its autumn 2013 economic forecast. The EC broadly sees a
S&P downgrades France

Standard & Poor?s cuts France?s sovereign credit rating by one notch to ?AA?, saying government?s current approach to tax reforms unlikely to substantially raise growth
Britain starts paying cash to help industry with EU CO2 costs

 

Britain has begun paying firms millions of pounds in compensation to industrial companies help shield them from higher energy bills due to European carbon permits, a government spokeswoman said on Thursday (7 November).

 

“The government has begun compensating companies for the indirect costs of the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS) … To date a total of 16 million pounds ($25.7 million) has been paid to 17 companies in the UK,” a spokeswoman from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said in an email.

Merkel, Automaticity and Commission Independence

“I don’t see any automaticity between top candidates and the filling of posts,” says Merkel, pouring cold water over the idea that the winning Europarty’s candidate will become Commission president. Apparently the Merkel who argued for a directly elected Commission president just a few years ago was merely exhibiting the naivety of youth (merely CDU policy?). The European People’s Party may be suffering from Merkel’s new-found reluctance to engage in candidate-selection or manifesto-building.

Taxes, polls and strikes ? welcome to France!

These days, French football is not so much about goalscoring, match results and league tables. Much of the football talk is dominated by the exceptional tax of 75% on incomes above 1 million that the Hollande government is decided to impose on all companies operating in France over a period of two years.

Punished by rewards: Elections, EU and the rule of law in Kosovo

The violent clashes that marked Kosovo’s election last sunday are just part of a wider problem regarding the rule of law in the country.

Martin Schulz: Political, Left-wing and Federalist

Yesterday Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliamentwas announced to be the Party of European Socialists‘ candidate for the Commission Presidency.

France looks for EU allies in fight against low-cost workers

polish plumber 198

 

The French government is seeking support to tackle social dumping by revising the EU posted workers directive but its efforts are meeting with firm opposition from the UK and Eastern European countries.

 

After the myth of the Polish plumber came to the fore in 2005, the French political class is now battling against the problem of ?posted workers?, who are sent to another EU country on a temporary basis, often at a lower cost.

The anonymous eurosceptics

Anonymous euro-sceptics are posting everywhere, but rarely under their real names

Anonymous eurosceptics seem to be everywhere, posting en masse in the readers columns of our national newspapers.

And whenever I post a pro-EU posting ? always under my real name ? they?re there at the ready, trying hard to discredit me and calling me ?dishonest?. Of course, they mostly never seem brave enough to post under their own names. I wonder why?

Hungary?s ruling party mobilises diaspora ahead of elections

 

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán urged Hungary’s large ethnic diaspora yesterday (6 November) to exercise their newly won right to vote in next year’s national election, hoping they would help to further cement his grip on power.

 

Several million ethnic Hungarians live in neighbouring Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and elsewhere, descendants of Hungarians who found themselves outside their homeland when the country’s borders were redrawn at the end of World War One.

Research dispute puts EU-Israel ties under severe strain

 

As Israel looks warily west in the hope that the United States has its back in any conflict with Iran, it might do well to glance north and consider its relations with Europe too.

 

Over the past four years, ties between the European Union and Israel have grown increasingly fractious, with Brussels seldom missing an opportunity to lambaste Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government for building settlements on occupied Palestinian land and restricting access to large portions of the West Bank.

Germany resists EU plans to slash renewable energy subsidies

WindEnergy 2

 

A leading Social Democrat warned yesterday (6 November) that the EU planned to investigate German renewable energy discounts for industry, a move that could end up hitting a raft of companies operating in Europe’s biggest economy.

 

The European Commission is reassessing green subsidies as technologies such as onshore wind and solar power become more competitive with conventional energy forms (see background).

France must take inspiration from David Cameron on Europe

This is the argument made in a very interesting op-edpenned by French MEP (and former Justice Minister) Rachida Dati, of the centre-right UMP party, for today’s Le Figaro. We reported on the article in today’s press summary, but we thought it was worth translating it (almost) in its entirety.

Why Cross-border Interactions Don?t Always Foster European Identity

arena logoThe UACES Arena is organised by UACES and Edelman | The Centre in cooperation with the University of Kent at Brussels.

Amid increased transnational interactions and networks in the European Union today, one may thus expect that European citizens support European integration. However, while transnational networks and activities have indeed proliferated over recent decades, they have not been accompanied by an increase in political support for European integration. Quite to the contrary: Since the signing of the Treaty of the European Union in 1992, an eurosceptic public has challenged Deutsch?s optimistic assertions. This documented in figure 1: whereas transnational contacts and information flows, taken from the KOF index of globalization, have increased tremendously over the past decades, net EU membership support has not. In short, whereas Europeans lead increasingly transnational lives, they have not become more European-minded. This raises the question: To what extent are cross-border interactions among ordinary people really helpful in fostering a feeling of European identity and EU support?

Lampedusa: Europe’s disgrace

Following the latest in a series of shipwrecks of vessels carrying refugees off the coast of Lampedusa, Gesa Heinbach slams the cynicism with which associated news stories and pictures are incorporated into the European migration regime and its targeted logic of deterrence.

The European Banking Disunion

The future of the eurozone depends crucially on whether Europe?s financial markets ?renationalize? or become fully integrated. But either outcome would be preferable to partial integration ? which is where the eurozone appears to be headed.

Europe?s Non-Rhetorical Values

Vague and misleading rhetoric is hampering productive discussion about Europe?s future. Indeed, the flawed notion that ?more Europe? is the only solution to European countries’ troubles is overshadowing the values ? like subsidiarity and individual liberty ? that European institutional arrangements are supposed to serve.

Bulgaria warns of new gas crisis

Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev warned yesterday (6 November) of a possible repeat of the 2009 gas crisis as a result of the intensified conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Stoynev said that the pretext for a new gas crisis was Kiev’s outstanding debt of some $900 million (?666 million) to Russian gas exporters Gazprom. The Bulgarian minister added that the real reason there could be a gas crisis was Ukraine’s plan to sign an association agreement with the EU at the 28-29 November Vilnius summit.

 

US and Germany trade blows over macro policy, but is Germany’s export focus really to blame for the woes of the eurozone?

Another dispute arose last week between the US and Germany. This time on macroeconomics. Maybe not quite as glamorous (or controversial) as spying, but interesting nonetheless. The new disagreement was set off by the US Treasury?s semi-annual Report on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies which said (and reiterated numerous times):

 

French centrists band together to defend ‘European ideal’

France’s two main centrist parties, the UDI and the MoDem, announced a new alliance on Tuesday (5 November), with an eye on next year’s European elections.

François Bayrou (MoDem) and Jean-Louis Borloo (UDI), the two party leaders, unveiled their alliance named ‘The Alternative’ in Paris yesterday (5 November).

 

New general strike hits Greece

A general strike hit Greece on Wednesday, paralyzing public services and disrupting transport

 

MAIN FOCUS: Brussels expects upturn in the Eurozone | 06/11/2013

In the autumn forecast presented by Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Tuesday the European Commission in Brussels says the Eurozone can expect an economic upturn in 2014 but will continue to struggle with unemployment and public debt. The crisis-stricken countries must adhere to their austerity policies, commentators warn, calling for a pan-European growth strategy.

The UK/US relationship is alive and well

The UK government continues to use the potential embarrassment of the White House as an argument against justice and liberty in the UK.

Europe’s new beginning

A European constitution that covers no more than a few sides of paper and clearly sets out the values that we share: concisely and for the people. This, writes “Res Publica Nowa” editor Wojciech Przybylski, is what is required if the EU’s disintegration is to be averted.

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