Winston Churchill is said to have quipped that the Labour leader Clement Attlee was a man who had much to be modest about.
At (s)election time British tabloids, which pray at the shrine of John Bull, were more derisory in their outpourings about the new President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, often misleadingly labeled as the “EU President”. This funny little foreigner came from, of all places, Belgium. The latest national tragedy is that Van Rompuy has “failed” to send Nigel Farage (a member of the European Parliament, not the European Council) a get well card.
Last week, the European Parliament has voted on a resolution regarding the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The resolution is horrible to read (Rapporteur: Ramón Jáuregiu Atondo) and although I’m pretty interested in the subject it was no pleasure to go through the document. I will thus focus on the more practical, cooperation-related elements of the resolution.
While you’re carefully planning your summer holidays, it might be worth considering what destinations will best suit your needs – be thee a lover of those tobacco-filled thin paper cylinders or not
The European Commission has finally published its anxiously awaited European Digital Agenda, or “EDA” to add a further official acronym to the alphabet soup of the EU. During the past few months the European Parliament, Council, consumer groups and industry have all been frantically busy drafting and presenting their recommendations and advice as to how the final document should look. Well, the framework programme is finally here and given the importance of this document, it’s worth taking a few minutes to take a closer look at what it actually says. After all, this framework will be the ICT’s contribution to Europe 2020 and will shape EU policy in the area for at least the next 5 years.
In the context of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth, the European Commission has published the Digital Agenda. Instead of a five year plan as earlier, the new version of the Digital Agenda now encompasses the whole decade 2010─2020.
After presenting the “raw materials” in Digital Agenda for Europe 2010─2020 (25 May 2010), we turn to the first euroblog reactions we have encountered with regard to this blueprint for the information society in Europe.
The Copenhagen criteria for accession to the European Union require, among other things, democracy. Thus, the EU would not qualify for membership.
How do the heads of state or government of the eurozone countries add to our knowledge about crisis prevention and mitigation at the time of the Spring European Council?
Household Indebtedness in the EU
Source: European Parliament Directorate-General for Internal Policies
Certain Member States within the EU have become heavily indebted in recent years. But the pattern is not even. In terms of absolute volumes of debt, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom are the most significant. But relative to the sizes of economies, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom averaged debt to GDP of some 84 per cent in December 2009 whilst Greece, Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia averaged just 33 per cent.
Careful readers of this blog will have noticed that I am quite interested in the work of the EU Council, especially because there is a lack of attention on the work of this institution, and so I’d like to share some academic insights about the EU Council’s secretariat that a fellow political scientist, Hylke Dijkstra, has published in recent time.
The Slovakian parliament on Tuesday warned Hungary not to offer citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries. Commentators write that the governments in both countries are using the dispute to divert attention from domestic problems.
Here in the UK we are beginning to digest the outcome of our recent electoral process, which brought us a new coalition government for which no single person voted, so demonstrating the complexity of the relationship between individual actions and their combined consequences. More often than not our current system produces a clear ‘winner’, one of the two largest parties having a minority of votes but an absolute parliamentary majority and so being able to form a single-party government. Smaller parties are excluded from power and as a consequence remain small, since not all their adherents are happy to ‘waste’ their vote. Such a system is therefore unsatisfactory in terms of both representation and pluralism.
There are some big foreign policy questions for a new government to tackle: the effects of the recession combine with the rise of new powers to shake the world order. A new global balance will mean respecting new realities in the distribution of power. William Hague, has already visited Hillary Clinton in Washington and the coalition is starting to flesh out its approach to the EU, especially on the formation of the External Action Service. On this, it will be fascinating to see the degree to which, if at all, the Liberal-Democrats’ Europhilia tempers the Euro-hostility of the Conservatives.
Against the backdrop of a European economic crisis of monumental proportions, the creation of the UK’s coalition government must seem like “noises off” to other European theatre-goers. But at least the deal reached between Conservative leader David Cameron and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats could provide political stability in Britain for several years and remove a potentially destabilising element in the councils of Europe.
Here’s the concluding statement of the most recent IMF visit to Lithuania. As with the Spain statement of a few days ago, it is noteworthy for its bluntness — these things read much less like bland compromise statements than they used to. A basic indication of how troubled things are –