Europe has a religious symbol crisis, too

A crucifix hangs on a wall map of Europe in a school classroom ...

A crucifix hangs on a wall map of Europe in a school classroom in Rome November 3, 2009. The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Italian schools should remove crucifixes from classroom walls, saying their presence could disturb children who were not Christians.The decision is likely to provoke a controversy in Italy, which is deeply attached to its Roman Catholic roots.REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Dissecting Europe’s crucifix conflict

from by euro topics

On 3 November the European court of human rights ruled that crucifixes in classrooms violate the religious freedom of schoolchildren. Representatives from politics and the church roundly condemn the judgement, while many media welcome the decision. The Iberian, Maltese and Italian press react

MAIN FOCUS: Conflict over the crucifix | 06/11/2009

from euro|topics

The crucifix judgement is still making waves. On Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights ruled that crucifixes in classrooms violate the religious freedom of schoolchildren. Representatives from politics and the Church have roundly condemned the judgement, while many media welcome the Strasbourg court’s decision.

European bloggers describe their Berlin walls

from by Nabeelah Shabbir

Monday is 9 November, the day when the Berlin wall was brought down. To reflect on this iconic modern historical event for the eurogeneration, citizen journalists from five local teams – Sofia, Budapest, Turin, Strasbourg and Istanbul – simultaneously blogged one day out in the walls they see in their cities

Phantom MEPs cause political ‘nightmare’

The increase in the number of lawmakers in the European Parliament, prompted by the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, is causing major headaches across the EU, with massive uncertainty surrounding the timing of the 18 new MEPs taking office.


The trial and the wall , Goran Fejic

When they arrested Radovan K he knew that the times had changed. They did not arrest him because of the charges brought against him by a remote international tribunal. Those charges had been there for years, collecting dust. And those who decided that he should be arrested despised that tribunal as much as he himself did. But, the country that had sheltered him for so many years, the country that had allowed him to walk freely through its capital city, disguised as a picturesque witch-doctor and to ridicule international prosecutors, suddenly decided that it had other, more pressing priorities, such as joining the European Union. These new priorities happened to be incompatible with the hospitality accorded to RK. Being arrested because of changing times is something he probably felt as a major insult, judging by the sad “offended dignitary” mask he displayed to the judges in The Hague. It is a good sign that times are changing in Serbia.

The Karadzic trial and Bosnian realities , Martin Shaw

from open Democracy News Analysis –

The trial of Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Serbian nationalist regime in Bosnia in the early 1990s, resumed in The Hague on 27 October 2009. The accused initially refused to appear in court on the basis that he needed more time to prepare his defence, but announced in a letter to the presiding judge on 2 November that he would indeed be present to face the court at a procedural hearing the following day.

?No one under the age of 52 has had the chance to vote on the EU?

from Nosemonkey’s EUtopia by nosemonkey

So runs the argument of increasingly prominent anti-EU Tory, Daniel Hannan MEP ? still advocating a UK referendum despite the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

This is, of course, very true. Since the 1975 referendum on EEC membership, the British people haven?t had their chance to vote on being part of the EU system.

Britain and EU: Cameron?s exit route

by Grahnlaw

What happens if the probable next Conservative government fails to charm the other EU member states into treaty changes further diminishing the United Kingdom?s patchy contribution to the European project?

What happens if the other EU member states decide to grin and bear it, if Britain turns to political blackmail in order to opt out of additional policy areas?

?Euro lock? hypocrisy is actually an open door for Europe

from Social Europe Journal by Tom Miller

David Cameron has just made a speech in which he signified a massive U-turn on his ?cast iron? referendum scheme for the Lisbon Treaty, by abandoning the referendum itself (a breathtaking demonstration of hypocrisy in action), and instead rashly promising a ?referendum lock? on further treaties (i.e. passing a law which would demand a referendum on any new treaties passed). I?ve noticed that has gone for a Burton.

Europe not in the mood to thank Cameron for his EU speech

from Brussels Blog by Tony Barber

The distance separating Britain?s perceptions of the European Union from those of its Continental partners is so vast that the English Channel might as well be the Pacific Ocean.  This was my first thought when I read not just David Cameron?s speech on what steps a future Conservative government would take to limit EU involvement in British

Tory MEPs quit over Cameron’s EU policy

Two Tory frontbenchers in the European Parliament have announced their resignation from EU positions after Conservative leader David Cameron announced he would drop plans to hold a referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty should he come to power next year.


Six pledges by David Cameron

from Federal Union by Richard Laming

The speech by Conservative leader David Cameron yesterday dropped the previous commitment to a referendum on the Lisbon treaty and replaced it with six pledges that he aims to achieve in the course of the next parliament. (Read the speech here.) Arch-opponents of the EU like Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer have protested about the end of the referendum commitment, but David Cameron has recognised that the only thing a referendum on Lisbon could do would be to drive Britain to the margins of Europe: it wouldn?t actually get the Lisbon treaty changed.

Britain and EU: European reactions to Cameron

by Grahnlaw

After looking at British reports and reactions on David Cameron?s Conservative policy shift on Europe, it is time to view what European observers have to say on the prospects of a Tory government responsible for European Union affairs. Here are some first reactions.

Logistics ‘undervalued’ in EU

The logistics sector’s contribution to economic growth and jobs is not properly valued and the European Commission’s modal approach to transport policy hinders competitiveness, industry representatives argue.


Regions angered by EU budget proposals

from – World, Europe
The European Commission is pressing for a ‘root-and-branch reform’ of the EU’s ?140bn-a-year budget in a proposal that is stirring outrage among Europe’s regions, which risk losing their grip on vast sums of financial aid

EU High Representative: Miliband or D?Alema?

Downing Street 10 may still be flogging the dead horse of Tony Blair?s candidacy for the post of president of the European Council, but the rest of Europe speculates mainly about the prospects of prime ministers Herman Van Rompuy of Belgium and Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, although the liberals point out that both the Commission and the European Parliament already have presidents from the EPP family, and everyone is aware of the imminent lack of gender balance.

The EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

by Julien Frisch

With the Lisbon Treaty entering into force next month, one particular issue that has been part of legal and political discussions for years will become pertinent: The EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The EU in German blogs (10): EU debates health policy – and nobody notices

by Julien Frisch

The well-known German health politics blogger strappato just published an article titled “Die EU debattiert unbemerkt über Gesundheitspolitik” (English: “EU debates health policy – and nobody notices“) in which he criticises a recent public consultation by DG SANCO that remained almost unseen by a wider public.

Will Tarja Halonen become European Council President?

by Julien Frisch

While other sources still search the European Council President on the male side of life, let’s follow Jerzy Buzek’s proposal and look again at the feminine Europe.

The Council Legal Service: The dark force of the EU?

by Julien Frisch

Within the EU, almost nothing of substance is decided without the Council, and within the Council there is a dark force: The Legal Service.

A more research-intensive and integrated European Research Area: Science, Technology and Competitiveness key figures report 2008/2009 (PDF; 9.1 MB)
Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Research
From the Executive Summary:

In 2000, the EU Member States responded to the challenge of globalisation with the Lisbon Strategy for a competitive knowledge-based economy and, as part of this strategy, the 3 % objective for R&D intensity and the initiative to create a European Research Area (ERA). The objectives are clear: invest more in research and increase excellence and efficiency by joining forces in a European Research Area, including opening up to the world and stimulating international cooperation and knowledge spill-over.

Britain, Europe and the Public Knowledge Gap

from Social Europe Journal by James Hannah

With the incredibly long-winded process of passing the Lisbon Treaty now seemingly complete, and with the resultant reluctant climb-down by the Conservative party on its promise to hold a referendum on said treaty, the British relationship with the EU has once again been headline news. The focus on the Eurosceptic debate of handing over British sovereignty to Brussels on the one hand and the pro-European response of decrying the ignorance of such a position because the EU is great and Britain needs to get its house in order on the other, exposes the core problem: there is a massive knowledge gap in what the EU is all about and how that can both benefit and hinder British ambitions. In short, I do not know why, for example, the Lisbon Treaty is a good thing or indeed why it is bad thing, for the United Kingdom.

The other 1989s, Fred Halliday

from open Democracy News Analysis

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of eastern European communism, international commentary has focussed on what these events meant for the spread of democracy and the disintegration of the authoritarian regimes modelled on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Such attention is merited: 1989 marked not just the fall of half a dozen or so communist ruling parties, and the onset of the the Soviet Union’s own end of two years later, but also a massive ideological shift in the world. The end of European communism marked the end of the cold war, but also of the sustained radical challenge to western liberal capitalism that had been a force in world affairs since the French revolution.

EU: Did Britain join a free market or a political project?

from Grahnlaw by Grahnlaw

On the FT Brussels blog, Tony Barber wrote a post on the mutual incomprehension between Britain and much of the rest of the European Union: Europe not in the mood to thank Cameron for his EU speech (5 November 2009). ? The comments are worth reading, too.

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