For the first time the EU wide moves towards a surveillance society and a database state set out in all their appalling glory. A major report has recently been published NeoConOpticon. It has its own webpage . The authors, with Ban Hayes of Statewatch in the lead, have put together the military and the domestic aspects of the European Security Research Programme.
Although the duo at the head of the European Union has not yet started work, in part because the EU Parliament is blocking the new “Foreign Minister”, the European press is already detailing the challenges facing the new leadership.
First the good news: With regard to communication, the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union is generally the most versatile and modern of rotating EU Council presidencies I can remember. Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has handled the main press conferences in a professional manner, and foreign minister Carl Bildt and EU minister Cecilia Malmström have blogged about events beyond the call of duty.
Moving to the Lisbon Treaty entails a number of implementing decisions, and for a long time this blog has called for transparent preparation and open discussion about the political and legal aspects of putting the reform treaty into practice. The legality of the ?caretaker? Commission has been questioned, but I have seen no clarification in this regard.
The presidency conclusions of the European Council 29 to 30 October 2009 (document 15265/09) had this to say about the general implementation of the Lisbon Treaty (point 3, page 2):
By now, many Europeans know that the EU Treaty of Lisbon (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115) enters into force on 1 December 2009. However, the flurry of activities to take the first decisions to get the treaty up and running obscures the fact that many adjustments take effect only after transitional periods and that a number of new procedures have to be put into place before they become living law.
David Wildgoose gave this address to the annual general meeting of the Campaign for an English Parliament, of which he is vice-chairman. Anthony Barnett described David’s speech and the meeting’s debates over English identity and English nationalism in a recent post below.
The major parties seem determined to pretend that we in the Campaign for an English Parliament are in some way “not representative” of what ordinary English people are thinking.
The selection of Herman van Rompuy as President of the EU?s Council of Ministers, and of Lady Catherine Ashton as its foreign policy chief, underlines the extent to which the EU’s member states are in the driver?s seat. As a result, Europe is in danger of becoming politically irrelevant, a successful customs union with a Swissified foreign policy and a group of fractious, vision-free leaders.
In Britain, the decision of the Conservative Party to leave the mainstream group of the European People?s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament in order to set up the anti-integrationist European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group continues to cause debate because of the Tories? choice of political bedfellows.
The role, duties and power of the newly-elected president of the European Council are only vaguely defined in the Lisbon Treaty and will thus be clarified by the first incumbent, notes Dominik Hierlemann, a researcher at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in a November paper.
Plans for a new ten-year strategy to replace the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, due to be unveiled by the European Commission today (24 November), risk being agreed behind closed doors between member states without proper consultation of civil society, social NGOs have warned.
If asked about the key word of European integration and the European Union, my answer is ?solidarity?.
I don?t employ it as a term of social policy, or limit it to aid between richer and poorer member states or regions, or call for help in the face of terrorist attacks or natural or man-made disasters, or ask for mutual assistance in case of armed aggression, although they are all part of it.
Peter Mandelson’s plans to finally stop the scourge of file-sharing are wrong-headed, dangerous and dangerously far reaching, but they also expose a fundamental disconnect with how the internet is changing business. Guy Aitchison and Thomas Ash have both posted here about this, and linked to Cory Doctorow?s excellent piece on Mandelsons new plans; I suggest you go and read that if you need a good overview of what this is about, but to quickly review; Mandelson has decided to take it upon himself to protect the record industry (and possibly some others, in a roundabout fashion), by declaring himself the protector of all things Copyright. He?s tabled amendments to the Digital Economy bill due for discussion which would allow 3 things to happen;
We live in the age of media celebrity. So no surprise at the critical and sometimes bitter press reaction to the nomination of Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton, virtually unknown beyond their own parishes, as Council President and High Representative respectively. As someone said, it was like a TV talent show where the choice of the people (and the press) was ignored by the judges. If only we?d been able to phone in!
LabforCulture?s research on Cultural blogging in Europe reaches its penultimate interview with Alessandro Ludovico of Neural magazine. Having launched the research series in April this year with Annette Wolfsberger, a producer, project manager and researcher in the fields of media arts, contemporary & popular culture, we now have interviews with bloggers and online writers from much of Europe.
“Dying to Live in Europe
What Happens to Immigrants Who Don’t Make It?
Not one single government in Europe registers how many immigrants die attempting to get across its borders. Nor do they try to find out who they were. But they have stories, if you know where to look.
After the final nominations for the European Commission are in (see EurActiv), it is clear that the new Commission will be exactly 1/3 female.
Neelie Kroes, Europe’s respected “Corporate Watchdog” reappointed by the Netherlands as their EU commissioner
A weak Commission and egoistic member states, or something better? What has the future in store for the European Union?