Cows will no longer give milk in Switzerland if minarets are allowed to stand.
The rightwing political parties in Switzerland are up in arms, preparing for a vote on Sunday to save their alpine paradise from the dreaded cultural eyesore of mosque minarets. This proposed ban on minarets comes from the same friendly yodelers in the nationalist Swiss People?s Party that has previously campaigned against
UKIP, love them or hate them, have been fairly consistent in one thing over the years ? arguing against the EU because it is run by unelected bureaucrats. Just one of their arguments, perhaps ? but the democratic deficit claim (though certainly disputable) has long been one of their most popular and successful.
For the complete report from France 24 click on this link The world’s big powers have been stating their objectives and making diplomatic efforts ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. Representatives of 191 countries have been invited to meet in Copenhagen from Dec. 7 to attempt to reach a global consensus on tackling climate change. So far 67 heads of state have confirmed their attendance at the UN conference. In the run-up to the event, the main players have revealed their stated objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Yesterday, in the blog post SWIFTly signed ? Long term damage? (Updated), I criticised the Swedish EU Council presidency for acting against its proclaimed principles of openness, transparency and accessibility with regard to the proposed bank data transfer deal with the United States of America.
Is the proposed SWIFT financial data transfer agreement between the European Union and the United States of America an example of how civil society and Euroblogs take up important societal issues, where our governments are less than forthcoming?
Have civil society and blogging communities put the EU-US SWIFT agreement on the pages of the mainstream media, or is it the other way around?
One should not forget that the Lisbon Treaty that will enter into force on Tuesday is the little brother of the Constitutional Treaty rejected for various – mostly internal – reasons in France and the Netherlands.
This Constitutional Treaty was meant to bring the Union closer to the citizens. There is room for debate on whether the result reflected this idea, but it is clear that this goal – making an existing political system, the EU, more responsive, more responsible, and more respectful to us, citizens of the European Union – has been there for good reason.
The College of Commerce Cork is introducing a new night course on the EU. I recieved the following via email
Introduction to the European Union
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the range of issues concerning the functioning of the European Union and to raise the awareness about Ireland and its role within the EU. It aims to help learners develop an awareness of their opportunities, rights and responsibilities as European citizens and to enable them to actively engage with the European dimension in their lives.
The course is divided into the following units:
A comment I left over at The Devil?s Kitchen a couple of months back that I recently stumbled upon bears resuscitating as a quick post in its own right, as debates about the EU resurface ahead of the re-run Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum:
It?s impossible to do a cost/benefit analysis of *all* EU laws ? that doesn?t mean you can?t do a cost/benefit analysis of individual new laws before passing them.
Julien Frisch blogged a very thoughtful post on writing for (y)EU where Steve, a web editor from the EP, sounding distressingly like me (white, British, 40s and sceptical about the Generation Y definition of ?friend? despite having many) seems to be coming down from a post-holiday Web2.0 overdose.
The key paragraph, highlighted by Julien, is where
The final countdown is on to the summit tomorrow that will decide who will be Europe’s first permanent President and Foreign Minster, and the media is awash with speculation on the various candidates.
Looking at all the hoo-ha it is entirely possible that the decision making could drag on until Friday, or even the weekend if the Swedish EU Presidency fails to hammer out a consensus. The Times quotes Cecilia Malmström, Sweden’s Europe Minister, saying, “I would not say it is a complete mess, but there is no agreement still.”
Suddenly the illusive Belgian Prime Minister?s various books have taken on a new appeal and we?ve been down the library in an effort to learn more about our unelected new President, Herman Van Rompuy and what kind of thinking he will bring to Europe. (These days in EU politics, you have to do your own research about who is appointed to the important positions ? and after the event, given there?s obviously no attempt to inform or convince you before they are wheeled out.)
Brussels is awash with rumour about who will get what in the newly appointed European Commission, due to be unveiled by President Barroso next week.
Having ruled itself out of any of the important economic portfolios with the appointment of Cathy Ashton as EU Foreign Minister and Vice President of the Commission with responsibility for External Relations, the UK is now out of the equation. According to the Times yesterday, however, British diplomats have been lobbying behind the scenes to make sure that France’s Michel Barnier doesn’t bag the influential Internal Market job, including responsibility for financial services.
The Commission has just published the new list of EU Commissioners and their responsibilities for the next five years.
It looks like the paper obtained by Jean Quatremer which we reported on yesterday got it quite wrong.
Here’s our initial reaction: