Cold weather, post Copenhagen blues etc and more from the European agenda…
Open Europe has today published a list of the top 100 most costly EU regulations, detailing the annual cost of the laws, the cumulative cost of them by 2020, and the article base in the Lisbon Treaty for each regulation . We estimate that these laws will in total cost the UK economy a staggering £184 billion by 2020. To put that figure in context: for the same amount, the UK Government could abolish the country’s entire budget deficit and still leave the Exchequer with some £6 bn. All cost estimates are based on the UK Government’s own impact assessments so the figures are instructive.
In the lead up to Copenhagen it was repeatedly said that this was ?the last chance to save the climate?. This idea was constructed on an assumption about ?business as usual?. If emissions continue to grow on current trends then, with little time left to put on the brakes and decarbonise the global economy at a sufficient rate, the task appears to be totally unfeasible.
The press is dismayed that the world’s leaders have taken note of – but not endorsed – the Copenhagen Accord on limiting greenhouse gases. Europe’s journalists put their hopes in the follow-up meeting in Bonn and reflect on transferring decision-making powers to an independent climate commission.
They say that the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different result each time. 193 national governments were represented at the Copenhagen climate talks hoping to find unanimous agreement on how to fight climate change. They failed. Never mind, there is another summit in Mexico next year.
For the European Union it was a depressing end to the year! Gone were all hopes of providing global leadership at the Copenhagen conference on climate change. The EU found itself helpless on the sidelines as the US president, constrained by a sceptical Congress, confronted a Chinese prime minister apparently determined to reject any binding commitments which might set limits to China?s CO2 emissions over the next 40 years.
So, was Copenhagen a failure or not? It would appear the answer depends on which side of the Atlantic you?re on when you ask the question.
The member states of the European Union have had three years to turn the EU?s Services Directive 2006/123 into national law. But with the transposition period drawing to a close in a few days, on 27 December 2009, a majority of the countries have still not reported on the needed execution measures, if we look at what the EU web pages tell us.
Copenhagen Conference: disaster for environment and a further sign of China’s rising power against Europe’s weakness.
The director of programming of the French-German TV channel ARTE, Christoph Hauser, informs that from 2010 they will introduce two new programmes that are directed at the net and at bloggers.
I have recently praised ARTE and in particular the ARTE blog L’Europe en Blogs, and so it looks really interesting that they now announce to take a closer look at the net in these new formats next year (own translation):
I have to admit that I had serious doubts that Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights – the reform of the European Court of Human Right – would ever enter into force, but now it seems as a solution is near.
The reform of the overloaded European Court of Human Rights has been halted by the refusal of the Russian Duma to ratify Protocol 14, and there has been a deadlock for over three years when Norway ratified the document as country 46 out of 47 (at the time 45 out of 46 at the time) in October 2006.
?Spain?s weaknesses over the developing crisis reflect mainly the reversal of the continuous domestic demand expansion of over a decade, which was associated with high indebtedness of the private sector, large external deficits and debt, an oversized housing sector compared with the euro area average and fast rising asset prices, notably of real estate assets.?
European Commission assessment of Spain?s Response to the Excess Deficit Procedure, Brussels 11 November 2009.
Caveat emptor, Spanish based blogger Mathew Bennett and I have started doing podcasts, and you can find the first one here. At this point in time we are concentrating on Spain. Among the points we cover are:
– How does what?s happened in Dubai affect the economic situation in Greece, Spain and the EU?
– Are left- or right-wing political parties causing or solving more problems during the recess?ion?
The Greek government is having a hard time of it at the moment. Only today the Finance Ministry issued a statement that it was ready to ?intensify its efforts to restore the viability of fiscal and economic trends in Greece? in response to the Moody?s decision to downgrade the country?s credit rating, while just one week ago the Finance Minister was accusing Standard & Poor?s of failing to ?assess correctly? new moves by Athens to tackle its swollen budget deficit –
Phillipe Pochet (European Trade Union Institute), Mercedes Bresso (Socialist Group in the Committee of the Regions), David Held (London School of Economics and Political Science), Gero Maass et. al. (Friedrich Ebert Foundation), Karin Roth (German MP), Sebastian Dullien et. al. (Friedrich Ebert Foundation), and Stephen Barber (The Global Policy Institute).
Serbia has announced it will apply for EU membership today, Tuesday. The European press welcomes the step by President Boris Tadi? and the positive development of the Balkan state, but points out that not all accession criteria have been met yet.
Knowing the past and the present is key to the future, so we start by taking a look at how the European Commission presents its information society and media policies during the first Barroso Commission.
Launched in 2005, the aims of the EU?s i2010 strategy for information and communications technologies (ICT) were:
Just to be provocative, like (I obviously don?t entirely believe this headline ? I?m a big fan of the subsidiarity principle, after all, and am an advocate of greater localism in politics ? but still)? This taken from a reply to a comment on my last post.
First point, worth repeating constantly:
by Hugo Brady
The EU needs new thinking. After eight years of stop-start negotiations, the Union finally has a new rulebook, the Lisbon treaty, which entered into force earlier this month. The member-states are waiting for a new European Commission and a new European Council president to take office early next year. But, despite Europeans? shared anxieties about the economic growth, government debt, the stability of the euro, immigration and the environment, there is not yet a clear sense of what the EU?s priorities for the next five years should or will be.
For the time after the i2010 information society strategy, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the strategy for the coming five years. The consultation on the 2010-2015 strategy ran from 4 August to 9 October 2009, and the Commission received 834 responses.
In an interview, Åsa Torstensson, the Swedish minister for communications, pointed out the potential for democratic participation through the Internet: IT is a democratic tool (17 December 2009).
The Latvian government is getting nervous about the level of lending coming from Swedish banks. According to the Financial Times, ?Latvia?s prime minister has warned Swedish banks they risk choking off recovery in the Baltic state?s crisis-hit economy unless they resume lending?. The Latvian authorities are complaining, it seems, that banks such as Swedbank and SEB, which dominate the Latvian market, have reined in credit as they struggle to contain rising bad loans amid the deepest recession in the European Union.