And a roundup.
The true effect of Lisbon, the practice not the theory, is beginning to come to light and, as some of us warned, it is far from pretty.
The House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee, the body charged with sifting through EU legislation and holding the Government to account, has published its annual report today and has some quite interesting things to say about the Lisbon Treaty’s impact on Parliamentary scrutiny of EU proposals – a largely unexciting process but, if it can be effective, one that is key to maintaining a link between our national representatives and the Brussels legislative machine.
Anybody thinking that the Lisbon Treaty would not change the EU institutions has apparently been mistaken.
In an incredible story, Jean Quatremer reports about the humiliation of the EU Council by the European Parliament following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.
?If we look at public-sector debt and interest payments, Greece isn?t doing particularly worse than Italy,? Peter Westaway,Chief Economist Europe at Nomura International
To everyone?s relief, Italy?s economy returned to growth in the third quarter of 2009, following five consecutive quarters of contraction.
Substance and communication are both necessary ingredients in the European information society, and the European Union has an important role to play with regard to both aspects.
Besides doing a good job on the political side, the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union was the best to date in terms of communication.
Two interesting developments this week have prompted some ponderings?
1) The European Court of Human Rights has ruled the UK police?s stop and search tactics illegal
This creates a serious dilemma for anti-EU libertarians, as shown by the response of anti-EU blogger 13th Spitfire in the (fascinating) comments thread on law blog Charon QC?s coverage of the ruling (via the rather good Jack of Kent). As 13th Spitfire puts it:
The editors demand both, a better use of new technologies on the European institution websites and and a more open attitude of the institutions towards new social media, including the encouragement of EU staff to be actively involved within these new media.
The European Parliament is holding confirmation hearings for the new EU commissioners this week, and by far the most dramatic one yet has been that for Bulgaria?s nominee Rumiana Jeleva, who is being accused of having ties to the Russian mafia. Yesterday?s chaotic hearing reflected the EU?s continuing problem of how to deal with Bulgaria?s corruption, which is so widespread in their political class one isn?t sure who to believe in the dispute over Jeleva?s past.
The clashes between African harvest workers and locals in the southern Italian city of Rosarno have unleashed a debate on the treatment of immigrants in the country. Italy has done far too little to integrate foreign migrants, commentators argue.
I shall openly admit that I have always found the exact role of the rating agencies a bit odd in the global financial system. I mean, do we really need them to tell us which bonds are good and which are not? I am not sure and what is more; rating agencies sometimes, if not all the time depending on their ability to stay in front of the curve, seem to wield a tremendously amount of power relative to their role as private actors (after all) in financial markets.
Since yesterday I have been able to access the work programme of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union in English and in Spanish:
European Alternatives is circulating a petition calling upon the European Parliament to try to attach conditions to its approval of the members of the next European Commission. (You can read the petition here.) The EP is currently scrutinising the appointments that have been made, giving the lie to the notion that the Commission is run by faceless placemen.
Back in 2003 the police used stronger stop and search powers from the government?s anti-terrorism laws to harass, disrupt and humiliate people protesting against an arms fair in east London. Their tactics were clearly an abuse of these powers and were designed to break up a legitimate peaceful protest.
More than ever before in recent decades, fear is becoming the dominant force in European politics. And it is not an abstract, undefined fear: it is above all the fear of the non-European ?other,? perceived by a growing numbers of ?white? Europeans as a threat to their identities and ways of life, if not their physical security and jobs.
In what Adjudicating Europe prescribed as an important ruling on Sunday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today decided in the case of Kücükdeveci that EU legislation on anti-discrimination on the grounds of age precludes any contradictory national legislation.