The European Commission has presented its annual assessment of the European Union?s enlargement agenda. It comprises a 2010-2011 Strategy paper, the Opinions on the membership applications by Montenegro and Albania and seven Progress Reports on
Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi lost a vote in parliament on Tuesday when the parliamentary group of his former alliance partner Gianfranco Fini sided for the first time with the opposition. But Il Cavalieri will hold onto power because of the lack of a strategy among the opposition and his popularity with voters, writes Europe’s press.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that France is planning hold a meeting in Brussels to develop a common European policy on whether to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for imprisoned Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo:
The free movement of persons is a fine principle, but in his 2008 report Alain Lamassoure MEP described the problems mobile EU citizens faced in real life with regard to cross-border healthcare, social security, the recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications, car registration and exports, fragmented consumer markets and consumer protection standards, and family and inheritance law, to name just a few.
What happened to Alain Lamassoure?s report The citizen and the application of community law during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union during the latter half of 2008? Perhaps it was not entirely fair to start looking for concrete progress in the midterm review written by Christian Lequesne and Olivier Rozenberg (and published by Sieps), as I did in the blog post: Towards a citizens? EU? Lamassoure report and French presidency (7 November 2010).
Fear has become the defining trait of contemporary Europe. A savage financial crisis, a single currency in disarray, Greece?s economic turmoil and doubts about further EU integration are good reasons to worry about the future. Yet these are epiphenomena of more fundamental troubles, for Europe?s systemic fears involve nothing less than the extent of her territorial and cultural boundaries. To put it bluntly, an aged Europe feels under threat from a world she once dominated, but which she never properly understood. It is this post-colonial world that is coming back to haunt her. And it is wearing a burqa.
Does Europeanization, the single market in particular, lead to convergence in national tax policies?
Two-thirds of Europeans think that the EU has benefited a lot from international trade. As for their individual experience, more people think that they are personally benefiting from trade today than disagree. Half of Europeans are aware of the origin of the products and services they purchase. This awareness is higher for some items (62% for food) than for others (44% for high-tech services such as a mobile phone provider). A relative majority of Europeans thought that the EU was the biggest world player in international trade. Nearly two thirds of respondents thought that European products and services can compete well with those from outside the EU. More than six in ten Europeans on average believe that the priority for future EU trade policy should be to create employment.
[I]n democracy assistance the EU starts with a relatively big plan and ends up with a particularly small outcome
I was surprised to find this kind of statement in a scientific journal; it sounds so nicely down to earth that I was really interested in finding out how Federica Bicchi had come to this conclusion
It seems my earlier blog posts (1, 2, 3) about Citzalia, the virtual European Parliament game costing ?275000, managed to put some thoughts into UKIP?s head, and specifically led to some questions to the EP?s administration asked by Godfrey Bloom MEP as reported by Gawain at England Expects.
from Nosemonkey’s EUtopia
As many of you know, I spend far too much of my (increasingly limited) spare time arguing with eurosceptics on the internet. Some are professional eurosceptics (recent discussions have included ones with Declan Ganley, founder of anti-Lisbon Treaty party Libertas, Nigel Farage of UKIP, and someone from American neocon thinktank the Heritage Foundation), others merely passing concerned citizens. Most of the time, I can point them to a post on this blog where I?ve already covered their concerns in detail. Sometimes I haven?t covered it yet. In a recent discussion with @ArnieEtc, I asked for suggestions of pro-EU myths. He responded with a classic eurosceptic complaint about a perennial pro-EU claim ? one that I frequently make myself, but one which I?ve never explored or justified in any detail:
On his two-day trip to Spain Pope Benedict XVI has complained of “aggressive secularism” in the country and drawn parallels to the situation in the 1930s. While some commentators see the Pope’s comments as vilifying democracy, others find his critique justified.
Some friends at Google have pointed me towards Connected Kingdom, a website about the state of the UK?s internet firms that showcases a report by BCG that highlights the importance of the UK?s internet economy. There are also some fledgling discussions about how things could improve in future, but it?s the report itself that?s the most useful.
This survey on life sciences and biotechnology shows that Europeans are optimistic about biotechnology. 53% of respondents believe biotechnology will have a positive effect in the future, and only 20% a negative effect. The survey also reveals important knowledge gaps, pointing to a need for more communication: a majority of respondents had never heard of some of the areas covered by the survey, such as nanotechnology (55% unaware), biobanks (67% unaware) and synthetic biology (83% unaware). The Eurobarometer, carried out in February 2010, is the seventh in a series since 1991.
On October 18 and 19, the Coalition government published two documents: A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The New National Security Strategy and Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategy Defence and Security Review, hereafter referred to as Document 1 and Document 2. In the foreword to both documents, the terrible twins, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, claim that these are ?historic? documents – Britain?s first comprehensive national security review. In Document 1, they claim that the new strategy offers a ?radical transformation? in the way we do security and, in both documents, they insist that they have inherited a legacy of defence equipment based on a ?Cold War mindset?. So how far do the documents fulfil their claims to go beyond that mindset?
Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou’s socialist governing party Pasok has emerged as the strongest party in local elections in Greece despite heavy losses. But the results are hardly a confirmation of support for the government’s austerity programme, writes Europe’s press with an eye to the low voter turnout.
Fittingly, before we visited the Council of Europe, we went to Natzweiler Struthof, a former concentration camp where people were forced to work in freezing temperatures. It is always hard to describe a concentration camp, as no matter how often you see images of World War II on TV and in film, the experience of visiting a camp is always deeply disturbing. It was perhaps all the more so, because the camp is situated in a forested, mountainous area, so the journey there included passing scenic towns and villages. The weather was also icy cold, despite the lack of wind, and it was quickly brought home what kind of conditions the prisoners would have to face.