At next week’s EU summit in Brussels, you can expect the usual photos of backslapping European leaders sharing broad laughs and whispered asides. But behind closed doors, things are likely to be a lot frostier: by all indications, personal relations among EU power players are at a nadir. Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, has just deployed the spikiest insult in the EU lexicon against German chancellor Angela Merkel: The German government, Juncker told the German newspaper Die Zeit, was handling its European business in an “un-European manner.” Juncker added, “Germany’s thinking is a bit simple.” In über-diplomatic, consensus-obsessed Europe, where disapproval is usually expressed by arched eyebrows and significant silences, it’s rare for someone to draw a line in the continental sandbox quite so clearly.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
Ahead of the EPSCO Council meeting (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs) 6 December 2010, the Belgian presidency has prepared an information note on legal immigration (labour migration).
The note presents the state of play with regard to three proposed directives:
Along with the many in Britain who disagree with the cuts to education funding and increase in tuition-fees that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is forcing through, I decided to join the thousands of students who marched through London on 9 December 2010. Instead of shouting at the radio when a government minister patronises the intelligence of the citizenry by suggesting if only we read the small print would we understand why such measures are needed, I wanted to put my body alongside others to demonstrate my disapproval.
?The relationship to violence is also much better, as shown by the spontaneous revulsion of the demonstrators against throwing the fire extinguisher at Millbank. There is an understanding of the need for no willed violence against people. Doubtless provocateurs will try and spoil this. But this student movement, if that is what it is becoming, will not go on to create bands of terrorists like the Angry Brigade. Because it has already been preceded by terrorism, and everyone can see how reactionary [that] is? – Anthony Barnett, “Student Power, 1968…2010“, openDemocracy, 27 November 2010
In reaction to an unannounced air traffic controllers’ strike Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero declared a state of emergency on Saturday and put the country’s airspace under military control. Zapatero’s determined action here is explained by fears of economic repercussions and his tarnished image, commentators write.
The European Central Bank has dropped the prime interest rate to an all-time low and will continue to purchase the government bonds of indebted states, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet announced on Thursday. But the onus is above all on national governments to solve the euro crisis, writes the press.
In Italy, an interesting debate regarding the political, social and cultural decay of our country started quite some time ago: a debate that, while it is fascinating, can worry its audience too. It is fascinating because it enables us to face important questions, including thinking about the deepest meaning of the word ?democracy?. This line of thought can lead in creative and innovative directions. At one and the same moment it restores the word to its original meaning and in the process, begins to rediscover the thread that keeps the different sections of the social, cultural and political life of this country hanging together.
After numerous attempts during his political career on the part of Mr. Berlusconi to use injunctions to gag any conceivable criticism raised against his political and personal behaviour, or that of the government and its modus operandi, including the attempt to press charges against a national newspaper (La Repubblica) and the creation of a bill aimed at preventing the publication of police wiretapping by the press – it seems that it has been necessary for the media tycoon and his acolytes to change their tactics of late, in order to maintain their grip over Italy, and to shut down even the feeblest cry of protest.
The Lisbon Treaty entered into force a year ago, and the area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) now resembles ‘normal’ policies and internal actions of the European Union more than before. Justice and Home Affairs affect citizens and businesses more directly than most EU policies, and there is a whole lot going on.
Justice and Home Affairs affect citizens and businesses more directly than most EU policies, and there is a whole lot going on.
The Lisbon Treaty entered into force a year ago, and the area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) now resembles ‘normal’ policies and internal actions of the European Union more than before.
Viviane Reding is the member of the European Commission responsible for citizenship, as well as justice and fundamental rights. Although I was far from impressed by the Commission report about the EP elections, Reding has done a lot to keep the issues of EU citizenship alive.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that the ten new factsheets for citizens of the European Union are posted on the web pages of vice-president Viviane Reding, not DG Justice? Mercifully there was no reference to the political guidelines of Commission president José Manuel Barroso on this page.
Just 3 years ago, newly elected President Sarkozy named a broad-based government which included an unprecedented number of women, minorities and members of the opposition. This openness was one of the defining features of ?Sarkozyism? which drove the President to power in 2007. When this election rhetoric was transformed into ministerial appointments, the new government was hailed by some at the time as the beginning of a new period of openness and cooperation in French politics, and heavily criticized by certain members of the majority UMP party, like Patrick Devedijan, a key member of the UMP inner circle, who mockingly urged Nicolas Sarkozy to ?open up the government? all the way to Sarkozyists!?.
According to Article 26(2) TFEU, the internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.
A couple of weeks ago, Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker politely suggested that “in Germany, the federal and local authorities are slowly losing sight of the European common good.” But after Berlin mercilessly slammed his beloved idea for a common eurozone bond, Juncker has decided to step up his rethoric another notch.
In the coming multipolar world the European Union will require cogent and dogged leadership in the domain of defence. The economic crisis offers a real opportunity to drive forward Europe?s defence capabilities, but current EU-level leadership of the Common Security and Defence Policy is failing. This short essay highlights some of the present problems with the leadership of EU?s defence policies and strategic thinking, outlines briefly what world the EU will have to inhabit, and argues for a ?High Representative for European Defence?.
Give me an army of lions led by a??
by Simon Tilford
Time is running out to prevent the eurozone crisis from imperilling Europe’s banking system and with it the integrity of the currency union. It is beholden on policy-makers to minimise the economic (and hence political costs) to the EU. Three things need to happen: the debts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal need to be restructured as soon as possible; the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) need to do everything to make sure that the adjustments facing the other struggling euro economies are realistic; and there needs to be policy co-ordination between the member-states aimed at ensuring balanced economic growth across the currency union. This requires leadership and an honest and better informed debate about the causes of the crisis. Both are in short supply.
An agreement has just been reached in Cancún, which has produced another political agreement, but with no legally binding force over emissions. It’s not an event I have been following closely over the last few days – I’ve been caught up in JHA and the excellent Bloggingportal.eu conferences/events – but I’ve noticed that one of my local MEP’s Twitter account lit up.
By Scott James
The Economist?s front cover this week set me thinking about the prospects for the euro?s survival. There has been much coverage in the press over recent weeks about the impending collapse (or at least the shrinkage) of the eurozone as a consequence of the sovereign debt crises afflicting several member states, the weakness of existing supranational modes of governance (notably the Growth and Stability Pact), and the inability (or unwillingness) of leading European politicians to get a grip of the situation. On the one hand we are told that the likelihood of Greece, Ireland, Portugal or even Spain leaving the eurozone has risen as those countries grapple with the austerity measures being imposed (implicitly or explicitly) by an alliance of the Commission, IMF, Germany and international investors. Such an outcome would allow those countries to increase their competitiveness through devaluation by restoring their own national currencies. On the other hand, Germany may consider leaving of its own accord under the economic strain of having to bail-out a seemingly endless list of peripheral economies and/or the political obstacle to doing so posed by the German electorate and Constitutional Court.
Subsidiarity. If you’re still reading, congratulations; your courage in the face of EU jargon is impressive.
Subsidiarity is the principle that decisions should be taken at the closest possible level to the public, where that decision can be meaningfully taken. It’s a principle that everyone will find attractive and agree with – how could you possibly be against? I support the idea, but when Nosemonkey asserted that giving subsidiarity true meaning and force would improve the EU and its legitimacy during the first Bloggingportal event panel, my first thought was a bit sceptical: