Euro roundup: Open Europe’s 2011 brief, EU and Switzerland, Hungarian media law…

The EU in 2011

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team

For those of you who can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store for European politics, Open Europe has published a briefing looking at the issues facing the EU – and most importantly the eurozone – next year. Read it here.

Nationalism: the European bogey-man?

from Ideas on Europe by European Geostrategy

By James Rogers

In a speech delivered in Berlin on Tuesday, 9th November 2010, the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompy, made a passionate argument for more European integration in the face of deep and pervasive geopolitical changes that threaten to marginalise or greatly reduce the power and influence of Europeans. For even the largest and strongest European powers ? the United Kingdom, France and Germany ? will count for little in two or three decades when faced by continental giants like China and India, which will be far more wealthy and confident than they are now. Arguing that Euro-scepticism is a curse and that the individual Member States can achieve far more together than they can alone, he rightfully stated:

Hungary, under fire, faces rough ride at EU helm

by Krisztina Than / Marcin Grajewski
BUDAPEST/BRUSSELS — Under fire from its EU partners for a series of unorthodox policy initiatives, Hungary faces a rough ride when it takes over the rotating presidency of the bloc this week in the midst of a deep European debt crisis.

Liechtenstein heading for Schengen area

by Grahnlaw

We still do not know if the parliamentary question about EU trade agreements with Liechtenstein is nonsense, but we hope that reasons will be forthcoming if it makes sense: What does the Earl of Dartmouth know about the EU? (26 December 2010).

Blog Action against Hungarian Media Law

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric has called for a Blog Action against the new media law that will come into force in Hungary on January 1st. Hungary will assume the rotating presidency of the Council for the next 6 months, and has set up a presidency blog, so it is a great time for the Euroblogosphere (and national blogospheres) to highlight the dangers to press freedom, and to push for the law’s repeal.

EU’s new foreign policy structure: will or can it make any difference?

from Hurriyet Dailynews by HDN
It remains to be seen whether various changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty will allow for the EU to lead a more effective common foreign policy.

ECHR and Abortion in Ireland

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric

The ECHR has delivered its Grand Chamber judgment on the A, B, and C v Ireland case earlier this month, on whether the rights of three women under the Convention had been violated due to their inability to access abortion in Ireland. The current Irish abortion laws are very strict – some of the strictest in Europe – prohibiting abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. This is a high threshold, as risks to the health of the mother are not enough. The issue is very sensitive in Ireland, as the right of the unborn to life is enshrined in the Irish Constitution (brought in via an amendment in 1983), and would require a referendum to change – something which there is little will for among the political parties. Ireland has held several referendums on the issue of abortion, and the parties have pretty much decided that there’s no votes in opening up such a sensitive issue.

Liechtenstein under EU pressure on taxation

by Grahnlaw

Yesterday I wished for public EU information to be more readily available and specific about the remaining issues regarding the common travel area: Liechtenstein heading for Schengen area (27 December 2010).

Dealing with Europe?s last dictator

Alexander Lukashenko was recently re-elected as Belarus?s president for the fourth time. Lukashenko is Europe?s longest running president, and if he gets his way he will remain in the job until he dies.

European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated

from Hurriyet Dailynews
After parcel bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome and a third bomb was defused at the Greek embassy, eyes turn to European anarchists as they become more violent and coordinated. Security experts say European anarchists may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent’s financial crisis

Estonia to Become 17th Member of the Euro Area on January 1, 2011

from EU Pundit by Andis Kaulins

Fine Gael lacking courage and conviction in the Irish Abortion Debate

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric

In my last post I wrote about the latest ECHR judgment concerning abortion – A, B and C v Ireland. On Tuesday the leader of the largest opposition party, Enda Kenny of Fine Gael, said that the issue was for an all-party committee to investigate, and would not commit to a referendum on the matter:

The Human Organs of the Council of Europe: there is no evidence in the Marty report, Denis MacShane

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Denis MacShane

In the midst of the Wikileaks, another story exploded onto front pages around the world which claimed that the present prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, had been a master-mind criminal involved in the killing of people to extract their kidneys for sale..

Organ trafficking allegations against Kosovo PM need serious investigation with full cooperation of the EU and the USA, Christophe Solioz

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Christophe Solioz

The Balkans? chiaroscuro effect is impressive. On the one hand, there are clear signals that dialogue and reconciliation have become a strategic priority. First came the declaration of the Serbian parliament adopted on 30 March 2010 condemning the ?war crime? that took place in Srebrenica; second, the visit of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadi?, to Srebenica (Bosnia) on 11 July 2010 and to Vukovar (Croatia) on 4 November 2010; and third, the visit to Banja Luka of the Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Iztebegovi?. Despite some open bilateral issues, this positive trend has opened a new perspective for a region that has globally changed for the better. Nobody forgets, but forgiveness is possible.

EU relations with Switzerland: End of the road for bilateral model

by Grahnlaw

The blog post ‘Liechtenstein under EU pressure on taxation’ (28 December 2010) only scratched the surface, but let us go into more depth regarding taxation issues when readers and I feel like it.

EU and Switzerland disagree on relationship

by Grahnlaw

As we saw in the previous blog entries ‘EU relations with Switzerland: End of the road for bilateral model’ (30 December 2010) and ‘EU conclusions regarding Switzerland’ (31 December 2010), the General Affairs Council (GAC) gave the impression that the European Union is fed up with the administration of 179 bilateral agreements with EFTA country Switzerland:

European Union: The Swiss entrenched (FDP. The Liberals)

by Grahnlaw

Yesterday’s blog post tried to be clear enough about official Swiss insistence on the bilateral nature of the relationship with the European Union: EU and Switzerland disagree on relationship (1 January 2011).

If anyone needs convincing, Simon Gemperli described in NZZ Online how FDP. Die Liberalen (FDP. The Liberals) sent Switzerland’s applications to join the European Union and the European Economic Area to the scrapheep of history: FDP schwört dem EU-Beitritt ab (18 October 2010)

MAIN FOCUS: A look back at the crisis year 2010 | 30/12/2010

from euro|topics

Economic crisis, debt crisis, euro crisis – the year now drawing to a close has been full of woes. Europe’s press looks back in dismay at 2010 and sees few achievements.

Hungary: Ice-T and the New Hungarian Media Law

from Global Voices Online by Marietta Le

By Marietta Le

In a very sensitive environment because of the new Hungarian media law, which came into force on January 1, 2011, the Hungarian National Media and Infocommunications Authority started investigating Tilos (HUN), a non-profit radio station.

EU conclusions regarding Switzerland

by Grahnlaw

Through legislation and jurisprudence the body of European Union law is in constant movement, but with Switzerland each relevant change has to be negotiated separately and every one of the 179 bilateral treaties administered. This is more cumbersome than the European Union is willing to accept for the future: EU relations with Switzerland: End of the road for bilateral model (30 December 2010).

The EU in the UK media: Event videos

from Nosemonkey’s EUtopia by nosemonkey

Sorry ? no time to write up yet, so beneath the fold are the videos of the event I spoke at earlier this month, looking at how the EU is portrayed in the British media and blogs.

EPP President defends Hungarian Media Law

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric

The centre-right European People’s Party (the biggest in the European Parliament), or specifically its President, Wilfried Martins, has defended the new Hungarian Media Law, which blogs, including this one, are against due to the chilling effect it will have on press freedom. In the absence of any other EPP comment on the subject, it seems like it’s the current EPP position.

Europe in 2010

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric

The 14th December symbolised Europe in 2010 for me. Berlusconi, despite all the scandals, won two confidence votes (in the lower house by just 3 votes!), and outside the protestors took to rioting. A few days later there would be a European Council summit where it was decided to dig in: there will be a Treaty amendment to make the Eurozone’s bail-out facility permanent, but no increase in the facility’s funds, nor any moves towards closer fiscal union through Eurobonds. Outside rages anger and uncertainty about the future, but inside there is little vision, and fear for the alternatives.

The new boys in Europe

from Eurozine articles by Irena Maryniak
Respected but bankrupt European newspaper titles such as “Le Monde”, “El Pais” and the “Independent” have recently been sold to business tycoons unconnected with the media. Their motives are debatable, but the ones to watch are the Russians says Irena Maryniak.

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