In today?s paper, we have a story about the history of bad blood between Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, an account based on dozens of US diplomatic cables that we got our hands on thanks to WikiLeaks.
Reviewing our MEP digital trends survey: fewer bloggers, more Facebook and Twitter users. Why (and so what?)
from Public Affairs 2.0 by fhbrussels
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
The first day of counting is over (Ireland uses the PR-STV system in its general elections), and at the time of writing the results for the 166 Dáil seats stand at: Fine Gael 68; Labour 35; Fianna Fáil 17; Sinn Féin 13; ULA 4; Others 13, so 147/166 seats have been filled. The election will have a big Irish political impact and an uncertain European impact, and it’s unclear how this will work out.
The conservative party Fine Gael won the Irish parliamentary elections on Friday and is poised to form a coalition with the Labour Party. Fianna Fáil, the outgoing ruling party, lost more than two-thirds of its mandate. Commentators are pleased that the future prime minister Enda Kenny wants to renegotiate the EU bailout package and see the country facing profound change.
Yesterday I published two blog posts in Swedish regarding the upcoming meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) the same day, 21 February 2011. The first entry looked at how the advance material published centrally by the Council managed to enlighten and engage the public. My conclusion was that despite coordinating heavyweight issues, the governments seem to exclude the citizens of the European Union on purpose: EU-rådet för allmänna frågor 21 februari 2011: Bedrövlig förhandsinformation.
Remember the EU’s banking “stress tests”, which were supposed to determine the health of the key financial institutions across Europe? The tests, that were published last summer, infamously cleared all Irish banks. Only a couple of months later, two of these banks were forced too seek help from the Irish state to avoid bankruptcy, which in turn forced Ireland to apply for a bail-out.
Tomorrow is the big day, where the next Dáil will be elected in Ireland. I had hoped to write more about the actual campaign, but sadly real life got in the way. So instead, here’s the election boiled down to one badly-written post:
The “European Economic Advisory Group”, CESifo, is a joint venture by two of Germany’s most respected research institutions. Earlier in the week, it published an interesting report examining the various potential policy responses to the eurozone crisis.
Check out my blog post @ CDT on review of the EU Data Protection Directive. Excerpt:
Amongst observers to the unravelling of the authoritarian government in Libya, there is a far-reaching consensus that a government that uses indiscriminate lethal force to retain power is, as the diplomatic phrasebook has it, ?unacceptable?. Yet, over the past six years, it has been perfectly acceptable for EU governments to outsource its border protection to an authoritarian leader with a dismal human rights record. Today, we should not only recall the fact that it is EU member states that are importing some 80% of Libya?s total oil production. We, the citizens of the EU, should also be reminded that for over three years now, we have relied on Gaddafi and his state apparatus to keep asylum seekers and other migrants away from our doors.
Only the first day conclusions were posted on the Consilium front page, but the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council was a two day meeting. For those who may have missed the conclusions by the justice ministers and ministers of the interior of the EU member states reflecting both days of the meeting, here they are:
Over on Conservative Home, we take a look at today’s ECJ ruling on insurance premiums, we argue:
This morning, the European Court of Justice ruled to scrap the insurance industry’s opt-out from the EU’s 2004 Gender Directive, which will mean insurers can no longer offer different products and prices to men and women based on their sex from December 2012.
The advance information was lousy, but I was happy to notice that the Council of the European Union desisted from treating every bit of information about progress on the Europe 2020 growth strategy as a state secret when it communicated after the meeting.
The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that as of December 2012 insurance companies will no longer be able to charge different rates for men and women, as such rates violate the European non-discrimination rule. The press welcomes the move in the name of greater equality, but fears premiums will rise across the board.
José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, announced he was sending the emergency relief commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, to Tunisia Wednesday night to oversee the EU?s humanitarian aid effort to the growing refugee crisis along the Libyan border.
from Open Europe blog