Euro roundup: Internet giants against France, France banning full-face veil and more…

Internet Giants Take France to Court Over Personal Data Policy

by Stan Schroeder

Moderate secularism: a European conception, Tariq Modood

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Tariq Modood
The question of religion?s place in modern secular societies is intellectually contested and politically divisive. Here, the scholar Tariq Modood argues that European experience and institutional development can favour an accommodative model that respects religion yet goes beyond both toleration and even civic recognition. This moderate secularism, he says, meets the test of core democratic values while avoiding the dangers that fear-induced exclusion of religion from the public sphere would entail. 

France bans Muslim full-face veil

by PARIS – Agence France-Presse
France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim population, banned the wearing of full-face veils in public Monday, despite threats of protest from a groups that already feels stigmatised.

MAIN FOCUS: Benchmark interest rate divides Europe | 08/04/2011

from euro|topics

The European Central Bank (ECB) has become the first major central bank in the West to reverse the trend in interest rates. For the first time since the outbreak of the financial crisis it decided on Thursday to raise its benchmark interest rate from 1.0 to 1.25 percent. While some commentators see the move as supporting recovery among the EU’s strong economic states, others complain it will put ailing euro countries at a grave disadvantage.

The June European Council: Migrants on their minds

by Centre for European Reform

by Hugo Brady

In June, EU leaders arrive in Brussels for a meeting of the European Council, the quarterly summits presided over by former Belgian prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy. Some ? Britain’s David Cameron and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy ? are fighting a war in Libya. Others, like Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi, are fighting political upheaval at home. Northern and Southern European leaders alike are watching anxiously as the markets continue to pound the euro. But everyone ? apart perhaps from the newer members to the east ? is worried about immigration. Hence, if events allow, Van Rompuy wants to leave the troubled currency aside to focus on border control, immigration and refugee policy.

Recording industry lobbyist appointed head of copyright for European Commission

by Cory Doctorow

Maria Martin-Prat, who took a leave from her job at the European Commission to work as Deputy General Counsel and Director of Legal Policy and Regulatory Affairs for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI — thee international version of the RIAA, CRIA and BPI, though they’re all basically the same companies), has returned to the EC to run its copyright unit. While Martin-Prat was enjoying her holiday as a lobbyist for the industry she now regulates, she took a number of extremist copyright positions, including lobbying against the private copying exemption (part of European Fair Dealing), and arguing that it should be illegal to break the DRM on the media you buy, even if you don’t violate copyright in doing so.

European Council: Economic policy reform priorities III

by Grahnlaw

Having looked at the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) from the Commission in Part One and EU 2020 macroeconomic and fiscal guidance offered by the Ecofin Council in Part Two, we turn to another submerged part of the iceberg, awkwardly acknowledged by the Europan Council, in footnote 1 to paragraph 2:

MAIN FOCUS: Zapatero fails over economic crisis | 04/04/2011

from euro|topics

Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, announced on Saturday that he will not run for re-election next year. Zapatero leaves with dignity, but his policies were dashed on the rocks of the economic crisis, the press writes.


Debate on Islam provokes ire in France

from Hurriyet Dailynews
Debate on secularism in French society becomes increasingly divisive after Interior Minister Claude Gueant says the number of Muslims in the country is ?a problem? amid the far-right making gains in the polls. Rights groups say they will file a legal complaint against Gueant, while the opposition socialists hit out at the minister’s provocative statement


European Council: Economic policy reform priorities IV

by Grahnlaw

We continue looking at the governance and practices of the most important official institution of the EU, the European Council, with regard to fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

Is the ECB becoming a bad bank?

by Open Europe blog team

Its common knowledge that the ECB has been providing massive amounts of liquidity to eurozone governments both directly (through the purchase of government bonds) and indirectly (by taking on large amount of government debt as collateral for lending to banks). The extent of this ? and therefore also the implications ? are less clear, mostly thanks to the ECB?s reluctance to publish any data on its holdings of collateral or government debt.

Second Gaza flotilla seeks EU political cover

from – Headline News

Integration in the UK : why the silence?, Sarah Spencer

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Sarah Spencer
Well founded suspicion of ?integration? policies in civil society has let government off the hook, leaving a vacuum in national policy towards those arriving to live in the UK and public debate open to those who argue integration is solely the responsibility of migrants themselves, argues Sarah Spencer

MAIN FOCUS: Portugal seeks bailout | 07/04/2011

from euro|topics

Portugal asked the EU for financial assistance on Wednesday. The highly indebted country needs an estimated 80 billion euros from the bailout fund. The press expects the Portuguese lifestyle to change drastically and calls for a stable government that is capable of pushing through economic reforms.


The Origins of the Greek Defense Policy in the Post-1974 Period

from by Elina Makri

by Vassilios Damiras

The national security history of twentieth-century Greece can be divided into the pre-1974 epoch and post-1974 period, when full civilian control of the military emerged, too late to forestall a disastrous military misadventure in Cyprus, but in time to end the continual internal political conflict that had made Greece vulnerable to military seizures of power. The post-1974 period brought a new era to the Greek military and the Hellenic defense doctrine in order to face the new military threats mainly from Turkey.

The dark side of the ECB

from Open Europe blog

Sortu and ETA: Basque politics, Spanish law, Guy Hedgecoe

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Guy Hedgecoe
Spain?s supreme court has refused to register a new Basque political party pledged to non-violence, because of its suspected links with the banned terrorist group ETA. But the decision is more complex than it appears, says Guy Hedgecoe. 

Poland?s tragedy: one year on , Adam Szostkiewicz

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Adam Szostkiewicz
The air disaster that killed Poland?s president and many of the country?s leading figures in April 2010 is now a source of national division rather than unity, says Adam Szostkiewicz.

European Council blogging: Part One (10042011)

by Grahnlaw

My latest collection of blog posts was presented on Grahnlaw (in English) a little more than two weeks ago: European Council blogging (24032011).

It is easier to find the relevant subject, if I offer myself and others an overview of the later blog entries on the economic policy theme at the spring European Council.

Can EU twitter nerds crowd-source a newspaper? A new experiment

from Jon Worth by Jon

European Council blogging: Part Two (10042011)

by Grahnlaw

Previous round-up of my blog entries was published in Part One, with articles posted 25 and 26 March 2011.

European Council blogging: Part Three (11042011)

by Grahnlaw

Previous round-ups of my blog entries were published in Part One, with articles posted 25 and 26 March, and Part Two, which took us from 27 to 29 March 2011.

European Council blogging: Part Four (11042011)

by Grahnlaw

Previous round-ups of my blog entries were published in Part One, with articles posted 25 and 26 March, and Part Two, which took us from 27 to 29 March 2011.


European Council blogging: Part Five (11042011)

Iceland in good company over economic squeeze

from Public Affairs 2.0 by fhbrussels

It looks very much as if Iceland?s obligation to recompense the UK and the Netherlands for reimbursing depositors following the collapse of Landsbanki in 2008 is headed for years of litigation in the EFTA Court ? not good news for those hoping for Iceland?s early EU membership. The question is whether the two creditors will allow the issue to be parked while membership negotiations proceed to a happy ending.

MAIN FOCUS: Europe at odds over refugees | 11/04/2011

from euro|topics

A dispute over refugee policy has broken out among the major EU states. The EU interior ministers will meet today to discuss plans for joint action. Rather than seal itself off, Europe must allocate the refugees equitably to several different countries, writes the press.

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