Europeans fighting against ACTA and snow… A Eurosphere roundup

ACTA activates European civil society (News)


Growing ACTA protest online and on the ground

by Grahnlaw
By now, more than 1.526 million netizens have signed the petition for the European Parliament to reject #ACTA. The call is also directed at the parliaments in the EU member states, where most of the governments are preparing ratification.

Piercing ACTA armour

by Grahnlaw
We have looked at the growing protests online and on the ground against the Anti-Counterfeiting (and much more) Trade Agreement ACTA. The anti-ACTA feelings run high, but there is also a need for deliberation on the official policies of ever more draconian IPR enforcement, including ACTA (in 22 EU languages).

ACTA: The Parliament should say no (Analysis)

The anti-piracy ACTA agreement goes far beyond what is acceptable in the defence of intellectual property, threatening to internet users’ privacy and allowing even legitimate websites to be blocked, says Ivaylo Kalfin.
from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
After Helena Drnovsek Zorko, Slovenia’s ambassador to Japan, signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, she was deluged with emails from Slovenians criticizing her for signing onto the agreement, which encourages widespread network censorship and creates criminal penalties for copyright infringement. The ambassador read the agreement more closely and decided she agreed with the critics, and wrote an open letter of apology to her country for signing them up to the treaty.

Google clashes with EU data protection officials

from – World, Europe
Search engine asked to halt implementation of new privacy policy while impact on users is examined


Towards an illiberal democracy

from Eurozine articles by Gábor Halmai
Hungary’s new constitution contradicts European standards on numerous counts: it sets in stone government policy; it is biased towards “ethnic” Hungarians; and it undermines the independence of regulatory institutions including the constitutional court and media.

PISANI-FERRY: The Eurozone?s Strategy of Pain

from Project Syndicate by Jean Pisani-Ferry
PISANI-FERRY: The Eurozone?s Strategy of Pain For the third year in a row, the eurozone is the weakest link in the world economy, with concerns mounting about its very viability. But the eurozone is doubling down on austerity, reasoning that no pain in Southern Europe would mean no gain in reform and adjustment.

EUROPE: Austerity vs. Europe

from Project Syndicate by Javier Solana
EUROPE: Austerity vs. Europe Ominously, the same arguments that turned the 1929 financial crisis into the Great Depression are being used today in favor of austerity at all costs. All of Europe must agree on a short-term growth strategy ? and implement it quickly.


More than 100 dead as cold snap grips Europe

from Hurriyet Daily News
A cold snap kept Europe in its icy grip on Thursday, pushing the death toll past 110 …


Why Czechs rejected Euro pact

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Why Prague refused to back the eurozone pact

EU Commission expert group database: Open data activism with success

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz
As I have blogged previously, I have requested access to the Register of EU Commission expert groups as a re-usable, machine-readable data set at the beginning of January.

Another summit, another bleak day for European democracy, Kirsty Hughes

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Kirsty Hughes
The new ‘fiscal compact’ treaty agreed at Monday’s summit aims to take vital economic policy choices out of the reach of democratic decision-making. Beyond that, there is no new thinking, nothing to stimulate growth, nothing to give some hope to the 23 million unemployed ? and those who will join them as the recession deepens.

EU decision-making: going the wrong way about it

from Blogactiv by Florian Pantazi

We?re heading towards a Soviet-style union run by a Politburo made up of national political leaders uninterested in consulting the European Parliament on important decisions affecting our lives.

Whilst in Brussels where the EU heads of government were busily hammering out  measures aimed at solving the euro-crisis, Martin Schulz held his first speech as President of the European Parliament. He rightfully incriminated the cumbersome and un-democratic way EU political leaders make decisions bearing on the future of Europe?s almost half a billion citizens. To be sure, the EU is not a fully functioning union yet and the fiscal arrangements concluded on January 30th only serve to reinforce this.

Calm down dear: Cameron’s EU veto isn’t dead yet

by Open Europe blog team
Over on the Telegraph blog, we argue:
MPs and MEPs ? from different parties and for different reasons ? have lined up over recent days to explain how David Cameron lost the plot over his EU veto, as it has become clear that the EU institutions are now involved, albeit on the margins, of the fiscal treaty that 25 out of 27 EU countries signed up to earlier in the week.

Sarko, Hollande, Le Pen

from Blogactiv by Marek Siwiec MEP

In France we can observe a political campaign, in which strange things happen. Nicolas Sarkozy has two major rivals. These are François Hollande and Marine Le Pen. Studies show that the representative of the Socialists is slightly winning (over 20%), Sarkozy is just behind him, and a little further ? Le Pen from the far-right National Front.

Europe freeze strands thousands

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Heavy snow leaves at least 11,000 people cut off in remote areas of Serbia as Europe’s cold snap claims more than 130 lives.

Why France is leaving Afghanistan

by Centre for European Reform
By Edward Burke

The decision by President Nicolas Sarkozy to speed up the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan has re-awakened suspicions that Paris is not to be trusted as an ally. Sarkozy responded to the deaths on January 20th of four French soldiers by ordering the return of all France?s combat troops in 2013, a year before NATO plans to end major operations in Afghanistan. Defence officials in London and Washington have privately condemned the decision as poorly-timed or, worse, a cynical political ploy ahead of France?s presidential elections in April and May 2012. This belittles genuine concerns in France about the conduct of the war. A closer analysis shows that the French government is ahead of other allies in recognising that NATO’s strategy has not worked.


Greece’s real challenge

by Centre for European Reform
by Katinka Barysch

The German idea of sending Athens a ?budget commissioner? was daft. Berlin itself could not tolerate such interference in its fiscal sovereignty (the constitutional court would never allow it). But to restrict such budgetary oversight to Greece alone would be disdainful and a political non-starter. The idea predictably caused outrage in Greece. Chancellor Angela Merkel has quietly dropped the proposal but the underlying problem persists: Greece?s donors ? not only Germany but also other EU governments and the IMF, no longer trust Greek politicians to turn their country around.

Berlusconi to abandon front-line politics

from – World, Europe
In first interview since resignation, former Italian premier says he has no intention of running again for prime minister

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