Eurosphere agenda: Juncker hit by EP…”Commission to reject French budget…

Juncker and Schulz in happier times…

The letter from European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has now been published in full and contains an extensive list of questions for the UK’s Lord Hill, the Czech Republic’s Vera Jourová and Hungary’s Tibor Navracsics who have all been invited back for some form of second hearing early next week (whether or not these will be ‘full public hearings’ again remains to be seen).

Sweden is to “recognise the state of Palestine”, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven says, the first long-term EU member country to do so.

The European Commission is likely to reject France’s 2015 budget draft at the end of October, and ask for a new one that would better reflect Paris’s deficit reduction obligations under European Union rules, several eurozone officials said.

SPECIAL REPORT: Improving health system performance has been on the political agenda in all member states over the past couple of years. This is crucial, because health systems are at the heart of the EU’s social model, the Commission says.

According to media reports the European Commission is threatening to reject France’s and Italy’s budget plans on the grounds that they violate the EU’s Stability Pact. After imposing stringent austerity on other member states the Commission can’t be lax with these two now, commentators point out. They warn Paris and Rome of the consequences of violating international obligations



Looking through a distorted window: English reflections on a Scottish referendum

open Democracy News Analysis – by Beth Kahn

Seeing the Scottish referendum from outside Scotland, it was too easy to entirely misunderstand it.

The once and future EU recovery

open Democracy News Analysis – by John Weeks

The instigators of these anti-social and anti-democratic policies, rules and treaties defend them as the mechanisms to bring recovery, end fiscal deficits and reduce public indebtedness. Were they successful, their authoritarian nature should make them unacceptable.

Celebrities who had intimate pictures of themselves leaked onto the internet were “dumb” for taking them, the EU’s new digital commissioner says.


Ancient cities and new politics in southern Italy

Italy’s corrupt and inefficient public services mean that some of the country’s most important archaeological sites are being forgotten or damaged. The Sybaris Project is trying to change that.


Long fight for Denmark mosque rages on


Despite 14-year struggle for a new mosque in the second-largest city, new roadblocks are erected at every turn.


Amazon faces EU tax avoidance probe

Online retailer Amazon is to face a formal investigation into its European corporate tax practices, the European Commission announces.

Whatever happened to (Euro) Maidan

For almost a year, Ukraine has refused to leave the international headlines. But little attention has been paid to what has been happening in Kyiv.

Europeans are against ‘more Europe’, because they are against the particular type of authoritarian, anti-democratic political union on offer. It would not after all, be the first time in history that a political ruling class place their preference for more unchecked power ahead of their concern for shared prosperity

Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75% chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50% chance it could hit Britain by that date.

The Poverty of European migration policy

European migration ‘policy’ does not only cost thousands of lives every year, but it is also contradictory and self-defeating.

High time for Europe to offer temporary protection to refugees from Syria?

The 2001 Temporary Protection Directive – created in the wake of the Yugoslav Wars – has never been activated, but it could be part of a reasonable, compassionate response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

The SWISH Report (25)

What should United Kingdom’s defence policy be? A government department has commissioned advice from the noted SWISH management consultancy. This is an exclusive copy of its just completed report.

UK defence spending after the 2014 election: a report from the South Waziristan Institute for Strategic Hermeneutics to the Post-Election Financial Planning Unit, HM Treasury, London, UK

Solving Europe’s Credibility Problem

As the eurozone debates how to escape the stagnation trap in which it finds itself, one question has become increasingly important: Can governments credibly commit to trim public spending in the future while avoiding immediate cuts? Fortunately, the answer is yes: Fiscal accommodation now does not rule out consolidation later.

Following the airstrikes by US fighter jets in the fight against the Islamic State, Britain’s Royal Air Force carried out its first attacks against IS targets in Iraq on Tuesday. Some commentators describe this as justified military intervention against a cruel troop of killers. Others doubt the US-led alliance can win this war.


Norway is the best place to be old, according to an index of the quality of later life in published on the UN’s International Day of Older Persons.

Q&A: Brussels vs Apple over Irish tax

The European Commission’s case against the tech group
One year after joining the EU the economy is still moribund

Europe’s Ukrainian Soul

For Europe, Ukraine’s fate is a vital strategic question, because its independence has been the cornerstone of the post-Cold War European order and its framework for peace. Ukraine’s subjugation to Russia by military force

The plight of Europe’s unwanted migrants

MAIN FOCUS: Catalans want referendum in November | 29/09/2014


The Catalans are to vote on the independence of their region from Spain on November 9. The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed a corresponding decree on Saturday. Madrid views the planned referendum as a violation of the constitution. Blocking the vote would be a mistake, some correspondents believe. Others complain that the central government is powerless against the separatists.


The hidden costs of renting in modern Britain

open Democracy News Analysis – by Samir Jeraj

For those who have owned a home for years or decades, they may be unaware of the costs, penalities and fees imposed on today’s renters. It is a web of unregulated profiteering and expense.
Battle Royal in Brussels – backroom ‘trade’ deals under fire

open Democracy News Analysis – by Jurgen Maier

Europeans are in uproar at chaotic attempts by the EU presidency to rush through ‘secret courts’ for investors to sue governments who try to protect their citizens and public services.

The EU-Canada Summit on 26 September in Ottawa aimed to seal the deal on a controversial EU-Canada free trade agreement – in the dying days of the current EU Presidency.

The Times and the Mail  today both feature stories on the increasing pressure on David Cameron to take a stronger stance on migration from the EU.The Times suggests that senior figures within his party are calling on him to use his renegotiation to explore the introduction of quotas on migrants from existing EU member states. It quotes London Mayor Boris Johnson saying that

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