Time for More Europe?

 

Official insignia of the European Court of Justice
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A group of nine Spanish Bloggers have come together and written a Manifesto on things to improve Europe. There isn’t any political slant to this apart from trying to improve democracy within the European Union and improve the EU itself.  Some other bloggers and tweeters are getting behind this.

The Manifesto is in English below, but the Manifesto is translated into other languages on the website for the campaign.

Some good ideas in this, especially single European Seat and of course an elected Commission President. Lend your support to this campaign by signing up here

Also follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook!

Moreurope Statement on Scribd

European Young Journalist Award 2010

Again this year DG Enlargement are running the European Young Journalist Award 2010. (post on last years competition is here). Its simple, if your aged between 17-35 you can enter the competition. All you need to do is send them a copy of your published work and your in the competition. The work must be published between the 1 October 2007 to 28 February 2010. This means you can still get stuff done for it. The 28 February is also the dealine for submissions. The competition is open to citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Candidate Countries (Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), or Potential Candidate Countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia andKosovo under UNSCR 1244/99) and Iceland and the must be written / presented in an official language of one of the EU Member States, Candidate Countries or Potential Candidates or in Icelandic.

See more of the rules here

Winners of the Competition will travel to Istanbul in May 2010 for a cultural and historical trip. Istanbul, Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2010, provides an ideal location for the winners to enlarge their vision through cultural exchange. The trip will end with a conference where views will be exchanged with leading international analysts about European culture, identity and EU Enlargement.

In addition to national winners being selected in all 36 participating countries, three special prizes will be awarded in the following categories: “Most original”, “Best research” and “Best journalistic style”. The special prize winners, who will be selected by a European jury from the national winners, will be announced during the winner’s trip in Istanbul. Each of the special prize winners will win a cultural trip to a European capital of their choice.

See the competition website for more details and to upload your entry

PS My post, Where does Europe End? – The future challenges of EU Enlargement is my entry to the competition.

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Where does Europe End? – The future challenges of EU Enlargement.

Where does Europe End, is one of the often asked questions when talking about the enlargement of the European Union.  With the current negotiations with Turkey progressing (albeit slowly) the next challenge will be where next? Will the accession of Turkey see Syria (Middle East) or Armenia (Western Asia) applying for membership?

That is of course dependent on Turkey being integrated into the EU’s structures as that itself will involve reform of the institutions. Turkey if its joins will be the second largest EU member state in terms of population, second only to that of Germany. This will mean that voting weights and seats in the European Parliament will have to be moved around to satisfy the older member states. The accession, or possible accession of, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, do not present the same challenges to the EU institutions and can easily be absorbed into the institutions, though maybe not all at once.

But after Turkey will the EU expand beyond the Balkans? Will the Ukraine or Belarus (both with large populations) apply to join? Belarus may be a long way off, but Ukraine may apply before negotiations with Turkey finish. Will the Europe Union start looking beyond Europe for members? Will Morocco reapply? Could Cape Verde, due to its close ties to the EU and proximity to the Canary Islands, apply?

These are the challenges that face the EU after it deals with the issue of Turkish accession. That is dependent of course on there being an appetite for the further expansion of the European Union. Older Member States seem reluctant to expand the EU further. Opposition to Turkish accession seems to be strongest in the likes of Germany and France. There is a quasi racism to this opposition, but also there is a weariness of expansion. This is evidenced by the fears of the “Plombier polonaise”, Polish Plumber, in France after the accession of Poland and the other Central and Eastern European States in 2004.

Beyond France the limits on the immigration of workers from Bulgaria and Romania after accession in most EU member states shows the unwillingness of member states to completely open up to new members of the union.  This shows the reluctance of member states to fully open up to new members. This in the future translate could translate to the end of enlargement of the European Union after the accession of the current candidate states.

The accession of more states from Eastern Europe and the Balkans will mean a further move of power away from Western Europe. Upon the accession of the Balkans, they will be a formidable Eastern European bloc within the EU. This will again see more changes being made to the institutions of the EU. Again the interplay here with Turkey on its accession with other member states and would it be more Eastern or Western in its outlook is what has most political leaders worried.

Another issue at stake is the feelings of ordinary European Citizens. While citizens of applicant states get a say in whether or not a country joins the EU, normally through referenda,  the citizens of countries already members have no say. There is growing resentment to this situation and this in turn fuels far rights groups as they promise referenda on future EU enlargement, often though this has been offered by not so far right groups in ordinary to entice voters back!

EU enlargement is turning into a minefield and the EU, member states and applicant states must be cautious on how they approach it.

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Euroblog Round up #1

So as an editor over on bloggingportal.eu I have great access to a huge number of blogs and can help choose what goes on the front page. Unfortunately not everything I would like can go on the front page (there are others there also) I will do a regularish posting like this one to publicise some of the other things going on in the euroblogosophere, whether on the front page or not! Dont expect this daily or weekly mind you! Its only when I have time!

New Commission

The Common Agriculture Blog thinks the new Agricultural Commissioner could get a hard ride through the Parliament

Public Affairs 2.0 have a great PDF of all the biographical details of the new Commission

Climate Change

Eberhard Rhein calls on the EU to cut emmissions by 30%

The CTA blog also tells us that the EU and ACP countries are working together at the Copenhagen Summit

3e Intelligence look at the pros and cons of a  EU Border Carbon Tax

European Council

Ralf Grahn highlights the not so transparent European Council, even though it is now an institution of the EU.

EU-Africa

The CTA blog informs us that imports from the EAC countries will now be taxed due to a delay in signing an Economic Partnership Agreement

Human Rights

Jaanika Erne on Ideas on Europe tells us a bit about Human Rights day which was yesterday.

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VoteWatch.eu Summary of European Parliament Votes 24-27 November 2009

European Parliament Brussels
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Votewatch.eu sent this out to all its users today. Its a good idea and may be a reason in itself to sign up to the website!

Important votes were taken during the recent EP’s plenary session, such as the resolutions on the upcoming Summit on Climate Change, the Stockholm programme in the area of justice and home affairs, “origin labelling“, the smoke-free environments, the European Police Office (Europol) and European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN).

The progress towards accession of candidate countries was scrutinized and a resolution was voted on this subject. The European Parliament also approved in the third reading the EU telecoms rules, aimed to strengthen the rights of phone users and internet surfers and boost competition among telecoms firms.

Lots of information on how your MEP is voting!

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Von Rompuy wants a Euro Tax

So the Telegraph have a story on the fact that the new European Council President, Herman Von Rompuy, wants to bring in a new Euro Tax. This is to “bring transparency” to how the EU operates.

This hasn’t gone very smoothly for the new European Council Preisdent, and this really is his own fault! He made the announcement at a meeting of the Bildenberg Group, conspriacy theorists would know of this group very well, which isnt the most transparent of organisations, considering it meets in private.

Also the Von Rompuy seems to be overstepping the mark here. The Council cannot propose new legislation (or taxes), only the Commission can do this. While it is known that Borroso has an appetite for an EU-wide tax, but that appetite is not mirrored by the Member States. For tax all Member States must agree, and Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom have previously voiced opposition to any such tax. Also with the election of the FDP in Germany, I can’t see them being in favour of this as they were elected on tax cuts not more taxes.

It will be next year before any such idea comes to Council (possibly year after) and by then the UK Conservatives will be in power and they will definately be against the proposal!

So in essence this is the usual euro talk that could damage Von Rompuy and maybe lessen his influence as “chairman” of the European Council?

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Bruton For European Council President?

John Bruton For President?
John Bruton For President?

Young Fine Gael is trying to launch a grassroots campaign for John Bruton to be made President of the European Council. I received the following missive from HQ.

Dear Member,

As you may know former Taoiseach and Leader of Fine Gael John Bruton is seeking election as President of the European Council.

Let’s get behind him by using the internet to spread his campaign around Europe.

SIGN THE PETITION
Please sign and forward the petition link to all your contacts throughout the 27 member states of the EU http://www.petitiononline.com/Bruton/petition.html

SUPPORTER ON FACEBOOK
Please become a supporter on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Bruton-for-EU-President/163560809402

CHANGE YOUR PROFILE PIC
For you hardcore supporters our there… Please use this pic as your profile pic on bebo and facebook www.yfg.ie/images/images/johnb.jpg

Now while a Facebook Page and Petition might get you some attention in the national media, I do not think it is going to make waves across Europe.

The thinking behind this is a little strange. Campaigns like this rarely work in Ireland, let alone across 27 countries. Would YFG not be better off asking its members to write to the Taoiseach and other EU leaders extolling the virtues of John Bruton? Would they not be better off sending us reason why we should back him? There are a few that I can think of, but why not inform the rest of us. That way we can try and convince our friends rather just blindly following due to fact he used to lead our party.

Why not tell us about all the things he has done since he stopped being a Fine Gael TD? Such as being the EU Ambassodor to the US?

This will also go nowhere due to the fact it is in one language. Why not translate the petition into German and French and maybe other EU languages and maybe also give information about Bruton in those languages so we can convince others.

I don’t think this will make much of a difference to his chances. I don’t think Angela Merkel or Nicolas Sarkozy are going to be looking on facebook for ideas of who to suggest for the poistion of President of the European Council.

Tories: No Referendum on Lisbon

Conservative Party logo
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ConservativeHome have a rough outline of the new Conservative Party policy towards the EU. While they will not look for the “unratification” of the Lisbon Treaty, they will seek to renegotiate the UK’s ties with the EU.

To be honest any renegotiation of ties will be a loss of influence for the UK. As areas that they opt-out on they cannot influence and they might have to go along with somethings due to access of the single market whether they want to or not.

Also if they do renegotiate then any future appointments of high powered posts could not be British, currently the UK have possibities for the two highest poistions. In two and half years they would have very little chance of getting anything that is availible.

The one thing this policy will do though, is keep the Conservatives united. A referendum on Europe or Lisbon could have split the Conservatives. This is the safest option availible to Cameron should he want to stay Prime Minister for a bit!

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67% YES!!

I am delighted, I am ecstatic, I am over the moon!!! The result today is unbelievable. At the start of the campaign, I said it could be a 60-40 yes vote if we worked hard. Last week I would have said 55-45 would be the best we could hope for! To see the result today was just amazing.

Thank you everyone who voted Yes. Thank you to everyone in all the Yes Groups who campaigned. Thank you to everyone who campaigned with me. Thank You to those on the other side who could hold a reasoned debate (thats you Gregg!)

With Lisbon overwith we can start to move on now. Europe can work better (after the Poles and Czechs ratify of course) and maybe we can get things working here (but that may take a General Election).

See RTÉ for the full results

I am gald its all over. Now life can get back to normal!

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20 Reasons to Vote Yes to Lisbon

I got sent this list the other day, but due to events I am only posting it now. They are under a few caetgories and are linked!

Democracy:
I’m voting YES because Lisbon will give more power to the MEPs that I elect. (Articles 14 and 294)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because I like the idea that when all of our governments meet and discuss things that affect me, they should do it in the open (Article 16.8)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because the citizens’ Initiative means that the things that I care about are put on the agenda- and I don’t have to wait for the politicians to act (Article 11.4) – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because the chair of the council having 2 ½ year rather than a 6 month term is just common sense as far as I can see (Article 15.5)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because I believe that the European Union should be a community built on values, as well as an economic trading block. And the promotion of democracy and human rights are pretty good values. (Article 3)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

The Charter of Fundamental Rights gives me rights on a European level, as well as having them in the Irish constitution. And I like rights. Vote YES (Article 6)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2 – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I don’t always like the TD’s- but I definitely like them having more say about European legislation (Article 12 and Protocol 1 Article 4). Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

Crime:

I’m voting YES because I can’t believe that human trafficking still happens, and I want to use my vote to stop it (Articles 79, 83 & 87) – More info: http://short.ie/9v298u

I’m voting YES because I’ve seen the effects of drug smuggling on this country, and I know that stopping the smugglers is the best way to deal with it. (Article 83) – More info: http://short.ie/9v298u

Energy and Climate Change:

I’m voting YES because anyone with half a brain can see that countries HAVE TO work together if we are serious about fighting climate change (Article 191) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

I’m voting YES because I think that if we negotiate our gas deals together, we get a better price- and heating my house doesn’t cost so much (article 194) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

I’m voting YES because I want to support Irish Universities and Innovation- and the new European Research area will do just that (Articles 179 and 180) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

EU In the World:

I’m voting YES because I was proud to see the EU saving lives on our peacekeeping mission in Chad- and if another crisis occurs, I’ll be proud to see them do it again (Articles 42, 43 and 214) – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

I’m voting YES because the Palestinian ambassador to the EU said that a more “politically effective” EU would support peace in her country. And I am for peace in the Middle East (Article 18) – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

I’m voting YES because the new High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy will be a voice for peace and justice in the world (Article 18). Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

General:

I know that for a small state like ours, having our own Commissioner is really important. Vote YES. (December Council Decision) – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I’m voting YES because giving sport a legal basis in the EU matters, as it means more funding for local sports teams and facilities. (Article 165) Vote Yes. – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

Cóir want me to vote NO. As do Sinn Féin, UKIP, and a whole load of other crazy people. I know they don’t care about the same things I do. Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I’m not conveniently ignoring the fact that the legally binding guarantees are legally binding. Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I suffer from a terrible bullshit allergy. Vote YES (article 5 what the EU can/cannot do) – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

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