Heading towards a Single EP Seat

Phil Prendergast MEP (S&D, Ireland South) supporting the Single Seat Campaign (Source: Instagram)

Today the European Parliament marked another step towards having one seat by transferring all its activities in Strasbourg to its building in Brussels.

 

Currently under the Treaties all plenary votes must take place in Strasbourg meaning that once a month there is a big trip for MEP’s staff and lots of paper from Brussels to Strasbourg.

Under two reports today the Parliament took a stance and pushed for the European Parliament to have one seat. The first set of votes was on the “General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013 – all sections0” (A7-0311/2012) a report by Giovanni LA VIA (EPP/IT) and Derek VAUGHAN (S&D/UK) a number of sections were passed calling for one seat. They results were as follows according to SingleSeat.eu: (Note RCV stands for Roll Call Vote)

86. Believes that, like every directly elected parliament, the European Parliament should have the right to decide on its own seat and working place arrangements; CARRIED by show of hands

87. Declares, therefore, that Parliament’s seat and places of work for Members and officials should be decided upon by Parliament itself; CARRIED by show of hands

88. Urges the two arms of the budgetary authority (the Council and Parliament), in order to make financial savings and to promote a more sustainable climate- and environmentally friendly solution, to raise the issue of a single seat and Parliament’s working places for Members and officials in the upcoming negotiations on the next MFF for 2014-2020; SPLIT: 1 Recorded Vote by name (RCV) 698: +604, -75, 19 abstentions); 2 RCV (693: +510, -143, 40 abstentions)

89. Urges the Member States to revise the issue of Parliament’s seat and working places in the next revision of the Treaty by amending Protocol 6; SPLIT: 1 RCV (698: +615, -64, 19 abstentions); 2 RCV (689: +532, -122, 2 abstentions)

90. In the meantime, calls on the Council to start elaborating a road-map with the Parliament towards a single seat and a more efficient use of Parliament’s working places, taking into account specific up-to-date figures detailing the cost of each place of work and working conditions for staff, as well as economic, societal and environmental factors – to be presented in a report by 30 June 2013; RCV (700: +518, -149, 33 abstentions)

91. Suggests that the agreement between the Luxembourg authorities and Parliament on the number of staff to be present in Luxembourg should be revised, taking into account a revision of Parliament’s needs; EPP: +634, -306; CARRIED

It is interesting to note that the Parliament is also taking issue with the presence of some of its staff in Luxembourg and wants to move them to Brussels also.

The second vote was on “Multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020” a report by Reimer BÖGE (EPP/DE) and Ivailo KALFIN (S&D/BG). This report had a roll call vote on the following section:

50. Points to the significant savings that could be made if the European Parliament were to have a single seat; urges the budgetary authority to raise this issue in the negotiations on the next MFF 2014-2020;

It was passed 452 in favour, 180 against and 40 abstentions.

All the votes above prove that the majority of MEPs want to abandon the sittings in Strasbourg and it is interesting to note that this is happening during a the case that France has brought against the European Parliament at the European Court of Justice on having two of sittings in one week.

This will hopefully make Council of the European Union take notice and start to take action and try and convince France to give up on tying to hang on to the Parliament and allow it to hold it’s meetings where the member’s decide!

See SingleSeat.eu for more information on the campaign and why not sign the petition at oneseat.eu?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Geoghegan-Quinn for Europe

So Cian of Irish Election let us know the news that Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has been nominated to be Ireland’s EU Commissioner in the next College.

I personnally think that is a great choice from the Government (its not often I say that!). Geoghegan-Quinn has a great track record at home and in Europe and will be sure to get a good portfolio. Maybe Budget, Administrative Affairs or Audit and Anti-Fraud.

This is good news also for the Gendered Balanced Commission Campaign. They want 1/3 of the commission to be women so that means 9 countries need to nominate women. So far five female candiates have been nominated from:

I hope four more countries step up to the plate! or maybe five!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Flower of Identity

Pink Flower, Oxalis Weed Macro
Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

In Luxembourg as part of the training with the Anna Lindh Foundation we had to write a list of things that we think identify us. One suggestion was to draw a flower and on each petal write one thing. I of course am useless at drawing so decided to write a list.

So how do I see myself?

The first things that came to my mind was European, the next was Irish and after that Gay came into my mind. Then the fact that I was Male reared its head. After that I was stumped.

Now I didnt want to seem superficial so I tried really hard to come up with more, so Political came to mind. Then Adventerous and Outgoing popped up. Religous also came to mind as did Blogger After that it was tough going.

Even now two weeks after the training I find it hard to come up with more. Ones that do are Stubborn, Caring, and Smart.

How to others see me?

I decided to see how others saw me, so I asked on twitter, facebook and MSN about people saw me. I got the following back:

  • Friendly
  • Caring
  • Up Beat
  • Outgoing
  • Helpful
  • Headstrong
  • Opinionated
  • Political
  • Intelligent
  • Someone who stands up for what they Believe in
  • A good friend
  • Sexy (I am not making it up!!)
  • Nice Guy
  • Listener
  • Values debate and diversity
  • Principled
  • Respectful
  • Smart
  • Gay

Why do this?

After asking a friend, a conversation ensued about why I was doing this and was their a difference in how I saw myself and how others saw me. To me the big difference was no one mentioned nationality. Which was strange cause if was the first thing I thought of when asked the question about myself as it forms part of who I am and therefore how I act. That was the huge difference.

In Luxembourg after we wrote this out we all went to another room and sat on the floor. One of the trainers Xavi called out different categories about how we saw ourselves and for one of them I was one of two people standing. That category was “Sexual Orientation”. To me started off the questioning that led to this blog post, am I placing too much emphasis on it. The fact that someone else mentioned it, kind of puts my mind at rest.

At the same time I was overwhelmed at the response given to me. I simplfied where I could what my friends said down to one word where possible. It is strange when your friends can come up with more ways of describing you then you can.

But thats Identity thats Personality!

One thing I noticed even while doing this was how fluid Identity and Personality are. To me they are not mutually exclusive. This excercise proves that in most ways except in the area of nationality which I have already dealt with.

So is nationality what actual divides us from stangers, as we don’t see it as part our friends?

Do try this yourself and see personally how you describe yourself, draw it as a flower or a list. It will surprise you.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Luxembourg in Video

Carmel has some videos from Luxembourg up on her blog, so I have robbed them in case you missed them! I of course am in them and the second video as me attempting Irish Dancing while under the influence. It really gives you a taste of what we got up to and why it was so much fun!

Part one: Presenting Our Online Identities Offline

Part Two: Intercultural Night

These videos reminded me of all the fun I had and what I learned! Thanks Carmel!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday Links – August Bank Holiday

_如果本能是一種懲罰。
Image by eliot. via Flickr

As I didn’t do a Monday links last week as I was in Luxembourg, for punishment I am doing one today on the Bank Holiday here in Ireland!

Kosmopolit has a post explaining EU Jargon. I have a post on that coming soon, maybe even today!

Bryan has a post on Islamophobia and the far right.It was nice to read that after coming home from the intercultural training in Luxembourg.

Sticking with interculturalism, there is an interesting article in the Copenhagen Post on interculturalism/multiculturalism.

Carmel has an amazing post on the training in Luxembourg

900,000 Irish people now on facebook and a few more stats from Mulley Communications

Subrosa is trying a positive news day today! A good idea me thinks, not sure if I will have time for it

Mulley is organising an Irish Talk like a Pirate Day

Kev launches Back Page Football today

Majd explains how settlements are created

and Silly Season is in full swing according to Iain Dale

Enjoy the Bank Holiday if you are in Ireland! (or anywhere else with a bank holiday today!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

ALF Training: Culture, Identity and Dialogue

Bloggers discussing during the training. Picture by Carmel Vaisman of absolutecarmel.com
Bloggers discussing during the training. Picture by Carmel Vaisman of absolutecarmel.com

I arrived back in Cork today after spending Monday to Wednesday at the Anna Lindh Foundation Blogger Training for Intercultural Dialogue in Luxembourg. It was a fantastic event with 18 bloggers from 17 countries from across the Euromed region, It was an amazing experience.

Not only did I learn about places I didnt know much about (Magreb and Middle East) but I also learned alot about myself and how I and others perceive me. It really opened my mind on issues about identity and culture and how I perceive other cultures. The course which was packed into two days was so interesting, exciting and tiring. It has inspired me a lot and we have plans to keep working on this issue. For me this will be both online and offline as I try to pass on the knolwedge and ideas I have gained to some of the groups I work with.

A website that the Anna Lindh Foundation is working with was also in attendence and it is a great tool for bringing together the Arabic and English speaking worlds. Meedan.net is a great site for translating news and comments on the events into the two languages. A fantastic idea and one I will keeping an eye on. It might highlight a few issues for me to blog about!

The other bloggers on the course, who will be added to the my blogroll very soon, were great fun! It was amazing to see how we all got along an dtook part in the energisers (games really) from all these countries. The Euromed evening was a great way to learn about these fasicinating cultures as well as try out food an drink from the different countries and learn about the issues in them.

So what can you expect to see changing on the blog? Well hopefully you will see more blogging about issues in the Euromed region and the work of the Anna Lindh Foundation in Ireland and in the Euromed region. Intercultural Dialogue is such a wide area in my mind that I have lots of ideas in my head on what to blog about. Also in September their will be an online campaign on Restore Trust, Rebuild Bridges that we as bloggers will be running so keep an eye out for it!

So a huge thanks to the Anna Lindh Foundation, the organisers, trainers, and of course the other bloggers for a fantastic time and I hope I have made good connections that will blossom into a great Euromed Partnership of friends!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Blogger Training?

Until this week I didn’t know there was such a thing as blogger training (that wasn’t aimed at companies and such) but a friend send me information about the Hyperlink Project from The Euromed Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures. Part of this project is “the ALF Euromed Bloggers Training on Intercultural Dialogue”. This will take place on the sidelines of the campaign Restore Trust – Rebuild Bridges which was launched by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Alliance of Civilizations to encourage a culture of peace and coexistence in the Euro-Mediterranean Region.

Only 20 bloggers from the Euromed region (which is 43 countries) and today I received my invitation to Phase one of the project today! It takes place in July , in Luxembourg.

What is involved in the training?

The training will be delivered by two highly professional trainers, one from the north and one from the south of the region. The methodology of the training will try to combine  between plenary informative presentations, tools and games used in non-formal education on intercultural dialogue, and working groups to design the online campaign. The training will also include a Cultural Night where the participants will have the opportunity to discover each others cultures more closely. There will be also a Blog Souk where the participants can present there blogs and there blogging experiences and how intercultural dialogue is treated in their local blogs.

It looks like its going to be really fun and interesting.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]