European Democrat Students launch ‘Knowledge is Power’ campaign

Logo of the European Democrat Students

The European Democrat Students (EDS) yesterday launched their “Knowledge is Power Campaign”. This campaign encourages EU political leaders to prioritize efforts on higher education and research funding. EDS urges leaders to introduce stimulus packages for the higher education sector, which is an important factor to help boost economic recovery in Europe.

The EDS emphasizes the importance of having a good education system for our future generations, and wish to encourage politicians to invest more resources in higher education and research. The EDS strongly believes that Europe 2020 is the fundamental guideline for all 27 Member States and thus, endorse the principle of a knowledge-based economy where higher education is a central pillar for sustainable economic growth.

EPP President Wilfried Martens strongly supports the EDS initiative: “the EPP believes that know-how in societies is central to economic growth and job creation, so we must create the best conditions for transforming them into knowledge-based societies. To reach this fundamental objective of the EPP, we strongly support investments in research and innovation. Ultimately, the economic success of Europe will be determined by the extent of the financial commitments allocated to these pivotal sectors of the economy. Europe must become a knowledge economy.”

This campaign is EDS’ first Internet based campaign and consists of several online films and an online petition available at eds-knowledge.eu. With the petition, the EDS wants to reach out to young Europeans and thereby send a bold signal to Europe’s policy makers that young people in today’s Europe believe that we have to invest more in Europe’s future.

So sign the petition, like on Facebook an follow on Twitter!

EDS is the official Student Organisation of the European People’s Party.

#EUDay: Schuman Declaration

Photomontage
Image via Wikipedia

On the 9th of May each year we mark the Anniversay of the Schuman Declaration. This declaration made by French Minister for Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman in 1950, set the basis for what would has become the European Union.

61 years later and with the EU at a crossroad due to the financial crisis and the lessening impact it has around the world, it its only right we look back at the declation which started it all and remind us of why we are here.

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.
The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.
With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe.  The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realised simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.

By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.
To promote the realization of the objectives defined, the French Government is ready to open negotiations on the following bases.

The task with which this common High Authority will be charged will be that of securing in the shortest possible time the modernization of production and the improvement of its quality; the supply of coal and steel on identical terms to the French and German markets, as well as to the markets of other member countries; the development in common of exports to other countries; the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries.

To achieve these objectives, starting from the very different conditions in which the production of member countries is at present situated, it is proposed that certain transitional measures should be instituted, such as the application of a production and investment plan, the establishment of compensating machinery for equating prices, and the creation of a restructuring fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The movement of coal and steel between member countries will immediately be freed from all customs duty, and will not be affected by differential transport rates. Conditions will gradually be created which will spontaneously provide for the more rational distribution of production at the highest level of productivity.

In contrast to international cartels, which tend to impose restrictive practices on distribution and the exploitation of national markets, and to maintain high profits, the organization will ensure the fusion of markets and the expansion of production.

The essential principles and undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty signed between the States and submitted for the ratification of their parliaments. The negotiations required to settle details of applications will be undertaken with the help of an arbitrator appointed by common agreement. He will be entrusted with the task of seeing that the agreements reached conform with the principles laid down, and, in the event of a deadlock, he will decide what solution is to be adopted.

The common High Authority entrusted with the management of the scheme will be composed of independent persons appointed by the governments, giving equal representation. A chairman will be chosen by common agreement between the governments. The Authority’s decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and other member countries. Appropriate measures will be provided for means of appeal against the decisions of the Authority.
A representative of the United Nations will be accredited to the Authority, and will be instructed to make a public report to the United Nations twice yearly, giving an account of the working of the new organization, particularly as concerns the safeguarding of its objectives.

The institution of the High Authority will in no way prejudge the methods of ownership of enterprises. In the exercise of its functions, the common High Authority will take into account the powers conferred upon the International Ruhr Authority and the obligations of all kinds imposed upon Germany, so long as these remain in force.

 

Communicating Europe

The flag of Europe
Image via Wikipedia

This arrived in my inbox today. It may be of interest to some readers!

You may wish to be aware that Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, has announced details of the 2010 Communicating Europe Initiative. Applications for funding are invited from voluntary organisations and education bodies who are interested in raising awareness about how the European Union matters in their community.

Consideration will also be given to proposals for events, large or small, that are organised to celebrate Europe Day. Europe Day, which takes place on 9 May each year, is an opportunity for citizens throughout Europe to celebrate the EU’s achievements and to reflect upon the Union’s aim to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.

Minister Martin said:

“Last October, the Irish people wholeheartedly reaffirmed their desire for Ireland to remain at the heart of Europe. Voluntary organisations and education bodies played a vital role in raising awareness of how the EU matters in their communities and supporting their efforts continues to be a key priority for me.

I look forward to receiving applications under this year’s Communicating Europe Initiative. Events commemorating Europe Day on 9 May are a great way for Irish citizens to join with their fellow Europeans in celebrating the achievements of the EU and I am delighted that such events are among those that can be supported under the Communicating Europe Initiative.”

Application forms and further details are available from our website: www.eumatters.ie or by contacting the undersigned.

The closing date for the receipt of applications for the current round of funding is 5 March 2010

Maura Duffy
EU Secretariat & Communicating Europe
EU Division
Department of Foreign Affairs
76-78 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2
Ph:  (+353 1) 408 2500
Fas: (+353 1) 475 2002
email: maura.duffy@dfa.ie

If you know of any events planned for Europe Day, let me know and I will advertise them free!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The New Commission, What Happens Next?

{{en}} Belgium, Bruxelles - Brussel, European ...
Image via Wikipedia

The European Parliament has created a new website to highlight the details of the confirmation of the new commission which will take place early in the new year. There is more information on the candidates as well as the procedure of how they will be confirmed.

Here is the step by step procdure as on the website:

  1. Parliament receives the Commissioner-designates’ curriculum vitae and their declarations of financial interests.
  2. Parliament puts to the Commissioners-designate a series of written questions dealing mainly with the candidates’ policy priorities in their respective fields of responsibility. The candidates’ written replies provide the basis for the oral stage – the hearings.
  3. Each Commissioner-designate is invited to a three-hour public hearing with the parliamentary committee(s) responsible for the portfolio concerned. These hearings enable the committees to get to know the personalities of the Commissioners-designate and have a detailed exchange of views with the various candidates on their priorities in their prospective areas of responsibility.
  4. The committees then evaluate each of the Commissioners-designate. They check that the Commissioners-designate have the skills required not only to be Members of the Commission in general, but also to be in charge of a particular portfolio.
  5. The results of the hearings are sent to the President of Parliament and considered by the Conference of Presidents, comprising the President and all political group leaders, and by the Conference of Committee Chairs.
  6. The Commission President presents the College of Commissioners-designate and their programme to a plenary sitting of Parliament which the Council of the EU is invited to attend. This presentation is followed by a debate.
  7. Lastly, Parliament votes on approval of the whole European Commission as a body. The new Commission can then be formally appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

This is a great idea by the Parliament to creat the website and hopefully other events and procedures that the Parliament have powers over will be covered in this way. Maybe other EU Institutions can follow?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

European Parliament Brussels
Image via Wikipedia

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Symposium on European Citizenship

As the Euroblggersphere is suffering an identity crisis at the moment it is a conincidence that Alliance Francaise Cork and UCC are organising a European Symposium on European Citizenship on Tuesday, September 1st in UCC.

It looks like it will be an interesting day. The topics covered will be “Women and Europe”, “Justice: rights and responsibilities of the European citizens”, “National Identities within European Culture and Identity” and “Green Citizenship”.

The speakers include:

  • Nicole FONTAINE, Former French President of the European Parliament
  • Treasa NI MHURCHU, Deputy Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Vice-President of European Women’s Group
  • Pascale JOANNIN, Director of the Foundation Robert Schuman
  • Micheál MARTIN, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Alan DUKES, President of the Alliance Française Dublin
  • Jean-Dominique GIULIANI, President of the Foundation Robert Schuman
  • Loïc TRIBOT LA SPIERE, Jurist and General Delegate of CEPS
  • Jérôme CLOAREC, President of Atelier Europe
  • Dermot KEOGH, Professor of European Integration Studies
  • Dominique REYNIE, Director of the Foundation for Political Innovation
  • Cécile LE CLERCQ, European Commission, Citizenship Policy Unit; Europe for citizens
  • Maurice RIEUTORD s.j., General Delegate of the Institut Robert Schuman pour l’Europe
  • Stephen SPILLANE, Euroblogger, “thinkaboutit.eu” Project – European Journalism Centre
  • Déirdre de BURCA, Senator Green Party
  • Michael EWING, Social Partnership Coordinator, Environmental Pillar
  • Dr. Peter BRENNAN, Managing Director of Economics, Policy and Strategy Consulting

Throughout the day there will also be a exhibition from goodplanet.org. At the end of the day there will be a showing of Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND’s film “Home”.

Yes, you did see my name mentioned in the list of speakers. I will be speaking on the panel on “National Identities within European Culture and Identity” which should prove interesting and it will be my first time speaking on a panel!

The full programme is  availible here in PDF. If you wish to attend here is the Invitation and reply card (both PDF)!

To find out more check out the website, facebook and twitter!

12 days to write a speech the pressure is on!! Do come along and support me though, I am speeking at some point between 2:30pm and 4:30pm in UCC’s Aula Maxima

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Does this need to be in the Irish Constitution?

Copies of the constitution are published by th...
Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned earlier today, the Twenty Eight Amendent to the Constitution Bill 2009 was published today. IrishElection has the full text of the amendment but I have a query to the proposed new Article 29.4.4 of Bunreacht na hEireann.

It reads as follows:

Ireland affirms its commitment to the European Union within  which the member states of that Union work together to promote peace, shared values and the well-being of their peoples.

Really does it have a point? It refers to no treaty or protocol. It’s something that should be in a preamble in my mind.

I seriously doubt those words will have any effect what so ever considering the preceding subsection states that we are members of the European Union.

Will it swing any voters? I doubt. So why include it? In a document such as our Constitution?

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]