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

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It finally gets interesting: Barroso Vs Verhofstadt

I was giving out during the election campaign that the PES didnt have a candidate for Commission President. Despite the fact the PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen wants the job, its looking highly unlikely that he will not be the PES nominee.

Instead the Greens, ALDE and PES look set to team up to try and get former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt elected as Commission President according to euractiv.com instead of  José Manuel Barroso. Verhofstadt’s party the Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Flemish Liberals and Democrats) is part of the ALDE and looks set to be the their nominee.

This makes things interesting as the Commission President has to be elected by the European Parliament in a secret ballot. A combined vote of the PES, Green and ALDE grouping would be 294 votes, which is short of a majority.

Of course the ALDE is itself divided on the nomination as it is a small group it cannot hope to hold Commission President and Presidency of the European Parliament, which its leader Graham Watson wants.

Shuttle diplomacy is underway across European capitals to try and get support for nominations of both candidates, but it dosent look like Barroso’s re-election is assured as it was.

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FF and FG to be in coalition in Europe?

Negotiations are underway for the top jobs in Europe now that the results of the weekends elections are known.

The European Peoples Party (EPP), which Fine Gael is part of, has emerged as the largest party in the European Parliament with 263 seats. For a majority in the parliament 379 seats are needed.

The ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), which Fianna Fail is part of, has 80 seats giving a combined ALDE-EPP link up of 343 seats. This is 36 seats short.

For getting Barosso elected it would be easy for the EPP and ALDE to link up with the new Conservative grouping and get a majority for that election.

The question is who will be President of the Parliament. According to Euractiv.com the EPP have suggested a grand coaltion of the EPP, ALDE and the Party of European Socialists (PES) which would have 505 seats in the Parliament.

Graham Watson of the ALDE wants to be President of the Parliament and there will be no shortage of candidates in the EPP and PES vying for the top job in the Parliament.

Normally the President is elected for two and half years and is shared between two grouping. Im not sure how its going to be shared among three groupings over five years?

Lets see how the negotiations go, but it will be strange to have Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in a coalition no?

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