Big Brother never sleeps - and other stories from around the EU superstate.
27/06/2009


Open Europe

 

Europe
Senior Socialist MEP threatens Ireland with "second class" status and "isolation" if it rejects the Lisbon Treaty again;
[SEE "The Germans are still bullying the world - Ireland this time.  " sent earlier I HAVE SENT A COPY TO THE GERMAN MEP CONCERNED] 
Irish PM: "It's time we had a debate about the sort of Ireland we want in Europe, not the sort of Europe we feel bests suits Ireland"
The Parliament reports that senior German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen has warned that Ireland risks being relegated to a "second class" nation if it again rejects the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum scheduled for the autumn. Leinen said, "If there is a 'No' vote in Ireland I think we are likely to see a two-speed Europe emerge, with Ireland being in what might be called the 'second class'. Those in 'first class' will forge ahead in policy areas such as foreign affairs, justice and energy while the Irish will fall back."

 

He added the Irish people "have to ask themselves if they want to be isolated from the rest of the EU or to be integrated into the EU" and that the Irish must vote 'Yes' if they wish to continue to benefit from the "protective umbrella" that the EU provides.

 

The Irish Times reports that Irish PM Brian Cowen has said that it would be politically naïve to assume that there would be no "political consequences or effect" to a 'No' vote in the second referendum. He said that, "it's time we had a debate about the sort of Ireland we want in Europe, not the sort of Europe we feel bests suits Ireland." Cowen added, "Ireland could not survive the current economic crisis without our membership of the euro zone and the availability of resources from the European Central Bank. That is a fact over the last 12 months."

 

Czech daily Ceskenoviny reports that Czech Europe Minister Stefan Fuele has repeated comments made by Gordon Brown this week that Ireland's 'guarantees' on the Lisbon Treaty will not change the text of the Treaty. He told a Senate committee that, "The guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty itself in any respect. They have the character of explanatory assurances. In other words, the Irish guarantees only confirm and explain what is already in the text of the Lisbon treaty."
De Larosière slams EU hedge funds proposal

City AM reports that three of the world's top regulatory reformers, the author of the EU's report on a financial regulatory system, Jacques de Larosière, FSA chairman, Lord Turner, and Sir James Sassoon, criticised the EU's draft proposal for hedge fund regulation yesterday.  De Larosière noted that he "had some doubts on the wisdom of some aspects of the directive," and that "private equity should be kept out of heavy regulation".  Sassoon added that, "It's hard to find a kind word to say about a directive so disproportionate in scope, so protectionist in its effect, and so poorly drafted".

 

Citywire writes that the FSA has urged the European Commission to amend its proposed EU directive to regulate hedge funds, quoting FSA asset management sector leader Dan Waters saying, 'Perhaps out of necessity, it was produced under extraordinary time pressure. This has yielded a directive whose scope and content are a surprise and in many cases a complete shock to the markets that are affected. The impact analysis, performed at a high level on the back of the early general thoughts, could not possibly have addressed the myriad detailed impacts of the sweeping scope of this directive". He argues that the restrictions, similar to the ones placed on UCITs, are unnecessary as hedge funds are not marketed to the retail public.

 

Writing for the IHT, Melvyn Krauss argues that the EU should follow US President Obama's lead in deciding to not regulate hedge funds and private equity.

 

Spain's €2.7bn in EU fishing subsidies accused of exacerbating overfishing
{There's no way of amending the present fisheries policy.  it has to be torn up and a fresh start made as long as we are in the EU! -cs
According to the Guardian, Spain has received more than €2.7bn in subsidies in the last 12 years for fishing practices which exacerbate overfishing. Markus Knigge, Research Director for Pew Environment Group has said that "rather than encouraging sustainable fishing, subsidies have contributed to ever-greater capacity of fishing fleets and in turn to the depletion of valuable fish stocks".

 

According to the paper, similar levels of subsidies exist in the current 2007-2013 budget period, with some of the biggest cash windfalls going to ships notorious for their questionable practices. Greenpeace named a Spanish trawler which has received more than €4m in subsidies as "the most egregious offender against vulnerable stocks of Mediterranean blue fin tuna". A new website, "fishsubsidy.org" has been created to establish greater transparency about EU fishing subsidies.

 

Writing on Conservative Home Sally McNamara, Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, looks at the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and cites Open Europe's findings that "12 areas of foreign policy, including the election of the EU foreign minister and proposals emanating from the foreign minister [which] will move from unanimity voting to qualified majority", under the Lisbon Treaty.

 

Finnish MEP decides not to join Conservatives in new EP grouping
Helsingin Sanomat reports that Hannu Takkula, recently announced as the only Finnish member of the new Conservative group in the European Parliament, has decided not to join the group after all. He will remain in the liberal ALDE group alongside his Keskusta party-colleagues, reducing the number of ECR participant countries to seven.

 

Edward McMillan-Scott, a senior Conservative MEP has expressed concern over some of the parties in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, according to the Telegraph, saying that he will make his own "investigations into the backgrounds of these people".

 

Dan Hannan MEP has defended the new Conservative European Parliament grouping, saying, "the ECR is a growing political force" and that "it is starting to look as though we shall hold the balance of power in the new Parliament".

 

Meanwhile, writing on the Guardian's Comment is Free website, Michael White argues that the Conservatives' "self-inflicted isolation" in the European Parliament could backfire, because the EPP grouping that they have left is guaranteed important seats on committees who will work on the EU's proposals for financial regulation.

 

Sweden keen to focus on energy efficiency during presidency
[This could be the type of 'Green' thinking which makes sense not that global Warming rubbish -cs] 
EurActiv reports that Sweden is seeking to advance the EU's energy efficiency legislation during its forthcoming presidency, which starts on 1 July.  The article notes that Sweden's economic and environmental strategy focuses on "transition into an eco-efficient economy", and that Sweden will push ahead even without political agreement from all member states.

 

The BBC outlines Sweden's priorities for its presidency, which include tackling the economic crisis, climate change, ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, promoting a common asylum policy (the Stockholm Programme), and addressing environmental and economic policy in the Baltic region. European Voice also reports that the Swedish presidency aims to reach a consensus on whether to proceed with a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

 

European Commission wants single agency to manage all border data
[Big Brother never sleeps!  -
European Voice reports that the European Commission has adopted a proposal to set up a single agency by 2012 to manage data, including fingerprints and details of passports and visas, collected for databases used by border guards and law-enforcement agencies.  The proposed agency would manage data for the Schengen Information System (SIS II), which Britain and Ireland are a part of, the Visa Information System (VIS), the Eurodac system for fingerprint data and other large-scale IT systems.  

 

No clear European Parliament majority for Barroso
EurActiv reports that there are a large majority of MEPs who are seemingly against holding a vote on the election of Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as European Commission President on 15 July, and some MEPs may seek to delay it.

 

Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt will meet with leaders of the political groupings in the European Parliament in Stockholm on 6 July to try and secure backing for Barroso, according to European Voice.

 

Bloomberg notes that the Chairman of Lloyd's of London, Peter Levene, has criticised the EU's proposals on financial supervision, stating that, "Different countries operate in different ways... you need harmonious regulation.  But, you need to have it adapted to local requirements".

 

Grim outlook for stability pact as budget deficits expand across Europe
The WSJ reports that budget deficits in the European Union are deteriorating "markedly" and that German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück declared that Germany has to consolidate spending or risk losing its triple-A credit rating. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said the UK Government needs to draw up more ambitious plans for reducing its deficit. The European Commission said Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Malta have excessive budget deficits. Under EU rules, countries must keep their budget deficits below 3% of gross domestic product.

 

Le Monde quotes Peer Steinbrück saying that Germany will not be able to respect the stability pact until 2013. EU rules say that during a recession governments can overshoot the deficit as a 'temporary and exceptional' measure.

 

Meanwhile, Süddeutsche reports that Germany has reached an all time budget debt record of €86.1 billion, double the previous record from 1996.

 

Border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia "useless"
[No hurry though as they want to use Croatia's accession Treaty to tack on Ireland's (meaningless) protocols -cs] 
Süddeutsche quotes an EU diplomat saying "the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia is completely useless. As EU member states, the borders would practically disappear anyway". EPP group leader Joseph Daul has joined Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt in saying the dispute should be solved bilaterally, without EU intervention.
No link

 

The ECB has lent a record €442bn in 12 month loans to over 1,000 banks in the eurozone in a move dubbed by the FT to be "stimulus by stealth".

 

The FT and WSJ report that China has denied claims made by the EU, US, and other countries that it is practicing protectionism and illegal trade subsidies, and retaliated with its own complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

 

The LA Times quotes an IMF study concluding that Ireland is experiencing the worst recession in the developed world, with its economy shrinking by 8.5% and its budget deficit expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2010.
Writing in the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash argues that, "the most important thing the Lisbon Treaty does is to create the institutional machinery for a better co-ordinated and more effective European foreign policy. The machinery - not the thing itself. That requires the political will of ­sovereign member states."
Prospect magazine reports that the EU is divided on foreign and defence policy and that it seems to be 'slipping backwards', adding that "it must learn to speak in one voice, or others will shape the new world order".

 

Writing in the WSJ, Martin Livermore, Director of Scientific Alliance, criticises the European Emissions Trading Scheme for over-allocation of free permits, resulting in an abuse of the system. He cites the "inherent flaws in the system", and adds, "The entire scheme will remain vulnerable to political interference and thus likely fail to reduce carbon emissions".

 

El Mundo reports that the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has criticised the EU's migration policy, arguing that the EU "takes trained people that we need for our development".
L'Express report that Turkish PM Recep Erdogan is arriving today in Brussels for talks aimed at kick-starting Turkish EU accession plans. This is the second such visit this year as Turkey's candidature faces strong opposition from several member states.

 

FAZ reports that Lothar Bisky has been appointed group leader of the EP's 35 member strong United European Left/Nordic Green Left fraction. Bisky will be supported by Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
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The World Wildlife Fund has said that the recession should enable the EU to increase its carbon emissions reduction target from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020.

 

El Mundo reports that the European Parliament plans to send a delegation, led by EP President Hans-Gert Pottering to Iran to "verify the situation" and "express our solidarity with the people who are fighting for liberty".

 
 
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He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:6

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