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January 03, 2007 | The Euro loses more and more of its popularity
A majority of French people believe the switch to the euro five years ago was bad for their country, according to a recent poll, which suggests the French blame the common European currency for damaging economic growth and causing price hikes. Ahead of Slovenia's entry into the eurozone on Monday, a poll showed that 52% of French respondents think that giving up the franc has been "quite bad" or "very bad" for France, compared with 45% three years ago. Even 94% were convinced the euro has fuelled inflation. A Forsa poll showed a similar result for Germany: Five years after the entry into circulation of euro notes and coins, Die Welt reported on December 20, 2006 that according to a new Forsa poll, 58% of Germans want to go back to their former currency, the D-mark.
December 19, 2006 | Convicted sheep No 639!
Harmonization is a very surprising issue. After the banana and the cucumber regulations which usefully describe the appearence, shape and texture of these natural products, the Commission has struck again with its new porcelain sheep regulation! In an astonishing description, Regulation No 1462/2006 teaches us that this particular product shall be "an article in the form of a sheep measuring approximately 10 cm in height".
December 12, 2006 | The EU will decline
In an interview made by the BBC's Westminster hour, professor Alberto Alesina of Harvard University, co-author of a book called The future of Europe - Reform of decline, stressed that Europe's economy "has lost the ability to grow" and that "political decline will soon follow". According to Alesina, European work less than American but still benefit of "a confortable life of long holidays, short working hours and over-generous welfarism". This situation was sustainable in a previous era of high European productivity growth but it is no longer the case.
December 06, 2006 | Disagreement on giving up veto rights
Currently all judicial agreements on EU level must be agreed unanimously by all 25 states. But the European Commission says the fight against terrorism shows the need to be able to reach decisions by majority. At least 14 member states want to keep control of issues like counter terrorism and cross-border policing. Franco Frattini, the EU's justice commissioner, said: "We can no longer tolerate a situation where one country of 25 opposes a decision". British home secretary John Reid said: "We should not, by using weasel words, attempt to revisit this [topic] at a higher level when there's such a clear majority". Nevertheless the topic was put on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels next week.
November 22, 2006 | 29% of Germans on being in the EU: disadvantages prevail
The German daily F.A.Z. reports on a poll which was done by the Association of banks (BdB). 1529 German voters were asked. The result reflects drastically how far away German citizens are from the EU and how little they do know about it. It also states quite a contradiction between the moderate approval of EU benefits by the citizens and the enthusiasm for the EU spread by the German government, parliament and the media. However, for many observers from all across the EU who normally think that Germans in general are the most enthusiastic Europeans, these figures will be quite enlightening.
November 16, 2006 | No question: The Euro is to be introduced!
An announcement by the Polish government to ask the Polish citizens whether or not they would prefer the Euro to the Zloty in a referendum in 2010 caused some friendly clarification on the part of EU officials. The Poles were reminded that with the accession referendum on EU membership, the introduction of the Euro was already included in the package. As soon as they met the criteria to enter the monetary union it would be obligatory for them to join Euroland. Obviously it is not important, whether the Polish citizens want it or not.
November 02, 2006 | The EU Constitution will not be ratified in Germany
The German Supreme Court announced this Tuesday that it will postpone the decision about the destiny of the EU Constitution in Germany. The Court's decision will be delayed until after there is final agreement on the Constitution at a political level, stating that it did not want to influence the political decision making process.
October 26, 2006 | Since 12 years in a row: No discharge of the EU's budget
This week the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has refused the discharge of the EU's budget for 12 years in a row. Its report cites "weak internal controls for the majority of EU expenditure, both within Member States and at the Commission, and a high incidence of errors in the underlying transactions".
October 18, 2006 | 54% of UK business doubts benefit of single market
A new ICM poll of 1,000 UK Chief Executives, commissioned by the British think tank Open Europe, finds that businesses feel that the European Union is moving in the wrong direction, and producing too much costly regulation. According to the poll 52% think the EU is failing; 54% think EU over-regulation outweighs the benefit of the Single Market. The survey finds that businesses think the cost of implementing EU regulations now outweighs the benefit of the Single Market they are supposed to create. Even the businesses which do the most trade in other EU countries feel the same way. To improve the situation 93% think it is a good idea to reduce the amount of bureaucracy the EU produces and 89% think clear fixed limits on the powers of the EU should be established.
October 12, 2006 | Berlin will be a symbol of the new Europe
After a meeting with the president of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso in Berlin (11 October) German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed her views that she is against the procedure to adopt only single parts of the constitution. Therefore "the German presidency should have the goal of facilitating agreement on a roadmap, a timeframe, a way to proceed, and I want us to be very ambitious in engaging this goal", said Merkel. But she made very clear that she wants to stick to the concept of a Constitution: "The final result should be a structure that is deserving of the word constitutional treaty, it should not only be a institutional regulation how to vote in the future".
October 11, 2006 | EU to launch 7 million Euro anniversary PR campaign
Austrian daily Die Presse reports that the EU intends to use its upcoming 50th anniversary next year to win back the hearts of the European citizens, with more than 7 million Euro being earmarked for an ambitious PR campaign.
October 11, 2006 | EU Commissioner Mandelson wants to avoid asking the people
Mandelson prefers to adopt only theses parts of the EU Constitution that could pass without the need to ask the people. Mandelson: "Anything that crosses the threshold of requiring a referendum will immediately run into difficulties".
October 11, 2006 | From 2009 children could be obliged to give fingerprints
EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible. EU documents revealed by Statewatch say that - "scanning of fingerprints: up to 12 years of age.." should be possible "if provided for by national legislation..." "From 12 years of age:" it shall be "compulsory".
October 11, 2006 | Will authorities certify you to be a "good guy"?
EU ministers want airlines to provide advance passenger lists for all flights inside Europe as well as in and out of Europe, including domestic routes. These will be checked against the "biometric identifier" - electronic eye scan or fingerprint - in the passenger's passport or identity card when they check in.
October 11, 2006 | Millions of euros in EU aid falls into hands of Italian fraudsters
Convicted of taking EU subsidies of more than €50 million by fraud between 2000 and 2004, the EU even granted another tranche of €17 million to an Italian fraudster to set up another false company while on bail.
October 11, 2006 | Germany's desperate search for content
According to unconfirmed information Angela Merkel wants to submit a lean version of the EU Constitution in June 2007. But the new document shall not be named a constitution.
October 11, 2006 | Frattini keen to speed up EU anti-terror machine
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini has said that EU member states need to give up their veto over criminal justice and policing in order to prevent another terrorist attack.
October 11, 2006 | "Wise men" to solve EU crisis
A group of "wise men" namely ex-PMs Giuliano Amato (I), Paavo Lipponen (FIN) and Wim Kok (NL) plus EU Commissioners Danuta Hubner and Margot Wallstom plus ex-commissioner Chris Patten (UK), ex-foreign minister Michel Barnier (F) and ex-justice minister Otto Schily (D) meet to come up with solutions for EU's institutional crisis.