March 29, 2007 | The Alternative Berlin Declaration
At the end of the Berlin Conference on March 23-25 2007, the EUDemocrats, along with the other organisers, presented the "Alternative Berlin Declaration". This declaration intends to counter the official Declaration of the heads of state and claims solutions to the real problems the EU is facing.
March 28, 2007 | The 50 years of the Treaty of Rome or How to domesticate the people
This week end's celebrations of the fifty years of the Treaty of Rome witness the attempts made by the EU leaders to redress their reputation towards a growing discouragement in the public. The Berlin PR event was indeed well drafted: a village had been built with various tents, offering specialties from all twenty seven countries and advertising for leading civil society organisations. A concert took place under the Brandenburg door featuring artists from all over Europe and an information track was reproducing the most important dates in the history of the EU.
March 20, 2007 | Launching the EU Lobbyists' register
In accordance with its previous commitments, the Commission has launched a strategy to improve transparency in the decision-making process. One of the most criticized part of this process concerns the influence acquired by the 15.000 lobyists based in Brussels who provide information and influence to the various DGs inside the Commission. In order to tackle the phenomena and soothe the critics, the Commission is planning to activate on March 21st a blueprint for a lobbyists register with the aim of creating a website listing all PR consultancies, in-house corporate staff and public interest NGOs as well as their clients or donors and the fees or budget they get to influence EU policy.
February 27, 2007 | Parliament initiative: Utopia or reality?
Tackling the monopoly of the Commission to propose EU laws has been an issue for some MEPs for more than a decade but any proposal to change the status of the Commission provokes reactions that usually range between indignation and contempt. It is not that the EU leaders are opposed to any change, the reason behind these reactions is more likely to be found in the will to preserve the symbols of the European construction, among which the Commission certainly holds the first position. The shape of the European institutions was decided in a time where efficient action and proactive move towards integration were needed.
February 26, 2007 | The No did not bring the crisis; the crisis brought the No!
"Initiative for a European Constituent Assembly" is the name of a conference held in Paris on February 23rd and 24th attended by EUD staff. The Event was organized by Jean-Luc Melenchon, socialist senator in France and president of "Pour la Republique Sociale" and Oskar Lafontaine, Deputy and head of the group "Die Linke" in the German Bundestag. The debates on Friday 23rd and the presence of Member of Parliament from several European countries allowed the public to have an overview of the situation characterizing the relationship between the EU and their national country.
February 16, 2007 | When the EU started to look at the stars
Subsidiarity is a principle according to which the decisions are to be taken as closely as possible from the citizens. Although it is one of the principles of the European Union a growing number of people are concerned about the reality of its implementation in the integration process. Signs show that, despite a Treaty anchor of subsidiarity, the EU is conducted by another principle which results in a self-initiated growing appropriation of competences to the detriment of local, regional or national authorities.
February 14, 2007 | Member States choking investigation on CIA flights
MEPs have voted favourably to a highly critical report accusing 14 Member States of accepting and concealing illegal actions conducted by the CIA from 2001 to 2005 such as transporting presumed terrorists using European airspace. The debate in the EP was nevertheless tumultuous, with 382 MEPs in favour, 256 against and 74 abstentions. Inside the Parliament, most of the critics came from the centre-right group who believed the report is biased, anti-American and lacking evidence.
February 06, 2007 | The EU: between National interest and economic lobbies
In the past few weeks, the European Commission has been searching for effective measures in order to involve the car industry in the efforts to tackle climate change. Because of the poor results obtained by this industry to voluntarily reduce CO2 emissions to 140 grams per kilometer by 2008, Environment Commissioner Mr. Stavros Dimas has proposed to set up a binding and fixed amount of emissions to 120 grams per kilometer by 2012.
February 01, 2007 | EU to improve transparency
Along with democracy, flexibility and subsidiarity, transparency is one of the four major reforms the EUDemocrats would like to see in tomorrow's EU. However increasing citizen's requests to access information have brought public access to EU documents in the new challenges of the Commission. A Friend of the Earth (FOE) campaigner said last year that there is a culture of secrecy running through the European Commission, and the public and groups like FOE must fight for every piece of paper to be made public.
January 26, 2007 | Monty Merkel and the Holy Grail
A few months ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's words were: "I would consider it an historical failure if we do not succeed in working out the substance of the Constitutional Treaty by the time the next European elections take place", adding that she and the German government would work intensively during the six month presidency so that such a Treaty can go into force. Indeed, less that a month after the beginning of the German presidency, the Constitution talks are already monopolizing the European debate. Yesterday, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the French candidates to the presidential elections Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal to avoid upsetting the EU Constitution process by using it as an issue in the country's elections.
January 24, 2007 | Democracy, yes! But without the people
German Chancelor Angela Merkel is multiplying the means of pressure to get the Constitutional zombie, body ratified by the bad pupils of the class. Altogether, eighteen Member States have ratified the Constitution, but nine are still missing. Since the French and Dutch referenda, the UK, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland and Denmark have postponed indefinitely the planned referenda or parliamentary ratification. Keen on getting things moving, Mrs. Merkel has insisted during her speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 17th January that any further enlargement couldn't be done on the basis of the Nice Treaty.
January 15, 2007 | EU policies lacking representation
In an interview for newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Germany's ex-president Roman Herzog declared that policies suffer to an alarming degree from a lack of democracy and a de facto suspension of the separation of power. Noting that, with 84% of German laws emanating from Brussels between 1999 and 2004, by far the biggest parts of the current laws in Germany are agreed by the council of ministers and not the German parliament. Herzog explained that despite there being a Constitutional anchor making the German parliament the central actor in the shaping of the political community, it is still being threatened as more and more powers are transferred to the EU level. Therefore the question has to be raised of whether Germany can still unreservedly be called a parliamentary democracy.
January 12, 2007 | German minister bypasses national parliament in EU debate
German minister Brigit Zypries was criticised by German MP on her consent for the creation of a new EU fundamental rights agency during an EU justice ministers meeting on 4-5 December. Her agreement occurred despite the promise of the government to take a very restrictive position in accordance with the reserves emitted by German parliament. In a letter addressed to Mrs. Merkel on December 22, head of the parliament's EU affairs committee Matthias Wissmann said: "When dealing with the fundamental rights agency, the European affairs committee took a moderate approach and trusted ...the very restrictive position pledged by the government", the document states.
January 04, 2007 | Germany keen on developping European FBI
Four days after taking over the EU presidency, Germany is ready to go for further integration. The German daily Die Welt am Sonntag recently published an article showing that the interior ministers of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, the three countries assuming the presidency during the next 18 month, are calling for a strenghtening of the powers of Europol to combat cross-border crime. The three ministers Wolfgang Schauble, Antonio Costa and Dragutin Marte even pleaded for giving police 'executive powers' in member states other than their own in exceptional circumstances (e.g. The World Cup).
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.