One currency, one interest rate policy, but a fragmented national supervision of the banking sector - last year’s economic troubles revealed an important flaw in the eurozone. There is no central supervision of banks which operate internationally. Normally, the national supervisory authorities - often the central banks, but not always - exercise this control. How unworkable this situation can be was revealed by the collapse of the Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis which fell apart amid confusion and miscommunication between the supervisory authorities.
More in Handelsblat article.
Croatian accession treaty was already menitoned plan C for passing the Lisbon Treaty through regardless of people’s hopes of referendums. But here we are now in a special situation where anything can happen.
Slovenian public has been tense for many years about the details at the south border with Croatia. Open exit to the international waters and some land disputes have been enough for Slovenes to start debating a referendum thus “preventing” Croatia from entering EU.
On the other hand same referendum attempts can be seen as an altruistic and brotherly gesture by Slovenes who have already experienced “bright lights of Brussels” and found nothing spectacular there. Seeing that Croatian political elite has no intention of calling referendums on EU and NATO accession - Slovenes might do just what is right - to help your neighbour in trouble.
Almost a full year ago we were reporting good news from the Belgian courts; victory went for the defendant, German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack, who has been dragged through the tar and feathers for trying to shed some light on corruption within OLAF and EU Commission.
As euobserver.com reports; “The Belgians by themselves decided to close the case now at last,” Mr Tillack told a press conference after the country’s public prosecutor concluded that there was not enough evidence against the journalist.
The saga started almost five years ago when OLAF suggested the reporter, working for German news magazine Stern, had bribed EU officials in order to gather documents for an article he published in 2002 on alleged irregularities in OLAF.
31.12.2008 @ 10:00 CET, euobserver.com
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday ruled out holding a referendum on joining the euro, Dziennik reports. “There will be no referendum. It’s out of the question,” he said, adding that neither he nor the opposition could envisage a meaningful question to ask Polish people.
When you are head of state of the country about to hold the EU presidency, you might normally be looking forward to a taste of the international limelight, and a busier, more prestigious schedule than usual.
But Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, may be relishing his country’s assumption of EU leadership in January for very different reasons - as an opportunity to publicise views which other EU leaders will not enjoy hearing.
More in this BBC article.
And another excellent intervention by MEP Farage in defence of President Klaus:
New research by Open Europe, a think-tank that supports EU reform, has found that so-called European “information” campaigns are one-sided and boast a budget that is bigger than Coca-Cola’s total worldwide advertising account.
One publication, entitled How the European Union works, described the EU as “a remarkable success story”. Another English-language “information” pamphlet claimed the EU “is delivering a better life for everyone” and described the single market as “a winning formula.” The researchers also found a European Commission document that admitted: “Neutral factual information is needed of course, but it is not enough on its own. Genuine communication by the EU cannot be reduced to the mere provision of information.”
Lorraine Mullally, director of Open Europe, said: “Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for vain PR exercises to make us love the EU. The EU needs urgent and radical reform, not expensive campaigns to improve its image.”
The research also found that projects, such as the EU’s School Milk Scheme, come with propaganda strings attached.
“The scheme requires schools to display a **European school milk poster* which must be ‘permanently situated at a clearly visible and readable place at the main entrance’ of the school,” finds the study.
“It even specifies that the poster must be ‘A3 or bigger, with letters 1cm or bigger’.”
The right of the trade unions to take strike/blockade actions against a foreign company, which occasionally have workers posted in Sweden should be constrained. This is one of the proposals in the Laval inquiry set up by the Swedish government. Last year in December the European Court of Justice in a judgment concluded that the Swedish Construction and Electrician trade unions were wrong, when they by a blockade in the town of Vaxholm in 2004 would enforce the Latvian construction company Laval to sign a Swedish collective agreement.
The government investigator, Cleas Stråht, also the director of the Labour Arbitration Institute, presented 12 December his proposal of legislation changes, which need to be addressed after the Laval judgement. The government had asked for a solution which fully respects the EU legislation, but at the same time would imply that the Swedish labour market model should be possible to apply on posted workers, who work occasionally in Sweden.
The Stråth proposal means that the trade unions chances to take strike/blockade actions against a foreign company posted in Sweden will be heavily constrained. The unions are only allowed to claim minimum wage and minimum conditions from foreign companies, and no other benefits negotiated in Swedish collective agreements. If the posted workers have any form of agreement from the country of origin, which are comparable with the conditions in Sweden, then a Swedish trade union has no right to enforce the foreign company to sign a Swedish collective agreement by using strike actions.
“The constraint of the right to take industrial actions is when the employees have provisions which are as good or better than the provisions which are approved in the country of origin”, says Claes Stråth.
Today @ 17:47 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Legal guarantees promised to Ireland and paving the way for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in the country are to be written into a protocol together with Croatia’s accession treaty to the EU in 2010 or 2011, current EU President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday (12 December).
EU leaders in Brussels this week (11-12 December) agreed to a series of concessions to allow Dublin to make possible a second vote on the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty some time in the course of next year.
These include a guarantee that each member state will keep a commissioner in future European Commissions – despite the document initially foreseeing a reduction of the size of the institution, as well as a promise that the EU would not impose rules on Ireland concerning taxation, “ethical issues” – such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriages - or interfere with its traditional neutrality.
All these issues were highlighted by Dublin as the main concerns of Irish citizens when they first rejected the Lisbon Treaty in June this year.
In order to make these promises legally binding, they will be written into a protocol in Croatia’s accession treaty.
Pan-Europe Libertas Party launched to fight ‘anti-democratic’ Brussels
11.12.2008 @ 16:00 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Declan Ganley, the Irish businessman behind the Libertas campaign group, of the key organisations that defeated the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland’s referendum on the text in June, has launched Libertas as the first truly pan-European political party.
The new Libertas Party, which aims to run candidates in all 27 European Union states for the European Parliament elections in June 2009, says it wants to democratise the European institutions, with an elected commission and a president.
Press Statement by
People’s Movement - Gluaiseacht an Phobail
Today’s announcement following the European Council meeting has confirmed to the Irish public that since the Lisbon referendum last summer the Irish Government has been conspiring in secret with the EU Commission and Europe’s political elite to subvert the sovereign democratic will of the Irish people rather than represent it. The subversion of the democratic will of the Irish people has resulted in Ireland becoming a post - democratic state and the EU entering a post-democratic era.
Press Statement by
People’s Movement - Gluaiseacht an Phobail
Frank Keoghan, Secretary of People’s Movement – Gluaiseacht an Phobail, a group that campaigned for rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, has said that, ‘When the people of France and the Netherlands voted to reject the EU Constitution, their governments requested that ratification should stop because of the unanimity requirement for treaties to come into force. But the Irish government chose to ignore the democratic decision of the Irish people and immediately began conniving with other EU leaders in order to find a way of circumventing the referendum result’.
Speaking at a People’s Movement vigil outside the EU Commission building at Place Schumann in Brussels, where People’s Movement delivered a letter to Council President Sarkozy, he pointed out that, ‘This process has culminated in the Taoiseach travelling to Brussels today to be told by EU leaders how to solve the ‘Irish question’. It is plain, that irrespective of the rules of the EU, there is one rule for the big member states and another for the smaller ones and that all the EU leaders are now guilty of corrupting democracy in an increasingly post – democratic era for the European Union’.
ADDITIONAL NOTE by
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Thursday 11 December 2008
Under the current Nice Treaty arrangements (Treaty Establishing the European Community, Article 214.2) Member States have the right to “propose” a Commissioner every five years. This is effectively a right to decide, because while the others can ask the Member State in question to give them some other proposal if they do not like the person proposed, if that Member State declines to change its mind, its proposal will prevail, for otherwise it can refuse to accept the proposals of the others.
Article 214.2 TEC reads: “The Council, acting by a qualified majority and by common accord with the nominee for the President shall adopt the list of other persons whom it intends to appoint as Members of the Commission, drawn up in accordance with the proposals made by each Member State.”
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Thursday 11 December 2008
Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s hypocrisy in pretending to “respect” the people’s referendum vote on Lisbon is now evident, for not a jot or tittle of Lisbon will be altered when he forces the people to vote on it a second time next year.
Political Declarations or promises regarding future Treaties that are not yet even drafted will not alter a comma of the Lisbon Treaty.
If people vote Yes in Lisbon Two to exactly the same Treaty which they voted No to last June they will be changing the Irish Constitution so as to recognise the supremacy of the law of the new Union which Lisbon would establish over anything contrary, whether in the Irish Constitution or in political Declarations and promises that might be tacked on to Lisbon.
Comment by DECLAN GANLEY AND JENS-PETER BONDE
Today , Thursday 11 December 2008 @ 09:13 CET
EUOBSERVER / COMMENT - The French president yesterday told the group leaders of the European parliament that he has made a deal with the Irish government to hold a second referendum in Ireland to ratify the Lisbon treaty first rejected on 12 June by 53 percent of Irish voters.
None of the representatives of the Irish people who voted No to the Lisbon Treaty were consulted by the Irish government before they struck a deal with the French Presidency. The Irish government has simply ignored the result of the referendum and betrayed those people who voted No in the majority.
Russia, EU are strategic partners — Lavrov
MOSCOW, December 10 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regards the European Union as Russia’s strategic partner.
Speaking at a meeting with foreign businessmen on Wednesday, he said that “EU is Russia’s closest neighbour and partner both in politics and economy.” According to Lavrov, those relations “are acquiring a new quality, and we have every reason to describe them today as strategic partnership.” “We are satisfied with the level of our relations,” the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.
This initiative clearly demonstrates the Empire’s determination to combat criminal acts.
Op ATALANTA will involve six warships and three surveillance aircraft with contributions expected from the provinces of Britannia, Frankia, Hellas, Hispano, and Germania, patrolling a million square lightyears of the Indian Galaxy and Rings of Aden where pirates have captured several vessels and taken numerous hostages this aeon alone.
from euobserver.com NEWS IN BRIEF
The Czech parliament has put off a debate on ratifying the Lisbon treaty until 3 February, DPA reports. The decision was taken by a 159 against 8 vote. The conservative ODS party of prime minister Topolanek pushed for the delay to try and clinch a political deal on the US missile shield first.
Today @ 09:24 CET
Draft conclusions for this week’s EU summit say the Lisbon treaty is to enter into force on 1 January 2010 in a deal struck by Ireland and the French EU presidency, Reuters reports, citing diplomatic sources. The phrasing will put pressure on Ireland to hold a second referendum on the text in time.
by Niall, Ireland
To understand the Machiavellian machinations behind the EU Project we must examine the psychological roots of the rapacious centralisation of power. Watching Europe’s political class squirm after Ireland’s No vote, I couldn’t help but feel that some of them know something we don’t: there is an agenda that must be met. Ireland could not be threatened into sealing the nEU Deal, yet it’s business as usual for the fanatical Eurocrats who are adamant nothing will get in their way.
It is evident, for those with eyes to see, that political discord between rival criminal cartels is purely for public consumption. Bread and circuses. Policy is not shaped by party politics. Decisions are made by a few: everyone else adjusts or starves. Weapons of financial mass destruction deployed by Central Bankers and Disaster-Capitalists, under the guise of protecting the markets and improving the efficiency of the system, vacuum the wealth of the nations – the work people produce – into ever fewer hands.
Meeting between Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament, Friday 5 December 2008, Prague Castle
Daniel Cohn-Bendit MEP: I brought you a flag, which - as we heard - you have everywhere here at the Prague Castle. It is the flag of the European Union, so I will place it here in front of you.
It will be a tough Presidency. The Czech Republic will have to deal with the work directive and climate package. EU climate package represents less than what our fraction would wish for. It will be necessary to hold on to the minimum of that. I am certain that the climate change represents not only a risk, but also a danger for the future development of the planet. My view is based on scientific views and majority approval of the EP and I know you disagree with me. You can believe what you want, I don’t believe, I know that global warming is a reality.
Lisbon Treaty: I don’t care about your opinions on it. I want to know what you are going to do if the Czech Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approve it. Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people? You will have to sign it….
Les eurodéputés au pays des Tchèques
LE MONDE | 05.12.08 | 14h42 • Mis à jour le 05.12.08 | 14h43
Cette semaine, les eurodéputés sont partis en goguette. Direction Prague, au pays de la future présidence de l’Union européenne. Les plus fous nourrissaient l’ultime espoir d’évangéliser les eurosceptiques Tchèques et de donner des leçons d’Europe au plus dur à cuire de tous, l’ultralibéral et souverainiste président Vaclav Klaus. Il devait recevoir les chefs de groupe parlementaire pendant une demi-heure, vendredi 5 décembre.
Jeudi soir, dans un café pragois, le Vert Dany Cohn-Bendit répète le numéro qu’il a mijoté pour le président. Dany a pris de sérieux risques : il a apporté de Bruxelles un tout petit drapeau européen qu’il s’apprête à brandir comme un fétiche et à poser sur le bureau de Vaclav Klaus. “Il est phobique. On va bien voir”, se réjouissait-il avant l’aventure.
Wednesday 3 December 2008
Following poll was reported in the Daily Star on page 8.
70% reject a second Lisbon referendum
57% would vote No in a Treaty rerun.
A new opinion poll shows that 70% of people do not want a rerun of the Lisbon Treaty. The poll also shows that if a new treaty was forced upon the electorate that it would end up being heavily defeated.
The poll was carried out by former staff members of the Catholic Hibernian magazine, who have now set up their own non-profit social affairs research organization Gael Poll.
The chief advisor to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Ladislav Jakl, has argued Mr Klaus should lodge a fresh complaint against the Lisbon treaty at the country’s constitutional court, citing future loss of sovereignty, Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza reports. The court cleared an earlier complaint last week.
source: euobserver.com news in brief
(N.B. The four numbered sections below correspond to the four issues the Committee has been asked to report on. See also the preliminary submission above.)
1. The challenges facing Ireland following the Lisbon Treaty referendum result:
By voting No to the Lisbon Treaty on 12 June 2008 the majority of Irish voters rejected the proposal that they should change the Irish Constitution to allow the abolition of the present European Union and European Community which were established by the the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht as amended, and their replacement by a legally new European Union, separate from and superior to its Member States, which would be established by the Lisbon Treaty, whose laws, acts and measures would thereafter have the force of law in the State. The Irish people thereby rejected the attempt to establish a European Union which would have the constitutional form of a supranational Federation, of which they would be made real citizens for the first time, just as the peoples of France and the Netherlands rejected a similar proposition when they voted No to the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe in 2005.
The letter below is being sent today to all Irish Deputies and Senators in connection with the proposal to re-run the Lisbon Referendum in order to get a different result.
It is accompanied by copies of the two submissions (first below, second here)made to the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Ireland’s Future in the EU by Anthony Coughlan on behalf of this organisation
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre 24 Crawford Avenue Dublin 9
Tel.: 00-353-1-8305792 Web-site: nationalplatform.org
Thursday 27 November 2008
The top officials in Foreign Affairs sold Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister Micheal Martin a pup when they persuaded them on the morning of the Lisbon referendum count last June that they should not respect the people’s democratic vote by accepting that Ireland could not ratify Lisbon because the voters had rejected it.
That would have been the end of Lisbon and opened the way to a better Treaty.