Saturday 1 November 2014

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Supply Chain Shame

Posted by on 27/10/14
Supply chains are hardly the source of innovation and product development. As the soft spot of industry competition and dirty tactics, the lack of cooperation and coordination along the supply chain signify industry weakness and opportunity for others. It will only worsen.

Branding federations in EU Affairs

Posted by on 24/10/14
Due to the complexity of the EU institutions and its mechanisms, visibility and branding are a priority for European Federations, especially if they have an operational office in Brussels. I already touched upon EU federations more generally in earlier posts, but in this post I will go more in-depth regarding branding. EU federations need more [...]

Why is the UK being asked to pay in more to the EU budget and what can it do about it?

Posted by on 24/10/14
By Open Europe There are a number of headlines today around the EU’s request for a further €2.1bn from the UK in terms of its contribution to the EU’s budget. We breakdown exactly how and why this has happened and what options the UK has now.

Klima

Posted by on 24/10/14

An einem Klimagipfel teilnehmen zu müssen erinnert an Zähneputzen: Es ist wichtig, aber lästig.Lange schritt Angela Merkel beim Klimaschutz voran. Teils so forsch, dass sie sich den Titel Klimakanzlerin einfing. Jetzt ist das Geschrei groß: Statt bis 2030 EU-weit 30 Prozent Energie zu sparen, stehen nur noch 27 Prozent auf dem Papier. Merkel verrate ihren Titel, monieren Kritiker. Und tatsächlich verlässt Deutschland seine Vorreiterrolle als oberster Klimaschützer. Dies aber ist kein Einknicken gegenüber Kritikern wie Großbritannien oder Polen, sondern Strategie: Den Weltklimagipfel 2015 in Paris im Blick, weiß Merkel, wie wichtig die Einigung auf EU-Ebene ist. Nur wenn sich die 28 Staaten trotz unterschiedlicher Ansprüche verständigen, kann dies Beispiel geben für Paris.

It’s Not All Bad News

Posted by on 24/10/14

In telling the Parliament on Wednesday that the units on medicines and pharmaceutical products will stay with DG Sanco Mr Juncker added “..I agree with you that medicines are not goods like any other”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

This is good news and thanks to those who worked to achieve it, especially the European Parliament.

The new “DG Enterprise” will play an important role in internal discussions in the Commission on policies on food safety, medicines and medical devices because of its responsibility for industrial policy in these areas. There is nothing inherently wrong in this. I have spent a lot of time opposing the views of DG Enterprise on specific points but at national and EU level it is right  to take industrial policy (and the views of industry) into account in overall policy making. What is important is to achieve the right balance, and that would have been impossible if the same DG had been responsible for medicines and for promoting the pharmaceutical industry. In my opinion, that balance was skewed in the past when the two responsibilities were combined – I’m talking about you, Mr Bangemann.

In speaking to the Parliament Mr Juncker went on to say “ The relevant policy will be developed jointly by Vytenis Andriukaitis and by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who showed her incredible talents in her hearing”. The word “jointly’ may mean, as I hope it does, simply a continuation of the a long standing agreement for close coordination on medicines (and food) policy between the two DGs.

There will, however, be a “gatekeeper’ in the new Commission in the form of the First Vice-President, Mr Timmermans, with responsibility for Better Regulation. There is also a strong political tide in favour of a less “interventionist” Commission. The merits of that can be debated but whatever happens it is still better that medicines and medical devices stay within the Health DG.

By the way, some members of DG Enterprise felt that my blogs were accusing them of favouring the industry over patient safety, but I meant nothing of the sort. Faced with a choice between the safety of a medicine and the demands of a pharmaceutical company I am sure they would all opt for safety. My concern was for achieving the right balance in the overall policy on medicines and health. There are important decisions to be made on such issues as transparency, relations between industry and health care providers, the evidence base for clinical decisions, and TTIP, to name just a few. It is too much to expect that the right balance can be achieved on such issues by giving one DG responsibility for medicines and for promoting the pharmaceutical industry.

The Commission will do better with a strong and well resourced internal voice for health.  With the units on medicines and medical devices working alongside its other health units, DG Sanco can be that voice, and I hope it will.END

A European narrative: Propaganda or debate?

Posted by on 23/10/14

Kathleen Garnett

Last week the Committee of the Regions organised its fifth EuroPCom conference at the Committee of the Regions on how to communicate Europe to a wider public. With the rise of vocal, populist right-wing parties that tap into people’s fears, never has the need for Brussels to present it’s case been more important. It is estimated the EU has approximately five years, before the next Parliamentary elections, to do so. If it fails there is the risk that the EU’s very legitimacy will begin to crumble and give way to forces that promote fragmentation rather than union, rupture rather than settlement, chasm rather than understanding.

Many within the EU are trying. God knows they are trying. From catchy You Tube style videos, to social media tricks, from glossy brochure, to children’s comic-strip info-pack, from out-reach programmes to all-singing, all-dancing local youth events. Every single aspect of communicating the EU to a wider European audience has been and was analysed. All interesting. All very expensive. All pretty useless. Those tools can best be described as the props. They are not exactly defining the plot. Nor can they act as the foundation on which to build an effective, accurate communications strategy.

The only tool capable of reaching out to a wider European audience is a pan-European press that presents the European, as opposed to the national, perspective.

For the moment, however, the European narrative is being written elsewhere far away from Brussels by largely hostile script-writers and no amount of social media, You Tube videos, glossy brochures, awards and out-reach programmes alone will be capable of communicating Europe to the wider European public audience.

Never underestimate the vital role that an independent and varied press plays in communicating local, regional and global affairs to a wider public. At the moment most Europeans read, listen and watch the news as presented to them by their national media and they have proven time and again that EU affairs are not their priority.

Worse than blanking out or ignoring EU policies is the continual drip, drip of negative and blatantly exaggerated coverage of the EU by writers who are more than happy to write a hostile narrative. Those controlling the plot portray the EU as the villain – either an egocentric, power-hungry, corrupter of national sovereignty; a bureaucratic tormentor intent on destroying national values or as a petty autocrat imposing tangled diktats on hard-working member sates.

As long as the good times roll such a narrative is largely ignored and put down to the ranting’s of the loonies that are known to inhabit the shadowy swamps of the periphery. By and large the EU is viewed, as an engine for growth, prosperity and peace. Although little understood most Europeans view the EU positively at best, with indifference at worst. Yet years of unchecked snipping from the side-lines by bored journalists, ignorant of EU affairs have slowly but surely begun to tilt the balance. It is their narrative that is creating an opening for the loonies to migrate out of the shadows and colonise the mainstream.

One need look no further than the announcement yesterday by UKIP that it is forming an alliance with a party that denies the holocaust and promotes wife bashing to realise how mainstream the loony views of UKIP have become. The sad reality is that far too many in the UK have become so brain-washed by the constant stream of negative coverage they are now more prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to a Polish holocaust denier than they are the EU. Something is very flawed indeed when UKIP can ally itself with such extreme views and still hope to win thirty seats in Westminster.

For too long the EU has allowed the narrative to be written by editors who have stated, in public, they oppose the EU. Unless a pan-European media is developed to act as a counter-balance to such hostile positions it will be the national media that will shape how Europeans perceive the EU not those in the driving seat. This is problematic. It is the script-writer who has the power to decide the fate of the protagonists. Does the EU really want its fate to be written by an openly antagonistic media?

Yet, the development of a thriving, well written, newsworthy, independent pan-European press to counter-balance the views of the national media was barely touched upon at the conference. When it was, it was dismissed as too expensive, unprofitable, impossible to realise and too politically sensitive to organise. Past failures were cited as evidence that a pan-European media is economically unviable.

Over and again it was said that the promotion of a pan-European media could be construed as EU propaganda. To which euperspectives replies why such timidity? Has Brussels become so brow-beaten and bullied by the snarlings of the euro sceptics that they actually believe there is any merit to such an argument?

In the free world it is vital that news is presented from a variety of sources capable of expressing their own interpretations of world events. In the UK, The Guardian is a left-leaning paper whilst The Times leans to the right. The Mirror panders to Labour voters. The Daily Mail to UKIP. Few question the legitimacy of this approach. As far as the EU is concerned the only voice being heard is that of the national perspective, which is why there is such an imbalance in the reporting of EU affairs.

The EU has but a few years in which to rethink its communication policy. Now is the time for it to seize the initiative and develop a fully functioning, well respected media staffed by experienced journalists and commentators, capable of presenting broad stories that touch a cord with all Europeans. Only in such a way can Europe regain the initiative, write its own narrative from a European perspective and let Europeans decide whether the EU is worth investing in or not based on accurate, informed stories not on half-truths and deception.

Such a project is not only viable, it is the only way to communicate European objectives to a wider audience. Call it propaganda if you will but it you do the EU would only be doing what the national press are already culpable of – no more, no less.

 

Boeing partners with Chinese firm on sustainable biofuel from waste cooking oil

Posted by on 23/10/14

Boeing recently announced a partnership with Chinese aerospace company COMAC to test turning waste cooking oil — also known as “gutter oil” in China — into sustainable aviation biofuel. Boeing and COMAC estimate that used cooking oil in China can result in 1.8 billion litres of biofuel, none of which comes from feedstocks and cropland that competes with food production. The joint facility in Hangzhou will produce 650 litres of biofuel daily with a goal of assessing the feasibility and cost of producing higher volumes.

The initiative continues Boeing’s efforts to support the production of sustainable aviation biofuels suited to local ecosystems around the world — working with partners in the United States, Europe, China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and other countries. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel. On the EU policy side, Boeing continues to advocate for policy measures that can support aviation biofuels development and commercialization.

“Strong and continuing teamwork between Boeing and COMAC is helping our industry make progress on environmental challenges that no single company or country can solve alone,” says Boeing China president Ian Thomas. “By working together for mutual benefit, we’re finding innovative ways to support China’s aviation industry and build a sustainable future.”

 

Are you a good neighbour? [VIDEO]

Posted by on 23/10/14

MyN Platform Concept Video was presented today in Bologna at the Smart City Exhibition!

Check out why you should go to www.my-n.eu :

Report highlights Vitamin D deficiency among children

Posted by on 23/10/14

A report published by the charity Vitamin D Mission earlier this week revealed that, alarmingly, the number of children with vitamin D deficiency has soared by more than 200% in the past five years, with 4,638 under-16s admitted to hospital with vitamin D deficiency and rickets. The cause of this has been attributed to the lack of awareness amongst parents of the importance of vitamin D in ensuring good health. We also heard this week that a similar lack of awareness amongst parents was said to be a contributory factor toward levels of childhood obesity, with some parents apparently oblivious to the fact that their children are overweight and unaware of the importance of encouraging their child to have a balanced diet and adequate exercise.

Upon reading these reports, your initial reaction may be similar to mine – how on earth could parents not realise something which, when set out so logically in a newspaper article, appears so obvious? But then, I would ask any of you to consider the last time you just stopped and thought about the need to take vitamin D supplements or – again, independent of the media’s influence – whether you are of a healthy weight?

The truth is, we all have busy lives. On top of that, many of us may live or have grown up in an environment where health issues such as being overweight are the norm. External guidance is important in helping to remind and educate us – and our families -  about issues that may otherwise not cross our minds. Even simply raising awareness of what is a healthy weight or what vitamins children need when growing up can be very effective.

National Obesity Awareness Week (NOAW), which the Whitehouse Consultancy assists in running, had a huge impact in this, its first year, highlighting the gravity of the obesity epidemic which will escalate if we don’t do more to tackle how children and adult live increasingly unhealthy lives.

Moreover, the messages disseminated in dedicated awareness raising campaigns like NOAW can have multiple benefits; a greater uptake of physical activity among children would not only tackle obesity but also do much to ensure children are getting a greater amount of natural vitamin D from sunlight.

What is clear is that the lack of awareness around these and other public health issues appears to be the common theme underlying widespread incidences of poor public health. The important role of awareness raising campaigns in addressing this cannot be overstated.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies, providing support to NOAW for the past few years. Its range of specialist services for the food sector can be found here.

Unpaid intern work is on the way out

Posted by on 22/10/14

Whitehouse Associate Director Alex Singleton urges students not to take up unpaid work.

To read Alex’s article, please click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

The Paris Climate Conference must agree on abolishing fossil energy subsidies

Posted by on 21/10/14

During the last years international organisations from IMF to IEA have called for the abolition of subsidies on oil and gas consumption. At its meeting in September 2009, the G20 has also agreed to phase them out in the medium term.

Without much avail; most governments concerned continue to ignore these calls, whatever the negative impact of their subsidies on budgets, urban traffic, trade balance, pollution, human health and, of course, the global climate.

The amount of the subsidies does not show signs of decline. It continues to range about half a trillion USD, 0.7 per cent of global GDP!

Most of the subsidies are being granted by low and medium-income countries, which can least afford to squander huge amounts of money for giving wrong incentives.

The other category of sinners are rich oil- and gas- producing countries that seem to consider their oil and gas reserves big enough to indulge in the highest C02 per capita emissions on earth, topping the USA, Canada and Australia.

Fossil-fuel subsidies counter-act the efforts undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help humanity survive in sustainable conditions. By keeping fossil-fuel prices even below low world market levels they push up consumption.

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference must therefore call for rising fossil energy prices in all countries, something that has never been done before.

The first step must be a rapid phasing out of fossil-fuel subsidies to be followed by a progressive introduction of fossil energy taxation, whatever its form.

Subsidies and taxes are easy to check: governments simply have to lay open their budget expenditures and revenues.

The Paris Conference needs to fix a deadline, say 2025, when the phasing out of subsidies should be completed and fossil fuel taxation should start. IMF or IEA should be tasked with monitoring and reporting on progress.

In view of achieving a consensus in Paris on this approach, the French government should dispatch several high-level emissaries to the major subsidising countries with the mission to convince the governments of the advantages from abolishing fossil fuel subsidies and introducing fossil fuel energy taxation.

It will be anything like an easy mission. But after five years of inaction the international community must finally take the courage to be tough with the “sinners”.

Eberhard Rhein, Brussels, 10/10/2014

Irony alert as Poles ride to UKIP’s rescue in a classic Brussels stitch-up

Posted by on 20/10/14
We reported only a few days ago that UKIP's EFDD group in the European Parliament collapsed after a Latvian MEP resigned, meaning the group no longer met the criteria of having MEPs from at least seven different EU member states. The news drew a lot of media attention (not to mention schadenfreude) mainly due to the financial implications for UKIP - which, according to our estimates, stood to lose nearly €2 million a year in EU funding.

Today, it was announced that Robert Iwaszkiewicz, an MEP with Janusz Korwin-Mikke's KNP (pictured) has joined the group. Korwin-Mikke himself was deemed too toxic to join the UKIP group after the European elections given his controversial views on rape (women always "pretend to resist") and the Holocaust (no evidence Hitler knew about it), and that was before he provoked a full-blown race row. Iwaszkiewicz himself is hardly baggage free; during an interview about with Gazeta Wrocławska a couple of months ago, when asked about domestic violence, he said that:
"I'm convinced that many a wife would benefit from such a response in order to re-connect with reality."
When asked about his Korwin-Mikke's views as described above, he said that "these are taken out of context... when considered broadly, they make sense". In any event, this does not appear to be a principled defection - but rather a classic Brussels-style dirty deal. Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reports that Korwin-Mikke and Farage struck an agreement which would see Iwaszkiewicz's transfer mirrored by an MEP from the EFDD move to the 'far-right' bloc led by France's Marine Le Pen, which also includes Geert Wilders's PVV, the Austrian Freedom Party and Lega Nord, and fell one nationality short of forming an official group during the summer. The paper describes this a "binding transaction" and quotes Iwaszkiewicz as saying that:
"Negotiations are on-going. It was necessary to save them and I had to join urgently".
It remains unclear therefore whether an MEP from the EFDD will definitely join the Le Pen group - but that seems to be the implication. Because of the way the nationalities are represented over the two groups, it would either have to be one of UKIP's 24 MEPs or one of the two Sweden Democrats.

If the former, UKIP and Nigel Farage will face some uncomfortable questions given the extent to which they have tried to distance themselves from the Front National. Regardless, this incident just underscores the absurdity of these taxpayer subsides for European Parliament groups.

Open Letter to the European Council, by Orgalime

Posted by on 20/10/14

President, Hon. Heads of State and Members of the European Council,

Orgalime, the European engineering industries association, whose members’ annual turnover is some 1800 billion euro and which employ over 10 million staff in the EU, is writing to you to urge you to adopt of an integrated European 2030 Energy and Climate Change Framework at the occasion of the European Council meeting on 23/24 October 2014.

Such a decision is urgently needed to encourage investments into innovative areas of cutting edge technologies that will pave the way towards Europe´s future low carbon, energy efficient economy with higher levels of energy independence, greater security of supply and overall sustainability of the energy system.

We believe that a binding EU 40% lead carbon target, coupled with EU-level commitments for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources beyond 2020, will provide a new impetus for sustainable growth and jobs in Europe and will overall boost the competitiveness of EU industry.

We particularly welcome the fact that the Commission has now closed the gap in its initial 2030 Framework proposal with a 30% energy efficiency target*, which we consider as both, feasible and reasonable, provided that the right instruments for implementation are put into place.

Indeed, if Europe wishes to deliver on its carbon target, control energy prices, increase the integration of renewables into its energy system and become world leader in this area, action inevitably needs to go hand in hand with energy efficiency and the development of an integrated energy system, including interconnected infrastructures. Increasing the efficiency of equipment, which is often reaching its technical limits, will not suffice. The challenge is to better exploit the energy savings potentials at system and market level, which requires a future energy retail model that facilitates greater involvement of energy end users and distributed generation in a truly consumer-centric, competitive energy market.

This can only be achieved through instruments, such as the governance process, the Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives rather than through further product regulation under the Ecodesign Directive or its pending review, which risks breaking today´s delicate balance between cost efficiency, environmental improvement, product functionality and affordability.

To conclude, we call upon European regulators to set in place a robust 2030 Energy and Climate Change Framework in support of the EU´s Industrial Policy, and particularly the overall aim to reach a 20% share of
manufacturing output in the EU’s GDP by 2020.

Considering the international dimension of this debate, we encourage the EU to make the necessary efforts to obtain a global and legally binding climate agreement at the UN-FCCC in Paris in 2015. It is essential that other regions of the world show a comparable degree of ambition and take similar action.

Yours faithfully,

Sandro Bonomi

President, Orgalime

* Previously, Orgalime felt that a 40% energy efficiency target should be set considering the 2050 perspective. We consider the suggested
30% as a step in the right direction, which should be supported, while we ask for maintaining a forward looking, proactive attitude.

Again and again the same play in Eurozone?

Posted by on 20/10/14

Mr Pierre Moscovici takes office in less than 10 days, after a tumultuous hearing a couple of weeks earlier. During this month, stock markets were shockingly destabilized with distrust over Eurozone to put again into the spotlight. Recent reports unveiled the weaknesses of the German economy, while Britain is heading into the sixth day of protests due to constant income squeezing. In the meantime, the Greek government has declared its will to exit from IMF’s surveillance into its public finances and policy, with international reports focusing on the next day in Greece, after the almost-proclaimed national elections in the first months of 2015. In this respect, it Eurozone recovering?

Paris is in talks with Berlin with reference to the German backing towards the “exceptionality” that French economy should enjoy. As President Hollande wants to increase public debt and escape the threshold of 3% of public deficit agreed under the Stability Pact, the question of equal treatment of all member-states comes again into surface. France’s public debt is now 92% and it is expected to grow and reach almost 97% by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, Spain’s public debt is 94%, Belgium’s 102%, Portugal’s 128%, Italy’s 133%, and Greece’s 170%. From these countries, only Greece is faced with increasing distrust from the markets, with Portugal and Spain having gained significant confidence, and Italy having escaped the turmoil for the moment due to its Presidency in the Council of the European Union. But hard days are coming for Mr Renzi and his government. Nonetheless, all the above member-states have decreasing trends when it comes to public deficit – except for France.

The problem with the exceptionality of France is that it is hard to avoid it. Even if the Commission might call France to make the necessary amendments – i.e. meaning more job and income cuts and possibly higher taxation- it is quite irrelevant for a country with the power and influence of France to push further any austerity policy. What we have seen so far from President Hollande in his tenure in office is a decision-maker that can hardly accommodate his electoral promises a couple of years ago with the ongoing economic reality in Eurozone.

Having this in mind, the following question comes again: as long as Eurozone cannot deal with austerity and stabilize its economies long-term, why EU leaders do not think the opposite way and push for a more flexible monetary policy? ECB’s President Mario Draghi has already pinpointed such a possibility one year ago, at least in the context of a more expansionist policy in the short run, but still we are faced with a mix of restrictive policies that bring Eurozone closer to instability. Again.

The case of France and the expectations from the hardliners in Eurozone can certainly give us the lesson we did not learn these four years. In 2010 and in 2012 Eurozone had to deal with increased distrust from the markets, with Portugal, Spain, and Greece swept down to tough monitoring and in need of bailing-out. Now, in 2014, we risk to watch again the same scene and a really exhausting play for the people of Europe and the young generation. If we are to avoid another flash-back, the European Commission should revisit the normative approach of the Stability Pact and relax any measures taken or agreed. It might be time for more inflationary policies and less austerity, at last.

Zagreb Mayor arrested – and not before time

Posted by on 20/10/14

Something quite amazing happened yesterday evening in Zagreb. The Croatian police and the State Prosecutor announced that several people had been arrested on suspicion of a number of criminal corruption offences, abuse of office and peddling influence. Among the arrested were Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, Head of Zagreb Holding municipal company Slobodan Ljubicic, the head of the ZET public transport company Ivan Tolic, head and part-owner of the CIOS metal recycling company Petar Pripuza and around 15 more un-named people.

by Pippa Gallop, cross-posted from the Bankwatch blog

I say ‘amazing’, because it seemed like it would never happen. Ever since Milan Bandic came to power for a third term as Zagreb Mayor in 2005, NGOs including our member group Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatia and the Croatian media have been drawing attention to deals which excessively benefitted private companies at the expense of the public, raising questions about possible corruption. Some media reports suggested that the State Prosecutor had as many as 200 requests for investigations against Bandic waiting to be dealt with, but they never seemed to result in any action being taken.

Now, finally, of the deals questioned by Zelena akcija are now reportedly under scrutiny by police in connection with the arrests made, although this has not been officially confirmed.

Right at the beginning of Bandic’s first mandate he signed the contract for Zagreb’s EBRD-financed oversized and overpriced wastewater treatment plant public-private partnership.

Among the numerous problems with this plant is that it churns out waste sludge which is not sufficiently treated to be used for land reclamation or other purposes. This then gave Bandic and others an excuse to push the construction of a huge waste incinerator in Zagreb, which would burn the sludge along with household waste.

This omission in the wastewater plant’s technology at the very least plays into the hands of those pushing for an incinerator, and seeing as the incinerator was promoted by Novum, later part of EVN, which is one of the concessionaires for the wastewater plant, it seems likely it was done on purpose.

Nevertheless, although both the EBRD and EIB were both considering financing Zagreb’s incinerator, both of them wisely declined to proceed with the project, partly as a result of Zelena akcija’s arguments on the need to concentrate on waste prevention and recycling before constructing such a massive, expensive and inflexible facility.

However, in the absence of almost any measures to prevent, recycle and compost waste by the city authorities, the incinerator project rose from the dead again. Most recently Mayor Bandic blatantly abused his position in pushing Zagreb’s new waste management plan through a vote in the City Assembly. The plan was supposed to be voted on 25 September but seeing that he might not get enough votes due to some of his tame representatives being absent from the meeting, Bandic withdrew all the agenda points from the meeting just one day in advance, thereby forcing the head of the Assembly to re-schedule it.

Needless to say, on 9 October when the meeting was finally held, the Plan passed – although not without protests from NGOs and local residents – and both the largest political parties voting against the plan.

Yesterday’s arrests mean that the incinerator project is now standing on thinner ice than ever and any investors and financiers interested in it would be wise to keep their distance. But more broadly it also means that financing institutions like the EBRD and EIB need to take more care about who they do business with. Just a few years ago former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader was widely accepted by the international community as the person leading Croatia into the EU. Now he’s in prison for corruption. It looks like it’s going to be a similar story with Milan Bandic – one minute a partner for investors, the next minute, arrested for corruption. It’s high time for international bodies to stop trusting so much the stories told by politicians and taking more seriously warnings from civil society and the media.

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