Saturday 22 November 2014

Currently browsing 'EU Priorities 2020'

What should the EU’s overall priorities be? Or those of the next Presidency? And what should the EU Council really be talking about when they next meet.

 

European Manifesto: Area of freedom, security and justice.

Posted by on 19/11/14

Le traité de Lisbonne a révolutionné le rôle du Parlement Européenne dans l’Espace de Liberté, Sécurité et Justice. Comme le démontre l’étude ‘The “Lisbonisation” of the European Parliament’, publié en 2013, la procédure législative ordinaire, de facto, élève le Parlement au même niveau que le Conseil en tant qu’agenda-setter et policy-maker de l’ELSJ. Dans les dernières semaines, les académiques et les parlementaires se sont confrontés sur la question, à l’occasion d’une conférence spécialement destinée aux membres LIBE ‘The European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice after the Stockholm Program – what comes next ?’ et d’un forum politique à l’Institut of European Studies (12 novembre 2014) sur le même sujet.EU-Logos fait le point sur le débat.

 L’ère post-Stockholm : LIBE, stratège de l’ELSJ aujourd’hui plus que jamais : de l’autoritarisme du Conseil au pluralisme institutionnel

 Jusqu’à l’adoption du Traité de Lisbonne, la définition des programmes pluriannuels (Tampere 1999, La Haye 2004, Stockholm 2009) relevait de la compétence exclusive du Conseil Européen, loin de tout pluralisme institutionnel. Déjà en 2009, lors de l’adoption du programme de Stockholm, la Commission avait, par la suite, adopté un Plan d’Action précisant l’application des orientations stratégiques du Conseil Européen. La Commission lançait ainsi une attaque directe au monopole intergouvernementale dans la définition des priorités politiques de l’ELSJ, mais, ce qui est encore plus fondamental, cette initiative marquait le début d’une stratégie politique à voix multiples, diversifiées et concurrentielles, souvent aussi incohérentes.

 C’est dans ce cadre qu’intervient le Parlement Européen, et la commission LIBE avant tous, en tant que copropriétaire dans la définition de l’agenda politique de l’ELSJ.

 Actuellement le moment est d’autant plus crucial car comme ont souligné les experts intervenus lors de la conférence accueillie par Birgit Sippel (S&D):‘The European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice after the Stockholm Program – what comes next? Setting priorities for the new mandate of the European Parliament’, spécialement adressée aux membres LIBE.

 En effet, malgré l’art.68 du TFUE qui aurait dû réservé le rôle de guide politique en ces matières après les conclusions du Conseil Européen, en juin 2014, au contraire, il ne semble pas avoir joué le jeu : il n’a pas défini des lignes d’action précises et il ne s’a pas répondu aux besoins effectifs des personnes concernées. D’après Yves Pascouau, Senior Policy Analyst and Director en politiques de migration et asile à l’European Policy Center, les conclusions du juin 2014 sont ‘un message des EU bubblers aux EU bubblers’. En plus, le texte semble oublier tous les résultats atteints jusqu’à maintenant : le Conseil Européen a ‘tué les dispositions des traités’, accuse-t-il.

 En conséquence, le Parlement Européen est davantage légitimé à devenir Agenda-setter de l’ELSJ, comblant l’écart entre l’échec des orientations générales du Conseil Européen et leur dimension concrète, centrée sur les personnes directement concernées. Il s’agit d’une opportunité et d’une nécessité pour la commission LIBE qui, d’une part, doit garantir que les droits fondamentaux sont toujours pris en considération de façon prioritaire et selon une approche transversale, alors que, d’autre part, les ambitions de l’Union Européenne pour l’ELSJ restent élevées.

  Un rôle moteur dans la défense des Droits fondamentaux

La centralité du rôle de LIBE est davantage cruciale, car tous les députés doivent mettre en avant la protection des Droits des citoyens, des Droits Fondamentaux et des Droits de l’Homme, sur l’ensemble du territoire de l’Union, comme il est inscrit dans le règlement intérieur du Parlement Européen. Il l’affirme clairement aussi à l’article 36, qu’il faut garantir la compatibilité d’un texte législatif,quelqu’il soit, avec la Charte des droits fondamentaux. De surcroît, il revient à la commission LIBE de vérifier la correcte implémentation dudit article. Une autre disposition très importante est l’art. 126 du Code de procédure du PE qui permet la consultation des agences, y compris celle en charge des droits fondamentaux (FRA) ,ainsi que le service juridique du Parlement Européen.

 Enfin, comme déjà souligné , la promotion des droits fondamentaux est une des préoccupations fondamentales de la commission LIBE. Cependant, les étude actuelles dénoncent ‘the way in which fundamental rights compliance is ensured throughout the EU policy cycle remains a policy challenge, including for the EP itself’, ce qui démontre l’efficacité discutable de l’ensemble de ces outils.

 La commission LIBE colégislative: une institution jeune, un rôle nouveau mais proactif

 Dès l’entrée en vigueur du Traité de Lisbonne, la commission LIBE a su bien interpréter son rôle, alors qu’au départ elle n’avait pas la même expertise que le Conseil, dans la maîtrise des techniques législatives. En effet, les politiques qui relèvent de sa compétence ont une nature purement politique. Par conséquence, les négociations interinstitutionnelles suivent des logiques subtiles, beaucoup plus que dans d’autres domaines, plus techniques. Il faut, donc, connaître et avoir une aisance parfaite des jeux de compromis, des escamotages et des astuces.

 Malgré la difficulté à s’adapter au nouveau rôle, nombre d’exemples démontrent que la commission LIBE est pleinement à la hauteur: le blocage du dossier PNR, ainsi que l’accélération de la procédure des nouvelles règles du sauvetage des vies en Méditerranée, dans le cadre des opérations Frontex ; mais aussi les actions auprès de la Cour de Justice, comme dans le cas du recours en annulation de la décision du Conseil 2010/252/UE, du 26 avril 2010, visant à compléter le Code Frontières Schengen.

 La procédure ordinaire, toutefois, détermine un forte risque de dépolitisation du débat, notamment au détriment des droits fondamentaux. Comme le montrent les dernières études : grâce à la codécision, la plupart des textes est adoptée en première lecture. Par conséquent, les débats sont restreints, ainsi que les opportunités rares d’insérer des clauses qu’assurent le respect de droits fondamentaux dans tous les actes de l’Union, de manière transversale.

 Afin de faire face à cette baisse d’ambitions politiques, la commission LIBE a su profiter des outils de ‘soft law’ dont elle dispose pour faire pression sur la Commission ainsi que sur le Conseil. Grâce, notamment, aux questions parlementaires, ainsi qu’à l’adoption des résolutions, elle relance les débats sur les questions au cœur de l’espace de liberté sécurité et justice, pour qu’ils gardent leur valeur stratégiques, notamment par exemple, en matière de définition des termes utilisés par la Commission, lorsque cette dernière propose un nouveaux texte.

 Cependant, comme relève l’étude 2013 du Centre de Recherche Européen, il faut aussi que les députés soient au courant des recommandations qu’ils ont adoptées, tout en garantissant leur suivi et la cohérence des politiques différentes impliqué par l’ELSJ.

 Communication et transparence interinstitutionnelles.

 Parallèlement, l’étude reconnaît que la Commission n’a pas répondu toujours de manière ponctuelle et satisfaisante aux initiatives de la Commission LIBE, ce qui démontre la manque de transparence et d’efficacité de communication et d’information entre Commission et Parlement. Cependant, lors de la conférence à l’IES, Hélène Calers, ancienne conseilleur politique à LIBE, s’écarte de cette position et déclare: ‘On peut considérer que, dans la plupart des cas, la Commission et le Parlement sont des alliés importants dans la formulation de l’agenda politique et dans la mise en œuvre de l’ELSJ’.

 En ce qui concerne les relations Parlement-Conseil, le rôle des trilogues est très controversé. Ariadna Ripoll-Servent, professeure en Intégration Européenne, semble être très critiques sur le sujet, notamment à cause du manque de transparence et de la technicité des débats ; de même, elle souligne leur fracture avec toute logique démocratique.

 Pour toute réponse, les conseilleurs politiques et les fonctionnaires ont présenté une vision intéressante de l’intérieur : les trilogues contribuent au processus de légitimation progressive des deux acteurs législatifs, en particuliers de la commission LIBE. Ils ne partagent pas l’idée d’un manque de démocratisation : la commission, au moins au niveau institutionnel, élargie, la participation aux trilogues assure la participation du plus   grand nombre d’acteurs possibles, qui, par la suite, informent les autres députées, de manière ponctuelle, sur les avancées des débats.

 L’environnement institutionnel semble, donc, être positif, aussi en considération du fait que la transparence a accru au fil du temps, comme met à l’évidence Gabriel Toggenburg, Senior Legal Advisor de la Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). Néanmoins, il faudra agir afin d’améliorer la communication et les échanges d’informations entre les acteurs institutionnels, mais aussi entre ceux internationales, comme le Conseil de l’Europe, les Nations Unies, ainsi que les ONG qui travaillent en ce domaine.

 Des ambitions politiques et démocratiques fortes, pour combattre le consensualisme.

 Autre énorme défi relevé, lors des débats, réside dans la logique consensuelle de l’Union. Comme souligné lors de la conférence organisée par l’Institut of European Studies sur ce sujet: ‘c’est des négociations que sortent des compromis auxquels les acteurs, notamment aux trilogues, ont dû ajuster leur position politiques.’

 Si, au départ, les idéologies des différents partis politiques occupent une place importante, au cours des négociations, notamment lors des trilogues « à portes fermées », la combinaison des positions idéologico-politiques du Parlement doit s’adapter aux propositions avancées par le Conseil, qui représente les intérêts des États, beaucoup plus réticents aux changements.

 Les confrontations amènent, donc, à des résultats toujours imparfaits, qui, toutefois, représentent l’équilibre nécessaire entre les pulsions au changement de la part du Parlement et le réalisme politique, d’autre part. Un conseiller politique PPE à la LIBE, Mr. Andris Petersons, admet : ‘Si on veut des résultats il faut s’adapter.’

 D’ailleurs, il ne faut pas être déçu du résultat des négociations qui s’inscrit dans la tradition européenne du «  gradualisme normatif » de l’Union. Il faut, plutôt, accepter cette logique systémique et être toujours satisfaits, parce que chaque avancée, même marginale, améliore l’état normatif précèdent.

 Une approche inclusive pour une implémentation plus efficace.

 La commission LIBE n’a pas de bases légales fortes pour assurer l’implémentation des règlements et des directives. En conséquence, grâce aux contacts réguliers que les députés ont avec les organisations internationales, les experts, mais surtout avec les organisations de la sociétés civile, elle réussit à évaluer et surveiller l’application correcte des engagements des États. En même temps, l’échange d’informations renforce leur compétence technique, qui lui permet d’avoir une vision plus concrète des priorités réelles des politiques de l’ELSJ. Sur ces bases solides le Parlement pourra exercer davantage de pression sur les États, mais surtout sur la Commission afin qu’elle introduise plus souvent des procédures d’infraction en manquement quand cela se révèle nécessaire.

 Recommandations finales.

 Les expert académiques, Steve Peers, professor of EU Law & Human Rights Law à l’University of Essex, Gabriel Toggenburg, Senior Legal Advisor de la Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), et Yves Pascouau, Senior Policy Analyst and Director en politiques de migration et asile à l’European Policy Center, ont présenté des considérations et des recommandations intéressantes pour les députés de la commission LIBE appelée à développer une stratégie globale et cohérente, qui pourrait être structurée ainsi:

 -. Relever les défis futurs, de manière plus précise que les Conclusions du Conseil Européen, limitées à la question démographique et à l’instabilité du phénomène.

 -. Identifier les objectifs clé de l’Union Européenne, en se focalisant sur comment mieux gérer la mobilité au niveau mondial et au sein de l’UE ; comment mieux garantir la protection des personnes à travers la loi mais aussi dans le cadre des mesures opérationnelles que l’Union européenne est amenée à prendre.

 -. Intégrer la dimension intérieure et extérieure de la politique d’immigration de l’UE, à commencer par l’intégration, aspect autant crucial qu’oublié.

 -. Mettre en place une cohérence entre les institutions et à l’intérieur de chaque institution, dans un cadre ‘pentagonale’ qui comprenne le triangle institutionnel classique, ainsi que la CJUE, mais aussi l’EEAS, acteur de plus en plus influant en ce domaine.

 Pour l’instant la situation est en train d’évoluer et il n’y a pas une idée claire sur comment cette stratégie sera réalisée concrètement. Toutefois, il est nécessaire de tenir haut le débat et commencer à en discuter.

 

Elena Sbarai

 

En savoir plus

      -. CEPS, ‘The “Lisbonisation” of the European Parliament, assessing progress, shortcomings and challenges for democratic accountability in the area of freedom security and justice’ (2013) FR http://www.europarl.europa.eu

EN http://www.ceps.eu

     -. Article EU-Logos, ‘Espace De Liberté,Sécurité Et Justice :Un Nouveau Départ ? Quelles Perspectives Réelles ?’, 5 septembre 2014 http://europe-liberte-securite-justice.org


Classé dans:Actualités, BREVES

Labour turns its attention to restricting EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits

Posted by on 18/11/14
Iain Duncan Smith's opposite number, Labour's Rachel Reeves, has written an interesting piece on EU migrants' access to welfare for the Mail Online, in which signals an important shift in Labour's policy.

Last week we noted that IDS had set out that he wanted to restrict EU migrants' access not simply to out-of-work benefits but also in-work benefits such as tax credits - something that our Research Director Stephen Booth and LSE Professor Damian Chalmers proposed in a recent Open Europe pamphlet.

Reeves sets out three proposals to reform the EU rules on access to welfare. Firstly:
"We believe that it is right to extend the period that EU jobseekers need to live and support themselves in the UK before claiming out-of-work benefits from three months to two years."
This had been hinted at by senior Labour figures before. But, for the first time, Labour have said they also want to address in-work benefits:
"We must also look at the role of in-work benefits. It is far too easy for employers in Britain to undercut wages and working conditions by recruiting temporary workers from elsewhere in Europe on very low pay and with no job security, knowing that the benefit system will top up their income." 
"So while some have said that we cannot negotiate changes to benefits paid to people in work, I am determined to look at how we can deliver reform in this area too."
As we have noted before, restricting access to this low-wage welfare supplement could reduce the incentive to migrate to the UK for the lowest paid jobs as the UK's system of in-work benefits can make a significant difference to the incomes of the lowest paid.

And thirdly, Reeves has said:
"We will work with European countries to end the absurdity of child benefit and child tax credits being claimed for children living in other countries."
This is near unanimous consensus among all the main parties on this point.

The change in stance on in-work benefits is significant and would have the biggest impact, and it is therefore interesting why this wasn't given top billing in the article?

Will the EU and its Member States support foundations?

Posted by on 18/11/14
Guest blog post by Gerry Salole, Chief executive, European Foundation Centre. Our organisations, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE) representing together over 7,000 foundations, would like to call your attention to the proposed EU regulation on the European Foundation (FE), and the critical role of all EU Members States [...]

Climate policy’s instrument is more important than its numeric target

Posted by on 16/11/14

Last Thursday, I took part in the Energy Conference in Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic. During the debate, the panel discussion moderator asked me why Poland contested the EU climate policy for such a long time only to agree to the elevated emission reduction target. My answer was that I believed that it was not us who had changed, but the European Union, which had seen its mistakes and decided to step back (for more, see: http://napedzamyprzyszlosc.pl/en/blog/eu-s-controversial-climate-policy). Naturally, this will not be a simple task, and success is far from certain, because we have created some strong lobbying groups in the EU, which will not give ground easily. What is good, however, is that we now have a single EU-wide emission reduction target – to cut emissions by 40% below 1990 levels, and a single instrument – the price of emission allowances. I have explained on numerous occasions before, also on this blog, why having multiple objectives is harmful. Under the European Commission’s current proposed framework, the additional targets (27% share of RES in the Energy Union’s overall energy consumption and an energy consumption reduction target of 30%) are not binding.

In the climate policy debate, it is the targets that elicit the strongest emotions. This is probably because those taking part in the discussion take it for granted that the target and the instrument share a strong causal relationship, which they do in the models used to evaluate the economic impact of the climate policy. These models obviously abstract from unpredictable events, including not only recessions and economic crises, but also positive developments, such as the emergence of innovative technologies which alter the pricing balance of energy sources, while the fact of the matter is that reality is teeming with unforeseen circumstances. In effect, such forecasts only manage to approximate actual events, or miss them completely. This holds especially true for long-term projections, such as those used to plan out climate policies. When validating such models against reality, the emission reduction target to be achieved in 20 years is as credible as the projection’s verifiability over the 20-year horizon. What really counts is the instrument, which determines the policy’s effectiveness and cost for the taxpayer.

Theoretically tied only to the target value, the instrument of the EU climate policy – the price of emission allowances – has been designed to react to all favourable and unfavourable developments along the way, which causes the result to be opposite of what was intended. The price of emission allowances drops close to zero in reaction to any unforeseen emission reductions in the wake of a deep recession and the meagre economic recovery that follows. In the end, the policy provokes confusion and discourages investment rather than urges companies on in the right direction. In business terms, it is an increased regulatory risk. Let’s then not be afraid of ambitious climatic targets, as they pose no threat. What is dangerous, however, are the ill-considered instruments employed to achieve such goals, which needlessly add to the already high uncertainty associated with the extremely long-term character of the climate policy.If we were able to introduce an instrument immune to the unpredictable which would be able to differentiate energy prices depending on emission levels, we would set a new direction for businesses to invest in, as well as for developing new technologies. The climate policy would gain credibility. Businesses would choose the cheapest available emission reduction technologies and join forces with scientists in search of new ones. What about reducing emissions? How much of the target would be achieved in 2030 and 2050 would depend on any disruptions that happen along the way and affect economic growth in that time horizon. If we grow faster, emissions will increase. Slower growth, on the other hand, will mean less emissions. Still, irrespective of how the economic situation develops and whatever new technologies emerge, we will be successful in creating a low-carbon economy at a much lower cost. The good news is that such an instrument already exists. Can you guess what it is?

 

Europe without a Chief Scientific Adviser? Oh Dear!

Posted by on 13/11/14
Today is a sad day for the European Union. After a clever and persistent lobbying campaign, Corporate Europe Observatory and the Green 10 have succeeded in removing the post of a Chief Scientific Adviser. There is no longer a safety mechanism within the European Commission to ensure, better, more evidence-based policymaking.

Juncker responds to Luxleaks tax scandal

Posted by on 12/11/14
By Open Europe European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has made an impromptu appearance at the midday press briefing to make a statement on the leaked documents showing the significant number of favourable tax deals given to corporations by the Luxembourg government during his tenure as prime minister and/or finance minister (1989 - 2013). The key points...

La composizione dei gabinetti dei nuovi Commissari

Posted by on 11/11/14

Le restrizioni nel bilancio della Commissione europea, che dovrà ridurre il suo staff del cinque percento, hanno avuto conseguenze sulla struttura della nuova Commissione e dello staff dei Commissari.

La principale novità consiste nell’impossibilità dei Commissari di avere il portavoce: il servizio sarà centralizzato nelle mani della Presidenza della Commissione e ridotto a una quindicina di persone. Il Presidente della Commissione Jean-Claude Juncker vuole infatti che i Commissari parlino direttamente ai giornalisti. In ogni caso, ogni Commissario avrà un consigliere responsabile della comunicazione.

Rimane invece la regola che uno tra il Capo di Gabinetto e il Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto deve essere di nazionalità diversa da quella del Commissionario.

I membri del Gabinetto saranno al massimo sei per i Commissari, sette per i Vice-presidenti, otto per il Primo Vice-presidente (Frans Timmermans), undici per l’Alto rappresentante della politica estera (Federica Mogherini) e dodici per il Presidente della Commissione Jean-Claude Juncker.

Attualmente siamo in una fase in cui non tutti i gabinetti sono al completo, ma una lista è già disponibile.

Per chi fosse interessato, la lista dei Commissari è trovabile al sito: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019_it

Per chi fosse interessato a conoscere i nomi dei componenti degli staff, li può trovare qui di seguito:

Jean-Claude Juncker

(Presidente della Commissione Europea)

Capo di Gabinetto: Martin Selmayr, tedesco di 44 anni, dottore in Legge, ha lavorato alla Banca Centrale Europea (BCE) e al Fondo Monetario Internazionale. Nel 2004 è diventato portavoce per la società dell’informazione e media alla Commissione europea. Nel 2010 è diventato Capo di Gabinetto della Commissaria Viviane Reding e nella primavera del 2014 era il direttore della campagna elettorale di Juncker.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Clara Martinez-Alberola, spagnola di 51 anni, laureata in Legge, ha lavorato come funzionario della Commissione europea dal 1991 al 2005. Nel febbraio del 2005 è diventata membro dell’ufficio di Barroso.

Direttore del coordinamento e amministrazione: Sandra Kramer, olandese, ha una lunga esperienza da funzionaria nelle Istituzioni europee.

Membri: Luc Tholoniat, Richard Szotak, Léon Delvaux, Telmo Baltazar, Antoine Kasel, Carlo Zadra, Pauline Rouch, Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Anabelle Arki e Roland Fleig. Tutta la squadra è specializzata in economia e finanza.

Frans Timmermans

(Primo Vice-presidente, Qualità della legislazione, relazioni interistituzionali, Stato di diritto e Carta dei diritti fondamentali)

Capo di Gabinetto: Ben Smulders, olandese di 54 anni, lavora in Commissione dal 1991 ed è stato membro di gabinetto di Hans van den Broek (1995-1999), Frits Bolkenstein (1999-2000), Romano Prodi (2001-2004) e Neelie Kroes (2004-2008). Da marzo 2008 è direttore della sezione Istituzioni del servizio giuridico.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Michelle Sutton, inglese di 40 anni, lavora in Commissione dal 1999 ed è stata membro di gabinetto di Neelie Kroes (2004-2008) e di José Manuel Barroso (2010-2014).

Membri: Bern Martenczuk, Alice Richard, Liene Balta, Riccardo Maggi, Saar Van Bueren.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Antoine Colombiani.

Federica Mogherini

(Alta Rappresentante, Alta rappresentanza dell’Unione per gli Affari esteri e la politica di sicurezza e vicepresidente della Commissione)

Capo di Gabinetto: Stefano Manservisi, italiano, è stato capo di gabinetto di Romano Prodi (1999-2004) e di Mario Monti (1995-2000).

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Oliver Rentschler è stato il capo di gabinetto aggiunto con la precedente Alta Rappresentate, Catherine Ashton.

Membri: Peteris Ustubs; Arianna Vannini; Felix Fernandez-Shaw; Fabrizia Panzetti; Micheal Curtis; Iwona Pirko Bermig; Anna Vezyroglou.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Enrico Petrocelli.

Assistente personale: Simona Nalin.

Vytenis Andriukaitis

(Salute e Sicurezza alimentare)

Capo di Gabinetto: Arunas Vinciunas, lituano, dal 2009 era capo aggiunto della rappresentanza permanente dell’Unione Europea della Lituania e rappresentante lituano al Comitato dei rappresentanti permanenti COREPER I a Bruxelles.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Nathalie Chaze, avvocato specializzato in diritto europeo, ha lavorato per quindici anni alla Direzione Generale (DG) Commercio prima di passare nel 2008 alla DG Salute e consumatori (SANCO), dove era responsabile delle direttive sulla salute transfrontaliera.

Membri: Arunas Ribokas Annika Nowak.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Marco Valletta.

Esperto: Paula Duarte Gaspar.

Andrus Ansip

(Mercato unico digitale)

Capo di Gabinetto: Juhan Lepassaar, estone, laureato in Scienze politiche e Architettura, è stato capo consigliere di Andrus Ansip su questioni europee per cinque anni prima di diventare membro di gabinetto del Commissario Siim Kallas nel luglio 2013.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Kamila Kloc, polacca, avvocato con un dottorato in Economia, viene dalla DG Energia, dove ha seguito argomento legati ai mercati all’ingrosso del gas e dell’elettricità.

Membri: Aare Jarvan, Laure Chapuis-Kombos, Stig Jörgen Gren, Jeremy Smith.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Maximilian Strotmann.

Assistente personale: Hanna Hinrikus.

Dimitris Avramopoulos

(Migrazione, affari interni e cittadinanza)

Capo di Gabinetto: Diane Schmitt, era capo unità dell’ufficio immigrazione e integrazione della DG Affari interni.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Polykarpos Adamidis, era il direttore generale della Direzione Generale sulla politica Difesa nazionale e Relazioni Internazionali del Ministero della Difesa greco.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Kostas Sasmatzoglou.

Esperto: Sofia Asteriadi.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska

(Mercato interno, industria, imprenditoria e PMI)

Capo di Gabinetto: Tomasz Husak, polacco, è un diplomatico, nonché uno dei più giovani capi di gabinetto nella storia della Commissione europea.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Kristian Hedberg, avrà la responsabilità di coordinare il pacchetto investimenti e il TTIP.

Membri: Agnieska Drzewoska, Justyna Morek, Fabrice Comptour.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Jakub Cebula.

Esperto: Carsten Bermig.

Assistente personale: Karolina Kierońska-Milewska.

Violeta Bulc

(Trasporti)

Capo di Gabinetto: Marjeta Jager, slovena, è entrata nella Commissione europeo nel 2002, dopo aver lavorato nella Rappresentanza permanente slovena nell’Unione europea. Prima di entrare nel gabinetto era direttrice nella DG Mobilità e Trasporti (MOVE), responsabile della politica di coordinamento e sicurezza.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Désirée Oen, belga, era capo di gabinetto aggiunto del precedente Commissario ai Trasporti Siim Kallas.

Membri: Jocelyn Fajardo, Matej Zakonjsek, Nicolaos Von Peter.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Damjana Pondelek.

Assistente personale: Natasa Vidovic.

Miguel Arias Cañete

(Azione per il clima ed energia)

Capo di Gabinetto: Cristina Lobillo Borrero, spagnola, è stata assistente parlamentare di Arias Cañete quando lui era un eurodeputato (1987-1999). Successivamente è entrata nella Commissione europea, dove ha lavorato in DG Commercio.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Pierre Schellekens, belga, è stato capo unità per le politiche marittime (Mare Baltico e del Nord) per poi diventare rappresentante dell’UE in Svezia da marzo 2009 a maggio 2014. Da giugno 2014 era capo unità DG Agricoltura.

Membri: Silvia Bartolini, Isaac Valero Ladron.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Gonzalo de Mendoza Asensi.

Assistente personale: Joachim Balke.

Corina Cretu

(Politica regionale)

Capo di Gabinetto: Mikel Landabaso Alvarez, spagnolo, era capo unità nella DG Politica regionale.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Gabriel Onaca, rumeno, era segretario di stato al Ministero per i fondi europei.

Membri: Oanna Rus, Jan Dzieciolowski, Tomas Nejdl.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Dragos Bucurenci.

Assistente personale: Ioannis Latoudis.

Valdis Dombrovskis

(Vicepresidente, Euro e dialogo sociale)

Capo di Gabinetto: Taneli Lahti, precedentemente un membro del gabinetto di Jyrki Katainen.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Massimo Suardi, italiano, era capo unità nel Joint Research Centre.

Membri: Elina Melngaile, Jan Ceyssens, Karolina Leib e Gints Freimanis.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Zaneta Vergnere.

Assistente personale: Raquel Lucas.

Kristalina Georgieva

(Vicepresidente, Bilancio e risorse umane)

Capo di Gabinetto: Mariana Hristcheva era capo di gabinetto nel precedente gabinetto della Georgieva.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Andreas Schwarz era un membro del gabinetto del precedente Commissario al Bilancio, Jacek Dominik.

Membri: Dimo Iliev, Sophie Alexandrova.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Michael Jennings.

Esperto: Elisabeth Werner.

Assistente personale: Daniel Giorev.

Johannes Hahn

(Politica europea di vicinato e negoziati di allargamento)

Capo di Gabinetto: Michael Karnitschnig era capo unità alla DG Allargamento.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Emma Udwin era consigliere nel precedente gabinetto di Johannes Hahn.

Membri: Christine Grau, Colin Scicluna, David Mueller.

Esperto: Hanna Jahns.

Assistente personale: Kyriacos Charalambous.

Jonathan Hill

(Stabilità finanziaria, servizi finanziari e Unione dei mercati dei capitali)

Capo di Gabinetto: Matthew Baldwin, era direttore generale aggiunto alla DG Commercio

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Nathalie De Basaldua, è in Commissione sin dal 1986. È stata capo dell’Unità di Audit nella DG Mercato interno e servizi.

Membri: Lee James Foulger, Sebastian Kuck, Mette Grolleman.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Chantal Hughes.

Assistente personale: Denzil Davidson.

Phil Hogan

(Agricoltura e sviluppo rurale)

Capo di Gabinetto: Peter Power, inglese, ha iniziato lavorando nel team dell’eurodeputato TJ Maher, membro della Commissione agricoltura nel Parlamento europeo. Era nel gabinetto di Chris Patten, dove era responsabile delle relazioni con il Parlamento europeo, per poi diventare il Portavoce della Commissione europea sul Commercio sotto il Commissario Peter Mandelson nel periodo in cui l’agricoltura era l’argomento chiave nei negoziati del WTO. Quando Mandelson divenne Primo Segretario di Stato con responsabilità sul Business, Innovazione e Competenze, Peter Power è stato posto come capo dell’ufficio stampa del governo. Ritornato a Bruxelles dopo il 2010, è diventato un membro del gabinetto del precedente vicepresidente Neelie Kroes che era responsabile dell’economia digitale. Nell’ultimo anno, era a capo dell’ufficio stampa della Rappresentanza della Commissione europea a Dublino.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Dermot Ryan, irlandese, ha lavorato nella Rappresentanza permanente irlandese nell’UE.

Membri: Carl Buhr. Shane Sutherland.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Cristina Rueda Catry.

Assistente personale: Tom Tynan.

Vĕra Jourová

(Giustizia, consumatori e parità di genere)

Capo di Gabinetto: Renate Nikolay era capo unità alla DG Giustizia.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Daniel Braun, ceco, lavorava nell’ufficio del Viceministro responsabile dei fondi strutturali dell’Unione Europea nel Ministero dello Sviluppo regionale ceco.

Membri: Isabelle Perignon, Eduard Hulicius.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Kevin O’Connell.

Assistente personale: Simona Constantin.

Jyrki Katainen

(Occupazione, crescita, investimenti e competitività)

Capo di Gabinetto: Juho Romakkaniemi, finlandese, era membro del gabinetto del Commissario Olli Rehn.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Hilde Hardeman lavora in Commissione europea dal 2005. Dal 2011 era capo dell’unità Briefing del Presidente, Segretariato generale della Commissione.

Membri: Miguel Gil Tertre, Valérie Herzberg, Grzegorz Radziejewski.

Esperto: Edward Bannerman.

Assistente personale: Heidi Jern.

Cecilia Malmström

(Commercio)

Capo di Gabinetto: Maria Åsenius ha occupato lo stesso ruolo nel precedente gabinetto della Malmström.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Miguel Ceballos Baron era membro del gabinetto dell’Alta Rappresentante dell’Unione per gli Affari esteri e la politica di sicurezza, Catherine Ashton.

Membri: Christian Burgsmueller.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Joakim Larsson.

Esperto: Nele Eichhorn, Cécile Billaux, Jon Nyman.

Neven Mimica

(Cooperazione internazionale e sviluppo)

Capo di Gabinetto: Nils Behrndt Åsenius ha occupato lo stesso ruolo nel precedente gabinetto di Mimica.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Irena Andrassy ha occupato lo stesso ruolo nel precedente gabinetto di Mimica.

Membri: Denis Cajo, Paolo Berizzi, Maria-Myrto Kanellopoulou.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Maud Arnould.

Assistente personale: Ivan Prusina.

Carlos Moedas

(Ricerca, scienza e innovazione)

Capo di Gabinetto: António Luís Vicente era  capo di gabinetto di Modeas quando il politico portoghese era segretario di stato in caricato del programma di aggiustamento economico portoghese.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Giulia Del Brenna, italiana, ha lavorato in Commissione per vent’anni. È stata a capo di due unità nella DG Imprese e Industria (Industria alimentare e biotecnologia, Competitività dell’industria farmaceutica e biotecnologia) prima d’iniziare a lavorare nel Gruppo di Lavoro della Commissione sulla Grecia nel 2011.

Membri: Vygandas Jankunas.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Alfredo Sousa de Jesus.

Esperto: Maria Carvalho.

Pierre Moscovici

(Affari economici e finanziari, fiscalità e dogane)

Capo di Gabinetto: Olivier Bailly, he era Portavoce in Commissione e precedentemente lavorava al Segretariato generale.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Reinhard Felke, tedesco, lavora in Commissione dal 2000. Ha lavorato nella Commissione europea, DG Economia e Finanza, capo unità per l’economia della zona euro e l’analisi dell’Unione Monetaria Europea sull’economia dell’Eurozona e i suoi sviluppi sull’amministrazione economica.

Membri: Lucie Mattera, Fabien Dell.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Simon O’Connor.

Esperto: Maria-Elena Scoppio.

Capo analista economico: Philipp Rother.

Assistente personale: Malgorzata Iskra.

Tibor Navracsics

(Istruzione, cultura, giovani e sport)

Capo di Gabinetto: Jonathan Michael Hill, era capo di gabinetto aggiunto nel precedente gabinetto di Educazione e Cultura con la Commissaria Androulla Vassiliou.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Adrienn Kiraly è stato membro dei gabinetti delle Commissarie Viviane Reding e Martine Reicherts e ha assistito l’attuale Commissario Tibor Navracsics nella preparazione delle audizioni nel Parlamento europeo.

Membri: Patricia Reilly, Szabolcs Horvath, Krzystof Kania.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Christine Mai.

Assistente personale: Luca Jasko.

Günther Oettinger

(Economia e società digitale)

Capo di Gabinetto: Michael Hager è stato il capo di gabinetto del Commissario Oettinger nel precedente mandato. Precedentemente era stato membro del gabinetto di Margot Wallström dal 2008 al 2010. Ha iniziato a lavorare in Commissione nel 2004, dove è stato anche l’assistente del direttore generale della DG Mercato interno. Dal 1999 al 2004 è stato assistente parlamentare dell’eurodeputato tedesco Brigitte Langenhagen.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Eric Mamer, francese, è stato il capo di gabinetto aggiunto del Commissario Oettinger nel precedente mandato. È entrato in Commissione nel 1994 e ha lavorato in varie posizioni prima di diventare Portavoce del Vicepresidente per le riforme amministrative, Neil Kinnock, e del Commissario del Bilancio, Michaele Schreyer, durante la Commissione di Prodi.

Membri: Bodo Lehman, Paolo Pinho e Markus Schulte.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Marlene Holzner.

Assistente personale: Jasmin Battista.

Maroš Šefčovič

(Unione dell’energia)

Capo di Gabinetto: Juraj Nociar ha già avuto la stessa posizione nel precedente staff del Commissario.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Bernd Bievert, tedesco, era il capo unità “SMEs in Horizon 2020″ nella DG Imprese e Industria.

Membri: Christian Linder, Manuel Szapiro, Gabriela Keckesova.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Lubomira Hromkova.

Assistente personale: Dagmara Koska.

Christos Stylianides

(Aiuti umanitari e gestione della crisi)

Capo di Gabinetto: Themis Christophidou, greco, era capo gabinetto di Maria Damanaki, Commissaria su affari marittimi e pesca.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Kim Eling era il capo di gabinetto aggiunto di Kristalina Georgieva quando era Commissaria su Cooperazione internazionale, aiuti umanitari e risposta alle crisi.

Membri: Zacharias Giakoumis, Mathieu Briens, Myrto Zambaria, Davinia Wood.

Assistente personale: Sohail Luka.

Marianne Thyssen

(Occupazione, affari sociali, competenze e mobilità dei lavoratori)

Capo di Gabinetto: Stefaan Hermans è stato capo unità nella DG Ricerca e Innovazione della Commissione e ha lavorato anche in DG Impiego e affari sociali.

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Ruth Paserman, italiana, ha lavorato in DG Concorrenza, DG Impiego e nel gabinetto del Commissario per l’impresa Antonio Tajani.

Membri: Inge Bernaerts, Julie Anne Fionda, Vasiliki Kokkori, Raf De Backer.

Esperto: Baudouin Baudru.

Karmenu Vella

(Ambiente, affari marittimi e pesca)

Capo di Gabinetto: Patrick Costello, irlandese, lavora nelle Istituzioni dell’UE fin dal 1996 e ha una profonda esperienza nelle Relazioni internazionali. Era vicepresidente del Comitato politico e di sicurezza nel Servizio di azione esterna dell’Unione europea dal 2011. Precedentemente è stato capo di gabinetto aggiunto nel gabinetto di Margot Walstrom (2007-2009) e capo della divisione aggiunta alla DG Relazioni esterne (2009-2011).

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Gabriella Pace.

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Brian Synnot.

Esperto: Jürgen Mueller, Andras Inotai, Aurore Maillet.

Margrethe Vestager

(Concorrenza)

Capo di Gabinetto: Ditte Juul-Jorgensen, danese, avvocato, ha un’esperienza ventennale negli Affari europei. Era un direttore della politica di commercio multilaterale in DG Commercio (dal 2012).

Capo di Gabinetto aggiunto: Lindsay McCallum, avvocato specializzato in concorrenza, ha lavorato come funzionario in Commissione per vent’anni. Era il direttore dell’ufficio Tecnologie d’informazione e media alla DG Concorrenza. È conosciuto per aver gestito i casi Motorola, Samsung e Google.

Membri: Astrid Cousin, Claes Bengtsson, Friedrich Bulst

Consigliere della Comunicazione: Christina Holm Eiberg

Esperto: Soren Schonberg.

What does it mean, a European Commission “with a very political nature”?

Posted by on 05/11/14
Experts noted the message of President Juncker that it is his desire that the “European Commission will have a very political nature”. Member countries have reacted to this message offering mostly politicians as Commissioners, albeit some less experienced in the mysteries of EU policies. As a result, the current team of Commissioners is more connected [...]

Commission forecasts paint a less than optimistic picture for eurozone outlook

Posted by on 04/11/14
The European Commission has this morning released its Autumn 2014 Economic forecasts. While these forecasts can often be quite mundane owing to the very managed message they are trying to send, this set look to be a bit different (see here for our take on Winter 2014 and Autumn 2013). Maybe unsurprisingly the tone to more sceptical, critical and possibly realistic. Below outline some interesting themes.

Another downward growth revision
Once again growth for the Eurozone has been revised down. The previous forecast saw 1.2% and 1.8% growth in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The new forecast predicts 0.8% and 1.1% respectively, quite a significant downward revision, especially since growth next year is now expected to be below the original forecast for this year. The initial blame (in the press release) for this revision seems to be laid at the feet of “increasing geopolitical risks and less favourable world economic prospects”. However, that raises the question of why it is seen as enduring up to 2016. In the report itself the assessment is thankfully more candid highlighting “incomplete internal and external adjustment” and “low productivity gains”.

More realism about the labour market
There is a wider acceptance in these forecasts that unemployment will remain elevated for some time and that differences in labour market performance will persist. That said, at the moment any real prospect on employment growth in the Eurozone seems optimistic.

Bad news in nearly all the large economies
France and Germany’s growth prospects for this year have been revised downwards to 0.3% and 1.3%, from 1% and 1.8% respectively. Italy is expected to contract by 0.4% this year and only grow 0.6% and 1.1% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Given that these three countries account for nearly 60% of Eurozone GDP this suggests a very poor outlook for the Eurozone with growth risks tilted to the downside. In general, the core vs. periphery split is less clear in this report, at least in growth terms as many countries are now acting as a drag on the Eurozone economy for a number of reasons.

Significant and increasing reliance on domestic over external demand
Early on in the crisis there was a clear focus on facilitating export led recoveries, often in the German model. However, over the past 12 – 18 months this has shifted, possibly driven by global economic weakness, and these forecasts finalise the shift. The Commission itself says,  “Net exports are likely to contribute only marginally to GDP growth over the forecast horizon”. Spain is a prime example of this, see here for a longer discussion of the issue.

While finding a balance between the two is important (we cannot have 18 Germanys in the Eurozone) the shift may have been too stark. Let’s not forget that there is still a huge amount of public and private debt (both household and corporate) in the Eurozone, especially in problem countries. This will limit potential domestic demand growth. So while the flows are shifting in a way which should see an uptick in domestic demand, we should not forget that the huge stock of debt may provide a ceiling on this as a driver of growth.

Low inflation is here to stay
The Commission has also downgraded its inflation forecast with CPI expected to be 0.8% in 2015 compared to previous forecast of 1.2%, while it is only expected to be 1.5% in 2016. The forecast for 2015 is below the ECB’s of 1.1% but the 2016 is above the ECB’s which is 1.4%. Interestingly, the Commission continues to make the case that “low, or negative, inflation rates as part of [some countries] inevitable adjustment process”. This is an argument which has been absent all recent ECB press conferences. In terms of deflation, the Commission sides with the ECB, saying the risks of outright deflation remain low.

We’ll update the blog throughout the day as we pour over the 185 page report. But for now, we’ll leave you with a thought from Commissioner Jyrki Katainen in the press conference, when asked how much the forecasts can be trusted given a history of being incorrect he simply responded, “Nobody knows”. Quite.

A preview of the Juncker Commission on aviation

Posted by on 04/11/14

The new European Commission, led by President Jean-Claude Juncker, took office on 1 November. Juncker has reorganized the Commission for more cross-functional work, with — in addition to the commissioners — sevenVice-Presidents with broader portfolios such as energy or jobs and growth, including the first Vice-President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Juncker has charged Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc of Slovenia with working under the Vice-President for energy union to achieve the EU’s goals of greenhouse gas reductions in the transport sector, in which the worldwide aviation sector will play a significant role. Bulc is also called on to deliver the EU’s goals for SESAR, the technical implementation institution behind the Single European Sky initiative.

Bulc has noted the role of sustainable biofuels in achieving Juncker’s emissions reductions goal. “Alternative fuels are now firmly at the heart of EU transport policy,” she told the Parliament during her introductory hearing in October. “The challenge now is to get things up and running on the ground. That means making sure enough appropriate infrastructure gets built so that we create the conditions for these fuels to power transport into the future.”

Bulc said she hopes for transport to achieve the recognition it deserves as an important part of Europe’s economy. Transport “tends to be seen as a problem, rather than a solution and as a creator for growth,” Bulc said. “I will do my best to change that kind of attitude, by working with you, the European Parliament, to give transport the importance that it deserves.”

Boeing congratulates Commissioner Bulc on her appointment and welcomes her support for our sector in general, and alternative fuels in particular. As for aviation, when produced sustainably, aviation biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel. EU policy measures remain key to advance aviation biofuels development and commercialisation.

Hacia la tercera recesión sin freno cuesta abajo y erre que erre

Posted by on 02/11/14

La ya larga crónica de la crisis económica que nos azota desde la caía de Lehman Brothers el 15 de septiembre de 2008, hace ya seis cruentos años, nos debería ir dejando suficientes lecciones y experiencias prueba error como para ser capaces de articular reformas del modelo que nos ha llevado hasta aquí. Sin embargo, conocido es que pese a que al ser humano le hayamos autobautizado como el homo sapiens, su capacidad para cometer errores y lo que es peor para perpetuarse en ellos, es casi ilimitada. Por desgracia, es el caso de las políticas europeas impuestas desde Alemania para el resto de la Unión. El Atlántico que debería unirnos más que separarnos, ha marcado una clara línea diferenciadora entre las medidas adoptadas en Estados Unidos por la Reserva Federal y los Gobiernos del presidente Obama y las correspondientes llevadas a efecto por la Comisión Europea y el Banco Central Europeo al dictado de la canciller Merkel. Resultados a fecha de hoy de uno y otro lado: EE.UU. creciendo al 3,5% y con una tasa de paro por debajo del 5%, mientras que las principales economías de la zona euro están estancadas y con niveles de desempleo en torno al 15%. Y todo ello, con la grotesca situación monetaria de un euro valorado por encima del dólar. El hecho diferencial muy simple, mientras Estados Unidos tomó el camino de los estímulos, Europa optó por la austeridad, unos adoraron a Keynes y otros lo hicieron a Friedman.

La presidenta de la Reserva Federal Janet Yellen acaba de anunciar urbi et orbi el fin de la era de los estímulos y lo ha hecho pacíficamente señalando que ya no hacen falta. Su homólogo europeo, aun no tan todopoderoso, Mario Draghi, no se cansa de repetir a los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno que con meras medidas monetarias no saldremos de la doble W cíclica en que han convertido nuestra economía. Llevamos cuatro años, saldados los dos primeros de la crisis dedicados al absurdo esfuerzo de salvar, que no sanear, un sistema financiero especulativo y corrupto, viendo como el crecimiento aflora tímidamente, para volver a caer a los seis meses. De los brotes verdes del 2% al 0% con claros síntomas de estanflación. Y nuestros líderes se miran atónitos, escuchan a sus euritos asesores de cabecera durmientes y se quedan paralizados sin articular una sola decisión. Un continente viejo y avejentado, cuyos jóvenes buscan nuevos retos en nuevos destinos alejados de nosotros, que lo único que sabe hacer es decirle grandilocuentemente al mundo que hará todo lo que haga falta para sacarnos de la crisis.

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El diagnóstico de nuestra enfermedad no es tan complicado. A Europa le está matando la globalización, la presión de los productores emergentes en un mercado abierto y, sobre todo, su incapacidad de ser más eficiente y competitivo, no en la reducción de los costes de producción, sino en los procesos de investigación e innovación, es decir, en el conocimiento. No soy partidario de los rankings, de cualquier tipo, pero aunque solo sea como vara de medir, año tras año estamos observando cómo el liderazgo en la gestión del conocimiento humano se está desplazando del Atlántico, donde llevaba instalado casi 300 años, al Pacífico. El liderazgo del mundo ha emprendido un camino, tal vez sin retorno, contrario a la rotación solar, de Oeste a Este y hoy las universidades vanguardia están en Estados Unidos y en China. De hecho la propia China ya es la primera economía mundial y soporta el 60% de la deuda pública norteamericana. Y, por si fueran pocos nuestros males, la UE adolece de fuentes de energía de recurso propio para alimentar su industria y su consumo, un problema que también acometemos a paso de tortuga con una energías alternativas de alto coste y ridículas inversiones en investigación en este campo. ¿Para cuándo una política energética común? Pero al fin y al cabo, siempre podemos decir que en Europa se vive mucho mejor, que tenemos los mejores vinos, los mejores restaurantes y, cómo no, los mejores museos, o más bien que nos estamos convirtiendo en un enorme museo que atesora el espíritu de Occidente. Los ancianos guardianes de una civilización en proceso de extinción.

Pero que no cunda el pánico, aleluya hermanos, la semana que viene tenemos nueva Comisión Europea, ese grupo de hombres y mujeres con la fácil empresa de cambiar Europa y ponerla al frente del mundo. Claro que aunque tuvieran la voluntad de hacerlo, valor debemos suponerles, e incluso fueran capaces de hacerlo, aptitudes ya tengo más duda que tengan, tendrían que dejarles esos jefecillos de Estados venidos patéticamente a menos, que se envuelven en sus banderas dieciochescas para tratar de demostrar que aun pintan algo en un universo que se nueve a millones de giga bits por minuto y donde un fondo de inversión puede comprarles o dejar caer el 30% de su deuda en una decisión única. O sea que tenemos el pequeño inconveniente de nuestra propia insignificancia. La de tratar de permanecer en estructuras obsoletas y caducas, la de impedir el cambio y la regeneración de nuestro tejido, el económico, pero sobre todo el social.

Tal vez todo lo dicho suene a pesimismo y eso que viene de un optimista y de un europeista congénito. Pero los síntomas de la enfermedad se agravan y los responsables de la curación están más preocupados de su aspecto que de la intervención quirúrgica. Urge liderazgo en Europa, urge federalismo integrador en Europa, urge regeneración democrática en Europa, urge poner el conocimiento al frente de Europa, urge pensamiento sobre Europa, pero ante todo, urge Europa. Sin Europa unida nuestro mundo tal y como lo conocemos desaparecerá. El enemigo existe y está a las puertas nuestras fronteras de ricos acomodados. Se llama hambre, se llama ébola y también se llama un fanático cortando cabezas para exponerlas en Internet en nombre de Alá. Podemos seguir dormidos en nuestra autocomplacencia pero el reloj de la historia de nuestra caducidad no para y el de los males que nos acechan se acelera. Es tiempo de reacción.

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Lutte contre la traite des êtres humains

Posted by on 30/10/14
EU-Logos la Commission a présenté le bilan de tous les efforts coordonnés faits au cours de son mandat 2010-2014 sur la voie de l’éradication de la traite des êtres humains. Bilan de la Commission européenne : le chemin est encore long...

Gender Equality: the smart way to growth

Posted by on 29/10/14
Guest commentary by Vaso Kollia, Secretary General for Gender Equality at the Greek Ministry of Interiors. Is gender equality only about justice, or is the question at hand relevant to much needed economic development as well? That is one more question for the Junker Commission to address. After all, the incoming Commission is not another Commission, [...]

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.

 

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.

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