Friday 19 December 2014

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“Junker’s Stimulus Plan Is Unrealistic On Many Fronts”

By Dim Rapidis Dimitri B. Papadimitriou on ECB interest rates policy, deflation, Junkers’s fiscal stimulus plan, debt management and the Stability Pact, US economy, and the economic crisis in Greece.

 

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Syrie : réfugiés et victimes des conflits

Posted by EU-Logos on 16th December 2014

La conférence ministérielle d’annonce d’engagements pour la réinstallation et d’autres formes d’admission de réfugiés syriens, qui a eu lieu à Genève le 9 décembre 2014, cherche à avancer sur un dossier difficile. Dans un esprit de solidarité et de partage international de la charge, l’objectif de la conférence était de permettre d’attirer l’attention de la communauté internationale sur les besoins croissants et de fournir l’occasion aux Etats d’annoncer leur engagement pour la réinstallation ou d’autres formes d’admission de réfugiés syriens en 2015 et au-delà.

 Alors que la crise en Syrie entre dans sa quatrième année, plus de 3,5 millions de réfugiés ont fui le conflit et des dizaines de milliers de personnes continuent de traverser la frontière chaque semaine, pour la plupart d’entre eux au Liban, en Jordanie et en Turquie, mais aussi en Irak, en Egypte et d’autres pays dans la région. La contribution que la région a apportée pour la protection des réfugiés est substantielle. Toutefois, cet afflux de réfugiés exerce une pression énorme sur ces pays, ce qui n’est pas viable dans l’immédiat comme à moyen terme.

 Camps surpeuplés, fragilité des financements de l’aide alimentaire, la situation humanitaire des réfugiés syriens recueillis dans les pays limitrophes du conflit devient de plus en plus alarmante. Le minuscule Liban, à la superficie moins grande que celle de la Suisse romande, accueille à lui seul près de 1,2 million de Syriens, ce qui a fait augmenter sa population de 26%. La Turquie et la Jordanie y vont aussi d’un effort colossal, mais de plus en plus difficile à assumer.

 « Les besoins humanitaires dans le monde ont augmenté de façon exponentielle, il est clair que les fonds disponibles pour répondre à ces besoins n’augmentent pas au même rythme, non seulement nous avons moins d’argent pour les besoins croissants, mais la possibilité d’utiliser ces ressources est limitée », souligne Antonio Guterres au début de la conférence.

 En effet, outre le froid, les réfugiés syriens risquaient de souffrir de la faim après que le programme alimentaire mondial (PAM) ait dû suspendre son aide, à travers la distribution de vouchers électroniques, par manque de fonds.

 Le commissaire européen à l’Aide humanitaire et à la Gestion des crises, Christos Stylianides, s’était alarmé de cette interruption brutale et avait annoncé la mobilisation immédiate de 5,5 millions d’euros pour financer les actions du PAM, appelant la communauté internationale et les États membres de l’UE à faire montre de générosité aussi. De cette façon, le PAM a annoncé, exactement le jour de la conférence de Genève, avoir repris son aide, pour le plus grand soulagement de la Commission européenne, partenaire du PAM, et de l’UE.

 Les propositions avancées par le HCR, avant la conférence de mardi, concernaient aussi d’autre formes d’admissions pour les réfugiés, comme l’admission humanitaire, le parrainage privé, les visas humanitaires, l’élargissement des possibilités de regroupement familial et l’évacuation sanitaire.

 Selon le HCR, le contribution des autres pays, jusqu’ici, n’était pas assez pour faire avancer ce dossier si difficile. Mais, à Genève, un effort a ainsi été consenti par les pays riches: l’engagement a été pris d’offrir ces prochains mois 38.000 places supplémentaires, s’ajoutant aux 62.000 admissions déjà promises.

 Lors de la conférence les États européens ont offert 4.000 places supplémentaires aux réfugiés syriens. La Norvège et la Suède ont offert la plupart des places (1.500 chacun); la France s’est engagée avec 500 postes supplémentaires; les Pays-Bas avec 250; et la Belgique avec 150 places. La Pologne, qui n’avaient jamais pris aucun engagement de réinstallation, a offert 100 places pour les réfugiés syriens.

 En outre, au delà des 28.500 places déjà engagées, l’Allemagne a récemment offert 1.500 places supplémentaires pour parrainage individuel. Le Portugal a offert 70 bourses d’urgence disponibles pour l’enseignement supérieur. L’Irlande a annoncé que 111 Syriens ont été admis en Irlande dans le cadre du Programme d’admission humanitaire syrienne au printemps dernier.

 Ces engagements, ainsi que les 1.500 places offertes par le Brésil, portent l’engagement de réinstallation internationale actuelle à 67.638 places, ce qui correspond à un peu plus de 2% des 3,2 millions de réfugiés syriens enregistrés. À la lumière des engagements et des indications de futurs engagements, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés prévoit que le nombre total de places disponibles pour les réfugiés syriens dans les prochains mois peut atteindre 100.000.

 Au terme de la conférence, le Haut Commissaire pour les réfugiés s’est déclaré satisfait. «C’est une claire démonstration de solidarité et un bon résultat intermédiaire», a affirmé à la presse Antonio Guterres. Le Haut Commissaire a précisé que 28 pays ont exprimé leur solidarité avec les pays voisins de la Syrie qui accueillent 3,2 millions de réfugiés. Mais d’autres pays ont annoncé que leur programme va être accéléré, comme les Etats-Unis, ou qu’ils vont se joindre à cet effort.

 L’objectif du HCR est de réinstaller 130.000 réfugiés syriens les plus vulnérables d’ici la fin 2016. A terme, l’agence de l’ONU estime que 10% des réfugiés syriens, soit plus de 300.000, devront trouver un autre pays d’accueil, par exemple pour des raisons de santé ou familiales.

 Présent à Genève, le commissaire européen aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos a rappelé que 34.000 places avaient été offertes dans l’Union européenne depuis 2013, tout en admettant que l’UE pouvait et devait faire plus : « Je suis heureux de constater les chiffres des places qui ont été offertes par les États membres de l’UE. Par rapport aux besoins, il pourrait sembler insignifiant. Il est, cependant, le plus grand engagement dans l’histoire des efforts de réinstallation de l’UE. Néanmoins, je crois fermement que nous pouvons et devons faire plus. »

A y regarder de près, l’Allemagne pèse à elle seule très lourd dans cet effort, avec 20.000 places accordées. Tous les autres pays de l’UE n’ont accepté que quelques centaines, parfois même dizaines de Syriens. Ailleurs dans le monde, les Etats-Unis, l’Australie et le Brésil se montrent les plus accueillants.

 Pour la Suisse, l’ambassadeur à l’ONU, Alexandre Fasel, a affirmé que dix mille Syriens relevant du domaine de l’asile ont été accueillis jusqu’ici en Suisse. En septembre et décembre 2013, 4.200 Syriens ont été admis au titre de la réunification des familles. La Suisse s’est engagée en septembre 2013 à accueillir 500 personnes particulièrement vulnérables. Elle a reçu 390 demandes, et jusqu’ici, 168 Syriens sont arrivés en Suisse au titre de ce programme, a précisé l’ambassadeur.

 Les 110 dossiers restants sur les 500 places promises seront traités prochainement. La Suisse reverra en outre la situation l’année prochaine, a affirmé l’ambassadeur Fasel. Il a aussi indiqué que la Confédération a déboursé jusqu’ici 140 millions pour l’aide à la Syrie et les pays voisins.

 Le ministre luxembourgeois de l’Immigration et de l’Asile, Jean Asselborn, dans son intervention, a rappelé que « pour contribuer à l’effort collectif en faveur des réfugiés syriens et pour exprimer sa solidarité avec les pays avoisinant la Syrie, le Luxembourg a accueilli un premier groupe de réfugiés syriens sur son territoire en avril 2014 ». Alors qu’en ce moment même, une mission luxembourgeoise se trouve en Turquie pour organiser l’accueil d’un deuxième groupe de réfugiés, le ministre a indiqué que « nous atteindrons ainsi le nombre de 60 réfugiés que le gouvernement luxembourgeois s’était engagé à réinstaller. Au-delà de ces réinstallations, le Luxembourg accueille des réfugiés syriens dans le cadre de son quota annuel. Je m’engage donc à accueillir un nombre additionnel de réfugiés syriens en 2015. »

 En fin de la semaine dernière, une trentaine d’ONG, parmi lesquelles Médecins sans frontières, Care International et Amnesty International avaient demandé aux États Membres de prendre des engagements pour accueillir au moins 180.000. En relevant que 95% des réfugiés syriens vivent dans les pays limitrophes du conflit, exigeaient qu’au moins 5% d’entre eux soient réinstallés avant la fin de l’année 2015 dans d’autres pays, et un autre 5% d’ici 2016. Elles avaient dénoncé aussi la passivité des pays du Golfe, si proches de cette guerre, qui ne reçoivent personne, tout comme la Russie, acteur pourtant clé du conflit à l’échelle diplomatique.

 « Les pays riches n’ont accueilli qu’un nombre dérisoire de réfugiés syriens déplacés par la guerre, laissant le lourd fardeau aux pays voisins de la Syrie qui manquent de moyens », avait dénoncé vendredi Amnesty International à moins d’une semaine de la conférence à Genève.

 Trouver des terres d’asile dans des pays éloignés géographiquement et culturellement n’est pas toujours idéal dans la gestion humanitaire, en outre, les pays limitrophes ne vont plus supporter longtemps la pression, selon les ONG. Ces derniers mois, suffoquant sous le poids des arrivées, Liban, Turquie et Jordanie ont imposé des restrictions d’entrée sur leur territoire. Les populations civiles syriennes ne peuvent même plus fuir les bombes. La situation est intolérable.

 Antonio Guterres a souligné que ce programme de réinstallation vise également à prévenir l’afflux de réfugiés syriens par des routes plus dangereuses. Ainsi, depuis janvier , plus de 207.000 migrants (dont plus d’un tiers de Syriens) ont traversé la Méditerranée pour se rendre en Europe et 3.419 sont morts lors de cet exode.Il leur a rendu hommage en affirmant que «la résistance de ces pays a dépassé toutes les attentes». 

En outre, la Commission européenne et l’Italie ont signé, lundi 15 décembre, l’accord constitutif pour lancer le Fonds régional d’affectation de l’UE (EU Regional Trust Fund), « un nouvel outil de financement stratégique pour mobiliser davantage d’aide en réponse à la crise syrienne », a annoncé la Commission. Le financement de départ est de 20 millions d’euros du budget de l’UE et de 3 millions de l’Italie. Un financement supplémentaire est prévu pour 2015.Le fonds aura une dimension régionale et permettra à l’UE et aux États membres d’agir conjointement dans une réponse flexible et rapide aux besoins changeants. Le fonds fonctionnerait avec des coûts de gestion très bas et pourrait servir à l’avenir comme un moyen de financement pour la reconstruction post-conflit.

 « La crise de réfugiés syriens – a dit le Haut Représentant de l’Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Federica Mogherini – est la pire depuis des décennies en Europe ». Le fonds,a ajouté Mogherini, « permettra d’accroître considérablement l’aide européenne », tandis que l’UE réaffirme son « engagement à parvenir à une solution politique à la crise. »

 Le commissaire de l’Union européenne pour la Politique régionale et de l’intégration européenne, Johannes Hahn, a ensuite commenté : « il est nécessaire de fournir une approche plus cohérente et forte étant donné que les conséquences directes du conflit pour la sécurité de l’UE sont déjà visibles aujourd’hui ».Le Ministre italien des Affaires étrangères et de la Coopération internationale, Paolo Gentiloni, s’est dit « convaincu que ce nouvel outil permettra d’améliorer la qualité de l’assistance fournie aux réfugiés». Depuis 2012, a rappelé Gentiloni, l’Italie a fourni « une contribution totale d’environ 60 millions d’euros. » Avec cet outil, le pays est disponible à fournir une « réponse plus coordonnée à la crise ».

 

(Irene Capuozzo)

 

 

En savoir plus :

 

-         http://www.7sur7.be – Le PAM suspend son aide à 1,7 million de réfugiés syriens – 01/12/2014  (FR)

 -         http://www.7sur7.be – 180 millions d’euros pour aider les réfugiés syriens – 04/12/2014 – (FR)

 -         Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxemburg – Jean Asselborn à la conférence ministérielle du HCR pour les réfugiés syriens à Genève – 10/12/2014 – (FR)

 -         http://www.20min.ch – Réfugiés syriens: davantage de places de réinstallation – 09/12/2014 – (FR)

 -         Tribune de Genève (www.tdg.ch) – Le HCR veut équilibrer, un peu, l’accueil des Syriens – 09/12/2014 – (FR)

 -         European Commission Press release – European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos calls in Geneva for more protection and admission possibilities for Syrian refugees – 09/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         http://www.lepopulaire.fr – Syrie: la communauté internationale prête à accueillir plus de 100.000 réfugiés – 09/12/2014 – (FR)

 -       http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com – Les pays riches n’accueillent qu’un nombre « dérisoire » de réfugiés syriens, selon Amnesty – 05/12/2014 – (FR)

 -         http://www.theguardian.com – Take in Syrian refugees, aid agencies tell rich countries – 08/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         http://www.dailymail.co.uk – Countries vow to resettle more than 100.000 Syrian refugees: UN – 10/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         European resettlement network (www.resettlement.eu) – Unhcr pledging conference on resettlement and other forms of admission for Syrian refugees – 9/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         UNHCR – Resettlement and Other Forms of Admission for Syrian Refugees – 11/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         UNHCR – Governments at Geneva meeting agree to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees – 09/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         Al-Jazeera – Countries vow to double Syria refugees intake – 10/12/2014 – (EN)

 -     The New York Times, More Nations Pledge to U.N. to Resettle Syrian Refugees – 09/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         The Telegraph – Britain failing to resettle Syria refugees, 9/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         Euranet Plus – EU countries asked to accept more Syrian refugees – 9/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         Reuters – Rich countries urged to take 5 percent of Syrian refugees – 8/12/2014 – (EN)

 -         ECRE, Press Release – Humanitarian & human rights agencies urge governments to resettle 5% refugees from Syria by end of 2015 – 8/12/2014 – (EN)

 


Classé dans:conditions d'accueil des réfugié_s, DIGNITE HUMAINE, DROITS FONDAMENTAUX

A general regulation of administrative procedure for the European Union?

Posted by ACELG on 16th December 2014

Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon the passionate desire of the European Ombudsman and European Parliament is to create a regulation for administrative procedures for all European institutions. Unfortunately the legal basis for such a proposal is far from solid.

By Pieter van der Ploeg

Currently, rules on administrative procedures for EU institutions are scattered throughout a variety of sources of EU law. In primary law article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union establishes everyone’s right to fair and impartial administration. At the level of secondary law, administrative procedures are regulated per policy area in a variety of binding and nonbinding instruments. The prime example is Regulation 1/2003, which contains the Commission’s procedures on competition law. Last, the European Court of Justice has established several principles of good administration in its case law. So far the court has recognized the principle of non-discrimination, the principle of proportionality, the right to a hearing before an adverse decision is taken by a public authority, and several other principles.

 

Towards a regulation of administrative procedure

In 2012 the European Parliament conducted an investigation into the current state of affairs of administrative procedures in the so-called European Value Added Assessment on the Law of Administrative Procedure of the European Union. To the European lawyer the results sound familiar and reasonable. Rules on administrative procedures are fragmented, are often legally nonbinding, or are completely absent in some policy areas. A general European administrative procedures law would enhance legal certainty, create a clear set of rules of procedure for all European institutions, increase the effectiveness of the European administration, and, most importantly, enhance citizens’ trust in the European Union. Consequently, on 13 January 2013 the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging the Commission to draft a proposal on the matter.

However, is there a solid legal basis in the EU treaties for such a EU regulation for administrative procedures? The second paragraph of article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) clearly states that the Union shall only act within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the member states. In other words, the European Union needs an explicit legal basis in the EU treaties in order to adopt any form of legislation. The European Parliament claims to have found a legal basis in a combination of article 41 of the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union and article 298 in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The first paragraph of the first article is:

Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union.

Everyone has the right to a fair and impartial European administration, however, article 41 of the Charter does not prescribe how this fairness should be regulated. Article 298 of the TFEU states:

1. In carrying out their missions, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration.

2. In compliance with the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment adopted on the basis of Article 336, the European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish provisions to that end.

The second paragraph provides the much needed competence for the EU to adopt legislation. However, the aim of this competence is solely to regulate the relation between the EU institutions and the European administration. By its very nature a regulation concerning administrative procedures has both an internal and an external effect: it not only contains norms that regulate the decision-making process of the administration itself, but also norms of good administration that citizens can appeal to and norms which allow individual citizens to appeal unjust acts of the administration. There is considerable room for doubt as to whether article 298 TFEU actually provides a legal basis for a EU regulation on administrative procedure since the aim of the article is purely internal.

 

The case for a legal basis for the EU regulation for administrative procedures

The study carried out by the European Parliament (see above) fails to provide solid arguments with regards to the legal basis for a EU regulation for administrative procedures. An important argument is the interpretation of article 41 of the Charter by the Intergovernmental Conference in which a link between this article and article 298 TFEU is established. While the supposed weight of this interpretation may be brought into question, let us address the substance of the argument.  The conference does not explicitly mention that the two articles provide the basis for a European administrative act. It only states that both article 41 of the Charter and article 298 TFEU are connected. Furthermore, the conference does not mention the specific form in which these articles should be implemented. From the conference’s interpretation the conclusion therefore cannot be drawn that the manner in which European administrative law is currently shaped is insufficient.

A stronger argument is based on a systematic interpretation of the EU Treaties. According to this line of reasoning, the EU Treaty and the TFEU already have separate provisions for adopting internal rules of procedure and staff regulations. The scope of article 298 TFEU is wider than these provisions and therefore it provides a sufficient basis for an administrative regulation. Nevertheless, article 298 TFEU is still limited to establishing provisions aimed at the European administration. While the separate provisions on rules of procedure and staff regulations allow the EU institutions to regulate their own procedure article 298 TFEU allows the EU to regulate this matter across all EU institutions. The Commission, the Council and the European Parliament can regulate the entire European administration with one legally binding instrument.

This is not the first time that the European Union attempted to adopt an act with the best intentions in mind. In Opinion 2/94 the Court of Justice found that the (former) EC lacked the competence to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights. It took a formal change of the EU Treaties to gain this competence which is now codified in article 6 (2) TEU. Although the aim of the EU regulation for administrative procedures is admirable, this does not mean that the EU may adopt an act outside of the competences that have been conferred to it under the EU treaties. A change in the EU Treaties is a difficult process, but will provide a stronger legal basis for a EU regulation for administrative procedures.

Pieter van der Ploeg studied European law at the University of Amsterdam.

Good media relations require a two-way relationship

Posted by Chris Whitehouse on 16th December 2014

In an article for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Whitehouse Associate Director Alex Singleton explains why spamming journalists with press releases doesn’t work.

To read Alex’s article, please click here.

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

China and the Balkans

Posted by Filip Kovacevic on 16th December 2014

The presence of China in the Balkans is not new. During the years of the Cold War, China closely cooperated first with Albania and then with Yugoslavia. In fact, Albania was one of the key initiators of the UN resolution 2758 which led to the UN recognition of the People’s Republic of China in 1971.[1]

Towards the end of the 1970s, the relations between Albania and China deteriorated, largely due to the opinion of the supreme Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha that the Chinese leadership began taking the revisionist path regarding the classics of Marxism-Leninism.[2]

As the later developments showed, Hoxha’s assessment was right on the mark. It is not surprising therefore that, after the death of Mao Zedong, the Communist party of China began cultivating friendly relations with the openly revisionist and non-aligned Yugoslavia.

During the wars that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, China generally took a neutral standpoint and supported the decisions made by the UN Security Council concerning the situation on the ground. This attitude changed during the NATO attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the rump Yugoslav federation, consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro).

At that time, during one of the NATO raids on the Yugoslav capital Belgrade in early May 1999, NATO bombs hit and severely damaged the Chinese Embassy. Three people were killed and twenty injured, including Chinese diplomats.[3] NATO officials blamed outdated maps and other technical details, but the Chinese government was not convinced. Large-scale protest demonstrations took place all over China in condemnation of what was seen as an unprovoked aggression by NATO.[4]

It appears that this brutal infringement by NATO on the sovereign space of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade made the Chinese government re-consider its Balkan policy. Instead of more or less pronounced indifference which prevailed for a decade, it decided to accept the challenge of its Atlantic geopolitical adversary and get involved in the region more closely.

In fact, since 2000, the Chinese trade grew on average 30 percent annually not only with the Balkan countries, but also with their neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe.[5] In April 2012, the Chinese relations with this part of the world were raised on a higher level by the organization of the so-called “16+1″ summit in Warsaw.

The “16″ stood for the sixteen countries of the Central and Eastern Europe (11 EU members and 5 EU candidates) and “1″ for China. There was even the talk of setting up a formal Secretariat and hence becoming an international organization with a legal status.

The first summit in Warsaw focused on the economic side of the relationship and especially on the possibility of Chinese large-scale investments.[6] Having just gone through a deep economic crisis, the Eastern and Central European countries were looking for ways to jump-start their economies and China was basking in the newly found but deserved role of the global player. No wonder that this summit attracted a lot of attention from the European Commission and their transatlantic US allies.

Some observers claimed that yet another rift was being created in the European Union between the so-called “old Europe” (the EU founding members) and the “New Europe” (the former Communist countries). These two “halves” of the EU had already gone through a spate of animosity over the involvement in the Iraq war in 2003.[7]

However, most experts have been uncertain as to whether there is any cause for concern by the EU Commissioners in Brussels and the officials of the US-NATO Empire.

On the level of personalities, last year’s summit in Bucharest involved a new figure on the Chinese side. In between the two summits, Li Keqiang replaced Wen Jiabao, who many consider the ideologue of the Chinese Central-Eastern European-Balkan pivot, in the post of the prime minister. But the Chinese political line remained unchanged.

The Bucharest summit participants adopted certain formal guidelines, concerning increased cooperation in the fields of infrastructure development, science, technology, tourism, etc.[8] The key element in all of this constitute, of course, the credit lines of Chinese banks.

As far as the concrete things go, the prime minister of Hungary, the perpetual EU “rebel”, Viktor Orban got a Chinese commitment to invest more than $2 billion dollars in the Budapest-Belgrade rail line and the host nation Romania was offered up to $8 billion dollars in investments.[9] This is much more than the EU could offer these countries in recent years and I think that it is likely to lead to more problems in the EU internal functioning in the future.

However, no doubt due to the historical as well as recent political ties, Yugoslavia’s legal successor state Serbia, a non-member of the EU, was singled out by the Chinese for a particularly important bridge building project on the Danube. The construction of a 1.5 kilometer long bridge started in 2011 and, though it took longer than expected, the bridge will be officially opened during this year’s “16+1″ summit in Belgrade on December 16 and 17.[10] This is the biggest infrastructure project completed by a Chinese state company (in this case, China Road and Bridge Corporation) in the Balkans so far. Both the Chinese and Serbian officials are announcing “many more” projects to come and this is definitely in line with the Chinese Balkan strategy.[11]

This trend can be seen in the neighboring Montenegro as well. In October 2014, the government of Montenegro signed an agreement with the Chinese Exim Bank on a $1 billion loan for the construction of a stretch of a highway through Montenegro to be built by the already mentioned China Road and Bridge Corporation.[12] This decision, however, encountered strong dissent from the opposition parties which claimed that the loan would enormously increase the already high public debt and that the government entered into a corrupt construction scheme in order to further enrich its business cronies.[13] Many even questioned the necessity of constructing the highway at all.

However, it is not for those reasons (no matter what they say publicly) that the global economic levers of the US-NATO Empire, the IMF and the World Bank, oppose not only this particular highway project, but also other Chinese investment projects in the Balkans and the Central and Eastern Europe. They know well that what is taking place here is truly a battle for geopolitical influence and power. The US-NATO Empire has lost the aura of invincibility it had during the last two decades and the emerging multi-polarity of the world is getting its Balkan reflection as well.

This geopolitical battle is still in its beginning phases, but I expect it to intensify in the coming years, especially as China and Russia (which is a traditional ally of many Balkan countries) come to cooperate more closely not only in the economic, but also in the political and the military sphere, and as the daily functioning of the EU institutions begins to show more and more tear & wear under the pressure from the warmongering circles in Washington and London.

NOTES

[1] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/ziliao_6…

[2 http://www.enverhoxha.ru/Archive_of_book...

[3] http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/08/…;
 http://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/oc…

[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates…

[5] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/…

[6] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/…

[7] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/…

[8] http://www.eias.org/asian-news-outlook/l…

[9] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101237467#.

[10] http://www.24sata.rs/vesti/beograd/vest/…

[11] http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/874768…

[12] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/3…

[13 http://www.cdm.me/ekonomija/opozicija-au…

Originally published by Sibel Edmonds’ BFP. December 15, 2014.

//

Turkey’s EU Accession Negotiations should now be suspended

Posted by Andrew Duff on 15th December 2014

By Andrew Duff This Turkey will not join this European Union. Why? In short: Turkey is becoming less and less European.

Most national embassies and consulates will be closed by 2040

Posted by Eberhard Rhein on 15th December 2014

The EU and its 28 member states maintain the most extensive network of diplomatic representations on earth. This situation will become financially unsustainable and no longer necessary after the creation of the European External Action Service which is running 140 missions today.

Diplomatic representations have become very expensive; their cost has kept rising through increased safety measures and the need to pay high salaries for qualified personnel and premiums for the growing number of hardship posts. That is why member states have come under pressure for cutting costs and closing embassies and consulates.

Thus the Netherlands will lower the expenditures for their Foreign Ministry by a quarter until 2018; and the new Belgian government has decided to reduce its diplomatic missions from 137 to 104. Both countries will do this within the framework of comprehensive reforms with the purpose of cutting budget expenses.

The EU is definitely over-staffed with diplomatic personnel and missions.

EU Delegations have largely taken over political and economic reporting for EU headquarters in Brussels and national capitals. They should also progressively assume consular duties for EU citizens, especially issuing visa where still required and organising assistance to EU citizens in situations of natural catastrophes and political unrest.

Member states` diplomatic missions should focus on promoting business contacts to the extent that joint chambers of commerce do not do so, as is the case in some major business centres like Beijing or Tokyo.

For cost reasons member states are therefore likely to close most of their diplomatic missions during the coming 25 years and rely on EU missions.

What may look like a revolution today will be perfectly normal by 2040. The transition should take place smoothly and start as of today with intermediate stages like pooling missions or offices of several member countries.

Eberhard Rhein, Brussels, 10.12 2014

About a dog and an innovation-friendly vision

Posted by adamczyzewski on 15th December 2014

Last Monday, I took part in the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper’s economic debate entitled ‘The end of the free market? Origins of the crisis’. Three questions were sent to the participants by the host:

  • Have capitalism and the free market discredited themselves?
  • What is the alternative to the free market? Which economic system should we choose?
  • Should Poland increase the involvement of the state or of the market?

I am quoting the questions here to outline the context of the debate, which revolved around the most fundamental aspects of the political system and the relationship between the state and the market. Has the global financial crisis, whose effects are still felt today, altered the laws of economics, for instance by taking interest rates, the key tool for controlling inflation, away from central banks? Those interested will find the account of the debate in the newspaper, while I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on the dog metaphor which I invoked in the conclusion of my answer to the third question.

Seeing that two of the previous speakers, asked about what Poland should do to ensure economic growth at a reasonable rate, argued that the country needed to look for its competitive advantage in entrepreneurship and innovation (because the growth model based on cheap labour is running dry), I decided to focus on how this should be accomplished.

The issue is not with the extent of involvement of the state and the market, but with the state’s responsibilities and the way the market operates. The state should become involved primarily where the market is not enough, which justifies the state’s role in overseeing today’s markets and creating new ones. This is done not only through appropriate institutions, such as banks and stock exchanges, whose scope and quality depends on the quality of the state, but also through suitable regulations and rules of operation. Nowadays reality is changing before our very eyes. New, revolutionary technologies emerge, giving rise to associated products and services which change the rules of the economic game, making regulatory adjustments necessary. If these adjustments are not made fast enough, the economy pays the price, suffering depressed growth, which is something that can be avoided. Examples abound.

In the oil and gas industry, where I work, this leads to regulatory uncertainty regarding shale gas exploration and production in Poland. Currently, after four years, this uncertainty has been significantly limited. Alas, in the meantime, however, American companies (which have the necessary know-how) lost interest in making investments in Poland, having been drawn by the prospect of the U.S. ban on gas exports being lifted, which has turned Poland from a potential shale gas producer into a potential importer of LNG derived from American shale. Europe’s CO2 emissions trading market, which is in need of a thorough overhaul, is yet another example.

What should Poland do? Improve the quality of the state by fine-tuning its presence to the needs of the economy. The state should withdraw its involvement from production and modernisation projects, as businesses can handle these areas with ease. Since running state institutions is costly, funnelling funds into the two areas is a waste of the taxpayer’s money. However, there are certain areas where, despite its involvement being very needed, the state is either absent or its presence is insufficient. What I am talking about here is creating visions for Poland’s growth. It appears to me that because state institutions fail to investigate the topic, they are unable to make proper use of the results of the studies that certain universities carry out. In any case, such academic research does not aim to create alternative visions for Poland’s growth or its place on the economic map of Europe and the world, but rather to develop tools which can be used to create such visions.

Poland has so far managed without a vision for growth, because we have taken economic transformation and modernisation as a priority. Busy building a market economy, we have failed to notice that we have achieved tremendous success in securing continuous economic growth and a steady rise of incomes. Having joined the club of high-income countries, we are facing yet another challenge – to ensure further growth of per-capita incomes. Mimicking others in enforcing cost (salary) controls will not help us meet the challenge. So far we have been creating a second Japan and a second Norway, and now we are working on a second Denmark, or so the politicians say. Now it’s high time to choose our own way.

Poland needs a course of its own to serve as the fulcrum for the research paving the way to innovation. Primary research gives rise to new products and technologies, which are not immediately usable. They are like Lego bricks in that they can be used to build anything we need. Those who played with Legos as a child will remember that new bricks matched previous sets and offered entirely new possibilities. What I am saying is essentially that we should focus on financing those primary and applied research projects which are geared towards practical applications, rather than the research whose sole objective is to be published. Doing so by funding research with public money, we are shifting onto the state the part of the risk associated with the first stage of the process whereby an idea is transformed into a product. Many ideas will fail, while others will have to wait for the right time, but some will be transformed into new technologies and prototypes which will attract the attention of venture capitalists. Furthermore, to avoid spreading out the financial potential too much, we need a vision for growth. Today, Poland does not have such a vision as there exist no state institutions whose business it would be to create such visions. It is essential that the life of such institutions, the visions their create and the research their pursue be perpetuated by subsequent administrations. Such institutions must be created.

This where the dog comes in, a black-and-white terrier digging vigorously in Sopot’s sandy beach. I first noticed it during my morning walk and thought the creature was trying to reach water. When I was coming back an hour later, I saw an impressive ditch, which grew further as the excavations continued. It was apparent that reaching water was not the plan after all. No discernible purpose could be seen, as the dog did not seem interested in connecting the ditch to the sea. Tired, the terrier continued digging. The moral of the story is that if you do not know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.

 

Is ‘digital native’ government possible?

Posted by Mathew Lowry on 15th December 2014

An interview with Jim Bankoff, who just raised another raised $46.5 million in funding for Vox Media (“the fastest growing Web brand of 2014″), caught my eye: “Vox.com’s main draw [is] making sense of complicated issues in ways that are easily digestible for online readers… Our content platform is less about the 1s and 0s [...]

What aviation means for growth

Posted by Boeing on 15th December 2014

With Boeing’s support, the Euractiv Institute recently held a forum at the European Parliament on why aviation matters in order to draw the attention of EU policy-makers to aviation’s contribution to economic growth and the need for the appropriate policy framework in support of the aviation sector. The event attracted a broad range of stakeholders, including airline personnel, industry associations, aerospace manufacturers, and NGOs.

The forum was hosted by Marian-Jean Marinescu, MEP of Romania, who introduced the conversation by emphasising the contribution the aviation sector makes to job growth and economic mobility. Referring to the Single European Sky II Plus programme — which is currently in the co-decision process between the Parliament and EU member states — he expressed hope it can be completed in the next six months.

Emmanuelle Maire, the head of unit for internal aviation market and airports at the Commission’s Transport Directorate, also discussed aviation’s role in growth, which she called a catalyst for value production, generating 2.7 million direct and indirect jobs. Maire cautioned that aviation is not growing as fast in Europe as it is in other regions and called for the Commission to project an integrated vision for strong hubs, regional airports and airlines in the EU. However, Guillaume Xavier-Bender of the German Marshall Fund warned that the traditional US/EU business model for airlines, airports, and aerospace firms is under pressure from emerging models from the Persian Guld states and Southeast Asia.

Other speakers explored the technological aspects of aviation’s contribution to growth. Aviation is rapidly developing new sustainable biofuel capabilities to reduce the sector’s environmental impact. Jens Nilsson, MEP for Sweden, pointed out that political targets and R&D investment are crucial for new fuels. Boeing’s President for EU & NATO Relations, Brian Moran, discussed how research and new products such as the B787 Dreamliner are addressing challenges associated with emissions and aircraft noise.

Moran called for “smart regulations” and investments to help aviation fulfil its promise of growth. As far as policies are concerned, Hhe urged EU policymakers to continue working through ICAO to develop a global system to address aviation emissions, recognizing that no one country or region can address a worldwide challenge on its own. Moran also stressed that chemical regulations should take into account aviation’s unique ecosystem and high safety standards, that increased policy support is needed to advance aviation biofuel development and commercialisation, and that capacity constraints both on the ground and in the air need to be addressed.

Žiga Turk: ‘If you provide open data they will come’

Posted by eucommunity on 15th December 2014

Žiga Turk, professor and blogger on innovation, sustainability and technology, published a blogpost on Sunday concerning efforts in South-East Europe to open up public data sources. If you offer the data, aggregated by public administrations anyhow, developers and innovators will come in and build applications on top of it, Turk writes.

Turk is a member of BlogActiv’s community of EU bloggers who is definitely worth following. We re-published his latest blogpost here (without editing).

~

Opening public data contributes to the transparency and public oversight that the people have over their governments and public sector that they fund.

“In the EU we are often accused of having big government and public sector; spending too much; collecting too much information etc. But there may be a silver lining to it.

In the globalized competition among the states, of course it is important to improve the level of services, cut costs and reduce the red tape. But it is also important to make the best out of the situation. Which is that the public sector is sitting on a treasure of data which costs taxpayer money to collect and maintain and in many cases citizen effort to provide.

Therefore it would be wise to make sure the data is either put to use or stopped being collected.

It is highly unlikely that the governments would come with the only and the brightest ideas on what to do with that data. On the contrary, the growth around the internet has shown the tremendous potential of innovation in the private sector and the academia.

Zagreb Summit

In the beginning of December I took part at a Summit “Data Driven Innovation in Southeast Europe“. It was organized by several organizations from the region and Google in Zagreb, Croatia. Members of governments, academia, civil societies and businesses from the region met to exchange best practices and discuss the innovation strategy. Innovation that should be based around data openly provided by the public sector.

While Slovenia is also a Central European country, it shares a long common history and therefore institution types and public-sector culture with former Yugoslav republics. There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and borrow solutions from each other.

A whitepaper summarized  the initiative and best practices. The message from Slovenia was very clear – “if you build it, they will come“. If you build open access to open public data, developers and innovators will come and create services and apps on top of that.

They will create services which are useful to the citizens. But not only directly useful ones, such as live traffic information. They would create services that would make the publicly available data easier to access and understand.

By doing that they would contribute to the transparency and public oversight of that the people have over their governments and public sector that they fund. And thereby indirectly contribute to its quality.

More information in the PressRelease and the Whitepaper.”

What does entrepreneurship mean to entrepreneurs?

Posted by Blogactiv Team on 15th December 2014

Guest blogpost by David Mata, founder and CEO of PYNK SYSTEMS and winner of 2014 Amcham EU Youth Entrepreneurship Award. Entrepreneurship, a very recurrent word when talking about economic revitalization after the crash. It is a term that reminds one about beautiful professional fulfillment: assuming a risk, making the most of an opportunity, it is [...]

Russia encroaches on the Baltics

Posted by Tyszecki on 14th December 2014

Russia is very persistent in the pursuit of the goal to expand its influence inside the EU at all levels and in all spheres. Moscow is constantly seeking opportunities to influence European politics and public opinion and to turn them to its own advantage. The Kremlin effectively uses numerous Russian-speaking diasporas in the EU Member States; it also provides financial support to a large number of pro-Russian organizations. Adhering to this policy line, Moscow has appeared capable to consolidate its positions in some European countries, in particular, the Baltic states. The Kremlin runs large-scale propaganda campaigns in these countries through the media which are under its control, e.g., notorious “Russia Today” and newly presented “Sputnik”.

One of the most effective leverages used by Russia for lobbying its interests is intense cooperation with the left-wing and the far-right-wing parties. For the last few years leftists, ultra-rightists and nationalists have managed to enlarge their electoral base and to increase the number of their parties’ representatives in the national parliaments and the European Parliament, exploiting economic problems and social discontent.

The Kremlin is using a whole bunch of mechanisms and instruments to deepen collaboration with these forces. Special funds and information centers creation, conferences and fora organization, exchange of visits, sharing of the best dirty campaigning practices are pressed into service. Meanwhile Moscow doesn’t forget about financial incentives to the top people and leaders. In fact, it’s a well-tuned and smoothly running bribery scheme. They are rendered assistance in exchange of some “insignificant” turn in the future. Qui pro quo. Usually they are asked to back or oppose a certain decision. One can see the impressive output of these coordinated actions. Some far-right and nationalist parties, for instance, expressed their approval for the “independence referendum” in the Crimea and acknowledged its results to please Russian tutors. The international community condemned even the fact of conducting this illegal voting; Russia’s allies, however, sent their observers to the Crimea… and there were many of them: “Jobbic” (Hungary), the Front National (France), the Freedom party of Austria, the Flemish interest (Belgium), the Attack party (Bulgaria).

Russia has been working hard to cement its influence in the post-Soviet and Eastern-European countries for a long time. The Revolution of dignity in Ukraine and signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement struck a blow to Russia’s imperial plans. The Kremlin reacted aggressively and violently. Russia annexed the Crimea and became a sponsor of the warfare in the Eastern Ukraine. Putin’s regime can’t afford Ukraine’s drifting apart towards the EU because it may set a precedent which the other former Soviet republics and the federal subjects of Russia will likely want to follow (It will surely lead to breakup of Russia).

Therefore, some experts consider that Ukrainian scenario recurrence in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania is rather probable. Latvia is the most obvious target for the Kremlin’s campaigns. There is a large Russian diaspora there and an influential pro-Russian political alliance “Concord center”. However, Putin acts more cautiously towards the EU Member States. Russia’s threats are rendered by Eurasianism spinners and odious politicians (Vladimir Zhirinovsky and those of his ilk).

The Kremlin is effectively conducting propaganda among Russian-speaking population to form favorable for Russia public opinion. It is feeding popular dissatisfaction and sponsoring street protests. Moscow defames the Baltic states by manipulating public opinion and political mudslinging. It forms the image of Nazi-states, where Russian-speaking citizens are deprived of their rights; the governments cultivate hostile attitude towards Russia and Russians, etc.. Opinion polls confirm that the level of negative perception of government home policy is increasing among Russian-speaking population in the Baltic states, in particular, in Lithuania which is known for its anti-Russian stance.

Russian propaganda is disseminating the idea of so called “Russian world”. Taking actions through friendship societies, Russian language fans’ clubs, Russian compatriots abroad associations, Russia laboriously strengthens its humanitarian influence. Such organizations as “Good Russians”, “World without Nazism”, “Russian movement”, “For the progress in Latvia”, “The republic of Uzupis” are of great help to Moscow.

The Kremlin combines humanitarian expansion with threat of war. For instance, this year Russian warships approached to Latvia territorial waters more than 50 times. Russian aircraft also repeatedly conduct maneuvers near the Baltic states’ airspace. However, Moscow is not able to intimidate the Baltics because they are NATO members and the Alliance will always protect them. NATO has already approved wide-ranging plans to boost its defense capacities in the Eastern Europe, aiming to reassure anxious allies about Russia’s military ambitions. The Baltic states’ governments have already expressed their complete readiness to resist Russian war threats. Dalia Grybauskaite, the president of Lithuania, unequivocally called Russia a ”a terrorist state that is engaged in open aggression against its neighbor”. She is sure that if Russia “is not stopped then that aggression might spread further into Europe”.

Lithuania is planning to increase its defense budget by 40% in 2015. Moreover because of a rise in the activity of Russian forces in the western part of the Russian Federation, Lithuania made a decision to put several of its rapid response units on a higher state of preparedness. The country is also taking part, together with Poland and Ukraine, in the formation of a joint military init to participate in peacekeeping operations. Latvian president Andris Berzins has announced the defense budget increase up to 2% GDP. Estonia has taken measures to strengthen its defense capabilities too. The government has requested NATO to deploy its contingent in the country.

The Baltics has also agreed actions to withstand Russian propaganda. They consider that it’s necessary for the EU to finance alternative media broadcasting in Russian, to develop communication strategy towards Russia and toughen the EC regulations concerning audiovisual sector content.

More Romanian EU specialists in Brussels? A first list of urgent priorities

Posted by Dan Luca on 14th December 2014

Anchoring European countries in the community structure requires a lot of specialists, active both in Brussels and in the capitals. The European construction has mainly an institutional dimension, but civil society and particularly the business sector are actively involved in recent developments. Experts say there is a very pronounced corporate lobby in Brussels, as well [...]

Energy Union: a (long) way towards employment?

Posted by FutureLab Europe on 14th December 2014

Ana Luísa Correia for FutureLab Europe Out of Juncker´s €300bn investment package, €21bn will be directed to building an effective Energy Union for secure, affordable, and environmentally-sensitive energy. But what does this mean for unemployed Europeans?

La présidence italienne fait le bilan de son mandat

Posted by EU-Logos on 14th December 2014

La présidence italienne est intervenue à un moment difficile pour l’Europe. Début juillet 2014, la transition de la Commission européenne en voie de renouvellement et la période post-électorale du Parlement européen, accompagnées par la grave montée des eurosceptiques, ont limité la stabilité du contexte institutionnel et politique. Néanmoins, Andrea Orlando, ministre de la justice italien, et Angelino Alfano, ministre des affaires intérieures, présentent un bilan positif à la commission LIBE du Parlement européen, lors de la réunion de jeudi 11 décembre 2014.

 

Part I Justice. Intervention de Andrea Orlando.

Protection des données. Un thème majeur pour les mois à venir .Il s’agit d’engagements généraux, souples et partiels, mais il ne faut pas sous-estimer les résultats déjà atteints en matière de protection des données. Notamment, il fallait trouver une solution au déficit juridique européen qui ne prévoit pas de normes pour le traitement des données dans le secteur public. En même temps, il fallait qu’elles soient flexibles, afin de surmonter les craintes nationales d’un système trop strict.

Autre point décisif a été le chapitre 4 de la même directive, protection des données, concernant les autorités responsables de leur traitement. Sur ce point la présidence est intervenue afin de trouver un point d’équilibre entre le renforcement des garanties à l’égard des individus, et le respect des intérêts des responsables économiques et des administrations privées.

En ce qui concerne le contrôle du respect des normes en cette matière, la présidence italienne a soutenu le principe de ‘one-stop-shop’, qui prévoit une autorité unique de surveillance du traitement des données, de manière à garantir l’efficacité.

Toutefois, comme souligné par Michał Boni (PPE), le représentant de l’Italie en chef au Conseil a été trop optimiste. En effet le système ‘one stop shop’, (« guichet unique »)ne fournisse pas de garanties suffisantes quant à la protection des données des individus. Les Conclusions du dernier Conseil JAI le reconnaissent elles-mêmes : il faudra renforcer la proximité entre les autorités de contrôle et les citoyens. En outre, la solution du compromis est trop complexe, ‘il y aura surement des problèmes au moment de son application’, souligne Boni, reprenant les indications avancées par le Service juridique du Conseil en décembre 2013. Par conséquence, il faut être plus réaliste quant aux dates fixées pour l’accord final, ainsi qu’à la mise en œuvre, une fois qu’il sera conclu de manière définitive.

En réponse, le ministre Orlando reconnait les limites du compromis atteint au Conseil. Néanmoins il tient à mettre l’accent sur le fait que le point de départ des négociations était négatif, car les positions des différents États membres étaient très polarisées. Cela aurait pu provoquer des pas en arrière et, donc, un règlement beaucoup plus lourd pour les entreprises. En revanche, la présidence italienne se félicite d’avoir empêché un blocage complet du dossier.

Un processus a été entamé depuis le début du mandat présidentiel italien, portant sur la coopération administrative entre les forces de police, à travers l’approbation des nouvelles règles communes. Andrea Orlando est honnête : il reste des point de désaccords, mais il tient également à souligner que chaque réunion du Conseil a comporté des avancées, même si ponctuelles. Il est, donc, convaincu que les négociations aboutirons bientôt à un accord global.

Quant aux partenaires outre atlantique, entre l’UE et les Etats-Unis, la présidence italienne s’est engagée pour la création d’un rapprochement des garanties en matière de protection des données, notamment au droit de recours pour ceux qui ne sont pas américains. Toutefois, elle a dû faire face à d’importantes difficultés, à cause des changements d’ interlocuteurs suite aux élections américaines à mi-mandat, maintenant, regrette Mr. Orlando, ‘on a des inconnus’.

Coopération judiciaire pénale. Autre question au cœur de l’action italienne au Conseil : la création du procureur européen (EPPO) avec des pouvoirs de supervision et enquête. A ce propos il y a eu un ‘débat d’orientation’ entre les ministres, qui a abouti aux Conclusions de début décembre. Nombre d’obstacles se sont interposés, et d’autres questions restent ouvertes, mais la présidence italienne, déclare Orlando, a réussi à garder l’idée d’une figure autonome, une entité embryonnaire mais européenne, qui ne doit pas être une simple émanation des procureurs nationaux.

D’ailleurs la question de l’EPPO fera objet d’une proposition nouvelle de la part de la Commission, selon ce qu’atteste le document de la dernière réunion du Conseil. Pour l’instant, les États sont d’accord sur la protection des intérêts financiers de l’Union mais restent réticents quant à d’autres compétences qui lui seraient attribuées. En outre, la base légale choisie prévoit l’unanimité du Conseil, le Parlement, en revanche, sera uniquement consulté. Il lui sera, toutefois, possible devant des obstacles persistants de mettre en place une coopération renforcée entre un group d’au moins 9 EM.

D’autres avancées ont été faites en faveur des droits des suspects et de l’aide juridictionnelle, mais même ici il faudra beaucoup travailler dans l’avenir. Par ailleurs, la députée Ferrara (EDF) demande plus d’éclaircissements quant à la protection des détenus. Sur ce point, rapporte le ministre Orlando, des réunions techniques ont eu lieu, sans malheureusement obtenir aucun succès ; et il admet : ‘ je suis préoccupé, il faut plus d’élan, on risque de revenir en arrière’.

La présidence italienne a aussi insisté pour une formation adéquate des autorités judiciaires, grâce aussi aux échanges entre personnel judiciaire, notamment afin de renforcer la reconnaissance mutuelle des décisions judiciaires.

En ce qui concerne la lutte contre la criminalité, Andrea Orlando considère qu’il faut des nouvelles règles et des priorités. D’après lui, les thèmes fondamentaux sont la criminalité organisée en lien avec la finance et les mafias, ainsi que le saisi de leurs biens et de leur patrimoine.

En ce qui concerne les combattants étrangers, selon le ministre italien de la justice, il s’agit d’un thème compliqué qui nécessite des réponses plus adéquates, incluant le système de sécurité de l’ONU et réservant une attention particulière au respect des Droits fondamentaux. Néanmoins, rappelle Orlando, le domaine de la justice couvre seulement les aspects de prévention et de sanction. Les ministres de la justice, donc, sont intervenus, car ceux des affaires intérieures avaient relevé des lacunes qu’empêchaient une action prompte et efficace sur le phénomène.

Malgré l’absence de changements législatifs en matière de lutte contre la criminalité, déclare Andrea Orlando, il y a eu une prise de conscience collective certaine et la création d’un langage commun. Lors de la réflexion, la question a été plutôt de savoir comment agir en commun de manière légitime, afin d’éliminer les écarts juridiques où les criminels peuvent s’introduire à leur avantage.

D’autres questions ont été abordées pendant le mandat présidentiel italien, notamment en matière de coopération judiciaire civile. Un accord a été conclu à propos des procédures d’insolvabilité et un autre portant sur les régimes patrimoniaux des couples mariées et des partenariats enregistrés.

D’autres sujets difficiles ont été abordés comme la Directive égalité de traitement et le quota des femmes dans les conseils d’administration.

Concernant la Directive égalité de traitement, la présidence italienne a exprimé sa combattivité sur ce point mais aussi une certaine inquiétude qui devait se vérifier lors du Conseil emploi et affaires sociales. L’échange de vues a certes montré que des avancées ont été réalisées, notamment sous l’impulsion de la présidence italienne, mais un consensus sur ce dossier reste encore éloigné malgré six ans de débats. La proposition de directive relative à la mise en œuvre du principe de « légalité de traitement entre les personnes, sans distinction de religion ou de conviction, de handicap, d’âge ou d’orientation sexuelle » devient avec le temps comme un squelette dans un placard d’où le présidence italienne a tenté de le sortir, mettant ainsi en valeur malgré elle les énormes difficultés à mener à bon port (jusqu’aux transpositions) un entreprise d’une telle taille.

Concernant le quota de 40% de femmes dans les conseils d’administration des grandes entreprises européennes, la présidence italienne n’a pas réussi à rassembler les délégations autour d’un compromis pourtant très souple ; alors que le Parlement européen a déjà validé le texte.

En conclusion, début juillet 2014, date du début mandat de la présidence italienne, la situation était préoccupante . D’après le ministre italien de la justice Andrea Orlando, ‘cela a été un succès du seul fait d’avoir évité un retour en arrière. Pour cela, on a dû insister sur la collégialité plus que proposer des modifications législatives nationales.’ C’est ici qu’on trouve l’explication des résultats partiels et généraux du Conseil, sous présidence italienne, qui apprête à passer le flambeau à la Lettonie puis au Luxembourg.

Elena Sbarai

 

En savoir plus

 

     -. Data protection: Council supports “one-stop-shop” principle, du 7 October 2013  http://www.consilium.europa.eu

     -. Council meeting JHA, 4-5 December 2014  http://www.consilium.europa.eu

     -. Site official de la présidence italienne au Conseil de l’UE  http://italia2014.eu/it/

     -. EU-Logos, priorités de la présidence italienne dans le domaine de la justice et des affaires intérieures, 28 juillet 2014  http://europe-liberte-securite-justice.org

 


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