Saturday, August 02, 2008


Open Europe


Jean Quatremer: Open Europe poll won't change minds of EU governments - they want the Irish to vote again
Under the headline "24 to 1" Liberation Brussels correspondent Jean Quatremer argues on his blog that "the recent poll showing that 71% of Irish people are opposed to a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty has not had much impact in European capitals, since the wording of the question indicated that the vote would be on the same text. There is no question of that: either the Irish will be asked to adopt the Lisbon Treaty with ad hoc declarations responding to their concerns (like in 2002 for Nice), or they will be asked if they want to continue to be part of a Union that is governed by the Lisbon Treaty... This second possibility would clarify things: either you stay or you go, but you do not block Europe as a whole."

Italy has now ratified the Treaty, welcomed with a standing ovation in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. Meanwhile, three countries have yet to decide on the treaty: the Czech Republic, which is waiting on a judgement by its constitutional court; Sweden, whose parliament will vote in November; and Poland, whose president has said he intends to wait until the Treaty's fate is certain before giving his assent.

David Quinn argues in the Irish Independent: "Here is why the Lisbon Treaty referendum was lost -- and if the Government does not address this, the next one will likely be lost as well: people are worried about the loss of sovereignty and national identity... the European Court of Justice, an institution of the EU, will gain immeasurably more power over Irish law if the Lisbon treaty and the accompanying Charter of Fundamental Rights is ever passed... We have to wake up to the fact that the more power we cede to judges, lawyers and other experts, whether they are based in Ireland or overseas, the less democratic we become. The heart of democracy in any country has to be the national legislature with its elected representatives, not the courts and the law library."
Coulisses de Bruxelles AFP European Voice BBC NZZ Irish Independent Quinn Irish Times Open Europe blog

UK faces looming electricity supply gap - families face £4,000 bill for renewables
A new report commissioned by the WWF and Greenpeace attacks plans to build new coal plants in response to Britain's looming electricity supply gap, predicted to reach 20GW by 2020. The report argues that if the UK meets its EU targets of sourcing 15% of energy from renewables (translating to 35-40% of electricity), together with a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, new coal plants will not be needed.

However, the FT notes that keeping the lights on without increased use of fossil fuels may not be possible if the UK fails to meet the EU targets - which all sides agree will be a struggle. Paul Golby noted in the Guardian yesterday that the necessary investment in renewables would cost the equivalent of £4,000 for every household in the country.

In the Guardian Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the Earth & Biosphere Institute, University of Leeds, argues that E.on's use of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme "won't deliver real cuts, as its own business case shows".
FT BBC Guardian Golby Guardian Lewis

Commentators analyze the failure of the Doha round
Following the failure of the Doha round of world trade talks, fingers have been pointed as to who is to blame for the breakdown. Open Europe's Mats Persson had an op-ed in Swedish daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet, arguing that the global food crisis illustrates the need for freeing up trade in agricultural products and that the EU must bear part of the blame for the break down of the Doha talks.

Philip Stephens argues in the FT that "the French president's language betrays temerity. In spite of all its manifest strengths - economic, technological, cultural, political - France, it seems, cannot stand on its own feet. Europe's leaders must protect the continent from the ravages of globalisation...The collapse of Doha, however, speaks to the failure of both sides to own up to the world as it is. On the side of the rich countries, particularly the US but no less many European nations, there is a refusal to acknowledge that globalisation no longer belongs to the west."
Economist FT Stephens Independent Hari Sydsvenskan

City fears "reactionary legislation" from the EU will exacerbate the downturn
The FT reports on the hostile reaction from the City of London, and the banking sector in general, to the European Commission's proposed increase in regulation. "Proposed changes could greatly increase the cost of capital across Europe with detrimental effects far beyond the financial services industry", said Stuart Fraser, chairman of policy and resources at the City of London, which will today publish its forecasts. These forecasts are expected to predict the sector's contribution to the EU economy by 2009 will have fallen by 8.3 per cent from the 225bn euros ($350bn, £177bn) of last year. Fraser goes on to say: "The message we're trying to get across is that it's a very difficult environment for financial services. What we don't need is regulation that will exacerbate the downturn".

Fraser also has a comment piece in the FT where he compares Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy's approach to the current problems in financial markets as using the "proverbial sledgehammer to crack a walnut".
FT FT Fraser

Russia plans to form a Gazprom-style state trading company for grain exports, raising fears that Moscow will use food as a diplomatic weapon, according to the front page of the FT.

Scottish sheep farmers fear that Commission plans to review existing transport legislation could pose a threat to their livelihood. The changes would cut driving times, restricting access to the Isle of Skye and adversely affect their sheep trade.
The Scotsman

Independent assesses the Conservatives in Europe
As part of the Independent's series, 'Preparing for Power', the paper has assesses the role Europe will play in a future Conservative government. The article notes that Europe is no longer the divisive issue it once was for the party. However, it argues that in opposition the party has not had to make the tough policy choices over Europe that it will have to face in government and implies that it will be difficult to live up to the expectations of the party's eurosceptics while in power.

The article argues that major problems for David Cameron over Europe include the opposition he will face from other EU member states in attempting to renegotiate the Lisbon Treaty and the UK's membership of the EU's Social Chapter.

EUobserver reports that almost 900 immigrants have arrived in Italy just days after the government declared a state of emergency over what it called an "exceptional and persistent influx" of clandestine immigrants.

John Torode: Turkey plans to annex North Cyprus
John Torode writes in The Spectator that new Greco-Turkish tensions in Cyprus are a real possibility. In light of the upcoming peace talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders, many now believe that Turkey has lost interest in a bi-zonal settlement, and is "bent on annexing the North". Former President Papadopoulos is said to have added fuel to the fire, by saying that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talet, is "Ankara's man." Furthermore, Torode argues that this outcome is likely to be accepted by the west, which wants to elevate Turkey as much as possible before its accession into the EU.

The Irish Independent reports that the EU mission in Chad may be extended for up to three months.
No link

Ultra nationalist Bulgarian MEP Dimitar Stoyanov was one of the five Ataka sympathisers arrested on Wednesday. The arrests caused clashes between police and other Ataka supporters in Sofia.
Sofia Echo

Rosemary Righter has a comment piece in the Times where she suggests French President Nicolas Sarkozy's return to his reformist election promises is not only supported by the French public but may change the face of France forever.
Times Righter

Tisdall: EU needs common defence
In the Guardian, Simon Tisdall looks at the recent report on EU defence from the European Council on Foreign Relations. He argues, "with a less well-disposed Russia once again prowling around the neighbourhood, the need for a coherent, organised, collective European defence that is neither reliant on nor subordinate to Washington could become painfully obvious."


A new poll by YouGov in the Telegraph shows a 22-point lead for the Conservatives. The poll also shows that Labour would not perform much better under any other leader including potential leadership challenger David Miliband. A Labour Party led by Tony Blair however would only be 9 points behind.
Daily Telegraph

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