- European Union
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- May.20.2016: How democratic is the European Union? All in all, the EU is, or is at least working to be, a democratic organisation. It has its failings but national governments have just as many – if not more. Alan Butt Philip, The Conversation.
- Apr.25.2018: From Seattle to Luxembourg: how tax schemes shaped Amazon. ...The company deployed the strategy in Luxembourg, the tiny European country that became, in the words of the Tax Justice Network, “the Death Star of financial secrecy” in a national bid to attract capital through tax competition. The architect of that transformation, Jean-Claude Juncker, later became the president of the European Commission, and has been dogged by questions about his suitability for the post in an atmosphere of increasing anger about tax avoidance ever since. Amazon first arrived in Luxembourg in 2003, and within a few months secured a confidential agreement with the country’s tax authorities. David Pegg, The Guardian.
- Dec.14.2014: Jean-Claude Juncker can’t shake off Luxembourg’s tax controversy. The tax deals offered to major companies by Luxembourg during Jean-Claude Juncker’s time as prime minister are being investigated by his own organisation as illegal state aid – and have outraged the nations he is supposed to unite. Simon Bowers, The Guardian.
- Nov.07.2013: Luxembourg called financial secrecy "death star" in Tax Justice Network report. Luxembourg has earned second place in the Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index, making it the second most obscure financial centre in the world, behind Switzerland, with the bankers' association slamming the report.. Luxembourg Times.
- Feb.13.2018: European Ombudsman: Council’s ‘behind-closed-doors’ approach alienates EU citizens. EU watchdog gives body a list of ways to improve transparency. Europe’s watchdog found the Council of the European Union’s lack of transparency “constitutes maladministration” and “undermines citizens’ right to hold their elected representatives to account,” according to a report released Tuesday. Specifically, the report criticized the Council — which consists of heads of state of each member country, and is responsible for guiding the overall political direction of the EU — for not making the positions of individual EU countries public during discussions of draft legislation, and for consistently restricting access to documents. The Council has until May 9 to reply. Ginger Hervey, Politico.
- Eurogroup, Jonathan Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford, European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Hill's EU page
- Jun.03.2018: The EU’s attack on the City is self-destructive. Nothing is more important to the future of the European Union than the survival of its single currency, the euro. ...in the Jul.2011 summit, there had been a sneaky attempt to renege on an earlier commitment that the EU budget would not be used to finance eurozone bailouts. Where had that plan been hatched? The eurozone members had, completely outside the treaties governing EU law, created a body known as the Eurogroup. Its ministers met in camera before the official meetings of EU finance ministers (Ecofin), to co-ordinate policy. Not surprisingly, the UK was excluded, although the head of the IMF (who just happened to be French) was sometimes invited to attend. To say this arrangement made the British prime minister feel like the designated victim of stitch-ups is to put it mildly. In a lecture in Oxford in Nov.2017, former UK ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers (Ivan Rogers), gave the definitive account of the fallout during the crisis meetings of 2011, and the lessons to be drawn. As Rogers went on to relate, the Dec.2011 decision on a so-called fiscal compact “was not notified to London. And it only really became clear during the night of the [heads of govt] meeting that a deal had been stitched up to bypass the UK.” Cameron then exercised the only power he had: the UK’s veto. At which point Germany and the others simply said: we’ll ignore you and do what we want by intergovernment agreement, bypassing the treaties. This event more than any other coloured Cameron’s handling of the negotiations in early 2016 in which he sought a new arrangement with the EU, one he could sell to the British people in the referendum. The successor British govt now negotiating our future relationship outside the EU had hoped, when it came to financial services, to strike a deal known as mutual recognition. That would have allowed the Bank of England to retain its autonomy on regulations governing financial activities in the UK involving EU customers. And we would additionally recognise EU regulations governing their banks. But Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has rejected this. ... The wisest owl in this neck of the woods is the former EU financial services commissioner, Lord Hill. Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times.
Membership of the EU, Pros + Cons
- Disadvantages of EU Membership Economics Help
- Sept.13.2018: Jean-Claude Juncker plans 10,000 border guards to stop flow of migrants into the EU. Plans in Brussels for a 10,000-strong armed border force with extensive powers to detain migrants and deport failed asylum seekers from the European Union were unveiled yesterday by Jean-Claude Juncker. The guards would be deployed to the Mediterranean, joining existing forces of about 1,600 in Spain, Greece and Italy, with funds provided for the purchase and maintenance of planes, drones and boats to patrol entry points from Africa and the Middle East. Bruno Waterfield, The Times.
- 2010: Explaining intolerance in an Integrated Europe. Rio de Janeiro University, Ana Paula Tostes
- May.30.2018: Austria calls for overhaul of EU free movement. Austrian Vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache asks if allowing EU citizens to live and work in any other member state is "a smart rule". He has called for EU member states to discuss reform of free movement ahead of his country taking over the bloc's rotating presidency. Heinz-Christian Strache leads the eurosceptic and far-right Freedom Party. Mr Strache, whose party are the junior members of Austria's coalition government, highlighted how workers in ex-communist states in eastern Europe had moved to western Europe since their countries joined the EU. Greg Heffer, Sky News.
- Nov.21.2018: Europe finally pulls the trigger on a military force. Both French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel declared this month that they support the need to create a joint European army. Hans-Werner Sinn, The Guardian.
- Consultations https://ec.europa.eu/info/consultations_en
- Better Regulation, Tobacco Tactics's has an excellent page here.
- Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH): Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
- REACH is an EU regulation from Dec.18.2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment.
- Health & Safety Executive, sponsored by the Department for Work & Pensions, is responsible for the regulation of biocides, pesticides, detergents, chemicals covered by REACH.
- Community Research and Development Information Service, https://cordis.europa.eu/home_en.html
- CORDIS is the European Commission's primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense.
The Projects and Results service is the one-stop shop for information on EU-funded research projects and project results.
- Open Data INcubator for Europe, https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/194234_en.html
- From 2015-02-01 to 2017-07-31, closed project
- Website: https://opendataincubator.eu/about/
- April.2018: WiFi4EU - Free Wi-Fi for Europeans. The European Commission wishes to promote free Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens and visitors in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres, and museums everywhere in Europe through WiFi4EU. Twitter post: Over 1,000 municipalities have already signed-up on the #WiFi4EU portal. Is your city or village among them? Registering takes 5 minutes and will be useful when applications open on 15 May. WiFi4EU Portal.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) that promotes and facilitates integration between member states within the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The EDA is headed by the High Representative (HR), and reports to the Council. The EDA was established on 12 July 2004 and is based in Brussels, Belgium.
All EU member states take part in the agency, except Denmark, which has opted out of the CFSP.
The EDA and the European External Action Service (EEAS) together form the Secretariat of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the structural integration pursued by 25 of the 28 national armed forces of the EU since 2017.
- Dec.16.2018: Europe’s merciless treatment of Italy only hardens popular resentment. France and Germany often flout eurozone rules, yet Italy’s poor are paying the price. Kenan Malik, The Guardian.
- Dec.09.2018: Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’. Manifesto by progressive Europeans calls for €800bn of levies to tackle inequality, disillusionment, climate change and migration. A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and rightwing populism sweeping the continent. The plan, crafted by more than 50 economists, historians and former politicians from half a dozen countries, includes huge levies on multinationals, millionaires and carbon emissions to generate funds to tackle the most urgent issues of the day, including poverty, migration, climate change and the EU’s so-called democratic deficit. The “manifesto for the democratisation of Europe” says EU institutions are stuck in “a technocratic impasse” that benefits the rich. Jennifer ankin, The Guardian.
- Nov.19.2018: EU ministers approve spy school plan in raft of defence initiatives. European armoured vehicle and cyber-response team among 17 joint projects agreed. Other projects signed off include a European armoured vehicle, cyber response teams and a high-atmosphere airship for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. EU defence policy faltered for decades, but the mood changed after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, while the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 added momentum to long-stalled initiatives. Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian.
- Aug.21.2018: Greece may still be Europe’s sick patient, but the EU is at death’s door. EU-imposed austerity is finally over for pauperised Greece – and it’s time for a rethink of the whole European project. Even without its lending arrangements in place, Greece is not totally free from the creditors – a series of audits will ensure that the continuing reforms will go ahead to ensure a “healthy” economy. For those who supported the anti-austerity Syriza government during negotiations with the EU, the signing of the third memorandum on 12 July 2015 to guarantee continued financial support, was a moment of moral and political shock that went beyond the effects of the financial crisis. It was the point that Greece and the rest of the world realised that our European partners had no intention of breaking with the imposed austerity policies, despite the huge cost in human lives. It also showed that they would not cease demanding neoliberal structural adjustments – including privatisations of national assets – that had never previously been imposed on European countries. It was the moment when the “patient” realised that the “doctor” had forgotten their medical oath: in this case, to act in the interest of the people of Europe rather than in the interest of a flawed economic system. What is less certain, however, is whether the EU has learned anything from the past eight years. A year ago, the European commissioner for economic affairs, Pierre Moscovici, admitted that the decisions made behind closed doors regarding the Greek bailout were a scandal of democratic process. The lack of transparency and the imposition of austerity as the only solution for the southern European countries hit by the financial crisis since 2008, at a time when other countries like Germany continued to prosper, has cast doubts on the entire European project. Ever since then, Euroscepticism has been spreading and can be seen as a contributing factor behind Brexit and the rapid ascendency to power of a number of nationalistic, xenophobic far-right parties across the continent. Marina Prentoulis, The Guardian.
- Apr.11.2018: EU moves to ban sale of lower-quality branded food in eastern Europe. Studies suggest hundreds of well-known products are inferior to versions sold in the west. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, HiPP baby food, Birds Eye, Lidl, Spar, Persil, Ariel. Consumer organisations are to be given the ability to launch collective action on behalf of aggrieved people. Twitter post. Daniel Boffey, The Guardian. Also see The Independent.
- Mar.27.2018: Anger grows over aide promoted by Juncker. Bruno Waterfield, The Times.
- Mar.11.2018: Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld in attempt to skewer the ‘Monster of Brussels’, Martin Selmayr. Martin Selmayr, dubbed "the Monster of Brussels" by his critics, will face demands for an official investigation into his appointment as top Eurocrat at a parliamentary session tomorrow, as the political firestorm over his promotion spreads. Critics say Selmayr, 47, a German who amassed formidable power as chief of staff to the European Commission president, #Jean-Claude Juncker, exploited gaps in the rules to fast-track his surprise appointment as the commission's secretary-general — and brought the organisation into disrepute. The MEP said the approval of the promotion by the EU’s 28 commissioners, without discussion and without inviting other applications, was "stupid and immoral". The bureaucratic coup two weeks ago has placed unparalleled executive powers in Selmayr's hands. The Times, Andrew Byrne
- Mar.11.2018: Silicon Valley tax grab threatens to split Europe. Brussels wants a larger slice of big tech’s billions. Can it convince all the member states that a levy on revenue is the answer. The Times, Simon Duke
- Feb.27.2018: UPS lights the fuse on legal claim over failed TNT bid. UPS, the world’s largest parcel delivery company is suing the European Commission for €1.7bn over claims that Brussels illegally torpedoed its takeover of TNT Express, its Dutch rival, 5 years ago. In 2012, UPS bid €5.2bn for TNT, but the Commission, the executive institution of the European Union that oversees issues from competition regulation to environmental rules, blocked the deal in early 2013 on the ground that the parcel delivery market in Europe would become a duopoly with DHL, of Germany. Three years later, Fedex, UPS’s closest rival, bought TNT for €4.4 billion. UPS alleges that the deal was "wrongly prohibited" by the commission, whose decision to block the merger was "tainted with serious breaches of rules of law". In Mar.2017, the EU's General Court, the second highest in the bloc, vetoed the commission’s decision to block the deal between UPS and TNT. The Court said that the commission had "infringed UPS's rights of defence" because it had made procedural mistakes. The Commission is appealing against the decision in the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court. The Times, James Dean
- Feb.06.2018: The Franco-Dutch fish fight over electric pulse trawling. The Netherlands insists that electric jolts are less harmful than dragging beams across the seabed. A French-led effort convinced the European Parliament to vote to prohibit electric pulse fishing on January 16 as part of an overhaul of EU fishing regulations. The package now heads into negotiations between the Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council. Politico, Kait Bolongaro
- Jan.28.2018: Freedom? We have a great deal of that inside the EU. Out of Schengen, out of the euro, with a budget rebate and still at the top table: we are already "having our cake and eating it". The Guardian, William Keegan
- Jan.27.2018: German minister urges fast passage of EU law on Chinese takeovers. Germany wants to acquire the legal means to take a closer look at bids from Chinese companies to acquire German and European companies in order better to protect technologies, State Secretary at the German Ministry for Economic Affairs Matthias Machnig told newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Reuters, '
- Jan.03.2018: Hungary, Poland want a strong say in Europe's future: PM Orban, @Reuters >> Hungary, Poland demand bigger say in EU, reject its migration policy, Reuters
- Jan.02.2018: 2018: EU 2 become more united, stronger&more democratic. We need Banking Unionb ackstop, Capital Markets Union, EMF, solidarity & responsibility in migration, Rule of Law, Security Union, EU budget for future, Western Balkans EU perspective, Spitzenkandidaten @MartinSelmayr
- Aug.03.2017: EU Taxation + Customs Union: Stop The Carousel! (Video) Money lost due to VAT carousel fraud may end up financing criminal and perhaps even terrorist organisations. European Commission ,
- Nov.07.2015: What Exactly Is The UK-EU Relationship? PI Media
- Sept.16.2015: Frontex: EU border agendy to get 54% budget hike as boss warns of failings with migrant fingerprint checks. Budget rise is part of a new European Commission package of initiatives to tackle the continent’s refugee and migrant crisis. More money would allow the agency to strengthen its work with European organisations such as Europol in returning illegal migrants, providing safe passage for genuine refugees and disrupting people smuggling rings. And in what has the potential to spark security fears for European countries, he also said some countries experiencing huge flows of refugees and migrants are still not always taking fingerprints as part of the asylum screening process. It would mean that many refugees and migrants may be difficult to track and threatens to undermine the Dublin convention that tries to ensure people make only one asylum claim throughout the EU. Nick Mathiason, Victoria Parsons, Ted Jeory, TBIJ.