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EUROPEAN REFERENDUM INITIATIVE

News – Archive 2010

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December 31, 2010

Eurozone 'has 80% chance of losing the single currency in next decade,' claims think-tank
There is an 80 per cent chance that the euro will not survive in its current form, a leading think tank has warned. The financial crisis that has crippled Greece and Ireland will spread to other debt-ridden European countries in the New Year, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Among those in the firing line will be Italy and Spain – the third and fourth biggest economies in the single currency bloc behind Germany and France.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

December 28, 2010

Half of Germans want to axe the euro
Half of all Germans want to ditch the euro and bring back their deutschmark, according to a poll.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

December 2, 2010

Economists spell out disaster for the euro
European Union leaders must brace themselves for the collapse of the euro within three years following the debt crisis, leading international economists warned last night. A £72billion EU bailout of debt-stricken Ireland – including around £6billion in loans and guarantees from Britain – is destined to fail, according to a report from two influential think-tanks. And the growing financial turmoil will lead to weaker economies in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain leading to an exodus from the euro.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

December 2, 2010

Campaigners call for halt to 'privileged access' to EU
Campaigners have repeated their call for the European commission to halt the "privileged access" granted to the executive to "big business." The demand comes amid growing concern about the ongoing failure to introduce a mandatory register for the thousands of lobbyists in Brussels. At present, a register exists but it is purely voluntary, leading to claims that it is "totally ineffectual."
Read article at theparliament.com
Comment: Operating outside the basic principles of freedom and democracy, the Brussels EU – by definition – is a dictatorship. The power of the people to determine their government has been transferred to corporate interests. To learn the facts about the roots of the Brussels EU, click here.

November 30, 2010

Brussels says first ever citizens' petition does not count
The entry into force of the EU's new citizens' initiative (ECI) - a petition procedure under the Lisbon Treaty allowing European citizens to demand action in a particular area - is likely to be welcomed by a legal battle between Greenpeace and the EU institutions. The environmental NGO has successfully collected the required 1 million signatories in a petition calling on the EU to ban GMOs, but officials from both the European Commission and the European Parliament say the move is premature. "We've always said that we take their opinion very seriously but it's not an ECI as the legislation is not yet in place," Michael Mann, the commission's administration spokesman, told this website on Tuesday (30 November). "Strictly speaking, they would have to do it all over again," he added. "The Greenpeace view that the petition counts as the Lisbon Treaty is in place doesn't stand up to legal scrutiny." A European Parliament official concurred. "We may end up going to court on this," the contact said.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Unfortunately, it is anything but surprising that the Brussels EU is ignoring the voices of its citizens in connection with the so-called citizens’ initiative. Having previously called for curbs on citizen petitions, it is already abundantly clear that the real intention of the Brussels EU is to replace democracy with dictatorship. To learn more about this construct, and how it was designed as a dictatorship under the control of the Oil and Drug Cartel, click here.

November 26, 2010

Euro slides as Portugal bailout pressure builds
Portugal is under pressure to accept an EU bailout in order to stop the eurozone debt contagion spreading to Spain, according to German press reports that pushed the euro to a two-month low.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

November 26, 2010

EU rescue costs start to threaten Germany itself
The escalating debt crisis on the eurozone periphery is starting to contaminate the creditworthiness of Germany and the core states of monetary union. Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring risk on German, French and Dutch bonds have surged over recent days, rising significantly above the levels of non-EMU states in Scandinavia. "Germany cannot keep paying for bail-outs without going bankrupt itself," said Professor Wilhelm Hankel, of Frankfurt University.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

November 25, 2010

Desperate fight to save the euro
Survival crisis for the single currency as fears of further bailouts rise in Spain, Portugal and Belgium
The euro plunged further into crisis yesterday as investors sold off Spanish, Portuguese and Belgian government bonds in record numbers on renewed fears that those nations would follow Greece and Ireland into the financial emergency ward, undermining confidence in the single currency. The spreading contagion suggests that the markets now view the break-up of the euro as a realistic possibility, and that "shock and awe" efforts to shore up individual economies with huge bailouts have not succeeded in insulating their neighbours from infection.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

November 24, 2010

Merkel Sees Troubles for Euro
BERLIN—German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered an unusually negative assessment of Europe's effort to overcome its debt crisis, warning that the region's common currency was in an "exceptionally serious situation." The remarks, delivered in a speech to a German employers' association, accelerated a selloff in the euro, which hit its lowest level in two months.
Read article in the Wall Street Journal (USA)

November 16, 2010

The horrible truth starts to dawn on Europe's leaders
The entire European Project is now at risk of disintegration, with strategic and economic consequences that are very hard to predict. In a speech this morning, EU President Herman Van Rompuy (poet, and writer of Japanese and Latin verse) warned that if Europe’s leaders mishandle the current crisis and allow the eurozone to break up, they will destroy the European Union itself. “We’re in a survival crisis. We all have to work together in order to survive with the euro zone, because if we don’t survive with the euro zone we will not survive with the European Union,” he said. Well, well. This theme is all too familiar to readers of The Daily Telegraph, but it comes as something of a shock to hear such a confession after all these years from Europe’s president.
Read blog entry by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on the Daily Telegraph website (UK)

November 9, 2010

90 per cent of EU budget 'materially affected' by irregularities, report finds
More than nine tenths of the EU's budget last year, spending that totalled £94 billion, was "materially affected" by irregularities that included the improper award of contracts worth over £4 billion, Europe's Court of Auditors has found. The findings come amid a heated debate over the size of the EU budget for next year and demands from the European Commission and Parliament to defy national austerity programmes by increasing Brussels spending by six per cent despite 16 years of critical reports by auditors.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

October 28, 2010

Treaty change in the Evasion Union
European leaders are here in Brussels to tie themselves in knots over the prospect of a change to the Lisbon Treaty. The agony and anxiety is not about the substance of creating a permanent “crisis management mechanism” (CMM) for the euro zone but the prospect that changing the EU treaty could lead to popular votes. EU officials are working around the clock because all leaders – whatever their position on the Franco-German Deauville stitch up or an emerging Commission/Van Rompuy plan for a “two sentence, surgical amendment” – are absolutely agreed on one thing: There must be no referendums. One thing truly unites the Evasion Union and that is stopping the terrifying possibility that voters might get the chance to have a say in referendums that would very quickly become judgments on how Europe’s elites have handled the economic crisis.
Read blog entry by Bruno Waterfield at euobserver.com

October 27, 2010

EU taxation without representation coming your way?
The European Commission last week revealed that it is pressing ahead with its plans to gain more powers of direct taxation over the citizens of EU member states.
Read blog entry by Marc Glendening on the Democracy Movement website (UK)

October 20, 2010

British payments to EU set to rise £900m next year
The European Parliament voted through a budget rise yesterday that will cost Britain an extra £900 million next year – on the day George Osborne announced deep cuts to public spending. A £6.5 billion EU budget rise that would increase EU spending by six per cent to £114.5 billion – of which £9.2 billion would be the British contribution – was voted through by MEPs in Strasbourg.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

October 12, 2010

EU commission guilty of 'maladministration'
The European ombudsman has said the commission is guilty of maladministration in an "access to documents" case. The case involves the long-running action initially raised by Friends of the Earth Europe which requested access to correspondence between the car industry and former EU industry commissioner Günter Verheugen.
Read article at theparliament.com

October 4, 2010

Herman Van Rompuy announces a new 'reverse majority rule' to get around the national veto
Herman Van Rompuy, the President of Europe, wants a new mechanism to enforce sanctions against member states which borrow too much. Fair enough, you might say: of the 27 member states, only three currently meet the EU’s debt and deficit rules (see here). What’s alarming is the mechanism Mr Van Rompuy intends to use: Whenever possible, decision-making rules on sanctions should be more automatic and based on a reverse majority rule, implying a Commission proposal is adopted unless rejected by the Council. The reverse majority rule? I’m one of those few sad souls who has waded through the entire text of the Lisbon Treaty, and I can’t remember any such procedure. I have spent two days asking around in Brussels, and no one there knows what it is, either.
Read blog entry by Daniel Hannan on the Daily Telegraph website (UK)

September 29, 2010

EU lobby register blasted as wildly inaccurate
The European Commission has attracted fresh criticism over its fledgling EU lobby register, with new analysis suggesting that data for five out of the top 15 entries is likely to be inaccurate.
Read article at euobserver.com

September 28, 2010

EU commission under fresh attack over ex-commissioners
The European commission has been urged to block the new jobs for former commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Günter Verheugen because of their alleged conflicts of interest. The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU (Alter-EU) has called for the introduction of a three year "cooling-off" period for former commissioners. The demand follows the controversy surrounding six former commissioners who have taken up employment in the private sector. On Tuesday, Alter-EU published documents which it says show that the commission's existing checks are "inadequate and fail to prevent conflicts of interest."
Read article at theparliament.com

September 28, 2010

EU urged to adopt mandatory register for lobbyists
The EU has been urged to introduce a mandatory register of interests for the thousands of lobbyists in Brussels. Addressing a seminar in parliament on Tuesday, Jane Mittermaier, of Transparency International, said this was "vitally important" in order to promote openness in the EU institutions. At present a register does exist for the estimated 3000 lobbyists in Brussels but it is voluntary, meaning lobbyists have the freedom to register their interest or not.
Read article at theparliament.com

September 23, 2010

Campaign launched to 'close revolving door' of ex-EU commissioners
An alliance of lobby groups have launched an online campaign aimed, it says, to curtail the practice of former EU commissioners taking potentially lucrative jobs in the private sector as soon as they leave office. They cite the case of former industry and enterprise commissioner Günter Verheugen who is said to be one of the six commissioners from the previous executive who have moved into private sector jobs and which "might entail conflicts of interest.” The German, who was also vice president of the commission, is not alone. Out of 13 commissioners that left in February 2010, others also took jobs in the private sector soon after leaving their EU posts.
Read article at theparliament.com

September 20, 2010

Lack of transparency 'endemic' in EU institutions
A group of Brussels-based lobby organisations say a lack of transparency is becoming "endemic" among EU institutions. The alliance say that European commission proposals would "substantially restrict" the number of documents made available to the public. ClientEarth, Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife International say the documents include those containing environmental and other information relevant to EU policies. The attack comes as ClientEarth said it was suing the commission and the council over EU regulations regarding public access to documents.
Read article at the parliament.com

September 14, 2010

'Majority' of Britons want to quit EU
A new YouGov poll shows a clear majority of British people would choose to leave the EU in a referendum.
Read article at the parliament.com

September 10, 2010

EU commission 'interfered' in run-up to Lisbon vote
New data allegedly shows how the European commission "interfered" in the run-up to last year's Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty. The data was collated by Open Europe, a UK-based eurosceptic think-tank, which campaigns for British withdrawal from the EU. It says the statistics reveal how the executive "sought to sell the Lisbon treaty, especially to Irish journalists" via a series of meetings, seminars and other events. Stephen Booth, a researcher with Open Europe, said, "There was clearly a concerted effort to reach all Irish media before the referendum, which makes a mockery of the commission's claim that it would not interfere in what was a national referendum."
Read article at theparliament.com
Comment: On Friday, 2nd October 2009, the people of Ireland voted - for the second time in less than eighteen months - on the so-called ‘Lisbon Treaty’.
Previously, in June 2008, they had voted a decisive ‘No’ to this undemocratic treaty, thus mirroring the decisions of the French and Dutch electorates who had voted against the EU Constitution - with which the treaty shares 96 percent of its content - in 2005. Following unlawful political interference from the EU Commission; widespread threats and lies to the Irish electorate - including propaganda that a ‘No’ vote would condemn Ireland to economic isolation; corporate interference from the likes of Ryanair (who spent half a million euros campaigning for a ‘Yes’), Intel (who spent several hundred thousand) and multi-billion euro drug company Pfizer (who openly warned of a “flight of capital” from Ireland if it voted ‘No’) - plus, not least of all, the blatant sweeping away of Ireland’s guidelines on media impartiality, it is difficult to come to any conclusion other than that the second vote was subject to widespread interference.

September 3, 2010

EU accused of trying to 'control' journalists
The EU has been accused of launching an expensive drive to "control" European journalists. It comes after the publication of new data which, it is claimed, shows the extent to which the EU goes to entertain, train and 'inform' journalists. The statistics reveal that more than €8m was spent by the EU on journalists last year alone.
Read article at the parliament.com

September 2, 2010

Former EU commissioner 'in clear breach of code of conduct'
The European commission's ethical committee will be asked to rule on claims that the institution's former vice president Günter Verheugen is guilty of a conflict of interest. The case concerns the German official's decision to launch a lobbying consultancy, "the European Experience company", after he left his EU post. Friends of the Earth Europe say that his new role is a "clear breach" of the rules set up by the code of conduct for EU commissioners. It says he failed to notify the commission of the new company as former commissioners are required to do when they leave office.
Read article at the parliament.com

August 26, 2010

EU popularity plunges right across the bloc
People's confidence in the the European Union has dropped to record lows in most countries amid a placid response to the rising unemployment and the troubles of the eurozone, a Eurobarometer published on Thursday (26 August) shows. Fewer than half of Europe's citizens (49 percent) think that their country has benefited from EU membership – a seven-year low - while trust in the bloc's institutions has dropped to 42 percent, six points down compared to autumn 2009. The survey was carried out in May, at the peak of the sovereign debt crisis affecting Greece and the whole eurozone and amid hikes in unemployment all across the continent. The EU's image worsened dramatically in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Italy and Luxembourg – where confidence in EU institutions fell by 10 to 18 percent compared to the previous year.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Astonishingly, despite the severe blow that this survey dealt to the bloc’s credibility, the European Commission is attempting to present the results as an endorsement for concentrating even more powers in the Brussels EU. For example, it is claiming that 75 percent of citizens in the EU said they were in favour of "stronger European economic governance," with EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding even pretending that "the clear majority for enhanced European economic governance shows that people see the EU as a decisive part of the solution to the crisis". In reality, however, the question asked in the survey didn't even include the term "European economic governance", nor did it make any specific reference to the EU's role in overseeing national economies. Instead, it merely included a vague reference to "stronger coordination of economic and financial policies among all EU member states". Clearly, therefore, with the Commission now desperately engaging in spin to massage even the results of its own surveys, there can be no doubt that we are witnessing the beginning of the end for the Brussels EU.

August 17, 2010

Oettinger under fire for failing to disclose side activities
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger is under fire as public prosecutors in Stuttgart examine whether he lied in his declaration of interests about secondary sources of income. Oettinger is the only commissioner to have changed his declaration – and he has been forced to do so twice. EurActiv Germany reports. Charges were made against Oettinger by German management consultant Andreas Frank. According to stern.de, prosecutors are checking whether he lied in his affidavit, as that would constitute a criminal offence. Each of the EU's 27 commissioners has to make a declaration of his or her external activities before taking office. Oettinger has made this declaration three times to date, yet the third attempt still contains gaps.
Read article at euractiv.com
Comment: No stranger to controversy, Oettinger is well known in Germany for having given a eulogy in which he openly praised the Nazi lawyer Hans Filbinger. Instead of describing Filbinger as the Nazi criminal that he was, Oettinger attempted to portray him as an opponent of the Nazi regime. Nevertheless, despite knowing full well that Oettinger had seemingly attempted to revise the history of Filbinger’s Nazi past, German Chancellor Angela Merkel still went on to nominate him as Germany’s European Commissioner, which led to his becoming European Commissioner for Energy in 2010.

August 14, 2010

Fury as EU envoy to the US says: I speak for Britain
Europe’s desperate power grab was illustrated last night after the new EU ambassador to Washington suggested he will speak for Britain in America. Joao Vale de Almeida, formally installed in his job this week, said he could advise on foreign and military policy. He is the first EU ambassador to be appointed after the Lisbon Treaty gave the EU sweeping new foreign policy powers. The Portuguese-born diplomat said he would be “leading the show” among European representatives in Washington and had “a wider mandate” than any of his predecessors. Asked about former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s famous question: “When I want to talk to Europe, who do I call?’’ Mr Vale de Almeida said: “In this area code, you call me.”
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

August 11, 2010

EU envoy to US flaunts new powers
The EU's new ambassador to the US, Joao Vale de Almeida, has underlined the new powers conferred on EU envoys by the Lisbon Treaty while taking up his post in Washington. In a series of interviews to US-based press on Tuesday (10 August), the ambassador noted that he is empowered to speak on behalf of EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU member states.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Whilst Joao Vale de Almeida and the Brussels EU elite may pretend they are representing the interests of European citizens, it is becoming increasingly clear that EU countries are less than comfortable with the new division of power that has been created under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. The following comment from the above article, by an unnamed veteran EU diplomat, is particularly notable in this respect: "What you see in the big emerging countries and in the US, is that each [EU] country defends its privileged relationship. When you talk to the Chinese or to the Indians they say: 'Yes, we have this EU summit once a year. But for the rest of the time, each of your countries comes and says the EU is not important'."

July 15, 2010

EU to be given prominent UN role
The EU is to be given similar rights and powers to a fully fledged nation state in the United Nations general assembly. The proposals, following the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty and an increase in foreign policy power, will mean that Europe's desk will be moved from the margins, where it sits with organisations such as Nato's parliamentary body, near to the centre of the UN's assembly chamber. Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign minister or "High Representative", will be given a special seat alongside a new European UN ambassador with "the right to speak in a timely manner, the right of reply, the right to circulate documents, the right to make proposals and submit amendments (and) the right to raise points of order".
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: If the Oil and Drug Cartel that controls the Brussels EU gets its way, this latest development will become a stepping stone towards the cementing of its economic and political conquest of the world. Significantly, therefore, long before the Lisbon Treaty had even been drafted, the Cartel was already trying to export the political construct of the Brussels EU worldwide as a model to expand its control over other continents. As a result, for example, the architects of the African Union (AU) have not hidden the fact that the AU is being modeled on the European Union – with almost identical institutional structures, including a so-called “AU Commission.” Likewise, in 2009, leaders of East Asian countries announced that they had laid the groundwork for an EU-style bloc that will cover half the world’s population. These plans echoed similar proposals outlined by Australian prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.

July 7, 2010

New EU mass surveillance project revealed
Statewatch, the civil liberties body that monitors the EU, has gained access to Council of Ministers Conclusions that reveal that Brussels now wants law enforcement agencies in its member countries to build lists of political activists as part of a 'systematic data collection'. Those responsible in the member countries for acquiring the information on 'agents of radicalisation' have been sent by the EU a 'data compilation instrument' that includes a list of 70 questions they are requested to answer. This involves discovering who the targeted activists socialise with, family members, psychological traits, religious affiliation, activities, economic status, and, very revealingly, 'oral comments' - presumably ascertained through phone taps - they have made on political issues (Guardian, June 8, 2010).
Read blog entry by Marc Glendening on the Democracy Movement website (UK)

July 7, 2010

So Much for the European Project
Europe was supposed to have arrived. With the final approval of the Lisbon Treaty last year, the European Union sported a new, consolidated government. Europe's political elite believed it had answered Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's derisive question: what is the phone number for Europe? But continental politics remains chaotic and European nations are tottering economically. The European Union's future is now at risk. The question no longer is whether the EU can match the United States, but whether it can survive.
Read article by Doug Bandow in the American Spectator (USA)

June 18, 2010

Medvedev Says He ‘Cannot Rule Out’ Collapse of Euro
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he can’t rule out the collapse of the euro as the European Union struggles to contain the sovereign debt crisis.
Read article at businessweek.com

June 14, 2010

EU instrument for spying on 'radicals' causes outrage
Civil rights watchdogs and MEPs have attacked new EU plans to gather data on people who voice or share "radical messages" in a bid to pre-empt terrorist attacks.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Operating outside the basic principles of freedom and democracy, the Brussels EU – by definition – is a dictatorship. The power of the people to determine their government has been transferred to corporate interests. For anybody who is still in any doubt as to the Brussels EU’s real intentions, click here for an analysis of the truth behind some of its claims.

June 10, 2010

The future's bright, the future's orange?
The winning party in the Dutch elections, the VVD, has some interesting things to say about the EU on its website. Its leader, Mark Rutte, is favourite to become the country's new PM and may prove to be an interesting ally for EU reformers, depending on how much the VVD's rhetoric is watered down by coalition arrangements. The party's website reads: The VVD doesn’t want a "European superstate". We want a Europe that functions. Therefore, we don’t need a Constitution, but an EU which limits itself to its core tasks and offers solutions for the 21st century. The solutions of the former century were about agriculture and regional subsidies. In this century it is about climate and energy, asylum and migration flows and fighting terrorism. Therefore we need to go back to what we have: the current Treaties (the Treaty of Nice).
Read article on the Open Europe blog (UK)

June 8, 2010

UK monitors suspected radicals as part of European surveillance project
Police keep tabs on activists from across the political spectrum, documents obtained by EU civil liberties NGO reveal
The UK is taking part in a European surveillance programme which is designed to gather personal information about suspected "radicals" from across the political spectrum. Confidential documents reveal how an initiative to gather data on "radicalisation and recruitment" in Islamic terrorist groups has been expanded to incorporate other organisations. Political activists who have no association with terrorism could now find themselves monitored by authorities mandated to discover information about their friends, family, neighbours, political beliefs, use of the internet and even psychological traits.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)
Comment: For further information on the rise of the EU’s surveillance state, click here.

June 8, 2010

MEPs back web search history plan
More than 300 European MEPs are backing a plan that would force search engines such as Google to store details of web searches for up to two years. Two MEPs drew up the plan to help authorities develop an "early warning system" against paedophiles and sex offenders who were using the internet. However, civil liberties groups immediately criticised the proposals, which would represent a major increase in the monitoring of online activity.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

May 26, 2010

Ordinary people were misled over impact of the euro, says Herman Van Rompuy
Europe's "man in the street" was misled for years over the vast political and economic implications of the creation of "Euroland", Herman Van Rompuy has admitted. The EU's president told a selected audience of civil servants and businessmen that the Greek debt crisis and euro zone bailout had come as a nasty shock to ordinary Europeans. He said the public was not made aware of the full social and economic implications of the currency before it was created.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 21, 2010

Merkel and Cameron disagree on EU treaty change
UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday (21 May) rejected the the idea of a new EU treaty change to accommodate German chancellor Angela Merkel's vision of stronger economic co-ordination in the EU. "There is no question of agreeing to a treaty that transfers powers from Westminster to Brussels. Britain is obviously not in the eurozone and is not going to be joining, so it wouldn't agree to any treaty that drew us further into the euro area," Mr Cameron said on Friday (21 May) during a joint press conference with Ms Merkel in Berlin.
Read article at euobserver.com

May 20, 2010

German action on euro crisis could trigger EU referendum in Britain
Demand for new single currency rules raises possibility of Lisbon Treaty being renegotiated
Germany today stepped up its rhetoric against financial markets, throwing its weight behind a global tax on bank transactions and proposing a radical shift in the rules governing the single currency by insisting struggling eurozone countries be allowed to restructure their debt. Following Greece's debt emergency and with the euro in the throes of its worst crisis of confidence, Berlin also tabled a nine-point plan rewriting the euro regime to include legally enshrined budget deficit ceilings in all 16 member countries. The German demands, in a finance ministry paper obtained by the Guardian, could require the EU's Lisbon Treaty to be renegotiated, presenting David Cameron with a dilemma over whether this would trigger an EU referendum in Britain.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)

May 14, 2010

Ex-commissioners face conflict of interest accusations
Transparency International, an international NGO which fights corruption, expressed "strong concern" after four former commissioners in the Barroso I executive had accepted positions in the private sector. A fierce integrity debate flared up when Benita Ferrero-Waldner of Austria, who held the external relations portfolio in the Barroso I Commission, Germany's Günter Verheugen (enterprise and industry), Ireland's Charlie McCreevy (internal market) and Bulgaria's Meglena Kuneva (consumer protection), assumed corporate jobs.
Read article at euractiv.com
Comment: To read the Transparency International press release, click here.

May 6, 2010

Several EU member states 'on brink of financial meltdown'
Senior Spanish MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras has said that not only Greece but other member states are "on the brink" of financial meltdown. Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Vidal-Quadras said the EU faced "the biggest challenge" in its history. The Spanish centre-right deputy said, "We are on the brink of the abyss.”
Read article at theparliament.com

May 3, 2010

Huge National Debts Could Push Euro Zone into Bankruptcy
Greece is only the beginning. The world's leading economies have long lived beyond their means, and the financial crisis caused government debt to swell dramatically. Now the bill is coming due, but not all countries will be able to pay it.
Read article in Der Spiegel (Germany)

April 29, 2010

The Euro Trap
Not that long ago, European economists used to mock their American counterparts for having questioned the wisdom of Europe’s march to monetary union. “On the whole,” declared an article published just this past January, “the euro has, thus far, gone much better than many U.S. economists had predicted.” Oops. The article summarized the euro-skeptics’ views as having been: “It can’t happen, it’s a bad idea, it won’t last.” Well, it did happen, but right now it does seem to have been a bad idea for exactly the reasons the skeptics cited. And as for whether it will last — suddenly, that’s looking like an open question.
Read article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times (USA)

April 22, 2010

European big business admits to lobbying Washington, but not Brussels
Many of Europe's biggest corporations are avoiding registering their lobbying activities in Brussels even as they admit to the scale of their operations in Washington where registration of lobbyists is required by law, according to a new study. As a result of the different registry frameworks between the two legislative capitals - in Brussels, the European Commission's lobby registry is a voluntary affair - European big business on the whole is able to make it appear that it is engaged in much more lobbying in Washington than in Brussels. This is the conclusion of a new study by lobbying watchdogs that analyses what the EU's 50 biggest corporations say they are spending on influencing policy.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: The ‘Brussels EU’ is controlled by corporate interests and it is now a matter of public record that multinational corporations have engaged in successful long-term lobbying strategies to shape European Union policy making in their favour. As a result of these activities, the EU’s risk assessment process has been rigged to benefit multi-trillion dollar business interests – especially those of the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries – at the expense of public health.

April 21, 2010

Citigroup says only ‘United States of Europe' will save euro
A Citigroup note to clients has warned that the eurozone is likely to fall apart unless the European Union's member states fuse both on the fiscal and political level. "Europe needs to stand up and decide if it is going to be a ‘United States of Europe' or a ‘patchwork quilt' of independent states," reads a note by Tom Fitzpatrick, chief technical analyst at Citigroup in New York, first seen by Bloomberg. The financial services firm, the largest in the world and one of America's big four banks, says that if such integration is not on the cards, the euro area is "doomed" even if the current Greek crisis is resolved.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Fitzpatrick’s choice of words here are highly significant. Largely hidden from the people of Europe, a so-called “Action Committee for the United States of Europe” was founded by the wheeler-dealer Jean Monnet on 13 October 1955. The meetings of this clandestine committee began in January 1956 and were held in private. The ultimate goal, as stated at the committee’s inception, was “to arrive by concrete achievements at the United States of Europe.” Notably, therefore, the longest serving member of the committee’s Executive Committee was the German Kurt Georg Kiesinger, who sat on it between January 1956 and May 1965. Kiesinger had been a member of the Nazi Party during WWII and had worked in the Nazi Foreign Ministry's radio propaganda division. Playing a key role in the luring of Britain into the Brussels EU, meetings of the “Action Committee for the United States of Europe” were held throughout the 1960s and did not conclude until after 1973 when plans for the dictatorial ‘Brussels EU’ project were already well advanced. To learn more, read chapter 4 of ‘The Nazi Roots of the Brussels EU’.

April 15, 2010

A perfect symbol of the EU: the 18 MEPs who will claim full salaries and perks without taking their seats
Eighteen MEPs will, as predicted by this blog eleven months ago, start claiming full salaries and allowances without taking their seats.
Read Daniel Hannan's blog entry on the Daily Telegraph website (UK)

April 4, 2010

Airline passenger conversations to be monitored under EU project
Airline passengers could have their conversations and movements monitored under a European Union project aimed at tackling terrorism.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

March 23, 2010

Buzek suggests electing EU commissioners
Jerzy Buzek, the Polish president of the European Parliament, has suggested that future EU commissioners should compete in Europe-wide elections to get a "democratic mandate".
Read article at euractiv.com
Comment: All modern democracies around the world have one principle in common: their power derives from the people. However, this is not so with the “Brussels EU”. The “government” of this construct – the 27-member EU Commission – is appointed on behalf of corporate interests. No man or woman in Europe today has the right to vote for it or to terminate its rule. As such, the “Brussels EU” is undeniably a dictatorship. To learn the facts about the “Brussels EU”, click here.

February 27, 2010

Wads of cash and free ski trips on the EU gravy train
Campaigners last night stepped up demands for a crackdown on the European Union gravy train after new revelations emerged about how ­taxpayers’ money is routinely squandered. Astonishing new details about Euro MPs’ expenses included hundreds of pounds handed out in brown envelopes to their visitors to cover food and travel with no receipts needed.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

February 14, 2010

MEP’s spending spree forces paybacks, but the names are being kept secret
Concerns are mounting that the EU could soon face an expenses scandal that could dwarf the ongoing saga of British MPs, that caused widespread public outrage, leading some British lawmakers to go into hiding. It was recently discovered that undisclosed MEPs had repaid more than €3.4 million in “wrongly claimed” expenses. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek is refusing to disclose the identities of the errant members, according to the Daily Telegraph, who have seen a letter where he says that: “Such delicate and sensitive matters must be treated with the utmost caution – avoiding undue haste that can unnecessarily and unjustly cause irreparable harm to members’ reputations.” It is being asked why the European Parliament, with its commitment to transparency, seeks to shield these members. Mats Persson, the director of the Open Europe think tank, said: “If the European Parliament was serious about cleaning up its act it would name and shame the MEPs who have misused their allowances and conned the taxpayer, just as the UK Parliament is currently doing.”
Read article on the New Europe website

February 10, 2010

EU President's secret bid for economic power
The new President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is using the financial crisis sweeping the eurozone to launch an audacious grab for power over national budgets, leaked documents reveal.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

February 8, 2010

German minister calls for Lisbon treaty EU army
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has called for the EU to proceed with plans for a European army under the Lisbon Treaty, which he dubbed “the beginning and not the end” of a common security and defence policy.
Read article in the Irish Times
Comment: The assurance given to Ireland prior to its second vote on the Lisbon Treaty, in October 2009 – that its traditional military neutrality would not be compromised by voting “Yes” – was entirely worthless. For, despite all the claims to the contrary, not one single word of the treaty had been changed since Ireland voted “No” in its first referendum in June 2008. Moreover, any hope for a potential democratic process within the EU about a decision to go to war – or even veto it – are an illusion. The leading export nations of the Oil and Drug Cartel are also the leading military and nuclear powers in Europe. Their governments are committed to defending the interests of the Cartel at any price.

February 5, 2010

Damning report hits out at EP expenditure
A damning report by a member of the European Parliament's own budgetary control committee is set to question the very fundamentals of the institution's budgetary discharge procedure, with its author coming under considerable pressure from the institutions's bureau as a result. Still in the process of being finalised, the report's rapporteur - Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes - told EUobserver the document ultimately asks one simple question: Is it correct that parliament should sign off on its own accounts? While the council of ministers, representing member states, also has to approve parliament's expenditure, a gentleman's agreement means scrutiny is kept to a bare minimum.
Read article at euobserver.com

February 3, 2010

US blames Lisbon Treaty for EU summit fiasco
The US State Department has said that President Barack Obama's decision not to come to an EU summit in Madrid in May is partly due to confusion arising from the Lisbon Treaty. State department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told press in Washington on Tuesday (2 February) that the treaty has made it unclear who the US leader should meet and when. "Up until recently, they [summits] would occur on six-month intervals, as I recall, with one meeting in Europe and one meeting here. And that was part of – the foundation of that was the rotating presidency within the EU. Now you have a new structure regarding not only the rotating EU presidency, you've got an EU Council president, you've got a European Commission president," he said.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: As a result of the Lisbon Treaty, the ‘Brussels EU’ now has a total of four presidents: the rotating EU presidency (currently held by Spain); the EU Council president (Herman Van Rompuy); the European Commission president (José Manuel Barroso); and the European Parliament president (Jerzy Buzek). So who’s really in charge? To learn the facts about the ‘Brussels EU’, click here.

January 29, 2010

Ridiculously Generous
MEPs on the European Parliament's Budget Committee voted on Wednesday to award themselves an extra €1,500 and to hire an additional 150 staff. MEPs say they're in desperate need of more money because the Lisbon Treaty is now in force which means more work for them. In total, MEPs can already cash in on some £360,000 year in pay and allowances. For most people this seems like an incredibly generous amount - but not for the MEPs themselves apparently. The increase will cost taxpayers an extra €13.3 million a year and send the EP's total annual budget past the €1.6 billion mark.
Read blog entry on the Open Europe blog at blogspot.com

January 21, 2010

EU commission 'embassies' granted new powers
The EU has converted 54 out of the European Commission's 136 foreign delegations into embassy-type missions authorised to speak for the entire union. The move follows the coming into force last year of the Lisbon Treaty, which has the creation of a new EU diplomatic corps as one of its main provisions. All 136 commission delegations were renamed "EU delegations" on 1 January. But only the 54 placements were at the same time quietly given fresh powers in line with their new names.
Read article at euobserver.com

January 21, 2010

Klaus, Kaczynski say Lisbon should not enhance EU centralisation
Prague - The Lisbon Treaty should not open path to radical unification and centralisation of the EU, the Czech and Polish presidents, Vaclav Klaus and Lech Kaczynski, agreed at their meeting in Prague today, they told reporters. They said the EU should remain an association of states, it should not transform into a superstate.
Read article at ceskenoviny.cz (Czech Republic)

January 20, 2010

Kaczynski: Poland, CR should make EU more democratic
Poland and the Czech Republic should strive for the European Union to be more democratic, Polish President Lech Kaczynski told CTK yesterday ahead of his state visit to Prague starting on Thursday. "The aristocratic republic which the European Union is should be a little bit democratised," Kaczynski said. He said mainly Germany and France, which Britain joins from time to time, make decisions on what is going on in the EU 27. "Real decision-making should be further developed," he said.
Read article at praguemonitor.com (Czech Republic)

January 13, 2010

Big tobacco distorted EU treaty, scientists say
One of the biggest tobacco manufacturers in the world led a group of chemical, food, oil, pharmaceutical and other firms in a successful long-term lobbying strategy to shape European Union policy making in their favour, a new study says. After trawling through some 700 internal documents from British American Tobacco (BAT), academics at the University of Bath and University of Edinburgh say they have found evidence that the cigarette giant in the mid-1990s teamed up with the European Policy Centre, the prominent Brussels think-tank, to create a front group to ensure that the EU framework for evaluating policy options emphasised business interests at the expense of public health. According to the study, published in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal and funded by the Smoke-Free Partnership and Cancer Research UK, BAT constructed a policy network of a series of major corporations, including Shell, Zeneca, Tesco, SmithKline Beecham, Bayer and Unilever, to mount a multi-year lobby campaign aiming at shaping the EU's impact assessment system.
Read article at euobserver.com

 

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