It was difficult to write this post. In the last few days I am under influence of different and contradictory feelings. Anger, fear, impotence, gratitude, concern, hatred, intolerance. All of them are present. Anger due to the fact that such an event occurred and that the authorities haven’t prevent it. Fear, that such an event will happen again. Impotence, as I know that I can’t do anything to prevent such things. Gratitude, that I am currently not in Brussels and I am safe and gratitude towards those who thought about me and called or sent me a message to see if I am all right. Hatred towards those who did this. And finally I am also intolerant towards those who permit such facts.
Last weekend an article on the website of the Slovenian daily business newspaper Finance got my attention. The article summarised a public opinion poll made by Lord Ashcroft Polls about the feeling of Europeans about the UK and Brexit. Besides checking the feeling about Brexit (60% of the interviewed said they want the UK to remain in the EU, while only 10% would like to see the country out), the poll explored which are the EU’s favourite countries and what Europeans most like and dislike of the EU. The results for Slovenia are not a surprise and they show that Slovenians don’t know how the EU works. They also point out that they suffer from a problem common to other Europeans – we want only the benefits the EU brings, while we want the obligations to be carried by others.
The last EU summit showed what is the biggest problem of EU countries. Prioritising. Instead of talking about really important things most of the summit and its “extra time” were devoted to a secondary problem. Yes, you read it right. The question of the UK staying or not in the EU is currently of secondary importance. The existence of the EU will not depend of the British staying or leaving but it depends on the (common) solution to the refugee crisis and its causes in Syria, the Middle East and Africa.
With Tuesday’s official handover ceremony, Ljubljana took from Bristol the title of European Green Capital for 2016. The title is awarded by the European Commission since 2010 to cities that are committed to sustainable development and that are improving the urban environment. Ljubljana will therefore join six other cities that during their “mandate” improved environmental standards and contributed to the promotion and the sharing of good environmental practices.
After David’s wish list from last November we got Donald’s answer. On Tuesday, the president of the European Council sent to the presidents of EU governments the draft of the agreement that would prevent the leaving of the UK from the EU. The letter, accompanied by the draft decision to be adopted by the European Council, represents the basis for the debate during the next EU Summit scheduled for the next 18th and 19th February in Brussels. Similarly to Cameron’s requests, the answer too is divided into four “baskets”.
Schengen is (clinically) dead. Donald Tusk last week said, that Member States have only two more months to save the internal borderless area. To be honest, Schengen started to implode when its first country reestablished the border checks on the internal borders last autumn. At that time it was said that the checks will be only temporary. However, Monday’s informal meeting of the interior ministers in Amsterdam showed that this won’t be the case. Some countries requested the Commission to prepare th basis for the use of article 26 of the Schengen treaty, that allows the prolongation of the checks up to two years. The first domino is therefore falling. If it will really finally fall, there will only be the question of time when the second will follow.
Ecrit par: Pierre-Jean Laborie
Il m’a été aimablement proposé de vous soumettre une analyse relative au vote du dimanche 6 décembre dernier, premier tour des élections régionales françaises, que la presse décrit assez unanimement de « choc électoral » du fait des résultats a priori exceptionnels du Front National aujourd’hui premier parti de France.
3 billion euros, speed up of visa liberalisation and acceleration of EU accession negotiations. This is briefly what Turkey got on Sunday’s summit with EU leaders in exchange of limiting the refugees’ arrivals to Europe. Article 2 of the Treaty of the EU states that “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.” However, as everything, also this values have their price.
For most of the people a completely normal day. For some it represents an unlucky day. For 129 people it was their last day. To see the French reaction we didn’t need to wait long. In fact, it wasn’t neither a surprise, specially if we take into account the rhetoric used by president François Hollande in his first speech on Friday and in the others that followed. The opinions regarding the usefulness of the attacks are mixed. Some say that they are needed, while others warn that this attacks in Syria will only provoke more attacks on European soil. In any case, this would also bring more refugees to Europe. Only one thing is sure. Europe is inside a vicious circle and to exit from we will (unfortunately) need a lot of time.
Nothing really new or thrilling. This is how we could summarize the British “wish list”, sent by Prime Minister David Cameron to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk on Tuesday, in which are contained the “four main areas where the United Kingdom is seeking reform.” The letter and its requests represent the basis for negotiations and talks with other EU Member States during the next European Council summit in December. What are the wishes that the EU and its other 27 states should realize to keep the UK in the Union?