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?
If there will be no fast action in dealing with the refugee crisis, “the EU will start to fall apart.” With this quote the Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar warned the heads of State of the countries along the “Balkan” refugee route, who attended last Sunday’s special summit, and other heads of State, about the seriousness of the situation the EU has to cope with. Even if he was quoted by several (European and world) media (the quote was listed also on the list of the 10 most apocalyptic warnings on EU’s future prepared by POLITICO) and it has to be taken seriously into account, it hasn’t brought any bigger action.
It was 26 years ago that heads of French and German state stood side by side in Strasbourg. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl delivered the short speeches of optimism. This week, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart President François Hollande stood side by side again in front of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). In spite of them coming from different spectra of political field, the leaders of these two countries that are considered a “locomotive” of European integration, felt compelled to call on all Europeans to cooperate more. An observer might ask here whether European integrations are really in such serious trouble that they need the push from the side of the funding members. Is the vision of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, simply not enough to move things into the European direction at the time when each Member State is pulling the strings in its own way? And finally, was the call of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande in favour of European solidarity overshadowed by their statements in immigration and refugee crisis that the media so happily took up?
Even though the hot topic of these days, especially in Slovenia where we are not used to those that look different form our common Slovenian, is the refugee crisis (which Grega described last week), I decided to serve you a bit of a lighter topic this week from the side of EU360. A topic coloured with languages as tomorrow is the European day of languages which marks our multilingualism and linguistic richness. While it is general knowledge that the EU has 24 official languages and a number of working languages, I am going to give you a peek into what happens in Brussels, when interpreters switch off their mikes.
I owe you an apology. It was difficult to find the inspiration and will to write something for the blog this week. Firstly, I was thinking to write something lighter. The European Mobility Week was a perfect excuse. However, the events of the past days, also in Slovenia, didn’t allow me so. I can’t be silent over what is happening. If after the Paris terrorist attacks in January I was thinking how will Schengen seem in the future, after the last events I am more and more convinced that Schengen, as we know it now, won’t exist any more.
After last April’s boat sinking between Malta and Lampedusa, where at least 950 people died, I was asking in a post if that event would wake up the European public and politics to act. I left some hope back then, that the “fast reaction of the EU” will bring some concrete actions. But I was wrong. As always the highly ambitious plans were followed by a cold shower, as the EU States didn’t respect the decisions taken by them just a couple of days before. unfortunately, the number of tragedies didn’t drop. Rather the contrary.
Do you know who won the Olympics in London in terms of the medal count? If you think it was the United States then think again. In fact, the winner by medal count at the last Olympics in London (as well as earlier) was the European Union! Invincible athletes of the Member States of the European Union jointly achieved 305 medals (92 gold, 104 silver and 109 bronze), while their American counterparts collected a total of 104 medals (46 gold, 29 silver and 29 bronze) (more information here and here). Even when translated into number of medals per capita, Europe remains in the lead with one medal for each 1.7 million citizens, where the Americans won one medal for every 3 million citizens.
So, you know that the European Union is an Olympic superpower. Now read what makes Europeans so very successful in sports and in what ways we work together to create a healthier and more sporty continent.