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?
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?
Vir: European Parliament Press Service
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.