European muscles. Literally.

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.

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Sir Chris Hoy, British athlete, celebrated his victory in London with the EU flag. Source: express.co.uk

  Preberi več “European muscles. Literally.”

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A new Union. The Energy Union.

Recently, top EU leaders announced the establishment of the Energy Union. This should be the creation of an integrated energy policy for the entire European Union, which is currently lost somewhere between environmental policy, competition, industry and climate change. Before us is a period when a number of important decisions will be taken in the field of energy. The Informal Energy Council scheduled for next week will also see Ministers of the Member States discuss this new initiative. Therefore, I suggest to look at some key information and basic concepts to shed some light on the matter.

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Source: europa.eu

Preberi več “A new Union. The Energy Union.”

Monsieur Juncker, an EU army could never be NATO.

On Monday, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, surprised by a statement that the European Union should respond to the growing aggressiveness of Russia by uniting the military capabilities of its Member States based on the model of NATO. According to Juncker, a man dedicated to further integration of European countries, the EU can at this time no longer remain credible if we are not willing to make sure that we can protect our values by an armed force. Reactions of Member States were varied. But, can we imagine that one day there may be a future in which the European Union will be defended by soldiers with blue and gold flags on their uniforms? Perhaps. At the moment, when Putin’s Russia is increasingly flexing its muscles, and the Islamist regime  of Daesh is becoming increasingly widespread in the Middle East, it could be a right time for EU Member States to move forward and unite their troops under one roof.

One question remains, however. Would an EU army, modeled on NATO be the best solution?

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Source: euforbih.org

 

Preberi več “Monsieur Juncker, an EU army could never be NATO.”

Europe in Space: Extravaganza or a Long-term Investment?

What’s going to happen with the Greek debt, one-two-three seats of the European Parliament, Luxleaks, 100 days of the new European Commission, the British referendum … When we’re focusing so much on ourselves, it’s time to take a look from beyond. So I decided to take you on a space adventure today and take a look at  what the Europeans are doing up there. In fact, I was reminded of this specific EU policy by the former President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, who wrote his commentary on the EU space policy in this week’s Parliament Magazine. So, what is out there of Europe’s and how can we use it to make our lives on Earth easier? Why would Europeans need a common space policy? Is the money put into joining forces in explorations of space well invested? Let’s see. Please, fasten your seat belts. Take off in 5-4-3-2-1 …

Hektor - francoska podgana je verjetno prvi Evropejec, ki se je podal v vesolje. Foto:ŠM
Hector – this French rat was probably the first European to go to space. Photo:ŠM

Preberi več “Europe in Space: Extravaganza or a Long-term Investment?”

GR-ENTRY: a new political phase after the Greek elections

by Christos Aivaliotis

GREXIT. That was the boogie man for the last years. Greece willingly or by force leaving the Eurozone. Consequences for Portugal, Ireland, Spain (rest of the PIGS), or even Italy or France. Endangering the very existence of the common currency. Personally I never believed it can happen. Not because of blind faith to the competence of ruling political class of Greece to face the challenges of the financial crisis. Neither because I believed other European elites would do anything to protect one of the weakest members of the European family. It was purely because I have spent most of my adult years studying the EU. With such a complex political and legal system, it is unimaginable that such a dangerous decision for the EU itself would be rushed when so many other positive steps had to wait years of treaty reforms, parliamentary votes, national vetoes and referenda. (If it was that easy, I am afraid our friends across the Channel would have left us long ago).

Photo: ŠM
Photo: ŠM

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Why Member States still want to join the Euro: The Case of Lithuania 1.1.2105

National motive on Lithuanian Euro coins. © Bank of Lithuania, 2014
National motive on Lithuanian Euro coins.
© Bank of Lithuania, 2014

At a time when the value of the euro reached a historical low of the last nine years, the Eurozone adopted a new member – Lithuania. The Baltic state is set to adopt the common currency in spite of the rresurgenceof the Grexit debate and blunt relations with Russia, its largest neighbor and former ruler. Perhaps Lithuanian citizens were convinced by the forecast of their national central bank, stating that in the long run the adoption of the Euro will contribute to a 1,3% growth of the country’ GDP.

Preberi več “Why Member States still want to join the Euro: The Case of Lithuania 1.1.2105”

Teden v EU – strategija za Alpsko regijo, UNFCCC v Limi in novi začetki v Bruslju

Calendar - MashablePodnebne spremembe, strategija za Alpsko regijo, Evropski dan turizma in nov obraz v Bruslju bodo ta teden na vrhu evropskega dnevnega reda. Poslanci Evropskega parlamenta se bodo srečali v Odborih, ministri držav članic pa v okviru Sveta za zaposlovanje, socialno politiko, zdravje in potrošnike.

Preberi več “Teden v EU – strategija za Alpsko regijo, UNFCCC v Limi in novi začetki v Bruslju”

(Un)openess of the decisional process on EU level

“The problem is not in the lack of confidence into the EU institutions, but in the decision process, which is not part of the public sphere because of its secrecy”. This tweet is a reaction (for which I am very thankful) to my interview on the e-participation of citizens, that was published on the website of the Institute for electronic participation (InEPA). As 140 characters are not enough to answer to it, I decided to write my answer here. Briefly I can say just the following – the lack of confidence into the EU institutions (and the consequent feeling of impotence) is a consequence of the lack of knowledge of their work and of the decision process. Which is in fact not even so closed as it seems.

Preberi več “(Un)openess of the decisional process on EU level”

Europe’s position on GMOs and what’s in store

Vir: modernfarmer.com
Vir: modernfarmer.com

The European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will vote today on the new rules regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Read more on what the new legislation has to offer, how long can a legislative procedure last if it drags into a second reading and when can a final decision be expected.

There are only two GMOs currently  allowed for cultivation in the European Union and only one of them is actually grown. The MON 810 maize, to which the genetic modification provides protection against parasites, has been confirmed for cultivation as early as 1998. Currently, it is grown in five Member States (Spain, Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia) and represents 1.56% of all maize grown in the EU and 0 26% of all GM maize in the world. In 2010 cultivation and processing was also approved for a genetically modified potato called “Amflora”, but since 2011, it is no longer cultivated.

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New Commission – all’s well that ends well?

151 days after the EP elections, the European Union should today get the 12th Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker. After all the problems, insinuations and controversies Slovenia too got its commissioner. This post will be held by Violeta Bulc, who successfully underwent Monday’s hearing. The naming process was very difficult and, unfortunately, Slovenia emerged very ridiculed. Some other candidates were also controversial (Jonathan Hill, Tibor Navracsics, Miguel Arias Cañete), however not so much as the Slovenian candidate. In any case, it’s no use crying over split milk. What can we therefore change until 2019, when the next Commission would be named, to minimize any future problems?

The team is completed (Source: Greens/EFA)

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