Thursday, May 21, 2009

Open Europe press summary: 21 May 2009


Spain presses for Lisbon Treaty protocol on number of MEPs to be ratified by all member states after second Irish referendum
The Irish Times reports that Spain wants to re-open the negotiations over the Lisbon Treaty and is pressing other EU member states to agree a new protocol to the Treaty to alter the number of sitting MEPs if the Treaty enters into force.

If all EU states sign up to the protocol and ratify it in early 2010, this would enable the number of MEPs in the European Parliament to increase from the 736 allowed in the Treaty of Nice to the 754 allowed under Lisbon. If the new protocol is not agreed and ratified, the extra 18 MEPs allowed under Lisbon cannot legally take their seats until 2014 because the European elections are currently being conducted under the rules of the Nice Treaty.

Under the protocol, Spain would gain four of the extra 18 seats, while 11 other countries would also gain MEPs.

"We intend to put forward a text at the June council, which says that the extra 18 MEPs from 12 countries that are included in the terms of the Lisbon Treaty should take their seats as soon as the Lisbon Treaty enters into force," said Diego López Garrido, Spain's Minister of State for European Affairs.

Madrid wants all 27 EU leaders to sign up to the protocol at next month's European summit and then ratify it in national parliaments if Ireland votes Yes in its second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The article notes that such a protocol could enable Ireland to get its own 'guarantees' on taxation, neutrality and ethical issues enshrined in the EU treaties earlier than anticipated by the Irish government. The Irish government agreed to hold a second referendum on the Treaty in return for these 'guarantees' as well as a declaration on workers' rights and an agreement that every member state would retain its EU Commissioner.

The paper reports however that some member states such as Britain may oppose ratifying a separate protocol which would reopen the debate on the Lisbon Treaty in their national parliaments, particularly before a general election.

Meanwhile in a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Conservative MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, David Evennett, asked Europe Minister Caroline Flint to "confirm categorically that any changes to the Lisbon treaty for any country would mean that the treaty needed to be re-ratified? Would the Government then hold a referendum on this matter?" The Minister replied, "I think that it is dead if people vote against it."
Irish Times OE blog Hansard

Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally appeared live on the BBC Daily Politics show yesterday, discussing the need for MEPs to publish their expenses, and for the European Parliament to introduce a system which requires MEPs to provide receipts for all their expense claims - which is not currently the case.
Daily Politics OE research OE blog

Statewatch Director: Commission tries to argue a document is not a document
On the Guardian's Comment is Free website Tony Bunyan, Director of Statewatch, looks at the EU's record on transparency, accountability and freedom of information, following the five year freedom of information battle for MPs' expenses receipts. He argues that "The fundamental principle of access to documents is that voters can find out what measures are being discussed before they are adopted. In the EU this presents a real problem. EU institutions are meant to provide a public register listing all their documents but actually the European commission references less than one in 10 of its documents and has even raised the surprising argument of 'when is a document not a document'".

He goes on to say that, "Access to documents is the lifeblood of a healthy democratic system...The failure of transparency over MPs' expenses in the UK and MEPs in Brussels, refusing access to details of the allowances they claim, only serves to emphasise why we must claim a right to know what is being done in our name."
Guardian: Bunyan

Lloyds' shares fall amid warning that Commission could force asset sales
The Independent reports that Lloyds Banking Group has warned investors that European state aid rules could forcibly break up the company. The bank hopes to use the Government's Asset Protection Scheme to insure itself against unmanageable losses. But the plan must be signed off in Brussels, and the Express reports that analysts said there was a "genuine risk" the part-nationalised HBOS owner could be forced to sell assets under EU rules.

The Times reports that shares in the bank fell by nearly 30 percent to 70½p, partly amid worries about these political uncertainties - although the bulk of the share slide was technical, because the date passed for eligibility to take part in its £4 billion capital-raising.
FT Independent Mail Guardian Express Times

Barroso encourages Chinese engagement on climate change
The FT reports that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is trying to encourage China to "engage fully" on the issue of climate change, following recent US initiatives on fuel efficiency standards and reducing carbon emissions.

However, the BBC reports that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated in a press conference that China and the EU should "stick to the principles of mutual respect and not interfere in each other's internal affairs".

UKIP to spend £2 million targeting Labour voters
The Times reports that UKIP will spend £2 million over the next fortnight to target Labour supporters at the European elections.

Meanwhile, EUobserver reports that European election campaigns have begun with legal challenges and personal attacks on politicians in several countries. The Italian Radical Party - affiliated with the liberal group in the EP - has asked the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe for an "immediate inquiry" into alleged violations of media freedom in the EU campaign.
EUobserver Times Times 2

In the Spectator, former Conservative Party donor Stuart Wheeler explains his reasons for urging people to vote for UKIP in the European elections.
Spectator: Wheeler

Barroso wants new Commission to be nominated according to Treaty of Nice
El Mundo reports that European Commission Chief Spokesman Johannes Laitenberger has reiterated that Jose Manuel Barroso "is not campaigning now" for a second mandate as Commission President and that he will "make his decision after the European elections...when there is a clear picture, because what is important for this decision is to see if the conditions are present for him to advance his project".

On the Coulisses de Bruxelles blog, Jean Quatremer notes the comments made by Barroso in recent interviews, and particularly Barroso's insistence on the new Commission being nominated according to the Treaty of Nice and not the Lisbon Treaty. Quatremer says that his impatience is understandable as "with the Lisbon Treaty, he must have an absolute majority of MEPs while a relative majority is sufficient under Nice".
El Mundo Coulisses de Bruxelles

The FT reports that a US Patriot missile unit supported by 100 US soldiers will be deployed in Poland by the year-end under a bilateral security pact, in spite of strong objections from Russia and regardless of whether the planned anti-missile shield in eastern Europe goes ahead.

The BBC reports that EU leaders are attending the EU-Russia summit today in Khabarovsk, and "President Medvedev will push for a new energy charter and a new European security treaty".
El Mundo BBC Le Point

An article in the FT looks at the EU's Common Fisheries Policy and reports that, according to the Danish government, as much cod was discarded as caught - roughly 24,000 tonnes - in the North Sea last year.

The BBC has a feature offering a breakdown of EU spending by policy area and by country.

The Times reports that latest figures show that the number of migrants returning home to eastern Europe from the UK almost doubled last year, and the number of east Europeans registering for work in the UK continued to fall due to the recession and lack of jobs.

According to Wirtschaftswoche, Germany is blocking a standard legal form for European companies, which it fears might reduce the system of "co-determination" whereby employees are entitled to a say in the management of companies.

The European Court of First Instance has annulled a contract awarded by the European Parliament to transport MEPs around Strasbourg, because it failed to inform a rival bidder of the reasons for its decision.European Voice

Le Figaro reports that the majority of polls indicate that the National Front (FN) is ahead of Libertas in France. The latest OpinionWay poll on 20 May predicts that the FN will receive 6 percent, and Libertas 5.5 percent.
Le Figaro

El Mundo reports that Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos has said that Albania's integration into the EU is "irreversible" and that Spain will try to speed up the process during its presidency of the EU in 2010. The comments were made during a joint press conference in Tirana, Albania.
El Mundo


The front page of the FT reports that former EU Commissioner and current Business Secretary Lord Mandelson could be made Foreign Secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle, expected in the summer.

A series of wildcat strikes which took place yesterday over the use of foreign labour in Milford Haven, Wales, are expected to end after the contractor agreed to withdraw 40 Polish construction workers and replace them with UK staff.
FT Open Europe briefing EUobserver

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Feudal Investors (III) (Weapons Exports to the Persian Gulf)

Newsletter 2009/05/19 - Feudal Investors (III)

(Own report) - The German government has approved new weapons exports to areas of tension at the Persian Gulf. According to recent reports, Qatar will receive 36 "leopard 2" model tanks, while other states of the Arabian Peninsula can also be supplied with German weapons. Berlin is thereby reinforcing Iran's Arab rivals, to prevent Teheran from enhancing its position. Germany is simultaneously broadening its economic cooperation with these feudal Arab states. In light of the economic crisis, German companies are focusing on the wealth of these oil monarchies, whose ruling clans dispose of billions in oil sector revenues. Whereas numerous German companies are demanding a "piece of the pie" of the wide-ranging Arab investment programs, it is particularly the German auto industry that is seeking new backing from these prosperous sheiks. One can hear in Berlin that the crisis could be possibly used to institutionalize the long sought linkage between the Gulf States and the EU. Berlin is pushing for a rapid conclusion of an EU trade agreement with these Arabian countries. The German-Arabian military buildup and this business offensive is being overshadowed by accusations of torture brought against a prominent member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, with whom Berlin maintains close contact.

By allowing new arms exports to Qatar, which, according to reports, have a fundamental character and could be followed by more deliveries to other nations of the Arabian Peninsula, the German government is strengthening Iran's traditional rivals - weakening an ambitious Teheran. This is part of a strategy proposed by German government advisors, since quite some time. "In the interests of maintaining a regional equilibrium" the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) wrote last fall, it is necessary to "support the policy of containment through engagement, as it is applied by the Arabian Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, in relationship to Iran."[1] This includes the delivery of war technology that can be brought into position against Teheran. Berlin sees this as an appropriate basis for being able to switch from open war threats against, to business cooperation with Teheran, while not allowing the Iranian government to enhance its power. "The clever linkage of a containment policy to repeated offers of cooperation," wrote the SWP recently "could form the basis of a common Iran strategy for the US-Americans, the Europeans and the pro-Western Arab states."[2]

Rich Investors
The armaments cooperation accompanies an intensive business lobbying, being massively pushed by Berlin, in an effort to acquire new profit perspectives for crisis-shaken German enterprises. Over the past few weeks, various billion Euro deals, between German companies and Persian Gulf states, have caught public attention. First, a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) from Abu Dhabi bought about two billion Euros in stocks in the Daimler Corp. This German automobile company needed the money to make it through the crisis.[3] Then the announcement followed from Qatar that the ruling house wanted to invest in the Porsche Corp. - good news for the crisis stricken company in Stuttgart.[4] For months, Berlin has been regularly dropping in on the states of the Arabian Gulf in search of an investor for Opel. The deals as well as other business in the billions of Euros are being promoted by the boulevard press. "Hochtief is building a shopping center in the superlative," wrote the "Bild" newspaper, when the company in Essen recently landed a contract to build an eight-kilometer long shopping center in Qatar. "The sheiks are making our largest construction company rich!"[5]

850 Billions
In fact, in light of the economic collapse, Berlin has greatly intensified its efforts to obtain access to the Arabian Gulf states petro-billions. This month alone, the Minister of the Economy, Guttenberg and the Prime Minister of the federal land of Hesse, Koch (CDU) both visited the Arabian Peninsula. In Riad, Guttenberg opened a new German-Saudi Arabian business liaison bureau and took part in the festivities at the opening of a bilateral German-Emirati Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Abu Dhabi. Scarcity of money is unknown at the Persian Gulf. By 2012, Saudi Arabia wants to invest about US $400 billion in its infrastructure and the United Arab Emirates has earmarked for the same time period about US $600 billion.[6] Abu Dhabi's large state-owned investment company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has unrivaled assets - estimated at around US $850 billion.[7]

Only One Market
To facilitate access to the wealth of the Arabian feudal clans, Berlin is promoting a contractual free trade zone between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).[8] The talks, which were initiated in 1991 and repeatedly interrupted, were broken off at the end of last year. Saudi Arabia was not prepared, in principle, to do without its export tax. Through German pressure, the talks have been relaunched. At an EU-GCC meeting in Maskat, States Minister in the Foreign Ministry, Günter Gloser (SPD), negotiated on the free trade agreement at the end of April, and last week at a blue-ribbon conference of the Bertelsmann Foundation in Riad, German Minister of the Economy, Guttenberg, made a plea for a speedy finalization of the agreement. "An agreement is possible," alleged Guttenberg - and received protest from the GCC: The Saudi finance minister complained that the Europeans, "consider the Gulf states merely as markets and lack respect."[9]

Strategic Partnership
Berlin is prepared to formally upgrade relations to the GCC states, if they accept the free trade agreement. At the Bertelsmann Conference in Riad, Economy Minister Guttenberg said he sees the potential of a "strategic partnership".[10] Just shortly before, representatives of the EU had spoken of a "strategic relationship" between Brussels and the GCC. This would raise the entire GCC to a status that, at the moment, Germany only has with the United Arab Emirates. Germany has a "strategic partnership" with the United Arab Emirates that not only includes intensive economic but also military cooperation. ( reported.[11]) Berlin's plans, in fact, are aimed at linking the entire GCC to the European center, which amounts to integrating the Middle Eastern resource rich areas - including the arms and war component - into the German-European hegemonic system.

The links to the feudal Arab Gulf states are being overshadowed by serious accusations of a prominent member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Issa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan having been involved in torture. Sheik Issa is a businessman in Abu Dhabi and the son of the country's founding father, Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. A video shows him in the process of torturing and attempting to kill one of his business partners, who he thought had cheated him. Sheik Issa was stuffing sand down the man's throat, beating him with a nailed board, singeing his genitals and driving over him with a sport utility vehicle.[12] The victim miraculously survived. The culprit has yet to be brought to court. For years there have been recurring rumors of torture in the United Arab Emirates, some of these reports have pointed to at least the connivance of some of the ruling Arab clans. In spite of this, they remain close partners of the German government in the containment of Iran and the support of the crisis battered German industry.

[1] Johannes Reissner: Irans Selbstverständnis als Regionalmacht. Machtstreben im Namen antikolonialer Modernität; SWP-Studie S 29, Oktober 2008. See also Containment Course and Equilibrium rather than Exclusion
[2] Guido Steinberg: Saudi-Arabien als Partner deutscher Nahostpolitik; SWP-Studie S 35, Dezember 2008. See also The Persian Pipeline
[3] see also Feudalinvestoren
[4] see also Feudalinvestoren (II)
[5] Hochtief baut Einkaufszentrum der Superlative; Bild 28.04.2009
[6] Araber verlangen mehr deutsches Engagement; Handelblatt 11.05.2009
[7] Opel und Porsche reizen Dubai-Investoren nicht; Handelblatt 10.05.2009
[8] Dem 1981 gegründeten Gulf Cooperation Council gehören Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi-Arabien und die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate an.
[9] "Kronberger Nahostgespräche" in Riad; 11.05.2009[10] Netanjahu kündigt baldige Friedensgespräche an; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 13.05.2009[11] see also Gulf State Military Partner, Partner in Occupation and German Arab Maneuvers[12] Der Scheich als Foltermeister; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 07.05.2009

News from

20.05.2009 - 09:29
Gazprom troubles may impact EU consumers

20.05.2009 - 13:24
Gloves come off in EU election campaigns

20.05.2009 - 09:40
Commission proposals to stick closely to financial report

Open Europe press summary: 20 May 2009


UK authorities question legality of new EU proposal for financial supervision
The FT looks at the Commission's proposal for a two-tier EU-wide system for financial supervision, proposed in the so-called de Larosiere report. The proposals, which will be tabled next week, include a "European system of financial supervisors" set up to oversee individual banks and financial institutions. This body would be linked to three existing pan-EU coordinating committees, which will receive substantial new powers under the proposal.

The new bodies would be asked to develop harmonised rules and common approaches to supervision and to settle potential disputes between national supervisors. However, the UK has expressed opposition to the proposals, the FT reports. One main objection is said to be the legality of giving binding mediation powers to European supervisory authorities, so that they could ultimately determine the outcome of a dispute between national supervisors.

The other fundamental concern is likely to centre on the splitting of supervisory responsibility from fiscal responsibility - and allowing the new pan-EU bodies to supervise entities which, in a crisis, might need bail-out funds from national governments. A UK Government spokesperson is quoted saying: "We will consider [the report] carefully when the document is published. It's a starting-point for discussion."

Comment: Giving binding mediation powers to European supervisory authorities, effectively granting them the right to over-ride decisions made by national supervisory bodies, would mark a significant transfer of powers to the EU level. Whether in favour or against the proposal, such a shift requires a treaty change - not only a decision in the Council of Ministers. The UK Government is therefore right to question the legality of the proposal.

Ireland's Lisbon Treaty 'guarantee' on workers' rights proving problematic;
Irish government plans 'more intensive' campaign for second referendum
Euractiv reports that poltical agreement on one of the 'guarantees' - a declaration on workers' rights - promised to Ireland in return for holding a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is proving difficult. A number of EU countries are reluctant to include any text on workers' rights, as they believe it could cause difficulties at national level, particularly at a time of rising unemployment and economic recession.

The declaration on workers' rights is one of the assurances that Irish PM Brian Cowen sought from EU leaders, including a 'guarantee' that each EU member state would retain a commissioner (originally, Lisbon would introduce a rotating commissioner system), and protocols on neutrality, taxation and ethical issues.

Diplomatic sources told Euractiv that while the legal wording for the "commissioner guarantee" and protocols are nearing completion, the declaration on workers' rights is proving more problematic.

The article notes that should Ireland vote Yes, its 'guarantees' cannot be brought into law until the next time amendments are made to the EU Treaties, after the second Irish referendum. It has been suggested this could be in the form of the next EU Accession Treaty, either with Croatia or Iceland.

Meanwhile, Euractiv reports that Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has said that his government will need to run a more intensive campaign in favour of the Lisbon Treaty than last year, when voters rejected it in a referendum.

"This time round, we will all need to up our game," Martin said. "We will all need to do more and to do it better, if we are to get the result that we sincerely believe to be in the interests of Ireland."
EurActiv EurActiv 2

Turkey: We will only accept full EU membership
EUobserver reports that the EU has reassured Turkey that it is still in negotiations for full EU membership, despite strong opposition from the French and German governments.

El Mundo reports that the Turkish government has said that it will not accept anything less than full entry into the EU, thereby rejecting France and Germany's proposals to give Turkey special status but avoid full integration. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said "We will not accept an objective other than this one".
El Mundo EUobserver

New EU regulation for hedge funds continues to draw criticism
The Guardian looks at how hedge funds and private equity groups have performed in the crisis, noting that the proposed EU Directive for tough regulation of alternative investment funds is causing alarm in the two industries. The article quotes a hedge fund manager, saying, "The UK would be crazy not to fight; they have the monopoly of hedge fund industry in Europe. For the regulator it is good PR, it's good to go against hedge funds - but the problems came from the regulated banks. Regulated banks caused this problem, not hedge funds. It's a bit of a joke this whole thing."

German daily Handelsblatt has a special report on London hedge fund managers fleeing to Switzerland. The paper notes that the London financial sector has been hit twice: apart from increasing income taxes in the UK, the recent EU plans for the regulation of hedge funds and private equity might lead to a quarter of hedge funds fleeing the UK and the EU. A prominent London hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey, is quoted saying: "the British government is not interested to keep London as a financial centre. Everybody is thinking about leaving the city."
Guardian Handelsblatt

Barroso confirms that he has not made promises to Spanish PM in exchange for support
In an interview with El Pais, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was asked what he promised to Spanish PM Jose Luis Zapatero in order to secure his support for a second mandate. Barroso responded, "I can guarantee that I haven't promised anything to anyone. I think that the President of the Commission must be independent. There cannot be conditions linked to support."

Le Monde has also published an interview with Barroso in which he was asked whether he fears a loss of public confidence in European institutions as a result of the economic crisis. Barroso responded: "once the crisis started, Europe reacted well. We avoided a European Lehman Brothers, while we were very close to a collapse of the financial system. Europe is 27 governments, 27 countries. We must act respecting these differences".
El Pais Le Monde

Italian courts rule that Berlusconi bribed his lawyer
The Guardian reports that Italian judges have declared that Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi had bribed his lawyer, David Mills, so that he could avoid conviction on corruption charges and hang on to "huge profits made from the conclusion of illicit corporate and financial operations".

Meanwhile, Finnish MP Erkki Tuomioja has criticised Berlusconi's 'chauvinistic and demeaning' attitude, writing on his blog that Berlusconi is "a shame for Italy and the whole of Europe...behaviour like this would not allow him to continue as Prime Minister in any other civilised country".
Guardian BBC Tuomioja YLE

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has commented that "the EU should not intervene in everything". She however also mentioned that the European Commission had showed in its handling of the so-called Volkswagen law that the EU respects nationally agreed structures.
No link

On the BBC Daily Politics Show yesterday, Declan Ganley and former Europe Minister Denis MacShane discussed MEPs' expenses and the presenter, Andrew Neil, pointed out, "When I have interviewed in the past week Caroline Flint and a leading Conservative and I've asked them if they will insist that MEPs' expenses are made public for the past four years, I cannot get an answer out of them." MacShane said that Labour MEPs should publish their expenses.
BBC Daily Politics show

EUobserver reports that some EU member states are still selling arms to the Sri Lankan government despite the EU having condemned the recent violence against the Tamil Tigers and calling for an independent inquiry into violations of human rights.

The ECJ has backed restrictions on pharmacy ownership in Germany and Italy, on the grounds of public health, in a move which will come as a blow to the European Commission.
European Voice

An article in the FT looks at the splits within the ECB, noting that "the public appearance of the European Central Bank's governing council has looked rather ragged recently."

Lloyds Banking Group is expected to issue a warning today that it still faces the threat of action by Brussels under European state aid rules, with regards to the Government's asset protection scheme, according to the Times.

Euractiv reports that climate change and trade will top the agenda at EU-China summit in Prague today.

According to a study in Dagens Nyheter, 45% of Swedes are unaware that elections to the EP are taking place in June.

Le Monde reports that the French Socialist Party (PS) has launched a campaign to repeal the controversial Hadopi law on illegal downloading. The PS have pointed to 11 points on the bill which they believe contradict the Constitution.
Le Monde

European Voice reports that junior finance and environment ministers will meet on 22 May to discuss funding for developing countries to help them respond to climate change.
European Voice


Parliament's Speaker forced out
The BBC reports that the House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin has told MPs he intends to stand down, becoming the first Speaker to be effectively forced out of office for 300 years. Mr Martin, who will also step down as an MP, has faced criticism over his handling of the MP expenses issue.

A leader in the Telegraph notes that the "system now lies broken and demoralised. With its sovereignty already dissipated by the power of the European Union, the role of the House in scrutinising legislation has been further undermined by the placing of time limits on all debates; the hours it sits have shrunk, the chamber is often virtually empty, and MPs routinely fail to articulate the concerns and aspirations of the people who elect them."
FT IHT Sun Mirror Telegraph Independent BBC Guardian Telegraph: Leader

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Admitting Ukraine into NATO would undermine American interests

Admitting Ukraine into NATO Would Weaken U.S. Security, Eland Argues

Ukrainians seem to grasp that joining the North American Treaty Organization would provide a false sense of security--only 20 to 30 percent of Ukrainians polled want their country to join the alliance. Many U.S. foreign policy elites, however, favor admitting Ukraine into NATO. But formally extending the security umbrella to Ukraine would harm American interests, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland.

By worsening Russia's feelings of encirclement and by jeopardizing Obama's prospects for negotiating a reduction of Russia's nuclear arsenals, admitting Ukraine into NATO would exacerbate one of the worst security risks facing the American public, Eland argues in his latest op-ed. "For the United States, any showdown with Russia over the NATO-inducted Ukraine ultimately could go nuclear, thus endangering the American homeland," Eland writes.

Efforts to bring Ukraine into NATO are only the latest in a series of defense policies that undermine American interests. "In the case of the European Union, the United States is actually subsidizing economic competitors by providing for their ultimate security," Eland continues. "Already, the EU has a greater population and GDP than the United States, but spends only half of what the U.S. does on defense. Also, the EU has 12 times the GDP and 8 times the defense spending of Russia, the only potential threat in the area. The United States should withdraw from NATO and let its rich allies defend themselves."

"Don't Admit the Ukraine into NATO," by Ivan Eland (5/18/09)
The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland
Ivan Eland on C-SPAN2. Interview by Rep. Ron Paul
Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland
Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Ivan Eland

News from

19.05.2009 - 17:35
EU states sell arms to Sri Lanka while condemning violence

19.05.2009 - 17:33
Slovenia presents changes to EU proposal for border dispute arbitration

19.05.2009 - 17:42
EU member states welching on aid promises, says commission

19.05.2009 - 09:33
Majority of Europeans not interested in European Parliament elections

19.05.2009 - 13:22
Video clips battle voter apathy in EU elections

Open Europe press summary: 19 May 2009


Ireland asked to set date for second Lisbon Treaty referendum
The Irish Times reports that the Irish government has been asked by other EU member states to set a date for the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty at next month's EU leaders' summit in Brussels. The call from Czech Europe Minister Stefan Fule followed a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday where member states discussed how to draw up 'legal guarantees' to try and persuade Irish voters to vote Yes in the second referendum.

EUobserver notes that the government is currently working with the Czech EU Presidency on three 'guarantees' that the Lisbon Treaty will not affect Irish sovereignty in tax, defence and ethical issues. There will also be a further declaration on workers' rights, but this will not be legally binding. Last year member states also agreed that Ireland could keep its EU commissioner in return for a second referendum.

The Irish Independent reports that Irish European Affairs Minister Dick Roche has ruled out any debate on a possible date for a referendum re-run until Ireland signs off its 'guarantees'. Roche said the guarantees must be legally robust, but they would be Irish-specific and not require other states to re-ratify the Treaty: "Our guarantees are Irish-specific, and are not intended to cause problems for anyone else."

Comment: This is a contradiction. Any changes at all to the Treaty will require re-ratification by other member states in order to make them legally binding.
Irish Independent Irish Times Irish Times 2 EUobserver

Conservatives launch European election campaign
The Conservatives yesterday launched their European election campaign in Lancashire, and all Conservative MEP candidates were asked to sign a pledge, promising to publish details of their expenses online, according to Mark Mardell's BBC blog. The Conservatives also reiterated their support for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if it was not yet ratified by all 27 member states when they formed a government.

David Cameron also called for Parliament to be dissolved and a General Election called after the elections on 4 June, reports the Guardian, and urged Conservative candidates to collect signatures demanding an election. Mr Cameron also proposed an end to the European Parliament sessions in Strasbourg, saying: "Heaven knows, one European parliament is more than enough", and said of UKIP, that a third of its 12 MEPs had "disappeared, some to prison [for expenses abuses], some to the furthest reaches of rightwing lunacy". He also cited the description of UKIP by one of its former MEPs, Robert Kilroy-Silk, as a "bunch of nutters", according to the FT.

Writing on Conservative Home, Sally McNamara, Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, argues that "Labour's broken promise to hold a referendum on the European Constitution (later Lisbon Treaty) is undoubtedly a big part of the public's mistrust of this Government...Labour's sheer brazenness over Lisbon has not gone unnoticed and it will not go unpunished."
Conservative Home Conservative Home: McNamara Guardian Telegraph: Hannan blog BBC: Mardell blog FT

Spain wants to re-open Lisbon Treaty negotiations over number of MEPs
El Mundo reports that Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos has demanded a legal guarantee ensuring that Spain will have 54 MEPs in the European Parliament when the Lisbon Treaty comes into force and that they will not have to wait until the next European elections. Only 50 MEPs will be elected in June, as the Treaty of Nice is currently in force. Moratinos wants these legal guarantees to be approved during the EU summit on the 18-19 June, at the same time that Ireland receives its guarantees prior to going ahead with the second referendum. This reportedly provoked an angry reaction from Ireland which doesn't want to reignite the Lisbon debate as it could favour the 'No' vote.

Czech European Affairs Minister Stefan Füle made it clear that the Lisbon debate would not reopen but said "In the remaining days and weeks before June we will try to find a solution which responds to Spain's concerns and reflects the interests of other parties".
El Mundo

Mahony: Next Commission could see Ireland sidelined for "upsetting the political apple cart over the Lisbon Treaty"
On her blog, EUobserver Editor Honor Mahony looks at ongoing speculation over who will be in the next European Commission, and suggests that Irish pundits fear the country might be in line to get the most powerless portfolio in the next Commission, "as a punishment for its voters upsetting the political apple cart over the Lisbon Treaty."
EUobserver blog

Swedes in favour of a new referendum on the EuroAccording to Dagens Nyheter, a 51 percent majority of Swedes would like a new referendum on the Euro, preferably before 2011. In 2003, Sweden rejected the Euro in a referendum with 56 percent of the electorate voting No.DN GP

Göterborgs-Posten: The Lisbon Treaty will make EU agriculture reform harder
At the launch of their election campaign last week, the Swedish Liberal People's Party's leader Jan Björklund and top candidate Marit Paulsen launched an attack on EU agricultural subsidies, saying "Away with them", and, "free farmers from the claws of politicians". Swedish daily Göterborgs-Posten now writes, "Of course Björklund and Paulsen are right...The problem is that this goes against the Treaty of Lisbon, which doesn't help at all. Either you want to do something about overproduction, protectionism and greenhouse gases, or you don't."

Commissioner Verheugen: "Germany is world champion in risky banking transactions"
Süddeutsche reports that EU Industry Commissioner Günther Verheugen has criticised German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück for rejecting EU plans for stricter bank supervision. Verheugen is quoted by Süddeutsche saying the EU had "proposed very clever requirements to secure the survival of German Federal State banks." Verheugen also said that Germany was "world champion in risky banking transactions. Nowhere in the world, and not in America, were banks more willing to pounce on incalculable risks. [This has now] dramatic consequences for German taxpayers." Handelsblatt also reports that Commission insiders called Steinbrück an "arrogant paint brush".

Süddeutsche reports that the German government rejected Verheugen's comments and said, "[These statements] show a surprising lack of knowledge of the state of affairs and limited understanding" of the banking sector's problems in the US and Britain.
Süddeutsche Süddeutsche 2 FTD

Barroso says his reappointment must respect rules of the Nice Treaty
Le Monde reports that Commission President José Manuel Barroso has ruled out the idea of waiting for the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty for a definitive renewal of his mandate. "We must respect the current treaty. It is not possible to apply a treaty which is not yet in force. We must do everything under the Treaty of Nice, without this contradicting the next Lisbon Treaty," he said.

He added that he is "very proud of the support he has received from different governments and different political groups" and reckons that it is probable that "we have the conditions to pursue our agenda for the future of Europe". However, he also added that he will make his "decision after the elections, considering the support [I have] from member states and the European Parliament".
Le Monde

More than half of Europeans "not interested" in European Parliament elections
A TNS opinion survey for the French Political Innovation Foundation has found that 18 percent of the respondents said they were "not at all interested", while 35 percent said they were "not interested".

The highest number of "not at all interested" people was found in Lithuania and Slovakia (29%), closely followed by the UK where 28% were "not at all interested".

Meanwhile, Le Monde covers an interview with French European Affairs Minister Bruno Le Maire. When asked whether he feared a protest vote in the June elections, Le Maire responded "No because we have proved, with the President of the Republic, that we know how to lead Europe in the right direction". When asked who the UMP's main opposition is, he said "Abstention. If it is high, this means that French representatives elected to Parliament will suffer from reduced legitimacy".
Le Monde Le Monde EUobserver

EU Enlargement Commissioner: "Iceland can join as early as 2011"
The Icelandic parliament will vote on EU accession in the next few weeks. In Helsingin Sanomat, Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, says accession talks could develop rapidly, since Iceland "fulfils criteria for entry already, and is a member of the EEA". The article notes that Rehn's statements have raised discontent in the European Parliament, and EP President Hans-Gert Poettering dismissed the statements, suggesting there could be no further enlargement without ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

Libertas adopts conflicting policies on free movement in Ireland and Poland
In the Irish Times, Jamie Smyth writes that Libertas is campaigning for the European elections in Ireland on limits to the freedom of movement for workers, with candidate Caroline Simons saying that limits are needed to "reduce the burden to Ireland of caring for inhabitants of other member states" and proposing making all EU citizens apply for a "blue card" to work in other states.

However, the paper reports that in Poland, the party is campaigning on a platform to remove the remaining EU limits on free movement of workers. Polish newspapers reportedly picked up on Libertas' plan yesterday, with the daily Rzeczpospolita running a front-page story under the headline, "Irish Libertas wants to limit influx of Poles".
Irish Times Irish Times: State of the Union

In a letter to the Independent, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne argues that the "Conservatives claim to support European co-operation to fight crime, but have opposed almost every measure to make that possible", and suggests that it is "staggering" that the Conservatives oppose the European Arrest Warrant, Europol and Eurojust.
Independent: Letters

In an interview with France Inter, French Minister for Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner said that "the President [Sarkozy] has a clear position which is that Turkey has no place in the 27 member group. In my opinion it is necessary to continue to develop closer relations". Kouchner adds that he does not agree with the President but that it is the President who ultimately decides.

El Mundo reports that European Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers have agreed to extend the EU's anti-piracy mission to the Seychelles, as pirates fleeing from North Somalia spread their activities.
El Mundo

The European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels remains closed after a fire broke out yesterday, the source of which remains unclear.
EUobserver Guardian European Voice EurActiv EU Referendum blog Guido Fawkes blog Telegraph: Waterfield blog El Mundo Le Figaro DPA Le Figaro BBC

In the WSJ, Natasha Srdoc and Joel Anand Samy write that, despite the EU's positive assessments of Croatia's bid for accession, "Croatia remains wracked by corruption, smuggling and organized crime"
WSJ: Srdoc and Samy

Handelsblatt reports that an internal EU Association Council progress report shows shortcomings in Turkey's reform processes and obstacles to EU accession. The report says, "Substantial efforts" are especially needed with regards to basic rights and freedom of speech, and restrictions for EU imported beef are "totally unacceptable".
No link

An article in the Independent looks at the possibility of extremist parties doing well in the 4 June European elections, and writes that the EP's reputation is "all-too-frequently dogged by scandals over MEP allowances and the extravagant idiosyncrasy of being the only parliament in the world with two houses."

Le Figaro reports that Poland has strongly criticised a video published by the European Commission on the fall of the Berlin wall. Polish Ambassador Jan Tombinski wrote a letter to the Commission arguing the video included "omissions, shortcuts, blatant errors and poor use of video material".
No link

Writing in the Independent, Mary Dejevsky argues that the first "European generation" bears a responsibility for failing to "sell" the European project and its benefits to the public.
Independent: Dejevsky

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Persian Pipeline (German Policy toward Iran)

Newsletter 2009/05/18 - The Persian Pipeline

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/TEHERAN (Own report) - Berlin is getting ready for a Western policy change toward Iran. The German Foreign Ministry's special envoy for Afghanistan announced his imminent visit to Teheran to discuss Iran's contribution to the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. It is being said in Berlin that this type of cooperation with the Iranian government could help reach a negotiated solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, particularly since the new US-administration announced it would hold back on military threats and enforce western hegemony over the Persian Gulf through non-military means. But comprehensive talks can be expected to begin only after the Iranian presidential elections in June, so as not to provide indirect support to Ahmadinejad's election campaign. Berlin has been exploring possibilities for new cooperation with Iran since the beginning of the year. German businesses are pushing for this cooperation to counterbalance, with new exports, the losses they are suffering through the crisis. In exchange, Teheran is offering access to its natural gas reserves.


Open Europe press summary: 18 May 2009


Highest paid MEPs have the worst attendance at European Parliament
Saturday's Times reported that the worst attendance record at the European Parliament has gone to the highest-paid MEPs - the Italians. Italian MEPs currently earn €134,291 (£120,000) a year but came bottom of the 27 EU nations for turning up in Brussels and Strasbourg, appearing at 72 percent of sittings over the past five years. British MEPs had an 86 percent attendance record, 17th out of 27 over the course of the 2004-2009 European Parliament, according to the analysis by

According to the article, under a new system, coming into effect after June's elections, all MEPs will be paid the same rate of €88,952 a year, rather than the same rate as individual countries' domestic MPs. It means a pay rise for British MEPs, who are currently on €71,500, and a massive rise for Bulgarians, who earn €9,200 a year.

The News of the World reported that UKIP MEP John Whittaker receives a £64,766 a year salary but only goes to Brussels once a month because he "doesn't believe in the EU". Whittaker claimed he was saving the taxpayer money because he only receives his salary and not his daily attendance allowance.

The Sun notes that Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague is insisting that newly elected Conservative MEPs will have to sign a pledge to reveal precisely how they spend their taxpayer funded allowances and expenses. Conservative MEP candidates will be told to publish expenses claims online, update them every three months and publish online details of all meetings with pressure groups.

The Times reports that from the next parliamentary session, MEPs will be unable to employ close family members, with all Brussels-based assistants to be paid direct from the authorities. Saturday's Irish Times noted that the impetus for the change was given a boost when internal auditors discovered some MEPs were paid for non-existent staff, had not made social security payments to staff, and in one case paid a staff member a Christmas bonus worth 19 times their monthly salary. In the next parliament all MEPs will have to provide receipts for all travel, although they will continue to receive flat rate subsistence and general expenditure allowances and will not have to provide receipts for claims.

The Irish Sunday Business Post cited Open Europe's recent briefing on the European Parliament when looking at the voting record of Conservative MEPs in the European People's Party. It also quotes the briefing saying, "The European Parliament has substantial powers to influence daily life in Britain and takes decisions affecting everything, from working time to energy and internet use . . . the often repeated claim that MEPs 'lack real powers' is largely inaccurate."
Sunday Business Post Open Europe briefing Times Irish Times Times 2 Sun

French European Affairs Minister: "enlargement is behind us: we finished enlargement with the Balkans"
Le Monde reports that French European Affairs Minister Bruno le Maire wants a public debate, "proposal by proposal", particularly on the Lisbon Treaty, European borders and European industrial policy so that parties clearly state where they stand on each issue.
Le Maire also argues that "enlargement is behind us: we finished enlargement with the Balkans" and if "we want a strong Europe, it is necessary to stop enlargement".
Le Monde Le Monde 2

The seminar organised last week by Open Europe in Southern Sweden received coverage in Swedish daily Kristianstadsbladet. Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally was also interviewed by Swedish Radio.

Marshall: Proposed EU directive on hedge funds "makes a mockery of subsidiarity"
Writing in the FT, Paul Marshall, Chairman of Hedge Fund Managers Marshall Wace, argues that "If opponents of the European Union are looking for evidence of political meddling and overreach, they could hardly find a better example than the new draft directive on alternative investment fund management."

He also writes that the proposed directive "makes a mockery of any notion of subsidiarity" and argues that it has a "strong protectionist element, since it would prevent fund managers in third countries - such as the US - from accessing the European market unless those countries adopted "equivalent" regulation... All it does is enhance the suspicions held by some in the UK that it is highly risky to engage with the continental Europeans on matters of crucial British interest."
FT: Marshall

Sweden to push for financial supervision in EU Presidency
In an article in the FTD Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that his country wants to advance cross-border financial supervision in the EU during the Swedish EU Presidency. Borg is quoted saying "The Heads of State and Government have to assume political leadership in the June Summit and demand a quick common solution to banking supervision in Europe".

Labour neck and neck with UKIP in European election polls;
Two in five to shun the major parties
The Mail on Sunday reported that Labour's predicted share of the vote in the June 4 elections has fallen to just 17 percent - neck and neck with the UK Independence Party (UKIP). The Conservatives were also down six points but continue to lead with 30 percent of the vote. The BPIX poll had the Liberal Democrats in fourth with 15 percent.

The Independent on Sunday reported that the recent MPs' expenses scandal is causing the public to spurn the major parties. A ComRes poll shows that two in five say they will refuse to vote or select one of the minor parties, such as the Greens or UKIP, rather than support the Conservatives, Labour or the Lib Dems.

Saturday's Telegraph noted that fears are growing that the BNP will be at the centre of a wave of victories in next month's elections that would give nationalist parties a firm foothold in Europe and a new political grouping in the European Parliament, giving them access to £1 million a year in public funding.

A leader in the Sun calls for an early general election arguing that "In a year's time, the EU will have signed and sealed the wretched Constitution. A general election is your last chance to stop it. Eight out of 10 voters want a referendum. Labour promised one and then betrayed us."
Mail on Sunday Sun: Leader Independent on Sunday Times Telegraph Le Monde

Pottering criticises Conservatives' decision to leave EPP;
Cohen: Cameron's 'indecision' on Europe could produce a crisis
The Observer reported that EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering has criticised the Conservatives' decision to leave the EPP grouping in the European Parliament, and said it would be a "tragedy" for Britain and Europe which would leave a Conservative government with no influence in the EU.

Writing in the Observer, columnist Nick Cohen argued that Conservative MEPs will be "isolated" in the European Parliament, and "will make the journey from influence to irrelevance overnight." He also argued that "Britain has three coherent European policies: to leave (Ukip); to go further in (the Liberal Democrats); and to co-operate but remain aloof from full integration (the Major, Blair and Brown administrations). Cameron lacks the courage to choose any of the above and his indecision will produce a crisis."

Writing in the Sunday Express Stuart Wheeler explained his recent donation to UKIP and criticised the Conservatives' reluctance to spell out their policy on the EU. He urged David Cameron and William Hague to promise a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: "So David and William, the right policy on Europe is to give a cast iron guarantee - no wriggle room - that an incoming Conservative Party will have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, irrespective of whether it is already law".
Observer Observer: Cohen

Polish website Kurier cites Open Europe's research on the cost of EU regulation to Poland.
Kurier Open Europe research

Topolanek: "The Lisbon Treaty is bad and we know it";
New poll shows support for Lisbon Treaty at 52% in Ireland
On his BBC blog, Mark Mardell asks former Czech PM Mirek Topolanek what he really thinks of the Lisbon Treaty, and Topolanek says "This treaty is bad and we know it. We supported the treaty among other things because we were a party in government and because we signed it and because we agreed on a compromise at the level of the European Council...If we hadn't signed the Lisbon Treaty and had been pushed to the sidelines of the European Union we would have had no chance of promoting our national interests. That's the main reason. It was the lesser of two evils."

Meanwhile, a new Irish Times /TNS mrbi poll has found that 52 percent of people in Ireland would now vote Yes in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, while 29 percent say they would vote No, and 19 percent of people said they did not know how they would vote.
BBC: Mardell blog Irish Times Irish Times 2 HLN EU Observer

Lithuania elects EU Commissioner as first female President
El Mundo reports that EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite has won the first round of the Lithuanian Presidential elections and will officially become Lithuania's first female President on 12 July. Grybauskaite, who ran as an independent, won 68.17 percent of the votes, with turnout at 51.7 percent, just above the threshold to ensure that the elections didn't progress to a second round.
BBC EurActiv IHT El Mundo Le Monde Le Figaro

New ETS data shows 3.06% emissions drop last year
New data on the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was released on Friday and factories covered by the ETS saw their emissions drop by 3.06 percent last year, according to the European Commission, reports EurActiv. The second phase of the ETS was launched last year, which will see the number of allowances cut by 6.5 percent. Barbara Helfferich, the Commission's Environment Spokeswoman, said it was not possible to know exactly what proportion of the 3 percent cut was due to the ETS.

"Ghost MEPs" to be elected before a position exists for them in the EP
Austrian TV ORF reports on its website that 18 "ghost MEPs" will be elected in the upcoming elections, as the Treaty of Nice foresees the number of MEPs dropping from 785 to 736, but the Treaty of Lisbon would provide for this number to rise again by 18 MEPs, bringing the total to 754. Richard Corbett MEP is cited as a source, having been working on a report on the changes, which concludes that the 18 "ghost MEPs" could obtain "observer status" from the summer onwards, in order to become full MEPs in 2011. This is because the 18 would only be able to become MEPs if a ratified Lisbon Treaty is modified through protocols. The protocols for Lisbon to enter into force would have to coincide with Croatia and/or Iceland's accession treaty, and this will be 2011 at the earliest.
No link

Ganley: We don't know if there is corruption in Brussels because there is no transparency
In an interview with El Mundo Libertas leader Declan Ganley argues that the EU is flawed because "we have no idea about its institutions. We can't know if there is corruption or not because there is no transparency". When asked for his opinion on the second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Ganley asked, "Why do the Irish need to be consulted twice on the same issue when all other Europeans haven't even been asked once?"
A new poll for Saturday's Irish Times suggests Declan Ganley is currently polling at 9%, and would need to double this to have a chance of winning a seat in the European Parliament elections.Irish Times El Mundo

Germany will disclose the beneficiaries of agricultural subsidies in mid-June
Die Zeit reports that Germany plans to disclose the beneficiaries of CAP subsidies by mid-June, after the European elections. The Commission has already threatened Germany with an infringement procedure for being the only EU country not to publish their beneficiaries by 30 April.

£14 billion EU immigration project subject to one audit in 14 years
The Sunday Express reported that £14 billion has been spent on the EU's Barcelona Process project to combat illegal immigration from north Africa to southern European member states. The paper reported that the EU has never published a detailed breakdown of spending on the venture, and produced just one high-level audit of the project's total spending in 14 years. The paper also reported that EU leaders are set to sanction another £550million project in eastern Europe.

El País reports that Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has requested a summit on immigration for European leaders. He has also demanded that a European coastal guard be established to monitor Mediterranean coasts. According to the paper, the patrols would decide how many immigrants on board actually have the right to political asylum and the rest would be rejected.
Sunday Express El País

Kaletsky: The credit crunch has been a greater disaster for Germany and Europe than Britain
Writing in the Times, Anatole Kaletsky looks at new economic figures released last week by the European Commission and argues that "What these statistics confirmed is that the credit crunch has been a far greater disaster for Germany and most of continental Europe than for the US and Britain." He also goes on to say that, "In the past few months, however, the single currency has changed from a stabilising factor into a new source of vulnerability for members of the eurozone".
Times: Kaletsky

Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, wrote in the Sunday Times that a new report from the IEA argues that regulatory bodies have not just failed to stop financial markets going wrong, they have also worsened the problem, and that the proposals by the G20 governments, the FSA and the EU that involve extending regulation further are misconceived.
Sunday Times: Booth

Writing in the FT, Wolfgang Münchau argues that Germany's bad bank plan will not work in the way it has been proposed because it is a "giant accounting trick".
FT: Munchau

German Bundesbank President: "no more monetary and budgetary expansion in middle and long term"
In an interview with the FTD, Bundesbank President Axel Weber has rejected speculation on further ECB measures that would go beyond buying €60 billion in covered bonds, instead saying that "in the middle and long term the goal should be to take a U-turn away from expansive monetary and budgetary politics."
FTD Eurointelligence

The Irish Labour Party's Dublin MEP Proinsias de Rossa has accused Libertas of being a "fascist party" in response to their new immigration plan, which calls for the adoption of a "blue card" throughout the European Union that would allow a citizen of the EU to live in another member state for up to two years as a guest worker, as long as they were not a burden on the receiving state.
Irish Times
A piece in Saturday's Mail profiling Europe Minister Caroline Flint mentioned the fact that she has admitted to not reading the Lisbon Treaty.No link
An article in the Weekend FT looked at France's new Hadopi internet piracy law and noted that the bill was rewritten in recent weeks to try and avoid conflicts with EU law contained in the EU's telecoms package.Weekend FT
Saturday's Irish Times reported that former Polish President Lech Walesa is expected to address a Libertas European election event in Ireland in the coming days.Irish Times
EU foreign ministers are expected to call for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes by Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lanka's government.

The British Chamber of Commerce is calling for a moratorium on any new employment law from Europe to give companies the "freedom" to focus on survival during the global recession, according to PA.
No link

Austrian daily Die Presse reports on the "Brussels virus", explaining how politicians stop criticising the EU once elected in the EP and cites British MEPs Christopher Beazley and Caroline Jackson. Die Presse

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.