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Friday, December 4, 2009

Lisbon Treaty on the road to success, 2009

Today:

  1. Resounding Irish 'yes' to EU's Lisbon Treaty
  2. Czech court buoys EU Lisbon Treaty chances
  3. Prague's EU rank 'weakened' by Lisbon Treaty stance
  4. Germany ends Lisbon ratification saga
  5. Barroso weighs options for new-look EU executive
  6. Klaus signs, Lisbon Treaty fully ratified
Short fun:
  1. Bulgaria seeks EU regional portfolio, PM says
  2. Poland blocks Finnish politician from EU top job
  3. Barroso unveils five-year plan with 2020 horizon
  4. Sweden plans October summit on top EU jobs

Ok, since the Lisbon Treaty is already a fact, I'm not commenting on this post (well, except for the idiotism of Klaus and Cameron - I couldn't help myself). The idea is to simply show you the latest steps Europe made to make the Treaty come into life, because it was a long and torny road for us. So let's all remember the past few months and to wish well to the new Treaty. I really put my hopes in it, even if I'm extremely disappoint by the portfolio Bulgaria got - climate and disasters. Although it will involve a lot of money, I'm not sure that Jeleva will be able to do what Kuneva did for consumers. She's just not a fighter, not yet at least. But maybe she'll surprise me. I can only hope she will. 

Anyway, God Speed, Lisbon Treaty!

Resounding Irish 'yes' to EU's Lisbon Treaty

3 October 2009

Irish voters have approved the EU's reform treaty by a margin of two to one, lifting the EU out of institutional limbo after years of democratic setbacks and blockage. All eyes now turn to Eurosceptic Czech President Václav Klaus to sign the treaty.

The final result shows 67.1% of the electorate voted in favour of the Treaty, with 32.9% voting against. This represents a 20% swing towards the 'yes' campaign compared to the 2008 referendum. Turnout was 58%, an increase of around 6%.

In Brussels, political parties from across the spectrum are turning up the heat on Czech President Václav Klaus to sign the Lisbon Treaty into law, with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso saying all Europeans had now backed the Lisbon Treaty, either directly or indirectly.

Klaus said he would delay his approval to await a ruling on a constitutional complaint filed by 17 senators against the treaty (EurActiv 30/09/09).

Final ratification is also due in Poland, where President Lech Kaczyński had said he was willing to ratify the charter if Ireland voted 'yes'.

A summit of EU leaders is planned in Brussels on 29 October, at which Klaus is expected to come under heavy pressure to ratify.

With the 'yes' vote due to be confirmed, the chances of Europe taking a great steps to become a better organised Union with a stronger voice in world affairs dramatically increase.

The treaty would give the EU a long-term president and stronger foreign policy chief. source

Czech court buoys EU Lisbon Treaty chances

7 October 2009

The Swedish EU Presidency is today (7 October) expected to apply maximum pressure on the Czech Republic to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, riding on a wave of positive developments after the Irish 'yes' vote, including the removal of a hurdle by the Czech constitutional court on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court rejected on Tuesday a challenge against a law related to the EU's reform treaty, lifting a secondary hurdle to the pact's final ratification in the country.

A group of senators close to Eurosceptic President Václav Klaus had complained against an amendment of the parliament's rules of procedure which requires both Houses to approve any potential shift of national competences to Brussels by a simple majority vote. They insisted that a qualified majority should be required instead, making it harder to transfer more powers to the EU.

Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer welcomed the ruling, a government spokesperson announced. 

Meanwhile, the Czech Constitutional Court still has to pronounce itself over another motion by a group of senators which questioned the conformity of the Lisbon Treaty with the country's constitution.

The first hearing on that challenge is expected at the end of October.

EU leaders would like the Lisbon Treaty to enter in force by 1 January 2010. However, extending the mandate of the Commission until the end of the year could prove insufficient should Klaus continue to play for time. 

One option would be to opt for a Commission under the Nice Treaty, with less than 27 members. source

Prague's EU rank 'weakened' by Lisbon Treaty stance

7 October 2009

Czech President Václav Klaus's obstruction of the Lisbon Treaty is undermining Prague's influence in the EU and damaging the credibility of Czech politicians in a way that may have a long-lasting effect, warns David Král, director of the Europeum Institute for European Policy, in an interview with EurActiv.cz.

The Czech analyst said Klaus's "hatred" for the Lisbon Treaty was increasingly antagonising politicians elsewhere in Europe as well as on the national scene.

"What I am afraid of is of further and more important weakening of our influence and our negotiating position in the EU, because this playing with the ratification is absolutely incomprehensible and illogical," said Král.

"This obviously lowers the credibility of Czech politicians and it may have a long-lasting effect. Once we are stigmatised it will be very hard to get rid of the stigma."

With Polish President Lech Kaczyński widely expected to sign the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty today (7 October), the Czech Republic will become the only country not to have ratified, despite the text having been approved by a qualified majority of two-thirds in both chambers of the Czech parliament.. source

Germany ends Lisbon ratification saga

24 September 2009

A businessman's last-ditch effort to stop the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has failed after the country's president, Horst Köhler, signed the additional reforms needed to finalise the ratification process. 

The president's signature was the final step in Germany's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, after the reforms received wide approval in the parliament's lower and upper chambers - the Bundestag and Bundesrat respectively - earlier this month.

The domestic reforms are designed to increase German politicians' involvement in European lawmaking after high-profile petitions to the country's constitutional court on the treaty's compatibility with German law had stalled the process (EurActiv 12/02/09).

The constitutional court said claims made by Dieter Spethmann, a former chairman of large German steelmaker Thyssen, were illegitimate.

Spethmann had deemed the reforms "careless and superficial" and demanded a provision be added rendering the treaty valid only under a ruling issued by the same federal court in Karlsruhe in June.

Under the new laws, Germany's federal government is now expected to inform MPs about all EU matters "comprehensively, as early as possible, continuously and in writing".

A new veto right can be employed by the country's national parliament in areas where the EU's decision-making touches German spheres of interest.  source

My comment: Hm, please read in the source article how David Cameron wrote to Klaus to hold the signing of the Treaty so that when he wins the British elections, he'll make a referendum and kill the Treaty! That's horrible. Then ask me why I think Britain should be out of the EU. 

Barroso weighs options for new-look EU executive

24 September 2009

With the dawn of the second Barroso Commission, EurActiv examines how portfolios may be restructured in a new-look EU executive. The likeliest high-profile changes include new commissioners for climate action and migration.  

However, no concrete decisions will be made until the EU knows the institutional basis upon which the new commission will proceed, as leaders of the 27-member bloc nervously await the results of Ireland's second referendum on 2 October.

As a result of this waiting game, Barroso should have the entire month of October to negotiate with EU leaders on the make-up of his second college, said Antonio Missiroli, a director at the European Policy Centre (EPC) think-tank in Brussels.

Barroso's early reappointment means he has "more leverage in reshaping the structure of the Commission" than other presidents normally enjoy, he told EurActiv.

Moreover, should Lisbon be ratified, the Commission president will have to negotiate the novel situation of competing for prominence and power with the two new EU 'top jobs' – the permanent president of the European Council and the high representative for foreign affairs.

Before his reappointment, Barroso confirmed he was envisaging a commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and civil liberties, including citizens' and minority rights.  

Barroso also said he is envisaging having a commissioner for internal affairs and migration, and another one for "climate action".

The climate action commissioner is likely to prove strategically popular, both with politicians and the general public. However, it remains to be seen which specific directorates will fall under that remit, besides those currently under the environment portfolio.

The outcome of December's global conference on climate change in Copenhagen will have a big impact here, according to Alfons Westgeest, managing partner at Kellen Europe.

The justice, fundamental rights and civil liberties portfolio, viewed by many as Barroso's gift to the European Liberals, is also reflective of the growing debate on migration issues at EU level, and should go some way towards resolving problems within the current justice and home affairs (JHA) DG. 

Under the current arrangement, the JHA Commission is "both judge and jury," controlling justice issues but also holding responsibility for the rights of immigrants and social minorities, according to Mark McGann, CEO of Weber Shandwick Belgium.

McGann believes "it makes absolute sense from a legal as well as a political perspective to split that portfolio," a point echoed by the EPC's Antonio Missiroli, who said that "this duality had become a little bit embarrassing".

As for the new migration and security job, Missiroli cautioned that "putting these headings together risks sending the wrong message, i.e. that migration is a security issue," a fact that Barroso is no doubt aware of as he tries to handle this sensitive issue.

Rumours are rife that Barroso may create a new 'digital' portfolio to replace the current information society brief, as desired by current Infosociety Commissioner Viviane Reding (EurActiv 23/06/09). Such a move would strengthen the commissioner's hand in enforcing competition in the telecommunications market as well as addressing the thorny issue of digital copyright.

In a separate development, Brussels think-tank Bruegel recommended in a recent report the creation of a commissioner for the knowledge economy, responsible for "the three sides of the knowledge triangle: higher education, research and innovation" (EurActiv 23/09/09). source

Klaus signs, Lisbon Treaty fully ratified

3 November 2009  

Czech President Václav Klaus again surprised friends and foes alike by signing his country's Lisbon Treaty ratification today (3 November) at 15.00 CET, just hours after the Czech Constitutional Court had given the text its green light. The EU's reform treaty is now fully ratified and is expected to enter into force on 1 December.

Klaus, a staunch Eurosceptic, announced he had signed the Lisbon Treaty at Prague Castle, just a few hours after the Czech Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty is compatible with the country's constitution. source

Other fun:

Bulgaria seeks EU regional portfolio, PM says

18 September 2009
In the next European Commission, Bulgaria would like to obtain the regional policy portfolio, the country's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told EurActiv in an interview. source /pity for Meglena Kuneva, and shame for Boyko Borissov/

Poland blocks Finnish politician from EU top job

9 September 2009

Poland has refused to support former Finish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's candidacy as EU foreign policy chief, on the grounds that he works for Gazprom on the Nord Stream pipeline project. EurActiv Poland reports. source /idiots/

Barroso unveils five-year plan with 2020 horizon

4 September 2009

In his quest to win parliamentary support for a new term at the helm of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso today (3 September) published a 41-page document, contrasting both in length and substance with the short letter which helped him win the blessing of the EU's heads of state and government in June. source

Sweden plans October summit on top EU jobs

2 September 2009

Provided that the Lisbon Treaty is ratified by then, the 29-30 October European summit in Brussels will discuss nominations to all EU top jobs, including a high-profile permanent EU president and foreign policy czar, the Swedish EU Presidency said yesterday (1 September). source

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