Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 06:44:41 AM EST
Similar to the US telecommunication companies across Europe have been lobbying to undermine Net Neutrality. According to the NGO Squaring the Net the European Parliament is moving to do just that:
European Internet users could be blocked from lawful activities by mandatory spyware, in the interests of their security. The right to use free software for internet access would therefore not be assured anymore. The neutrality of the Internet is also directly attacked, as is the principle that technical intermediaries have no obligation to prior surveillance of contents. Other amendments will de facto enable administrative authorities to obligate ISPs to work with content producers and rights-holders' private police, including the sending of intimidating messages, with no judicial or regulatory oversight.
These measure goes further than the French "graduated response" project, which has been subject to widespread opposition, including by the European Parliament on April 10th. That is undoubtedly why those amendments have turned up on early july, and why those drafting them use subtle rhetoric and crossed-references to make the overall text harder to understand (more than 800 amendements on 5 directives were tabled).
"The politicians who engage in these summer manoeuvres dishonour Europe and their mandate. They rely on the fact that nobody watches them a week before Parliamentary holiday, to divert the Telecoms package from its primary objectives of consumer protection. They pave the way for the monitoring and filtering of the Internet by private companies, exceptional courts and orwellian technical measures. It is inconceivable for freedom but also for European economic development. We call on all MEPs to oppose what they have already rejected." said Christophe Espern, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net).
These torpedo amendments are currently subject of a series of secret, back-room negotiations between a handful of MEPs who do not always understand all the implications of these issues. Accomplices of lobbyists who hold the pen are in every political party. Instructions for the plenary vote will be established this week for a vote in IMCO and ITRE committee on Monday, July 7th.
At this stage, citizens must act urgently and en masse, to make their MEPs understand, a year before the elections, the possible consequences of their actions.
I am not sure if the directive in question really is as concerning as Squaring the Net claims, but nonetheless I think it is an important issue. It seams also that several issues concerning Copyright and Intellectual Property have been packaged into this directive.
In this wiki you can find people which should be contacted to let them now want to you think about this directive and that it should be rejected.
Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 at 08:58:56 AM EST
Sinn Fein has now presented a list of demands which have to be met in order to gain their support in a second referendum. This should be the list in full (taken from this article):
- The retention of a permanent commissioner for all member states;
- The retention of the Nice Treaty formulae [sic] for qualified majority voting;
- The removal of all eight self-amending articles including the simplified revision procedure in Article 48;
- The removal of Article 46a giving the EU a single legal personality;
- A strengthened protocol on the role of member state parliaments;
- A significantly expanded protocol on the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality including the aims and values of the EU;
- Substantial amendments to aspects of the Common Foreign and Security Policy;
- Substantial amendments to the section of Common Defence and Security Policy;
- A new protocol on neutrality;
- A strengthened social clause;
- A substantially revised protocol on vital public services;
- Amendments to articles dealing with public services and state aid;
- The inclusion of the European Trade Union Confederation Social Progress Clause to protect workers' rights;
- A protocol on Irish tax sovereignty;
- Substantial amendments on Article 188 dealing with international trade agreements including a cast-iron veto on mixed World Trade Organisation agreements;
- A new protocol ending Ireland's participation in the European Atomic Energy Community;
- A series of amendments to Articles 10 and 188 promoting the needs of the developing world in the context of international trade.
If you look at the points "every country a commissioner", "keeping all veto rights", "Nice formula for qualified majority voting" it becomes clear that they reject the very substance of the Lisbon Treaty, and is unlikely that these demands can be met. I also wonder what the British Eurosceptics, who belive
that they have super strong allies in the Irish no-campaign, think about "The inclusion of the European Trade Union Confederation Social Progress Clause".
A much shorter list on the major concerns of Irish voters has be presented by Taoiseach Brian Cowen:
- World trade talks.
- Suggestions of tax harmonisation.
- Loss of a commissioner.
- Change in Ireland's voting strength.
- Lack of democratic accountability of the EU high representative and president of the council.
- Possible European Court of Justice rulings on areas like abortion and euthanasia.
- Insufficient workers' rights.
- Defence policy.
A very good analysis of each of these points can be found at Jon Worths
Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 07:09:11 PM EST
At the current moment it is completly unclear how and if the Lisbon Treaty can be salvaged. Many national governments are already discussing the 'nuclear' option of ratifying the treaty and leaving Ireland behind. In a legal sense this would mean that they will leave the EU as it exists right now and form a new one based on the Lisbon Treaty.
But this is a rather radical step and one should try to calmly look at all options we have to take Ireland's decision into account but still implement reforms contained in the Lisbon treaty. In this diary I want to focus on one of the reforms which I liked most, that is the creation of a more coherent Foreign Policy by creating a more powerful Foreign Policy Representative and a diplomatic corps.
The Nice Treaty includes an Article (Article 43) which allows for several Nations to establish "enhanced cooperation". On the page I have linked to is a lot of stuff which I do not fully understand, but let me cite what I think is the important part when it comes to foreign policy:
Member States which intend to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves shall address a request to the Council to that effect. Authorization shall be granted by the Council, acting by a qualified majority on the opinion of the Commission and after having informed the Parliament. However, Article 23 of the EU Treaty provides that a Member State may request that the matter be referred to the European Council for a decision by unanimity. Member States thus retain their right of veto in this area.
As one can see it is possible to establish enhanced coordination in the area of Foreign Policy but it could be vetoed by any member. However if all 26 signing Members agree to implement the Foreign Policy cooperation established in the Lisbon Treaty I think Ireland would not be in a position to veto this.
Maybe similar thing could be done in other areas as well.