Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:23:54 PM EST
EUobserver / New MEPs to face tougher expenses regime

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament returns to business in July with a flat wage rate for all 736 MEPs and an overhauled expenses system, after years of winning a reputation for being little more than a gravy train for out-of-touch deputies.

In the next legislature, all new MEPs from across Europe will earn a gross salary of around €7,000 a month, ending the current system whereby the euro deputy earns the same as the MPs of their home country.

The newly elected parliament will have its inaugural session in July

The new rules put an end to an uncomfortable situation where there were wide discrepancies between how much MEPs from different countries pocketed at the end of each month.

The situation became ridiculously acute in recent years when poorer eastern countries joined the European Union, meaning that Italian MEPs earned almost 15 times more a year than their Bulgarian counterparts. A German MEP earned around €7000 a month, while a Hungarian earned less than €1000.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:28:00 PM EST
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EUobserver / Netherlands to release EU election results early

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Despite EU officials' best efforts to maintain suspense about who has won the European elections until all European polling stations close on Sunday (7 June) evening, results will begin dribbling out as early as 4 June.

Under EU law it is illegal to announce official results until all EU voting ends at 10 p.m. Brussels time on Sunday, but the Netherlands - which together with the UK is the first EU member state to vote - intends to release preliminary results as soon as its polls close at 9 p.m. Brussels time on 4 June.

Exit polls will begin to give some idea of the make-up of the parliament as early as the evening of 4 June

"There are different views on this matter," Ruben Brandveldt of the Dutch mission to the EU told EUobserver. "The European Commission is not happy because we will be releasing the results."

"But the article in question says that member states are not allowed to publish official results. In our view, this doesn't prevent the publication of preliminary results."

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:28:59 PM EST
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Europe is right-wing but... - El País/ Presseurop

Most governments in EU member states are from the right, but implement Keynesian inspired economic policies. Political forces in the EU must transcend differences and agree on a means to face up to the crisis.

Most of the governments of the European Union's 27 member countries are conservative, as are the bulk of the European Council and the president of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso. The current European Parliament, which is to be reshuffled within a matter of days, is for the most part centre-right.

Some of the older generation in Spain, who have always associated Europe with the freedoms we lost under Franco and with the creation of the welfare state and who have always equated Europe with a progressive project, seem to forget this ideological reality. The European elections are an opportunity to curb that ideological drift, since more than half the legislative initiatives that affect the day-to-day lives of Europeans hinge on the outcome.

Furthermore, the shared public realm of the EU is afflicted with a severe economic crisis involving a drastic decline in economic activity, soaring unemployment (over 20 million jobless), and zero price growth, which some analysts see as a portent of imminent deflation. Compounding this situation is an adverse structural misfortune factor - the failure of the Lisbon Agenda, which sought to make the EU the most advanced region on the planet - as well as a curious paradox: although most of the governments in the region are conservative, the economic policy they are implementing is Keynesian, designed to increase demand, and in no way resembles the neoliberal model they had been flirting with prior to 2007.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:34:17 PM EST
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Right senses victory in European poll as Left fails to gain from global crisis
The big beasts of Europe are set to claim victory for the Right in this week's elections, leaving the Left to wonder why it has failed to benefit from such a serious economic crisis.

Left-of-centre parties in government and in opposition are struggling in the six countries of Europe that choose the majority of MEPs in the biggest multicountry elections yet held, according to an analysis of polls due out today and seen by The Times
.... Governing left-wing parties in Spain and Germany are struggling while the socialist opposition is in crisis in France, Italy and Poland. So it is the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi who are likely to emerge with the biggest smiles after the votes have been counted.

by das monde on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:03:38 AM EST
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BBC NEWS | Europe | Euro election gets celebrity veneer

Former models and anti-Islamic firebrands are among some 9,000 candidates in the European election this week. But can they quicken the pulse of Europe's apathetic voters?

Rachida Dati is no longer the rising star of the Sarkozy administration

The election is a time for shock tactics and charm offensives, anything to get out the vote for an assembly that few people understand - perhaps not even the candidates.

Take Rachida Dati, the glamorous French justice minister and the first Muslim woman to get such a powerful post. Once a protegee of President Nicolas Sarkozy, she has become so unpopular that he wants her out, so he made her run in the European election.

Her heart clearly isn't in it. At a recent campaign meeting, asked if Europe meddled too much in national affairs, Ms Dati gave this answer, amid giggles: "It (Europe) looks after those things that we ask it to look after, with the people who are asked to look after them. In other words, us... I did well, didn't I?"

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:35:11 PM EST
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Moldova faces election after opposition boycotts ballot | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 03.06.2009
The Moldovan Prime Minister, Zinaida Greceanii, has failed for a second time to secure enough votes to become president of the tiny ex-Soviet republic, paving the way for new elections.  

Greceanii, the preferred presidential candidate of Moldova's outgoing leader Vladimir Voronin, received 60 votes, one short of the 61 she would have needed to assume the presidency.


Three opposition parties, which together hold 41 seats in Moldova's 101-seat parliament, ignored Communist Party calls to cross party lines and endorse Greceanii's candidature.


Voronin, who cannot run for a third term as president himself, had hoped the election of fellow Communist Greceanii would enable him to hold on to power.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:37:00 PM EST
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The lasat paragraph: what kind of idiocy is this?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:43:42 AM EST
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Don't you know that Communist parties are like hereditary monarchies? Of course the scion is loyal to his patriarch. Everybody knows that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:05:22 AM EST
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EUobserver / EU watches as angry UK kicks off EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The rest of Europe has been watching agog at the buildup of an almost insurrectionary feeling in the UK following revelations of MPs' abuses of the expenses system. The outpouring of anger could have significant implications for EU politics, as Britons unleash their fury via the ballot box and opposition parties call for an early general election.

The UK, along with the Netherlands, will kick off voting in the European elections and local elections on Thursday (4 June), with the governing Labour party facing the prospect of its worst electoral defeat in history.

The beleaguered Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, charged with reacting too slowly and then inadequately to the unfolding scandal, has been buffeted further in recent days by announcements that four members of his government, including two ministers, are leaving.

The weakened government has emboldened the opposition Conservatives, who feel 10 Downing Street is within their grasp sooner rather than later.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:37:36 PM EST
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EUobserver / 'Bulgarian trucker' replaces 'Polish plumber' in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The French politician who created the stereotype of the "Polish plumber" has coined a new "Bulgarian truck driver" cliché for his EU election campaign. But voters are finding the event a turn-off despite scandals involving topless girls, hunger strikes and the Taliban.

Far-right French politician Pilippe de Villiers, who launched the catchy plumber idea during his fight against the EU constitution in a referendum in 2005, is now promoting the notion that cheap Bulgarian truckers are coming to steal French jobs.

The Bulgarian trucker - coming to a stereotype near you

A Bulgarian driver costs €700 a month instead of €3,700, survives on just four hours of sleep a night and eats just twice a week, the myth-making politician is saying. Poland joined the EU in 2004 and Bulgaria in 2007, with their workers still legally barred from some EU states.

As many as 63 percent of French people do not plan to vote on Sunday (7 June). But the ruling centre-right UMP is in any case set to scoop 27 percent of ballots cast, ahead of the Socialists on 21 points and with Mr de Villiers' Mouvement Pour La France way behind on less than six percent.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:06 PM EST
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Here it is Romanians used as bogeyman... Who's next, Ukranians?
by Nomad on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:19:45 AM EST
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LOL. However, I note on the sidelines that the atrocious labour conditions in trucking are a scandal for a decade (or two) now, at least in the Western part of the EU-15: Italian, German, Austrian firms with employees from the then accession, now new member countries resp. firms from there with clients in the West are all too often found to employ people for too long hours, paying them to get the job done on the shortest time possible ( = speeding resp. tinkering with the black box, sleep deprivation). Controls are lax or at least totally insufficient.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:36:53 AM EST
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No, no. The Ukrainians are our plucky allies who are bravely standing up to the big, bullying Russian bear, to defend Europe's Britain's and Denmark's right to cheap gas without long-term contracts. Didn't you get that memo?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Pirates to join Green or Liberal groups in EU parliament

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The civil libertarian swashbucklers of the Swedish Pirate Party are to join either the Green or the Liberal groupings in the European Parliament, the leading candidate for the party has said.

"We will probably joint either the Greens or the Liberals," Christian Engstroem, a computer programmer and the candidate heading the party's list, told EUobserver.

The Swedish Pirates say they are beyond the port-starboard divide

"There have been no formal discussions, but we have been invited by a few groups for informal talks," he added.

As the party is a single-issue formation dedicated solely to online civil liberties, Mr Engstroem said the Pirates would join the grouping in the parliament that is closest to its positions on internet freedoms.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Jobs crisis tops EU agenda as polls open

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission published new proposals to tackle rising unemployment on Wednesday (3 June) and urged members states to redouble their efforts to deal with the growing jobs crisis.

"In this week of elections, it would be a big mistake for Europe to turn its back on this problem," said commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels, adding that few things concerned EU citizens more at present.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso urged member states to increase efforts to reduce unemployment

The new measures that will be debated by EU leaders at a European summit later this month include a proposal to allow 100 percent EU funding for member state projects in 2009-10 that promote greater employment.

Projects currently funded by the European social fund require "match-funding" from member states of between 15-50 percent, but the new rules would provide a temporary derogation from this requirement, prompted by fears that national governments could struggle to come up with the money.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:39:07 PM EST
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GRreporter.info: Costas Simitis against Barroso (03 June 2009)
Few European statesmen from the left front announced themselves with a common declaration against a possible second mandate of the chairman of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the former Prime Ministers of France and Greece Lionel Jospin and Costas Simitis, the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, Paavo Liponen from Finland, Franz Branitzki from Austria and the former Polish Prime Minister Alexander Kvashniewski summoned the Party of the European Socialists to present an alternative nomination to Barroso for the chairman's position. The initiative is of the former Portuguese Prime Minister and president Mário Soares. In their declaration the eight former statesmen point out that the European national party has already nominated someone for Barroso's position, who is believed to be a front-runner for a second mandate and call for PES to do the same.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:52:25 PM EST
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Cool! So at least some of the PES elder statesmen have a little bit of strategic vision. Including predecessors of the current Iberian ones, it seems.

Franz Branitzki from Austria


European national party

Huh!? How does EPP translate into Greek?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:41:48 AM EST
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In French,  Conflit de générations chez les socialistes européens - Elections européennes - Le Monde.fr
C'est Mario Soares, ancien président et premier ministre portugais, qui a piloté l'initiative afin de trouver, dans les rangs de la gauche, un candidat alternatif à son compatriote. L'appel a aussi été signé par Felipe Gonzalez, l'ancien chef du gouvernement espagnol, qui préside un groupe de réflexion sur l'avenir de l'Europe. Dans leur pays, les deux hommes prennent ainsi le contre-pied de leur successeur. Tony Blair n'a en revanche pas signé le texte. L'ancien premier ministre britannique, dont le nom circule pour prendre la présidence stable du Conseil européen en cas d'entrée en vigueur du traité de Lisbonne, n'a même pas été sollicité par M. Soares.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Anti-gay, climate change deniers: meet David Cameron's new friends

Global warming is a lie, homosexuality is a "pathology" and Europe is becoming a "neo-totalitarian" regime, according to one of David Cameron's new European allies.

Tory headquarters may never have heard of Urszula Krupa, a militant Roman Catholic and strong Polish nationalist, but at the weekend in Warsaw, Cameron sealed his new alliance in Europe with Krupa's rightwing party in Poland, the opposition Law and Justice party (PiS) run by twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczy´nski.

by Sassafras on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:38:35 AM EST
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