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European Union: a week in (p)review

by Carrie Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:45:00 PM EST

A new feature: your EU government at work - go take a look! From the front page ~ whataboutbob

As part of developing the LocustWatch concept, I want to review what is going on within the EU institutions.

I hope to make this a regular feature much like Fran's European Breakfast or Soj's EuroPDB. However, due to the time commitment involved it will have to be a weekly series. Also, the EU institutions don't produce new "stories" at the same rate as the press.

This week's sources:


Display:
EU faces challenges of globalisation at Informal European Council
EU Heads of State and Government gathered on 27 October for an Informal European Council at Hampton Court Palace, United Kingdom.

UK Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Tony Blair tried to get the EU's 25 Heads of State to reach a 'strategic consensus' on how to tackle the challenges of globalisation and demographic ageing. They discussed six main priorities proposed by the European Commission:

  • Research: the 25 Member States aim to give new impetus to European research and innovation, and to the budget devoted to research. They even suggested setting up a European Council dedicated to Research.
  • A common energy policy: EU leaders discussed sudden oil price increases and the exhaustion of oil stocks. They decided to negotiate with oil and gas producing countries at European level.
  • Education: European universities are lagging behind their American, Indian and Chinese counterparts. EU Heads of State identified a set of measures to fight the decline of European universities.
  • Immigration: EU leaders agreed that the Union must find a coordinated solution to illegal immigration, while recognising the benefits of legal immigration to the European economy.
  • Demographic change: Heads of State and Government discussed how the EU could help the employed better reconcile their work and family lives. They also addressed the issue of Europe's ageing population.
  • The creation of a Globalisation Adjustment Fund:  EU leaders discussed setting up a Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help workers who fall victim to globalisation.

The European Council did not deal with the controversial, but most important issue of the 2007-2013 financial perspectives in detail, but all EU leaders highlighted that an agreement should be reached at the European Council in December.  


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:01:22 PM EST
Commission to simplify over 1 400 legal acts
On 25 October the European Commission presented a three-year programme to simplify thousands of pages of EU legislation adopted since 1957. Its intention is to reduce the administrative burden and cut over-regulation, which put most businesses at a disadvantage.

The Commission proposes to repeal, codify, recast or modify 222 basic legislations - all in all more than 1400 legal acts - in the next three years.

"Better regulation is a corner stone of our Partnership for Growth and Jobs", said Commission President José Manuel Barroso. "It will boost the competitiveness of our companies."

The simplification process kicks off with the most heavily regulated sectors, such as cars, waste and construction.

Other sectors such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and services will follow soon.

The Commission also intends to cut red-tape, especially for small businesses, by simplifying cumbersome statistics form-filling or modernising the customs code to facilitate electronic exchange of information.

"But better regulation is not de-regulation," warned Günter Verheugen, Commission Vice-President responsible for enterprise and industry. "The policy objectives do not change, but the way to get there will be much easier, cheaper and more effective for citizens and business."



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:06:50 PM EST
Better regulation is not de-regulation...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, "no regulation" is even better than "de-regulation"...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 03:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commission proposes to repeal, codify, recast or modify 222 basic legislations - all in all more than 1400 legal acts - in the next three years.
Well, we're going to have our hands full just following this one.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 04:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bulgaria and Romania closer to accession
Bulgaria  and Romania should be able to meet the requirements of EU membership in time for the provisional date of accession of 1 January 2007, on condition that they keep up the pace of reform. This was one of the key findings of the Commission's comprehensive monitoring report, published on 25 October, which examined the two countries' preparations for EU accession.

"Bulgaria and Romania have achieved significant progress so far in the preparations for accession. But, the jury is still out," said Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn. "In the months to come particular attention must be paid to actual implementation and enforcement of the reforms."

The Commission's report confirms that Bulgaria and Romania meet the political criteria for membership.

Bulgaria and Romania fulfil the requirement of being a functioning market economy. Bulgaria's continuation of the current pace of its reform path and Romania's vigorous implementation  of its structural reform programme should enable them to withstand competitive pressure and market forces within the EU.

The report shows their progress in adopting and implementing EU legislation. In most areas they are well advanced.

Nevertheless, further efforts are needed to address certain shortcomings which give cause for serious concern. Both must strengthen the rule of law, by improving public administration and the justice system and by fighting corruption effectively.

It is crucial that Bulgaria and Romania also increase food safety, reinforce the structures and mechanisms for participation in EU structural funds, and tackle industrial pollution and organised crime more effectively.

In April/May next year the Commission will review the situation. It may then recommend to postpone the accession of Bulgaria or Romania until 1 January 2008 if there is a serious risk of any of those states being manifestly unprepared to meet the requirements of membership by January 2007 in a number of important areas.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:17:28 PM EST
Bosnia and Herzegovina getting closer to the EU
The EU is soon to open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), a first major step in the European integration process.

The Commission underlined, however, that Bosnia and Herzegovina must, in particular, continue to improve cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), adopt the remaining Law on Public Broadcasting and ensure the implementation of the police reform.

The opening of negotiations on an SAA agreement requires the Council's green light. The agreement aims to promote economic and trade relations, with the perspective of establishing WTO-compatible free trade after a transitional period.

It will also bring the country closer to the European standards in regulating the movement of workers, freedom of establishment, supply of services and movement of capital. It will include a commitment by Bosnia and Herzegovina to progressive harmonisation of its legislation with that of the Community.

What is the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP)?

The SAP is the EU's policy for the countries of the Western Balkans region. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is the final stage of that policy, creating a contractual relationship between a country and the European Union. The SAP is accompanied by a generous financial assistance programme, called Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS).

The EU has already signed an SAA with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Croatia, and is currently negotiating an SAA with Albania and Serbia and Montenegro.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:26:46 PM EST
Towards a single EU tax base?
On 26 October the European Commission set out a plan to harmonise the corporate tax base across the EU. The plan includes a number of existing taxation and customs initiatives, and proposes a set of new measures to modernise the EU's taxation and customs system.

"With globalisation and increasing cross-border activity, a Community approach on some tax and customs issues would be of considerable benefit to business and trade," said Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács.

At present, the 25 national tax systems represent an obstacle to the smooth functioning of the single market, and impose extra costs on businesses across the EU. As such, they hamper investment in research and development (R&D) and pose a threat to sustainable economic growth.

The Commission's move to simplify and improve customs and taxation systems across the EU is part of a broader strategy to cut red tape and stimulate growth.

Commissioner Kovács has already unveiled plans to combat counterfeiting and introduce a more unified approach to car taxation.

Other Commission tax proposals will concern the modernisation of the Customs Code, the modernisation of VAT rules and a communication on R&D tax incentives.

If you want to know more about the EU's taxation and customs, go to: http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/taxation/index_en.htm



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:32:03 PM EST
So the EU taxes? Why did I not know this...

I thought that was just up to each nation. How are they going to deal with the countries that have high taxes and good social systems (that the people like)?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commission [...] stated [...] that taxes on personal income may be left to Member States even when the European Union achieves a higher level of integration than at present [...] acknowledged that co-ordination at EU level is in some cases necessary to safeguard the application of the Treaty freedoms and to eliminate tax obstacles to cross-border activities [...] also referred to the need to co-ordinate personal income taxes to prevent double taxation or unintentional non-taxation in cross-border situations, or to tackle cross-border tax evasion.(personal tax overview)
the Commission [...] identified several steps which could be taken to remove individual tax obstacles to cross-border trade in the Internal Market and the Commission and Member States are currently discussing these [...] also concluded that in the longer term Member States should agree to allow EU companies to use a single consolidated base for computing tax on their EU-wide profits.(company tax overview)
The most commonly applied excise duties are those on
  • alcoholic beverages,
  • manufactured tobacco products and
  • energy products (motor fuels and heating fuels, such as petrol and gasoline, electricity, natural gas, coal and coke).
All EU Member States apply excise duties to these three product categories. The revenue from excise duties accrues entirely to the Member States.

EU legislation [...] can be divided into three main categories:

  • The structure of the tax to be applied to a particular group of products.
  • The minimum rates of duty that Member States have to respect for each type of product.
  • General provisions that [...] concern in particular the production, storage and movement between Member States of excise products. (excise overview)


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so generally used products, multi-national corporations and perhaps individuals trying to evade taxes. Do you happen to know what the EU will use the tax revenue for?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
None of this is EU Tax revenue, it sets minimum tax levels and common accounting procedures to be applied by all member states, as a way to facilitate the free movement of persons and businesses.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:44:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first set of decisions is not even to set minimum levels, but simply tyo make sure that all countries calculate the tax bases in the same way. The tax rates would still be decided by each country, but they would apply to the same economic or accounting values, thus making it easier to compare countries and avoid spurious claims by some that their taxes are lower when they are in fact calculated differently.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 03:48:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cleaner seas and oceans for Europe
On 24 October the European Commission presented a Thematic Strategy to protect and conserve Europe's marine environment.

Their goal to ensure that all EU marine waters are environmentally sound by 2021 is without doubt an ambitious one.

"Europe's seas and oceans make a huge contribution to our quality of life and our economic prosperity, but they are deteriorating because of over-exploitation, pollution, climate change and a range of other factors," warned Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "This is an area where there is a strong need for a European overarching and integrated approach."

The strategy proposed sets out common objectives and methods to reach the required quality levels for the various marine regions (the Baltic Sea, the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean).

Member States will be responsible for designing and implementing plans to ensure a good environmental status in their respective marine waters, and to work in close cooperation with other countries sharing a marine area, whether these be Member States or third countries.

The Thematic Strategy will form a key component of the future Maritime Policy which will be proposed by the Commission in 2006.

Following on from the thematic strategy on improving air quality that was presented on 21 September, the marine strategy is the second in a set of seven thematic strategies proposed for the Sixth Environmental Action Programme. The other strategies will address waste prevention and recycling, the sustainable use of resources, soils, pesticides and the urban environment.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:36:08 PM EST
Well, at least they are talking about it as a goal...though they will have to include rivers in this, if they are serious...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:11:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The " Water Framework Directive" came into force in December 2000.

http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/water/themen/ewr.htm

The central objective of the Water Framework Directive is the "good status" of waters in the Community. The basic thinking behind "good status" is that waters may be impaired or changed by human use, but only insofar as the ecological functions of the water are not significantly impaired. The requirements for good ecological water quality are defined in detail for the different types of waters. In addition, EU-wide minimum requirements are to be developed for some 30 priority substances on the basis of chemical quality objectives.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Marine Strategy to save Europe's seas and oceans
The European Commission has proposed an ambitious strategy to protect more effectively the marine environment across Europe. The Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment aims to achieve good environmental status of the EU's marine waters by 2021 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. The Marine Strategy will constitute the environmental pillar of the future maritime policy the European Commission is working on, designed to achieve the full economic potential of oceans and seas in harmony with the marine environment.
A Marine Strategy Directive will establish European Marine Regions on the basis of geographical and environmental criteria. Each Member State, in close cooperation with the relevant other Member States and third countries within a Marine Region, will be required to develop Marine Strategies for its marine waters.
[...]
The Marine Strategy is consistent with the water framework directive from 2000 which requires that surface freshwater and ground water bodies (lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries, coastal waters...) achieve a good ecological status by 2015 and that the first review of the River Basin Management Plan should take place in 2021.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is quite informative, and glad to hear this will be a weekly posting. And also glad (for you) that it isn't too much stuff...this looked like it took some time to put together.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:36:55 PM EST
Not a whole lot of time, as I am just copying and pasting from a single document. But there will be more as the night progresses. Now, I don'y know about you but I had not heard about half of the policies mentioned in these items. There seems to be enough unsubstantiated claims on important stuff to keep everyone busy for a while, if you feel so inclined!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:42:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, maybe there should be "ideas", "plans" and "implementing" sections of your post (just joking...)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that took me a total of 5 hours so I definitely cannot do this more than once a week. I don't know how Fran and soj manage, really.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, awesome job. You will probably get better at identifying key issues, as time goes by. But even at once a week, this will be a super valuable service. Thanks again...great to be learning about what's going on in Brussels in more detail...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, thanks.

The hard part is navigating the EU websites, but you're right, I'm already getting better at this.

Half of this goes on in Strasbourg, not Brussels.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it keeps you out of the pubs on Saturday night (while he pours another glass of wine...)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:40:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy Community Treaty
The EU and eight countries in South-East Europe met in Athens on 25 October to sign the Energy Community Treaty, which foresees the liberalisation of the region's power and gas markets by 2008. The Treaty brings 34 countries together to form the world's largest internal market for electricity and gas; the 25 EU Member States and Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and, last but not least, UNMIK Kosovo. Modelled on the European Coal and Steel Community that is the basis of the European Union, the Treaty seeks to allow the countries of post-war South East Europe to agree on one area of policy and to develop a shared outlook. The agreement, building on the  'Athens Memoranda', signed in 2002 and 2003, responds to the countries' objective of joining the EU as soon as possible and presents them with the opportunity to become part of the EU single market in the area of electricity and gas as a first step towards that goal.
If you want to know more about the Energy Community Treaty, have a look at the Commission's fact sheet on the topic.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:39:56 PM EST
So is this like group buying, to bring the prices down?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like a way to fix the mess in the Former Yugoslavia by getting the successor republics (plus Albania and the two accession candidates Romania and Bulgaria) to join the existing EU common market for electricity and gas. The link to the Commission's fact sheet seems to be broken (or the EU server has trouble) but the Athens Memorandum is actually called MOU on the Regional Electricity Market in South East Europe and its Integration into the European Union Internal Electricity Market.

I would like to know more about the internal electricity and gas market.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 02:26:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
challenges of modern biotechnology
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission's in-house research facility, has launched a study on the social, economic and environmental consequences and challenges of modern biotechnology. "The study will be a very useful and timely contribution. It will help to inform the debate on biotechnology at European level and provide a scientifically sound basis for future decisions," said Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik when launching the study on 21 October. Biotechnology is driving innovation in medicine, agriculture and industry. Biotech-based industrial techniques consume fewer resources, clean up the environment and provide substitutes for more harmful chemical processes. And new possibilities are opening up for preventing, treating and curing hitherto incurable diseases: it is estimated that over 8 percent of biotechnology activity in Europe is health-care related. The Commission is currently updating its Biotechnology Strategy of 2002 in preparation for the Spring European Council 2007.
If you want further information on the EU's policy regarding biotechnology, consult the Commission's fact sheet.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 01:46:34 PM EST
EU budget 2006 - more money for research and youth programmes
Parliament's ambitions for the EU will be translated into figures as the Plenary voted at first reading to restore much of the 2006 budget cut by the Council. Areas set to benefit include research, education and youth programmes, which were reduced by the Council in July, as well as external policy. The grand total after today's vote is €121.4bn in commitment appropriations and €115.4bn in payments, equalling 1.04% of the EU's Gross National Income.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 04:42:18 PM EST
European Parliament votes on October 25-27

  • Budget 2006: Amendments to the Council budget proposal adopted by Parliament in first reading; Report[s] on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2006;
  • Azerbaijan: Situation in Azerbaijan before the elections
  • Barcelona Process: Report on the Barcelona Process revisited
  • European Ombudsman (2004): Annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman for the year 2004
  • Human Rights in Western Sahara: Resolutio
  • Uzbekistan: Resolution
  • Case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche: Resolution
  • Greenhouse Gases: Council common position, Second reading recommendation
  • Emissions from Car Air-Conditioning: Council common position, Second reading recommendation
  • Noise Emission: proposal for a directive, First reading report
  • Trans-European Transport Networks and Energy: Proposal for a regulation, First reading report
  • Food Additives: Proposal for a directive, First reading report
  • Fight against Organized Crime: Proposal for a Council framework decision, Consultation Report
  • Bird Flu: Environment committee resolution
  • Biotechnological Patents: Joint resolution
  • Economic Migration: Own-initiative report
  • EC-Azerbaijan Agreement on Air Services: Proposal for a Council decision, Report
  • Amending Budget 6/2005: Draft amending budget, Report
  • Waste shipments: Council common position, Second reading recommendation
  • Rail freight quality requirements: Proposal for a regulation, First reading report, Parliament rejects the Commission's legislative proposal.
  • Lifelong Learning: Proposal for a decision, First reading report
  • Youth in Action: Proposal for a decision, First reading report
  • Culture 2007: Proposal for a decision, First reading report
  • Media 2007: Proposal for a decision, First reading report


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:13:46 PM EST
If you want to find out more details on some of the items listed (like what these are about), where would one look?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow the title link. Each item has a reference number that you can presumably use to track the relevant legislation in the EU site. For instance:
Rail freight quality requirements
(A6-0171/2005)  
Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on compensation in cases of non-compliance with contractual quality requirements for rail freight services
Rapporteur: Roberts ZILE (UEN, LV)
First reading report adopted, which means that Parliament rejects the Commission's legislative proposal.

Here (A6-071/2005) is the reference you need.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:42:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to put both the title and number in the search (on the top left) to find out details.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's something I found that is near and dear to my heart:

An EU approach to economic immigration?

An EU approach to economic immigration?
Immigrants contribute to the prosperity of Member States, they have a beneficial effect on the EU labour market and they should be granted similar rights to EU citizens, the Civil Liberties Committee said on Wednesday in a hotly contested report aimed at defining for the first time an EU strategy on economic migration. The committee heavily amended the original text by Ewa Klamt (EPP-ED, DE) in an effort to place more emphasis on the integration of legal immigrants.

Should the EU adopt a Green Card system to regulate the flow of immigrants from outside Europe? Would this help to solve the economic problems caused by Europe's ageing population? Answering these and other questions was the purpose of Ms Klamt's own-initiative report, which was drafted in response to a Commission green paper on economic migration. In its report as adopted, the committee highlighted "the need to adopt a common immigration policy in order to end the exploitation of (illegal) workers" and said that "economic migration is a positive human phenomenon". Yet MEPs emphasised that this was only "part of the solution" to Europe's demographic problems and economic difficulties. Problems within the EU labour market should also be tackled by stimulating innovation and encouraging the employment of older workers.

Integration of migrants

MEPs called on Member States to promote the integration of economic migrants residing legally in Europe by granting them the same rights as EU citizens, including the right to vote in local and European Parliament elections for those who have been resident in the EU for at least five years.

In a controversial amendment supported by Socialist, Liberal and Green members, the Civil Liberties Committee voted for a European Green Card system as being a good solution to manage legal economic migration.  This would create a single administrative procedure for issuing an employment and residence permit for an economic migrant. However, the admission of a third country national for economic reasons should in principle be linked to the existence of a specific job, MEPs added.

But..that's the catch, having a job beforehand...this is a work in progress, clearly, but at least they are trying to address this collectively...and notice who is supporting it...


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:37:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A green card with local and federal voting rights...

So, WaB, what is your interpretation of the position of the EPP (Christian Democrats) vs. Socialist, Liberals and Greens? Other than the advisability of an EU-wide green card, it's not clear from what you quote where the parties stand.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From this article, it didn't break down the vote, so I quoted pretty much verbatim...and we don't know exactly where others stand...just the progressive/Left and liberals (which is an intersting mix, as it is). There definitely needs to be a common policy, and a system that gives people a chance to apply, that also gives the EU a chance to check out if a person is a good citizen. AS for why others might oppose it...well, on the one hand there isn't enough work for those people here now...but, on the other hand, immigrants will be willing to do work that most Euros won't do. Plus, there is the aging "problem" in Europe, which a well thought out plan about how and how many workers could come  into Europe, could easily remedy that "problem", while gaining more tax revenues. But likely, there is a certain portion of people who want to make Europe a fortress against outsiders...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The summary says this:
Economic migration
(A6-0286/2005)
An EU approach to managing economic migration
Rapporteur: Ewa Klamt (EPP-ED, DE)
Own-initiative report adopted by 259 votes in favour to 85 against with 176 abstentions.
That is 520 MEPs present out of 731. You can find the sizes of the parliamentary groups.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 07:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Parliament: The Week Ahead 7-13 November 2005
President Borrell in Britain.  Parliament's President, Josep Borrell, will make an official visit to the United Kingdom on 9-10 November.  In London, he will have an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, and hold separate meetings with the Prime Minister and the leaders of the main opposition parties (Tuesday). He will also visit Edinburgh, where he will meet the Scottish First Minister and address members of the Scottish Parliament (Wednesday).

Groups prepare for Strasbourg plenary.  Parliament's political groups will devote much of the week ahead to preparations for the plenary session of 14-17 November in Strasbourg.  The main issues include the debate and vote of chemicals regulatory package REACH, a debate on the outcome of the Hampton Court summit, plus discussions of climate change and nuclear power.  A directive promising better information for air passengers on which company is operating flights will also feature.  Institutional matters include the presentation by José Manuel Barroso of the Commission's work programme for 2006 and the annual report of the Court of Auditors for 2004.  

Pre-session press conference.  Any changes to the agenda decided by the Conference of Presidents will be announced at the press briefing at 11am on Friday in Brussels.

Election observation missions in Azerbaijan and Egypt. A delegation of MEPs will be concluding their observation mission for the parliamentary elections of 6 November in Azerbaijan, while another delegation will be heading to Egypt to observe the first round of the legislative elections on 9 November.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:17:10 PM EST
A vote on REACH is coming up...count on this: if there is any way corporations (especially US) can lobby MEPs, they are...REACH will cause big health improvements for Europeans, and will restrict a lot of US products from being sold in Europe. That's a BIG vote...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tony Blair tells MEPs how Europe should face up to globalisation
Tony BLAIR, President-in-Office of the EU Council, told MEPs that it was necessary to get Europe moving again and get it moving in the right direction. There were three main aims: first, to get agreement at the Hampton Court summit on what was the right direction for Europe and its economy; second, to agree on a set of new priority areas reflecting that direction; third, to get a budget deal in December in the light of these priorities.
Research, development and innovation should take a larger share of the EU budget, but there should also be a better coordinated approach between the Member States by setting up a European Research Council along the lines of America's National Sciences Foundation.  This would give us a chance to form world beating companies in the technologies of the future.
Those countries which opened their labour markets to the 10 new Member States have benefited from it
If we are to get agreement it will be better if we have agreed a direction for Europe and let that influence the deal, and get a forward perspective on a more rational way of organising the EU budget in future.
Council, Commission and Parliament should work closely together, if not always in agreement.  Europe has much to be proud of - let us show our citizens the next 50 years can be as good as the last.
Commission President José BARROSO said that the Hampton Court Summit would be an opportunity to face up to the economic and social challenges that Europe faces.
For the EPP-ED group, Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) reminded Mr Blair it was his duty to represent all EU citizens, not just the UK.  
[Globalisation] means we are one world.  This is a spiritual, cultural, economic and moral challenge.
If we do not open our markets to their products, including agriculture, progressively, not, of course, overnight, those young people [from Morocco] will be knocking on the doors of Europe.
The leader of the Socialist group, Martin SCHULZ (PES, DE) [...] On the European social model, he warned that many so-called economists were calling for lower wages, longer working hours and fewer trade union rights as the way to boost growth.
We do not accept the destruction of the European social model, the idea that economic and technological progress leads to social progress.  We want free provision of services, but not social dumping.
Graham WATSON (UK), leader of the ALDE group, said it was sad that some people were unable to see beyond a simplistic debate between a liberal and a social Europe.
The German welfare state model no longer works. It is 'kaput'. If the EU is to properly combine reform of its economic system... to provide the wealth needed to pay for social policy, we need a common response to the common challenge [of globalisation]
For the Greens/EFA group, Monica FRASSONI (Greens/EFA, IT) said Mr Blair had once again shown off his performance skills, but she wanted to know what, other than nuclear power, Mr Blair had in mind for the energy policy.
We should promote our principles of solidarity, democracy, rights and healthcare around the world.
Francis WURTZ (FR), for the GUE/NGL group welcomed the fact that Mr Blair's speech to the Parliament in June had identified three main problems with today's European Union.  Namely, crises of confidence, a need to change a Europe that has delivered 20 million unemployed  and that a substantive debate on the future of Europe is needed.  [...] He said that it was the conviction of his group that the European social model was too precious to be tampered with. He warned MEPs that the chilly winds of the market are too cold for Europe.
Nigel FARAGE (UK), for the IND/DEM group, welcomed the European Commission's initiative to withdraw proposals for European legislation saying this was music to euro-sceptics' ears.
Irish MEP Brian CROWLEY for the UEN group [...] said that the deliberations of European leaders should be guided by the following four principles; solidarity so that the social model is protected, generosity towards the new members of the European Union, responsibility towards others and finally the capacity to implement policy.
Roger HELMER (UK), representing the non-attached (NI) Members of  Parliament, said Mr Blair had disappointed pro-Europeans by not living up to the expectations they had of his pro-European intentions when he was first elected in 1997.
Mr Blair's response to group leaders
There is a danger if citizens see globalisation as a threat, when it could really be an opportunity.  Yes, China and India are scaling up their economy in a striking way, and are competing on top-end products as well.  Other countries like Vietnam are also coming up fast.  This is a huge competitive challenge and an opportunity.  They will need financial services and technology and will start importing our goods.
Are we really incapable of modernising our social model in the way we want? No, we can do it if we listen to our people.  They are not saying they don't want Europe; they say that want Europe to answer the concerns they have on globalisation, terrorism and the environment.  Pro-Europeans must lead the case for change - it is Eurosceptics who want no change in the EU as this will allow their nationalist agenda to gain ground. Let's act together to make Europe relevant to our citizens.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:39:10 PM EST
Upcoming Conciliations (within the next two weeks):
  • Optical Radiation: Directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (optical radiation)
  • Mining Waste: Directive on the management of waste from extractive industies
(full list of ongoing conciliations)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:59:26 PM EST
Truly, its too much for two people to digest, let alonge grapple with...so other people will have to find their topics to follow. But what is interesting is that in these legislative notes, you can find out who is driving issues, so a person can contact them for input. This is good...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:42:43 PM EST
The hope is that pretty much everyone will be able to find a topic here that is dear to them and maybe follow up with a diary.

And the Blair debate at the European Parliament will fuel endless polemics which are always fun.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 06:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another good source, which provides dialy email letters with a short press review and a list of the main decision of the day is EUPolitix. See the button near the top right hand corner to register - you'll get 2 or 3 emails a day.

Both Colman and I have it and use it occasionally for stories.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 03:55:44 AM EST
Just wanted to add my praise: this is a great idea.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 09:45:25 AM EST


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