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EU Consultations: failing to have our voice heard?***

by Migeru Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 10:05:10 AM EST

So I had a peek into the European Commission's website (now at a new domain: europa.eu) and saw among their highlights a just-opened public consultation on maritime policy. I decided to step back a little and look at the whole set of open consultations. It turns out we just missed the deadline for submitting entries to the consultation on a future internal market policy, but we would still be in time to submit entries to the aforementioned Consultation on Maritime Policy (until June 30), and on

With 22 open consultations (some closing as early as today or tomorrow, but others extending for weeks or months) on 12 different broad areas there should be enough topics here to keep us busy for a while. We style ourselves 'a think tank' and are unhappy with the policy debate. We also have complained about the fact that, by the time a piece of legislation is produced by the Commission, it already reflects the effects of lobbying and the highly theatrical codecision procedure between the Council and the Parliament is just the icing on the cake. Well, this is our excuse to elaborate policy proposals (in the style of Energize America) and to have our voice heard (assuming we have something to say) and influence the Commission's legislative proposals as they are being elaborated. Are we up to it? Update [2006-6-18 5:25:7 by Migeru]: Now with poll! Have your voice heard!

Promoted by Colman


It turns out that the consultation website only highlights a selection of open consultations, and to get the complete list one has to go to the consultation pages relating to 30 different policy areas of the EU (linked on the left side of the "Your Voice" website on open consultations). Here is the complete list:

1. General and Institutional Affairs

1.1. European Transparency Initiative (until 31 August 2006)

On 3 May 2006 the European Commission launched a Green Paper on the European Transparency Initiative.

The Green Paper will underpin a debate on three areas of transparency: lobbying activities, feedback on the Commission's minimum standards for consultation and the publication of beneficiaries of EU funds. An open public consultation on the Green Paper will act as the vehicle for this debate.

The consultation period began with the launch of the Green Paper and will last until 31 August 2006. A dedicated consultation website http://europa.eu.int/comm/eti/index.htm has been set up, where you can download the Green Paper, find out more about the issues involved, read contributions from other participants and submit your own contribution.

1.2. Improve the business environment in the EU: Commission seeks views of stakeholders to launch a new phase of its simplification programme (broken links!)

In the context of its commitment to promote growth and jobs, the European Commission has launched a public on-line consultation to improve the business environment of the European Union and reduce the burdens on business.

In March 2005, the Commission adopted a Communication on "Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs as a contribution to re-launch the Lisbon strategy. One of the actions in the Communication is the launch of a new simplification programme by October 2005. This programme will take a sectoral approach and will be drawn up after extensive stakeholder involvement.

2. Agriculture

2.1. Reform of the common organisation of the market in fresh and processed fruit and vegetables (until 13 July 2006)

A reform of the European Fruit and Vegetable market will be proposed before the end of 2006.

Taking note of the 2005 debate on simplification and the hearings organised since then, the Commission steering group set up to analyse the impact of the reform has now made known the topics and options it will explore and has launched a call for contributions. The consultation will remain open until 13 July, by which date all contributions should be received. In the meantime, a series of independent evaluations on the functioning of the CMO will become available and will be made public.

The topics and options set out in the Consultation document [pdf] aim to promote more sustainable systems of production and marketing, a better balance within the sector and improved coherence with the overall approach of the reformed CAP. The role of standards in the promotion of quality, ways of preventing and alleviating the effect of short-term crises, and possibilities for encouraging consumption - in the interests of a more balanced diet - all figure among the subjects analysed. Further study of these topics should lead to a better understanding of the consequences and impact of different possibilities for the future of the CMO and so enrich the information base available to European decision-makers.

The contribution of interested parties is requested in order to complete the diagnosis and the proposals, and to guide the analysis of the main impacts, opportunities and difficulties that might be encountered.

3. Competition

Competition cases: invitations to submit comments.

Individual competition cases in the fields of antitrust, merger and State aid are all subject to consultation. Invitations to interested parties to submit comments within certain deadlines are published regularly in the Official Journal of the European Communities, C series. (See: Eur-Lex.) These invitations are reproduced on the Europa Competition site under the headings "Official Journal" in each of the sections "antitrust", "mergers" and "state aid".
Legislative and policy consultations

Usually, when new policy or legislative initiatives are planned, invitations to comment are issued.

3.1. Public consultation on the Interim Report on Payment Cards and Payment Systems (until 21 June 2006)

The European Commission is holding a public consultation on the Interim Report on Payment Cards and Payment Systems. The non-confidential report of the sector enquiry can be found here. The consultation will be open for 10 weeks, starting from the date of publication of the report, the 12th of April 2006, and elapsing on the 21st of June 2006. The Commission invites industry participants, consumers of payment card services and other interested parties to submit their views and comments on a number of questions that are raised in the interim report.

3.2. Draft Commission Regulation on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to national regional investment aid (until 3 July 2006)
On 21 December 2005, the Commission adopted in principle a draft regulation to exempt regional investment aid from the notification requirement in Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty. The objective of the draft Regulation is to simplify administrative procedures for Member States, while reinforcing transparency and legal certainty. A first draft of the Regulation was discussed with the State aid Advisory Committee on 6 April 2006 and the BER was very much welcomed by all Member States. The draft is published in the Official Journal in all languages for comments and, according to the Procedural Regulation, a revised draft will be discussed with Member States in early autumn. The objective is to adopt the regional BER before the end of this year, so that it will enter into force on 1.1.2007 for the new programming period.

4. Energy

4.1. Biofuels Directive Review and Progress Report (until 10 July 2006)

The European Union biofuels directive was adopted in May 2003. It aims to promote the use in transport of fuels made from biomass, as well as other renewable fuels.
The directive asks the European Commission to make a progress report before the end of 2006.
The progress report could be used as the basis for a proposal to amend the directive.
The Commission set out the broad lines for this review of the directive in its biomass action plan and biofuels strategy. Now, in preparing the progress report, the Commission's services would like to know the views of public authorities, businesses, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties on the following questions:
  1. Is the objective of promoting biofuels still valid?
  2. The directive sets a reference value of 5.75% for the market share of biofuels in 2010. Will this share be achieved with existing policies and measures? If not, why not?
  3. Looking towards 2010, does the EU system of targets for biofuels need to be adapted? If so, how?
  4. Should a certification system be introduced to avoid using "poor performing" biofuels or give more support to "better performing" ones?
  5. Looking towards 2015 and 2020, should further measures be adopted to promote biofuels?
  6. A number of more technical issues

4.2. GREEN PAPER on Energy (until 24 September 2006)

The Green Paper on a European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy is a consultation document designed to stimulate ideas on what should be done to deal with practical challenges and problems. On the basis of the response to this Green Paper, the Commission would like to develop more concrete ideas on a number of energy issues. This consultation will be open for 6 months. The closing date is 24 September 2006.

5. Enterprise and Industry

5.1. CONSULTATION ON THE REVIEW AND EXTENSION OF THE NEW APPROACH (until 26 July 2006)

The New Approach is a legislative technique used for technical harmonisation and, therefore, facilitates the achievement of the internal market, whilst ensuring a high level of protection of health and safety. For more than 20 years the New Approach directives (accessible here ) have played a major role in ensuring the free movement of goods within the European Union. Today the New Approach is widely recognised as a success story. However, experience has shown that its efficiency and implementation can still be improved in order to strengthen its role as a better regulation tool for the internal market. Filling the gaps and simplifying the implementation of the New Approach will reinforce its capacity to ensure a high level of safety and the free movement of goods within the EU within a flexible and innovation-friendly legal framework. This reinforcement should also encourage enhanced recourse to the techniques of the New Approach in sectors not yet applying its principles.

6. Environment

6.1. Public consultation on the revision of Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (until 18 August 2006)

The aims of this consultation are two fold:
# To provide the Commission with views of the public on their attitudes on the use of animals in experiments and ways to improve their welfare; and
# To comment on the preliminary findings of the impact assessment for the revision of the existing legislation for the protection of animals used in experiments.

6.2. Public consultation on the review of the EU strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency from cars (until 21 August 2006)

Under the framework of the European Climate Change Programme, the European Commission will present in mid-2006 a Communication to the European Parliament and Council on a revised Community strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles. This review will be based on a thorough impact assessment of the existing Community target of a new car fleet average emission of 120 g CO2/km and of the possible measures that could form part of a revised strategy based on an integrated approach to CO2 emissions reductions.

As part of this review process, the Commission services have decided to set up a stakeholder Working Group "on the integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles". The general objective of this Working Group (see final mandate) is to assist the Commission services in preparing the review of strategy, and specifically provide a stakeholder consultation forum giving assistance in the preparation of the impact assessment of the future strategy, as foreseen in the Commission's guidelines on impact assessments. More information on the working group's progress is available at the following address.

In addition, the general public is being consulted on passenger road transport's contributions to climate change and possible future ways to reduce it, via an online questionnaire. The results of this survey will be published on http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ and be part of the impact assessment which will accompany the above mentionned Communication.

In order to support the development of our strategy concerning CO2 emissions from passenger transports, we have carried out a number of supporting studies.

6.3. Sixth Environment Action Programme - Online stakeholder consultation on the mid-term review (until 14 july 2006)

"Environment policy is one of the success stories of the European Union - thanks to European Union legislation we have made significant improvements such as cleaner air and safer drinking water. But we still face some real problems" explained the then Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström when she presented the Commission's proposal in 2001. The Environment Action Programme takes a broad look at these challenges and provides a strategic framework for the Commission's environmental policy up to 2012.

6.4. Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release in the environment of GMOs - Questionnaire on experiences with the implementation of the Directive (until 30 June 2006)

Article 31.4 of Directive 2001/18/EC states that 'Every three years, Member States shall send to the Commission a report on the measures taken to implement the provisions of the Directive. This report shall include a brief factual report on their experience with GMOS placed on the market in or as products under this Directive'.

Article 31.5 states that 'Every three years, the Commission shall publish a summary based on the reports referred to in [Article 31.4]'.

Furthermore, Article 31.6 states that 'The Commission shall send to the European Parliament and the Council, in 2003 and thereafter every three years, a report on the experience of Member States with GMOs placed on the market under this Directive'.

Article 31.7 then specifies various aspects to be included in the Commission three-yearly reports to the European Parliament and Council.

The first report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council was adopted in August 2004 and is available on Biotechnology on Europa.

The Member States submitted their first three-yearly reports to the Commission as of October 2005. The second report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council is due by the end of 2006.

7. Food safety

7.1. Discussion Paper on the setting of maximum and minimum amounts for vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs (until 30 September 2006)

The Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection has launched a discussion paper to identify the issues around the setting of maximum and minimum amounts of vitamins and minerals in food supplements.

The consultation follows the adoption of Directive 2002/46/EC on the regulation of food supplements, such as multi-vitamin pills, iron tablets and vitamin-C capsules. The Directive states that the maximum and minimum amount of vitamins and minerals in these products shall be set via Standing Committee procedure (i.e. with Member States' experts). The Commission would like to invite all interested parties, such as MemberState governments, consumer associations, producers and other interested individuals to also provide their input.

7.2. Directive 90/496/EEC on NutritionLabelling for Foodstuffs: Discussion Paper on the Revision of Technical Issues (until 14 July 2006)

The Commission launched on May 15 a consultation to gather the views of interested parties on certain technical aspects relating to the nutritional labelling of food. The Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General is keen to have responses to questions on the following issues - reference values for vitamins and minerals, the definition of fibre, energy conversion factors, and tolerances for nutrient declarations

7.3. Impact Assessment revision of Regulation 258/97 on novel foods and novel food ingredients (until 1 August 2006)

An online consultation on the revision of Novel Food Regulation (EC) N° 258/97 has been launched by the European Commission today. The aim of the consultation is gather input from the general public, stakeholders and Member States in order to carry out an impact assessment for a future legislative proposal to revise the current Novel Food Regulation. A revision of the Novel Food Regulation is deemed necessary in order to reflect the fact that genetically modified (GM) food no longer falls under its scope, to create a more favourable legislative environment for innovation in the food industry, and to better facilitate both internal and external trade in foodstuffs. The consumer would also benefit from a wider choice of safe novel foods. In order to proceed with the revision of the Regulation, the Commission shall undertake an impact assessment on the changes in the present legislation. In line with this, the Commission is seeking feedback on how to create a more streamlined authorisation procedure (including the decision) which takes into account, for example, particular needs of traditional exotic food from third countries and which is adjusted to applications which cover several food uses. The consultation will run for 8 weeks, until 1 August 2006.

8. Information society

8.1. FP7 Consultation on Collaborative Working Environments supporting Business and Industry (until 7 July 2006)

Collaborative Working Environments will enable productivity and innovation by empowering and motivating people through ubiquitous hardware and software infrastructure. This infrastructure will be composed of resources offering a new blend of activity-oriented, context-aware flexible software services supporting patterns of human interactions, human to machine interaction and collaborative devices, which all interact in a dynamic and pro-active way. All interested parties are invited to contribute to the ongoing consultation process, as part of the 7th Framework Programme's preparation process.

8.2. Call for Input on the White Paper on a European Communication Policy (until 31 July 2006)

On the 1st of February, the European Commission adopted a White Paper on a European Communication Policy.
It proposes that communication would become an EU policy in its own right, placed at the service of the citizens. The adoption of the White Paper also marks the beginning of a 6-months consultation period allowing the other EU institutions, stakeholders and citizens to send their comments and ideas on five areas for which the White Paper proposes joint action to be taken: defining common principles guiding the communication activities on European issues; empowering citizens; working with the media and new technologies; understanding European public opinion; doing the job together.

9. Internal Market

9.1. Copyright levy reform (until 14 July 2006)

Copyright levy reform is included in the Commission Work Program for 2006. In October 2004, the Commission consulted Member States on the scope of the private copying exception and existing systems of remuneration. Replies from Member States were due by March 2005. Where relevant, Member States were asked to update their replies and return them by January 2006. Member States have authorised the publication of these replies. Some Member States are still updating the replies submitted in 2005 and once these are received, these replies will also be published.

10. Research

10.1. Public Consultation on the Draft research agenda for Theme 8 "Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities" in the 7th Community RTD Framework Programme (2007-2013) (until end of June, 2006)

This consultation invites the public, and notably the scientific community, to comment on the draft research agenda for the dedicated socio-economic sciences and humanities part of the next Framework Programme for EU research (FP7).
The consultation covers only Theme 8 of the `Cooperation' specific programme, entitled `Socio-economic sciences and the humanities'.
This draft research agenda builds on earlier consultations, the progress of research in previous EU programmes, the current state of research in the fields concerned and takes account of policy needs.

10.2. Public consultation on transnational research cooperation and knowledge transfer between public research organisations and industry (until 19 July 2006)

The aim of this consultation is to identify the main problems public research organisations (such as universities) and industry experience when working together - be they cultural barriers or legal ones - and how the research and industry communities feel that they should be addressed. We therefore welcome the views of all stakeholders concerned, including those of universities, industry, SMEs, and publicly-funded research laboratories and public authorities.

11. Transport

11.1. Revision of the community legislation on the access to the road transport market and on the admission to the occupation of road transport operator" (until 9 August 2006)

The Community rules governing the access to road transport market and the admission to the occupation of road transport operators are laid down in various regulations and directives.

Based on the Commission's commitment to "Better regulation" and to simplify the existing body of laws ("acquis") DG TREN is considering whether and how to improve the current regime in order to enhance the clarity, readability and enforceability of these rules and better regulate certain aspects of the current regime by merging the current regulations and directives as far as possible and reformulating certain provisions (e.g. on community licence, cabotage).

The purpose of the CONSULTATION PAPER   is to outline these plans and to seek the opinion of the interested parties. Based on the feedback received in this initial consultation DG TREN will decide whether and how to proceed.

11.2. Revision of Community legislation on the Inland transport of dangerous goods (until 31 July 2006)

The European Commission has included in its Work Programme 2006 a proposal in the area of the transport of dangerous goods. It is recalled that at present the European rules on dangerous goods transport cover road and rail transport modes; the rules can be found in four pieces of Community legislation, namely Directives 94/55/EC (road), 96/49/EC (rail), 96/35/EC and 2000/18/EC (safety advisers) respectively. Substantial elements of the road and rail directives are international rules (so called ADR and RID), which are based on a model developed by the United Nations: "Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods; Model regulations", last amended in 2005. The UN model aims at creating, whenever possible, identical rules for all transport modes.

Road and rail directives have been amended a number of times so as to ensure that they remain in line with international rules. Inevitably developments over time have rendered a number of clauses redundant (like directives on safety advisers) or obsolete. The Commission's intention is to propose to take such clauses off the Community legislation.

Another intention is to propose to merge the current rules on dangerous goods transport by road and rail into one piece of Community legislation. The Commission believes that this would avoid duplication, make application of the rules by operators easier and allow the public to gain of clearer picture of existing rules.

The third element of the Commission's initiative is intended to be an extension of Community legislation to include the international rules on dangerous goods transport by inland waterways (so called ADN), which are also based on the UN model. The Commission believes that such extension would be a logical supplement to Community legislation, in order to create a set of uniformly applied rules for all inland transport modes in the territory of the European Union.

12. Maritime affairs

12.1. Consultation on maritime policy (until 30 June 2007)

The Commission is aware that this Green Paper addresses a very broad range of what has traditionally been regarded as separate activities and policy areas. The idea of conducting an integrated analysis of maritime activities leading to coordinated actions is new.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the time it takes for important new ideas to be fully understood and accepted. In its own work for this Green Paper, the Commission has become aware of how much ground needs to be covered and how much new expertise needs to be developed.
The Commission hopes that this Green Paper will launch a broad public debate both on the principle of the EU adopting an overall approach to maritime policy and on the many ideas for action. It wishes to base its further work in this area on the views of stakeholders and it intends to spend the next year listening to what they have to say.
Update [2006-6-18 3:40:45 by Migeru]: I went through the list of consultations looking to highlight the closing date more visibly, and as Alex points out in the comments I was careless to include a couple of consultations that closed in the past week. There are also a couple of consultations that did not list a closing date, one still open and one closed. I have moved the closed consultations below.]

7. Food safety

7.4. Labelling: competitiveness, consumer information and better regulation for the EU (until 16 June 2006)

The European Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) wants to find out how labels and labelling can best meet the needs of the consumer. To do so it launched a process on March 9, to gather stakeholders' opinions on the use of labels and labelling as a way to contribute to Better Regulation in the EU. DG SANCO is keen to hear what stakeholders and individuals think about how labels are currently used, and how they would like to see the EU dealing with labelling issues.
An important market tool
Labelling is important for both consumers and industry. For consumers, labels provide essential information such as use-by dates and safety warnings, as well as other useful data such as nutritional and recycling details.
For industry, labelling allows them to pass on vital information, but also to highlight the benefits of their product in comparison to the competition, such as whether it was produced in an environmentally-friendly or sustainable way.
DG SANCO would like to hear stakeholders' views on the current uses of labelling and how far there is scope to rethink the way the EU deals with labelling issues.

9. Internal Market

9.2. Consultation on future Internal Market policy (until 15 June 2006)

The Directorate General for Internal Market and Services aims to consult on the future of Internal Market policy. The consultation is an essential part of our reflections on how to take Internal Market policy forward and ensure that it contributes fully in making Europe an attractive place to live, work and invest in.

This consultation is addressed to all Internal Market stakeholders, including: citizens, business, representative organisations and public administrations, as well as academia and think-tanks.

13. Economic and Financial Affairs

13.1. The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (now closed)

The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), which is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and receives financial support from the European Commission, was established in October 2002. Its priority is to stimulate private sector development in Mediterranean Partner Countries. To this end, the facility provides a variety of instruments: loans, risk capital, technical assistance and interest subsidies for environmental projects.
At the end of 2003, it was decided to reinforce the FEMIP facility with a Special FEMIP Envelope for loans with a higher risk profile and a donor trust fund for additional technical assistance and risk capital (in addition to European Union budget resources).

Poll
Which consultation will you take part in?
. I will have nothing to do with opaque, unresponsive Brussels Eurocrats. 0%
. Improve the Business Environment 0%
. Payment Cards and Payment Systems (June 21) 0%
. Deliberate Release of GMOs in the Environment (June 30) 0%
. Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities (end of June) 0%
. National Regional Investment Aid (July 3) 0%
. Biofuels (July 10) 66%
. Market in Frensh and Processed Fruit and Vegetables (July 13) 0%
. Environment Action Programme (July 14) 0%
. Nutrition Labelling for Foodstuffs (July 14) 33%

Votes: 3
Results | Other Polls
Display:
Well, that was a lot of work though hardly more original than copying and pasting. Hopefully it will generate at least 25 follow-up diaries.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 17th, 2006 at 11:19:36 AM EST
The last one seems to be aimed at easing rules.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 17th, 2006 at 11:43:12 AM EST
Colman, is there a way to tweak SCOOP to allow more than 10 options in a poll? I wanted to poll people on "which consultation will you take part in?" but I couldn't even do the 12 areas let alone the 25 consultations...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 17th, 2006 at 11:47:48 AM EST
I might go for "Food safety - labelling (not nutritional labelling, but tracerouting)"
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dang, it closed two days ago (the only "labelling" that's open for another month is nutrition labelling, which is far less interesting). Let me find something else.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got to say this is a great find Migeru.
We discussed the possibility of opening workshops on ET with afew yesterday and this could be a good opportunity.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You do realize these have been going on for years...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:01:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
???

You mean the EU consultations?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Just click on any of the policy areas and look at the "list of "closed" consultations.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Some were closed years ago! And some -- like Internal Market Policy -- appear to be regular four-year consultations (ie, the one that has just closed was 2003-2006, before that was 1999-2002...) Presumably there will be a new one, 2007-2010.

This is apart from the question of the large number of consultations limited to stakeholders.

I agree we should be watching this (and I'm sure you'll have noticed there's a mailing list for notification of new consultations.) What we need is a certain degree of method in working towards policy recommendations or position statements (no, I don't think I'm telling you anything new).

What Alex referred to above, that we discussed with Alexandra in WMass during the Toulouse meet-up, had more to do with bringing together an informative synthesis of work we have already contributed here, and which is now parceled out in numerous diaries that are not necessarily easy to dredge up with the Search functions. The Wiki is useful, and Colman's Archives addition at pagehead too, but we were thinking of ways (and this links with your discussion some time back with Colman of different types of interactive software enabling community work on a document, for example -- that's in Community network technology ruminations) of pulling together information, links, and an overview (including summary of diverging views where necessary) of some major topics we have already quite extensively discussed.

My feeling is that groundwork of this kind would greatly help in formulating policy proposals.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just reacting to this diary being called "a gret find". It's like Núñez de Balboa "discovering" the Pacific Ocean.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Balboa was a doughty explorer and had a heck of a voyage to get to the Pacific... ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A very common set phrase in Spanish is "to discover the Mediterranean".

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a flippant response, but more seriously I think that the EU has done little to bring these consultations (when they are open to the public) to the public's attention.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So no, I don't think it's the Mediterranean!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somehow the European Commission is puzzled that their attempts at involving the public keep failing. They can't figure out what they're doing wrong!

Either they're blinded by professional deformation, or they are slick liars.

I wonder which it is. I also wonder whether we shouldn't try to get in touch with Margot Wallström.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that this is an entire topic we need to dig at.

Generally, "we're consulting you the citizen" or "have your say" projects are just part of lookgood PR, and no one in a position of influence takes the opinions expressed seriously.

If the EU really does want to involve citizens more, then I fear they need to up their game considerably. It's not only that the Your Voice site needs finding and requires some Web knowledge to get around, it's also that it's not bang-smack updated and there are broken links (I found others than those you point out), which suggests they're not really putting the means behind it.

Also, at the very least, they should prominently explain who or what is a stakeholder, and why such or such a consultation is limited to stakeholders, or what the decision process is on that question; and they should be challenged to open as many consultations to the public as possible.

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 09:27:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the fact that their link to Minimum Standards on Consultation is broken on their main page.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 09:34:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps that is an expression of their minimum standards?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 09:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we should try to get in contact with her or her office with a coherent letter of complaint.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we should deploy a contingent of commenters on her blog. Let's see if she (or other commenters) notice ET that way.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HAve you seen the commentators she attracts? It's almost all the looney anti-EU crowd ranting crudely.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That will make us really noticeable to her if we start commenting and sign our contributions "Joe Blogger - European Tribune".

Though every time I've tried to read the blog of a politician or journalist I've found them boring. Even the blogs of those columnists whose contributions to newspapers I enjoy.

Juan Cole, Rahul mahajan, Zeynep Toufe, Riverbend, Stan Goff are the few personal blogs that I have read with any regularity, but that was when I lived in the US...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We should agree a regular hour when we go over to nag poor Margot about this or that, so that we are noticeable abobe the British Eurosceptic chatter (which when we are there maybe we should confront, two fronts war).

I propose every Friday afternoon, say 13h CE[S]T (12h for Colman & Migeru).

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

by DoDo on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 11:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it better to just go in each day and each of us drop one comment when convenient?


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 11:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you probably can imagine by now, no: we would go under in the midst of silly chatter that will mostly be ignored due to the trolls and the EU peoples' high-handedness (BTW the question of which came first could be a chicken-and-egg problem).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 08:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are we going to do, debate among ourselves on her blog? That makes no sense.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 08:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I guess we'd take turns debating the moderator (and getting across his filter), some trolls present at the moment, and make all relevant points we then want to make.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 08:37:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a bad idea - I can see some interaction on ET as well when a particular debatable topic pops up and recopy it into a diary to be posted here.

At a minumum success rate, we'll draw a few trolls to ET!

BTW, I just did an attempt to go through the Walstrom blog. I feel rather filthy now. And we thought ET had troubles with mutliple languages...

by Nomad on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 11:15:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel tempted to write Ms. W's blog off, honestly.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 11:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I'd agree. The blog's a PR exercise of the "Have Your Say" kind. The consultations may be a more solid base for communication.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:54:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming you're a stakeholder...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 03:07:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She mentions (but forgets to link) a site called Debate Europe which was launched in march but I didn't know about (I wasn't paying attention). Has anyone checked it out?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:22:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that's what you get for consulting citizens I see why they're not all that enthusiastic.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have a discussion forum with three broad areas:
  • Europe's economic and social development
  • Feeling towards Europe and the Union's tasks
  • Europe's borders and its role in the world


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:33:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just figured out what's wrong with Margot Wallström's blog...

Not only is the comments section moderated, but the moderator is the one who spars with the (mostly Eurosceptic) crowd that comments on her writing.

Take, for example, the current spat on a topic dear to our hearts:

Si vous voulez mieux comprendre les gens en Europe, la première chose serait peut être de respecter leur dignité en respectant leur langue. Vous considérez les Anglophones comme étant les citoyens supérieurs, seul leur avis vous intéresse, seules les idées pensées en anglais vous intéressent, et vous même, avez abandonné votre langue maternelle pour ce blogue. Cette Europe là m'écoeure.

Wàng

A slight variation on a reply I posted in the Debate Europe site:

For the Debate Europe site we have already asked for Margot's contribution to be translated into German, French and Swedish, which represent 92% of the comments there.

...

Margot writes her blog in English because (a) she speaks English and (b) it is the most-understood language in Europe.

...

Posted by The Moderator

Dear moderator, à mon tour, je reproduis ce que j'ai écris sur debate europe.

...

This « fait-accompli » policy of the moderator and the Commission, typical of the anglosaxon mentality, makes me vomite !

Wàng

Wang - first, I'm not Anglo-Saxon, neither is Margot and neither is the Commission.

...

The reason Margot's post to the Debate Europe site is not being translated into Italian is simple - only 1.7% of the comments have been in Italian.

Posted by The Moderator

This blog is not a dialogue, it's talking from a lectern and then letting the nanny moderate the childrens' discussions among themselves. I understand that she doesn't have time to react to the comments as they happen, but the least she could do is reply to some of the comments at the end of the day.

On the Debate Europe site, she periodically summarizes the discussion. I found the following interesting criticism in a thread started by a message of hers called The Discussion So Far"

I would also like to ask Ms Walstrom why she thinks that the postings on this site back the eu, has she got a filter that removes anything that is not 100% europhile, the majority of the postings are either eurosceptic completely, or people who want the eu to hand power back to the sovereign states.


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the current spat on Wallstrom's blog is representative of what normally goes on there, I don't think I'm going to be commenting there very often.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 08:05:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, that's normal. It is completely destroyed by trolls.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 08:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And bump it up for over 5 months, I say in my first and recklessly impulsive, slightly sleep-drunk reaction. There's plenty for everyone. I shall digest this on Sunday.
by Nomad on Sat Jun 17th, 2006 at 09:13:58 PM EST
As you can see from the attached poll, there's no need to keep this diary active for longer than one month. Then I'll post an update.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurrah for useful research! I second Nomad's motion.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Sat Jun 17th, 2006 at 11:52:39 PM EST
Just as a teaser (sorry, we dropped the ball again unless you knew of this through other channels, which is quite likely...)
Public Health: Public consultation SCENIHR Opinion on How to Assess the Potential Risks of Nanotechnologies (closed 16 December 2005)
Nanotechnologies are expected to make a major contribution to improving the quality of the life of European citizens, in particular in sectors such as material sciences, health care, information technology, and the environment. In view of their growing importance, the Commissions strategy for nanotechnologies, which was endorsed in the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union of 24 September 2004, and the Commission's action plan "Nanosciences and nanotechnologies: An action plan for Europe 2005-2009" recognized the need for a safe, integrated and responsible approach to the development of nanotechnologies.

Nanotechnologies involve the controlled production of new materials, structures, and devices of a size which is typically eighty thousand times smaller then the diameter of a human hair. The nanoscale confers new, interesting technological properties which may however have potential implications for safety and therefore need to be assessed in advance.

In response to a request from the Commission, the independent experts of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) recently adopted an opinion on "the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies.".

The Commission, in consultation with the Committee, invites interested stakeholders to submit their views on the opinion by Friday, 16 December 2005 via this website.

Following the consultation, the SCENIHR and Commission services will carefully examine all the comments, in order to further refine approaches to risk assessment of the products of nanotechnologies. The outcome of the consultation will be published on this page.



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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, people, check ths out:
European Commission: Interactive Policy Making
What is Interactive Policy Making (IPM)?

...

On-line Consultation Mechanism: ... Several on-line consultations have already been carried out, and this instrument is also being used to set up and operate the European Business Test Panel, a representative panel of businesses throughout Europe which will evaluate the impact of new legislative proposals.

How about a citizen panel, or a consumer panel, to evaluate the impact of new legislative proposals? I suppose only businesses are stakeholders?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:27:39 AM EST
Indeedy...
European Business Test Panel: Message from Commissioner McCreevy
As European Commissioner, responsible for Internal Market and Services, I will ensure that proposals which are prepared under my watch fully respect the better regulation principles. I will consult widely and listen carefully to stakeholders on how best to achieve our policy goals. The European Business Test Panel is a very good instrument to do exactly that, to listen to companies and take full account of their views.


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 03:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commission couldn't care less about what real people have to say.

Look at what happened to the patent directive petition, we had to sue to have just the commission recognize it's mere existence.

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 03:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was not aware of the Patent Directive Petition. Care to elaborate in a comment, or in a diary?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about registering statutes of incorporation in the Isle of Man or somewhere nice and trendy like that ?
Might even help in the finance parts of organizing events, conferences, etc...

Pierre
by Pierre on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 05:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET, the first open-source off-shore think tank, coming soon to a tax haven near you.

Mind you, if national governments keep enacting stupid internet legislation, micronations will become not only tax havens but data havens.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 05:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of these consultations are for stakeholders. I looked at the one on fresh fruit and vegetables, it's for stakeholders (not steakholders, obviously...).

In fact, under the heading Agriculture, the only "public" consultations were Eurobarometer polls.

Is there something I'm missing?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 07:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is a stakeholder? If you're a farmer are you a stakeholder?

I think that is a word that needs deconstruction. Maybe the whole EU public consultation site Your Voice needs deconstruction.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 07:42:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm ruminating on the same questions you are.

Out of curiosity, I went to the contribution page for one of the stakeholder consultations and saw the online form you have to fill in. You have to give the name of an "organization". I suspect "European Tribune" is probably not an "organization" in their sense. A farmer runs a small business and would be a stakeholder organization, I think. In some document somewhere, this must be defined, but I haven't found it yet and have no more time today.

Your Voice is apparently (they say it themselves) new and wants feedback.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's hack it to pieces and give them some constructive feedback.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 08:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great source. Thank you!

Provides hope as to worries about transparency. But where is the discussion of European Defense? I don't see it in the url list of 'EU policies'.

Why are defense issues not included?

If there is no published information as to Defense policy, we might as well have no voice at all.

.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:07:43 PM EST
The EU doesn't have defence policy per se, does it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has a Common Foreign and Security Policy (I suppose "Defence" is what "Security" means in the "Foreign" context), and there is a European Defence Agency.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the European Defence Agency an EU agency?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the best question ever

.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The answer in three words:

Yes it is.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Need more evidence perhaps. The pdf you link to comes up garbled on this end.
by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are three different links. They PDF files seem fine for me...

How is This for evidence?

Why the European Defence Agency?

The European Defence Agency has been created to help EU Member States develop their defence capabilities for crisis-management operations under the European Security and Defence Policy.

The Agency will achieve its goals by:

  • Encouraging EU governments to spend defence budgets on meeting tomorrow's challenges, not yesterday's threats;
  • Helping them to identify common needs and promoting collaboration to provide common solutions.

The Agency's success will mean:
  • Better military capabilities;
  • Stronger European defence industries;
  • Better value for European taxpayers.


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All fine and dandy but the site to which you refer me is primarily announcing fait accompli, not inviting debate.

This was my point.

.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you want to expand your point a little? I'm not too sure what you're getting at?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I'm happy to do so. The (third) link Migeru provides tells us "how it is". There's no openess to debate, there. None.

My point has been that there is no discourse open to citizens about EU defense.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:27:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much discourse on Defence is open to citizens of your country? You're supposed to be happy with your minister of defence making decisions at the EU Council meeting. We know that is not satisfactory, but that's what there is. How open is your minister to citizen input?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am French.

How open is "my minister"?

That's what I want to know

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm Spanish. You are better placed to answer that question than I.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's a "non resonse"
by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the best I can give.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:35:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
explain
by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect you to understand the workings of the French government and its relationship with French citizens, specifically the avenues for citizen participation and input, better that I given our respective nationalities.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Before this thread gets even more off track, a crucial point is missing here: the public consultation considers propsed new EU legislation -- and presently there are no new proposals in the Defense field.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 03:46:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. But, as I point out in a parallel subthread, while External Relations has a history of consultations (just none currently open), there is no history of consultations on the Foreign and Security Policy even though it's been developing for 14 years.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect you to understand the workings of the French government and its relationship with French citizens, specifically the avenues for citizen participation and input, better that I given our respective nationalities.

[about to state the obvious] ... this is why I come here: to keep refining my understanding of government [French, EU and other] and with that knowledge be in a better position to evaluate arguments, mine and others'.

My apologies, Migeru, for having become a bit edgy, yesterday. -- My primary concern re defence and security issues is that Europe will find itself corralled into the US's foreign policy fold by virtue of agreements that no longer serve their original purpose and which should have been reevaluated, if not abandoned, years ago. Europe is presently in the midst of a tug of war between North America and Asia. Europe's policy in such matters is essential to pulling the world back from the vertiginous precipice we're staring down, by speaking reason to belligerent parties. Whether, despite its best and most reasonable intentions, Europe will be drawn into armed conflicts against its will is a matter that warrants discussion and clarification.

There's no question that the opportunity to be heard through the EC website's open consultations is potentially a positive thing, but I should have thought that one might find more substance here. [I see that this has been pointed out further down in the thread]

.

by cigonia on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 06:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is one implicit point in this diary and which only you picked on, and that is: what about the policy areas where we have an interest but there are no public consultations?

Now, regarding geopolitics, defence and NATO maybe you should consider writing a diary. Also, what exactly is France's position on NATO? It's sort of in it but not quite, isn't it?

It seems to me that NATO is destined to unravel like the Delian League. I think that subtext is what makes Alexander G. Rubio's diaries so appealing.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 06:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very informative article by Alexander G. Rubio. Thanks for the tip.

I'll see what I can do to get a diary together on NATO.

.

by cigonia on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 12:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your link is broken, here is the correct 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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:38:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 This is an extremely important insight into the real workings of the European Commission, where the power is held and kept.

 You needn't feel alone in being relegated to a position of being told "how it is" only after "how it is" has been decided for all practical purposes.  That, indeed, is the very position in which Europe's national parliament-members find themselves.  In that, it is very important to distinguish their total marginalisation from the marginalisation of European heads of state-- Prime Ministers and Presidents.  These are often a deal more aware of and involved in the issues as they are discussed and hammered out--often in "informal meetings" between the Commission, its agents, and, most importantly, the tremendously powerful corporate lobbies who can as good as draft the Commission propositions themselves--as they have done!

 For the Euro heads of state, the EU--i.e. the Commission-- serves a very handy dual purpose: it can and does do, effectively in what is tantamount to private dealings, what these heads of state could not do in front of their own parliaments and electorates.  On the other hand, whether or not the European Commission does what the heads of state like or not, it is always a convenient whipping-boy, offered up as useful political cover for the heads of state to "blame", saying that these things are, alas, out of their hands.  That is sometimes true and other times not true.

 In any case, the fact remains that dealing with the Euro Commission is something like having a "tiger by the tail".  It is extremely powerful, well-organized, and it is at the beck and call of the international corporate community which, while not a monolith, is the most consistent, unified, wealthy and powerful set of interests in the world today-- bar none.

 I cannot urge strongly enough the importance of reading the information contained in Raoul Marc Jennar's Europe, la trahison des élites (édition augmentée), Fayard, Paris, May 2005.]

 and, once more, the invaluable set of references (many in english) at
Étienne Chouard's website .

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 09:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You said...
If there is no published information as to Defense policy, we might as well have no voice at all.
There is a wealth of published information, which should allow you to find a voice. Your point
the site to which you refer me is primarily announcing fait accompli, not inviting debate.
is that nobody is asking for your opininion,  which is a different issue from lack of information.

And it is an EU agency. One of Javier Solana's multiple hats is heading the EDF.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:11:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean EDA, not EDF.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm willing to hear you! I'll scour the links you've provided, here, but you seem to be operating on the premises that we, in Europe, and elsewhere, still function according to democratic processes.

.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:40:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Common Foreign and Security Policy seems to follow under the purview of the EU Council. This means it is fully intergovernmental and you are represented in it by your minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, though Javier Solana plays a key role in his capacity as EUHRCFSP.

The page I linked above is the view from the European Commission (see also this), and it gives you pointers to all the relevant institutions. At the Commission level, I think it is Benita Ferrero-Waldner (EU Commissioner for External Relations) that would have any responsibility for Defence issues.

In the European Parliament it is Committee on Foreign Affairs that has responsibility for the CFSP.

Committee responsible for:
1.   the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European security and defence policy (ESDP). In this context the committee is assisted by a subcommittee on security and defence;
The French MEPs sitting on the committee are:
and a few additional "substitutes". On the Security and Defence subcommittee you find Morillon, Rocard and Vatanen.

One thing we don't do enough of in Europe compared to the US is to contact our representatives directly. You now have a list of all of yours [in the case of the European Parliament you can contact the chairmen of the committees, and document rapporteurs, regardless of nationality or political affiliation].

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:16:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

I'll scour these too, but I can't help entertaining the idea that we're missing the point.

missing the point altogether.

.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:35:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what you think the point is. My point is that we know who sets the EU's defence policy: the EU Council of Ministers. It is set at an intergovernmental level. Who sets France's defence policy?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:43:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who sets France's defence policy?

The Togo football federation [/snark of the century]

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too bad I can't give you a 10 for that.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 06:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Common Foreign and Security Policy seems to follow under the purview of the EU Council. This means it is fully intergovernmental and you are represented in it by your minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie
Correction: it seems that there is not a "council configuration" of "Defence", so that the Common Foreign and Security Policy (and the Defence Policy) are discussed under General Affairs and External Relations. However, the Defence ministers are of course still involved:
Meetings bring together the Foreign Ministers of Member States. Ministers responsible for European Affairs, Defence, Development or Trade also participate depending on the items on agenda.
Ok, so these are big fat meetings with up to 5 ministers per member state
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

The principles and objectives of the CFSP are to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union, in conformity with the principles of the UN Charter; to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways; to preserve peace and strengthen the international community, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter; to promote international cooperation; and to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Under the CFSP, the Council adopts Joint Actions and Common Positions. It normally takes decisions by unanimity. The Council also adopts conclusions on the main issues in discussion.

The Council is also responsible for the European Security and Defence Policy. Defence Ministers traditionally participate in GAERC [General Affairs and External Relations Council] meetings twice a year, in addition to their informal meetings (also twice a year).

The Secretary-General of the Council/High Representative for the CFSP [that would be our friend the omnipresent Javier Solana] participates in General Affairs and External Relations Council meetings and plays a key role in the formulation, preparation and implementation of the CFSP.

In the field of CFSP, the Political and Security Committee (PSC) helps define policies by drawing up opinions for the Council, without prejudice to the role of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) in preparing Council sessions. The PSC also exercises, under the responsibility of the Council, political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations.

So maybe we should ask Douste-Bla-Bla to the list of people responsible for the European Defence Policy...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 07:51:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean 'add' not 'ask', sorry.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps not per se, but there IS a policy of a some kind, and we need to know what it is.

What about NATO treaties? Where do we stand in relation to them? Is there not an inherent contradiction between the EU entity and NATO ... for example?

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't get me started on NATO on a Sunday evening. Even though I'm working at the moment I'd prefer to pretend it's moderately restful!

Anyone who wants to do a diary explaining the current advantage of NATO for EU members would be doing me a great service.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:23:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My list of policy areas is partial: it includes only those that have open consultations. If you follow the diary's link to open consultations, on the left-hand side you'll find about 30 policy areas, including Foreign anf Security Policy, which has no history of consultations. External Relations, on the other hand, does have a history of consultations, just none currently open.

There is publicly available information on the Common Foreign and Security Policy,and to judge by the picture at the top of the page

Defence is what it is all about... It grew out of the experience of the Yugoslav wars, after all.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Defence is what it is all about...

That's for sure. Defense and the profits from burgeoning security apparatuses.

It grew out of the experience of the Yugoslav wars, after all.

Can you expound, explain? Why the Yugoslav issue.

by cigonia on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 04:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the CFSP overview:
The idea that the European Union should speak with one voice in world affairs is as old as the European integration process itself. But the Union has made less progress in forging a common foreign and security policy over the years than in creating a single market and a single currency. The geopolitical changes following the collapse of communism, and the outbreak of regional crises in the Balkans and beyond, have led EU members to redouble their efforts to speak and act as one.

...

The Lesson of Yugoslavia

The principle of a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was formalised in the Maastricht treaty of 1992. But by that time war had broken out in former Yugoslavia. The Union tried unsuccessfully to broker a diplomatic deal to end the fighting. Without a European intervention capacity, EU countries could only intervene as part of the UN peacekeeping force and subsequently, under US leadership, as part of a Nato force - as they did in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The lessons of the Balkan conflicts have not been lost. The Union has acted since then on both the diplomatic and security fronts.

...

First ESDP missions

It is perhaps fitting that the first three ESDP missions have been in the former Yugoslavia, the scene of earlier frustrations.

Of course I am taking the "creation myth" of the CFSP at face value. but I don't have any alternative narrative to offer. Maybe others do.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 05:08:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Migeru.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:40:34 AM EST
A pleasure (© kcurie, used without permission)

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, Colman, thanks for the FPing. Now, don't technorati tags work any longer?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 07:12:36 AM EST
You need to say {{tag blah}}, substituting the correct brackets.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 07:16:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tag blah!

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 07:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good grief, what a fine piece of research this was. I stand by my original claim: I'm all for it to have a constant circulation of open consultations every month at ET. Find yourself a back-up (or two) when you are unable to do it yourself. We've been discussing activating this blog and this seems a more than excellent stepping stone to me.

Having read through the present consultations, I've at least 4 where my palms get itchy: European Transparency Initiative, Biofuels, fuel efficiency from cars and the vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs stick out for me, personally. I don't me becoming a rally point for one of them - I'd go with Biofuels. It also matches with my own time scheme - I'm probably off line for a while after July 12.

by Nomad on Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 05:20:50 PM EST
Migeru..I would  need some input.

I am interested on a proposal for biofuels.

Knowing that most of the primary energy is not oil related and that most of oil is used n transportation (private and of goods), it seems that when there is an increase in the price of oil the first effect will be to increase the price of gasoline.

I think this increase in price is very good for private users of cars. On the other hand, the effect on prices for the transport of goods in inflation will hurt the poorest among us.

So I would like to propose to dedicate the core of biofuels to change the structure of consumption of oil on the transport sector and not for private cars.

In a word, goods should be transported by train and by trucks using a high rate of biofuels.

This is a clear proposal I have, and I imagine that I want it to reach the European Union. I think this is exactly what they are asking.

My question is.. how should I (we, if someone else is interested) proceed? Drop a line? Write an statement? send it as European Tribune? A particular?

Can you give me some light?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 05:06:23 PM EST
Why don't we move the discussion of biofuels to Jerome's front-page story?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 06:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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