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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Parliament is off but activities are going on involving the Ukraine, Japan, and the Middle East.

In Brussels, at the Commission, there will be meetings with 10 Green NGOs.

These NGOs are not happy. Even though the EU member states comitted themselves to a series of eye-catching environmental goals, such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020, although they hailed the fact that an agreement was reached, green groups have also been quick to note that the objectives are not ambitious enough to make a real difference in the fight against global warming.

Further, EU and OPEC officials will have an all-day meeting this week on energy policies. This because of the obvious fact that Russia is proving an unreliable energy partner to the EU, ready to use its vast reserves for political means. Now, the EU is talking to OPEC and the two organisation will also discuss OPEC’s future capacity to meet global energy demands. Are we facing now some backtracking from previous EU stated goals?

Will environmentalists now start to push problems with obesity in EU schools as their main target for activity?

Which energy issues will stay high on the EU political agenda in Europe?

Our information on the Brussels and Luxembourg EU activities are based on EUobserver. For further details see:

 euobserver.com/9/24133/?rk=1

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 24th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Reuters, April 24, 2007,   reports from Luxembourg: “German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters EU, US at Loggerheads Over Climate Change, Energy Policy.”
There will be no agreed Joint Declaration at the Washington Summit, April 30th.

The European Union and the United States are at loggerheads over climate change and energy policy, a week before a summit that will be a test of transatlantic relations.


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Monday that while the two sides had made progress in preparing for the summit on economic convergence issues, the same could not be said of global warming and energy. “We are making good progress on economic cooperation, but on energy policy and climate change, it is much more difficult,” he said.


Diplomats said Washington was refusing to make any firm commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming or to an agreement to curb climate change after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

One said it was possible there would be no agreed joint delcaration at the April 30 Washington summit.

An EU diplomat said no draft text of the declaration on energy and climate change had yet been circulated to EU member states, an unusual delay ahead of such a summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made the fight against climate change the central priority of her twin presidencies of the EU and the Group of Eight industrialised nations this year and hopes for a breakthrough at a G8 summit in Germany in June.

But US President George W. Bush has stuck to his mainly technology-based approach to reducing pollution.

The US ambassador to the EU, C. Boyden Gray, said in a Reuters interview last week that no US administration would accept binding curbs on emissions as long as China, India and other major emerging countries were not included in the system.

French European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna said the EU had taken a major step forward this year by committing itself to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and it was time for major partners to make a move.

“The future of the planet is threatened by climate change and it would be good if our major partners took more account of climate change,” she said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 17th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 European Union – what does it mean to you?

Find out what it means to 50+ top-thinkers drawn from the world of
politics, academia, business and the arts. Read their personal ideas and
proposals for the Union’s next half century. The writers include Angela
Merkel, Jose Manuel Barroso, Peter Sutherland, Javier Solana, Theodora
Bakoyannis, Nicolas Sarkozy and a host of other leading thinkers.

A Financial Times publication.
 eubookshop.com/1/187

————————————–

EUOBERVER / WEEKLY AGENDA (19 – 25 March), by Honor Mahoney, March 16, 2007   – The EU’s 50th birthday falls on Sunday 25 March this week with preparations on how to celebrate it, and minute speculation about what exactly will be in the official birthday declaration to mark the occasion, set to dominate the coming days.

The date marks the signing of the Treaty of Rome the precursor to the modern-day European Union.

The day itself is to be marked by celebrations across the 27-nation bloc with Berlin – due to the German EU presidency – to be the centre-point of the festivities.

EU leaders will arrive in Berlin on Saturday evening for a dinner and concert. Sunday morning will see the official ceremony marking the anniversary of the Rome Treaty and according to the provisional time plan, Chancellor Angela Merkel would like to have the whole thing wrapped up by 2pm CET when the final press point conference is scheduled.

However, the run-up to it is unlikely to be entirely without controversy. A state-of-the-union declaration being drawn up by Berlin to mark the occasion is the focus of some keen interest with governments lining up over the past months to say what should or should not be in it.

For its part, Berlin has been playing its cards close to its chest, giving only an indication of the general layout of the document.

A gathering of 200 young people will meet in Rome for a youth summit mirroring its older – and perhaps less idealistic – counterpart in the German capital. It begins on Friday and is set to produce its own declaration summing up the EU as they see it.

In Brussels on Wednesday, the EU’s transparency commissioner Siim Kallas is to publish a long-awaited paper on making lobbyist activities around the EU less opaque. He is set to propose a register for lobbyists which would get them to lay out who they are presenting and how they are funded. But according to previous statements by Mr Kallas, lobbyists – running to several thousand in Brussels – will not be required to register.

The central issue of interest will be the funding question. Mr Kallas has said he would like more funding transparency but pro-transparency organisations such as Corporate Europe Observatory say this will require obligations with either strong incentives for compliance or sanctions for non-compliance.

Meanwhile, commissioners will also have a general discussion on the European economy.

In the European Parliament the German presidency will on Tuesday outline to members of the civil liberties committee how it expects the so-called Prum Treaty to work with DNA-sharing and cross-border police hot pursuits, some of its biggest elements.

The EU’s plans for setting up a global satellite navigation system – known as a Galileo – will come under scrutiny on Thursday when the bloc’s transport ministers meet in Brussels. Germany has promised to raise the issue, with the commission last week raising concerns about the long delays in setting the system up.

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European Union: The next 50 Years – The European Union has its roots in the European Economic Community (EEC), established by the Treaty of Rome nearly fifty years ago.

On 25 March 1957, the leaders of France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg met in Rome to set in motion the idea of an “ever closer union”.

The European Union represents a quantum leap in European integration, with a common currency, 21 more members, a single market, new policies – which go well beyond the original idea of a simple customs union.


Today, the European Union means different things to different people-

· Is it a mechanism for its members to boost economic growth and living standards for its citizens?
· Is it a tool to spread freedom and improve political, legal and economic structures among the newer members?
· Is it a global force, enabling its member states to compete more effectively with the US and dynamic new economies, such as India and China?
· Or is it just a source of unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy, hampering enterprise and business?
How can the EU more effectively meet the aspirations and serve the interests of its citizens?

How can some sense of momentum be restored to the European “project”-whatever form that takes?

To address these questions as we pass this historic milestone, Financial Times Business with Agora Projects, in association with the European Institute of the London School of Economics, have assembled a distinguished cast list of 50 decision-makers, leading thinkers and opinion formers to share their ideas and proposals for Europe’s next half-century.

The editorial contributors – with nationals of each of the EU27 – include:
· Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
· Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
· Sir Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics
· Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
· Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for enlargement
· Danuta Hubner, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy
· Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Finance Minister of Italy
· Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden
· Peter Sutherland, Chairman BP, former Director-General of the WTO
· Richard Descoings, Director of Sciences Po, Paris
· Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia
· Theodora Bakoyannis, Foreign Minister of Greece
· Bernard-Henri Levy, philosopher and writer
· Nicolas Sarkozy, Leader of UMP Party, France
· Robert Cooper, Director-General Politico-Military Affairs, Council of the European Union and writer on international affairs
· Gérard Mortier, Director of the Opera de Paris
· Ernest-Antoine Seillière, President of UNICE
· PLUS a host of other leading thinkers

ISBN: 13: 978-0-900671-81-4
Publisher: Financial Times Ltd
Language: English

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 9th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“Spain and Luxembourg call for ‘pride’ in EU constitution” writes Helena Spongenberg from Brussels
“Those of us that have ratified [the constitution] must be proud of it,” said Spanish foreign affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos adding that the ratifiers should not have to justify their choice.

“[We should be] open and constructive but defending our principles and values, and the existence of a treaty that we consider a fundamental element,” he said, according to Spanish daily El Mundo.

The minister was in Luxembourg on Monday (8 January) to meet with the country’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn.

The two are preparing a conference on 26 January for the 18 EU member states that have ratified the constitution – both before and after French and Dutch voters rejected the charter in 2005.

Mr Asselborn said the objective of the conference was to analyse the political situation of the EU and “help” the German EU presidency in the debate on the reform of the bloc’s institutions after it was paralyzed by the votes in France and the Netherlands.

Mr Moratinos said reactions had generally been positive, despite the fact that the plan has received some criticism – EU liberal constitutional spokesman and UK MEP Andrew Duff said last month the initiative “carries the serious risk of dividing the union.”

He added that Ireland and Portugal – countries which have not ratified the constitution – had shown interest in taking part in the Madrid conference.

Mr Asselborn pointed out that at the Madrid conference, it would be decided if a second conference should take place in Luxembourg at the end of February, which would include the seven member states that have not yet ratified the constitution.

He made assurances, however, that the two countries “do not want to constitute a block” against those that have rejected or not yet ratified the constitution. “On the contrary, we try to encourage them to ratify and to help the German presidency to find keys that impel dialogue.”

Spain and Luxembourg are the only two countries that ratified the EU constitution by referendum, with 77 percent of Spaniards and 56 percent of Luxembourgish voting “yes” to the document.

The Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom parked the process of ratification after it was rejected in 2005.

Bulgaria and Romania which entered the EU in January already ratified the constitution before accession.

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