Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Fight Goes On

No2EU emails:

CSU threatens not to support German ratification law for Lisbon Treaty
Handelsblatt reports that the CSU threatened not to support the law, as it wants to secure more power for the German Parliament following the Constitutional Court decision criticising the Lisbon Treaty. CSU General Secretary Dobrindt said that Angela Merkel's timetable to have the law passed this summer is not binding for his party, adding that "content goes before the timetable".

Meanwhile a comment piece by FAZ notes that "in the past euro-scepticism effectively existed in Britain and Scandinavia. Today it includes considerable parts of the elites in Eastern Europe and wide sections in Austria, the Netherlands, France and also in Germany. The German Lisbon Judgement wasn't coming from a maverick Court, but was a legal extension from public debate in a big member state."

New EU law on seasonal workers drives down wages, unions warn
Six Swedish trade union presidents argue in an opinion piece in Svenska Dagbladet that a law drafted by the European Commission could lead to wage dumping. They note that the law, which concerns seasonal workers born outside of the EU, is unclear and should therefore be scrapped.

Currently citizens from outside the EU can work for up to three months without applying for a resident's permit, provided that they fulfil the visa requirements. If the new European law is implemented, citizens from outside the EU would be allowed to work for a period of nine months per calendar year for a maximum period of four to five years. The agricultural sector along with the tourism and construction sectors are likely to be the most affected, should the proposal become law.

Critics warn that Stockholm Programme will create a big brother state
A new battle of privacy is emerging as the Swedish Presidency seeks to present the Stockholm Programme, which will be a five year plan for judicial cooperation within the EU. The programme seeks to establish goals for increased cooperation and exchange of information on everything from the Internet to migration. According to Henrik Alexandersson, noted blogger and member of the new Pirate Party, the sharing of intelligence between countries is hugely problematic and will paved the way for the creation of a big brother state.

EDA creates basis for EU military operations
Frank Slijper, an associate of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, comments on EUobserver that the European Defence Agency which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year has "slowly created a basis for the development of common military projects". Slijper argues that "the fact that the EDA has remained largely invisible to most people is deeply problematic". The constitution reads that "Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities", which is "directly linked to the development of the EDA, Slijper says. He concludes that such development without wider public consent and debate "risks undermining trust in the wider European project".

Butter mountains to return to the EU
EU agriculture ministers have agreed to continue buying off excess butter and skimmed milk powder until March 2010, despite plans to end the measure, amounting to a subsidy worth €27 million, Die Presse reports.

European Voice notes that the measures are expected to be signed off in October, despite objections from the UK and Denmark, who oppose the plans on principle. It notes that the Commission has bought 81,000 tonnes of butter and 203,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder this year. The extension agreed means that an extra 31,000 tonnes of butter and 50,000 tonnes of skimmed-milk powder is likely to be bought between September 2009 and January 2010.

Disgraced Tory MEP awarded medal for "vital contributions"
The Telegraph reports that former Conservative MEP Den Dover has been awarded a medal for his "vital contribution" to the public, despite a European Parliament demand that he return £538,290 in "unduly paid" expenses. Mr Dover also picked up a framed certificate "playing tribute to the representatives of the Union's citizens".

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