"We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entity. For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire we have the opportunity to unite Europe."
~EU Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, 13 April 1999 ~

German Constitutional Court delays ratification of Lisbon Treaty, demanding a law to protect the rights of national parliament

On 30 June the German Constitutional Court ruled to withhold approval for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, demanding a law to guarantee the rights of the German Parliament in the EU decision-making process. (FAZ, 30 June) A press release from the Court said that the Upper and Lower Houses of the German Parliament “have not been accorded sufficient rights of participation in European lawmaking procedures and treaty amendment procedures.” It also said that, “If one wanted to summarise this result, one could say: the constitution says ‘yes’ to the Lisbon Treaty but demands that parliament’s right to participation be strengthened at the national level”. (Court press release,FAZ, 30 June) More »
13-07-09 | 13:25 |

Irish commissioner in Lisbon Treaty slip-up

As EU leaders anxiously await the second Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty this autumn, Irish Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said out loud what most had only admitted in private: the treaty would have been rejected in most countries had they followed Ireland’s example and held a referendum on it. More »
03-07-09 | 10:09 | 9 comments

Centralised states bad for economy, study shows

European countries where regions have more powers and responsibilities in terms of taxation, legislation and education policies tend to do better economically than centralised ones, a Swiss study shows. Although the findings do not come as a big surprise, with federalists and economist for a long time arguing that delegating powers from the centre to the regional and local governments improves economic performance, the Swiss academics say they are the first to have scientifically proven this theory. “It is not just anecdotal, it is now a scientifically proven fact and we hope that it will give regional politicians more leverage when dealing with national decision-makers,” Urs Muller, the main author of the study, told this website. More »
19-05-09 | 13:04 | 1 comment

Klaus Encounters

In 2001 the Europeans began negotiating a constitution of formidable length and incomprehensible verbiage. It created a president and foreign minister, dropped the requirement of a commissioner per country, limited national vetoes, and reshuffled EU institutional responsibilities (the European Parliament continues to debate the exact apportionment of duties). Whether the treaty is a good let alone necessary is for the Europeans to decide. But which Europeans get to decide? Signed in 2004, the constitution had to be approved by popular referendum and was quickly rejected by both Dutch and French voters. European consolidation looked dead, but the Eurocrats changed a couple of commas and reissued the constitution as the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 — which, conveniently, didn’t require popular approval. French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted: “There will be no treaty at all if we had a referendum in France.” Then the carefully prepared railroad unexpectedly ran off the rails. In June 2008 Ireland held a referendum, as required by its constitution, and the voters said no. The wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard across the continent. The collective reaction was: How dare they! Under the rules the treaty was dead, but the Eurocrats write the rules, and they agreed that the treaty must be ratified, irrespective of the rules. Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, announced: “I believe the treaty is alive and we should now try to find a solution.” More »
11-05-09 | 19:21 | 2 comments

Italy a nest of EU 'farm-subsidy millionaires'

Companies in Italy received the biggest single payments from the EU’s farm subsidies in 2008, with 180 of them provided with more than a million euros, a study released on Thursday (7 May) showed. More »
08-05-09 | 15:37 | 1 comment

Royals and multinationals raking in EU farm aid

Royal landowners and multinational companies were among the biggest beneficiaries of the EU’s €55 billion farm aid budget in 2008, a new EU transparency law has shown. In France, which alone scooped €10.4 billion of the pot, the Doux Group, which sells chicken products to over 130 countries worldwide, was the biggest single recipient on €62 million. Major food companies Nestle and Tate & Lyle were the largest UK winners on around €1 million each. British aristocrats, who command significant personal fortunes, also pocketed sizeable amounts of EU cash. The Queen received around €530,000. The Duke of Westminster got €540,000. Prince Charles took €180,000. More »
05-05-09 | 11:16 |

MEPs WALK OUT on Czech President Vaclav Klaus – Feb 2009

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27-02-09 | 21:00 | 1 comment

Mats Persson: Exposing the spiralling cost of EU regulations

Ten years ago, Tony Blair’s Government introduced a system of analysing costs and benefits for all the most significant pieces of legislation, recognising the clear need to get a grip on the flow of regulation. And in 2005, the Government introduced its ‘Regulatory Reform Agenda’, hoping to bring down the cost of red-tape affecting businesses. But our research, which uses the Government’s own figures for the cost of legislation, reveals that instead of decreasing, both the flow of regulations and their cost impact have in fact skyrocketed.  Since the launch of the reform agenda in 2005, the annual cost of regulation in this country has gone from £16.5 billion to £28.7 billion – an enormous increase of 74%. Counted cumulatively, regulations introduced in the last ten years have cost the UK economy £148.2 billion – the equivalent of 10% of GDP, and enough to abolish income tax for a year, or cut the national debt by 24%. More »
06-02-09 | 18:28 |

EU publicity campaign to target Lisbon No voters

THE EUROPEAN Commission is spending €1.8 million on a communications strategy to target Irish women, young people and low-income families with information about the EU. Blogging, cinema advertising, listening exercises and advertising in women’s and youth magazines are key parts of a 12 month EU-Ireland information plan, which specifically targets segments of the public that voted in large numbers against the Lisbon Treaty. More »
05-02-09 | 18:38 | 1 comment

EU fishing policy costs UK billions

Food bills have been pushed up by £186 a year as a result of the EU’s disastrous fisheries policy, a report claims today. It says that the Common Fisheries Policy, which handed Britain’s historic fishing rights to other member states, has cost the UK £2.81billion a year in terms of lost sales, jobs, tax revenue and dumped fish. More »
04-02-09 | 17:15 |