"This has been a project for a small elite, a political elite. That has worked - until now - Has it ever been alive, European democracy? That is a very good question."
~EU Commissioner for communication Margot Wallstrom, Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2005 ~

The Car Industry Bail Out: Are There no Politicians Now Who Understand Economics?

We are continually told at present – which is somewhat more than usual – how government spending had created, or will create, so many jobs. Therefore, the immense expansion of the British State since 1997 has created three hundred thousand jobs or whatever. Some deplore this because most of those employed can be expected to vote Labour. Hardly anyone denies there has been a net addition to the number of employed. The same reasoning underlies all discussion of how we are to get through the recession on which we have now started. The truth is, however, that government spending does not so much create as displace employment. Every pound spent by the Government must first be taken from the people, who cannot then spend it for themselves. If the money is taken is taken through taxes, it exactly reduces the ability of the people to spend or invest it for themselves as they wish, or to save it for transfer, via the banking system, for others to spend or invest as they wish. If the money is borrowed, it again exactly reduces the amount of money that the people can borrow to spend or invest. More »
29-01-09 | 11:32 | 2 comments

German court handed new complaint on EU treaty

Germany’s constitutional court has been handed a second complaint over the EU’s Lisbon Treaty with the potential to delay the country’s final ratification of the document for several months. The new legal action, running to over 200 pages, is concerned with economic as well as political issues, which the complainants say are not addressed by the Lisbon Treaty. They argue that a prognosis on European integration given by the country’s constitutional court in a 1993 judgement on the Maastricht Treaty – which paved the way to the euro – has turned out to be false. Instead, EU integration has been characterised by “continuous breaches of the stability pact, a presumptuous over-stepping of power by the European Commission, unaccountable leadership and dissolution of the separation of powers,” say the authors in a statement on Monday(26 January), according to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. More »
28-01-09 | 16:39 |

Help Ireland or it will exit euro, leading Irish economist warns

“This is war: countries have to defend themselves,” said David McWilliams, a former official at the Irish central bank. “It is essential that we go to Europe and say we have a serious problem. We say, either we default or we pull out of Europe,” he told RTE radio. “If Ireland continues hurtling down this road, which is close to default, the whole of Europe will be badly affected. The credibility of the euro will be badly affected. Then Spain might default, Italy and Greece,” he said. More »
20-01-09 | 18:56 |

EU shelves tax plan for fear of unsettling Irish voters

THE EU has quietly shelved a plan to harmonise the corporate tax base across the union for fear of unsettling Irish voters ahead of a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The European Commission and the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, have both indicated a proposal will not now be tabled for at least six months. More »
20-01-09 | 18:52 |

'Lisbon is adopted': EU leaders agree on 'bribes' to convince Irish voters to vote yes to Treaty at second referendum

Europe’s leaders have agreed on ‘assurances’ designed to persuade Irish voters to reverse their rejection of the EU constitution. ‘Lisbon is adopted,’ one EU diplomat said today. The deal was confirmed separately by two other diplomats at the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. Irish voters will be encouraged to back the document in a second vote next year. EU chiefs last night agreed in principle key concessions to Dublin at a Brussels summit in return for a re-run of the referendum. They hope the Irish will deliver the ‘right’ result when they vote again. More »
16-01-09 | 12:13 |

The EU is benefiting from the financial crisis

Why should the Irish vote for the precisely same treaty that they rejected seven months ago? Everyone now admits that the text is identical. So what’s changed? The answer, of course, is the financial crisis, and the consequent collapse in trust for politicians. More »
16-01-09 | 12:12 | 3 comments

Going down the EU Tube: Brussels videos shunned

The European Union’s answer to YouTube, the internet video sharing phenomenon, has backfired, with audiences shunning many of the clips intended to promote pet subjects in Brussels. Eighteen months on from the creation of EU Tube many of the videos posted on the website have attracted only a few dozen viewers. An EU Tube video entitled Controlling the Use of Chemicals in Europe has been watched 56 times. Another film, Better Rights for Temporary Workers, has attracted 70. More »
16-01-09 | 11:55 |

Cameron vows to wreck EU treaty if elected

David Cameron, leader of Britain’s opposition Conservatives, has vowed to wreck the EU’s Lisbon treaty if he emerges victorious from any early general election in the first half of this year. Mr Cameron has put the Tories on election alert, believing there is a 50/50 chance Gordon Brown, prime minister, will go to the polls in 2009, cashing in on public support for his handling of the recession. The Tory leader believes there could be an election as early as April – more than a year before the last possible election date of June 2010 – opening up the opportunity for him to derail the EU’s flagship treaty. More »
16-01-09 | 11:52 | 1 comment

Belgian EU-treaty ratification still pending?

On December 10th 2008 the Belgian campaign Notre mot à dire/Onze Zeg (1) addressed the Constitutional Court of Belgium. In a first request, they demand the cancellation of the Flemish ratification. Notre mot à dire/Onze Zeg wants the Court to find out if this constitutional treaty can be voted by a parliament. Won’t the treaty change the constitutional position of Belgium? Has the Belgian procedure been executed properly? Are the Irish referendums a matter of discrimination towards the Belgian people? Are the opt-outs in the Treaty in conflict with the principle of equalities? More »
12-01-09 | 17:22 | 1 comment

EU staff get a free ride for Christmas

An Austrian member of the European Parliament has denounced the EU practice of paying for employees’ Christmas travel home, especially at a time of financial crisis.  Last year the European Commission and Council spent just under 47 million euros on Christmas travel arrangements, which Hans-Peter Martin MEP denounced as a “shocking privilege.” (New Europe Open Europe blog, 17 December) More »
09-01-09 | 18:04 |