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“(P)eople everywhere are increasingly confronted with a series of intractable problems, almost impossible to deal with: environmental disturbance, a crisis in norms and customs, bureaucratisation, the uncontrollable expansion of the cities, uncertainty concerning employment, alienation on the part of young people, economic disruptions and the rejection by a growing number of people of our society’s… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Reports in the British newspapers, the Telegraph and the Sun, of the EU myparl.eu project have immediately condemned it as a waste of money. Sadly, they have deliberately misprepresented the facts, eg: It is “an internet rival to Facebook”. Wrong: It is first and foremost a forum for online debate. It is most certainly not… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The paradox continues. A large majority of EU citizens, according to opinion polls, want Europe to speak with a single external political voice. The distinction between internal and external has become blurred: almost all domestic challenges cannot be resolved at Member State level. And yet, the Union does not speak with one voice even on… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, during yesterday’s EPC annual conference, questioned the future role of foreign ministers. The post of 8 February raised this issue. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU foreign policy chief will chair the Foreign Affairs Council, dealing exclusively with non-EU countries. Currently the General Affairs Council (GAC) is composed of foreign… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström, writing in Le Monde and later in the Financial Times, points out that everyone is busy handicapping their different nominees, based on experience, political affiliation, nationality, whether they come from small or big countries, south, north, east, west, inside the euro zone of not, “but they are all male.” Mrs Wallström… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The proud headquarters of the British Conservative Party in Smith Square, Westminster, from 1958 to 2003 is to suffer the indignity of being taken over by the European Commission and Parliament and renamed “Europe House”. One comment: “Conveniently located for the Westminster Parliament, it will provide an ideal launch pad when they come to buy… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The transparent way in which Beijing handled the earthquake tragedy has quickly paid off with the European Parliament, a regular critic of China. In the debate in Strasbourg on 21 May, China was praised for way it had reacted to the 12 May quake in Sichuan province and its willingness to accept international aid. Many… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Alain Lamasourre, in his comment of 4 February, came up with a great idea for the appointment of the President of the European Council. He is now working on a Parliamentary resolution proposing the following procedure: • Candidates declare themselves between 15 December 2008 and 15 January 2009. • The candidates then conduct campaigns. •… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

France talks to Hamas

Le Figaro reports that around a month ago, a retired high-level French diplomat met with the main representatives of Hamas, and only later informed the French foreign ministry. It’s hard to believe that a recently retired ambassador would not have informally cleared this with the Elysée or Quai d’Orsay. The piece also notes that Nicolas… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

I was taught that one should practise what ones preaches. The European Parliament rightly demands transparency of Commission expenditure. Why then does it refuse to disclose MEPs’ expenses? This reticence encourages a negative press – who need little encouragement anyway – to criticise Parliament. According to a News of the World survey: • On one… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick