Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr take a look at the week in Brussels blogging.
The EU Centre
Should there be only one seat (home) for the European Parliament? It costs European taxpayers approximately 200 million euros a year to move the European Parliament between Brussels (Belgium) and Strasbourg (France) every two weeks. Now Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, has confirmed his commitment to a single seat of the European Parliament. Jon Worth hopes this will finally solve the ‘seat question’. Meanwhile Eva En Europa marks 55 years since the Treaty of Rome.
Does the EU’s fisheries policy do more harm than good? Debating Europe recently spoke with Isabella Lövin, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Green Party about the topic. Lövin is the team leader on the Fisheries Committee for the Green Group of MEPs, and has published a book on the subject. She argues that the EU is “not taking responsibility for our common resource, which is the fish.”
Eberhard Rhein argues on BlogActiv.eu that Europe must remain a global leader in solar and wind energy, as the OFCE Blog looks at the debate over the EU’s new carbon tax for air travel, which has naturally met with a great deal of opposition from the industry. Efficency1st at BlogActive.eu accuses some EU member states of ‘creative accounting’ in meeting their energy savings targets.
Nucleus at BlogActive.eu reports on the agreement between the European Commission, MEPs and European governments to cap mobile roaming charges. Interestingly, they report, the UK media is largely silent on the issue. Meanwhile, on her blog, EU Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström announces the creation of the European Cybercrime Centre in January 2013, which will bring together expertise across Europe to fight cybercrime.
EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood
The EU has granted Serbia formal EU candidate country status after three years of tough negotiations. However, this is only the first major step towards Serbia’s full EU membership as there are still years of negotiations ahead. The New Federalist argues that Serbia’s flirt with the EU is now turning into a full-blown relationship. Croatia, the War and the Future believes that Tomislav Karamarko is the Croatian politician with the potential to bring the country closer to the EU.
Martinned hates the idea of reciprocity in European trade, while The New Federalist calls for a stronger EU line against Belarus, and reminds readers of Russia’s support for the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.
The Euro Crisis
The Euro crisis is an evergreen in our weekly round-up. Konstandinos Diamandouros argues on BlogActiv.eu that Germany’s insistence on fiscal austerity will prove invaluable in the future. Supposedly, only austerity can lead the Euro out of its crisis. Later, Protesilaos Stavrou argues that the EU’s protectionist policies against the rest of the world is part of a race to the bottom. Open Europe Blog looks at whether the Euro will be pegged to gold eventually, while Eurosearch reports that Iceland considers adopting the Canadian dollar.
The Centre for European Reform looks at youth unemployment in Europe, saying that as many as 20 per cent of young people are not in employment, education or training, and advises countries to ease up on austerity measures to get growth, and therefore employment, going again.
On Friday, as European leaders met in Copenhagen to agree on the size of the new Eurozone bailout fund, the FT’s Brussels Blog reports that the fund may be as large as €700 billion Euro, or even €940 billion. It actually turns out to be around €800 billion, Open Europe reports.
Should Scotland become independent? Many ‘unionists’ argue that Scotland could not remain a member of the EU then. However, Jon Worth believes that this claim is erroneous.
This week sees a general strike in Spain over austerity measures – Open Europe blog calls the strike ‘two big days’. Nadas es Gratis chart how Spanish banks got into their very poor current state – mostly by disastrous leadership.
Beyond the Transition critically examines the recent reforms passed in Poland. It reports that only 7% of Polish citizens are in favour of raising the country’s retirement age to 67. At week’s end, the FRIDE blog predicts the fall of the Dutch government over an additional 10 Billion Euro worth of cuts that it has agreed to, but is now unable to male.
Will Nicolas Sarkozy be able to win the next French presidential elections? NPThinking observes that Angela Merkel increasingly sympathizes with his main competitor François Hollande. Open Europe Blog looks at the resurgence of Angela Merkel’s CDU party in elections this week in the Saarland region, and Croatia, the war and the future looks at the candidates for the leadership of Croatia’s leading (but somewhat embattled) party, the Croatian Democratic Union.
Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, attended the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
Open Europe Blog argues that Belgium was the naughtiest EU Member State of 2011.
Ron at bloggingportal.eu says that this week, Europe’s bloggers have been on the attack.
The FT’s Brussels Blog reports on a humorous press release from Brussels stating that the Pope will attend a Eurozone summit on the rather significant date of 1 April, and urges people to “to pray for divine intervention to save the euro”.