Tag Archives: EU Reform

New posts on Kosmopolito.org

The latest posts on kosmopolito.org:

Nov 11th: The problems of EU debates

Oct 30th: Hope.Act.Change. 50% more or less

Kosmolinks #17

  • The referendum: populism vs democracy

    The idea of the referendum as an instrument of the people’s will rests on pre-democratic foundations, says George Schöpflin. I certainly agree!

  • A better way with referendums

    Interesting idea: Is it possible to introduce a more deliberative approach when holding a referendum? Does “deliberative polling” make citizens more knowledgeable?

  • Instead of bullying the Irish, Europe should be working on plan D – and E

    Timothy Garton Ash actually favours the “Nice plus” arrangement.

  • Yes, they could

    What went wrong for the German Social Democrats? And how can they recover? – Although the article could focus more on the second question it makes a few good points. However, it seems to me that Kurt Beck is the wrong person to deliver “change”… unfortunately the same can be said for a large part of the SPD leadership!

  • WIA Report » Blogger Arrests

    Quite a shocking report: “Unfortunately, one way to assess the political importance of blogging around the world is through the growing number of blogger arrests. Since 2003, 64 citizens unaffiliated with news organizations have been arrested for their blogging activities.”

  • Centre for European Reform: Tough choices to avoid euro-paralysis

    Hugo Brady proposes the most likely outcome of the “EU crisis” after the ‘No’ in Ireland. And he mentiones one interesting point: “Many voters do not see the continuity between EU treaties and think that old guarantees are over-written by new texts.”

Cameron vs. Brown

Interesting how Gordon Brown defends the EU and the Lisbon Treaty: Conviction or tactics?

Kosmolinks #16

  • Joschka Fischer has no hope anymore…

  • Wolfgang Munchau – Europe’s hardball plan B for the Lisbon treaty

    “An alternative would be a referendum with a differently worded question, such as: “Do you want to remain in the EU on the basis of the Lisbon treaty?” Of course, this bundles two questions many people would like to answer separately. Yes, stay in the EU, No to Lisbon. But folding the two into a single question is politically more honest because it is Ireland’s only real-world choice.”

  • Robert Kagan – In Europe, a Slide Toward Irrelevance

    Robert Kagan’s take on the Irish ‘NO’ – basically what you would expect from him, but also with a few good points.

  • The fear factory devastated Ireland’s flaccid political class

    “You forgot us in Shannon.” — “Our sons are too good-looking for the army” –“right-wing Catholics” — “leftwing anti-militarists” — “a mysterious group that emerged from nowhere with a great deal of money to spend” — “Imported British Euroscepticism” — “a very efficient factory of fears” — “an extensive menu of anxieties” — “the scattergun of negativity only had to hit one sensitive spot”

  • Will Hutton: Europe must not be derailed by lies and disinformation

    “On top of these there is the political problem that the treaty can’t be rewritten to accommodate specific Irish concerns because it already does; Ireland’s ‘no’ campaigners told lies. The voters’ great concerns had been met. There is a specific protocol that guarantees Ireland’s neutrality and excuses it from membership of any joint European defence effort, if any surfaces. There is no possibility of Ireland being told to enforce abortion. And all states have autonomy over tax policy.”

  • “The Irish ‘no’ – like the 2005 French ‘non’ – shows a clear poor/rich and urban/rural divide. Working-class and rural voters are systematically voting against further European integration. European leaders should take note.”

  • A handy round-up about the Irish ‘No’ in the blogosphere…

The Irish ‘No’ – Problems and Dilemmas

The problems with the Irish referendum:

  • In any representative democracy a document with 271 pages (479 pages in the consolidated version!) of legal text should never be put to a referendum.
  • The method of EU treaty ratification should be the same in every member state.
  • A very weak YES campaign and a quite strong NO campaign.
  • The NO campaign managed to put popular myths on the agenda (with no link to the Lisbon Treaty or even to the EU) and mobilised voters with fears; it seems as if the YES campaign did not take it seriously and did not prepare an adequate answer. Next time: professional campaigning needed!

The problems of the EU:

  • EU has a communication problem… a huge one! And I would include every national politician in this category. In the last 15 years there were too many politicans that constantly blamed the EU (or better “Brussels”) especially when faced with “surprising” EU decisions – and everyone who is a bit familiar with the EU knows that there is no such thing as “surprising” in this slow bureaucracy … Moreover, it is hypocritical for ministers to blame the EU although they actually had a  veto in the Council…
  • EU summits have been coined and perceived as “battles” over national interests. But what about the “European interest”?  Many politicians do not seem to see the bigger picture… The same is true for European parliament elections: National topics are always more important than “European” topics! And the result? A negative perception of the EU,  … surprise, surprise!
  • The media does not spend enough time explaining EU issues.  European politics need to play a much bigger role on national TV as well as in national newspapers and local newspapers across Europe!
  • Education: Quite important but absolutely neglected! EU is practically not existent in school curricula!
  • Unpopularity of the EU is therefore not only a problem of the EU!
  • The Lisbon Treaty is a compromise based on the lowest common denominator.  And this is the problem why it is such a long document and why it is so difficult to understand.
  • After the failed Constitutional Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty was actually Plan B: So there will be no new treaty and issues such as “number of commissioners” and “voting weights” are not likely to be re-negotiated.

The dilemmas after the NO vote in the Irish referendum:

  • If all other EU members ratify the Lisbon treaty it will be an Irish problem, if one country stops the ratification process it will be a European problem.
  • The dictatorship of a minority vs. the dictatorship of a majority. If ratification continues the EU will be blamed for the latter, if ratification stops it will be blamed for the former.

Welcome back!

The summer break is over. Slowly, the Brussels xpat crowd is coming back from holiday.

I just started deleting blog spam….it is incredible what kind of spam you get these days! It used to be only the obvious things about different medications and various operations, as well as dating opportunities…but now they started making compliments:

  • informative post, keep it up.
  • dude cool site i like it very much.
  • revolutionary. breathtaking. awesome post dude.
  • Excellent forum with fantastic references and reading…. well done indeed…
  • great site, nice design.
  • nice choice of colors.

and my favorite:

  • your blog is so important. you are the new media

That should give me indeed enough motivation to go on with my blogging 😉

In case you just returned from your holidays in a remote area without newspapers and Internet connection, you might be interested in what happened during the summer. Here is the ultimate (but incomplete) list of important things you missed:

1. Early elections in Poland! What does this mean for the new EU treaty?

2. European Parliament elections in Romania!

3. Still no government in Belgium! Even summer was cancelled in Brussels this year.

4. The IGC is on the way, Gordon Brown needs strong nerves; and just to make sure: Britain has not lost control of its foreign policy: part 1 and part 2

5. George W. Bush lost Karl Rove and Tony Snow.

6. President Sarkozy is back!! Sarkozy in the US!! A new Iraq strategy?? A deal with Gaddafi!! Cecilia Sarkozy saves Bulgarian hostages (on her own!!)!! Hyperactive president!!

7. Georgia and the mysterious missile; Russia proposes own IMF candidate

8. Germany: Two years of Angie and Italian Mafia in Germany.

9. EU news: EU wants to break up energy giants; The EU and Kosovo

10. Media news: BBC dropped from Russia’s FM waveband; wordpress.com is blocked in Turkey! wordpress.com is still blocked…

11. George Tabori and Ingmar Bergman

In the euroblogosphere two (among many others I have not yet discovered) very interesting new blogs appeared: Brussels Comment and The European Parliament (that wants to find out what Europe has ever done for us).

Bad news for the German speaking blogosphere: The best political blog has decided to call it a day! Good bye Kosmoblog! We will miss you!

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Ready for our EU debate?

Two years and three months after our legendary EU debate in a car between Münster and Louvain-la-Neuve, we are delighted to announce the next round of the fight. This time as an explosive online debate between kosmopolit (in the white corner) and FloNet (in the black corner). The first fight of two rounds will be in German, the rematch in English! So watch this space!

Time: June 25- 26th, 2007

Place: FloNet

Let’s have an argument!

UPDATE 1: Do we need the EU at all? – 1st round now online!

UPDATE 2: Is the EU a ‘superstate in the making’? – 2nd round now online!


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