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Juncker will need to accept replacement Commissioners from Romania, Estonia - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 14:37
Faced with opposition from the member states, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was unable to block the replacement of the Romanian and Estonian commissioners, who were elected as MEPs and already took their MEP seats.
Categories: European Union

Sassoli ‘reasonably optimistic’ for von der Leyen vote - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 13:57
The European Parliament's new president, David Sassoli, is “reasonably optimistic” about the vote on whether to confirm Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president next week, EU sources told
Categories: European Union

A partnership that matters: 10 years and beyond [Promoted content] - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 12:00
Georgia invites you at the Black Sea resort of Batumi on July 11 and 12 to join the Annual Conference dedicated to the 10 anniversary of the eastern partnership.  The conference will celebrate Europe’s achievements and spark a reflection on its future.
Categories: European Union

Fresh faces, Swedish solutions & VW velocity - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 10:49
This is your weekly EURACTIV Transport Brief, the one port of call for all the news from the world of mobility and much more!
Categories: European Union

Power-sharing puzzle solved: Who will chair parliamentary committees? - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 10:29
EURACTIV has pieced together the names of already designated and potential candidates for chairing the European Parliament’s 20 committees and two sub-committees, before their formal election on Wednesday (10 July).
Categories: European Union

EU punishes Belgium for slow internet - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 08:56
The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network.
Categories: European Union

Russia calls tirade against Putin on Georgian TV a ploy to derail ties - Tue, 09/07/2019 - 08:50
Russia on Monday (8 July) condemned an obscenity-laden tirade against President Vladimir Putin on a Georgian TV station, calling it a shameful and unacceptable provocation by radical political forces intended to damage relations.
Categories: European Union

88/2019 : 8 July 2019 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-543/17

European Court of Justice (News) - Mon, 08/07/2019 - 14:55
Commission v Belgium (Article 260, paragraphe 3, TFUE - Réseaux à haut débit)
Approximation of laws
The Court interprets and applies for the first time Article 260(3) TFEU, which permits the imposition of a financial penalty for failure to fulfil the ‘obligation to notify measures transposing’ an EU directive

Categories: European Union

Agenda - The Week Ahead 08 – 14 July 2019

European Parliament - Fri, 05/07/2019 - 12:06
Committee and political group meetings, Brussels

Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP
Categories: European Union

Highlights - The European Parliamentary committees: their role and composition - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Parliament's committees deal with EU legislative proposals by adopting reports, which then are referred to plenary for voting by all Members, and appoint negotiation teams to conduct talks with Council. They adopt non-legislative reports, organise hearings with experts and scrutinise other EU bodies and institutions. Parliament can set up sub-committees and special committees to deal with specific issues. Each committee elects a chair and up to four vice-chairs for a two and a half year mandate.

Further information
More information
Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP

87/2019 : 4 July 2019 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-622/17

European Court of Justice (News) - Thu, 04/07/2019 - 09:52
Baltic Media Alliance
A Member State may, for reasons of public policy such as combating incitement to hatred, impose a temporary obligation to broadcast or retransmit a television channel from another Member State only in pay-to-view packages

Categories: European Union

Latest news - Next SEDE meeting - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

On 10 July 2019 the SEDE Committee elects its Chair and Vice-Chairs.
Further details will be communicated in due course.

You are welcome to follow us on the EP Multimedia Centre.

Further information
EP Mulitmedia Centre
Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP

Agenda - The Week Ahead 01 – 07 July 2019

European Parliament - Wed, 03/07/2019 - 13:33
Parliament‘s constitutive session

Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP
Categories: European Union

86/2019 : 2 July 2019 - Opinion of the Advocate General in the case C-240/18 P

European Court of Justice (News) - Tue, 02/07/2019 - 09:54
Constantin Film Produktion v EUIPO
Intellectual and industrial property
Advocate General Bobek: EUIPO’s decision rejecting the registration of the trade mark ‘Fack Ju Göhte’ should be annulled

Categories: European Union

85/2019 : 1 July 2019 - Order of the President of the General Court in case T-388/19 R

European Court of Justice (News) - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 18:31
Puigdemont i Casamajó and Comín i Oliveres v Parliament

The application for interim measures of Mr Carles Puigdemont and Mr Antoni Comín, to order the European Parliament to enable them to take their seats in Parliament is dismissed

Categories: European Union

The momentum around gender equality is both a risk and opportunity

Ideas on Europe Blog - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 15:23

recent report published by Equal Measures 2030 revealed that the world is far from achieving gender equality as planned in the 2030 Agenda, despite recent momentum around the issue.

Indeed, in the past ten years, numerous efforts have marked progress in the advancement of gender and peacebuilding. In 2000 the UN adopted its UNSCR 1325 – the Women, Peace and Security Agenda – which was followed by eight other resolutions. Some Member states then adopted National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security, and regional organisations developed their own Women, Peace and Security Agenda, such as the European Union, NATO and the African Union. Both the 2000 Millenium Development Goals and the 2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development included a goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls.

The EU remains highly engaged on the issue as exemplified by the speech of Federica Mogherini during the Academic Roundtable on Women, Peace and Security on June 25th. (Her speech was read by Ambassador Mari Marinaki because of the absence of the HR/VP due to an emergency.) In her speech she recognises the importance of including women in peace processes notably because “war is always man-made, but peace lasts longer when it is woman-made”. She also acknowledged the work done by the EU with the Gaziantep Women’s Platform in Syria or with policewomen in Afghanistan. She ended by saying that “making women’s voices heard is not enough. If our voices are heard but nothing changes then it does not make such a big difference. It only increases the frustration” – highlighting the importance of acting seriously on gender equality.

However, with the recent rise of populism and far-right political parties in Europe, gender objectives such as those defined in the 2030 Agenda seem ever more difficult to achieve. Far right and populist parties have a negative impact on women’s rights and therefore inhibit current gender efforts, but also erode the gains already made. These parties can have discourses which throw existing rights into question, or even blatantly anti-feminist positions. For instance in 2018, following the #metoo movement, the European Parliament rejected a proposition that all new MEPs follow a mandatory sexual harassment training. The plan was struck down following a far right campaign. Last February, global leaders such as Irina Bokova and Susanna Malcorra launched the Group of Women for Change and Inclusion, where they highlighted the fact that populist parties have contributed to harming women’s rights. One example was the potential negative impact of Brexit on women, as the European laws which protect women’s rights won’t be automatically applicable in the UK after its departure.

There is equally a risk that a certain fatigue may occur, both from women who feel that institutions and countries are not evolving fast enough in their gender work as well as from others who feel they have heard enough about the topic. There is a growing feeling that the work on gender equality is “done” and that gender is not an issue anymore. Despite a sense of urgency to advance gender work it seems that the opposite may happen. While gender rights have become more mainstream in law, there remains a big gap in practice: policies have been adopted, conferences have been organised about gender but it is crucial that we now move beyond the symbolic surface level.

This fatigue was at the core of the annual conference of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives, “Integrating Gender Perspective and Accountability, Top-Down versus Bottom-up Approach” (4-7 June 2019). During the conference, a lot of issues were tackled, from the importance of female role models and women in position of leadership, to the crucial role of education in changing attitudes and behaviours. It was very surprising to see women from the audience – including military representatives – who spoke about their feeling of impatience and fatigue concerning gender efforts and the need to move forward on the implementation of NATO policies on gender.

During the conference the book NATO, Gender and the Military: Women organising from within was launched. This book studies NATO’s engagement with gender issues and questions NATO as a hegemonic masculine institution. It highlights the fact that gender work is not new for NATO, and that the organisation has long been aware of the importance of including women and of the risks of ignoring them, but it takes quite a long time to see real action. The book reveals the hard work undertaken by women within NATO to advocate for change on gender, and the institutional resistance they encountered.

In order to prevent so-called fatigue from slowing the progress already made, creative initiatives need to take place. For instance, QCEA is currently launching a new project in partnership with the UACES-Gendering EU Studies Research Network. The global objective of this project is to address gender inclusiveness across peace and security institutions, looking in particular at leadership, strategies for overcoming institutional resistance and a lack of knowledge about the connections between gender and peacebuilding.

To that end, three short videos will be published, accompanied with concrete guidelines for people working in these institutions, on the ground as part of military operations and also those acting as gender advisors. The videos will explore three key topics:

  • Why does gender matter?
  • What does gender leadership look like in practice?
  • Overcoming resistance to gender in an operational context

A dedicated webpage will also be created to showcase these resources and reach as many people as possible. This project is one of many initiatives trying to overcome “gender fatigue” and to advance the work of equality, in order to be the change we want to see in the world.

This post originally appeared on the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) blog and is cross-posted with their kind permission.

Clémence Buchet–Couzy is QCEA’s new Peace Programme Assistant

The post The momentum around gender equality is both a risk and opportunity appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union

Agenda - The Week Ahead 24 – 30 June 2019

European Parliament - Fri, 28/06/2019 - 10:27
The Week Ahead 24 – 30 June 2019

Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP
Categories: European Union

Critics Claim That Europe’s Courts Are Unaccountable. Recent Cases Suggest Otherwise.

Ideas on Europe Blog - Thu, 27/06/2019 - 12:06

Brexit supporters have claimed that European courts are out of touch and impose their will on an unwilling British public. Michael F. Harsch, Vladislav Maksimov, and Chris Wheeler argue that European courts are more accountable than these critics contend: when these courts defy the wishes of governments, judgements tend to align with public opinion. 

©Corgarashu/Adobe Stock

One of the central claims pushed by Brexit supporters for “taking back control” from the European Union has been that European courts are out of touch and impose their will on an unwilling British public.

Ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum, then Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove decried “an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg, which is extending its reach every week.” During her tenure, Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly vowed to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the U.K.

However, in a new paper, we argue that European courts are more accountable than Gove and other critics contend. When these courts do defy the wishes of governments, judgements tend to be strategically aligned with public opinion in leading member states, as judges seek to protect themselves from political backlash.

Entities like the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg or the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (which is not part of the E.U.) often seem distant and impenetrable to voters and legislators alike. Even scholars studying these courts have difficulty agreeing on whether governments can effectively control them, for instance by selecting deferential judges or threatening non-compliance and legislative overrides of decisions.

Yet a number of recent European court decisions indicate that judges are responsive to a long overlooked force—public opinion. At a time when international rulings increasingly affect the mass public, the President of the European Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts has even taken the unusual step to highlight that “judges live in the real world, not on the moon.” European courts might thus become more similar to the U.S. Supreme Court whose responsiveness to public opinion is well-documented.

A powerful example of European courts’ alignment with public opinion is the case of Yassin Kadi—a Saudi multi-millionaire who the U.N. Security Council blacklisted as a terror suspect in late 2001, reportedly at the request of the U.S. government. The E.U. immediately implemented this decision and froze Kadi’s assets.

Kadi challenged the E.U. sanctions in court, claiming that the E.U.’s actions presented a violation of his right to be heard, right to judicial review, and respect for his property. While a lower E.U. court dismissed Kadi’s challenge in 2005—arguing that it had no jurisdiction to review the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions—the European Court of Justice overruled this decision in 2008, sending shockwaves through European capitals and the U.N. headquarters in New York. The judges stated that cases like Kadi’s deserve full judicial review, and that governments need to be more explicit in explaining the reasons for imposing sanctions.

In response, the European Commission sent Kadi a scant, one-page explanation of why the Security Council had placed him on the sanctions lists, but kept his assets frozen. After Kadi again challenged this outcome in 2010 and 2013, the E.U. courts set even higher transparency standards for blacklisting decisions, despite protests by member states and E.U. institutions. How did the court become less malleable to pressure from European governments?

The answer to this puzzle may lie not in the smoke-filled rooms of Europe’s capitals or the private deliberation chambers of the E.U. courts but out in the open: through seismic shifts in European public opinion.

In the wake of 9/11, the Madrid train and London 7/7 bombings, European publics were highly supportive of strong counterterrorism measures. When Kadi’s claim was initially dismissed by the European courts, one in seven EU citizens found terrorism to be among the two most important policy issues facing their countries.

However, public opinion dramatically changed as the “War on Terror” became associated with a wider erosion of civil liberties, and European publics began to favor protecting the rights of suspects over authorizing increasingly invasive executive powers. Net support in France, Germany and the U.K. for U.S. anti-terrorism efforts dropped from an average of nearly 50% in 2002 to a net opposition of 11% in 2007.

By 2013, European publics’ concern about terrorism hit a low point and only one in fifty respondents considered terrorism to be an important issue. Other rulings by European courts during this period indicate that public opinion enabled the judges to check executive power on the issues of counter-terrorism and fundamental rights.

Yet in the aftermath of the 2015–16 terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice, and Berlin, terrorism has resurfaced as an issue of serious concern for Europeans, and the Court of Justice has since granted governments wider discretion in this policy area.

European courts can thus be agents of legal change and advance human rights against governments’ resistance. But this role is conditional on the presence of public support.

The case of Yassin Kadi suggests that when politicians accuse international courts of being distant and unaccountable, it may not be the judges in Luxembourg or Strasbourg who are the ones out of touch with public opinion, but the governments themselves.

This piece draws on the article International Courts and Public Opinion: Explaining the CJEU’s Role in Protecting Terror Suspects’ Rights published in JCMS.

Please note that this article represents the views of the author(s) and not those of  Ideas on Europe, JCMS or UACES.

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Michael F.Harsch

Michael F. Harsch is a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.



Vladislav Maksimov

Vladislav Maksimov is a graduate student at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs.



Chris Weeler

Chris Wheeler is a recent graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi.




The post Critics Claim That Europe’s Courts Are Unaccountable. Recent Cases Suggest Otherwise. appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union

The illogic of the EU trying to keep the UK from leaving

Ideas on Europe Blog - Thu, 27/06/2019 - 11:11

Foolishly, I always took Groundhog Day to be a work of fiction, rather than an instruction manual. Every morning we wake up to the same debates between the same people, who still haven’t listened to (or, more accurately, haven’t heard) those who point out obstacles in the path: we just have to become better, through force of character, and it’ll be fine.

This is rather tiresome, especially I appear to lack the virtues needed for such Nietzschean Will to Power.

Yesterday brought a classic of the genre, which I caught while preparing tea: The EU is being difficult over the negotiations because it wants to keep the UK in the organisation. The desire not to make a mess in the kitchen meant I was neither able to catch the name of the man making that statement, nor to response there and then on social media (not that it would have made much difference).

Instead, I’m going to work through it here. Because it’s still annoying and still completely illogical a view to hold.

The argument being advanced runs something like this. The EU was shocked that anyone would ever want to leave, and can’t understand that the UK actually wants to do that, so now wants to throw many obstructions in our path, to demonstrate that we can never leave, not that we should want to anyway. Sort of Stockholm Syndrome at a continental level.

This sounds plausible because it fits with a more general model about the dubious motives behind European integration and the shadowy cabal that actually runs things: Faceless eurocrats sought to co-opt our own elites with promises of power and influence, out of the public gaze, but when our establishment failed to get through the referendum, the system had to preserve itself by any means necessary.

Several basic problems with this narrative present themselves.

Firstly, if the EU is so determined to stop states leaving, why allow a provision in the treaty that provides for exactly that possibility? The Article 50 clause was introduced in the Lisbon treaty as part of a more general overhaul of the basic framework of the organisation, not least to underline that membership is voluntary and contingent upon the on-going willingness of states to participate. To use the local analogy, just because you chose in the past to join, it doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind.

There’s not even an limitation on how a state decides it’s changed its mind: it does whatever it considers is needed to satisfy local constitutional requirements and the EU can’t do anything about that decision.

And this is the second problem. Once Article 50 is triggered, there is absolutely nothing the EU can do to stop a state leaving. A clock is started and if at the end of the period there’s no agreement on terms, then that doesn’t stop the state’s departure. It’s a pretty rubbish cabal that puts in place rules that deprive it of any power to stymie the loss of a member, especially when you consider that it’s one of the few International Organisations to have a specific exit clause, so they’ve obviously thought about the matter.

The only ways that the UK’s exit can be delayed past the current date of 31 October are either an extension to Article 50 – which needs the UK’s approval – or a revocation of Article 50 – which only the UK can do. There’s no delaying mechanism that the EU control alone, and none that doesn’t give power to the UK.

Ah, comes the response. The EU might not control the timeline, but it’s trying to scare the UK with talk of the problems of no-deal.

Well, maybe, but only up to a point. Not only does the EU worry about the impact of a no-deal outcome, but the vast majority of independent analysis also suggests this would be the most damaging economic and political outcome, for both sides. It places the EU-UK relationship into a very uncertain position and with some very bad mood music too.

But, importantly, it’s bad for both sides. The EU will suffer like the UK, albeit to a lesser extent. Failure to secure a negotiated outcome to Article 50 will reflect badly on all involved. given the fine words spoken since 24 June 2016. But that’s very different from not wanting Brexit to occur at all.

Consider a scenario where the UK doesn’t leave the EU. Either that’s because a government has made that decision, or because a referendum has made it for them: again, the choice has to be internal. Now think about the British political debate around this. Is everyone going to be happy with that? Will everyone accept this new decision?

Almost certainly not.

At present there’s no good reason to believe that the divisions that the 2016 vote exposed and reinforced will weaken, let alone disappear. Moreover, it’s not as if the years since 2015 will be forgotten.

And that’s a problem for the EU, because its most important decisions remain ones taken by unanimity: finances, planning, enlargement. Even on those matters decided by majority voting, having an unhappy and disruptive UK at the table is not the path to a more functional organisation.

The EU lives through and because of its member states: if those states can’t accept the compromises and constraints that membership brings, then this poisons the entire functioning of the Union, because membership also brings power and consequence to those states. The value of having another member always has to be balanced against the costs that brings.

To return to the this trope of an overly-possessive EU, it simply doesn’t stand up to any inspection, either in letting this situation arise in the first place, nor in a basic analysis of how the EU works as a body.

Not that this is likely to stop it getting repeated soon.

The post The illogic of the EU trying to keep the UK from leaving appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union