17 posts tagged EU
For the purpose of documentation, here is the EU Common Position on arms exports, adopted in 2008. European Common Position on exports of military technology and equipment
17 posts tagged EU
July 20, 2012
A top economist at the International Monetary Fund has poured scorn on its “tainted” leadership and said he is “ashamed” to have worked there.
Peter Doyle said in a letter to the IMF executive board that he wanted to explain his resignation after 20 years.
He writes of “incompetence”, “failings” and “disastrous” appointments for the IMF’s managing director, stretching back 10 years.
No one from the Washington-based IMF was immediately available for comment.
Mr Doyle, former adviser to the IMF’s European Department, which is running the bailout programs for Greece, Portugal and Ireland, said the Fund’s delay in warning about the urgency of the global financial crisis was a failure of the “first order”.
In the letter, dated 18 June and obtained by the US broadcaster CNN, Mr Doyle said the failings of IMF surveillance of the financial crisis “are, if anything, becoming more deeply entrenched”.
He writes: “This fact is most clear in regard to appointments for managing director which, over the past decade, have all-too-evidently been disastrous.
“Even the current incumbent [Christine Lagarde] is tainted, as neither her gender, integrity, or elan can make up for the fundamental illegitimacy of the selection process.”
Mr Doyle is thought to be echoing here widespread criticism that the head of the IMF is always a European, while the World Bank chief is always a US appointee.
Mr Doyle concludes his letter: “There are good salty people here. But this one is moving on. You might want to take care not to lose the others.”
The IMF could not be reached immediately by the BBC. However, CNN reported that a Fund spokesman told it that there was nothing to substantiate Mr Doyle’s claims and that the IMF had held its own investigations into surveillance of the financial crisis.
La situación político-económica en Europa es ya insostenible. Asistimos impasibles al traspaso de poderes en Italia y Grecia. Los medios de comunicación pasan de puntillas sobre el fondo del asunto, e independientemente de la antipatía que sus dirigentes despertaban en amplios sectores de la población, en la práctica este cambio supone reemplazar a los “democráticamente” elegidos por otros, los llamados “tecnócratas”, que ni fueron elegidos por el pueblo, ni les resultan siquiera familiar.
Green Party members of the European parliament demonstrate against the ACTA project (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) during the vote Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. The European
Parliament has overwhelmingly defeated the international ACTA anti-piracy agreement, after fears that it would limit Internet freedom. A “no” vote in the Parliament on Wednesday would kill the treaty as far as the European Union is concerned. Supporters say that ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — is needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods and other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft. Opponents say it would stifle free access to information. (AP Photo/Christian Lutz)
Greek voters gave their contradictory verdict: While 55% voted for parties that stood explicitly against the ‘bailout’ terms and conditions, a pro-’bailout’ government is about to be formed – such is the nature of Greece’s electoral system (which rewards the largest party with a bonus of 50 additional MPs in the 300 seat chamber). The New Democracy party will lead the government even though it is utterly clear that at least one in three of the voters who backed it think very little of the party and its leader but felt they had no option but to vote for them simple because the alternative, a Syriza government, might bring upon the nation the combined wrath of Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels. This is as inauspicious a beginning for a new government with a mountain range of challenges as one could have imagined.
Of course, starting the ball rolling in the right direction requires a government in Athens that is capable of looking our German partners in the eye and not blinking for a few minutes. Tragically, the New Democracy lot, and their PASOK minions, won the day on a promise to blink from the outset. Europe may have got its wish this weekend. Soon, however, it will be reminded, yet again, that the most vengeful god is the one who grants such wishes.
Austerity is meant as a belt-tightening exercise the purpose of which is to reduce debt. Pure and simple. Of course, for austerity to work one of the following two conditions must hold.
Yesterday I participated, as a ‘witness’, in an Intelligence Squared Debate where the motion under deliberation was the rather obvious ‘Austerity is not the solution’. The advocate in favour of the motion was Oliver Kamm, of The Times, while the advocate opposing it (presumably in the belief that austerity is the solution) was Martin Vander Weyer, of the Spectator. Interestingly, as it turns out, I was called to ‘testify’ not by Kamm but by the ‘austerian’ Mr Vander Weyer. It was clear that he wanted to paint me as a Greek extremist whose rejection of Greek austerity was evidence of austerity’s importance. Obviously, I deserved all I got, since accepting to be part of these facetious Oxford Union-type, utterly childish, debates is a risk one can only blame oneself for. Still, not having managed to kill off the child in me, I enjoy these charades (and this is why I agreed to participate).
During the 90 minutes of the debate (which is curiously not available on youtube, even though the event was sponsored by its owner, Google) I was asked two questions: One by the austerian side and one by the moderator. The first question was: “You are recommending to the Greek government to say No to the austerity package and try to argue that this is not blackmailing Greece’s European partners. But is this not precisely this? Is it not blackmail?” The second question, almost an hour later, came from the moderator, Emily Maltlis, who asked something similar: “Would you like to negotiate Greece’s bailout deal with the troika? And if so what would you say to them?”
In answering the first question, I argued that austerity (as fiscal conservatism) is a total misnomer for what is going on in the Eurozone. That what we have is a Ponzi Austerity which is, by definition, jeopardising not only the Eurozone and the European Union but the global economy as a whole. This is why I am recommending that the next Greek government issues a loud and clear No! to the powers-that-be at the ECB, the EU and the IMF: someone must break this death cycle. And since our richer European partners are too timid to do so, perhaps it is the task of the government of a distraught, destroyed and disillusioned nation to do it. We have reached the point where sticking to our ‘bailout’ terms and conditions is simply impossible (nb. the collapse in the tax intake due to the destruction of Greece’s social economy). We might as well say so!
The question remaining is: What will the European countries decide on their own national levels? If the arms licenses to Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not suspended, the sector’s regulations will prove to be no more than empty shells. If they are suspended, FN Herstal loses one of its bigger customers, and the whole Belgian weapons industry is endangered.
The picture shows the oldest Belgian bullet I’ve found, in Misurata, dating from 1966.
For the purpose of documentation, here is the EU Common Position on arms exports, adopted in 2008. European Common Position on exports of military technology and equipment
Just after France legislators and officials moved to ban Monsanto’s genetically modified strain of GMO maize over environmental and health concerns, the European Union has decided to step in and re-secure Monsanto’s presence in the country — against the very will of the nation itself. This should come as no surprise when considering the fact that the United States ambassador to France, a business partner to George W. Bush, stated back in 2007 that nations who did not accept Monsanto’s GMO crops will be ‘penalized’. In fact, ambassador Craig Stapleton went as far as to say that the nations should be threatened with military-styled trade wars.
That’s right, it appears the reason for the unprecedented move to maintain Monsanto’s deeply-rooted foothold in France has to do with the fact that the United States and other nations are continually pushing Monsanto’s agenda — even going as far as to threaten military-styled trade wars to those who oppose the company. Monsanto has major connections with political heads that have actually threatened trade wars against nations opposed to GMOs on record. As I reported back in January, WikiLeaks cables surfaced revealing and startling information concerning Monsanto’s deep involvement with back-end politics.
One of the most telling details involves a statement made by Craig Stapleton, in which he said:
“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”
And that is not even the most shocking part. WikiLeaks cables go on to state that United States diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto, furthering the agenda of the company across the globe. Is it any wonder that France is being assaulted by the EU over its decision to secure the health of its citizens?
It becomes even more obvious when examining the ridiculous reasoning as to why the EU had to step in and block France’s in-house legislation. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) rejected the ban on the grounds that “there is no scientific evidence” that shows “risk to human and animal health or the environment.” Of course there is an overwhelming amount of research showing that Monsanto’s creations do in fact threaten not only human health, but the planet as a whole. Even the EPA has warned over the fact that Monsanto’s GMO crops are spawning ‘mutant’ resistant insects and subsequently requiring substantially more pesticides.
Consumers are waking up to Monsanto’s agenda and the dangers associated with their modified creations. Over 45,000 comments were submitted on the USDA website in opposition to Monsanto’s new genetically modified strain, and only 23 in favor. The corruption of Monsanto is now out in the open, and only serves to show how deeply rooted the company is within the United States government. Is it any coincidence that a major head of the FDA was a leading employee of Monsanto?
under the guise of, more commonly known as capitalism, free market, and neoliberalism.
We talk about neo-imperialism a lot in my anthro class, and people are like “wat no it’s all good.”
Sweden should be on this map, too!
Murky business going on, with two swedish journalists, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, who were investigating Lundin Petroleums possible crimes against international laws, now sentenced to eleven years in Ethiopian prison, acused of terrorcrime. Carl Bildt should figure with his own flag here..
25 April, 2012, via @Blonde_Phantom
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European parliament has announced it cannot support the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The ALDE leader, Guy Verhofstadt announced the group’s decision on Wednesday.
“Although we unambiguously support the protection of intellectual property rights, we also champion fundamental rights and freedoms. We have serious concerns that ACTA does not strike the right balance,” he said.
While the alliance maintained its support for “multilateral efforts to protect intellectual property rights,” Verhofstadt said it should be based on a “sectoral approach” that was transparent and rooted in “a publically discussed mandate.”
“Civil society has been extremely vocal in recent months in raising their legitimate concerns on the ACTA agreement which we share. There are too many provisions lacking clarity and certainty as to the way they would be implemented in practice,” he continued.
Verhofstadt also said ACTA “wrongly bundles together too many different types of IPR enforcement under the same umbrella,” eliminating the distinction between physical goods and digital services.
“Finally, the countries that are the main sources of counterfeit goods are not party to the agreement, so its value is questionable,” Niccolò Rinaldi, (IdV, Italy), ALDE spokesperson on ACTA in the EP international trade committee added.
Critics have long said ACTA was intentionally formulated to be as vague as possible.
On Tuesday, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) expressed his concerns that the agreement could have “unacceptable side effects on individual rights.”
The EU’s rapporteur on ACTA David Martin had further warned last week that ACTA could “interfere with fundamental freedoms.” He also said there would be no means to “guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights” once the treaty was ratified.
Martin told RT last Thursday ACTA would ultimately turn internet service providers into a de facto police force.
While ACTA says it should only be for commercial purposes, Martain argues “‘commercial purposes’ are very weakly defined.” He also expressed the fear it could criminalize “young people who are quite innocently downloading films and music in the privacy of their own homes.”
“ACTA tried to deal with counterfeit goods – real physical goods – in the same treaty as it dealt with internet goods, the virtual [ones]. I don’t think the two are meant for the same treatment,”he said.
If the European parliament rejects ACTA, other EU members would not be able to ratify it. However, it could still come into effect if six of the agreement’s 31 signatories chose to do so, though it would not have any legal force within any state that had not individually ratified the act.
Currently, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, the European Union, and 22 EU member states have signed ACTA, though no state has gone through with the ratification process.
Update on the European Stability Mechanism
Latest update on the ESM. Concerns people of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estland, Letland, Finland.
June 9th 2012 - Europe-wide action against ACTA #StopACTA #ActAgainstACTA
In one of Europe’s poorest cities, thousands of children are leaving school to help their families make ends meet. Part of a trend that has been accentuated by the crisis, they find work in the black economy or they are recruited for sinister purposes by the mafia. (Extracts.)
7 a.m. in San Lorenzo in the heart of Naples: the kid is struggling to carry a heavy crate of canned goods through a humid labyrinth of city streets. Dressed in his faded overalls, hoodie and and busted trainers, little Gennaro has already begun his day at work.
No one is surprised to see him slaving away at such an early hour. In September 2011, Gennaro found work in a grocery shop. On the job six days a week and 10 hours a day, he stocks shelves, unloads orders and delivers shopping to customers in the neighbourhood.
Gennaro dreamed of becoming a computer programmer, now he is a shop assistant – the most common profession for Neopolitan child workers. He is paid in cash, earning less than a euro an hour. In a good week he can expect to take home 50 euros. Gennaro has just turned fourteen.
Gennaro’s mother, Paola Rescigno, never thought there would come a day when she would deprive her son of school. For 20 years, she and her husband lived in a 35-square-metre flat that gave onto an interior courtyard in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, the most densely populated area in the city centre.
Then the father died, carried off by a sudden and virulent cancer, and Paola Rescigno was forced to live from hand to mouth. She organised a micro-company offering cleaning services, which nets her and some of the other unemployed women in her neighbourhood 45 euro cents an hour, or 35 euros a week – significantly less than the wage brought home by her son.
She is the one who wakes Gennaro at dawn every morning so that he will arrive on time at the grocery. His younger sister is only six, and difficult choices had to be made: “I don’t have the means to buy books for both of them. It was either one or the other.” On the kitchen table, there is an “8-day loaf”: 3 kilogrammes of bland long-lasting rye bread, a throwback to the post-WWII Italian famine, which costs only five euros.
After a heated debate in Brussels today, the responsible committee in the European Parliament has decided to not send ACTA to the European Court of Justice, but to press on and make a final decision right away. This means that the final battle of ACTA stands right now, and has finished before the height of midsummer.
After the recent huge Europe-wide protests, which caught the politicians by surprise, the European Commission tried to take back the initiative by saying it would send ACTA to the European Court of Justice. In doing so, the Commission would ask for the court’s opinion on whether the repressive legislation package was compatible with human rights and charters of the European Union. Since this would stall ACTA for a year if not more, the activist corps calmed down: with this move from the Commission, the final showdown would now be at least two years out.
This also appears to have been the intent of the European Commission: to drain the protests of energy, sending the message that the final decision has been postponed by some two years. The European Parliament would have its own opportunity to ask questions of the Court regarding ACTA, making sure that the Court got the right and relevant questions.
But all of a sudden, with the committee’s decision to press for a parliamentary decision rather than following the Commission, ACTA is back on the short track for the deciding vote in the European Parliament – regardless whether or not the Commission sends it to European Court of Justice for evaluation. It should also be noted that the European Commission has not made any formal decision to actually get the court’s decision – saying so may or may not have been a smokescreen.
Regardless, with the Parliament pressing forward, it is quite possible that the European Commission admits that its cards have been called and that it doesn’t send ACTA to the European Court of Justice at all; that playing this card was all just a tactical move to drain the activists of energy. If the Commission still sends ACTA to the Court, it will create an odd situation if Parliament says yes and the Court later says no – creating a situation where Parliament would have approved an illegal bill. Therefore, it is now completely safe to vote no to ACTA.
This is the fight we have to win. This is where we must ramp up the pressure on the European Parliament, which is where the battle for next-generation liberties will be going down in the next ten weeks in a series of small but important skirmishes leading up to the end-of-game boss: the vote on the floor of Parliament.
This is it. This is the showdown. This is the fight we have to win. The European Parliament’s vote is going to be the pivotal moment, not just for ACTA, but for the general trends in decades to come.
The ACTA showdown is now in progress, and if us activists don’t show up for the showdown, the show’s going down. We had a beautiful show-up in February, sending tremors to Brussels. Now, we need to repeat that message loud enough to be heard – in all the ways we can think of – for the next two and a half months.
Source (in Swedish): Hax, blogger from inside the European Parliament.
ACTA: Showdown Imminent, Battle Stations, Battle Stations!
Policeman strikes AFP photojournalist Patricia Melo during the Portuguese general strike in Lisbon March 22, 2012.
Portugal faces a general strike by workers angered by austerity measures imposed as a condition of a 78-billion euro bailout last year but doubts remain as to whether Thursday’s stoppage will receive widespread support. [REUTERS/Hugo Correia]