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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.11.08: Eurosceptic chancellor to take lead in Austria - 0 views

  • Austria yesterday (23 November) formed another grand coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People's Party (ÖVP). But this time the new government is expected to be led by a eurosceptic chancellor.
  • A 200-page coalition agreement indicates that the government will fall if one party decides to push for a referendum on a new EU treaty. The Austrian Parliament ratified the Lisbon Treaty in April 2008 amid calls for a referendum from the right-wing opposition.  The prospective new chancellor, Werner Faymann (SPÖ), insists that a nationwide referendum should be held on any new EU treaty. But his future Deputy Chancellor Joseph Proell (ÖVP) insists that no referendum should occur against his party's wil
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.04.08: Clear votes for new EU Treaty in Denmark, Austria and Germany - 0 views

  • The ratification process for the new Treaty gained momentum yesterday (24 April) as the Danish and Austrian parliaments approved the text, which also easily passed Germany's lower House. The votes in Vienna and Copenhagen mean the Treaty has now been adopted in 11 out of 27 countries.
  • For the Treaty to enter into force, all 27 member states have to ratify it. Ahead of Austria and Denmark, nine countries had already given their approval to the next, namely Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Portugal. Ireland is set to be the only country to hold a referendum on the Treaty, which is scheduled for 12 June. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.09.08: Far right surges in Austrian election - 0 views

  • The victory of the Social Democrats in the general elections on Sunday (28 September) was overshadowed by the resurgence of the extreme right, with the two populist parties virtually holding a near-majority in the new parliament.
  • With 29.5% of the vote, the two far-right parties hold a virtual majority in the new parliament, putting them on an equal footing with the Social Democrats. Both parties have campaigned on anti-foreign sentiment, with Strache waging a campaign against Muslims and promising to pull Austria of the EU if he becomes chancellor.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.04.08: Slovakia, Poland ratify Lisbon Treaty - 0 views

  • Slovakia has become the ninth country to ratify the new EU Treaty as deputies approved the text by a margin of 103 votes to five - after settling a dispute over a controversial media bill that had dragged on for months.
  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed his relief following the vote, saying "with this document, the EU will be closer to Slovak citizens"
  • Meanwhile, Polish President Lech Kaczynski added his signature to the Treaty, clearing the final hurdle in the country's ratification process. It had already been approved by both chambers of the Polish Parliament last week (EurActiv 02/04/08).  The Polish president and his brother, former prime minister and current opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had long delayed ratification, demanding legal guarantees that the new Treaty would not threaten Polish interests.  Ahead of Poland and Slovakia,  seven countries have ratified the Treaty, namely Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Austria, which was the most recent signatory (EurActiv 10/04/08). The text has to be approved by all 27 member states to enter into force. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.10.2005 Austria Throws EU Meeting Over Turkey Into Crisis and supports negotiatons w... - 0 views

  • Still, there is widespread speculation among EU observers that Vienna could be persuaded to change its position. Vienna is very interested in seeing the EU one day admit Croatia, a country with which Austria has close historical ties.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann - EU talks 'can be unblocked', says Turkish negotiator | EU - European Inf... - 0 views

  • Ankara believes that stalled negotiations on Turkey's EU accession can be unblocked swiftly if the Cyprus talks make headway, the minister of European affairs and Turkey's chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagiş, told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
  • Five chapters of Turkey's EU accession negotiations are currently being blocked by France, while three are being held by Austria and Germany.  The chief negotiator said his country had been promised full membership and was therefore requesting "nothing less, nothing more".  "I checked the 100,000-page acquis," Bagiş said, referring to the EU's lengthy body of approved legislation. "There's nothing besides membership. There is no alternative to membership. It doesn't exist."  "What President Sarkozy used to say […] does not exist," stressed Bagiş, adding that "his colleagues promised me not to use those insulting, those horrible phrases again".  Although he insisted that the Cyprus problem was not directly related to Turkey's accession negotiations, he admitted that a positive development in the island's reunification talks could lead to an unblocking of Turkey's negotiating chapters. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.07.10: Push for Serbia EU accession speed-up in wake of Kosovo court ruling - 0 views

  • A number of EU states are in favour of speeding up Serbia's EU accession process in the wake of Belgrade's loss at the International Court of Justice over Kosovo's declaration of independence. The foreign ministers of Italy, Slovakia and Austria pushed for such a move heading into Monday's meeting of EU foreign ministers, the first time EU governments discussed the implications of the ICJ's finding last week.
  • Ahead of the day's meeting, Italian foreign policy chief Franco Frattini told reporters: "At a time when we should understand Serbia's disappointment ... we need to help a sincere pro-European like [Serbian President Boris] Tadic with very positive message." On 22 July, the International Court of Justice in the Hague opined that Kosovo had not violated international law by declaring independence in 2008. "It could not have been today ... but the very positive message would be the handing over of Serbia's EU application to the European Commission," he said, referring to the next step in the process, in which the Council, representing the member states, request an evaluation of the application. "Belgrade deserves a message of encouragement, such as the European path remaining open with no further preconditions," he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.11.10: EU leaders back 'limited' treaty change, budget cap - 0 views

  • Britain and other European Union countries put their weight behind Franco-German calls for tougher eurozone rules at a summit today (29 October), agreeing on "limited" changes to the EU's main treaty in return for a cap on the EU budget.
  • Officials struggled to deliver the message that legal tricks could accommodate both Germany's push for treaty change and conflicting calls from several other countries which had rejected the idea. Regarding treaty change, the key word is "simplified", officials explained. A simplified provision, enshrined in Article 48, Section 6 of the Lisbon Treaty, allows member countries to unanimously adopt a decision amending all or part of the main elements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), which governs how the Union carries out its work. Such a procedure would avoid the need to call a constitutional convention, experts explained. In addition, the European Parliament would only be "consulted" instead of enjoying full voting rights as part of the normal co-decision procedure. The changes to the treaty are to be settled by mid-2013, before the expiry of the present emergency fund agreed earlier this year to deal with crises such as the one that hit Greece. The objective is to replace that with a permanent mechanism. The simplified treaty change procedure will not enter into force until it is approved by member states in accordance with their constitutions. Most EU countries are expected to ratify the decision by a simplified procedure in their parliaments. As for Ireland, it remains unclear whether a change effected in this way would require another referendum.
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have been instrumental in forging a deal, lending his backing to Franco-German calls for treaty change in return for keeping a lid on the EU's 2011 budget. 11 member states, including Britain, France and Germany, will send a letter to the European Commission and Parliament today saying that their plans to increase the EU budget by 5.9% in 2011 are "especially unacceptable at a time when we are having to take difficult decisions at national level to control public expenditure". The letter was signed by the leaders of the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Slovenia and Estonia. The bloc's finance ministers had earlier voted for a limited increase in the EU budget of 2.9%. "We are clear that we cannot accept any more than the 2.9% increase proposed by the finance ministers," the leaders say in the letter. Cameron argued that a planned increase in the EU budget would cost his country's taxpayers the equivalent of one billion euros. The 2.9% rise would still cost them £435m (500m euros). Parliament to fight back By agreeing to cap the budget, EU leaders set themselves on a collision course with the European parliament, which has the power to approve or reject the proposed budget. Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, which represents the 27 member countries, over the EU's 2011 budget kicked off on 27 October (see 'Background'). "If Cameron is prepared to give up the British rebate [...] then we can for sure discuss a reduction of the budget," said Martin Schulz, leader of the Socialist & Democrats group in the European Parliament, speaking to EUX.TV, the European policy news channel powered by EurActiv. "The European budget is not to be compared with national budgets," said Schulz. "There are no own resources. We have no European taxes. We have no own money. It is money coming from the member states. We can make no debts. The British budget must be reduced because there is enormous debt. Europe has no debts," he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.11.10: Ireland's corporate tax "non-negotiable"? - 0 views

  • Eurozone neighbours are pressing Ireland to raise the 12.5% corporation tax rate as part of negotiations for a rescue package but Dublin is resisting, arguing that it is crucial for foreign investment. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Mary Coughlan told parliament the corporate tax rate was "non-negotiable". European Minister Dick Roche echoed that comment, saying "it is certainly not up for negotiation". "There has been some very unhelpful chatter in the background in the last few days about our corporation profit tax. Where would be the sense of destroying one of the great drivers of growth?" he told BBC television. Britain and Germany have long viewed low Irish taxes as a form of unfair competition and the finance ministers of Austria and France said the corporation tax may have to be raised as part of any deal. Michael Meister, a deputy leader in parliament and finance expert for Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said the country needed to consider raising the levy. "The Irish rates are below the European Union average," Meister told Reuters on the sidelines of the CDU annual party congress on Tuesday (16 November). "I therefore see here at least a possibility, given the high [Irish] budget deficit, to improve revenues without causing a negative impact on growth," he added. Meister's comments come one day after Elmar Brok, a senior CDU lawmaker who has sat in the European Parliament since 1980, said Ireland may have no choice but to raise the rate. "Ireland has two options to consolidate its budget – cut expenses even further or increase taxes like the corporate tax rate," Brok said at the congress in Karlsruhe.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.02.09: EU states consider candidates for new Bosnia envoy - 0 views

  • EU member states have begun talks on who could be the next Special Representative of the bloc in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with five countries having declared official candidates for the job. The UK, Greece, Estonia, Austria and Italy had put forward potential candidates by Monday (9 February), diplomatic sources told EUobserver, not excluding the possibility of more candidates emerging in the next days.
  • Once member states complete the list of candidates to replace him, it is to be submitted to EU high representative Javier Solana who is to make a final proposal to the Political and Security Committee (PSC) – a key EU foreign policy body. The final candidate will then be endorsed by EU member states.
  • Final approval by the Peace Implementation Council – the body regrouping all countries engaged in supervising the peace process in Bosnia – in March would mark the end of the process. EU member states at the end of last year expressed their readiness to "step up" the EU role in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to work to achieve a "transition from the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to a stronger European Union presence." However, Bosnia's slow pace of reforms could put in doubt the closure of the OHR (planned for June) and consequently the reinforcement of the EU's role.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.05.08: Lisbon-Treaty wins approval of Lativa and Lithuania - 0 views

  • The Lisbon Treaty yesterday (8 May) passed through the Latvian and the Lithuanian Parliaments by large majorities, increasing the number of countries having approved the text to 13 out of 27.
  • In Latvia, 70 out of 74 MPs voted in favour of the Treaty, while Lithuania's assembly approved it with an 83 to five majority amid 23 abstentions. The document now only requires the signature of each country's president to be finally adopted. 
  • For it to go into effect on 1 January 2009, the Treaty has to be ratified by all 27 member states. Ireland is the only country to hold a referendum on this issue, scheduled for 12 June (EurActiv 16/04/08). Apart from Latvia and Lithuania, the Lisbon Treaty has already been ratified by Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Romania, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovak Republic, Portugal, Denmark and Austria. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.10.07: Problems remain ahead of EU treaty summit - 0 views

  • With only three days until EU leaders meet in Lisbon to adopt a new EU treaty, a number of issues are continuing to cloud the horizon. EU foreign ministers at their final pre-summit talks in Luxembourg on Monday (15 October) left the contentious issues to the 27 heads of states and governments to work out a deal at the end of this week (18-19 October).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.01.07: German proposal for enhanced cross-border policy cooperation - 0 views

    In just over two weeks (15-16 February) Berlin is set to table a formal proposal to transpose the so-called Prüm Treaty into EU law-books, a move that would allow EU states to give one another automatic access to genetic records, fingerprints and traffic offences.
    The Prüm Treaty - signed in 2005 - is currently a seven-nation pact between Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Spain, with four other member states (Finland, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia) eager to jump in.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.11.2006: EU downbeat on chances to salvage Turkey talks - 0 views

  • EU foreign ministers have given a downbeat assessment on the chances of keeping Turkey's accession talks on track, with the Finnish EU presidency openly doubting its chances of reaching a deal on Cyprus and with Austria urging a "breathing pause" in the talks.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.05.09: EU-Wahl als Testfall für Web-2.0-Kampagnen - 0 views

  • Seit Barack Obama mit starker Web-Präsenz punktete, gelten Facebook & Co. auch hierzulande als vielversprechende Wahlhelfer - Die SPÖ versucht es mit "120 BotschafterInnen"
  • Entwickelt und betreut wird sie vom heimischen Social-Media-Spezialisten Knallgrau, die Online-Kampagnen mit sozialen Medien von Youtube und Facebook bis Twitter für große Kunden wie BMW oder durchführt und in der Blogging-Szene für das Gratis-Blog bekannt ist. "Die eigentliche Novität ist nicht die Technologie, sondern dass wir zusammen mit dem Renner-Institut in das Training von 120 Personen investierten, die als Botschafterinnen und Botschafter in sozialen Medien fungieren", beschreibt Knallgrau-Geschäftsführer DieterRappold. Die "120 BotschafterInnnen" fanden sich aus Teilen der SPÖ, und ihre Arbeit zielt mehr auf die Aktivierung der Basis als auf unmittelbaren Stimmengewinn ab.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.12.10: EU's big three call for long-term budgetary restraint - 0 views

  • The EU's three largest member states - Germany, France and the UK - are set to publish a text on Saturday (18 December), calling for spending restraint in the bloc's long-term financial framework (post 2013). Initiated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the letter will call for a freeze in the long-term spending plan, excluding inflation, and also seek to rein in the bloc's 2012 and 2013 annual budgets.
  • The move puts the group of large member states on a direct collision course with the Brussels-based EU institutions, already battered after their call for a six percent rise in next year's EU budget was cut in half by national capitals. With the commission not set to publish formal proposals on the multi-annual financial framework until June 2011, the EU institution may also perceive London's latest initiative as a move to undermine its right of initiative. Still undecided, the framework's period is likely to cover 2014-2020. It is then broken down into annual budgets. Poland and other eastern countries may also be horrified by the attempt to curb future EU payments of which newer member states are large recipients. But other EU members are also set to sign the austerity-letter, with Austria, Italy and Finland among the names suggested by diplomats.
  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sought to downplay the letter's significance. "We know different groups of member states sometimes try to position themselves," he said. "What is important in the end is the commission's proposal that is being put forward [next June], and then the discussions on the basis of that proposal." European Council President Herman Van Rompuy was also phlegmatic. "If there are letters, we are very polite people, we read our letters we receive," he said.
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