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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

01.09.08: EU-Russia talks suspended until Russia withdraws troops - 0 views

  • EU leaders on Monday (1 September) agreed to postpone talks on a new EU-Russia partnership until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia following the insistence of a bloc of member states.
  • The talks on a new treaty defining the EU relations with Russia were scheduled to take place later this month, but pressed by the demand of several member states, it was decided this would be tied to Russian withdrawal from Georgia. The postponement modifies a previously circulated draft version of the summit's conclusion that took a softer stance on the issue of talks.
  • Poland – one of the countries pushing for the suspension – hailed the final declaration as a victory and insisted its position was not isolated. "We were not alone, we were acting within a group," including also the Czech Republic, the Baltic States - Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, the UK and Sweden, Polish President Lech Kaczynski told journalists.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.06.09: EU parliament sees birth of new right-wing group - 0 views

  • A new European Parliament group that is pro-free market and anti-EU integration unveiled its membership list on Monday (22 June), bringing together 55 MEPs from eight EU states. Calling itself the "European Conservatives and Reformists Group," the new faction lists "free enterprise," the "sovereign integrity of the nation state" and "probity in the EU institutions" among its principles.
  • The British Conservative party dominates membership with 26 MEPs, followed by Poland's Law and Justice with 15 deputies and the Czech Republic's ODS party with nine members. The other five MEPs come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Hungary and Latvia.
  • The group's three main parties are united in their opposition to the Lisbon treaty, which augurs further EU integration. But there is plenty of potential for internal squabbles. The Polish and Latvian parties have protectionist wings that do not welcome Tory and ODS-style free trade. The British Conservatives also have a prominent pro-green and civil liberties agenda. Meanwhile, ODS founder Vaclav Klaus denies that human action impacts climate change. And Mr Kaczynski has Roman Catholic views on gay rights. "I'd be surprised if they survive two years," one EU parliament official said. "A lot depends on the British Conservatives and how embarassed they might be by the antics of the eastern European members."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.03.09: Serbia regrets EU's lack of solidarity with Balkans - 0 views

  • Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Ðelić said yesterday (24 March) that the EU had gone "a bit too far" by giving five billion euro for the stimulus plan to its member states, and "not a single euro cent to any of the south-east European countries".
  • Many of the Western Balkan countries have already been exposed to the effects of the crisis. Industrial production and foreign direct investment are slowing down, and most countries are resorting to international loans that will put an additional burden on their balances of payments. A few weeks ago, the Serbian Central Bank (NBS) governor still hoped that growth could reach 1.5 -2% in 2009. But the government of Serbia was last week forced to negotiate a new agreement with the International Monetary Found (IMF) for a loan worth around €3bn ($3.88bn).
  • According to the deputy PM, "there is too much difference between being in or out" of the EU. "If you are in, like Latvia or Hungary, you get 10 billion, but if you are a clear future member but still not formally in, it is very difficult to access resources, to go around the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) limitations, to go around the European Central Bank regulations or even the structural funds in the area of infrastructure and social cohesion," he said (EurActiv 10/02/09).
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