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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Lubbers/Jaspers (2011): A longitudinal study of euroscepticism in the Netherlands: 2008... - 1 views

  • With a unique longitudinal data set covering a time-span of 18 years, we test to what extent euroscepticism evolved among the Dutch between 1990 and 2008. We compare Eurosceptic attitudes on the eve of the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht with attitudes after the Dutch ‘no’ in the referendum on the European Constitution. We find a strong increase in euroscepticism among the Dutch. This change did not develop evenly across the educational strata. We propose to explain these differences through the utilitarian, political cueing, political cynicism and identity approaches. Over the years, the less educated have become more cynical about politics and have come to perceive a greater ethnic threat than before, which explains their stronger increase in euroscepticism. In contrast to 1990, perceived ethnic threat was the main predictor of euroscepticism in 2008.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.11.10: EU budget talks collapse after MEPs seek new powers - 0 views

  • A last attempt to reach an agreement for the 2011 EU budget failed on Monday (15 November) due to reluctance by member states to grant MEPs extra powers in future multi-annual budget negotiations. The EU commission will now have to draft a new proposal, while the first months of next year will be funded on the basis of the 2010 budget.
  • The final collapse was mainly due to disagreements over procedures and extra powers granted to MEPs under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's new rulebook. Junior ministers from Britain and the Netherlands insisted that the only issue on the table was the budget for 2011 and declined to discuss contentious issues for the long-term budgetary perspective, such as raising more EU "own resources" through supplementary taxes or the "flexibility" of the budget when unexpected expenses arise. Shortly after announcing €95 billion in domestic budget cuts, Britain has spearheaded demands for next year's EU budget to stay frozen at 2010 levels or go up by a mere 2.9 percent, or less than half the MEPs' original request.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.10: Albania and Bosnia to get visa-free travel before Christmas - 0 views

  • EU interior ministers are on Monday (8 November) expected to lift visa requirements for Albanian and Bosnian citizens despite limited progress in terms of democracy, the fight against organised crime and corruption in the two countries.
  • To Bosnians and Albanians, the news is sweet after they were left behind last year when Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro got on the visa-free list. Kosovo, on the other hand, has little prospect of catching up as it is not even recognised by all EU member states. On the EU side, some capitals are unhappy about the developments. The Netherlands is opposing the move, saying there has been too little progress in terms of democratisation, organised crime and corruption in Albania and Bosnia and pointing to the political chaos in both countries. France is also reluctant, fearing a massive influx of migrants. The EU commission has given reassurances that Tirana and Sarajevo will make it clear that visa-free travel is not a ticket to asylum or residence in the EU after problems with Macedonian asylum seekers last year. But even if France or the Netherlands votes No or abstain on Monday, the decision will be adopted by qualified majority. The commission itself shares Dutch concerns. In the 2010 accession progress reports on the two countries, to be published on Tuesday and seen by EUobserver, neither Albania nor Bosnia win much praise. "Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress in addressing key reforms. Incompatibilities between the Bosnian constitution and the EU convention on human rights were not removed, despite the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," the document says. It also criticises Bosnia for lacking "a shared vision by the leaders on the overall direction of the country and on key EU-related reforms." On Albania, it says the political stalemate after 2009 elections is the biggest obstacle to progress. It adds that Albania has made too little headway to be granted the status of EU candidate country, for which it applied in 2009. "Activities of organised crime groups in Albania, having impact outside of the country, remain an issue of serious concern. Further strenghtening of co-operation at the international level is necessary, including in particular with neighbouring countries," it says.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.11.10: Nightmare scenario of Dutch referendum returns to haunt EU - 0 views

  • The nightmare scenario of another referendum on a change to the EU treaty in the Netherlands, five years after the country rejected the bloc's proposed constitution, could return to haunt European leaders, with the hard-right Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders on Tuesday (2 November) announcing it is considering proposing just such a vote.
  • MP Louis Bontes of the anti-immigrant PVV, which is part of the governing coalition pact, said his faction in the parliament may push for a referendum if the penalties for countries in breach of new EU fiscal rules are not strict enough.
  • The left-wing Socialist Party, one of the leaders of the No campaign in 2005 against the EU constitution, claiming that the dud EU charter had favoured the interests of businesses over citizens, has already endorsed the idea that another referendum should be called. On Friday, MP Harry Van Bommel, the party's spokesman for EU affairs and the deputy chair of the parliament's standing committee on the same subject, said that if a treaty change is approved by the European Council, it will call for a referendum. "We are very happy to have the support of the PVV in our push for a referendum," he told EUobserver, "and that they are willing to look into the issue as well." Mr Van Bommel was keen to stress that his party's opposition to the treaty change was for different reasons to that of the PVV. "They are more concerned that we not pay out to poorer countries whereas we are more worried that the proposed changes limit a nation's policy space in the social arena," he explained.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.10.10: Serbia rushes to launch accession talks - 0 views

  • The EU moved closer to starting accession talks with Serbia yesterday (25 October) after overcoming long-standing opposition from the Dutch government. Belgrade said a "new era" in its history had begun. BETA, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, contributed to this article.
  • Meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers found a formula to unblock the launch of accession talks with Serbia. The diplomatic jargon adopted accommodates the Netherlands' demand that any further step in Serbia's EU accession must be conditional on Belgrade's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The move became possible after Belgrade agreed to engage in talks with Kosovo, its former province, whose declaration of independence in 2008 Serbia does not recognise. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said he was satisfied that the compromise text had put "pressure" on Serbia to fully cooperate with the ICTY. Steven Vanackere, Belgium's foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, praised the "good balance" of the text. In fact, Belgium made a huge contribution to successfully reaching the compromise. It had to step aside from its own national position as its duty at the EU’s helm is to seek a common position. Jean de Ruyt, Belgium's EU ambassador, told EurActiv that his country's stance on the need for full cooperation with ICTY mirrored the Dutch view.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.10.10: Serbien kommt EU-Beitritt ein kleines Stück näher - 0 views

  • Die Europäische Union hat Serbiens Öffnung für Gespräche mit seiner abtrünnigen ehemaligen Provinz Kosovo belohnt und eine weitere Hürde auf dem Weg des Balkanlandes in die EU beiseite geräumt. Die EU-Außenminister beschlossen am Montag in Luxemburg einstimmig, die EU-Kommission mit einer Stellungnahme zum Beitrittsgesuch Serbiens zu beauftragen. Sollte diese positiv ausfallen, stünde als nächstes eine Entscheidung über den Beginn von Beitrittsverhandlungen an. Serbien hatte sich im September zu einem Dialog mit der Regierung im Kosovo bereiterklärt und darauf verzichtet, in den Vereinten Nationen neue Verhandlungen über den Status des Kosovo zu fordern. Die EU unterstrich zugleich, dass die vollständige Kooperation der Regierung in Belgrad mit dem internationalen Kriegsverbrechertribunal in Den Haag eine unerlässliche Bedingung für eine Aufnahme in die Gemeinschaft ist. Konkret fordert die EU die Festnahme des ehemaligen serbischen Militärchefs in Bosnien Ratko Mladic, einer der Verantwortlichen für den Bosnien-Krieg, sowie des ehemaligen serbischen Politikers in Kroatien, Goran Hadzic. Auch er wird als Kriegsverbrecher gesucht. Mladic wird schon lange in Serbien vermutet. UN-Chefankläger Serge Brammertz hatte Serbien im Juni vorgeworfen, die Ergreifung Mladics nicht gezielt zu verfolgen. Brammertz regelmäßige Berichte über Serbien sind eine wichtige Entscheidungsgrundlage für die EU-Außenminister. "Wenn wir ihn heute finden, werden wir ihn noch heute festnehmen", sagte der serbische Vize-Ministerpräsident Bozidar Djelic in Luxemburg. Die EU-Außenminister bekräftigten, dass jeder einzelne Schritt im Aufnahmeverfahren von der vollständigen Kooperation mit dem Tribunal abhänge und einstimmig von den 27 EU-Staaten beschlossen werden müsse. Darauf bestanden die Niederlande. Sie sind gegenüber Serbien besonders strikt. Zum einen hat das UN-Tribunal seinen Sitz in den Niederlanden. Außerdem waren es die niederländischen UN-Blauhelm-Truppen, die das Massaker an den rund 8000 Bosniern in der UN-Schutzzone Srebrenica 1995 nicht verhinderten.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.10.10: EU to move ahead on Serbia accession, add tough conditions - 0 views

  • EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday (25 October) will invite the European Commission to submit its opinion on Serbia's application for EU membership. But the ministers' conclusions, seen by WAZ.EUobserver, are to say bluntly that Serbia cannot go further toward EU accession without the arrest of war crimes suspects Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic and a constructive approach in the upcoming dialogue with Kosovo.
  • After two nights of long and tiring talks, the representatives of 26 EU countries and the Netherlands on Friday agreed the final text of the ministers' communique. The compromise consists of several elements: Ministers will voice strong support for Serbian president Boris Tadic; they will say Belgrade's attitude toward Kosovo is a key condition for further Serbian EU integration; and they will make clear Serbia cannot obtain official EU candidate status unless all EU member states, including the Netherlands, agree on a positive assessment of its co-operation with the Hague War Crimes Tribunal (ICTY), based on ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz' reports.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

07.10.10: Fuehle defends, Brammertz criticizes - 0 views

  • Holland shall decide about application by Serbia for the candidate status on October 13, ‘Blic’ learns. Information one could get in The Hague yesterday is that report by the chief Hague prosecutor Serge Brammertz that ‘conditioning and pressure’ should remain as crucial for arrest of the war crimes suspects, has not left much room to the Dutch to decide.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.07.10: Iceland membership talks formally begin Tuesday - 0 views

  • At their last meeting before the summer break, EU foreign ministers on Monday (26 July) gave the greenlight for the start of negotiations on Iceland's membership bid. Talks will formally begin on Tuesday. The small north Atlantic island, with a population of just 320,000, has aligned itself with many EU laws and is seen as fitting snugly with the slightly more ineffable European 'norms', but negotiations on a few key issues - such as fishing rights and its traditional whale hunting - are expected to be difficult.
  • In addition, the UK and the Netherlands have linked actual membership with resolution of a dispute over the €3.8 billion in British and Dutch savings, lost in the banking crisis that consumed the nation in 2008. After the Icelandic Icesave internet bank collapsed two years ago, depositers in the UK and the Netherlands were compensated by their governments. The Hague and London now are demanding Reykjavik pay them back.
  • Icelanders themselves in a recent referendum rejected a payout plan that would have cost each household tens of thousands of euros. The disagreement has soured the population's sentiment towards the EU. Immediately after the crisis, a majority of Icelanders looked to the EU as a solution to their problems, but the bitter fight with London and the Hague has slashed support for EU membership on the island. In addition to potential controversial policy issues, there is also the increasingly negative opinion of Icelanders towards EU membership.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.06.10: Iceland gets EU green light, but Dutch PM warns of 'hard demands' ahead - 0 views

  • European leaders have finally given the green light for Iceland to begin EU accession negotiations, but the Dutch Prime Minister has indicated it will be hard for the country to join if it does not pay for losses incurred in the Icelandic banking collapse. Mid-afternoon on Thursday (17 June), the summer European Council in Brussels signed off on language approving the start of official talks. The British and the Dutch insisted however on wording that made implicit mention of the ongoing banking dispute.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.10: Serbia takes decisive step in EU effort | EurActiv - 0 views

  • Serbia took a step forward yesterday (14 June) on the road to joining the European Union, with EU governments rewarding its improved cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
  • EU foreign ministers agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg to start implementing an accord with Serbia known as the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), a prerequisite of any further assessment of a country's prospects for membership.The decision follows a positive assessment of Belgrade's assistance given to the International Criminal Tribunal, and bolsters Serbia's efforts to shake off international isolation following wars in the aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia.
  • Background Belgrade was offered the chance to sign an EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in April 2008, as the Union moved to boost pro-European forces ahead of crucial national elections (EurActiv 30/04/08). Serbia ratified the SAA in September 2008 (EurActiv 09/09/08). However, the agreement is yet to enter into force, leading the European Commission to consider a membership application as premature. On the EU side, the Dutch government's attitude has been the only remaining obstacle to the implementation of the SAA. Some EU member states have been pushing for the SAA to be ratified since the capture of war criminal Radovan Karadzic in July 2008 (EurActiv 22/07/08). But Dutch officials insisted they will only withdraw their veto once two other wanted war criminals have been arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). They also said they were awaiting confirmation from the tribunal's chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz of Belgrade's full cooperation with the court.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.12.09: Dutch foreign minister visits Belgrade - 1 views

  • The Netherlands has faith in Serbia’s European future, but it is still essential to continue the cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, Verhagen said after his meeting with Jeremić. He congratulated his Serbian counterpart on “efforts Serbia was making in cooperation with the tribunal”. The Serbian foreign minister said that Belgrade would remain dedicated to the cooperation with the Hague Tribunal until it was completed. “I assured Verhagen that Brammertz’s next report could only be better than the last one,” Jeremić said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.10.09: 2009 EC report: positive outlook for Serbia - 0 views

  • The European Commission (EC) last week gave a thumbs-up to Serbia's implementation of European standards on the road to EU membership and called on the Union to implement its Interim Trade Agreement with Serbia. Serbia signed the accord and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2008. Both agreements were suspended pending Serbia's full co-operation with The Hague tribunal. Currently, the only EU member blocking the Interim Trade Agreement is the Netherlands, which demands that fugitive Ratko Mladic be apprehended and extradited.
  • Serbia, however, still has some work to do. The country must take a more constructive stance on Kosovo, pass the Vojvodina Statute, combat corruption and crime, continue with judiciary reforms, enhance the rights of minorities, and help bring those that attack journalists, human rights activists and members of the gay and lesbian population to justice. Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Serbian Progressive Party, also noted that European officials reprimanded Serbia's excessive budget spending, adding that if the trend continues, "Serbia will be heavily indebted with no advantage of becoming an EU member." Tanja Miscevic, head of the Serbian EU Integration Office from 2005 to 2008, also expressed restraint in assessing the report.
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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.06.09: Croatia's EU talks to resume after long dispute - 0 views

  • Slovenia is expected to unblock Croatia's EU accession talks at a ministerial meeting today (15 June). The two countries have clashed for several months over disputed territories on the Adriatic coast.
  • Background: During the French EU Presidency, Slovenia blocked the opening of nine out of ten negotiating chapters with Zagreb due to an unresolved border dispute (EurActiv 18/12/08).  The Czech Presidency has so far failed to make any progress in the negotiations. Indeed, the EU recently postponed an accession conference after the two countries had failed to show any sign of conciliation (EurActiv 24/04/09).  Diplomats have serious doubts about the viability of Croatia's objective of wrapping up accession talks by the end of the year (so as to be ready to join the bloc in 2010) if the bilateral dispute is not resolved soon (see EurActiv LinksDossier on 'EU-Croatia' relations).  The border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia concerns small pockets of land along the Adriatic coast, which could prove important if accompanied by exclusive access rights to deep-sea zones. 
  • However, this may not be the end of the region's problems, as similar obstacles are expected to emerge in the Western Balkan accession process as a whole, diplomats told EurActiv.  EU diplomats said the lack of a clearly defined border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina could soon create problems "one hundred times worse" than the current dispute between Ljubljana and Zagreb, in which the European Commission has invested a huge mediation effort. 
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  • The Netherlands and Belgium are blocking the ratification of the EU's Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia as long as Mladic is at large. Diplomats say that imposing such conditions makes it difficult for the reformist government in Belgrade to withstand the surge of nationalist and anti-European forces. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.03.09:Topolánek: Stopping enlargement is a 'road to hell' - 0 views

  • Czech Prime Minister and current EU presidency holder Mirek Topolánek today (13 March) warned that stopping enlargement and introducing new barriers in Europe is a "road to hell". He was writing in English during an online chat session, in response to a question from EurActiv.
  • As EU countries are only expected to offer Croatia a realistic chances of joining the bloc in the near term, holding back the membership aspirations of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, Topolánek, who had just returned from a tour of the region, strongly advocated a more generous approach to the Western Balkans.  "The citizens of the countries which try to prevent further EU enlargement are opposing the principal idea of the European Community. The civilisation mission and the enlargement of a space of security, prosperity and freedom must be perpetuated, since these are the values upon which the EU was founded. Introducing new iron curtains, barriers or walls is a road to hell," Topolánek said. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.02.09: "Montenegrin EU application blocked" - 0 views

  • PODGORICA -- Montenegro's application for EU candidate status has been blocked in the EU Council of Ministers, Podgorica-based daily Vijesti reports on Thursday. This took place before the European Commission even presented its opinion on the country's readiness to gain candidate status. Referring to information published by the EU press agency, Agence Europe, the daily says that several member states within the Enlargement Working Group, above all Holland, Spain, France and Belgium, object to the issue being shifted to the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), and then to the Council of Ministers.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.09.08: Serbia to forge own EU path, despite Dutch veto - 0 views

  • Serbia vowed Wednesday to press on and implement a European Union trade deal despite anger at a Dutch veto that came even though Belgrade arrested top war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.Bozidar Djelic, Serbia's deputy prime minister for EU integration, said in an interview with a local newspaper that he was "infuriated" by the Netherlands' refusal to unfreeze the EU trade and aid pact.
  • EU foreign ministers on Monday failed to convince their Dutch counterpart, Maxime Verhagen, to drop his country's objections to unfreezing the accord despite Belgrade's improved track record on war crimes.UN chief war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz had told the EU ministers there was "very clear progress" in Serbia's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.09.08: Netherlands blocks EU-Serbia trade deal - 0 views

  • EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday (15 September) failed to unfreeze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal with Serbia, following the Netherlands' opposition. "There is a very, very big majority saying that we [EU] should unfreeze [the agreement]. But there is no unanimity," French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told journalists after the meeting.
  • EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was more optimistic, however, saying that the bloc's 27 ministers could agree to unblock the interim agreement during their next meeting in October.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.07.08: Netherlands ratifies Lisbon Treaty - 0 views

  • The Netherlands on Tuesday (8 July) became the 21st country to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, and the third to do so following the failed Irish referendum on 12 June.
  • Without surprises, a large majority of the Senate (60 to 15) voted in favour of the treaty, which replaced the EU Constitution rejected by Dutch voters in a referendum held in 2005. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.04.08: Dutch urged to clear path for Serbia EU agreement - 0 views

  • According to EU diplomats, the Netherlands is under pressure from other EU countries to drop its opposition to the signing of a pre-accession Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia, in a bid to boost the pro-European camp ahead of the parliamentary elections on 11 May.
  • The Netherlands objects to signing the SAA with Serbia if Belgrade does not "fully cooperate" with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The conditions include the handover of General Ratko Mladic and former political leader Radovan Karadzic to the Hague tribunal of war criminals. Serbia denies both men are on its territory. 
  • The Dutch position can be partly explained by the fact the country is hosting the ICTY. But it is also due to bad memories from the recent past. The Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995, when an estimated 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed by the army of Republika Srpska and other paramilitary units, took place despite the presence of 400 armed Dutch peacekeepers in the area.
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