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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.05.08: Poland and Sweden defend 'Eastern initiative - 0 views

  • A new proposal by Sweden and Poland to strengthen the EU's ties with its eastern neighbours to be officially presented today is not meant to undermine but rather enhance existing EU policies, according to a draft paper obtained by EurActiv.
  • Mirroring the countries already covered by the ENP scheme, the new initiative aims to improve ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and particularly Ukraine. The draft paper suggests that a new Enhanced Partnership Agreement (EPA) currently being negotiated with Ukraine "could serve as a reference" for other countries. 
  • The new initiative is seen as a complement to the French-driven 'Union for the Mediterranean' proposal, but unlike the original French vision, the Polish-Swedish proposal clearly states that it would be embedded into existing EU structures and does not seek additional funding but is financed solely out of the ENP budget.
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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.05.09: Sarkozy cancels Sweden visit over Turkey - 0 views

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled a visit to Sweden scheduled for next Tuesday (2 June) in order to avoid a clash on the question of Turkey's EU membership just days before the European elections and a month before Stockholm takes over the EU's rotating presidency.
  • But the French president, who is an outspoken opponent of Turkey's entry to the European Union, did not want to highlight the strong divergence of views on this topic with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Le Monde reported on Thursday (28 May). Sweden favours further EU enlargement, including to Turkey. On Monday this week, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt told Le Figaro newspaper that the EU had "a strategic interest" in Turkey's EU integration and warned against "closing the door" to Ankara.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.03.09: Sweden preparing for difficul EU presidency - 0 views

  • Sweden has set itself ambitious goals for its six-month stint at the EU helm but the upcoming European elections and uncertainty about when the next EU commission will be appointed will make its presidency "quite difficult", the country's minister for European affairs has said.
  • Sweden is to take over the EU chair from the Czech Republic on 1 July until the end of the year. The period coincides with the end of the mandate of the current European Commission, due in October, and follows the European Parliament elections in June. "Two key players and very important partners of the presidency – the parliament and the commission – will not be fully operational until quite some time into the autumn, which of course complicates matters," Swedish EU minister Cecilia Malmstrom said at a debate organised by Brussels-based think-tank The Centre on Monday (16 March). To the institutional limbo, she said, should be added the economic crisis and the planned second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, set for October
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.05.08: Pland and Sweden to pitch 'Eastern Partnership" idea - 0 views

  • Poland and Sweden are to unveil joint proposals for a new eastern Europe policy at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (26 May), in a mini-version of France's "Mediterranean Union." The "Eastern Partnership" envisages a multinational forum between the EU-27 and neighbouring states Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Polish press agency PAP reports.
  • The forum would aim to negotiate visa-free travel deals, free trade zones for services and agricultural products and strategic partnership agreements with the five countries. It would also launch smaller, bilateral projects on student exchange, environmental protection and energy supply, but would avoid the controversial topic of EU membership perspectives.
  • Unlike the grander Mediterranean club, the eastern set-up would not have its own secretariat but would be run by the European Commission and financed from the 2007 to 2013 European neighbourhood policy budget. A commission official would be appointed as its "special coordinator."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.02.10: EU enlargement blues, eyes on Croatia, FYROM, Turkey - and Greece - 0 views

  • Sweden remains committed to EU enlargement, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said, even while reiterating the key role Sweden plays, saying membership in the bloc “is the best way to safeguard our values and national interests in an increasingly complex world.” He noted that “by allowing the doors of the EU to remain open, we make a considerable contribution to peace and democracy on our continent,” citing the Western Balkans, where there has been considering disagreement over whether countries riddled with corruption, economic woes and failure to catch accused war criminals should become part of the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.09.08: Forthcoming Presidencies will focus on the Balkans - 0 views

  • EU enlargement, particularly to the Western Balkan countries, is set to feature high on the agenda of the bloc's two presidencies in 2009, with Croatia seen as likely to conclude its EU membership talks next year, said the Czech Republic and Sweden - the next two member states to hold the EU's six-month rotating chairmanship after France.
  • During the presentation of their common programme, the current presidential trio - France, the Czech Republic and Sweden - also stressed their general support for the whole Balkan region and its "path towards EU integration." "The whole region will be a priority during our consecutive presidencies," Ms Malmstrom pointed out.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.11.08: Lisbon treaty storms through Swedish parliament - 0 views

  • The Swedish parliament late on Thursday (20 November) adopted the Lisbon treaty by a sweeping majority, becoming the 23rd EU country to ratify the text. The treaty was passed by 243 votes against 39 at 23:30 local time, with 13 abstentions and 54 deputies absent from the 349-seat legislature, the Riksdag.
  • Final four The Swedish result comes after Ireland voted No to Lisbon in a referendum in June. A small crowd of anti-Lisbon campaigners protested outside the Swedish embassy in Dublin on Thursday, saying the Irish government should have told Sweden the treaty is dead. The Czech Republic is awaiting a constitutional court verdict on 25 November before resuming parliamentary ratification. A German constitutional court verdict is expected in early 2009. The Polish president has refused to sign off on the treaty unless Ireland overturns its No.
    Lisbon treaty storms through Swedish parliament
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.11.08: Debates on Lisbon Treaty ratification in the Irish and the European Parliament - 0 views

  • Speaking in the Irish parliament on Tuesday (18 November), Declan Ganley, the head of anti-Lisbon campaign group Libertas, said the Irish government had encouraged other EU states to continue with ratification of the Lisbon treaty in order to increase pressure on Irish citizens.
  • Strasbourg urges ratification before June 2009 Meanwhile, the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee approved on Monday a report urging the Irish government to put forward concrete proposals on the way forward after the referendum to ensure that the Lisbon Treaty is ratified before the 2009 European Parliament elections. The committee also called on Sweden and the Czech Republic to complete their ratification procedures before the end of 2008. The Swedish parliament is expected to pass the treaty on Thursday.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.05.08: EU foreign policy 'undermined' by flurry of national initiatives - 0 views

  • Following France's example with the EuroMed proposal, Poland and Sweden are due to present an 'Eastern Initiative' at a meeting next week, in a move which diplomats warned could ruin the EU's patient efforts to craft a common external policy.
  • The Commission's attempt to forge a European Neighbourhood Policy with countries on its southern and eastern borders will be dealt another blow when Poland and Sweden present their joint proposal for an 'Eastern Initiative' at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday (26 May). 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.06.09: Priorities for Sweden's upcoming Presidency - 0 views

  • With just over a week to go before Sweden takes over the helm of the EU's six-month rotating presidency, the country's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, has made it clear he does not intend to waste time attempting to unblock the many bilateral disputes that currently pepper the EU's diplomatic landscape.
  • One area where he appears to be more optimistic for a quick solution is the future status of Iceland which – depending on an upcoming parliamentary debate – may submit an application in the coming months to join the EU.
  • Sweden's European affairs minister and former MEP, Cecilia Malmstrom, speaking alongside her colleague, said she is under no illusion the next six months are going to be easy and that the presidency's main priorities will be to deal with negotiations in the lead up to the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December and the economic crisis.
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  • Not likely to help the Swedes however, is the significant institutional change that is expected under their watch, with a new European Parliament due to sit for the first time next month and the current commission scheduled to end this October. Adding to this confusion is the current drawn-out changeover between the Nice and Lisbon Treaties, with four countries – Ireland, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic - yet to ratify the EU's new set of rules.
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

Naurin (2010): Out in the cold? Flexible integration and the political status of Euro o... - 0 views

  • A common argument against flexible integration as a solution to increased preference heterogeneity is that a likely consequence for those member states opting out of the enhanced cooperation is a loss of status and influence generally in the European Union (EU). It has been argued, for example, that the decisions by Denmark, Sweden and the UK not to join the Euro is considered to be free-riding, which leads to a bad reputation and exclusion from informal networks. We test this proposed free-rider effect by comparing the network capital of Euro-outsiders with insiders in the Council of the EU, using survey data of more than 600 member state representatives. The findings speak strongly against the free-rider hypothesis, as the Euro-outsiders are highly ranked in terms of network capital.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.09.08: EU keeps door half-open for Ukraine - 0 views

  • By keeping Ukraine's EU accession prospects alive, European Union leaders yesterday (9 September) steered clear of creating a "damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't" situationby balancing a desire to encourage the country's pro-Western leadership with concerns not to further radicalise Moscow in the wake of the Georgia crisis.
  • The EU appeared to be divided at the summit, with France, Germany and Italy advocating a cautious approach to Moscow, while Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Baltic states expressed their wish to develop stronger ties with the EU's eastern neighbourhood after the Georgia crisis. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

12.12.08: EU summit gives in to Irish demands on Lisbon Treaty - 0 views

  • On the first day of the European Council (11 December), EU leaders agreed on a package of Irish demands which pave the way for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland, which will most probably be held in October 2009.
  • Under the compromise text, seen by EurActiv, all EU countries are expected to keep their commissioner. Ireland will receive legal guarantees on taxation policy, social and ethical issues and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP), with regard to Ireland's traditional policy of neutrality among other provisions. 
  • Transitional accommodations  Therefore, transitional measures have been adopted with respect to the Presidency of the European Council, as well as of the European Parliament. The member state holding the EU presidency when the Lisbon Treaty enters into force (Sweden holds the presidency until the end of 2009) will continue to chair all meetings in the same manner as today's presidencies.  But the next EU presidency holder (Spain from January 2010) will make changes in conformity with the Lisbon Treaty, making room for a permanent President of the European Council and a High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy.  Also, European Parliament will be enlarged from 736 to 754 members in the course of 2010, if indeed the Irish say 'yes' to the reform treaty. The elections will take place under the Treaty of Nice, but soon the Parliament is expected to accommodate the provisions of Lisbon.  Answering questions from the press, Poettering acknowledged that the situation was not ideal, and the legitimacy of MEPs falling between the Nice and Lisbon Treaties should be preserved, as their status should not be different. He admitted that legal experts would struggle with the issue. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.01.09: Member states divided over condemning Israeli attacks on UN - 0 views

  • European Union member states are sharply divided over whether to condemn Israel for its bombing of UN schools and other buildings during its 23-day war on Gaza. Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania are opposed to condemning the shelling of UN Relief and Works Agency infrastructure and do not want the EU to call for an international investigation of alleged war crimes by both Israel and the Hamas governors of Gaza, according to sources close to discussions amongst EU diplomats.
  • At the other end of the table, a coalition of five member states, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Sweden, is demanding that the bloc call for an international investigation in its conclusions to come out of a meeting of EU foreign ministers next week.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

12.03.08: Ireland to hold EU treaty referendum im June - 0 views

  • The Irish government has indicated that the country's highly anticipated referendum on the EU treaty will take place in the second week of June.
  • Ireland is the only country to have a referendum on the EU treaty, meaning that between now and the poll, the government and Irish voters will be carefully watched by both politicians and media from around Europe. All 27 member states must ratify the treaty for it to come into force, with the goal for this to take place being the beginning of next year.
  • So far, five countries have ratified the treaty - France, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Malta. But in other countries, the treaty question is becoming tangled up in other issues. Slovakia was forced to put off a vote on the treaty due to an internal dispute over media law, while the Finnish media is reporting that semi-autonomous Aaland - an island between Finland and Sweden - is kicking up a fuss over snuff. Finnish state broadcaster YLE reports that the Aaland government may reject the EU treaty - and undermine the country's general ratification of the treaty, due to a row over the right to sell snuff, a smokeless tobacco.
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

11.12.2006: Prospect of Serb radicals winning elections is sowing division in the EU - 1 views

    The prospect of Serb radicals winning January elections is sowing division in the EU, with some Balkan EU member states keen to give Belgrade moderates a "welcoming message" ahead of the vote while France and the Netherlands want to play it tough on war crimes. Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech republic's foreign ministers on Monday pushed for an EU leaders' statement on Friday (15 December) to stress that "Serbia remains welcome to join the European Union" while softening calls to hand over Ratko Mladic to the UN.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.09.09: Swedes plan big bang institutional summit in October - 0 views

  • - Sweden is hoping to clear up the EU's distracting institutional issues in one grand summit next month in order to drag the union's focus back to pressing international issues.

    Speaking to MEPs on Tuesday (1 September) Cecilia Malmstrom, Sweden's Europe minister, said: "Our aim is - if everything goes smoothly and the Lisbon treaty is adopted - that at the October council ...we can decide on all the institutional issues."

    The gathering of EU leaders at the end of next month should appoint the new list of commissioners, the new EU foreign minister and the president of the European Council.

    According to Mrs Malstrom, the summit should also agree a "loose framework" for the EU's fledgling diplomatic service.

  • The minister was responding to a series of questions from euro-deputies in the constitutional committee on how the Lisbon treaty – which faces a referendum in Ireland on 2 October and final approval in three other countries – should function in practice.
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