Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The EU is facing more hostility from within and perhaps at any time since its incarnation. Writers six major newspapers in the six largest countries suggest six ideas to help redefine marriage. Add your own thoughts below


Strasbourg shuttle

was a trip of 10 hours last Wednesday by two of the biggest hits of the European Commission, Olli Rehn, Finland and Luxembourg, Viviane Reding, who made the trip to Strasbourg from Brussels to inform about the recent political and grill in one of the largest buildings in the French city, the European Parliament.

In a different week, of course, would have done the same thing, a 10-minute walk from his office in Brussels. But last week, the Parliament building in the capital of the EU was half empty because of exhausting regime known as the transfer of Strasbourg, where members must devote 12 sessions four days a year in the French city.

"This stupid, useless and inefficient process," said Edward McMillan-Scott, the British MEP who fought to end the shuttle.

EU reform, structures, institutions, salaries and benefits is an idea that resonates naturally with a public tired of supporting their austerities and eager to see their officials swallow part of the same medicine. In total, 56,000 people work for the EU, and administration costs around € 9 billion (? 8 billion) annually.

David Cameron has made it his mission to shake the EU. If you play your cards wisely, you will gain a lot of allies in the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany for a simplification program, provided that their strategy is to reform the future instead of unraveling retroactive already established. Reopening the past, this is a Pandora's box.

Parliamentary Circus is an easy target and, unsurprisingly, the British are spearheading the stop transfer campaign. He speaks, for example, the use of the premises to move the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Strasbourg and turn the city into "the city of justice in Europe."

most important and meaningful reform is in the cards from next year, however, after the European Parliament elections and the creation of a new European Commission, the EU executive based in Brussels, employs about 30,000 employees. The commission has 27 commissioners, each responsible for an area of ??policy, trade in humanitarian aid. However, 27 years do not there, because there are 27 areas of action that need to be supported, but because there are 27 EU countries, each need their own man or woman in one of the best jobs.

next year, in all likelihood, it makes the end of the former Portuguese Prime Minister, Jos? Manuel Barroso, the reign of 10 years at the head of the commission, which offers the opportunity for a big shock . Germans are ready to go.

"Ideas on the fact of young curators are being discussed in Berlin," said a German official. "But nobody should feel accomplished second or third year."

is difficult to shake the Brussels bureaucracy, but the consensus is that next year could be the opportunity of a species that occurs only once in a decade. The last time I was under Neil Kinnock from 1999 to 2004.

"There is no change in the air. Maybe a big," said the official. "It is expected that there will be a lot of pressure from the new Member States on commitment to change things. Recent years were about to absorb new member states in the system (12 since 2004) . Now is the time to rethink the commission. "

But not necessarily carry parliament. Strasbourg earns about € 20 million per year from Eurocrats invasion months, leaving a carbon footprint per year in the city of 19,000 tons of trains, planes, cars and trucks of documents necessary for the European legislative machine oil, which costs around € 180 million a year.

more members want to throw the circus and stay in the vast modern Parliament building in Brussels. Three out of four of them voted last October in one place. However, the Lisbon Treaty forced to sit in France, 12 times per year. Only national governments can change that. They all have a veto. And President Francois Hollande said the same thing as its predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, although a little less strident. "No"

"The French will never give it up, unless you have received something important in the context of a broader set of reforms," ??said a senior EU official.

Ian Traynor in Brussels

a European army

troops, unite! What if the key to relaunch the European project are foreign and defense policy? And if the Europeans were arranged so that they are no longer the "political dwarf" in world affairs?


often surprised to see the different European countries, members of the same union, acting without a common line or no common front. However, Europe is sought as an actor on the world stage and often called to intervene when the U.S. and NATO want to or not, for example, in Africa. 20 missions led by the EU are valuable experiences, but not always effective or visible. Above all, have a civilian and not military purposes. Operation Atalanta, the first naval operation EU where warships from several countries restored maritime security in the Horn of Africa, is a success that is too little celebrated. Europeans can participate in operations in Congo and Kosovo, for example, according to their abilities and interests: although one might imagine to go to help another act of European countries on behalf of all

course, there is no doubt play to be powerful. "A priority for Europe should be to sort their priorities ..." says Danjean, vice president of the defense subcommittee of the European Parliament. Over time, mean - the United States would like to see - at least Europe act together in their immediate backyard: the Mediterranean basin and in the eastern region of Ukraine to Belarus through Georgia. Tighten the lines of China, each country rather than trying to play their own game, also enable Europe to have more influence in Beijing and in the developing world.

European diplomacy exists in theory. In Brussels, the seed of a common diplomacy inoculated with the European External Action Service led by Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to more or less benevolent shadow of national diplomatic missions. On paper, the potential is huge, because its output has been slow, mainly because of differences in culture and interests between Brussels and European capitals. Ashton certainly tried to make its mark, with great difficulty, in two main cases:. Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the Balkans, arbitrate between Serbia and Kosovo

But what that diplomacy without military arm? As a good person, English, Ashton has done everything possible to eradicate any hint of European defense. She believes that, like the British and German leaders, the continent that protection must be provided by NATO. And that, beyond the bilateral cooperation between France and the United Kingdom, it is not necessary to do more, especially in a time when Member States are reluctant to share sovereignty in this area more royalty. Libya and Mali, nonexistant group in Europe, while the first British and French, and then only in French, took responsibility and decided to intervene. Reluctant, Germany is the brakes.

However, after three years of crisis and debt, you can find some logic in a military approach, at least to avoid duplication. Total European defense spending is half military in the United States. You can not spend more, in these times of austerity, the 27 EU countries could at least try to spend better, splitting efforts and organization of its defense industry around their collective needs. Today, airplanes, helicopters or programs submarines are in fierce competition. A close up of EADS and BAE to create a European defense and aviation giant is clearly felt in the eyes of European citizens. It almost happened in 2012, but Merkel vetoed.

Philippe Ricard, Le Monde in Brussels

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