Just read the latest version of Sarko’s “European pact on immigration“.
To recap, this is his plan for European countries to bring their immigration policies closer together. EU interior ministers broadly backed the measure at their meeting in Cannes on Monday. Read more
An EU survey sheds more light on the decisive “no” vote in Ireland’s referendum on the union’s Lisbon reform treaty.
The study shows that those who voted against did so because of; a lack of knowledge of the treaty; a desire to protect Irish identity and safeguard neutrality; a lack of trust in politicians; the potential loss of a permanent commissioner in Brussels and to protect the tax system. Read more
A big and rather heavy parcel arrived in the Brussels office last week.
It contained three weighty tomes – including Norman Davies’ 1,365 page work ”Europe a History.” Also in the box were three discs, two large, glossy picture books and two brochures – all linked to the western Polish city of Wroclaw. Read more
Who will feature in the next European Commission, to take office in 2009?
Well, for starters, it is widely thought that José Manuel Barroso wants a second term running the show. So how does the Portuguese liberal re-apply for his own job? Read more
The daily press briefing at the European Commission’s star-shaped Berlaymont HQ in Brussels is an event rarely noted for its humour.
Yesterday’s menu, for example, included questions to the Commission on the subjects of organised crime in Bulgaria, a court judgment on Sweden’s alcohol taxation rules, the Macedonian elections, and Greek asylum policy, among others. Read more
A colleague visited recently from the FT’s London mothership, and a few of us took him out to sample some hearty Belgian fare.
Over his beer and stoemp (bangers and mash, Belgian-style) he asked who in the Brussels machine was the ultimate dinner party guest. A member of the European parliament, a national ambassador to the EU, or a European commissioner?
The consensus was that with Brussels dancing to the beat of the European Commission (the EU executive), commissioners were at the top of the pecking order.
Granted, not all commissioners’ roles are equal. Holding the EU education and training portfolio (where the union has only a small role) hardly has the same cachet as, say, the competition supremo job which gives Neelie Kroes, the incumbent, the power to take on companies such as Microsoft.
But now this Commission has entered its final year and a half, and some of its members have already jumped ship. Markos Kyprianou, formerly health commissioner, has returned to Cyprus to become its foreign minister. Franco Frattini, justice commissioner, is on unpaid leave to participate in this month’s elections in his native Italy. Read more
In many ways, continental Europe is increasingly an area without borders (viz the euro single currency, cheaper cross-border mobile phone calls, the enlarged passport-free travel zone).
But not everything works seamlessly. Read more
An intriguing development here: it looks as if Britain has been cornered in a fight to settle two hugely controversial EU labour rules.
This would be more bad news for Gordon Brown, and infuriate some British employers.
To them, these laws – one on temps’ rights, the other on the maximum working week – are a pet hate, a sign of Brussels meddling in the UK’s flexible labour market.
But many countries are keen to get agreement on the rules, which are stuck in a legislative deep freeze after years of delays.
If the plan – put forward this week by the Portuguese EU presidency – goes through, the UK would have to compromise on one of the laws. Read more