Sunday

23rd Jan 2022

Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

President Emmanuel Macron's address to the European Parliament championed a bold and ambitious pro-European agenda. There is one problem though - the plans rely on a system of governance that has gridlocked the EU for over a decade.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin

Gas and nuclear: a lose-lose scenario for Eastern Europe

The strong advocacy of Central and Eastern European capitals for including fossil gas and nuclear power in the EU's green taxonomy only leads to another unsustainable energy lock-in for the region, leaving their grid exposed to third-country coercion.

Tomorrow MEPs can end EU animal export horror show

On Thursday, MEPs must press for a ban on all live exports outside the EU, and call for overall journey times within the EU to be limited to four hours for poultry and rabbits, and eight hours for other animals.

Column

An EU-Africa 'equal partnership' must tackle past and present

Competition is fierce and getting African leaders' attention is no easy task. US president Joe Biden has his own Africa summit, and Turkey, Japan, Russia and - most importantly - China, also have Africa forums up and running.

Time to stop China's economic hostage-taking of Lithuania

Simply opening the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, sparked a large-scale expansion of China's economic warfare against democracies. China's actions amount to a fundamental attack on the DNA of the European Union: the internal market.

The EP presidency: why support the right?

This election is marked by the untimely passing of David Sassoli, who steered the parliament through an extremely complex and challenging period. He showed that it was possible to reach agreements through much-needed dialogue, and away from dogmas.

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Column

When the watchdog stays in his kennel

As an independent watchdog, the EU Commission can launch infringement procedures, taking member states to the European Court of Justice if they do not comply. But all too often the watchdog just barks a little before returning to its kennel.

Is there a fatal flaw in EU's emissions trading scheme?

New research has discovered fundamental flaws in a key component of the European Union's flagship Emissions Trading System. The little-known 'Market Stability Reserve' fixes a problem of the past but amplifies future shocks and undermines market stability.

Public support grows for EU 'commissioner for animals'

In recent months, 140,000 citizens and 152 MEPs have joined the #EUforAnimals campaign, demanding more prominence be given to animal welfare by making it explicit in the name of the relevant directorate-general and job title of the appropriate EU commissioner.

Biden, eurofederalists and eurosceptics

While the EU is turning the Conference on the Future of Europe into another round in the outdated debate between eurofederalists and eurosceptics, President Biden has diplomatically endorsed the emergence of the Union as a democratic polity in international law.

EUobserved

Stop Eurocentrism, start a universal history of ideas

Eurocentrism in our education and thinking is actually a product of a German-Christian ideology of the 18th century. Instead of admitting guilt we should change the way we study and teach history.

Covid as Medusa's raft

When you are told "we are all in the same boat", be suspicious. In fact, 205 years after the survivors of the Frigate of Medusa shipwreck were reduced to cannibalism to survive, "we are all on Medusa's raft".

Gift of giving at Xmas? Not unless EU tweaks rules

EU and national policymakers would do well to make a New Year's resolution to encourage a growing interest in donating to good causes far from home - by extending Europe's single market benefits to philanthropy.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Letter

Right of reply: Paolo Borchia MEP

Reply by Paolo Borchia, MEP, to the article "Lead energy MEP silent on gas meetings before vote published" by EUobserver on 23 September.

Letter

Adhering to the right direction of China-EU relations

After four years in Brussels, ambassador Zhang Ming, head of Chinese Mission to the EU, comes to the end of his tenure. Here is his farewell letter on his feelings about working in Brussels and his aspiration for China-EU relations.

Sunday's election in Hong Kong - what EU can do

This election will be further tarnished by the total absence - for the first time in Hong Kong's history - of opposition parties, following the all-out war waged by Beijing against the city's historically spirited pro-democracy movement.

Column

Breastfeeding for democracy

Clubs, associations and social networks help to give meaning not just to life, but to the entire democratic system. Be they dinner groups, voluntary fire brigades, citizens' councils, environmental NGOs, neighbourhood committees coaching refugees, and yes, why not, breastfeeding-support groups.

Bosnia & Herzegovina - where is EU leadership in this drama?

Let there be no doubt: a possible secession of Republika Srpska is the deathblow to the Dayton accords and to peace and stability in the region. The spill-over of such a disaster scenario for the EU is hard to foresee.

The EU Eastern Partnership summit - a rethink needed

For the sixth Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU should better differentiate between slow and fast reformers, deepen integration of the 'Association Trio' (Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia), and address the burning security issues in eastern Europe.

A war on immigration in Europe?

Europe is politically weak because its opponents know that nothing makes the European Council more nervous than a few thousand migrants trying to cross an external EU border. And these opponents, act accordingly. Lukashenko, for example.

Where Germany's Greens and FDP will collide on environment

The Greens and the FDP disagree on major political issues. While they both support the climate battle, their ways of ushering change are vastly different: the Greens advocate tougher environmental laws and regulations, and the FDP calls for market-based solutions.

'Agriculture as sovereignty' under the French EU presidency

One of the challenges for the French EU presidency is to convince its European counterparts that Paris's demand for harmonised standards covering agricultural imports is inseparable from the EU's flagship Green Deal, and the core concept of European sovereignty.

Using Istanbul Convention to stop online abuse of women

Although legal instruments have been developed, no universally-agreed definition of gender-based violence against women online or via technology exists - and this Council of Europe recommendation aims to fill that gap.

How to 'Europeanise' the upcoming French EU presidency?

France will take over the EU presidency on 1 January. If Emmanuel Macron wants to make it a stepping stone in European integration, he should make additional efforts to Europeanise its objectives and seriously engage with EU partners beyond Germany.

How ABBA distorted our perceptions of Sweden

The 'Waterloo'-era 1970s was indeed a positive and thriving time in Sweden, during which much progress was made in society. That progress, driven by the Social Democrats, with Olof Palme as prime minister, ensured a high-level welfare state.