Eu accession – Westie Lovers http://westielovers.com/ Sat, 17 Jul 2021 08:16:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://westielovers.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/cropped-icon-32x32.png Eu accession – Westie Lovers http://westielovers.com/ 32 32 French MEP bursts into Boris Johnson over 10-day isolation rule as key inconsistency revealed | Politics | New https://westielovers.com/french-mep-bursts-into-boris-johnson-over-10-day-isolation-rule-as-key-inconsistency-revealed-politics-new/ https://westielovers.com/french-mep-bursts-into-boris-johnson-over-10-day-isolation-rule-as-key-inconsistency-revealed-politics-new/#respond Sat, 17 Jul 2021 08:10:05 +0000 https://westielovers.com/french-mep-bursts-into-boris-johnson-over-10-day-isolation-rule-as-key-inconsistency-revealed-politics-new/ France has been included in a separate category in the government’s travel list system, as double-bitten travelers from the EU country will be the only ones still in isolation upon arrival in the UK. Rules governing the entry of residents and citizens of Amber List countries are due to change on Monday as most coronavirus […]]]>


France has been included in a separate category in the government’s travel list system, as double-bitten travelers from the EU country will be the only ones still in isolation upon arrival in the UK. Rules governing the entry of residents and citizens of Amber List countries are due to change on Monday as most coronavirus lockdown measures are relaxed, but new rules for France were announced on Friday evening. LREM! MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir denounced Boris Johnson’s government for this “inconsistent” decision because she said the concerns expressed about the spread of the beta variant of Covid from mainland France were unfounded.

Asked about the reaction of the French government to this decision, Mrs. Trillet-Lenoir told the Today program: “I am sure that the decision will be very difficult to understand.

“This is slightly inconsistent with the threatening lifting of most COVID-19 legal restrictions in England from Monday.

“I fully understand the concern of UK nationals and ask myself, as a doctor, why impose such restrictions on entry from one country to another where the infection rate is skyrocketing much higher?”

She continued: “The beta variant is for the moment absolutely not detected in metropolitan France but only in certain French overseas territories such as those of the Indian Ocean.

JUST IN: EU membership of CPTPP described as “impossible” in blow to Brussels

“I wonder if the UK authorities might be concerned about the known low protective capacity of the AstraZeneca vaccine against this variant.

“But once again, it is not present in France, in metropolitan France, at all.”

Today, presenter Mishal Hussain, however, questioned this claim, saying: “At all? Are you saying that there is no case in mainland France?

Ms. Trillet-Lenoir replied: “There are no longer any cases in mainland France. The variant is located in Reunion, which is an island in the Indian Ocean both very far from France and England.

“So it’s really hard to understand from a health point of view.”

READ MORE: EU ‘happy’ with problems in Northern Ireland as bloc relishes Brexit chaos in Britain



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The EU’s credibility as a global actor is undermined by the blockage of its enlargement process https://westielovers.com/the-eus-credibility-as-a-global-actor-is-undermined-by-the-blockage-of-its-enlargement-process/ https://westielovers.com/the-eus-credibility-as-a-global-actor-is-undermined-by-the-blockage-of-its-enlargement-process/#respond Fri, 16 Jul 2021 03:43:54 +0000 https://westielovers.com/the-eus-credibility-as-a-global-actor-is-undermined-by-the-blockage-of-its-enlargement-process/ The EU enlargement process has stalled for the past decade and it seems unlikely that any of the current candidate states will gain membership in the near future. Taulant Hasa writes that a failure of the EU enlargement program would have substantial repercussions on the EU’s credibility as a global actor, especially as other states […]]]>


The EU enlargement process has stalled for the past decade and it seems unlikely that any of the current candidate states will gain membership in the near future. Taulant Hasa writes that a failure of the EU enlargement program would have substantial repercussions on the EU’s credibility as a global actor, especially as other states like China now play an increasing role more important in the Western Balkans.

Ahead of the last EU-US summit, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, enthusiastically announced that “America is back”. Several events occurred during President Biden’s visit to Europe to justify this statement.

First, the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14 eased tensions between some European NATO members and the United States, while also targeting key security challenges emanating from China and Russia. Second, a key source of trade friction between the US and the EU has been resolved with the signing of an agreement on the trade dispute between Boeing and Airbus. This potentially paved the way for further negotiations on an EU-US free trade agreement during the Biden presidency. Third, the United States reassured its European partners that it was ready to compromise on climate change.

The US has now re-committed to stated EU priorities on security, trade and climate change. But one question remains: if America is “back”, when will the EU come back to these issues? In all three areas, the EU has largely been stuck in a wait-and-see pattern.

None of these pillars alone constitute a unique enterprise. The new challenges facing the EU encourage different perspectives and an update of the pragmatism that has characterized EU policymaking since the financial crisis of 2008. The EU’s economic recovery since 2008 has been shallow and an equally disappointing recovery was evident during the pandemic, particularly in southern Europe.

Geopolitically, the Arab Spring and the Ukrainian crisis have reinforced the EU’s “soft power” approach. It is undoubtedly a “softer” power today than it was ten years ago. With the new pandemic stimulus package, the EU is giving something back to its member states. But what can it offer Europe as a whole?

Europe’s enlargement process stalled

A week after Biden’s visit, the Conference on the future of Europe took center stage in the European Parliament. Among other conclusions, there was a commitment to open the enlargement process for the countries of the Western Balkans. However, a few days later, the European Council decided not to take the next steps towards the accession of Albania and North Macedonia.

This time, alongside the pragmatism of Denmark, France and the Netherlands, it was Bulgaria that sought to attach conditions linked to ethnic foundations and the history of North Macedonia as a criterion for membership. from the country to the EU. This is more or less the narrative of the enlargement process over the last decade: institutional commitments to include the Western Balkans in the EU and political disparities between member states to set a common agenda to that end.

The EU enlargement process has targeted the preservation of peace given the involvement of the Western Balkan countries in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The challenges in the region are considerable compared to the previous “big bang” enlargement in 2004, especially with regard to economic transformations and the rule of law. The current trajectory of the integration process is also very different from previous enlargements. This has resulted in additional ‘sticks’ within the procedure that exist independently of the Copenhagen criteria and references from the European Commission.

Rather than focusing on the benefits of this process, the EU’s approach has tended to lean towards pragmatism. This despite the fact that the integration of the Western Balkan states into the EU would potentially reduce the risk of future conflicts and keep at bay other actors who risk undermining the stability of Europe through their trade and business activities. investment in the region. Frequent statements since the 2000s have reassured the Western Balkans that they will be future members of the EU, but it is still unclear how this promise will be kept.

Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has added different mechanisms to strengthen global security. Interdependence has grown widely, even among emerging economies, which has triggered global trade flows. In Europe, this principle of interdependence has produced substantial results, not only in terms of economic security, but also at the social level.

In this context, security is widely seen as a fundamental requirement for ensuring economic growth and social stability. Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike agree that European integration is not only an economic project, but also a project focused on peace and security. Indeed, the EU’s single market would not be possible without security in Europe.

EU Member States must recognize that despite their differing views on the enlargement process, a failed enlargement program would weaken the EU’s ability to foster peace and prosperity in Europe. This would challenge the EU’s status as a model for the rest of the world, while undermining its efforts to promote better global governance, the transition to a green economy, human rights and democracy. The enlargement of the EU has undoubtedly contributed to strengthening security in Europe and has also clearly benefited the single market.

Chinese competition

The European Parliament encouraged the other EU institutions, in particular the European Council, to speed up the enlargement process because of the increasingly important role that other states are now playing in the Western Balkans.

At recent G7 and NATO summits, Italy and Germany have expressed skepticism about the threat China poses to Europe. China is a major market for German exports, and it made headlines by providing early aid to Italy during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy is also the only country in Western Europe that has chosen to participate in the ‘belt and roadinitiative.

The Western Balkans represent less than one percent of the EU’s GDP. The impact of the Belt and Road Initiative in the region, which is in urgent need of improved infrastructure, could be considerable. China has shown an increased willingness to cultivate relations with emerging economies and the question now facing the EU is how it can protect the attractiveness of its model of governance.

It all depends on the enlargement process. The negotiations, with their multiple chapters and benchmarks, are a mechanism for sustaining the dream of membership of the Western Balkan states, but it is not clear to what extent these states can become resilient to this strategy.

To cope with this stalled process, the EU must once again place enlargement at the center of its agenda. Politics undoubtedly remains a useful narrative for linking regional security in the Western Balkans with European security, but the fact remains that there seems little reason to believe that states in the region are likely to join the EU in the near future.

For more information, see the recent author’s post LEQS Discussion Paper


Note: This article gives the author’s point of view, not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy or the London School of Economics. Featured Image Credit: European Council




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EU could collapse after Poland expresses desire to exit amid fears of ‘loss of sovereignty’ | World | New https://westielovers.com/eu-could-collapse-after-poland-expresses-desire-to-exit-amid-fears-of-loss-of-sovereignty-world-new/ https://westielovers.com/eu-could-collapse-after-poland-expresses-desire-to-exit-amid-fears-of-loss-of-sovereignty-world-new/#respond Wed, 14 Jul 2021 16:46:11 +0000 https://westielovers.com/eu-could-collapse-after-poland-expresses-desire-to-exit-amid-fears-of-loss-of-sovereignty-world-new/ EU: expert fears Poland will be “marginalized” Poland’s future position in the EU has been called into question following a series of legal battles. The country is ruled by the Eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has repeatedly acted to undermine EU law. This week, the Polish Constitutional Court – its highest court – […]]]>


EU: expert fears Poland will be “marginalized”

Poland’s future position in the EU has been called into question following a series of legal battles. The country is ruled by the Eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has repeatedly acted to undermine EU law. This week, the Polish Constitutional Court – its highest court – adjourned its case on the compatibility of provisions of EU law with the country’s constitution.

As proceedings resume later this week, the move will likely further exacerbate the relationship crisis.

Warsaw claims that the European Commission is committing unwarranted interference in Poland’s internal affairs.

Yet critics say questioning the rule of EU law undermines the operation of the bloc and, vitally, jeopardizes Poland’s membership.

It is unlikely that this concerns the PiS and its members who occupy the positions of prime minister and openly anti-Brussels president.

EU news: bloc involved in dispute with Poland (Image: GETTY)

Mateusz Morawiecki: Polish Prime Minister expressed anti-EU views

Mateusz Morawiecki: Polish Prime Minister expressed anti-EU views (Image: GETTY)

In fact, the party would probably be more than happy to withdraw Poland’s participation in the bloc given the previous rhetoric of its members.

Last year, PiS Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński expressed fears that Poland would lose its “sovereignty” to the benefit of the EU, which was a deciding factor in Britain’s Brexit vote.

He said that accepting rule of law conditions in the country’s budget would be a “loss of sovereignty for our country”.

If the PiS acted on such an argument, the EU’s influence over it and the surrounding region could slowly crumble.

JUSTIN: Britain’s trade push sparks urgent demands from Nexit

Ursula von der Leyen: VDL and Morawiecki photographed together

Ursula von der Leyen: VDL and Morawiecki photographed together (Image: GETTY)

Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sent a letter to the EU threatening to veto its 2021-2027 budget if access to EU funds were made conditional on governments’ compliance with the Rule of law.

Eventually, Brussels succumbed to the demands of Poland and Hungary, both having managed to avoid the threat of losing EU funds due to rule of law violations.

However, these diversions are only temporary.

At the last hearing, Krzysztof Szczucki of the Legislative Center of the Government told the court: “The constitution occupies the highest position in the hierarchy of legal acts.

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Hungary: Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Hungary: Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Image: GETTY)

Jarosław Kaczyński: The party president co-founded Law and Justice in 2001 with his twin brother

Jarosław Kaczyński: The party president co-founded Law and Justice in 2001 with his twin brother (Image: GETTY)

“It was not possible to delegate to an authority outside the state the competence to take decisions which infringe the constitution.”

Ultimately, PiS argues that the EU is interfering with Poland’s right to make its own laws by challenging reforms, thus undermining the country’s decision-making process.

In March, Morawiecki asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the primacy of the Polish constitution.

The country has experienced a few years of turbulence in its relations with the EU, apart from the constitutional question.

Morawiecki profile: he took office in 2017

Morawiecki profile: he took office in 2017 (Image: Newspapers Express)

Politico notes that Poland and Brussels also have completely different interpretations and visions of the same things.

He said that while the EU uses terms like “money” or “funds” when discussing budgets, the PiS refers instead to “ideology”, “sovereignty” and “civilization”.

Mr Morawiecki has made several anti-EU speeches to the Polish parliament, more recently defending the budget veto in which he compared the bloc to the former Polish communist regime, denounced against the “arbitrary decisions” of the “Eurocrats” and “the European oligarchy “.

Despite government opposition to the bloc, it is well known that the EU is popular among Poles.

Politics: Many are now closely watching Poland's fight with the EU

Politics: Many are now closely watching Poland’s fight with the EU (Image: GETTY)

In the 2003 membership referendum, 74% of voters supported EU membership, and according to Politico, “they have become even more pro-EU since then”.

Since 2004, Poland has received € 127 billion net (£ 108 billion) – more than any other member country.

It is not clear how the EU will bend Poland so that it plays at its own pace.

Many note that she must do something before Poland goes too far in undermining its legitimacy and power on the continent.



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Dashing into the waiting room: an overview of Bulgaria’s plan to adopt the euro https://westielovers.com/dashing-into-the-waiting-room-an-overview-of-bulgarias-plan-to-adopt-the-euro/ https://westielovers.com/dashing-into-the-waiting-room-an-overview-of-bulgarias-plan-to-adopt-the-euro/#respond Sun, 11 Jul 2021 07:12:56 +0000 https://westielovers.com/dashing-into-the-waiting-room-an-overview-of-bulgarias-plan-to-adopt-the-euro/ While seeking EU membership in the early 2000s, Sofia started arguing about its possible membership of the euro zone. And, in fact, the number of experts and The politicians who are at least somewhat hesitant is not small. In addition, no country has adopted the common currency since 2015, when Lithuania abandoned its currency after […]]]>


While seeking EU membership in the early 2000s, Sofia started arguing about its possible membership of the euro zone. And, in fact, the number of experts and The politicians who are at least somewhat hesitant is not small. In addition, no country has adopted the common currency since 2015, when Lithuania abandoned its currency after its Baltic neighbors. Against the backdrop of Brexit and the pandemic-induced double-dip recession, it’s hard to imagine the stall ending now. Yet Bulgaria has a permanent commitment adopt the common European currency affirmed in the 2007 accession treaty. Thus, many say that the country remains in the waiting room of the euro zone with no clear path out of it.

The national plan for the introduction of the euro

But with his National plan for the introduction of the euro (NPIE), Bulgaria is trying to turn the tide. According to the document, Bulgarians will go through one month only adjustments before being unable to use Lev. This means that the euro and the lev will both have legal courses in the country for barely a month. The only help for the consumer will be the use of dual currency price tags to five more months.

According to this tight schedule, Bulgaria would need to consolidate its public finances during the next biennium. In fact, before a country can adopt the common currency, it must stick to a few macroecomic criteria. In particular, the candidate must prove that his currency is stable and that his public finances are sound. Fortunately for Bulgaria, exchange rates are not a problem thanks to the peculiarity Monetary advice it was adopted in 1997. However, even a brief overview of the four remaining requirements clearly shows how difficult it will be to join the euro area.

Inflation: soon a new challenge

First of all, one of the most difficult criteria for a country like Bulgaria to meet is that of inflation. Intuitively, since inflation measures the price change in an economy, there is a simple reason behind this benchmark. Indeed, allowing a country where prices are rising too quickly to join can destabilize its peers and weaken the euro. Historically, Bulgaria has had lower inflation rate than its neighbors in the Western Balkans which are mostly outside the EU. Nevertheless, prices fluctuated quite strongly from the late 1980s until winter hyperinflationary crisis 1996-1997.

In technical terms, the country’s 12-month average inflation rate (year-on-year) should be contained within the so-called reference value. That is, the benchmark is equal to the average of the three lowest inflation rates among EU countries plus 1.5 percentage points. Significantly, using data from March 2021, Bulgaria exceeds the target by only 0.066%. Nevertheless, the crisis induced by the pandemic has distorted these calculations slightly giving the impression of downward convergence between EU countries. In fact, the collapse of supply and, above all, of demand caused a reduction in inflation at all levels. In addition, the inequality of the post-crisis rebound – a so-called k-shaped recovery – creates a new rift. In fact, Bulgaria now comfortably meets the criteria, as its 12-month average inflation is 0.13% below the benchmark.

However, other EU governments soon eliminated budgetary supports and their savings should absorb the current spike in inflation. Thus, the structural differences between the Bulgarian economy and its weaknesses will most likely prevail in the near future. In fact, before the pandemic, Bulgarian inflation exceeded the threshold of 0.67%. Therefore, it is to be expected that Sofia’s difficulty in coming out of the crisis will reappear in a persistent overrun of inflation.

Budget deficit: a legacy of the pandemic

Another, perhaps better known, “convergence criterion” concerns budget deficits and surpluses, or more precisely their ratio to GDP. In simpler terms, a government runs a budget deficit when its spending exceeds its revenue stream. The State must therefore cover the missing amount by means other than tax revenue. More often than not, the Bulgarian government has withdrawn money from the “tax reserve” – mostly from past savings. In addition, Bulgaria also solicits money in international markets by issuing different types of government bonds. Obviously, when revenues are greater than expenses, the budget shows a surplus. Over the past two decades, thanks to its rapid economic growth, Bulgaria has managed to meet this target (Figure 2).

To adopt the euro, the public deficit / relative GDP surplus of a country must not exceed 3% the previous year. In addition, the forecast published by the European Commission of deficit / surplus of GDP should also be less than 3%. In general, the EU interpreted these rules strictly, thus considering figures “slightly above the limit” as unacceptable.

Historical data shows that Bulgaria’s budget deficit to GDP ratio has been consistently within an acceptable range between 2009 and 2019. Apparently this suggests that Bulgaria should not have any particular problem successfully meeting this requirement. But the pandemic-induced recession radically changed that simple fact. In fact, the latest data for 2020 shows a deficit of around -3.4%, which is even better than the Eurozone’s -7.4%. And all forecasts suggest that the health of the Bulgarian public finances will only get worse.

Public debt: the test ahead

The third convergence criterion is strictly linked to the second with regard to public debt and its ratio to GDP. To understand this link, we can imagine a debt resulting from the accumulation of deficits over time. In fact, savings or “reserves” can help cover the deficit for a period of time when needed. But running massive deficits for many years will lead to the exhaustion of all savings. So, prolonged deficits will end up creating a huge pile of debt in the same way that surpluses lead to savings. Since most of Bulgaria has a balanced budget, it has also boasted of low debt in recent decades (Figure 3).

Adoption of the euro is conditional on a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio being below the 60% limit as a general rule. However, there may be exceptions in particular cases if the ratio has “fallen sufficiently and [is …] approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace”. Clearly, the data shows that for Bulgaria it will be difficult to miss the debt-to-GDP target anytime soon. In fact, this indicator has been consistently within the acceptable range between 2009 and 2020. Nonetheless, as noted in the previous paragraphs, the pandemic-induced recession has significantly worsened the country’s public finances. On the contrary, Bulgaria is already on the verge of asking the markets for several billion euros in loans in 2021. Thus, if the deficit is not brought under control quickly and GDP growth does not restart, the debt will increase.

Likewise, if the debt increases, Bulgaria could also face higher interest rates. But, to join the euro zone, the security of a 10-year country should not pay more than that of the EU. reference value. Predictably, to determine this rate, the EU follows the same procedure as it does for the benchmark inflation index. Thus, Bulgaria could miss the fifth convergence criterion due to growing debt. Although this scenario is still unlikely given the data (Chart 4).

Beyond the numbers: national and international political consequences

In short, the macroeconomic obstacles to Bulgaria’s adoption of the euro are not only numerous, but above all urgent. But fixing the economy – which is easier said than done – is not enough. To embrace such a fundamental change, we must let the institutional trench warfare in which Bulgaria is still stuck.

In this regard, it is fundamental that the Coordination Council for the preparation of the Republic of Bulgaria for accession to the euro area which prepared the NPIE has sat under the co-presidency the Governor of the National Bank of Bulgaria (BNB), Dimitar Radev, and the Acting Minister of Finance, Asen Vassilev. Considering that the current cabinet and the BNB have already been on the right track, this is rather a good sign. Indeed, by the presence of Radev, the BNB marked its concrete and immediate availability to move forward with the NPIE.

However, this agreement between the technocratic elites and part of the political establishment is not enough for the successful adoption of the euro. After all, few of the countries that joined the eurozone under the spur of a similar consensus have performed well. On the contrary, the country must build a sincere national agreement on the acceptability of painful and bound sacrifices. Otherwise, like other weaker economies which joined the euro zone without educating its population beforehand, Bulgaria risks suffering massive setbacks. Nevertheless, it is in the interest of the EU to help the Bulgarian authorities to forge this national consensus. After long years of failures, delays and internal fragmentation, Bulgaria’s adoption of the euro may finally turn things around. Most importantly, such an achievement has the potential to restore the confidence of other Balkan countries in the EU. We can therefore dream of Bulgaria’s accession to the euro zone to relaunch commitment and relaunch the dynamic of enlargement. However, if Bulgaria



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This is the fight that Europe has needed for years https://westielovers.com/this-is-the-fight-that-europe-has-needed-for-years/ https://westielovers.com/this-is-the-fight-that-europe-has-needed-for-years/#respond Sat, 10 Jul 2021 04:01:00 +0000 https://westielovers.com/this-is-the-fight-that-europe-has-needed-for-years/ Tensions have been boiling for some time, but in recent days two events have made it clear that the issue can no longer be ignored. On Wednesday this week, members of the European Parliament presented a lawsuit for the European Commission, the executive arm of the bloc, to deprive Hungary of its EU funding because […]]]>


Tensions have been boiling for some time, but in recent days two events have made it clear that the issue can no longer be ignored.

On Wednesday this week, members of the European Parliament presented a lawsuit for the European Commission, the executive arm of the bloc, to deprive Hungary of its EU funding because it does not fulfill its obligations as a member state of the bloc. ‘EU.

While the case makes no mention of Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ laws, instead focusing on the country’s attacks on judicial independence, among other things, MEPs presenting the case made it clear to CNN that the two are related.

Katalin Csech, a Hungarian opposition MP, explained that the report “establishes the legal case” for the withdrawal of funding from the Orban government through what is called the rule of law mechanism, “on the basis of its endemic corruption “. She adds that corruption is “intimately linked to human rights violations like the recent attack on the LGBTI community” because “an independent judiciary should also protect the rights of LGBTI people”.

His German colleague, Daniel Freund, says the focus on the rule of law is part of a larger effort to create cumulative pressure on Budapest.

“If we can reduce their funding, which is the only language that Oran really understands, for his assaults on the justice system, then we hope we can use it to create cumulative pressure for EU treaty violations in d ‘other areas. ”

The new law is part of an erosion of LGBTQ rights that has been going on for years. Luca Dudits of the Háttér Society, a Hungarian LGBTQ rights group, points to a long list of crackdowns, ranging from a ban on same-sex marriage in 2011 to a ban on adoption for unmarried couples last year .

The reality of having an openly homophobic and transphobic government and little independent media remaining, Dudits explains, has created a dangerous “echo chamber” putting vulnerable people at serious risk of discrimination and violence.

“Invisibility means that there is no way that LGBTI people really feel that there is a safe environment to go out, and obviously this has an impact on social acceptance as well. It also affects mental health. , if you constantly hear that you are an immoral person who is a danger to children. ”

“Hateful rhetoric” in the block

Hungary is not the only EU country currently criticized for its treatment of LGBT people.

Poland’s infamous LGBT-free zones, areas where opposition to LGBT “ideology” is symbolically enshrined in law at national and local levels, have been widely criticized as being in violation of EU commitments in this area. rights and, in some cases, have seen applications for EU funding withdrawn.

Karolina Gierdal, lawyer for Polish advocacy group Campaign Against Homophobia, told CNN that as long as “politicians can get away with their rhetoric and hateful actions, they are signaling to citizens that” harassing the LGBTQI community is not discrimination and that their homophobia or transphobia is justified and may be subject to action. “

Critics in Poland would like to see more action from Brussels. Sylwia Spurek, former deputy to the Polish equal treatment ombudsperson and now opposition MEP, believes that the current debate around the rule of law is too narrow “because everyone is talking about independence of justice, media freedom, a shrinking civic space. ”

She tries to convince the Commission to consider human rights as part of the rule of law. His argument is that Article 2 of the EU Treaty concerns respect “for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities ”.

Spurek believes that the violation of this part of the treaty is clearly a violation of the rule of law, which in itself is a reason for withdrawing EU funds from the Polish government.

The problems facing opponents of Poland and Hungary are that not everyone agrees on the legal point, whether the action that the Commission or the Council of the EU (represented by the governments elected from the 27 member states) could actually take is politically limited, and that the broader consequences of unilateral action could create an even greater mess.

“Everything is very tense. Several of the more liberal member states are uncomfortable asking their taxpayers to fund countries whose behavior they abhor, ”said an EU diplomat. These Member States want the Commission to act, “because the divisions between the Member States in the Council make any serious action very difficult, in particular in areas where unanimous votes are required”, added the diplomat.

Normally, divisions within the Council are characterized by narrow, often economic, national interests. When it comes to LGBT rights, the fury of more liberal member states is palpable.

At the last Council summit on June 24, Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, openly declared that Hungary “no longer has its place in the EU”, even before the leaders have met.

During the closed session, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel sternly warned Orban: “My grandfather was Jewish, I am gay and I can live freely. And then I read this law. I know what happens when you turn people into a minority, ”according to a Luxembourg government official. And 17 member states ostensibly signed a letter to the presidents of the EU institutions, reiterating their support for human rights as stated in article 2.

Eastern Europe was once a world leader in gay rights.  Then he ran out of scapegoats

For its part, the Commission fears that any unilateral action will backfire politically. “If the Commission starts to say that it wants to keep these countries’ money, they can say ‘listen, Brussels wants to hurt us and I am the best person to protect you’, thus strengthening their domestic political hold”, said a second EU official. Explain.

From the perspective of Hungary and Poland and their allies across Europe, they are simply showing “respect for Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage”.

According to a statement co-signed by the Hungarian and Polish governments and supporting parties elsewhere, the EU is becoming “a tool of radical forces” who want to erase national identity and replace it with “a European superstate” . Their statement said they wanted to ensure that their traditional values ​​were present as the debate on the future of Europe entered a new phase.

This is where things get very complicated and somewhat existential for the block.

The fight for the heart of Europe

The words “the future of Europe” are often used by people in Brussels, but generally by people who are largely in favor of the EU becoming institutionally stronger and more centralized.

The fact that Poland, Hungary and their supporters, including French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and Italian populist Matteo Salvini, have issued a statement on their vision for the future of the EU is frightening for Europhiles .

Those who love Europe generally accept that it must evolve in order to survive.

“Currently, the union is not made for the challenges of the future. We can either go in the direction of a stronger Europe with more powers, or in the direction of a weaker Europe, which is fragmented.I firmly believe that [latter version of] Europe has no future, ”says Csech.

Spurek agrees that “if the Commission, the Council, have no determination to protect these values, there is no future for the European Union.”

The pandemic arouses deep resentment in Europe.  They may not be quick to heal

So many of the problems facing Europe had been obscured by the unity Brexit offered the 27 as they faced a single enemy, despite the challenges that posed. With the United Kingdom gone, the fight for the heart of the European project is well underway.

There is no easy answer. “The EU must be both a set of shared values, but also flexible enough to accommodate all views on this dividing line,” says Ronan McCrea, professor of European law at University College of London.

This dividing line is often characterized as being East against West, old members against new ones. Many of those Member States that joined as former Soviet satellites had to make an effort to prove that they were ready to be part of the liberal, rules-based West. But as McCrea puts it, “The EU is like a nightclub with fierce bouncers on the doorstep but weak internal security. Once you’ve gone through the membership process and you’re there, you can. breaking the rules with much less serious consequences. “

The EU has always been good at solving problems in order to avoid disaster. However, most of its crises have been economic and overtly political. This degree of conflict over competing values ​​and culture is fairly new territory. And what so panics in Brussels is that, unlike an economic or political crisis, they sincerely have no idea how it ultimately happens.



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Commissioner Johansson wants Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to join Schengen https://westielovers.com/commissioner-johansson-wants-bulgaria-croatia-and-romania-to-join-schengen/ https://westielovers.com/commissioner-johansson-wants-bulgaria-croatia-and-romania-to-join-schengen/#respond Thu, 08 Jul 2021 14:51:39 +0000 https://westielovers.com/commissioner-johansson-wants-bulgaria-croatia-and-romania-to-join-schengen/ The Schengen area should be completed by allowing Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to take their place in the borderless zone, said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson. According to her, this summer “Inspires us to fully restore freedom of movement and to prepare Schengen for the future so that our children can work, study and […]]]>


The Schengen area should be completed by allowing Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to take their place in the borderless zone, said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

According to her, this summer “Inspires us to fully restore freedom of movement and to prepare Schengen for the future so that our children can work, study and travel across Europe, anytime and anywhere they want”, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Johansson’s comments came during a debate on the annual report on Schengen, drafted by Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D).

The commissioner stressed that the Schengen zone should be restored by abolishing national border controls imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The virus is a real danger, but national border controls have not stopped and will not stop the virus. Only coordinated action will help us overcome this crisis ”, Johansson underlined in the European Parliament.

MEP Tanja Fajon underlined in the report the repeated introduction of border controls by the countries of the Schengen area, after 2015, in particular since the start of the coronavirus epidemic.

“The Schengen area should be fully functional now, even if in reality it is completely paralyzed. He is kept alive by apparata,», Underlined the Slovenian MEP in this regard.

Fajon said countries that implement border controls in an unjustified manner should be subject to additional measures.

Regarding the accession of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to the Schengen area, she said, “We do not accept a Europe which operates on two different levels.”

The European Commission has constantly demanded the accession of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to the Schengen area.

In May, Johansson said she wanted Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to join the borderless zone while stressing that the EU must update and strengthen Schengen.

At the time, Johansson insisted that European Union member states open their borders once the coronavirus pandemic is under control. However, the accession of these three European countries to the Schengen area is not supported by countries like the Netherlands and France due to “The rule of law concerns. “

Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 became members of the European Union, but legal rule issues have prevented the two countries from becoming members of the Schengen area so far. The same problems are faced by Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, but it is still not a member of the borderless area.



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effect of Brexit on judicial cooperation between the United Kingdom and the European Union | McDermott Will & Emery https://westielovers.com/effect-of-brexit-on-judicial-cooperation-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union-mcdermott-will-emery/ https://westielovers.com/effect-of-brexit-on-judicial-cooperation-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union-mcdermott-will-emery/#respond Tue, 06 Jul 2021 19:38:43 +0000 https://westielovers.com/effect-of-brexit-on-judicial-cooperation-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union-mcdermott-will-emery/ When the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, several questions remained as to the nature and extent of future judicial cooperation between the UK and the EU. One of the main uncertainties was whether EU member states would continue to recognize and enforce English court judgments when the UK was no longer a […]]]>


When the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, several questions remained as to the nature and extent of future judicial cooperation between the UK and the EU.

One of the main uncertainties was whether EU member states would continue to recognize and enforce English court judgments when the UK was no longer a member of the European Union and, therefore, would not be. plus party to various legal instruments governing questions of jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments. .

One of these instruments is the 2007 Lugano Convention, which extends EU rules on judicial cooperation to four third states, namely Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. The United Kingdom applied in April 2020 to accede to the Lugano Convention (in its own right rather than in its previous capacity as a member state of the EU). However, its application requires the consent of the existing contracting parties. On June 23, 2021, the European Commission confirmed that the European Union is “not in a position to consent” to the United Kingdom’s membership.

It is not known whether the position of the European Union is final. If the UK’s request is unsuccessful, the default position is the Hague Convention, to which the UK re-acceded as of January 1, 2021 (whereas it was previously a member in its capacity of ‘EU Member State).

The effect of the UK’s re-accession to the Hague Convention is that commercial parties who have granted English courts exclusive jurisdiction to hear their disputes can expect their choice to be upheld by UK courts. and European, and that the resulting court judgments be recognized and in force throughout the European Union.

The Hague Convention, however, is not as comprehensive as the Lugano Convention. For example, non-exclusive jurisdiction clauses (allowing recourse to more than one jurisdiction) or asymmetric jurisdiction clauses (allowing a party to recourse in more than one jurisdiction) are excluded under the Convention. The Hague. Moreover, it is not clear whether an exclusive jurisdiction clause agreed before January 1, 2021 will be considered by EU member states as falling within the scope of the Hague Convention. Where the Hague Convention does not apply, courts will apply local law to determine questions of jurisdiction and enforcement.

Given the narrower scope of the Hague Convention and the uncertainty as to its application in certain situations, parties are increasingly likely to adopt exclusive jurisdiction clauses or to resolve disputes through arbitration rather than state courts (the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards not affected by Brexit).

[View source.]



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Slovenian EU Presidency will search for the heart of Europe | View https://westielovers.com/slovenian-eu-presidency-will-search-for-the-heart-of-europe-view/ https://westielovers.com/slovenian-eu-presidency-will-search-for-the-heart-of-europe-view/#respond Fri, 02 Jul 2021 07:51:17 +0000 https://westielovers.com/slovenian-eu-presidency-will-search-for-the-heart-of-europe-view/ “Where in Europe do you place Slovenia? The Balkans, Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe? Slovenian President Borut Pahor posed the question to his guests at the Bled Strategic Forum lunch in 2018. The question, undoubtedly, was about more than just geography. Rarely have Europe’s divisions seemed more palpable than at last week’s […]]]>


“Where in Europe do you place Slovenia? The Balkans, Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe? Slovenian President Borut Pahor posed the question to his guests at the Bled Strategic Forum lunch in 2018. The question, undoubtedly, was about more than just geography.

Rarely have Europe’s divisions seemed more palpable than at last week’s EU summit, as leaders argued over Viktor Orbán’s anti-LGBT laws. East-West divide.

It is a dramatic setting for the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which began on July 1. And a reminder that, although the role of a presidency is above all to direct the laws through the Council, it will not necessarily escape the great European politics.

Pay Salvage Money and the Green Deal

Slovenia’s small but efficient civil service is certainly well prepared for the six-month legislative marathon of a Council Presidency. In 2008 it did the job well – as the first of the ten enlargement countries in 2004 to take the helm of the EU.

This time around, the legislative agenda is heavier, with more than 200 cases in progress. The priority in July will be to oversee the adoption of the continent’s 27 recovery and resilience plans to unlock the first installments of the EU’s € 672.5 billion crisis funding. However, any major setback would be a surprise, as the footwork will have already been done by the Commission.

Things could get more complicated with the mega-package of Green Deal legislation that lands on Slovenia’s desk on July 14. It includes complex reforms of the EU Emissions Trading System, tax and energy efficiency, renewable energies and land use rules so that the EU meets ‘minus 55’ climate targets % in 2030 ”and“ net zero ”in 2050.

Slovenia’s role is to chart a roadmap for rapid adoption, but not all member states will agree with the speed of transition and the associated costs, despite significant ‘just transition’ funding and a proposal. revolutionary CO2 tax at borders.

Hopes and disappointments of the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans and enlargement are also on the agenda, with a summit scheduled for October 6. Since the French and the Dutch vetoed North Macedonia and Albania in 2019, the process of enlargement to the whole region has been in disarray. Paris had been saying for years that the EU accession process was not working, so the French “no” didn’t really come out of nowhere.

But to leave the Western Balkans without a tangible European perspective would be a big mistake. The region is hit hard by the pandemic and strapped for cash, with weak government institutions and healthcare. And while the EU dithers, it is China, Russia and Turkey that are stealthily advancing their pawns.

It is unlikely that an enlargement solution will be found just 6 months before the French presidential elections. However, a proactive Slovenian Presidency could help secure investments beyond the 14 billion euros planned by the EU for pre-accession assistance (IPA). It could also advance the debate on what has been called a ‘two-step accession’ process, with faster integration in different policy areas, from transport and energy connectivity to research and innovation. , decarbonization and digitization, and above all, in the single market.

Defend the rule of law?

If that were not enough, it is on its promise to “strengthen the rule of law and European values” that the Presidency will be truly put to the test. Many have choked on this claim. Over the past 15 months, Prime Minister Janez Janša and his right-wing government have repeatedly verbally attacked the judiciary and the media, including putting pressure on the funding and governance of the national news agency STA. Civil society organizations report a hostile environment and a decline in democratic standards.

Yet overall, amid a sharp decline in civil society, the backbone of liberal democracy is strong in the country. In fact, Liberty house ranks Slovenia above, among others, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain in its 2021 report. But any rapid deterioration is worrying, and also unfortunate given that Slovenia was the star child of the Member States which joined the EU most recently.

On the positive side, the Presidency means Prime Minister Janša now faces a critical spotlight, also within his European political family, Angela Merkel’s European People’s Party (EPP), where fundamental rights concerns were previously too easily overlooked. However, the EU’s values ​​schism does not appear to be resolved anytime soon. Values ​​are an existential issue, and EU fundamental rights or the rule of law cannot be compromised or negotiated.

Prelude to rupture or future for Europe?

It is above all the responsibility of the EU institutions to make full use of the instruments at their disposal, starting with bringing Hungary to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

Yet the most forceful measures against a member state – the suspension of its rights through the Article 7 procedure – are easily hampered by the need for unanimity of EU heads of state and government. The new rule of law conditionality regulation, linking EU funds to respect for fundamental values, has yet to be applied pending the outcome of a CJEU challenge by Poland and Hungary.

At the same time, a more in-depth reflection on the values ​​of the Union is necessary. The peoples of Europe should not be equated uniformly with their leaders; not all Hungarians think like Viktor Orbán, and not all Slovenians accept Janša’s media attacks. The fight for the soul of Europe must be deepened within the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the last priority area of ​​the Slovenian Presidency.

Ultimately, this is where the Union still has a chance.

The EU’s five years of Brexit negotiations have shown that, tested, the 27 member states prefer to rally rather than divide. Even fiery populists like France’s Marine Le Pen and Italian Matteo Salvini have discovered that breaking up the EU is not a viable political proposition for the electorate. The bet must be that with a democratic debate, also in Hungary, Orbán will not win an election on an illiberal rant that takes his country out of the EU.

As for Slovenia, looking at the presidency slogan (“Together. Resilient. Europe.”) And as President Pahor, longtime political opponent of Prime Minister Janša, answers his own question about membership of the country, his place is at the heart of the Syndicate.

Georg E. Riekeles is Associate Director and Perle Petit is Program Assistant at the European Policy Center

This article is part of The Briefing, Euronews’ weekly political newsletter. Click here to subscribe.



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Unification through the backdoor? https://westielovers.com/unification-through-the-backdoor/ https://westielovers.com/unification-through-the-backdoor/#respond Wed, 30 Jun 2021 10:22:05 +0000 https://westielovers.com/unification-through-the-backdoor/ Albanians no longer need a residence permit to live and work in Kosovo. Analysts say the move brings Kosovo closer to joining the Western Balkans Mini-Schengen Initiative. Albanians, if they wish, are now free to live, study and work in Kosovo after the government in Pristina approved an agreement reached earlier this month with the […]]]>


Albanians no longer need a residence permit to live and work in Kosovo. Analysts say the move brings Kosovo closer to joining the Western Balkans Mini-Schengen Initiative.

Albanians, if they wish, are now free to live, study and work in Kosovo after the government in Pristina approved an agreement reached earlier this month with the administration in Tirana.

Kosovars can also live and study in Albania, although those looking to work in the country will still need a permit.



The move comes at a time when the issue of the possible unification of Kosovo and the unification of Albania is once again in the limelight, mainly due to statements made by Kosovar officials and leading politicians. plan.

In January, a former prime minister and head of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, said he would call for a referendum on unification if Kosovo did not make progress in its campaign to join the EU.

Albin Kurti, the current Prime Minister, said in February after winning parliamentary elections that he would vote “yes” in a referendum to unify Kosovo and Albania.

Not that a referendum is likely anytime soon: it would require a modification of the constitution of Kosovo which does not currently allow the attachment of the country to another.

Popular support for unification

Unification, or as many in both countries call it, reunification, enjoys broad popular support in both Albania and Kosovo.

A 2019 poll found that 75% of Albanians and 64% of Kosovars were in favor.

Until Kurti and Haradinaj made their statements earlier this year, however, the issue had not been on the agenda in both countries for some time.

Both countries held parliamentary elections this year, but the issue was almost completely ignored by mainstream parties on both sides of the border.

The real calls for unification would be delicate in the current atmosphere of the Balkans. Several so-called “non-papers” have circulated in the region in recent months, resurfacing the idea of ​​border changes.

The EU and the US have made it clear that they vehemently oppose any proposal to redraw the region’s borders.

As such, Vladimir Gligorov, senior research associate at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), says he doesn’t think removing temporary permits is a step towards unification.

“There is no doubt that Kurti is determined for Kosovo to integrate with Albania, but he has realized in the past that Kosovo’s constitution stands in the way. There is also no doubt that [Albanian PM Edi] Rama also supports Albanian unification, but this would run counter to Albania’s European ambitions. So unification is not in the cards, ”Gligorov explains.

The latest agreement, however, could be a sign that the two countries are becoming increasingly interdependent in social and economic terms.

“The point is that Kosovo would naturally turn to the Serbian market for geographic reasons and for comparative advantages. But these relationships are strained – and will remain so. Consequently, it is towards Albania that he will turn, in particular because of the access to the sea. And there is now a good road connection ”, declared Gligorov. Emerging Europe.

Mini-Schengen

Dr Zijad Bećirović of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, says the recent decision must be seen in the context of the Mini-Schengen initiative, a planned economic space and a common travel area including Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as – possibly – Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The [Mini-Schengen] The declaration involves the removal of border controls and other obstacles for increased mobility in the region, which would allow citizens to travel with just a state ID card and find employment anywhere s ‘they have a qualification certificate,’ he explains.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Rama signed the declaration in October 2019. Since then, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro have expressed interest.

“The abolition of residence permits for Albanian citizens in Kosovo is a step towards Kosovo’s official accession to the Mini-Schengen initiative, as it is obliged to do under the [2020] Washington Accord, ”said Bećirović Emerging Europe.

Until the signing of the Washington accord in September 2020 by Vučić and then Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, Kosovo had previously refused to endorse the idea of ​​Mini-Schengen for fear that it would fail. becomes an alternative to full membership of the EU.


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Sassoli: Parliaments are the main drivers of the enlargement process https://westielovers.com/sassoli-parliaments-are-the-main-drivers-of-the-enlargement-process/ https://westielovers.com/sassoli-parliaments-are-the-main-drivers-of-the-enlargement-process/#respond Mon, 28 Jun 2021 16:39:07 +0000 https://westielovers.com/sassoli-parliaments-are-the-main-drivers-of-the-enlargement-process/ BRUSSELS – “Enlargement is synonymous with hope for everyone. We call on the Council to keep its promises and to speed up the enlargement process ”, declared the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, after the second summit of presidents of the Western Balkans. “Together, we reaffirmed the central role of our institutions in […]]]>


BRUSSELS – “Enlargement is synonymous with hope for everyone. We call on the Council to keep its promises and to speed up the enlargement process ”, declared the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, after the second summit of presidents of the Western Balkans.

“Together, we reaffirmed the central role of our institutions in moving the enlargement process forward. As inclusive spaces for dialogue and exchange of views, parliaments can foster mutual understanding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans, thereby directly contributing to peace, stability, prosperity and the strengthening of democracy. in the region, so many essential elements for our common European future ”, says Sassoli.

He added that this role is becoming even more important in light of the COVID -19 pandemic which has disrupted our societies and challenged democracies around the world.

According to Sassoli, in a joint statement, they further called on the Council of the European Union to keep its promises and to take urgent decisive action to speed up the enlargement process.

“The European perspective and an EU accession process based on the merit of the Western Balkans remain in the political, security and economic interest of the Union. Enlargement represents more than ever a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united Europe, ”said Sassoli.

Today, the speakers of the parliaments of the Western Balkans gathered for the Second Summit of Speakers of the Western Balkans at the invitation of the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli.

They were joined by the Presidents of the Portuguese and Slovenian Parliaments, representing the current and future Presidencies of the Council of the European Union.

In the joint declaration, the speakers reaffirmed the central role of parliaments in the enlargement process and committed to working together to further strengthen its parliamentary dimension, including in the perspective of the EU-Western Balkans summit in 2021.

They insisted that parliaments should strengthen their role as inclusive spaces for dialogue and exchange of views, fostering mutual understanding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans.

Speakers called on the EU Council to keep its promises and urgently take decisive action to speed up the enlargement process, stressing that the European perspective and a merit-based EU accession process of the Western Balkans remain within the political, security and economic framework of the Union.

They added that enlargement remains more than ever a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united EU.



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