Wednesday, 9 July 2014

European commitment and gender balance

In addition to the treaty criteria of general competence, European commitment and independence, as well as the expectation of irreproachable performance of duties regarding each commissioner, we can expect Juncker to bring up the gender balance of the future Commission, subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament. Read European commitment and gender balance

European Council 2013 on competitiveness

In the previous blog post we saw president Herman Van Rompuy presenting, in the publication The European Council in 2013, how the European summits were engaged to enhance competitiveness, promote free trade, to develop the single market and to ease the regulatory burden. The next step is to read: European Council 2013 on competitiveness

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Van Rompuy on EU competitiveness 2013

Against the background of the UK Europe minister David Lidington's calls for EU competitiveness, free trade, single market reform and cutting red tape, we continue to explore the reality of European Union efforts. Read Van Rompuy on EU competitiveness 2013

Monday, 7 July 2014

Reinventing EU competitiveness?

Competitiveness requires more comprehensive action than negotiating free trade agreements, clearing single market obstacles and cutting red tape. Membership of the EU, or even the maligned eurozone, does not exclude world class competitiveness. We must ask what the European Union fails to do, to earn the constant stream of nagging from prime minister David Cameron, Europe minister David Lidington and the rest of the UK government about the lack of profound reform. Read Reinventing EU competitiveness?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

What is competitiveness, Mr Lidington?

When the government of Britain is betting continued membership on competitiveness reform by the European Union, the situation is serious enough, at least politically. Growth and jobs are important for us EU citizen regardless. For our own sake it is worth looking at how the European Union contributes. We saw the UK's Europe minister David Lidington calling for EU competitiveness in his Berlin speech. Read What is competitiveness, Mr Lidington?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

David Lidington confronts EU competitiveness

After the selective foreign policy participation appetizer and what looks like Cameron's self-betrayal over Juncker, we get to the UK Europe minister David Lidington's menu of market courses, intended to prove that there is, indeed, a positive British agenda for EU reform. Read David Lidington confronts EU competitiveness

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Was Cameron betrayed? (Updated)

Despite dark hints about betrayal from perceived European allies, this much should have been clear even to a 10 Downing Street enamoured with its own cleverness, before forcing the issue: If the EU countries must choose between Europe and Britain, they must always choose Europe, as Churchill would have realised by now. Read Was Cameron betrayed? (Updated)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

David Lidington tackles ”misconceptions”

The European Council 26-27 June 2014 conceded that some countries may halt on the road to ever closer union, provided they allow for the rest to proceed unhindered, something Britain has still to learn. Currently, the United Kingdom is far from a fully contributing member state of the European Union, so what more – meaning less – does it want? Read David Lidington tackles ”misconceptions”

Anatomy of Britain in Europe

The Mauritshuis in The Hague has just reopened after renovation, part financed by the European Union. Let me therefore recall Rembrandt's painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, before I start dissecting the United Kingdom as a member of the European Union, using normal membership as the measure. Legal exceptions, historic experience and current attitudes form the basis for a few suggestions. Read Anatomy of Britain in Europe

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ever closer union – without Britain

Since the government of the United Kingdom did not propose an alternative candidate, we do not know who would have been so much closer to their agenda of exceptionalism and narrowly defined market reform calls, as to merit such a vicious and counterproductive campaign against Juncker and the democratic lead candidate (Spitzenkandidat) system. Read Ever closer union – without Britain

Saturday, 28 June 2014

European Council 26-27 June 2014: Ad fontes

To the sources – ad fontes – inspired the humanists of the Renaissance to study the original classical texts and the leaders of the Protestant Reformation to base religious teaching on the Bible. Here, more modestly, I want to remind readers of the official documents produced by the important European Council meeting, which ended yesterday evening. Read European Council 26-27 June 2014: Ad fontes

Friday, 27 June 2014

European Council to set strategic agenda

We can expect a strategic European Council agenda, trying to reconcile different ambitions on how the European Union should tackle the internal and international challenges during the five year term of the newly elected European Parliament and with a new Commission in office. Read European Council to set strategic agenda

Juncker vote

Impetus, political directions and priorities are necessary, but the doers for the EU have to be found, as laid down in the treaties. Today, the European Council needs to take the first decision to form a new EU Commission in a timely manner. Read Juncker vote

Thursday, 26 June 2014

European Council on single market and regulatory reform

After the presentations of the UK review of the balance of EU competences and the single market overview, I promised to look up some later policy papers and developments. This takes us to the European Council meeting today and tomorrow (26-27 June 2014). Read European Council on single market and regulatory reform

Review of EU single market competences

The Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: The Single Market (HM Government; 83 pages, including the annexes): This report is an overview of the single market, but it also presents sources and evidence for detailed study. The presentation could serve as a primer for students or lay readers who want to understand the subject, not only in Britain. It opens up relevant topics for discussion in the UK and elsewhere, including the governments in other EU member states. Read Review of EU single market competences