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On 10th September Jean-Claude Juncker, President elect of the European Commission announced the distribution of responsibilitied in the next College of Commissioners. There are 7 Vice-Presidents, and each will head a "team" which will follow a specific project covering several competences in close cooperation with the Commissioners. The candidates will be auditioned by the European Parliament shortly. The future European executive will include 9 women - the same number as in the previous Commission. Of the 28 Commissioners, 15 belong to the centre and centre-right, five are liberal and 8 are socialists. Amongst the Commissioners designate, there are four former Prime Ministers and several ministers. The average age is 53.
In an editorial published on his site Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation comments the composition of the European Commssion which will be presided over by Jean-Claude Juncker, focusing on the organisational novelties and the political priorities that have been revealed.
On 4th September the ECB Council of Governors took a number of decisions which will enter into force on 10th September. They comprise a further reduction in the main rates and a programme to purchase mainly non-bank assets. The Robert Schuman Foundation has published an interview with Benoit Coeuré, a member of the European Central Bank's Executive Board.
"Should Scotland be an independent country?", this is question that 4 million voters living in Scotland will have to answer, with either "yes" or "no" on 18th September (people born in Scotland but not registered on the electoral rolls are not allowed to vote whilst those born in England but living in Scotland will be able to vote). For the first time on 7th September a YouGov forecast that the supporters of the "yes" vote to independence are leading with 51%.
On 14th September, the Swedes will be electing the 349 members of the Riksdag (Parliament). According to the most recent poll by SIFO published on 5th Septembe last, the Social Democratic Party is due to win 27% of the vote, the Moderate Assembly Party 22.7%, the Green Party 10.5%, the Swedish Democrats 10.4% the People's Party-Liberals 8.4%., the Left Party 6.6%, the Christian Democratic Party 5.3% and the Centre Party 4.7%
On 5th October next the Bulgarians are being called to ballot to renew the 240 members of their National Assembly (Narodno sabranie), the only chamber of Parliament. These general elections are the second to happen early after those of 12th May 2013. Sofia has had no less than three governments in under two years, bearing witness to the duration, and therefore, the seriousness of the political crisis in which Bulgaria has found itself. 18 parties and 7 electoral coalitions are running in this general election. MPs are elected for four years within 31 multi-member constituencies. The voting method is mixed: 31 MPs are elected in a majority vote (first past the post) and 209 are elected proportionally (closed lists) according to the Hare-Niemeyer method. Candidates must be aged at least 21. A minimum of 4% of the votes cast is required to be represented in Parliament. The political parties represented in the national assembly are: the GERB, the main opposition party of former Prime Minister (2009-2013) Boyko Borissov, 97 seats; the Coalition for Bulgaria (KzB), a left-wing alliance of 4 parties including the Socialist Party (BSP) 84 seats ; the Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) 36 MPs ; Ataka, a far right party with 23 seats. Accordig to the most recent poll by Sova Harris published on 3rd September the GERB is due to win 42.2% of the vote, the Socialist Party 31.4%, the Movement for Rights and Freedom, 11.1%, Uncensored Bulgaria 7.3% and the Reform Block 7.1%.
The Latvians are being called to ballot on 4th October to renew the 100 MPs in the Saeima (parliament). 1,156 candidates from 13 parties are standing. Since 1998 MPs have been elected very four years in a proportional vote according to the Sainte-Lagüe method. A political party has to win at least 5% of the votes cast to be represented in Parliament. Five political parties are represented there at present: Harmony Centre (SC), the main left-wing opposition party, 31 seats; Unity (Vienotiba, V), of outgoing Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, 20 seats; the Reform Party (R), an outgoing government member,16 seats; the National Alliance, an outgoing government, 14 seats; the Greens and Farmers' Union (ZZS), an outgoing government member, 13 seats. According to the most recent poll by Latvijas Fakti published on 5th September, Harmony Centre is due to win the election with 21.1% of the vote, followed by Unity with 17.3%, the Greens and Farmers' Union, 8.2% and the National Alliance 5.8%.
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Wolfgang Schäuble attended the conference organized by the Robert Schuman Foundation in Paris on July 18, 2014 about the future of the euro area.
The political groups had until 24th June 2014 to form officially. After several weeks of suspense about whether a far right group would be formed or not - which ultimately is not the case, there has hardly been any change - there were and still are 7 groups by order of size EPP (221 membres), S&D (191) ECR (70), ALDE (67), GUE/NGL (52), Greens/EFA (50) and EFD (48). The other MEPs will sit amongst the non-attached. The Parliament will hold its first session on 1st July to elect its President, its Vice-Presidents and questeurs.
Is 2014 a turning point for Europe ? The European elections and the renewal of the all of the Union's political institutions offer an exceptional opportunity to analyse how the European Union is developing. These questions are the focus of the Schuman Report 2014, a yearly work of reference on Europe. This 8th edition includes an exclusive analysis by the French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who gives his view of European defence issues. This book, edited by Thierry Chopin and Michel Foucher, is published by Lignes de Repères. It is available in libraries and on the Foundation website in printed paper format and digital version (eReaders and tablets) in the next few days.
he Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation, Jean-Dominique Giuliani has published a book entitled "How and Why Europe will remain at the heart of the world - A small Treaty on optimism". Europe is no longer the centre of the world. It is not the leading military force. But to the world Europe is the heart that provides the pace, that feeds minds, culture and which attracts. It is the leading economic and trade power. According to Jean-Dominique Giuliani Europe has all the assets it needs to rise to the challenge. This book published by Lignes de Repères is available from bookshops and on the Robert Schuman Foundation site in paper format and in digital format for e-readers and tablets.