In an editorial published on his site, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation? highlights the importance of international trade agreements for world growth and for employment, notably in Europe. He calls for a rejection of Wallonia's blackmail which is being instrumentalised for political ends
opinion and certain governments are divided, and even disconcerted by the agreements that are under discussion at present with Canada and the USA. Behind a feeling of impotence in the face of the dangers of globalisation, misconceptions of the institutional machine and split accountability accentuate the feeling that agreements that are being negotiated "behind the scenes", and even against the citizens, whilst the States are prescribers and decision makers of last resort. The interest of a common trade policy is facing internal challenges which are undermining the collective capacity for negotiation.
The main opinion party Homeland Union-Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), led by Gabrielus Landsbergis, grandson of the father of Lithuanian independence Vytautas Landsbergis, and the Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS) led by Ramunas Karbaukis came out ahead in the first round of the general election organised on 9th October in Lithuania. They respectively won 21.66% and 20 seats and 21.54% and 19 seats in the Seimas, the only chamber of parliament. The Social Democratic Party (LSP) led by outgoing Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, fell really short of the result forecast for it by the polls, winning only 14.43% and 13 seats.
On 8th March 2016 twenty years after the adoption of the directive on posted workers, the European Commission presented a revised targeted version of the facility designed to take into account the consequences of an increasing use of this practice and to cancel out its adverse effects. This new text follows on from the implementing directive adopted in May 2014 that aims to counter fraud. At the time debate underscored the deep divergence in opinion between the countries sending posted workers and the host/receiving countries. The European Commission's intervention focused on the principle of equal salary in the same place of work, which led to tension and finally to the adoption of a "yellow card" by 11 national parliaments who denounced the infringement of the principle of subsidiarity.
Brexit cannot go without response. The United Kingdom must maintain its strong links with the European continent whose history and fate it shares. The European Union must adapt to new developments fast without destroying its acquis. This draft treaty puts forward three innovative suggestions which a Anglo-Franco-German treaty might introduce for the defence and security of Europe:
- Strengthening the effective solidarity between Europe's leading three powers, since they should be setting the example, which would remain open for membership by other European States, in order to provide mutual assistance in the event of engagement by their armed forces,
- Committing in real terms to increasing their defence efforts to prevent any instability that might arise because of their disarmament,
- Rising beyond the NATO-EU issue, acknowledging the freedom of each to organise as he thinks fit from a bilateral point of view or under the auspices of the European Union.
This proposal aims to encourage thought as much as it does real action.
Kersti Kaljulaid was elected on 3rd October, 81 voted in support out of the 101 MPs present in the Riigikogu (Parliament), as President of the Republic of Estonia. Aged 46, this member of the European Court of Auditors will be the first woman to take this post on 10th October
In an editorial published on his site, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, the Foundation's President explores the conditions for a revival in Europe.
The Austrians are being called to ballot for an unprecedented "3rd round" in the presidential election, the previous two rounds of which took place on 24th April and 22nd May. Alexander van der Bellen (The Greens, DG) won the 2nd round with 30,863 votes more than his rival Norbert Höfer (Liberal Party, FPÖ) who then challenged the results. On July 1st the Austrian Constitutional Court annulled the second round indicating that although there was no proof of electoral fraud, irregularities might have marred the election. The re-run will be held on December 4.
The HDZ won the general election in Croatia on 11th September with 36.6% of the vote and 61 seats of the 151 in Parliament. The social democrats of the SPD in coalition with other parties only won 33.5% and 54 seats. Most came third with 9.8% and 13 seats followed by Zivi zid with 8 sets. Turnout totalled 52.59%. Since it did not win the absolute majority the HDZ will have to form a coalition government.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to organise a referendum in 2017 on the issue of the UK's place in the EU: "Do you think that the UK should remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?" The question of the UK's status within the European Union is one of the issues at stake in the latter's development. The Robert Schuman Foundation offers its readers an information file on the main questions set by the referendum as well as the options open to the UK if it leaves the EU.
The repeated drownings in the Mediterranean have led to an emergency situation regarding the European migratory question. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1,750 migrants perished in the Mediterranean between January and April 2015, ie more than 30 times the figure in the same period in 2014. Given these repeated catastrophes an extraordinary European Council was organised on 23rd April and ten new measures were put forward on 20th April by the European Commission including stepping up surveillance operations and rescue at sea. The Robert Schuman Foundation is offering its readers an information file on the theme of immigration, that brings together its publications on this issue in order to review the development of these events in Europe.
For a better understanding of the challenges facing Europeans today: the refugee question, immigration, euro area reform, investment, growth, employment, taxation, the danger of a "Brexit", populism, energy transition, but also the new strategic context in the southern Mediterranean and in the East of the continent and terrorism. Never has Europe faced so many questions. The most eminent personalities and the best experts have chosen to contribute to the "Schuman Report 2016 on the State of the Union" now on sale in bookshops and on the Foundation's site in paper and digital form.