17th May 2011 - n°487
Le malaise identitaire en Europe : comment répondre au défi lancé par le national-populisme ?
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Front page! :
Portugal has not experienced either a bank crisis nor a real estate bubble, nor has it hidden its accounts. It is not therefore a victim of the fall out of the financial turbulence of 2008. However the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have just answered its request favourably and are about to lend it 78 billion euros to help it in its time of need. The origins of its problems are political. Listen to Jean-Dominique Giuliani's opinion.
On 23rd May the CERI and the Robert Schuman Foundation are organising a conference-debate on "L'Europe face aux crises" during which Thierry Chopin, Studies Director of the Robert Schuman Foundation and Michel Foucher University Professor at the ENS (Ulm) and member of the Foundation's Scientific Committee, will be presenting the "Schuman Report on Europe - State of the Union 2011". The debate will be moderated by Christian Lequesne, Director of the CERI.
Just one week before the general elections in Cyprus the rightwing opposition is leading in voting intentions. According to the polls the Democratic Assembly is due to win the general elections on 22nd May. It is due beat the Progressive Workers' Party and the Democratic Party. Many political observers are expecting that the opposition party will try and form a government coalition with the Movement for Social-Democracy (EDEK), a party chaired by Yiannakis Omirou. The Chamber of Representatives that is elected on 22nd May will meet for the first time on 2nd June next.
52,758,907 Turks (of whom 2,568,977 living abroad) are being called to vote on 12th June to renew the 550 members of the Grand National Assembly, the only Chamber in Parliament. 7,492 people in all from 15 political parties are standing in the election – 203 are independent candidates. All of the polls forecast the AKP as the winner of the general elections. According to the Genar Institute it is due to win 41.7% of the vote and is due to take the lead over the Republican People's Party (25.2%) and the National Action Party 11.9%.
The Robert Schuman Foundation has published its annual report with Springer Verlag, "The Robert Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union in 2011" (French version with Lignes de Repères). This year the report is devoted to "Europe and the Crisis, Responding to Threats" (economic crisis, budget, euro, reciprocity, defence, terrorism, industrial policy, populism ...) It includes an exclusive interview with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. 26 specialists offer original analyses, supported by unique data and maps - learn everything there is to know about Europe in 2011.
Financial Crisis :
Jean-Paul Betbèze, member of the Robert Schuman Foundation's Scientific Committee and the Economic Analysis Council and Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation have just published "Les 100 mots d'Europe" with Presses Universitaires de France providing an easy quick way to learn everything there is to know about Europe.
On 13th May the European Commission confirmed its economic growth forecasts for this year and the next in the euro area but it reviewed its expectations upwards with regard to inflation. It is forecasting GDP growth up by 1.6% this year and by 1.8% next year. However it is expecting that inflation will rise this year to 2.6% whilst at the beginning of March is was only reckoning on 2.2%. The pace of consumer price rises is due to slow in 2012 to 1.8%. Whilst the euro area is still facing the mistrust of the markets which are concerned about the state of its public finances the Commission said it was more optimistic on the reduction of deficits which are due to occur faster than forecast. It is reckoning on an average public deficit of 4.3% of the GDP this year in the euro area and 3.5% in 2012 instead of a previously declared 4.6% and 3.9%.
The President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet declared during a conference on the reform of the financial system on 13th May in Madrid that the regulation authorities had reached the half-way point in terms of reforming the financial system that is supposed to enhance it and guarantee growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on 12th May in Frankfurt at the ECB HQ that European recovery was strong but called for prudence with regard to the spread of the sovereign debt crisis. According to a bi-annual report on Europe the latter is benefiting from a global recovery and from the fact that "European integration is producing greater effectiveness which some countries are taking advantage of to become more competitive." The IMF stresses however that there is a "heavy threat" that weighs on Europe's economic future. It lies in the crisis on the periphery of the euro area - a term employed to designate countries such as Greece and Ireland who are facing a serious public debt crisis.
Germany's GDP rose by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2011 according to a press release on 13th May by the Federal Statistics Office, Destatis. In the first quarter Germany recovered its pre-crisis level of 2008. During the first three months of 2011 the GDP rose by 5.2% in comparison with the previous year ie the most important growth rate since the Reunification. Moreover according to provisional figures published on 9th May by Destatis German exports in March 2011 had risen by 15.8% and imports by 16.9% over one year. These monthly figures are the highest in the German foreign trade's statistical history. In addition to this the Office said that on 11th May consumer prices in Germany had increased in April 2011 by 2.4% year on year.
According to provisional figures published by Wifo on 13th May Austria's GDP rose by 1% in the first quarter of 2011 in comparison with the previous one. In the fourth quarter of 2010 the GDP rose by 0.9% said Wifo in a press release.
On 12th May the Federal Planning Bureau published a paper on Belgium's "Economic Perspectives 2011-2016" which confirms a recovery in economic activity.Indeed the annual growth of the Belgian economy is due to be higher than 2% in 2011 and mid-term perspectives are said to lie around this level. This growth is due to go together with an annaul rise in employment of between 40,000 to 50,000 people. However the challenge remains to reduce the deficit down to 2.8% of the GDP in 2012 and also a slight surplus in 2015. This can be explained by the size of the structural stabilising measures that are required (17 billion euros by 2015) and by the difficulties experienced by Belgium in dividing the work up between the different levels of power.
The gross GDP rose by 0.8% over the first quarter of 2011 in comparison with the previous year announced the national statistics office on 13th May. This rise bears witness to a recovery in overall activity mainly due to the contribution of the external sector. On the previous day the office announced that there had been a consumer price increase of 1.2% in April in comparison with the previous month, a rise that was slightly higher than a year ago (+1.1% in April 2010), which corresponds to an annual variation of 3.8%. This annual index continues to be influenced by oil price variations which increased by 18.7% this year as well as increases on food and energy products up by 11.8%.
The French economy registered growth of 1% in the first quarter of 2011 in comparison with the previous quarter according to estimates published by the National Statistics Institute (INSEE)on 13th May. It is the highest growth rate since the second quarter of 2006. The Bank of France announced on 9th May that it was forecasting growth of 0.5% in the second quarter of 2011. On 12th May INSEE published figures for the consumer price index that revealed a rise of 0.3% in April in comparison with the previous month. In comparison with the end of April 2010 prices have risen by 2.1%.
According to figures published on 12th May by the Statistics Office the country registered a further rise in unemployment to 15.9% in comparison with 15.1% a year earlier in January 2011 thereby reaching a new record. Moreover according to the first estimates published by the Office on 13th May the Greek GDP was up by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2011 in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2010 whilst over one year it declined by 4.8%.
The Irish economy that is riddled with debt will emerge from the red this year after three years of recession said the Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan on 10th May as he announced initiatives to create jobs. The Finance Minister is forecasting GDP growth of 0.75% this year, 2.5% in 2012 and 3% in 2013.
According to an OECD report presented on 9th May by Angel Gurria, the OECD Secretary General and Giulio Tremonti, the Italian Economy and Finance Minister, the Italian economy is continuing its recovery after an extremely deep recession - which most OECD countries experienced; he stressed however that more might be done to increase resilience. A combination of well targeted macro-economic and structural policies will help to establish vigorous growth and stabilise public finances added the OECD. Moreover the Italian economy registered very slight growth of 0.1% in the first quarter, a result inferior to economists expectations who were counting on stonger recovery according to an estimate published on 13th May by the statistics institute, Istat. The Italian GDP has risen by 1% over one year in the first quarter added Istat.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Portugal contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter in comparison with the previous quarter said the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE) on 13th May. The INE stresses that this decline was caused by a fall in domsstic demand.
On 12th May the Bank of Norway announced that it was raising its main rate by 0.25 points, bringing it up to 2.25%. The Bank's governor Oeystein Olsen indicated that the Norwegian economic recovery had gathered pace and that inflation and the need to stabilise activity had guided this decision. Moreover according to the Norges Bank the Norwegian GDP is due to increase by 3.25% except for hydrocarbons and maritime transport and by 3.75% next year.
European Council :
Inflation in Sweden increased in April to 3.3% over one year (+2.9% in March) announced the Swedish Statistics Office, Statistics Sweden on 12th May. The harmonised consumer price index reveals a 1.8% inflation rate in April over one year against 1.4% in March - still below the inflation rate in the euro area (2.8% in April). The Swedish Central Bank has raised its main rate six times since July - 1.75% in April in order to stabilise inflation.
On 11th May the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy wrote an answer to a letter addressed to him by the President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He announced that he intended to put the three questions they had raised on the agenda during the European Council in June: the free movement of people within the EU, rules relative to asylum and development of a partnership with the countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean and the control of our external borders. In his letter H Van Rompuy notably stressed that the "community acquis" of Schengen should be "totally protected" but that thought had to be given to the steps to be taken "in exceptional situations and which are defined strictly for the temporary suspension of the full application of the Schengen measures.
In his speech at the strategic energy forum on 11th May the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy called on engineers and researchers to step up their help towards authorities in the quest for new energy sources. He defined three European priorities: the completion of the internal energy market for 2014; the development of a low carbon energy economy; the use of energy as a strategic tool in external relations. He mentioned the budget stressing the importance of the investments necessary in manufacturing and in transport infrastructures.
On 12th May the European Commission published its annual report on the EU's early warning system on dangerous non-food products. The latter stresses the EU's increasing effectiveness with regard to product protection. Indeed in 2010 2,244 dangerous products were banned, withdrawn from the market or recalled from clients ie 13% more than in 2009. Member States and European companies have taken the monitoring of their material more seriously. From now on the focus is on source safety, the design and manufacture of products and on the cooperation with international partners, notably with China. Indeed many notifications involved Chinese products.
The Union's working group on on-line Healthcare met for the first time on 10th May in Budapest on the sidelines of the eHealth Week and under the guidance of Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. It is responsible for assessing the role of ITC's in the healthcare sector and to put forward proposals to step up innovation in the healthcare sector to the benefit of patients and for the staff. Various ITC applications already help to provide greater autonomy to patients and facilitate the treatment of problems faced by healthcare systems in the EU (ageing population, development of chronic diseases, lack of healthcare professionals, budgetary restrictions). The promotion of on-line healthcare is a priority goal in Europe's digitial strategy.
On 10th May the European Commission proposed a reform of the eligibility criteria of the Generalised Scheme of Tariff Preferences (GSP) for developing countries. It aims to reduce the number of States that have access to this by half: of the 176 initial countries that benefited from these preferential customs tariffs there were now 80. The aim of this is to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights, environmental standards and good governance of less advanced countries thanks to consolidated trade exchanges. The countries excluded are notably those which are no longer considered to "be developing" by the World Bank and those who have signed a free-trade agreement with the EU. China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Ukraine are included in this list.
In a resolution adopted on 12th May condemning the Belarus regime European Parliament asked for further sanctions 'notably of an economic nature' against Aleksander Lukashenko's regime. Parliament wants to see an end to the prosecution of six former candidates in the presidential election of December 2010 believing that the charges against them were "illegal and inadmissible". In the meantime the opponents were sentenced to between three to three and a half years in prison.
On 10th May the European Parliament granted the European Commission with the "discharge" to execute the EU's budget 2009 thereby approving the spending that has been made. The discharge was granted notably thanks to the Commission's commitment to improving the management of funds spent by the Member States. However the European Parliament deferred its decision for the discharge on the Council of Ministers' budget complaining that there was a lack of information notably on foreign policy and security. With this Parliament has broken with an historic record with the Council on non-intervention in their respective accounts. Likewise Parliament deferred the vote on the discharge for the European Medicine Agency and the European Police College thereby expressing its doubts over the way they are managed and the independence of their experts. Parliament finally validated its own accounts for 2009 and approved several measures to reduce spending and notably suggested "that there be one single place of work in one location."
On 11th May the European Parliament adopted on first reading its position on a draft regulation over radio-electric frequencies that will notably enable the development of mobile internet. The Commission proposed that the Member States free the 800 MHz frequencies to enable the harmonised use of wireless broadband by January 1st 2013. The European Parliament is suggesting that Member States be able to request a postponement until the end of 2015, but after 2013 the Union must be more ambitious by allocating more frequencies for the development of broadband internet.
Following a debate with the High Representative Catherine Ashton the European Parliament adopted her two annual reports on Foreign Policy and Common Security (on the basis of the Annual Report 2009 by the Council to the European Parliament) and on the Common Security and Defence Policy. Her annual assessment reports are the occasion for MEPs to pass messages on future guidelines of the European foreign policy. In the present context the European Parliament notably called on the Member States to place an embargo on arms in Syria, Yemen and in Bahrein and supported sanctions against the Syrian regime. In a third resolution the European Parliament pleaded in favour of the creation of a permanent EU HQ at the UN Security Council.
On 11th May Parliament approved the agreement on the new regulation on textile labelling concluded between Parliament and the Council. Parliament used these negotiations to encourage the introduction of obligatory labelling "Made in" on textile products imported from three countries. MEPs achieved a concession whereby a feasibility study will be undertaken in this area. The new labelling rules on textiles will notably aim to show clearly whether any animal products have been used such as fur or leather. Moreover new fibres and innovative products may then be marketed more rapidly.
On 11th May the European Parliament approved the inter-institutional agreement with the European Commission on the establishment in June of a common "transparency register". Not only will this register collate information on lobbyists but also on other structures which have links with European decision makers such as lawyers and NGOs. It will not be obligatory but the European Parliament for its part will make registration binding for lobbyists who want to access its premises. Moreover the resolution calls for the study of the possibility of an obligatory register after its first assessment. Registrations will notably involve a declaration of financial interests. The Council is also being called on to join this initiative. At the same time Parliament approved the principle of a "legislative footprint" in the shape of a list annexed to parliamentary reports to quote the contacts between representatives of interests and the MEPs involved.
On 12th May the 27 Interior Ministers looked into the situation in North Africa and the proposals put forward by the Commission in terms of immigration. These notably plan for the clarification of the governance of Schengen, the establishment of a European border guard system and a strengthening of the Frontex agency. Ministers re-iterated their desire to protect the Schengen acquis whilst approving the idea of reintroducing border controls as a last resort and under strict conditions to face migratory flows. The European Commissioner for Interior Affairs Cecilia Malmström said that it was not a question of restricting the principle of free movement but of "improving the clarity of procedures to avoid unilateral decisions by one or another Member State." A further meeting is planned on 9th and 10th June to finalise the subject before the European Council in June.
On 13th May the 27 Foreign Ministers discussed the draft regulation establishing transitory measures on bilateral investment agreements concluded between the Member States and third countries. The Council called for the rapid implementation of this regulation that is due to be decided with Parliament. Ministers also mentioned the draft proposal to reform the generalised system of preferences, the EU-Japan Summit and the review of the Doha Round at the World Trade Organisation.
On 13th May the Foreign Affairs/Trade Council delivered its conclusions on the report by the European Court of Auditors on the results of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument in the Southern Caucasus. This audit undertaken by the Court of Auditors assessed whether the new instrument had been successfully launched in the Southern Caucasus and whether there had been any results. The Council observed that the audit focused on the first annual action plans programmed by the Commission between October and December 2007 as part of the ENPI and do not take on board developments and achievements after that.
On 13th May the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovina. She spoke with the various political leaders in an attempt to solve the country's political crisis and notably she met the president of the Republika Srpska (the entity of the Serbs of Bosnia), Milorad Dodik. After their meeting the latter declared that he had given up on holding the referendum on central justice indicating that Ms Ashton had guaranteed the EU's commitment to a reform of the central justice system of Bosnia that will take the Serbs' claims on board.
Regions Committee :
On 12th May the High Representative Catherine Ashton hosted the second meeting of the High Level Strategic Dialogue between the EU and China in Budapest;the Chinese Secretary of State Dai Bingguo attended this meeting. She said she was pleased with dialogue over world issues, notably in Asia and Northern Africa. She said she had discussed the Human Rights situation in China. In a press conference the Chinese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Fu Ying criticised the EU for refusing to grant China the status of market economy because of political issues. David O'Sullivan the Administrative Director General of the European External Action Service indicated that Europe was able to remove these obstacles if China respected a certain number of criteria.
On 12th May during the plenary session of the Committee of Regions local and regional representatives warned of the dangers of the poor development of the EU's agricultural regions. They suggested three ways to reform the CAP including fairer and more targeted aid for the agricultural sector; better support to small and medium sized farms; the establishment of new tools that will lead to a stabilisation of the milk market when it is deregulated.
On 12th May the outgoing Federal Health Minister, new head of the German liberals (FDP) Philipp Rösler became Federal Economy and Technology Minister. He replaced Rainer Brüderle who took over as head of the FDP group in the Bundestag. Daniel Bahr, former parliamentary Secretary of State of the Healthcare Ministry, was appointed Federal Minister for Healthcare.
On 12th May the royal negotiatior Wouter Beke, chair of the CD&V presented his final report to the King Albert II after two months of work. He then asked the king to be relieved of his task. The king has witholding his decision during the consultation period by the party leaders. The two winners in the elections of 13th June 2010, the Socialist Party and the Nieuwe Vlaams Alliantie (N-VA), still seem far from the conclusions put forward in the report by Wouter Beke.
On 11th May Danish Finance Minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen announced that Denmark was going to re-introduce customs controls on its intra-European borders with Germany and Sweden to counter illegal immigration and organised crime. After a telephone conversation on 13th May with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso sent him a letter in which he asked the Danish authorities not to take unilateral measures on permanent border controls.
Finland is to provide vital support to the aid plan for Portugal after the approval on 13th May by the Parliamentary Committee responsible for European policy and in spite of opposition by the nationalist party the "True Finns". The day before the "True Finns", the third most important party in parliament with 39 seats out of 200 refused to join a government that was about to provide its financial support. Jyrki Katainen, the Conservative leader announced on the same day that he was going to appeal to the Social Democrats, the Greens, the Christian Democrats and the Swedish People's Party to form the government.
The French National Assembly adopted on first reading the draft constitutional law on stabilising public finances, the so-called "golden rules" on 10th May. The text that is designed to help a reduction of the public deficit from 7 to 3% of the GDP in 2013, was adopted 321 votes against 229. In virtue of the European Stability Programme France has committed to bringing its public deficit down to 3% of the GDP in 2013 against 7% in 2010.
On 12th May the 8th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Industry took place in Malta. On this occasion the Vice-President of the European Commission for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani presented several major proposals that aim to support the progress of market integration between the EU and Mediterranean countries and to establish a "Small Business Act (SBA). Vice-President Tajani also highlighted recent progress achieved as part of the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Business Charter.
On 10th May Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi travelled to London to meet his British counterpart David Cameron and head of British diplomacy William Hague. The two Prime Ministers exchanged views on their bilateral relations. Mr Cameron thanked Mr Gonzi for his help during the evacuation of British citizens from Libya. Finally William Hague said like Mr Gonzi that he wanted peace and order to be re-established in Libya.
On 11th May the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski travelled to Benghazi and the HQ of the Libyan National Transition Council. Marcin Bosacki, the ministry's spokesperson, stressed that the NTC was acknowledged by the EU and most of the international community as the ideal partner for political contacts in Libya. Since this was the first visit by a Foreign Minister of a Member State of the Contact group on Libya since the start of the conflict the decision had been taken in coordination with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton and the NATO Allies.
On 10th May the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk officially presented the logo of the Polish Presidency of the Union that will start in July for six months. Prior to this the Prime Minister hosted Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen for a meeting of heads of government of the three States that will chair the Union between 1st July 2011 and 31st December 2012. During the joint press conference all three said they had agreed on a working programme and said that they would concentrate on the new Union budget, the situation in North Africa and the Oriential Partnership. They also stressed that they wanted to guarantee the continued enlargement of the Union notably in the Balkans; Mr Tusk hopes in particular that Croatia will join the Union before the end of the year.
On 9th May the Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore travelled to London to meet his British counterpart William Hague. They spoke of stepping up bilateral cooperation between Ireland and the UK. W. Hague stressed his support for the future of the Irish Presidency of the European Union in 2013.
On 9th May Kosovar Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj travelled to London to meet Foreign Secretary, William Hague and Minister for Europe, David Lidington. The British said they supported Kosovo on its path to the EU. Mr Hoxhaj told them of the progress achieved in the building of their State since the declaration of independence. He also asked for strong support in terms of economic reform as well as the European integration process and the acknowledgement of Kosovo. With regard to these issues the Kosovar Minister also met various diplomats who have not yet acknowledged Kosovo.
The head of British diplomacy William Hague received the repsresentative of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) Mustapha Abdel Jalil. Mr Jalil also met Prime Minister David Cameron. The latter invited him to open the first representative office in Europe in London and promised him several million pounds in material for the police in Benghazi as well as communication equipment for the rebellion.
On 12th May Sweden took over the rotating presidency of the Arctic Council with the heads of American and Russian diplomacy (Hillary Clinton and Serguey Lavrov) in attendance; it promised "sustainable development" for this fragile region that is in danger due to global warming. The eight Foreign Ministers of countries that lie on the edge of the Arctic (US, Canada, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland) met in Nuuk (Greenland). The eight countries ratified the Arctic Research and Rescue Agreement which is the Arctic Council's first binding international agreement. It is deemed vital because of the increasing number of boats that are travelling or that will travel via the Arctic where the ice is melting.
According to figures published on 13th May by Eurostat over the first quarter of 2011 the GDP in the euro area and that of the EU increased by 0.8% in comparison with the previous quarter. Over the fourth quarter 2010 growth lay at 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU.
According to figures published by Eurostat on 12th May industrial production decreased in the euro area by 0.2% and by 0.3% in the EU in March 2011 in comparison with February 2011. In February production increased respectively by 0.6% and 0.4%. In March 2011 in comparison with March 2010 industiral production rose by 5.3% in the euro area and by 4.6% in the EU.
The first Eurobarometer study of Europeans' knowledge about the capture and storage of C02 was published on 11th May. This study covers data from 12 countries. The report notes that only 10% of Europeans have heard of the capture and storage of C02. This knowledge varies depending on the energies involved. The study also concludes that 83% of those interviewed think that CO2 emissions have a high impact on climate change. In this respect citizens hope to be better informed about the possibilities in view of reducing C02 emissions covered by the EU' policies for low carbon energies.
According to a pan-European survey published on 11th May by Eurobarometer half of internet users use a language other than their own to navigate on the internet. However the study stresses that 44% of European internet users have the impression that they do not get all of the interesting information if the web pages are not in a known language. The study concludes that in spite of a wealth of quality content the lack of linguistic competence means that citizens are denied access.
According to a Eurobarometer study published on 13th May 53% of young Europeans (15-35 year olds) are prepared to work in other European countries or would like to do it. Amongst them 28% are planning this for a limited period in comparison with 25% over a long period. 56% of young men would like to leave and work in a neighbouring European State ahead of young women, 49% of whom say they would like to do the same. The report also notes that people who have studied abroad are more likely to want to work elsewhere once their studies have been completed.
More and more Europeans are taking holidays: 68% of European citizens travelled on private trips in 2010 (65% in 2009). This observation confirms, along with other details included in the Eurobarometer survey on "European behaviour vis-à-vis tourism" that tourism is recovering from the crisis. Europeans privilege traditional tourist destinations (58%) whilst 28% would like to discover new places.
The Council of Europe has published a report on the challenges set by the reappearance of intolerance and discrimination in Europe. The report reviews the seriousness of this problem, identifies the sources and puts forward a series of proposals to "live together" in open European societies. The report is structured around two main themes: "Threat" and "Response". The report concludes with 59 "action proposals", the first 17 are "strategic recommendations", and the others are "specific recommendations" addressed in the main to the EU, the Council of Europe and their Member States.
The Istituto Luigi Sturzo has published a report entitled "The European Union between the Defence of the Treaties and Electoral Consensus." It brings together the results gathered by Italian, Bulgarian and Romanian researchers after the European Year to Fight Poverty and Exclusion. Research focused on the activities of the European Parliament and other European institutions linked to the main social problems in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania. This study also analyses the role of the European parties via the study of the campaigns during the European elections in 2009. Finally researchers looked into the new tool - the European Citizens' Initiative - as a means for citizens to communicate.
The Austrian Institute for European Policy and Security has just published a study by Heinrich Schneider entitled "Die Europäische Union 2011: Nach der Krise oder noch mittendrin?" (The EU in 2011: post crisis or still in the middle of it?).
The Egmont Institute for International Relations has published a report by Alyson JK Bailes and Graham Messervy-Whiting on the Western European Union (WEU) entitled "Death of an Institution. The end for Western European Union, a future for European Defence?" The authors review the decision of 31st March 2010 to do away with the WEU on 30th June 2011.
The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) has published a paper by Maja Kluger Rasmussen entitled "Lobbying the European Parliament: a Necessary Evil". Analysing the weaknesses of the present rules of procedure at the European Parliament the author notably recommends a new code of conduct for MEPs, clearer rules as far as conflicts of interest are concerned and a declaration of financial interests, the creation of an ethics committee and more formalised consultation procedures.
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs has published a study entitled "Much ado about nothing: the EU's transport dialogue with Russia". Author Katri Pynnöiemi analyses cooperation between the two countries in terms of transport and the issues that this strategic dialogue reveal about each state.
The French Institute for International Relations together with the Centre for Oriental Studies has just published a paper by Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz entitled "Integration or Imitation? EU Policy towards its Eastern Neighbours". The author recommends that the Union formulate a clear strategic message towards its neighbours including the idea of a "United Europe", that the Union should diversify its offers vis-à-vis its neighbours and that citizens in neighbouring eastern states have greater access to the Union's programmes.
Until 28th August the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is presenting thirty works in the "Hour Blue" series painted between 1986 and 1990 by Belgian artist Jan Fabre - the exhibition is entitled "Jan Fabre, the Years of the Hour Blue." Sculptures by the artist are also on view in the entrance hall and on the museum's roof. The works have been lent by private collectors and international museums such as the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki.
Until 23rd June the British sculptor Anish Kapoor is guest at the fourth annual exhibition MONUMENTA organised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Every year MONUMENTA invites a renowned international modern artist to exhibit in the 13,500m2 of the Grand Palais in Paris with a special piece of work for the occasion. Anish Kapoor's work is called "Leviathan".
The 34th Festival of Classical Music in Dresden will be the venue for many concerts from 18th May to 5th June. This year the festival theme is "Five Elements" and attempts to build links between Europe and Asia.
As part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italian unity the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome is presenting - until 3rd July - an exhibition entitled "United Italy's Currency - from the Lire to the Euro" with the support of the Bank of Italy. Thanks to multimedia and archives, major collections and industrial machinery, rare books and bank notes visitors can view a century and a half of economic and political upheaval that led to the first monetary unification with the lire until Italy joined the euro area on January 1st 2002.
Agenda : 16th May
Eurogroup Meeting16th-17th May
Agriculture and Fisheries Council17th May
Economy-Finance Council19th May
Education, Youth and Culture and Employment, Social, Healthcare and Consumer Councils22nd May
General Elections - Cyprus23rd May
"General Affairs" Council
Presentation of the "Schuman Report, State of the Union in 2011" at the CERI, Paris23rd-24th May
"Foreign Affairs" Council