"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Saturday, 6 November 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

Clegg: There will be no repatriation of powers
On suggestions by Tory MPs that the treaty negotiations could be used to reclaim sovereignty from Brussels, he said: “We are not going to reopen this issue of the repatriation of powers. We are not proposing to go backwards.”
HSBC may re-locate from London
The company will review the location of its London head office next year as it hit out against new bonus rules being proposed by EU banking regulators and George Osborne's £2.5bn bank levy.
Dutch PPV may join calls for a referendum
Leaders were petrified that any major change to the EU treaties would set off a chain of referendums in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and possibly elsewhere, which they are convinced they would lose, as voters have their say on how leaders should have handled the economic crisis...The Dutch prime minister and the other leaders last Friday signed off on a treaty amendment only so long as the change envisaged was "small, small, small - the smallest possible," according to a Danish diplomat, "in order to ensure there is no possibility of referendums."
Visas unnecessary for Albania & Bosnia
EU interior ministers are expected to give the green light on Monday to allow citizens of Albania and Bosnia Hercegovina to travel to 25 European nations without a visa, several diplomats told AFP on condition of anonymity.
EU wants to oversee food distribution to poor people
A House of Lords Committee reports that there is no reason why the EU is better placed to organise food distribution to poor people than Member States, and that this activity should rest with national governments.
FRONTEX to be strengthened
EU interior ministers are discussing a new proposal to strengthen Frontex, the EU's border management agency, by establishing a reserve of border guards to respond to surges in illegal migration. Under the new proposals, once the initial commitment has been made, governments would be able to veto their deployment only in exceptional circumstances.
Stricter control of EU environmental laws
The EU waste agency would be given several enforcement tasks, such as reviewing member states' enforcement systems and coordinating checks and other inspection activities...According to the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP), a global body is needed "to assist national environmental law enforcement authorities to engage more effectively across national borders to combat transnational environmental crime".
"Cancun must not fail"
"If we do not keep momentum in Cancun and build on what was achieved in Copenhagen, then there is a risk that some key parties will start to simply lose interest in the international UN process," said EC for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard at a pre-summit meeting in Mexico City.
EU "chides" UK over migrant workers
The Commission has warned the UK government that it has two months to bring its legislation into line with EU law, otherwise it may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.
More pain for Ireland
A spokesman for Rehn said the commissioner's two-day visit to Dublin, starting on Monday (8 November), would aim “to discuss in detail” all aspects of the Irish budget and plans to get its budget deficit under the eurozone's 3% of GDP threshold by 2014.
Portugal in trouble
"...despite spending cuts of €5 billion over the next year aimed at bringing the public deficit down to 4.6 percent of GDP from 7.3 percent this year, the markets continued to put a high price on Portuguese debt.  The yield - the rate of return for investors - on the 10-year Portuguese bond jumped to 6.436 percent from 6.168 percent on Wednesday, a move Mr Pereira called "irrational."
EC power grab 'resisted'
Under the previous system, national capitals were able to block a Commission proposal by a simple majority. The new procedure enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty foresees instead that member states will only be able to stop a Commission decision with a qualified majority.

I forgot to add this:  Galileo: Lost in Space, a .pdf from Open Europe detailing the costs of the EU's own GPS/surveillance system.
The UK’s contribution towards the cost of completing and running the project for 20 years has gone from £385 million under the original estimates in 2000, to £2.95 billion, under the revised figures.

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