"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."

Sunday, 16 January 2011

WHEDFU

Conflict of interest not resolved.  With all the hoo-hah we have in Britain about our Westminster representatives cultivating a business contacts for  when they leave politics you can't expect the monolithic EU to fare any better in setting their own rules.  Ex-Commissioners, a la Marrakesh Mandy, are 'entitled' (there's that word again) to three years' worth of transitionary payments at 40-65% of their salaries.  This averages roughly 10,000 euros per month and continues even after they've found a 'new' career.

Andreasen  is only surprised that Engwirda's 'revelations' about corrupt practice in the ECA didn't come sooner.

ALDE (federalist & green) are trying to change the venue of the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Joint Parliamentary Assembly from Budapest to Brussels because of objections to Hungary's new & oppressive media laws.

ALDE are also making waves about direct taxation  to fund the EU.  Their argument is that it's better to tax the people directly rather than have to go through national parliaments.  Guy Verhofstadt said: "It is not only for financial reasons but also for democratic reasons, as it would give European citizens the opportunity to directly control European policies,"  adding that establishing a direct link between taxpayers and EU expenditure would improve trust and accountability.  Excuse me while I lmao.

Turkey whines about accession. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the current stalemate in accession talks shows "a lack of vision on the part of the EU." The impasse is mainly due to Cyprus, an EU member split in half by Turkey in 1974. Germany and France are also opposed to Turkey's full membership, preferring a "privileged partnership" instead.  I'd like to know Cameron's thinking behind his push for Turkey's accession.

Van Rompuy belittles Argentina & the Ukraine   More strong terminology - 'vigilantes' - is being used to defend the euro-zone.  The worse they make bankers appear (and they hardly need any help in this) the more stringent regulations the EU can bring in.  The new laws won't only affect bankers though - last year I blogged about taxation on all currency transactions within the 27-zone EU.  (Even I'm calling us a 'zone' now - how bad is that).

Excuse me as I clear my throat.  *Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov*.  Ah! That's better.  Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has had talks with EC Commissioner Barroso and indicated that Turkmenistan would like to become 'an energy partner' of the EU
[Berdymukhamedov] said the most attractive project was a pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea, though tankers transporting compressed natural gas across the sea are also an option. "Partnership with Europe in the gas sphere is a priority," [Berdymukhamedov] said.

"We support your public declaration of intention to build a pipeline." Barroso said... "We are ready to work together so that Turkmenistan becomes an important participant in the Southern Corridor."
Azerbaijan also promises gas via the Nabucco Project, aka the Southern Corridor.  "The southern corridor project includes several pipeline projects. In addition to Nabucco, which entails the building of a new gas conduit through Anatolia, the ITGI, White Stream and TAP pipeline projects are also bidding to bring Caspian gas to western markets. "

Well done Tony Blair & his like-minded colleagues for having the foresight to invest in the region's oil infrastructure.

Poland & Russia are at odds again following the plane crash in April last year in which Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 other top-level Polish officials died.
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee published its findings on Wednesday, causing shock in Poland, after it put all blame on Polish pilots and said a half-drunk Polish general, Andrzej Blasik, made matters worse by trespassing in the cockpit and bullying the airmen to land in bad weather.
Poland is pushing for an international tribunal.

Hungarian carpet prompts EU bickering  The installation of the carpet, to mark the beginning of the Hungarian rotating presidency, demonstrates that some European and Eastern European countries can't put the past behind them.  An 1848 map of Greater Hungary depicted in the carpet triggered the row.  "One MEP said the map showed Budapest's "intention to overcome the Treaty of Trianon" in 1920, when Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory."

We've probably all seen  THIS, the EU's visitors' centre, being over budget and over-time.  Galileo has the same ongoing problems.

     

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