I am often a little frustrated by not having the time to blog about topics which, while they might not merit a whole post, I would like to mention. How could I not bring up EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and California Governor Jerry Brown joining forces against global warming? Or, for that matter, U.S. Senator John McCain and EPP president Wilfried Martens (who?) helping former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko?
Occasional press reviews, like this one, I hope will be a solution in providing a short European news roundup. It’s something of an experiment and perhaps there’d best be a little less a-happening or this will be a rather too time-consuming exercise!
France will be sending military advisers to the rebels in Libya. An article in Le Monde pointedly reminds us that’s how the Vietnam War started. Mind you, Bernard Henri-Lévy had already revealed there were French officers in the rebels’ headquarters.
The WSJ blog reports on the Libyan crown prince’s performance in the European Parliament. He apparently, at 48, “looked young, fit and trim, like the prosperous Londoner he’s been since his family went from house arrest into exile in 1988.” Reminds me of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s son..
ECHO, the EU’s humanitarian aid section, will open an office in the West African country. The Commission has pledged €240 million in aid, well-timed to help Côte d’Ivoire’s democratically-elected president Alassane Ouattara stabilise the country after finally triumphing in his in his marathon struggle against the now-arrested Laurent Gbagbo.
Elected Commissioners and Treaty Reform
Jon Worth points out regarding yesterday’s post that EU treaty changes will be needed to implement Andrew Duff’s proposed pan-European party lists. This is not necessarily so unlikely given that Member States have agreed to a treaty mini-change for the so-called permanent stability mechanism for the eurozone, Italy is now proposing treaty changes regarding immigration, public finances and nuclear power, and changes will be eventually be needed to reduce the number of Commissioners (currently 1 per Member State).
Transparency and Corruption
In the wake the horrific cash-for-amendments scandal, MEPs have called for a mandatory joint register for lobbyists attempting to influence either the European Commission or the Parliament. Also, given the EU’s incredibly lax rules on conflicts of interest, the Commission has decided to introduce somewhat tougher ethics rules. Former Commissioners will now have to tell the EU about their new jobs, and have them approved, for 18 months after they leave office.
Hungary’s New Constitution
This is quite an amazing document whose features include beginning with “God bless Hungary”, banning gay marriage, extra votes for people with children and a preface that is an expression of declinist ideology made basic law. I will be covering this given the fascinating parallels with Pétainist ideology. See Róbert Friss’s, of the center-left Népszabadság, op-ed on this “national revolution”.