Tomás F. Serna
June 25, 2006
(…) “In certain cases of exceptions or limitations, rightholders should receive fair compensation to compensate them adequately for the use made of their protected works or other subject-matter. (…) The level of fair compensation should take full account of the degree of use of technological protection measures referred to in this Directive.” [ Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001.]
Fair enough, right?
J. Ignacio Torreblanca
I used to say that Enlargement is the most effective foreign policy tool the EU has at its disposal. But I am wrong: enlargement is the only foreign policy tool the EU has at its disposal. Where our neighbors can be offered and /or care for EU membership, we are almighty: we can moderate Islamist forces, send the army back to barracks and have anti-torture legislation adopted (Turkey); enforce international law on war crimes (Croatia); peacefully manage secession processes (Montenegro); support democratic transitions to democracy (Ukraine); fight corruption and organized crime (Bulgaria) and impose decent child-care standards (Romania). But where our neighbors care nothing about membership, our incentives seem not to be enough, thus making us look helpless: dictators laugh about us (Byelorrusia); war criminals hide (Serbia);and, in general, autocracy prevails (Egypt, Tunisia etc.).
José M. de Areilza
June 17, 2006
Last week I participated in a symposium in Vienna where the future of the Western Balkans (among other hot topics) was discussed. I learnt about the importance of the EU involvement in the region but I disagreed with the prevailing wiew about its future. For many Balkans experts, without “Brussels surveillance”, the reform processes would stop. Moreover, the Union cannot turn its back on these countries and EU membership has to happen after five to ten years of further preparation. Europe has to show morality to compensate for the mistakes of the nineties. Its international credibility is at stake. The seven new Member States from the Balkans would only represent 1% of the population and 1% of GDP of today’s EU. After successful handling by the EU of Montenegro’s independence, Kosovo is the next challenge. This territory has to gain independence soon, without special sovereignty arrangements, although security will still be provided by the Union and the US. Kosovo problems can be solved inside the Union and with the right implementation of independence the risk of a failed State can be avoided.
There are quite a few problems with this discourse that mixes a description of “normal politics” in the region with moral imperatives to excuse what is not normal, but not big enough to deter these experts.
Pablo Díaz de Rábago
June 16, 2006
In 1789, after the first attempt at creating a US Federal Power failed (the “Articles of Confederation”), when single state economies, foreign trade and diplomacy collapsed, American leaders, instead of turning back to their countries’ dire problems, reconvened once again and realized some things were too big to be left to states and had to be managed together.
But why, having fought a battle with the metropoli, would the new young leaders trust a new power superstructure? In fact they did not, and thus wisely limited the concession of power to a very close list of prerrogatives: the ability to organize Military, Commerce, to dictate Federal Law and a couple of French imports, the declaration of rights and the first system of checks and balances, with the separation of Executive, Legislative and Judicial power.
Jose Ignacio Torreblanca
June 15, 2006
EU leaders meet today and tomorrow in what will be surely remembered as one of the emptiest European Council meetings in years. But emptiness is seldom innocuous: the great nothingness in which Europe has developed since the failed referendum in France last year is slowly but relentlessly swallowing entire bits of EU’s future. Many argue that the Constitution should be buried in order to spare much-needed political energies for practical policies. But EU leaders will tomorrow refuse to move justice and police matters to qualified-majority voting- a measure which would enhance national governments’ capacity to fight illegal immigration and transnational organized crime -. Then, while they sleep on the Constitutional project – containing rules which are essential for the EU to be able to effectively function at 27 members – they plan to spend considerable time and energy discussing whether the Union should enlarge further or not.
Tomás F. Serna
June 13, 2006
Had you scanned through the recent headlines on privacy issues and noticed about the recent Court of Justice of the European Communities judgment on the 2004 EU-US agreement over personal data transfers from EU based airline companies to the US Government –but weren’t provided with or didn’t stop to read the fine print–, you’d think that this could mean a victory for so-called privacy advocates…
Well, in that case, you’d had to think again.