31 Aout, 2006
Le problème actuel de l’arrivée massive d’immigrants illégaux sur les côtes espagnoles, italiennes ou maltaises illustre de nouveau l’un des dilemmes de la construction européenne, à savoir la répartition des compétences entre l’Union européenne et les Etats membres. D’un côté, en effet, l’Union européenne dispose de certaines compétences en matière de visas, asile et immigration depuis le Traité d’Amsterdam : le titre IV du Traité CE lui reconnait de larges compétences qui lui permettraient à terme d’établir une véritable politique migratoire. Mais deux limites y sont posées : d’une part, en ce qui concerne notamment la politique d’immigration (en particulier, les conditions d’entrée et de séjour ainsi que les normes concernant les procédures de délivrance par les Etats membres de visas et de titre de séjour de longue durée), aucune condition de temps n’est imposée aux institutions européennes pour agir. D’autre part, le Conseil décide seul et à l’unanimité en dernière instance, ce qui naturellement ralentit considérablement le processus d’adoption de décisions. (more…)
José M. de Areilza
August 24, 2006
Tomorrow the General Affairs Council will hold and extraordinary session and will meet with Kofi Annnan to discuss European troops involvement in Lebanon. The ceasefire is fragile: with or without serious international peacekeeping efforts war is likely to return. Behind the French doubts is the hard fact that most European leaders do not want to take the risk of sending troops to face a difficult mission. But it is not just a matter of political will versus cold feet. More worringly, Europe has no military capacities. Most prime ministers are being realistic when they limit their international security efforts to police and humanitarian roles (not the only priorities in Lebanon). (more…)
José M. de Areilza
August 13, 2006
In a few weeks the European Union will re-emerge from summer reccess. High in the foreign relations agenda is the need to rethink its policy towards Cuba. The island has entered a time of flux with Fidel Castro’s illness and the appointment of his unpopular brother as successor. Even if Fidel survives a bit longer, his dictatorial regime is doomed and will most likely disappear when he does. The time has come to prepare a full fledged European strategy to help Cubans move towards democracy and reconciliation.
For many years, the European Union has followed Spain’s lead in the formulation of its Cuban policy. (more…)
J. Ignacio Torreblanca
August 1, 2006
Finding a solution to a problem most typically requires agreement on what causes the problem. The trouble to reach agreement on what to do around the current crisis which the European Union is suffering may be well visualized with the aid of this three-fold distinction about “Polity”, “Politics” and “Policies”.
Is it the European Polity? One can argue that the Union needs new institutions, new rules of the game, i.e. a full-fledged Constitution, a thorough parliamentarization of executive-legislative relations (Parliament and Commission) and a cuasi-federal design to allow it to cope with the expanded membership brought about by successive enlargement processes. Therefore, institutional design should be the priority.
Or the politics of integration? But one can also pose that the problems faced by the Union are just a question of “politics”, i.e. weak or opportunistic leadership. The Union has been through similar crises, but these were solved when men like Delors, Kohl, Mitterrand and González were able to look ahead, take some electoral risks and conclude great treaty negotiations. After all, one can argue, EU integration is about trade-offs: the Common Agricultural Policy in return from the free circulation of goods; the euro in return from citizenship and cohesion policies, etc. Those waiting for convergence of preferences to take place, for a demos to emerge, or for a polity to take shape, can thus sit for long. EU politics, as ordinary politics, is about who gets, what, when and how. The crisis will thus not be “solved”, but negotiated.
Or may be integration policies? Finally, one can argue that the Union’s ills must be looked for in the realm of policies. There is a demand for integration and a supply of integration policies which does not match. (more…)