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Author Topic: Revived Roman Empire News - the E.U.  (Read 44821 times)
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« Reply #240 on: June 27, 2009, 12:38:56 PM »

Solana backs Felipe González for EU president job     

euractiv.com

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana yesterday endorsed former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González as first permanent president of the European Council, should the Lisbon Treaty enter into force.

Speaking at a public event organised by the Belgian section of the Association of European Journalists in Brussels, Solana was positive about the possible nomination of González for the job.

Answering a question, he said: "[Felipe González] is a good friend, we have worked together for 15 years, and I know he has the energy and the capacity for the job."

Should the Lisbon Treaty enter into force by the end of 2009, the EU’s first permanent president will be introduced under the Spanish EU Presidency in the first half of 2010.

"A relationship between two Spaniards - and I know them well - will be very positive, very constructive, and would bring added value," Solana said, referring to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, alongside González.

Solana said the future EU president's chances of shaping the new institution depended on general political will on the one hand, and the personality and determination of the job holder on the other.

The Lisbon Treaty says little about the division of responsibility between the country holding the rotating EU presidency and the permanent EU president, and many believe the first six months will set an important precedent for the future.

Zapatero and González - like Solana - are from the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE), a relationship which should enable good cooperation and ensure a smooth start for the new job.

González is currently chairing the EU 'reflection group' put in place last year with the aim of anticipating long-term challenges facing the Union.

Iberian overload?

But while personalities such as González and Zapatero prove the high quality of Spanish statesmen, the audience pressed Solana to comment on the risk of an "Iberian overload" should a Spaniard take the job of EU Council president and José Manuel Barroso, a Portuguese, be re-confirmed as Commission head for the next five years.

"It's a question for others to respond to," said Solana, amid laughter from the audience.

Solana was also positive about introducing the position of an "energy tsar" to co-ordinate Europe's dealings with Russia, although the job is not foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty. But he warned that EU countries had varying degrees of dependency on Russian gas, and coordination would not be "a simple thing".

Referring to the future EU external action service foreseen under the Lisbon Treaty, Solana said it would bring together diplomats who already work in the Commission and the Council, and those who come from member states. It is difficult to say what its exact size will be, and hard to predict the date by which it will be fully in place, Solana explained, adding that there would be no "big bang" as the service would be constituted gradually.

Solana cited Addis Ababa as an example, saying the capital of Ethiopia and the African Union had a European ambassador who represents the Commission, the Council and EU member states at the same time. He suggested that this could be a model for building similar representations elsewhere in the world, like Afghanistan and the Middle East, for example. He also called for work on the EU's new external service to begin as soon as possible.

"Better tomorrow than never," he said.
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« Reply #241 on: June 27, 2009, 12:40:13 PM »

Expectations high for Lisbon Treaty this year     

spiegel.de

Friday's deal in Brussels paving the way forward for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland is the most important decision taken in Europe this year. The treaty, which will bring widespread reforms to the European Union and give its institutions greater power, could be go into effect before the end of the year.

It is part of the ritual of European Union summits for the leaders of the 27 member states to pat themselves firmly on the back. Each one then explains how proud he or she is of what they were able to achieve for their country.

Friday proved to be no exception, with Chancellor Angela Merkel stating that the planned European financial regulations watch dog had been designed in a way that pleased Germany. She said that there had been "considerable movement" on the part of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has been perceived as a sort of defense attorney for London's bankers.

But Merkel's assessment of the agreement with Ireland over a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was noticeably reserved. In such events, Merkel is usually known for using terms like "historic," but on Friday she spoke of a "further hurdle" being cleared, "no more and no less."

Nevertheless, the compromise is the most important decision taken this year in European policy because it means that, after years of painstaking negotiations, a breakthrough for a new EU may be just around the corner. It is now likely that the Lisbon Treaty will go into effect by the end of the year. Then the EU would get a president, a foreign minister and the role of the European Parliament would be strengthened considerably.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced the referendum would be held during the first week of October. Public opinion polls currently indicate that Irish voters would likely approve the Lisbon Treaty this time around, following their rejection in a first referendum one year ago. Cowen said the European Council had given Ireland "firm legal guarantees" and that he was "confident we now have a solid basis to go to the Irish people and to ask them again for their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty so that Europe can move on."

The EU has provided guarantees to Ireland that it will remain independent in determining tax policies, military neutrality and abortion law (Ireland has one of Europe's most restrictive abortion policies). The sovereignty guarantees are expected to be anchored in EU law as a treaty protocol in the mid-term future.

Eschewing Displays of Triumph

EU leaders are no doubt relieved that the Ireland problem seems to have been solved. But on Friday, European leaders avoided celebration. Their dampened enthusiasm is the based on the experience of past few years: They well know just how fragile the Lisbon ratification process remains.

The history of the Lisbon Treaty is a long one. It has been five yeas since EU leaders approved the text of the European constitution in Rome. After the constitution was rejected in two referenda in France and the Netherlands, the draft landed in the waste bin. Under German leadership, however, the text was brought back to life in its current incarnation as the Treaty of Lisbon.

The streamlined treaty was supposed to have gone into effect at the end of 2008. However, another referendum got in the way. Irish voters said "no" and the EU was thrown into yet another crisis. This time the other leaders made it clear that they would not accept the "no" vote. They immediately began to consider how and when a second referendum could be held in Ireland.

One year on, it looks like that referendum will soon take place. The mood in Ireland seems to be favorable: The financial crisis has made people think much more positively about the EU. And now the guarantees of sovereignty have given Cowen further arguments in favor of the treaty.

There were tough negotiations at the summit over those guarantees. Cowen surprised the other EU leaders on Thursday when he said he would need the guarantees entrenched in the treaty. A declaration by the Council would not suffice. Cowen said he could not leave the summit without an undertaking that the Irish special rights would be anchored in a protocol.

It was pure blackmail -- but the EU leaders had little choice but to accept those terms. No one can even consider the Lisbon Treaty failing again. After long negotiations, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands agreed that the guarantees would be established in a protocol to be incorporated into a future EU treaty -- likely the one providing for Croatian accession. In particular, the British were appalled at the prospect of having to ratify another protocol to the Lisbon Treaty following the traumatic political debate the first time around.

Bickering over Barroso

Ireland is not alone in not having ratified the Lisbon Treaty. The Czech Republic, Poland and Germany still haven't done so. Germany, for example, must first wait for a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court on Lisbon's legality. However, these are regarded as much lower hurdles than Ireland.

The success over Ireland has been overshadowed by the dispute about Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's second term. While the 27 leaders would like to see his nomination confirmed at the first meeting of the new European Parliament in mid-July, the parliament is demanding more time and is threatening to vote against Barroso.

The divisions are reflected in the German government. While Chancellor Merkel is in favor of July, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says that July is "hardly doable." However, he has also called for a speedy clarification as to whether Barroso has the necessary majority in parliament. The candidacy should not be dragged out until September, he argues, because the EU has to be capable of acting.

Merkel has called for "calm and dignified" negotiations over the Barroso issue. However, it is already too late for that. The insistence on a deadline is likely to only increase the opposition within the European Parliament.
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« Reply #242 on: July 04, 2009, 12:48:41 PM »

Setback for Tony Blair's ambition to be president of Europe      

guardian.co.uk


Tony Blair's ambition to become Europe's first president have been set back by stiffening opposition from Sweden and Spain, the two countries chairing the EU for the next year.

Senior officials in Stockholm, which assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the EU today, said they feared a President Blair would be a divisive figure, triggering friction between small and large European countries, and added that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, was even more strongly opposed to Blair securing the post and usurping Madrid's running of the union next year.

The decision to appoint a new sitting European president, for a maximum of five years, is to be taken before the end of the year if Ireland votes yes in October in a referendum on the Lisbon treaty streamlining the way the EU is run and also creating the new post.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister, made clear his aversion to Blair securing the plum post, without mentioning the former prime minister by name.

"The small countries don't want a strong leader because they fear he will be run by the big [EU] countries," said Reinfeldt.

European governments had to decide whether the post ought to be turned into "a strong leader for Europe" or whether the president's role should be limited to chairing EU summits and "not putting the [European] commission president in the shadow," said the Swedish prime minister.

It was clear he preferred the latter role, a lower profile and less influential function that would probably be less attractive to Blair.

The former prime minister is believed to be strongly considering bidding for the post. Former close aides have indicated they could be moving to Brussels. But no announcement of a candidacy is expected until after the Irish referendum.

When Blair's name first surfaced for the position last year, it quickly became clear that he had the support of France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, but was opposed by Berlin, where the chancellor, Angela Merkel, is said to prefer a more limited role for the president and a weaker figure.

That situation may no longer obtain. Sarkozy is said to have gone cool on Blair and could support Felipe González, the former Spanish prime minister, while Merkel's opposition seems to have diminished despite the fact that Blair is widely mistrusted in Germany for his role in the Iraq war and because he failed to use his 10 years in Downing Street to put Britain "at the heart of Europe".

Privately, senior Swedish officials questioned the merits of a Blair presidency. Running the EU for the next year, the Swedish and Spanish governments enjoy agenda-setting powers that could complicate a Blair bid.

The Briton's main assets, however, are name and brand recognition, international contacts, and the absence, so far, of any serious rival for the post.

Last year, the Germans were said to be backing either Jean-Claude Juncker, the veteran prime minister of Luxembourg, or Wolfgang Schüssel, the former Austrian chancellor. Both are no longer mentioned as credible contenders.

Rather than names, the Swedes want to concentrate on settling the job description and defining the role and powers for the new post.

The job of European president, held for a maximum of two terms of 30 months, is established by the Lisbon treaty, along with the new post of European foreign policy chief, who is also to be a vice-president of the European commission.

The president is to be appointed by European heads of state or government, but the role and powers have yet to be agreed, except that the person should be a former president or prime minister.

British diplomats say that the first president will shape the role, while the Swedes say the job description should precede the appointment.
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« Reply #243 on: July 04, 2009, 12:51:52 PM »


Turkey losing interest in EU - Now following 'pro-Arab Islamist' foreign policy     

worldnetdaily.com/

After years of being refused entry into the European Union, Turkey is losing interest and is looking eastward where it has many friends. And it is seeking to reassert the influence it once held in traditionally Turkic countries, according to a report in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

Formally, Ankara remains committed to joining the EU, but the idea of joining has lost much of its appeal after years of rejection and additional European demands to repeatedly prove that it is worthy.

Indeed, Germany and France remain adamantly opposed to Turkey's entrance to the EU. At a recent joint television appearance in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear their opposition to Turkish EU membership.

Turkey, however, has made efforts to develop better relations with Arab states and such other countries as Russia, Syria and Iraq – and even Armenia, a traditional foe.

Arab countries which never were enamored with the post-Ottoman leadership now look with admiration to what is referred to as the "Turkish model."

In addition, Turkey is looking to re-establish its historical influence in the Turkic countries of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In this Central Asian region, Turkey sees itself in a peacekeeping role where it either ruled or dominated for centuries.

These developments recently have emerged despite a promise by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he assumed office in 2003 that he would lead Turkey into the EU.

The apparent change in course for Turkish foreign policy may be due partially to a new generation of advisers surrounding Erodogan. Turkey's new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is one such influential adviser who has outlined what he calls a "multidimensional policy" contrary to what has been practiced.

His predecessors have focused entirely on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Europe and the U.S.

Observers point out that Davutoglu's origins are from what is called Central Anatolia which encompasses most of modern Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran. He is said to be heavily influenced by Islamic thought and has no hesitation in embracing Turkey's past Ottoman empire which included countries over which Turkey seeks to regain influence. Given his eastern education, Davutoglu believes that Turkey should not be so committed only to a western orientation.

Davutoglu's readily approaches countries deemed to be bad guys in the eyes of the U.S. – Syria and Iran, and such groups as Hezbollah and Hamas which the U.S. has labeled as terrorist groups.
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« Reply #244 on: July 12, 2009, 02:40:19 PM »

Ireland to vote again on EU's Lisbon Treaty on Oct 2   

israelnationalnews.com/

Ireland will hold a second referendum on the European Union's key Lisbon reform treaty on October 2, Prime Minister Brian Cowen told parliament on Wednesday.

Cowen said he had received assurances from his European colleagues on issues that concerned Irish voters, who threw the EU into chaos when they rejected the treaty in a referendum in June last year.

"I believe these concerns have been addressed now in the shape of the legal guarantees which have been agreed by the 27 heads of state," he said.

"On that basis, I recommended to the government that we return to the people to seek their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty.

"That referendum will take place on October 2nd."

The guarantees affirm that Ireland's military neutrality and taxation system, as well as its stance on social issues like abortion, will not be affected by the treaty.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told journalists that adopting the treaty was in the best interests of Ireland, as he published a guide explaining the document to voters.

"The government believes that this treaty is good for Ireland and good for Europe," he said. "Our task now is to bring our case before the people."

The Lisbon Treaty is designed to streamline decision-making in an EU which has expanded to encompass the former communist countries of eastern Europe.

Support for the treaty has been growing as Ireland's economic crisis has deepened, with the most recent polls showing 54 percent would now vote "yes".

Only Ireland was constitutionally bound to put the treaty to a public vote. Almost all the EU member states have endorsed the treaty through votes in their national parliaments.
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« Reply #245 on: July 12, 2009, 02:41:18 PM »

Top EU diplomat Javier Solana to step down this Fall - who will emerge as the voice of the EU?    

earthtimes.org/

Top EU diplomat Javier Solana on Sunday announced plans to retire this autumn, in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC. "I think my time has come," said Solana, 66, who has held the position for ten years. He said a decade was "more than enough."

Solana's term in office as the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy is set to expire in October. Asked if he could be talked into staying, he said "there would be no point in trying."

He said he can look back on his time in office with pride, noting that Europe had "established itself" during this phase.

His most troubling times came when he tried to negotiate in war-torn areas, particularly in the Middle East.

The Spaniard said he would remain engaged in European issues and did not rule out getting back into Spanish politics. Solana has served as both Spain's Culture and Foreign Minister in the past, along with a stint as secretary general of NATO.
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« Reply #246 on: July 18, 2009, 11:20:22 AM »

Brown backs Blair as British choice for President of Europe    

timesonline.co.uk


Tony Blair was named for the first time as the Government's candidate for President of the European Council today.

Confirming that Britain is pushing Mr Blair's case for a dramatic return to frontline politics, Baroness Kinnock, the Europe Minister, said that Mr Blair's "strength of character" made him the ideal person for the job created under the Lisbon Treaty.

Mr Blair himself has avoided declaring his hand or openly campaigning ahead of the decision on the new high-profile post, which is expected to be made by heads of the EU governments at their summit in late October if the Lisbon Treaty passes a second referendum in Ireland on October 2.

The former Prime Minister is currently working as a special envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet of the UN, US, EU and Russia.

The new role, often shortened to President of Europe, is to organize and preside over regular meetings of the 27 EU leaders and has been referred to as the George Washington of Europe.

"The UK government is supporting Tony Blair's candidature for President of the Council," Mrs Kinnock told journalists in Strasbourg today.

Referring to the other job of EU foreign minister to be created by the treaty, as well as the all the jobs yet to be allocated in the next European Commission, she added: "There are a lot of roles to be decided. It is going to be an exciting time."

Pressed on whether Mr Blair was now a declared candidate for the job, Mrs Kinnock added: "I am not saying there has been any formal confirmation or statement from Tony but it is certainly is the Government's position. I am sure they would not do it without asking him."

Gordon Brown has been frequently asked if he was supporting Mr Blair's case and has said that, should the former Prime Minister put his name forward, then he would have the British Government's full support.

Baroness Kinnock's admission today suggests that conversations are already being held behind the scenes with the power brokers of Europe.

She added: "Tony Blair is seen by many as someone who has the strength of character, the stature, people know who he is and he would be someone who would have this role and step into with a lot of respect and I think would be generally welcomed."

Mr Blair's main backers around the EU leaders' table are understood to be senior figures on the centre right of politics, including Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands.

President Sarkozy has spoken of his support for Mr Blair in the past but recent reports in France have claimed that the President now favors Felipe Gonzalez, a former Prime Minister of Spain.

One potential handicap for Mr Blair's prospects is often said to be reluctance among Socialist MEPs to endorse him as a centre-left candidate.

Bur Mrs Kinnock appeared confident that they could be won round. Initially saying that she was sure that Europe's socialists would come on board, she added: "There would be a sympathetic response but it depends who else is in the frame."

A British government spokeswoman was quick to add that Mrs Kinnock was not pre-empting the result of the Lisbon Treaty vote in Ireland. "The reality is that the Lisbon Treaty has not entered into force and if and when it does there will be the role of Council President. Tony Blair has yet to say he will stand. There is not even a job for him to be candidate for at the moment."

That view was reiterated by a spokesman for Mr Blair, who said: "Nothing has changed. The job doesn't exist, so there is nothing to be a candidate for. Mr Blair remains focused on his role in the Middle East."
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« Reply #247 on: July 18, 2009, 11:21:09 AM »


Iceland Prepares To Join EU       

news.bbc.co.uk/

Parliament in Iceland has voted by a narrow majority to set in motion an application to join the European Union, after five days of exhaustive debate.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir of the Social Democrats has also been pushing for the adoption of the euro as the Nordic country's currency.

The bid must now be approved by the EU, after which Iceland's people will be asked to vote on it in a referendum.

Opponents of the bid fear EU quotas could hurt Iceland's fishing industry.

Correspondents say Iceland, with a population of just 320,000, has traditionally been sceptical about joining the EU.

But many people there have warmed to the idea of membership following the devastating economic meltdown which saw the top Icelandic banks collapse in a matter of days last year.

The government will formally submit Iceland's bid to the EU in Brussels on 27 July, at a meeting of its foreign ministers.

Arni Thor Sigurdsson, chairman of the parliamentary committee handling EU issues, told Reuters news agency that Iceland would not be ready to join the EU any earlier than 2013.

Financial woes

Members of the 63-seat Althingi, Iceland's parliament, backed the proposal to start membership talks with the EU by 33 votes to 28, with two abstentions.

Source: Arni Thor Sigurdsson, chairman of parliamentary committee on EU issues, quoted by Reuters
Five members of the Left Green party, the Social Democrats' partner in the coalition government, rejected it, AFP news agency reports.

The Social Democrats and the Left Greens formed a government at the end of April following a general election.

Iceland's Business Minister, Gylfi Magnusson, believes that euro zone membership would help stabilise the country's currency.

"The main benefits of EU membership at the moment would be the possibility of joining the exchange rate mechanism, and eventually adopting the euro," he told the BBC before the parliamentary vote.

"One of the problems we have with rebuilding the financial sectors is that the currency is very much a troubled one.

"It has historically been unstable, both with respect to the exchange rate, and to the inflation rate. But since the collapse last year it has been giving us more trouble than ever."
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« Reply #248 on: July 18, 2009, 06:36:05 PM »

I'll simply say FASCINATING!
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« Reply #249 on: September 26, 2009, 12:26:02 PM »

EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour"           

telegraph.co.uk

A five-year research programme, called Project Indect, aims to develop computer programmes which act as "agents" to monitor and process information from web sites, discussion forums, file servers, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers.

Its main objectives include the "automatic detection of threats and abnormal behaviour or violence".

Project Indect, which received nearly £10 million in funding from the European Union, involves the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and computer scientists at York University, in addition to colleagues in nine other European countries.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, described the introduction of such mass surveillance techniques as a "sinister step" for any country, adding that it was "positively chilling" on a European scale.

The Indect research, which began this year, comes as the EU is pressing ahead with an expansion of its role in fighting crime, terrorism and managing migration, increasing its budget in these areas by 13.5% to nearly £900 million.

The European Commission is calling for a "common culture" of law enforcement to be developed across the EU and for a third of police officers – more than 50,000 in the UK alone – to be given training in European affairs within the next five years.

According to the Open Europe think tank, the increased emphasis on co-operation and sharing intelligence means that European police forces are likely to gain access to sensitive information held by UK police, including the British DNA database. It also expects the number of UK citizens extradited under the controversial European Arrest Warrant to triple.

Stephen Booth, an Open Europe analyst who has helped compile a dossier on the European justice agenda, said these developments and projects such as Indect sounded "Orwellian" and raised serious questions about individual liberty.

"This is all pretty scary stuff in my book. These projects would involve a huge invasion of privacy and citizens need to ask themselves whether the EU should be spending their taxes on them," he said.

"The EU lacks sufficient checks and balances and there is no evidence that anyone has ever asked 'is this actually in the best interests of our citizens?'"

Miss Chakrabarti said: "Profiling whole populations instead of monitoring individual suspects is a sinister step in any society.

"It's dangerous enough at national level, but on a Europe-wide scale the idea becomes positively chilling."

According to the official website for Project Indect, which began this year, its main objectives include "to develop a platform for the registration and exchange of operational data, acquisition of multimedia content, intelligent processing of all information and automatic detection of threats and recognition of abnormal behaviour or violence".

It talks of the "construction of agents assigned to continuous and automatic monitoring of public resources such as: web sites, discussion forums, usenet groups, file servers, p2p [peer-to-peer] networks as well as individual computer systems, building an internet-based intelligence gathering system, both active and passive".

York University's computer science department website details how its task is to develop "computational linguistic techniques for information gathering and learning from the web".

"Our focus is on novel techniques for word sense induction, entity resolution, relationship mining, social network analysis [and] sentiment analysis," it says.

A separate EU-funded research project, called Adabts – the Automatic Detection of Abnormal Behaviour and Threats in crowded Spaces – has received nearly £3 million. Its is based in Sweden but partners include the UK Home Office and BAE Systems.

It is seeking to develop models of "suspicious behaviour" so these can be automatically detected using CCTV and other surveillance methods. The system would analyse the pitch of people's voices, the way their bodies move and track individuals within crowds.

Project coordinator Dr Jorgen Ahlberg, of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, said this would simply help CCTV operators notice when trouble was starting.

"People usually don't start to fight from one second to another," he said. "They start by arguing and pushing each other. It's not that 'oh you are pushing each other, you should be arrested', it's to alert an operator that something is going on.

"If it's a shopping mall, you could send a security guard into the vicinity and things [a fight] maybe wouldn't happen."

Open Europe believes intelligence gathered by Indect and other such systems could be used by a little-known body, the EU Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), which it claims is "effectively the beginning of an EU secret service". Critics have said it could develop into "Europe's CIA".

The dossier says: "The EU's Joint Situation Centre (SitCen) was originally established in order to monitor and assess worldwide events and situations on a 24-hour basis with a focus on potential crisis regions, terrorism and WMD-proliferation.

"However, since 2005, SitCen has been used to share counter-terrorism information.

"An increased role for SitCen should be of concern since the body is shrouded in so much secrecy.

"The expansion of what is effectively the beginning of an EU 'secret service' raises fundamental questions of political oversight in the member states."

Superintendent Gerry Murray, of the PSNI, said the force's main role would be to test whether the system, which he said could be operated on a countrywide or European level, was a worthwhile tool for the police.

"A lot of it is very academic and very science-driven [at the moment]. Our budgets are shrinking, our human resources are shrinking and we are looking for IT technology that will help us five years down the line in reducing crime and combating criminal gangs," he said.

"Within this Project Indect there is an ethical board which will be looked at: is it permissible within the legislation of the country who may use it, who oversees it and is it human rights compliant."
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« Reply #250 on: October 01, 2009, 10:28:53 PM »

TONY Blair is set to be made the first President of Europe in weeks, The Sun can reveal.

He will be nominated by EU leaders in Brussels if, as expected, Ireland backs the hated Lisbon Treaty in tomorrow's referendum.

A senior Government source said: "If we get a 'Yes' vote it will all move very, very quickly. Tony could be named by the end of October."

The leaders of the EU's 27 nations, not the voters, will choose the president.

Former PM Mr Blair would not formally take up the powerful position until all EU countries ratified the Treaty.

Even if Ireland votes "Yes", Poland and the Czech Republic are still to decide. But Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, wants a president named by the end of this month - and Mr Blair is favourite.

Asked if Mr Blair was the only real candidate, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner replied: "For the moment, indeed."

A senior French diplomat added: "Who will dare say no to Tony Blair?" He played down concerns about Mr Blair's support for the Iraq War.

The revelations came as Tory leader David Cameron said his party would think again about a referendum on the Treaty if every EU country approves it.


If all don't, he vowed to hold a national vote on the issue.

He said: "If the Germans ratify, if the Poles ratify, if the Czechs ratify, if the Irish vote 'Yes' to the Treaty, then a new set of circumstances (apply), and I will address those at the time."

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« Reply #251 on: October 02, 2009, 03:09:43 AM »

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TONY Blair is set to be made the first President of Europe in weeks, The Sun can reveal. 

Fascinating! - Thanks for this news. This makes for some very interesting speculation about the future of the EU - the Revived Roman Empire.
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« Reply #252 on: March 27, 2010, 12:02:01 AM »

EU draws up plans for single 'economic government' to prevent crisis
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Published: 8:21PM GMT 25 Mar 2010

Germany and France have tabled controversial plans to create an "economic government of the European Union" to police financial policy across the continent.

They have put Herman Van Rompuy, the EU President, in charge of a special task force to examine "all options possible" to prevent another crisis like the one caused by the Greek meltdown.

His mission will be to draw up a master-plan for the best way to oversee and enforce economic targets set in Brussels as a key part of a bail-out package for Greece.

The options he will consider include the creation of an "economic government" by the by the end of the year.

"We commit to promote a strong co-ordination of economic policies in Europe," said a draft text expected to be agreed by EU leaders last night.

"We consider that the European Council should become the economic government of the EU and we propose to increase its role in economic surveillance and the definition of the EU's growth strategy."

Gordon Brown was last night examining the wording of the statement to see whether it was restricted to eurozone members or has possible implications for British economic sovereignty.

Officials are concerned that the language calling for an "economic government" could be another attempt at a power-grab in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty.

It comes at a time when a Conservative government has promised Britons a vote on any new EU treaty if it wins the general election.

The contentious language was contained in a Franco-German document prepared for an emergency meeting of the 16 "eurozone" countries, in the wings of a summit in Brussels.

The talks, over a pre-dinner aperitif, decided on an EU-led "mechanism" for bailing out the crisis-hit Greek economy with the help of the IMF if necessary.

Combined with the aid is a German plan for tougher sanctions for countries, such as Greece, that run up massive public debts while failing to reform uncompetitive economies.

Mr Van Rompuy, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, is an enthusiastic supporter of "la gouvernement économique" and last month upset many national capitals by trying impose "top down" economic targets.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has called for the Lisbon Treaty to be amended in order to prevent any repetition of the current Greek crisis, which has threatened to tear apart the euro.

"I will push for necessary treaty changes so that we can act sooner and more effectively when things go wrong, including with targeted sanctions," she said.

If Chancellor Merkel's idea gains momentum, Croatia's likely EU membership next year would need an "amending Treaty" providing an easy opportunity to lever in proposals for economic government.

When the Lisbon Treaty was agreed, European leaders, including Mr Brown, said that it would be the last attempt to change the EU's basic rules until least 2020.

Britain is not a euro member, but it is a signatory to the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties that already require London to submit budgetary reports. Britain ia also required, under recent proposals from Mr Van Rompuy, to observe EU targets on employment, research spending, green technology, education and poverty reduction.

EU draws up plans for single 'economic government' to prevent crisis
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