The EU’s (somewhat limited) adhesion to the controversial Istanbul Convention

The Council has adopted two decisions according which the EU shall join the Council of Europe Convention (Istanbul Convention) on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. However, while  the Commission and the European Parliament had advocated for an extensive EU accession to this Convention, which would have resulted in an interference of the EU into educational and cultural matters, which fall within exclusive competences of Member States, Member States have successfully resisted these attempts. The compromise agreed in the Council falls significantly short of these pretensions, limiting EU accession to the issues of asylum, non-refoulment and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. It makes reference to Article 78 (2), 82, and 83 TFEU and to exclusive competences of the EU.
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Transparency International condemns EU “revolving door” for lobbyists

La porte tambour du bâtiment Charlemagne de la CE, avec le logo de la commission et le reflet du bâtiment BerlaymontThe EU advocacy office of Transparency International, an NGO committed to combating corruption in government and international organisations, has released a report aimed at exposing the phenomenon of a “revolving door” between EU institutions and the lobby industry. The report highlights cases of senior EU decision-makers moving directly into lobbying positions. Continue reading

Churches meet Maltese EU Presidency to discuss EU migration policy and social inclusion

243854-740xnoneOn Friday 6 January, the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, and other Maltese Government ministers met with representatives of Europe’s Christian Churches at the start of the six-month Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting was convened to discuss the priorities of the Maltese Presidency including migration, neighbourhood policy, and social inclusion. Continue reading

CETA: The European Union exposed to ridicule

We normally don’t write about trade policy on these pages. But today we do have to make a comment: the EU’s spectacular failure to agree on the signature and provisional application of the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA) with Canada marks a new and decisive further step in the Union’s demise. Whatever the merits of the argument may be – the astounding fact that a regional government representing less than one percent of the EU’s population is allowed to block a trade deal that has been negotiated for seven years and that is considered by experts to represent a very satisfying negotiation result shows that the EU is now structurally unable to deliver on one of its core competences, trade policy. As a result, it can hardly any more expect to be taken seriously either by citizens or the outside world. Continue reading