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  • Author: Lukas Obholzer
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The code of conduct that was agreed by a cross-party working group of the European Parliament (EP), the EP Bureau and Conference of Presidents, is a watered-down compromise that lacks provision for the introduction of the 'legislative footprint' that the plenary requested the Bureau to set up. The legislative footprint is a document that would detail the time, person and subject of a legislator's contact with a stakeholder. Published as an annex to legislative reports, it would provide insight into who gave input into draft legislation. Unfortunately, the Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) Committee with Carlo Casini (EPP) as Chair and Rapporteur has so far failed to improve the draft in this respect. Against a backdrop of past scandals and recent criticism of early agreements negotiated in trilogues behind closed doors, the EP is about to miss an opportunity to show that it has learnt its lesson, and that it takes seriously its role as guarantor of legitimacy in EU decision-making. Transparency means proactive action: by adding a provision for a legislative footprint that identifies the interest representatives with whom key actors met and from whom they received advice, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have a chance to turn the EP into a role model for parliamentary transparency in a pluralistic democracy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The idea of an official organisation of democratic states wishing to promote democracy worldwide has surfaced periodically in recent years. In 2000 the Community of Democracies was inaugurated and survives as a body committed to supporting democratic change (and we comment on this little-noticed initiative further below). Now the notion is gaining further currency. US Presidential candidate John McCain has advocated a League of Democracies. And analyst Robert Kagan, an advisor to McCain, has recently made a contribution on the subject in the Financial Times. It is quite possible that the European Union will need to adopt a position on this proposal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Irish no-vote on the Treaty of Lisbon, numerous scenarios are currently being debated. This paper critically assesses the legality and political feasibility of the principal proposals and then puts forward an alternative 'Plan B', which we believe would amply satisfy both criteria.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: John Temple Lang, Eamonn Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon in June 2008, Irish voters who voted against the Treaty gave several specific reasons as well as a variety of vague or general reasons that were unrelated to anything that was in the Treaty. These vague or general reasons are important because they probably were also significant influences in the “no” votes in France and the Netherlands. Moreover, they may be shared by a substantial but unknown number of people in other EU member states who did not get an opportunity to vote in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty or the Treaty for a Constitution. There were positive referendum results in Luxembourg and Spain. Other countries promised referenda, but did not hold them.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Netherlands, Ireland
  • Author: Amitai Etzioni
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The main challenge currently facing the EU is a community deficit: the low valuation the majority of its citizens accord the evolving collectivity. The EU is challenged by the mismatch between its increasing supranational decision making and the strong loyalties of its citizens to their respective nation states. To deal with this community deficit, the EU must either introduce strong measures of community building or else significantly scale back its plans for action in unison.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John O'Brennan
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the electorate on 12 June 2008 has presented the Irish government with the most serious crisis in external relations since the Second World War. This was the third such referendum on Europe held in Ireland since the millennium and the second plebiscite in three to result in a rejection of an EU Treaty following the failed Nice poll in 2001. There is no obvious solution to the dilemma the government faces and no obvious pathway to achieve ratification. There is however a clear consensus amongst the political parties that ratification constitutes both a clear political priority and a fundamental national interest. At the October European Council summit in Brussels, Taoiseach Brian Cowen promised to come back to the December meeting “with a view to our defining together the elements of a solution and a common path to follow”. But the external context is now clear – EU leaders indicated an unwillingness to re-negotiate any part of the Treaty: it will be up to Ireland to find an Irish solution to this European problem. Thus the opportunity cost of the No vote has become somewhat clearer: Ireland faces marginalisation and isolation in Europe if a solution to the Lisbon dilemma is not found. The domestic context is also somewhat clearer now that we have access to extensive data that sheds light on the reasons for the No vote in the 12 June poll. In assessing the options for ratification this paper draws upon that data, presented in among other sources, the post-referendum Eurobarometer survey and the government-commissioned Millward Brown IMS research findings.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon, Ireland
  • Author: Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In its Communication on Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007, released 8 November 2006, the European Commission concluded: “Overall, the fifth enlargement has been a considerable success” and “(t)he EU's institutions have continued to function effectively” (p. 4). In his speaking points to the press, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn (2006) stressed two important criteria for evaluating the integration process: With respect to institutional matters, the EU's decision-making processes must remain effective and accountable, for the sake of current member states as well as in view of further enlargement. With respect to policy-making, the EU needs to be in a position, as it enlarges, to continue developing and implementing common policies in all areas. Accordingly, assessment of the impact of enlargement on EU policies is planned to take place at all key stages of the enlargement process.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Richard E. Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The failure to reach a budget deal at the June summit may prove a blessing in disguise. The spectacular failure of the European Council to agree the last-minute compromise on the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective generated massively negative media coverage. In the short run, it will create huge difficulties for the EU, but things might have been even worse had they agreed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pressure is on for the defenders of the European Constitution. Although initially it seemed as if referenda would only be problematic in countries that have a reputation for a certain degree of Euroscepticism, now even France and the Netherlands look like unsafe candidates for public approval. While there is still a fair chance that a majority of the French will vote 'yes' when actually at the ballot box, there is an understandable nervousness among prointegrationists. A French 'no' would be the most serious obstacle that any one member state among those holding a referendum could create. In the likely case that other member states besides France then reject the text – possibly for entirely different or even opposing reasons – it would become extremely difficult to 'save' the Constitution in its entirety.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Wider Europe has become a prominent feature in European foreign policy discourse. The EU's first policy documents on this subject, however, have been thin in substance, mainly seeking to develop more active bilateral relations with countries such as Ukraine and Moldova. At the same time, however, the EU is discussing bilaterally just with Russia a set of common European policy spaces that should be at the heart of a Wider Europe policy. This paper argues that the EU should adopt a systematic approach to defining a complete set of seven common European policy spaces, with multilateral institutional developments to match, thus bringing together the bilateral and multilateral approaches. The overarching institutional mechanism should be through transforming the present very weak 'European Conference' into a seriously structured 'Pan-European Conference', led by a Coordinating Group consisting of the EU, Russia and a few other rotating places for non-EU states, with institutionalised linkages to the Council of Europe and other European multilateral organisations for the specific common policy spaces.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe