'We're in God's Hands'

'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:14 pm

03/26/2009
INTERVIEW WITH EU PARLIAMENTARIAN MARTIN SCHULZ
'We're in God's Hands'
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, acting president of the European Union, lost a no-confidence vote in the Czech parliament. Martin Schulz, chairman of the Socialist group in European Parliament, argues that now the EU has to struggle not just for leadership, but for its very survival.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Schulz, does the EU currently lack leadership?

Schulz: No. Definitely not. President Topolanek is in office, even if its just in a caretaker role. He can continue his coordinating role as head of the European Council. The EU's ability to function hasn't been impaired. Topolanek himself of course has less room to maneuver. But, he hadn't exactly been the strongest council president to date anyway.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you mean?

Schulz: Just look how he blathered about the United States yesterday in Parliament. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,615705,00.html
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:46 pm

Jan Fischer named new Czech prime minister
2 days ago

PRAGUE (AFP) — Little-known economist Jan Fischer was named Czech interim prime minister Thursday to shepherd the country through the rest of its troubled European Union presidency and to early elections in October.

Fischer, the non-partisan head of the Czech Statistical Office, will replace outgoing premier Mirek Topolanek, whose centre-right coalition cabinet was toppled last month, midway through the Czech EU presidency that ends June 30.

"I am aware the situation is not easy, but I am convinced you will handle your role well and I'm ready to help you in this," President Vaclav Klaus told Fischer after appointing him at a ceremony.

Under a political deal, Topolanek will remain the head of government until May 8, while Fischer puts together his team which he said "will not be a cabinet of visions, it will be a cabinet of hard work." http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hC45p8NkJUsC-qhkr7meu5qAv2aA

A statstician gets the prime minister's post! Refreshing fact: he will go back to his statistics job in the fall. May he get the Czech politicians on-board to work with him, as there are two and half-months of EU presidency also to consider. Busy spring for the republic.
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby fishandchips on Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:59 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Fischer_(Czech_politician) The future PM even has a Wikipedia entry updated this holiday weekend. News travels round quickly. Yes, that EU presidency is kind of like being the star politician of the region for 6 months. Mr. Sarkozy's shadow extends long over it.
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:08 am

This weekend, Europeans vote in the EU elections. Italians voting will be aware of their PM's recent flurry of news stories and even the PM is upset with all the fuss over him.

2009-06-05 18:32
Italians vote in EU and local polls
'Gossip politics' may have turned off voters
(ANSA) - Rome, June 5 - Italians go to the polls at the weekend after an election campaign for the European Parliament and a number of local offices in which political issues were overshadowed by allegations surrounding Premier Silvio Berlusconi's private life.

The premier spent much of his campaign denying there had been anything unseemly in his friendship with a teenage aspiring model and justifying the fact that he brought guest passengers on his state flights.

Because of the tone of the campaign, in which he accused the opposition and even the foreign press of seeking to smear him, observers believe that Berlusconi will want the outcome of the vote to confirm his popularity among Italians and thus politically exonerate him of any wrongdoing.http://www.ansa.it/site/notizie/awnplus/english/news/2009-06-05_105377711.html
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby yukon on Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:56 pm

Centre-right parties have done well in elections to the European Parliament at the expense of the left. Far-right and anti-immigrant parties also made gains, as turnout figures plunged to between 43 and 44%.

The UK Labour Party, Germany's Social Democrats and France's Socialist Party were heading for historic defeats. Correspondents say the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) looks set to continue to hold power in the parliament.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8088309.stm
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:41 pm

11:24 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 12:24 UK
Swedish pirates capture EU seat

Sweden's Pirate Party has won a seat in the European Parliament.

The group - which campaigned on reformation of copyright and patent law - secured 7.1% of the Swedish vote.

The result puts the Pirate Party in fifth place, behind the Social Democrats, Greens, Liberals and the Moderate Party. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8089102.stm

The headline caught my eye-when did Sweden have pirates? Then I realized a political party used pirates in its name. The EU Parliament will be a steep learning curve for the incumbent seatholder.
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:44 pm

It would appear that the EU election did not pull lots of voters out this past weekend. Lowest voter turnout yet?

06/09/2009 THE WORLD FROM BERLIN
'Europe's Elites Are Destroying the Grand Project'
Never mind who the voters voted for. Why didn't more Europeans cast their ballots? German commentators think they have the answer.

How does one analyze an election that took place simultaneously in 27 different member states? Prior to the European parliamentary vote, pundits lamented the fact that the EU-wide vote rarely went beyond being a domestic political barometer. With the results having been made public on Sunday evening, however, those same pundits rushed to fit the results into a continent-wide pattern.

The patterns were certainly there to be seen. Social Democrats suffered mightily across the EU as voters apparently turned to the right for solutions to the ongoing economic crisis that has gripped Europe and the world. At the same time, many voters found center-right parties not conservative enough, with far-right parties doing well in Holland, Austria, Hungary and elsewhere. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,629447,00.html
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:28 pm

A different article on the voter turnout for the EU elections. Seems that the voters don't really understand what the EU does for them either.

Other analysts said voters had no idea why they needed to participate in the elections.

Information about the elections was poor, many campaigns were badly run and lackluster, and the issues were much more focused on domestic themes and endless sparring among the political parties, analysts said.

There was also little or no effort to explain what the European Parliament does or how it affects people’s lives (like its decision to reduce fees for roaming cellphone calls this summer).


For East Europeans, E.U. Election Was a Big Yawn
By JUDY DEMPSEY
Published: June 9, 2009
BERLIN — From Lithuania in the north to Romania in the south, East Europeans ignored the European Parliament elections in even greater numbers than voters in the West.

The average turnout for the 10 former Communist countries was just over 31 percent, compared with an overall average of 43.1 percent for the 27-nation European Union. The turnout in Eastern Europe was uneven. More than 52 percent voted in Latvia because, analysts said, the parliamentary election coincided with local government elections; only 20 percent voted in Lithuania.

With many countries hit hard by the global financial crisis, voters had a galvanizing issue around which they could rally. But the dismal turnout suggested that voters were either apathetic or skeptical that their national and international political institutions could do anything meaningful to solve their problems. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/world/europe/10iht-vote.html?ref=europe

Labelling laws and aviation are two things that the EU regulates for the voters. If voters really looked into the matter, would they be happy or unhappy at how many laws are EU creations that affect their lives?
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:31 pm

The phrase "Lisbon Treaty" was supposedly keeping Czech's parliament in discussion and I have to see if the country has ratified it or not. Germany is on the way to ratification, after its Federal Court indicated a matter that had to be dealt with prior to the actual ratification. Wonder how many German citizens understand all of the legal logistics of the process?

06/30/2009 YELLOW LIGHT FROM CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
Germany Cannot Ratify Lisbon -- Yet
Germany's highest court has ruled that the Lisbon Treaty is not fundamentally incompatible with the country's constitution. However, it has called a halt to the ratification process until the German parliament changes a domestic law to strengthen the role of the country's legislative bodies in implementing European Union laws.

With the process of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty hitting one speed bump after another, many would have expected that at least Germany would have given the treaty safe passage. However, an attempt by some German legislators to block its ratification has led to delays even in the European Union's biggest country.

On Tuesday, Germany's highest court rejected a petition by a group of around 50 lawmakers seeking to stop the treaty, with the judges arguing that the Lisbon Treaty is compatible with the country's constitution, the so-called Basic Law. Nevertheless, the Federal Constitutional Court laid one final hurdle before it can be ratified: A domestic law must be changed in parliament. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,633414,00.html
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Re: 'We're in God's Hands'

Postby CielOnTap on Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:11 pm

07/06/2009 GERMANY'S LISBON TREATY RULING
Brussels Put Firmly in the Back Seat
By SPIEGEL Staff

Last week's ruling by the German Constitutional Court, coupled with demands by one conservative party for changes to the constitution, may not only jeopardize Berlin's schedule for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The Karlsruhe ruling also threatens future steps toward European integration.

When the parliamentary group of the Christian Social Union (CSU) -- the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats -- met in Berlin last Thursday, they had a hero to celebrate. "You have saved our honor," said CSU representative Hans-Peter Friedrich to his party colleague and friend Peter Gauweiler. http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,634506,00.html
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