Conclusions of the European Council meeting (1-2 March 2012) (debate)

The European Council has again blocked Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area. It has apparently been blocked due to the veto from the Netherlands.The reality is that other Member States are also behind this opposition, with their leaders caught up in nationalist, populist rhetoric.

Against the background of the global economic crisis, the threat of Europe’s renationalisation is looming. Sacrificing the free movement of persons on the pretext that this would safeguard the security and cultural purity of Europe’s nations reflects the eurosceptic trend currently doing the rounds in the electoral campaign in France. While the French rejected the Constitutional Treaty by means of a referendum focused on debating national issues, the current presidential elections are raising controversy over European issues.

This would be welcome if the tone adopted were not anti-European. Mr Hollande is speaking out against European economic governance initiated through the fiscal pact.

Mr Sarkozy is calling for ‘political governance’ of the Schengen area. A ‘powerful France’ ought to define the principles of this governance, allowing ‘legitimate’ governments, unlike the European Commission, to impose sanctions on states which are not robust enough in tackling illegal immigration.

The real problem is not how to defend the EU’s external borders, but the inconsistency of the EU’s migration policy. There is also the need to come up with an EU solution for guaranteeing the application of the principle of solidarity and frank cooperation between EU Member States, which is enshrined in the treaties but which has become a dead letter.

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Preparation for the European Council meeting (1-2 March 2012) (debate)

The current neoliberal policy of the Troika in Greece is disarticulating the society and destroying the state. A new tranche of financial assistance was postponed yesterday giving rise to fears of an upcoming Greek default. What is more worrisome, however, is the apparent willingness of some eurozone Member States to let this scenario unfold, despite real efforts from the Greek Government in complying with their demands and imposing new austerity measures. Solidarity with Greece must not falter. A Greek default could have immeasurable consequences on Greek society and on the economies of the eurozone countries, although it seems a more palatable scenario for some Member States than a few years ago. Nonetheless, it is a path that must be firmly rejected. Instead, the EU Member States should continue assuming responsibility and should aim for further promoting debt restructuring negotiations and federalising credit guarantees. Moreover, measures for bank recapitalisation, as well as measures intended to stimulate investment, employment and economic growth need to be soon and boldly implemented. For all this to be achieved, political will towards speeding up the common economic governance and fiscal solidarity is essential.

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Conclusions of the European Council meeting (8-9 December 2011) (debate)

This European Council’s major achievements are:

1. The split between eurozone and non-eurozone Member States was avoided;

2. Compulsory economic, fiscal and budgetary governance was agreed upon. This opens the way to a new European architecture. What starts with a treaty may finish with a constitution.

The summit’s negative results are:

1. The concept of solidarity is missing from the envisaged solutions. Or, solidarity is key to economic growth and job creation, both being the foundation of a social Europe.

2. The lack of short-term solutions, necessary to regain the confidence of the markets, but also that of the European citizens. The UK’s self-isolation is an opportunity rather than a crisis. Even if regrettable, it is not lethal.

The future negotiations must include all willing eurozone and non-eurozone members. Including the EU institutions is also necessary. Legal coherence must be ensured between the intergovernmental treaty and European legislation; eventually, they should form one juridical instrument.

The treaty should regulate the coherence between various internal and external European policies. All its signatories would be automatically included into the Schengen area and the eurozone. This might represent the birth of a new Europe, with the UK joining it or being only its partner.

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Situation in Libya (debate)

The exact causes of the uprisings in the Arab world remain to be identified. Apart from the future uncertainty surrounding such social upheaval, the ‘political engineering’ undertaken once again by the Euro-Atlantic players increases the danger level of the situation. The constant repetition of the self-deluding speeches from the EU has not stopped, while we are already witnessing in Egypt the reintroduction of curfews following the attacks against the Israeli embassy. In Libya the atrocities committed by rebels are being discovered and the reintroduction of Islamic law as a model of government has been announced. Turkey, a former strategic ally of Israel, is scaling down significantly the level of diplomatic relations with this country and stating that recognition of the Palestinian state is an absolute must. At the same time, the policy of establishing settlements leaves Palestinian self-determination without any territorial support, while the violence in Syria and Taliban attacks against NATO in Afghanistan highlight the West’s powerlessness in the region.

How will we then move towards a peaceful future? By abandoning the damaging geopolitical strategy which guarantees Israel’s security by supporting Arab regimes devoid of any legitimacy. By stopping the use of human rights as a tool for geopolitical purposes and the neo-colonial transfer of models of Western social structure to the Middle East. By supporting the cooperation policies which will put an end to ‘rent’ economies in the Middle East and, by extension, internal and external socio-political clientelism. By secularising international relations and ending the ‘cultural war’ between ‘redeeming Judeo-Christianity’ and ‘damned Islam’.

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