Posts in "Ireland" Category

Dear @Xavier_Bettel, it’s time to rotate the @EU_Presidency

Bettel

In seven months Luxembourg will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Preparations seem to be well underway, but so far your government has not set up a specific Twitter account for the presidency.

As you may know, the current Italian EU Presidency is quite active on Twitter. It has amassed more than 32,000 followers to its account, @IT2014EU. The Latvian government – which holds the presidency in the first half of 2015 – is already tweeting via two accounts – in English (@EU2015LV), and in Latvian (@ES2015LV). They have a combined total of  more than 3,800 followers.

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Building a new Commission – the runners and riders for the next College

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]Post updated later on Wednesday 11 June to account for news that Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture and Rural Development; Romania) may be re-nominated to the Commission.[/infopane]

With the choice of a President of the European Commission still up in the air, we are a long way off knowing the full team that will occupy the upper floors of the Berlaymont for the next five years.

Nevertheless, national governments are already putting forward their proposed nominees to sit in the new College. Here’s our look at the comings and goings in the Commission in 2014, and the potential candidates to take a seat in the new Commission.

If you have comments or suggestions, please include them in the comments box.

See our country-by-country guide to the potential nominees

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Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament

[infopane color=”5″ icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]
EPP S&D ALDE G/EFA ECR EFDD GUE/NGL NI
221 191 67 50 70 48 52 52
27 countries 28 countries 21 countries 17 countries 15 countries 7 countries 14 countries 10 countries
The 2014 European elections brought 34 new parties or independent candidates to the European Parliament.

Now, many of those new MEPs are seeking to join political groups to strengthen their voice in the Parliament, while a battle goes on between the groups to attract new members that help ensure their survival and maximise their influence, speaking time and funding.

One new group – the European Alliance for Freedom – has also been mooted as a way to bring together anti-EU parties on the radical right. To form this and other groups, a minimum of 25 MEPs are needed, representing at least seven member states.

At the same time, other parties are considering changing groups or allying themselves to a group for the first time.

Take a look at our table listing the parties up for grabs, based on the vast array of information from intelligence we have gathered and media reports – and contribute via the button below or the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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Five days on from the election: five reflections on the Commission presidency

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]This blogpost, originally published at 12:55 on Friday 30 May, has been updated following remarks by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, later on Friday afternoon.[/infopane]

That was the week that was: an odd few days where the European People’s Party won the European Parliament elections, but was also the biggest loser; and where Socialists in the Parliament backed the EPP lead candidate for the European Commission presidency, only for some centre-right leaders to apply the brakes in the European Council.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EPP lead candidate, is still the frontrunner and the only person formally in the running. His chances have been boosted tanks to comments by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, that she is conducting negotiations on the basis that Juncker should be President.

However, it is clear that a number of heads of government would like to dump him in favour of someone else. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has been charged with an exploratory mission to find the person – Juncker included – who can command the sufficient majority in the Parliament and European Council.

Meanwhile, five political groups in the European Parliament have backed Juncker to have a first go at building majorities in the same institutions – and if he fails, are likely to call for Martin Schulz, lead candidate of the second-placed Socialists, to have a go.

If those who want to block Juncker in the European Council succeed – and it is not a done deal yet for the former Luxembourg prime minister – an inter-institutional battle between the Parliament and European Council will be on the cards.

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Elections round-up: EPP loses but stays as biggest group, while anti-EU parties surge

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Europe’s voters have backed a vast array of anti-EU and anti-establishment voters in the 2014 European Parliament elections, sending fewer MEPs from each of the main political groups back to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Despite being the biggest loser of the night in terms of seats, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks like emerging as the biggest party in the European Parliament with its support holding up in Germany and Poland among the larger member states, and good support across central and Eastern Europe. The Socialists are also set to lose a handful of seats, with the Liberals likely to lose around 20 seats according to the latest projections.

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Who and what will shape health policy in the coming years?

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????By this time next week, we may be starting to witness momentous change in the European Union: new people, a new policy direction, and a new paradigm in the way the institutions relate to each other. But where will these changes leave health policy?

The results of the broader policy discussions that affect the healthcare sector – and in particular the pharmacutical and medical devices industries – may take a while to become clear. The results of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and reform of the Troika could take several years to become clear, although we can begin to predict the impact the new European Commission and European Parliament will have on them.

In some cases, this could mean more battles ahead: for example, Martin Schulz – the Party of European Socialists‘ candidate for the Commission presidency –  has stated his commitment to TTIP, but many Socialists are reluctant to accept many key elements of the potential agreement, such as the investor-state dispute settlement, and this opposition could cause headaches for European businesses.

In more detailed healthcare policy terms, there is perhaps more clarity, and also a bit more certainty following the developments of the last five years.

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Different states of independence

Alex Salmond at the ECOne of the quirky sub-plots of this year’s European Parliament elections is that the success of one ‘independence’ movement could inadvertently boost the prospects of another.

Scotland’s independence referendum is just a few months away. The polls are tight: a recent poll says that 42% of Scots would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom, while 39% would support independence. The two campaigns are virtually neck-and-neck. This weekend, one of Scotland’s Sunday newspapers said it backed independence. Scotland’s destiny is in the balance.

A few events between now and 18 September could have a big impact – something that Alex Salmond (pictured above with European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso) Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), knows only too well.

One is the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, in July and August. These games – third largest multi-sport event in the world – bring together athletes from 70 countries. Scotland competes separately in these Games and, as host nation, it will aim to showcase its sporting and organisational prowess. Expect an abundance of national pride.

Another is the European Parliament election on 22 May. Scotland has only six MEPs, but the result across the United Kingdom will be keenly observed north of the border – and especially the expected success of the UK Independence Party (Ukip). Anti-EU feeling across the rest of Britain could easily make many Scots – generally more pro-European than the English are – vote to exit the UK now rather than be part of a British exit from the EU.

But where would independence leave Scotland, the UK and Europe?

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A more visual EU election?

Visual communication is steadily entering its way into online campaigns for the European Parliament elections.

Candidates and political parties are showing rather than describing what they stand for, and we can see rather than read how candidates are being interviewed, campaigning, speaking and making pledges.

Images with quotes signed by the lead candidates of the two largest European political parties, Jean-Claude Juncker (European People’s Party) and Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists) regularly float by in Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The Liberal ALDE Party uses wordclouds to set out its values and the European Greens encourage voters to create their own digital campaign poster.

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50 days to go, 50 things to know about Europe’s year of change

The countdown continues: at 08:00 CET on Wednesday 2 April, there are exactly 50 days to go to the opening of the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Here is our overview of where we stand and what you need to know about Europe’s year of change:

Top jobs | Country-by-country | PollWatch 2014 | The elections and beyond | Reading list

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