Tag Archives | Europe

Cameron’s EU defeat: maybe De Gaulle was right all along

David Cameron’s failure to defeat the candidature of Jean-Claude Juncker has been variously described as a humiliation, a catastrophe for Britain, and an example of Cameron’s principle and European leaders cowardice. The Guardian’s Toby Helm has possibly the best analysis of what actually happened, why and how. It seems relatively few EU leaders were keen more…

D Day and Europe’s Long Peace

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of D Day. I am always humbled to hear the stories of those men who went ashore that day. They speak of the horror, not of any glory of war, but what that generation was forced to achieve and did so was truly heroic. The first big commemoration I remember more…

Irish and English election results so different, so much the same

Similar trends and outcomes are apparent when the British and Irish elections results are compared. They are of course part of a common European picture. But the immediate effect on the coalition governments  at Westminster and in Leinster House differs. The Irish coalition is rocking. The Irish Times is even speculating that pressure from Labour may more…

Unelected EU Commissioner says 75% of our laws are made in Brussels

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Further to my piece about the European Free Alliance (SNP / Plaid) claiming 70% of our daily lives are governed by rules from the EU a video on Vimeo has European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding claiming 75% of laws originate from the EU.   Elected MEPs cannot initiate legislation, propose legislation or even repeal legislation. All more…

“What has changed is that it is a clear message to the people of Northern Ireland that NI21 is a cross-community party…”

According to a BBC report, the NI21 party executive has announced a policy change on the eve of the party’s first foray into an actual election.  From the BBC report NI21 has announced it will change its designation at the Northern Ireland Assembly from unionist to ‘other’. The party’s executive took the decision ahead of more…

“this month you will see a kind of victory for the Eurosceptics…”

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Ahead of the EU-wide parliamentary elections, a much needed overview from BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt of the state of the European Project and its extant political trilemma.  From Gavin Hewitt’s article Unless the polls are very wrong, sometime next weekend Europe will learn that at least a quarter of the seats in the next more…

Eurovision 2014: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance…”

Well, perhaps…  A bearded Austrian man in a dress, Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen on Saturday night with “Rise Like a Phoenix” – the title quote was his line from the winner’s press conference.  The 25-year-old singer also told reporters in Vienna On the theme of tolerance, Wurst told reporters in the more…

70% of laws made by EU claims European Free Alliance (SNP & Plaid)

In the first Nigel Farage vs Nick Clegg debates the Deputy Prime Minister claimed only 7% of our laws were made in the EU. In the second debate Farage countered this and Clegg changed his assertion was about ‘Primary laws’. However in 2003 Nick Clegg said “Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in more…

Opinion: Time for UK wide Unionism

DUP website May 2014

Elections are coming and two recent polls have Sinn Fein inline to win 3 European seats in the Republic and 1 in Northern Ireland.  I highly doubt the recent debacle & arrest of Gerry Adams over the abduction, torture and murder of Jean McConville will seriously affect Sinn Fein`s electoral prospects.  Where then does this leave Unionists?  We more…

FSB Euro Election Hustings #FSBNIHustings

This morning the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland hosted the first debate amongst all of the European candidates (Jim Allister didn’t turn up and Basil McCrea was representing NI21.) The event was attended by around 80 people at the top floor of the Europa Hotel. The debate kicked off with each candidate setting more…

TUV European Selection Convention- Jim Allister is the candidate

TUV Jim Allister to run for European Election

So, I wandered over to the Park Ave Hotel in East Belfast tonight to see the TUV announce as their candidate for the European election. The party room meeting was comprised of around 170 people. The evening began with a speech by the party leader Jim Allister, followed by a Q&A were delegates got the chance more…

EU drops Maze funding

The BBC are reporting that the European Union’s Special European Programmes Body has dropped its offer of £18 million to the Maze peace centre / shrine after consulting with OFMDFM. The announcement is not yet on SEUPB’s website but according to the BBC: “The SEUPB has been in discussions with the lead partner in relation more…

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.” – redux

Despite a brief flurry of activity by Sinn Féin in February this year, around the Northern Ireland Executive Minister with responsibility for regulating Eel Fisheries, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín’s sudden “refusal to support European proposals for a unilateral suspension of eel-fishing”, the Minister’s promised Assembly statement on the issue never materialised.  That’s possibly because, at that stage, the more…

“Adding more weapons to this volatile situation could destabilise the entire region…”

The Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers were in a sunny Downing Street garden yesterday, welcoming that suspect package, and extolling the virtues of demonstrating “peacefully, positively, constructively” [Is that with, or without, a Thompson sub-machine gun? - Ed]  Without, probably…  ANYhoo, on the same day Sinn Féin released the text of what appears to more…

If Ireland north and south can commemorate the First World War together, so should the Germans alongside the wartime Allies

A piece in the Indy by Matthew Norman on the UK’s plans to commemorate World War 1 has to be read quite carefully to register the satire against the (English) Culture secretary’s smiley  moral equivalence approach to the vexed issue of war guilt. Were the Germans the clear aggressors or “were we all to blame?” The more…

Harry Fitzsimons arrested in Senegal

As the BBC reports A west Belfast man has been arrested in Senegal in west Africa. It is understood Harry Fitzsimons was detained in the capital Dakar last month. Earlier this year Italian police issued an arrest warrant for Mr Fitzsimons in connection with an alleged mafia money-laundering operation in Calabria in Italy. The report more…

Azerbaijan Presidential Inquiry over Eurovision Vote

Denmark may have won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, due to last year’s winner, held in Malmö, Sweden, but Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is reported to have ordered an inquiry into why his country, apparently, failed to provide any points to their neighbour, Russia.  Russia gave maximum points, 12, to the Azerbaijan entry.  From the more…

Irish Justice Minister: “a tribute to how far we have come as a society”

As promised by the Irish Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, in June last year, legislation has been passed by Dáil and Seanad providing for the granting of an amnesty and apology for the way the Irish State treated members of its Defence Forces who left to join the Allied Forces during World War II.  I’ve noted previously the historical debate in more…

Cyprus: So what happens next?

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The Guardian’s still live-blogging, for now, in the aftermath of Cyprus’ parliament’s rejection of an, albeit amended, EU/IMF cunning plan bail-out which included the public seizure levying of €5.8billion from private depositors in Cypriot banks – 36 votes against, 19 abstentions, none in favour.  The paper’s economics editor, Larry Elliot, answers the title question …there are really only two more…