Sinn Fein abstain on ‘funding from Russia’ motion in the European Parliament…

Interesting piece in passing. 70.8% of MEPs voted in favour of a resolution calling for a ban on funding of political parties in the EU by non-EU “political or economic stakeholders”. Sinn Fein’s group (many of them former communists) was against the motion. All four of Sinn Fein’s MEP’s abstained, and are marked as GUE-NGL rebels by Vote Watch. The BBC reports… Much of the text lambasted the Russian government for its crackdown on political opponents, gay activists and civil society … Read more

Live: Hogan being interviewed for post of Agriculture Commissioner…

Best followed in line with the Twitter stream… Live Blog Phil Hogan’s Commissioner designate hearing   Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Diane Dodds gets the DUP’s nomination for Europe…

And for balance’s sake, this evening the DUP nominated their sitting MEP, Diane Dodds. Here’s the FM’s pitch: Diane hasn’t been one of those MEPs who lives in Strasbourg and Brussels but forgets about their constituents. She has been a tireless advocate for citizens all across the Province, publishing three Funding Directories, highlighting funding opportunities for businesses and communities. These were supplemented with dozens of funding workshops and public meetings across every District Council. The Party Officers have decided to … Read more

Attwood launches unambiguous pro EU pitch for MEP job…

The SDLP’s conference kicked off with Alex Attwood’s interestingly on topic (and actually quite intelligent) pitch for a seat in the European Parliament. I say intelligent because there’s no peace process ambiguity here. He’s actually selling membership of the EU as, erm, in a very Sellar and Yeatman way, ‘a good thing’: “The SDLP has always been the most pro-European voice in Northern politics. We remain the most pro-European voice. “We are steadfastly for Europe; for the European Union; for … Read more

SDLP yet to choose its candidate, but the clock is ticking…

Tom Kelly asks, after the bloodless coup of south Belfast (which he attributes to speed and accommodation), the glaring gap in the SDLP’s defences is the European Parliament elections next year. Less than a year to go, and both Sinn Fein and the DUP have been getting their candidates settled in to their relatively new positions. Diane Dodds has been meeting small groups of farmers all over Northern Ireland and providing workshops for people on how to access support. For … Read 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 proposal was only in a draft report [amendment 8] to the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries by rapporteur, Isabella Lövin, a Swedish MEP. As it was that … Read more

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

But not in Northern Ireland.  [Partitionist! – Ed]  Indeed.  Here the regulation of eel fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – and the current Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín.  As is salmon fishing… There was a brief flurry of press statements last week as the NI DCAL Minister suddenly threatened to throw the kitchen sink in front of “potential EU proposals to suspend eel-fishing”.  From the first ministerial press release [14 Feb] Responding to a request for DCAL’s position, … Read more

Euro crisis: “It’s politics without policy choice…”

The pressure is definitely beginning to tell on the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the G20 summit in Mexico.   No news yet from Greece, and the markets are still betting against Spain.  He may, as he claims, have a “vision of where we need to go“, or he may, as Michael White says, be sticking his head in the sand.  In any case, at Crooked Timber Niamh Hardiman has been looking more closely at the end-game for the political trilemma. … Read more

“The JHA Council’s approach of 7 June represents a slap in the face of parliamentary democracy”

If the euro crisis wasn’t enough of a concern for supporters of the European Project, the attempted reform of Schengen is causing another headache.  The European Parliament has now suspended co-operation with the European Council on five draft bills connected to border security “until a satisfactory outcome is achieved on Schengen governance.” The Conference of Presidents also decided to remove from the July plenary session agenda the Carlos Coelho report on a proposal for a Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism and the Renate Weber … Read more

Euro crisis: “I am not sure whether the urgency of this is fully understood in all the capitals”

It would be fair to say that there remains a difference in opinion of the correct response to the euro crisis.   The BBC quotes European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. European governments need to agree urgently on steps to forge a closer union because of the eurozone’s “systemic problem”, the head of the European Commission says. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for a “vision of where we need to go”. “I am not sure whether the urgency of this … Read more

Euro crisis: “With that we buried the Maastricht Treaty, the legal basis for currency union”

A couple of interesting reports in the Irish Times with relevance to the ongoing euro crisis.  First, from Derek Scally in Berlin …Mr Asmussen, a member of the ECB governing council, said growth measures – agreed without reopening the fiscal treaty – could help drive European integration. “The benefits of a currency union are so outstanding that they should be stabilised by deepening, which means a fiscal union and banking union as well as a democratic legitimised political union,” said … Read more

Euro crisis: “When preserving the status quo is no longer a viable option…”

The Italian government is facing internal dissent over the terms and conditions of the European Central Bank’s “sticking plaster”.  Meanwhile, in the Irish Times, another supporter of the “European Project”, Thomas Klau, referencing the recent FT article by Otmar Issing I mentioned, at least identifies the fundamental area for discussion. In the English-language debate particularly, the relationship between democracy and European integration is often most vigorously argued about by Eurosceptics. It is essential for advocates of deeper European integration not … Read more

Député Dodds – a voice for Euro fascists?

The DUP are very proud of MEP Diane Dodds becoming a member of the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents. The body while sounding very important is essentially a business committee come speakers’ office and is mainly concerned with timetabling parliamentary business. What the DUP did not point out is; Dodds is not a full member of this body. Indeed she has only been appointed on a 6 month term and has no voting rights. All other members are there as … Read more

Irish MEP: Facebook makes you mad, so let’s have a law against it…

Of all the political parties in the south, Labour is one of the ones which ‘gets’ t’Internet most. But I wonder if Labour MEP Nessa Childers‘ question seeking a written answer in the European Parliament ever saw the desk of leader Eamon Gilmore? There is certainly no sign of it on her blog. Adds: Clare Minnock seems to be the only member of the MSM (well, the Carlow Nationalist at least) to pick up the story and she treats it an … Read more