Monthly Archives: December 2013

May 2014 European elections: why should it be different this time?

I recently sat by chance in a plane with a College of Europe alumnus of my own promotion (Copernicus) who happens to work at the European Parliament (EP). After exchanging news of common friends I told him about a paper I recently wrote on how to tackle youth absenteeism in the elections to the European Parliament. When he asked me to summarise my conclusions and recommendations he was shocked by my remark that national leaders should publicly debate the main policy decisions in the EP. He interrupted me to say “Luis, that’s already done, national leaders and the chairman of the European Council come to the EP before and after the Councils”. Even though this is not exactly what I meant, I think that the anecdote is telling about the lack of visibility of the EP. If someone teaching and researching on European politics vaguely remembers about the EP in holding the European Council to account, there are high chances that the general public is not aware of the role of the Parliament in the EU. Continue reading

Passports for Sale: Is it an EU problem?

Phedon Nicolaides, 17 December 2013

Here is a question on the perennial problem of the dividing line between EU and Member State competences. Should Member States be allowed to “sell” passports to third-country nationals? The Financial Times reported on 9 December 2013 that Malta’s plans to “sell” passports for EUR 650,000 were causing consternation in several European capitals.Malta did not really intend to sell passports. It was simply allowing foreigners to qualify for Maltese nationality provided they would make certain investments in the country. Member States do have requirements that make the right to citizenship conditional on a connection with the country. The typical connection is birth or some other form of blood relationship. Well, sizeable inward investment can be such a connection too. Perhaps an economic connection appears to be too calculating and not bestowed with the mysticism and patriotism of a blood relationship. Continue reading

Europe’s Youth Unemployment

Roxana Sandu, 4 December 2013

Figure 1. Youth unemployment in the European Union
Source: Eurostat, 2013

The economic and financial crisis did take its toll on youngsters, as their job market position has proven to be affected by economic conditions (Verick, 2011). Youth unemployment has been increasing in the European Union and it is rather a sensitive topic, bearing high economic cost due to the deteriorating effect of unemployment spells on human capital, high social benefits to be paid,  but also high social cost, as for example increasing crime (Bell and Blanchflower, 2010). Continue reading

Aarhus and costs recovery. The impact of the EIA Directive and the Convention post consent in Alyson Austin

gavc law - geert van calster

Reminiscent of an earlier posting on costs, the High Court recently had to consider the impact of the EIA Directive on cost orders. Mrs Austin lives close to an opencast mining and reclamation site in Wales. She complains of noise from heavy machinery and dust, affecting her home and preventing her family from sleeping. Planning consent had been granted in 2005.  Mrs Austin’s current action is based on private nuisance proceedings, based inter alia on the allegation that some of the conditions attached to the consent have not been complied with. The claim therefore is related to post-EIA compliance and the order sought by Mrs Austin is one to limit her costs.

Milwyn Jarman QC held – upon assist by James Pereira and Jack Connah) – that direct applicability of the Aarhus Convention in the UK is limited to those parts which have been incorporated in the EU’s…

View original post 125 more words

Curbing Free Movement is a Bad Idea

Phedon Nicolaides, 2 December 2013

Immigration_myth_bustingOn 27 November, David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, wrote an article in the Financial Times arguing in favour of restrictions on the right of persons to move freely in the European Union. Next day the Financial Times reported that Germany and France were also concerned about the imminent lifting of restrictions on the movement of Bulgarians and Romanians. When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, several Member States requested transitional derogations from the principle of free movement of persons and workers. These derogations are due to expire on 1 January 2014.

Continue reading