European Council

VAT reforms: another failure at EU Summit

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The European Union Summit last week failed to see one of the crucial points under consideration at the first meeting under the Slovene presidency of the European Council and the subject is set for...

Solar flowers go dancing for Europe

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The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union opened an exhibition on February 18 entitled “The Solar Flowers Dancing for Europe: United in Diversity!” featuring an artistic installation of 10,000 solar flowers...

Terrorist blacklist versus privacy rights

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EU mechanisms for blacklisting terrorists need to be revised because they fail to guarantee respect for fundamental rights and lack democratic scrutiny, Civil Liberties Committee MEPs said in a meeting with the Council of...

Human rights group challenges committee’s CIA report

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A year after its enquiry into alleged European complicity in the CIA renditions program, the European Parliament still hasn’t pursued the issue and that has ired Amnesty International, which has urged the Civil Liberties...

Data: protection versus privacy battle rages on

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Twenty-five years after the Council of Europe signed a pact governing protection for individuals in the processing of personal data, the European Parliament has continued to debate how much protection there is, and how...

CoE demands protection for terrorist suspects too

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The Council of Europe has demanded that terrorist suspects on secret EU and UN lists should have at least minimal protection under the law. People on the lists should be informed of the allegations...

EU legal advisor backs terror suspect in court case

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European Union judges were on January 16 advised to rule in favour of a Saudi Arabian resident whose private funds were frozen after being included in a UN blacklist of terror suspects. In a...

The prime minister has a role to play too

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As Slovenia took over the EU presidency on January 1, 2008, Prime Minister Janez Jansa said, “We have behind us three years of intensive preparations and before us a major challenge – one of...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Rupel takes his EU post

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Slovenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Dimitrij Rupel officially took over the EU Council Presidency on the island of Madeira. At the working meeting, the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, handed Rupel a symbolic...

EU, Russia may move ahead with partnership agreement

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Russia and the European Union are likely move ahead toward starting negotiations on a new partnership and cooperation agreement at the beginning of 2008, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco...

It’s environment, Kosovo

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Under the European Union’s current system of rotating the presidency, which will change with the advent of the Lisbon Treaty signed in December, 2007, Slovenia took over the helm on January 1 for six...

PACE concerned about abuse of defamation laws

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The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has condemned Azerbaijan’s abuse of defamation laws. “Azerbaijan’s abuse of defamation laws to put pressure on...

Sarkozy’s Reflection Group

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Kosovo is making the European Union uncomfortable as there is no consensus among 27 member states about its present status and future direction. On the other hand, Turkey has been a subject of discussion...

Laws thwart development of more small parties

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Russia’s new election laws create extreme difficulties for small parties, international parliamentary observers from the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and the Council of Europe said in a statement. The new...

Sub-continent talks with India as EU mulls poll observers

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The European Union (EU) is still undecided about sending election observers to monitor Pakistan’s forthcoming general elections, diplomatic sources were cited by local media last week as saying. “The EU is taking time before...

EU troika thinks Kosovo talks are coming together

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The European Union (EU) was on a “convergence course” over how to handle the difficult issue of the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo, a senior European diplomat said. Compared to July, when discussions over...

CoE health ministers tackle migration challenges

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The ministers from the member states of the Council of Europe (CoE) urged states to work “towards eliminating the practical obstacles and barriers to the enjoyment of equitable access to health protection of all...

Regional clusters: generating more growth and jobs

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In 2000, the Lisbon European Council introduced the goal of developing Europe into “the World’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy.” In this context, the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the EU Committee...

No democracy without local democracy

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The crucial importance of democracy at the local and regional level along with commitment to promote a style of local self-government that meets the needs of the citizens wherever they may be, cannot be...

Council of Europe brings European Heritage Days alive

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How can Europeans be brought to realise that their cultural heritage both unites and differentiates them and that this heritage is a vehicle for mutual discovery and understanding? The question was posed and answered...

Socrates vows to work for citizens

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Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates last Wednesday vowed to lead the European Union back to deliver on policies affecting Europeans' lives, saying that adopting a new EU rulebook was only part of Portugal's current...

Lisbon opens “Presidency of Summits”

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With July came the changeover for European Union Presidency as Portugal took over from Germany to face the challenge of getting a revamped EU reform treaty approved, but that is not the only priority...

Council wants to stop religious hatred and violence

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Responding to the scandal caused by caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, the European Council intends to strengthen its efforts to prevent hatred and violence against religious groups, it stated in a resolution passed in...

UNHCR calls for European solidarity in helping displaced

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Tens of thousands of refugees and displace persons in the Balkans are looking for a durable solution and the European countries can provide that according to Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees....

CIA report alienates Romania in CoE Assembly

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Romanian delegation to the Council of Europe last week went into hibernation in Strasbourg in protest at allegations over secret CIA prisons while their Polish colleagues, similarly affected by the issue, did not show...

Unprecedented Merkel moves

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German chancellor Angela Merkel successfully used all peaceful options, even extreme ones available to a leader, trying to rope in all 27 member states. Merkel was helped in her marathon endeavour with a midnight...

EU rethinks aid to Mid East

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The European Union has said it was ready to restart direct financial assistance to the Palestinian emergency government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The 27-nation bloc also urged Israel to resume transfers of...

Merkel rated top leader in EU, her fans want more

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Twenty-eight percent of the electorate in Europe believes German Chancellor Angela Merkel should assume a strong leadership role in the European Union, a survey showed. This puts her quite a long way ahead of...

Court rules Moldova must pay 20,000 Euro

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Moldova has to pay 20,000 Euro (USD 27,000) in compensation for force-feeding a prisoner in an incident considered as torture by the European Court of Human Rights. The 42-year-old man from the Moldovan capital...

Trichet hits out at French criticism of the Euro

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European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet hit out April 12 at criticism, notably from key French political leaders, claiming that the Euro was undercutting the economic performance and jobs market of currency bloc member states....

Merkel, Barroso push for stronger global role for EU

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Wednesday vowed to boost the European Union's global role, saying she wanted stronger ties with the United States, Japan and Russia and tougher measures to stop the humanitarian crisis...

Socialists campaign for more childcare in Europe

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   As the Party of European Socialists launched its childcare campaign in Strasbourg last week, they welcomed the commitment of the Council and the Commission to support progress in pre-school childcare in the EU. Socialist...

Unity in Diversity

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out a victor at the end of the two-day European Summit last week when she managed to stitch together a compromise among 27 member states after the Union was...

EU to push for stronger ties with Russia

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The European Union leaders on March 9 vowed to push for stronger ties with energy-rich countries in Central Asia and Africa, but also acknowledged Russia’s overriding role as the union’s current top natural gas...

Parliament uncovers CIA flights

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European Parliament, the only elected body of the European Union last week lambasted Secretary General of European Council comprising of representatives of national governments for not co-operating fully with the year long investigation into...

New head of EU police mission for Palestine

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Javier Solana, the European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, has welcomed the appointment of the new Head of EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories, Colin Smith.The operation is...

EU to open its visa doors to Baltic “aliens”

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The Council of the European Union is going to permit visa-free travel later this month to half a million “aliens” - stateless persons living in Estonia and Latvia. “It’s great that we’ll be able...