Archive for the ‘European politics’ Category

Majority of Germans Want More Protection From Globalization

57 percent of the people in Germany want the government to put more effort into protecting the country’s economy from foreign competitors, according to a new study, The Local reports.

The study, which was carried out by the Bertelsmann Foundation and published on Thursday, also showed that 52 percent of Germans don’t feel the government is doing enough to protect its citizens from the negative consequences of globalization.

But the majority of citizens in Deutschland aren’t opposed to globalization. Only 31 percent of respondents said that it has a bad influence on the world; 40 percent view it positively.

Similarly, 70 percent of respondents viewed trade between Germany and other countries in a positive light - a jump from 56 percent in 2016.

"People want globalization with seat belts," said Aart De Geus, CEO of the Bertelsmann Foundation, adding that politics and business should not react to this with "protectionist wrong paths."

EU Clears Landmark Trade Agreement with Japan

Cheaper Japanese cars and European cheese are on the way as the EU’s trade agreement after the European Commission announced on April 18 that it had cleared the way for an Economic Partnership Agreement with Tokyo, New Europe reports.

The two sides have agreed on the final details of the agreement, according to EU Trade Commission Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who appeared outwardly pleased that the bloc managed to negotiate its largest-ever trade agreement with the world’s third-largest economy.

“Japan is one of the largest economies in the world. Together, the EU and Japan have 600 million people and one third of the world’s gross domestic product. This agreement is extremely important for both sides,” said Malmström. ”It will be cheaper to trade Japanese products…for European companies, it will be easier to export to the Japanese market because custom fees will no longer apply.”

EU Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen pointed to the benefits the agreement will grant to Finnish consumers and businesses as Japanese cars will be cheaper in the long term, while the Finnish forest industry can get a boost by being allowed into the lucrative Japanese market.

“For the forest industry, it is now easier to export wood products to Japan,” Katainen said from the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, where this month’s plenary is taking place.

The agreement will eliminate or sharply reduce duties on agricultural products in which the EU has a major export interest by ensuring duty-free trade with processed pork meat – the EU’s main agricultural export to Japan – and almost duty-free trade for fresh pork meat exports.

Tariffs on beef will be cut from 38.5% to 9% over 15 years for a significant volume of beef products. The tariffs on wine (presently at 15%) will be scrapped from day one, as will tariffs for other alcoholic drinks.

Europe’s highly profitable cheese exporting industry, which is already the top seller of cheese products on the Japanese market, will see the crippling duties on many hard cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%) eliminated and a duty-free quota will be established for fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella.

The EU-Japan agreement will also scrap today’s customs duties for processed agricultural products such as pasta, chocolates, cocoa powder, candies, confectionary, biscuits, starch derivatives, prepared tomatoes, and tomato sauce. There will also be significant quotas for EU exports – either duty-free or with reduced duties – for malt, potato starch, skimmed milk powder, butter, and whey.

The EU-Japan agreement also recognises the special status and offers protection on the Japanese market to more than 200 Geographical Indications (GIs) products. These products will be given the same level of protection in Japan as they currently have in Europe.

According to the Commission, the EU-Japan agreement can come into force at the end of the year as the political will exists from both parties. “If there are no complications and if the Japanese Parliament also gives the green light, the agreement can come into force at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year,” said Malmstrom.

Now the agreement text is complete and must be approved by EU countries and the European Parliament. The time, however, the EU-Japan agreement will not have to be endorsed by national parliaments, on a bid to avoid obstacles that were met during the EU-Canada CETA agreement ratification, when the Walloon Parliament in Belgium raised objections at the very last minute, causing great delays to the overall process.

Brussels Bans the Broadcast of World Cup Football Matches in the Center of the City

No big screens will go up in public places in Brussels-Ixelles for Football World Cup 2018, but football lovers will be able to see the Red Devils in action on giant screens in Molenbeek and Jette.

Wafaa Hammich, spokesperson of Brussels Mayor Philippe Close, confirmed a Wednesday report by Bruzz Media that giant screens would not go up in Brussels. She said the decision covered the entire Brussels-Ixelles police zone and was taken in consultation with Ixelles Mayor Dominique Dufourny.

Hammich explained that the decision was taken for security reasons. “It would mean mobilising many police officers, especially since we’re an international city with 184 nationalities,” she said. However, there is currently no ban on hotels, bars or restaurants. They install the giant screens on their terraces.

Mustafa Er, spokesman for Molenbeek-Saint-Jean Mayor Françoise Schepmans, said the Machtens Stadium, in collaboration with the RWDM team, would be open to supporters for viewing the matches on big screen as had been the case two years ago at UEFA Euro 2018. “The screen will be placed on the field and spectators will be able to view the matches from the pitch,” Er said. “It’s a closed location and therefore easier to control than public places.”

Jette Mayor Hervé Doyen has also given the thumbs up for a giant screen, which will be set up at the Place du Miroir. Work is currently being done at the square, but it will be completed in time for the Red Devils’ first match. “The Place du Miroir is a rectangular square which easily lends itself to security measures,” Mayor Doyen said. 

"Four years ago, we’d already set up quite an impressive security arrangement,” Doyen said. “The square was closed completely on one side. There was only one entrance, and searches were done there. We had police in plain clothes in the crowd and we implemented passive security measures: no glasses, no tables etc. The event got bigger from one match to the next. It was a light-hearted, family atmosphere. At the time, we received praise for the organization. This type of event really brings people together.”

The EC Offers Mandatory Fingerprints in ID Cards

The European Commission proposes to make the fingerprints obligatory in the identity cards of EU citizens as the next measure in the fight against counterfeiting of documents, Emil Radev, MEP, told BNR.

"Today, some 80 million Europeans have identity cards that are non-machine-readable and without biometric data. The propesed changes are designed to prevent terrorists and criminals from using counterfeit documents to enter the EU from non-EU countries." he explains.

Radev said that the idea is not to introduce ID cards in countries where they are not mandatory but to modernize existing documents. Regarding the possible deadlines, the MEP said:

"European citizens who have machine-readable documents until their expiration, namely 5 years, will be retained, and those on paper, like Italians, will have to change within 2 years."

Merkel, Macron Meet to Plot Euro Zone Reform Road Map

The leaders of Germany and France meet on Thursday to try to work out a common position on reforming the euro zone, a sensitive issue that is testing the new government in Berlin just a month after it took office, Reuters reports.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosts President Emmanuel Macron for the working meeting, is under pressure from her conservative bloc in parliament not to agree to any reforms that result in German taxpayers funding what they see as profligate euro zone peers.

Macron’s vision includes turning Europe’s existing bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund (EMF), to act as a buffer in any future financial crisis in the bloc.

He has also suggested the euro zone have its own finance minister and, at one point, floated the idea of a budget for the currency bloc worth hundreds of billions of euros.

“We have lots of institutions, why another one?” asked Ralph Brinkhaus, deputy leader of Merkel’s conservative bloc in parliament and a budget expert.

“And on the euro zone budget, why should the euro zone, in addition to the European Union, have an extra budget?” he told broadcaster ARD. “Why something else again?”

EU Parliament Demands Zuckerberg Answer Questions in Person

The European Parliament on Wednesday demanded Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg appear in person to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, rejecting his offer to send a more junior executive in his place.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani wrote to Zuckerberg saying the 2.7 million EU citizens affected by the data sharing scandal deserved a full explanation from him, after he spent 10 hours being grilled by US lawmakers last week.

The EU is introducing tough new data protection rules next month, which Facebook has said it will comply with, and Tajani warned the parliament was a "key decision maker in the regulatory process".

In the letter, seen by AFP, Tajani thanks Zuckerberg for his "kind offer" to send Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice-president for public policy and external affairs.

"However, all political groups stressed the absolute need of your personal presence, as was the case before the United States Congress," the letter continues.

"We are convinced that the millions of Europeans affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal deserve a full and thorough explanation from Facebook's top manager, just as was the case for US citizens."

Facebook admitted earlier this month that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

The social media giant took out full-page ads in a number of European newspapers on Monday to trumpet the new EU data protection rules as it tries to win back trust.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on May 25, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules.

Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly apologised for the massive data breach, last week told the US Congress that the more stringent EU rules could serve as a rough model globally.

EU Should Open Up to West Balkans: European Commission

The European Union must open up to accepting new members from the Western Balkans to avoid the return of war in the region, president of the European Commission said on Tuesday, quoted by Anadolu Agency. 

Speaking to the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker said: "I'm not naive, I know the difficulties. I know the efforts that the Western Balkan countries have to make. I know that there is a need to improve in some ways the performance of some of the Western Balkan countries.

"But if we remove from these countries, in this extremely complicated region .... we are going to live what we already went through in the 1990s."

"I do not want to see war returning to the Balkans and so we need to open up to them," he said.

French president Emmanuel Macron, who was outlining his EU reforms vision to MEPs, said that he will only be able to support more EU members when "our own Europe" has first been reformed.

"I don't want a Europe that, functioning with difficulty at 28 and tomorrow as 27, would decide that we can continue to gallop off, to be tomorrow 30 or 32, with the same rules.

"I would only be able to defend enlargement only after we deepen our Union," Macron said.

EU and Balkan leaders are set to meet in Bulgaria next month, but the EU is unlikely to invite any country to join soon.

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini set a target date of 2025 for the accession of Serbia and Montenegro -- the two most advanced countries in the process -- and for Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: index backlink | Thanks to insanity workout, car insurance and cyber security