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EU Watch Thread

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#21
caltrek

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Hungarian scientists are on edge as country is poised to force out top university

 

https://www.sciencem...-top-university

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Science) In early April, several days after Viktor Orbán secured his third consecutive term—and fourth overall—as Hungarian prime minister with a landslide victory for his conservative party, the pro-government paper Figyelő; published a list of more than 200 people it called "mercenaries" of George Soros, the American-Hungarian billionaire philanthropist. The list included investigative journalists and human rights advocates—and 30 academics from the Soros-founded, Budapest-based Central European University (CEU). Diána Ürge-Vorsatz was stunned to find herself accused.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#22
caltrek

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Poland Ready to End Extensive Logging in Pristine Old Forest

 

https://www.courthou...ine-old-forest/

 

Introduction:

 

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s environment authorities say a decision has been made to stop the extensive logging in one of Europe’s oldest forests that has been declared illegal by a top European Union court.

 

The Environment Ministry said Tuesday that Minister Henryk Kowalczyk has ordered the government’s 2017 permission for the increased felling of trees in the Bialowieza Forest to be halted by the top forestry official, a move expected this week.

 

It was the Polish government’s official reaction to a ruling last month by the European Court of Justice that said the increased logging was against EU environmental laws. Poland has vowed to abide by the ruling.

 

The controversial logging was ordered by the previous minister, who argued it was to stop a bark beetle infestation. Environmentalists questioned that, suspecting profit motives.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#23
caltrek

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“Stop Soros” Package of Laws Drives NGO from Hungary

 

https://nonprofitqua...es-ngo-hungary/

 

Introduction:

 

(Al Jazeera via Nonprofit Quarterly) A long battle between Hungary’s authoritarian leader and American billionaire George Soros ended this week when the Open Society Foundations announced plans to close operations in Budapest, in advance of a “Stop Soros” package of bills promoted by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party. The shutdown could have a ripple effect on other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the European Union and beyond, as civil society reckons with the rise of autocracy around the world.

 

We’ve reported on the crackdown on civil society in Europe over the past few years, as Orbán consolidated power through new restrictions on foreign-funded NGOs and educational institutions, which targeted the Soros-funded Central European University and Open Society Foundations in Budapest.

 

Although the University was officially reaccredited earlier this year, thanks to protests and pushback from the executive arm of the EU, its legal status—and future—is still unclear.

 

The Open Society Foundations pointed to the “increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary” as cause for the move of 100 staff members, most of whom work in international grant making, to Germany.

 

“The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations, in a press release. “The so-called Stop Soros package of laws is only the latest in a series of such attempts. It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference.”

buda-pest.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#24
caltrek

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EU Imposes Sales Conditions on Russia’s Gazprom

 

https://www.courthou...ussias-gazprom/

 

Introduction:

 

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Thursday imposed obligations on Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to improve the flow of gas at competitive prices in eastern EU nations, but did not fine the company.

 

EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Gazprom will have to ease its hold on the market there, giving consumers “an effective tool to make sure that the price they pay is competitive.”

 

Following three years of legal action, the decision means Gazprom will have to remove restrictions on customers to resell gas across borders and improve gas flows to members like Bulgaria and the Baltic nations.

 

If Gazprom breaks any of the obligations, the EU can impose a fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s global turnover.

 

The issue is important to Eastern European countries, which import most of their gas from Russia and are worried about the political leverage that gives Moscow. The European Commission says Gazprom has used that market dominance to obtain advantages on price and to control the pipelines through which its gas flows.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#25
caltrek

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Workers’ Vacation Pay Can Be Inherited, EU Magistrate Says

 

https://www.courthou...agistrate-says/

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News) – A European Court of Justice magistrate on Tuesday urged his colleagues to overturn a German law that bars heirs from demanding their loved one’s unused vacation time in cash.

 

Advocate General Yves Bot’s advisory opinion for the EU high court stems from a pair of disputes being considered by German courts. In both, widows sued their deceased husbands’ employers demanding cash for unused vacation time.

 

European law and its constitution mandate at least four weeks of vacation annually for all workers. The question the German courts must decide is whether vacation time becomes part of a worker’s estate in death.

 

Bot noted the Luxembourg-based high court has already decided that the death of a worker does not extinguish the obligation to pay out unused vacation time. Accordingly, he said, German law barring unused leave from becoming part of the dead worker’s estate does not mesh with EU law.

 

“Since the court has held, first, that entitlement to annual leave and entitlement to a payment on that account constitute two aspects of a single right, secondly, that the allowance in lieu of outstanding paid annual leave is intended to compensate for the fact that the worker cannot actually enjoy his right to paid annual leave and is essential to ensure the effectiveness of that right and, thirdly, that, accordingly, entitlement to paid annual leave is not lost because of the worker’s death, it must be inferred that the heirs of that worker must be able to claim an allowance in lieu of the paid annual leave accrued by that worker,” Bot wrote.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#26
caltrek

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US Sanctions Have a Weak Spot: Tiny Allies Like Latvia

 

https://www.courthou...es-like-latvia/

 

Introduction:

 

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — When the U.S. hit North Korea with sanctions last year, Pyongyang’s state-owned banks found a quiet backchannel to keep money flowing to the country’s ballistic missile programs, the U.S. says: the tiny European country of Latvia.

 

One of the biggest banks in Latvia — a member country of the European Union and NATO — built a business from processing illegal money transfers, enabling North Korea to continue to procure missiles, the U.S. government says.

 

Latvia has come into focus as a potential weak link in the West’s banking system as the U.S. and EU increasingly rely on financial sanctions as a weapon in their diplomatic spats — with North Korea, but also Russia and Syria, among others. After a slew of accusations of high-level corruption, Latvia is now trying to appease its U.S. and European allies and drastically reform its financial sector.

 

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis told The Associated Press in an interview that the tiny Baltic state “cannot afford to have any uncontrolled money flows from the countries which have to be constantly monitored in order to avoid meddling or influence.”

 

In February, the U.S. accused one of Latvia’s biggest banks, ABLV, of proactively laundering money, skirting sanctions, and bribing local officials to do so. ABLV denied the accusations, but the U.S. report caused a run on the bank, which collapsed within days.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#27
Sciencerocks

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EU's Juncker Says Trump Called Him a 'Brutal Killer' at G-7
Source: Bloomberg

 

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was labeled a “killer” by U.S. President Donald Trump at a tumultuous Group of Seven summit in Canada.

“Trump told me last week ‘you are a brutal killer,”’ Juncker, a Luxembourger, told the Bavarian Parliament in Munich on Thursday.

“That’s the first time that Luxembourg has grown into such a threat to the U.S.,” Juncker added. “I think he meant it as a compliment, but I’m not so sure.”

The comments by the president of the European Union’s executive arm illustrate the confusion that Trump is sowing among U.S. allies with his challenges on trade, Iran and defense spending. Last month, when the U.S. imposed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel from Europe, Juncker admitted that “whenever I’m thinking about Trump, I’m lost.”

 

Read more: https://www.bloomber...at-g-7-jietxcuj



#28
caltrek

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Czech President Torches Underpants

 

https://www.courthou...ns-journalists/

 

Entire Article:

 

PRAGUE (AP) — A fiery stunt by the Czech president has really stunned journalists this time.

 

Milos Zeman announced a press conference for Thursday, but instead of briefing reporters, he had two firefighters in protective gear burn a huge pair of red underpants in front of them.

 

Czech media said the boxer shorts in question had been hoisted by activists in 2015, replacing the official presidential flag on Prague Castle. The red underwear was meant to symbolize Zeman’s close relationships with Russia and China and has since become a symbol for criticism of his presidency.

 

After the incineration, Zeman told reporters: “I’m sorry to make you look like little idiots, you really don’t deserve it.”

 

Zeman, 72, has often clashed with the press, even waving a fake machine gun at reporters last year.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#29
caltrek

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EU Backs Appeal Rights for Refugee Applicants

 

https://www.courthou...gee-applicants/

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News) – The EU’s top court scolded Belgium on Tuesday for ordering the removal of an immigrant while he was still appealing for refugee status.

 

Though a copy of the ruling is not available in English, a press release from the European Court of Justice notes that the case arose from an application for international protection that Togolese citizen Sadikou Gnandi filed seven years ago in Belgium.

 

Gnandi is appealing the 2014 status rejection, but the Belgian Conseil d’Etat put his case on hold so that it could get input from the EU court about the timing of so-called return decisions against unsuccessful refugee applicants.

 

On Tuesday, the Court of Justice noted that Belgium’s return decision against Gnudi must be suspended while his appeal is pending.

 

“It is not sufficient for the Member State concerned to refrain from enforcing the return decision,” the Luxembourg-based court said in a statement. “On the contrary, it is necessary, in particular, that the period for voluntary departure does not start running as long as the person concerned is allowed to stay and that, during that period, he is not placed in pre-deportation detention. In addition, the person concerned is to retain his status as an applicant for international protection until a final decision is adopted in relation to that application. Furthermore, member states must allow applicants to rely on any change in circumstances occurred after the adoption of the return decision which may have a significant bearing on the assessment of their situation. Lastly, Member States are required to ensure that the applicant is informed in a transparent way of the observance of those guarantees.”


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#30
starspawn0

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https://mobile.twitt...813048746561536

Hungary's far-right government has just made it illegal to help undocumented migrants in any way: either by giving them money or informing them how to legalize their status.


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#31
caltrek

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NEW POLL: Europeans reject US nuclear weapons on own soil

 

http://www.icanw.org...tpnw-nuclearba/

 

Introduction:

 

(Internatiojal Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) On the first anniversary of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), new YouGov polling commissioned by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has found an overwhelming rejection of nuclear weapons.  The poll was conducted in the four EU countries that host US nuclear weapons: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Italy. In each country, an overwhelming majority of people surveyed were in favour of removing the weapons from their soil, and for their countries to sign the Treaty that bans them outright.

 

Download the full survey here →

 

What did the survey find?

1. At least twice as many people are in favour of removing the weapons than keeping them.
2. At least four times as many people are in favour of their country signing the TPNW than not signing the TPNW.
3. At least four times as many people are against companies in their country investing in nuclear weapons activities than in favour of it.
4. A strong majority of people are against NATO buying new fighter jets that are able to carry both nuclear weapons and conventional weapons.

Q1HOST-nologonosource-620x350.png


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#32
wjfox

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German politicians allied against Steve Bannon

 

23.07.2018

 

Steve Bannon plans to build a right-wing populist think tank in Europe. German lawmakers called the plans by the former adviser to the US president to influence the 2019 European elections "a frontal attack on the EU."

 

Plans by US far-right figure Steve Bannon to influence the European Parliament's 2019 election have been met with alarm across Germany's political spectrum. Bannon has become a controversial figure, known for his ties to the campaigns for the UK to leave the European Union and the election of US President Donald Trump.

"We have to fight now, with good arguments, confident and true," said Michael Roth, a center-left Social Democratic (SPD) lawmaker and minister of state for Europe in an interview with Die Welt newspaper.

 

https://www.dw.com/e...nnon/a-44781925

 

 

4MM5G4J.jpg



#33
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Germany to help Brits stay EU citizens during Brexit transition period

 

7/24/18

 

Britons living in Germany who meet the requirements will be able to become German citizens during the post-Brexit transition period, according to a bill being drafted by Berlin.

The draft law, called Brexit-Übergangsgesetz (or BrexitÜG for short) and seen by POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, is being prepared to allow a Brexit transition period, which was agreed to in principle by negotiators earlier this year, to be translated into German national law.

If passed, the law would treat the U.K. legally as an EU member until the final day of the transition, with any Brits who apply for a German passport before the end of the period to be treated as EU nationals. That will enable them to keep both their British passport and their new, EU one, despite the fact Germany generally doesn’t allow dual citizenship.

Linn Selle, the new president of the European Movement Germany, said she is pleased with these “generous rules for British nationals,” which will send “the right sign for the Europe-friendly Britons.”

“After all, only [52 percent] wanted Brexit. Most of them would probably know by now that they better remain Europeans. A German EU passport can certainly help,” she said.

 

https://www.politico...nsition-period/



#34
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Swedish election: Nationalists 'make gains' in early exit polls

 

Sweden's nationalist anti-immigration party has made gains in the country's general election as the establishment parties appear deadlocked, exit polls predict.

The Sweden Democrats (SD) are expected to achieve 19.2% of the vote.

The party, described by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as "racist", held 12.9% of the ballot in the previous election.

Neither the governing Social Democrats nor the centre-right bloc of parties are predicted to win a majority.

[...]

The SD wants to leave the European Union and has proposed a "Swexit" referendum. However, the powerful centrist parties all oppose such a vote, so it is unlikely to go ahead.

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...europe-45466174


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#35
rennerpetey

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The SD wants to leave the European Union and has proposed a "Swexit" referendum. However, the powerful centrist parties all oppose such a vote, so it is unlikely to go ahead.

I think the question is, what EU countries haven't floated this idea around yet.  I've heard Frexit, Italexit, Swexit now, what has spurred this sudden anti-EU sentiment.


John Lennon dares you to make sense of this

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#36
Alislaws

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There have always been nationalist groups in all european countries that have opposed EU membership. 

 

They are gaining some strength because economic growth has been down, and inequality is increasing quickly. Its also becoming more obvious that for most people their lives/standard of living will not be better than their parents, and so they look around for someone to blame for this, which has empowered both the far right and also caused a resurgence in people discussing left wing economic policies.


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#37
Sciencerocks

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'You condemn us because we are not a nation of migrants,' Orban tells EU before sanctions vote
Quote:


“Hungary will not accede to this blackmailing, Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and - if needed - we will stand up to you,” said Orban, who was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in April.

 

https://www.rt.com/n...ation-migrants/



#38
caltrek

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EU Takes Poland to Its Top Court Over Judicial Reform

 

https://www.courthou...udicial-reform/

 

Introduction:

 

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Monday it has decided to take Poland to the bloc’s top court over the overhaul of the country’s judicial system and also ask the European Court of Justice to suspend a recent law on Supreme Court judges.

 

The EU’s executive Commission has been increasingly critical of Poland’s judicial reform under a right-wing government and has alleged some laws are a violation of Western democratic standards.

 

The body said in a statement that “the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence.”

 

Poland’s law on the retirement of judges at the Supreme Court put 27 of 72 judges at risk of being forced to retire, the Commission said, with no clear criteria on who can stay.

The Commission gave Warsaw a first warning in July, when the law took effect, and followed it up with another step in August before taking Monday’s decision.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#39
caltrek

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Although Bosnia is apparently not a part of the European Union (EU), this article does have an EU angle to it.

 

Tensions High in the Balkans as Bosnia Votes

 

https://www.courthou...s-bosnia-votes/

 

Introduction:

 

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Courthouse News) – All too often, the people of Sarajevo, a city marked by wars, talk as though another war is not an impossibility. Heightening concerns are general elections in Bosnia on Sunday and the likelihood of a messy outcome.

 

Twenty-three years after the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, and armed conflict in Bosnia ended, there’s a sense of potential danger hanging over this fragile region.

 

This historically volatile peninsula, experts warn, could unravel again due to a number of factors. Among them: old ethnic rifts, the West vying with Russia for influence, a rise in nationalism and Muslim extremism, ineffective European Union and US diplomacy, widespread corruption, economic turmoil, a brain drain of young people, and legal and political problems created by the Dayton accord.

 

“Peace is not certain here in Bosnia,” said Nihad Čolpa, the 35-year-old leader of the Civil Alliance, a small liberal political party in Bosnia, as he sat at an outdoor cafe and spoke with a Courthouse News reporter on a recent afternoon. One by one, he ticked off a list of problems that threatened the stability of the Balkans and Bosnia.

 

Asked if entry into the European Union might resolve many of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s problems, Čolpa shook his head (no).

Nihad-Colpa-1.jpg?resize=300%2C199

Nihad Colpa, the leader of Civil Alliance, a small political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina, talks about his nation’s problems.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#40
Yuli Ban

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Emmanuel Macron calls for creation of a ‘true European army’ to defend against Russia and the US

Emmanuel Macron has called for the creation of a “true European army” to allow the EU defend itself from threats ranging from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin.
The French president has pushed for closer EU defence union since coming to power last year but has been so far met with limited success amid foot-dragging by other member states.
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Mr Macron told France’s Europe 1 radio in an interview.
 
“When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security.” 
   
The French president continued: “We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army.
 
“We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






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