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New Europe Print Edition Issue 1053

New Europe Print Edition Issue 1053

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New Europe Print Edition Issue 1053
New Europe Print Edition Issue 1053

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Published by: New Europe Newspaper on Oct 13, 2013
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21
st
Year of Publicationnumber 105313 -19 october, 20133.50
www.neweurope.eu
T
he European Parliamentpassed the controversial to- bacco products directive on8 October, paving the way for nego-tiations between the parliament andcouncil aimed at getting the direc-tive into law by the end of the year.However, the passage of the di-rective, was marred by the presenceof an aggressive lobbying campaign, which prompted many MEPs topublicly question the influence of lobbyists on the working of the par-liament.Tactics used by industry includ-ed the drawing-up of a list of 240MEPs, mainly from the centre-right, who were thought to be open to lob- byists arguments. Several memberstates, primarily those that benefiteconomically from the tobacco in-dustry, were also identified as po-tentially forming a blocking minor-ity in council that could delay thedirective.One of these was Greece, whichtakes over the six-month presidency of the council in January, a fact thatmany are citing as reason for keendesire of the parliament's rapporteuron the directive, Linda McAvan, tohave everything wrapped-up by theend of the year.Such was the extent of lobbyingactivities, by both the tobacco andpharmaceutical industries, that oneMEP said in plenary that it formeda distinctive part of the character of the directive. Others said that the whole episode damaged the cred-ibility of the parliament.The lobbying effort, dubbed by MEP Andrés Perelló Rodríguez “themost indecent and insidious lob- bying campaign,” largely overshad-owed the content of the directive.Under the parliament's vote,menthol cigarettes, believed to belargely responsible for attracting young people to start smoking, will be phased-out in Europe. Electroniccigarettes will be legislated as a to- bacco product, and there will also benew rules on health warnings.Following the vote, Linda McA- van admitted that the parliament“won and lost” with regard to ensur-ing tougher protection of the healthof European citizens. She said thathad the parliament “lost some key things” then she would have consid-ered scrapping the report. However,she said “we got a mandate, and we will be negotiating.”“What we got was a good basisfor negotiations with council,” shesaid.
Clean your House Mr. Schulz, you can
An electronic cigarette. MEPs voted on 8 Octoberagainst these products beingconsidered as medicinal products, enabling them to be sold in specialisedshops and tobacco stores.
AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
In Brussels, there are more than 20,000 lob- byists and they make things happen in thiscity. They are better than legislators, betterthat Commission officials, better than thePermanent Delegations, better than the po-litical groups, better than any one.This is a shame for the European Unionand primarily for the European Parliament which is issuing special budgets to lobbyistsfor free entrance to Parliament’s buildings.Lobbyists, who are always “large,” familiariseeasily with assistants and Members of theParliament as there are no real restrictionsand one can see in the late afternoon many of them drinking and inebriating togetherin Place Lux. Men and hogs, smoking cigarsand drinking together, as George Orwellsays in his “Animal Farm”. In Place Lux, how-ever, they do not smoke - much to the dis-content of the tobacco lobbyists.Martin Schulz is an intelligent politician with serious chances of becoming the nextpresident of the European Commission. Heshould first ask his colleagues, Speakers of the House in the 28 Member States, whatdo they do with lobbyists and then, startingfrom his own House, he must kick out of theEU institutions all kind of “merchants”.The Parliament should be the “Houseof Democracy” and not the “House of Merchants” as was the Temple of Solomon before Jesus Christ kicked out the money changers and the merchants who sacrificedlambs with a whip, telling them “Take thesethings away; do not make my Father's housea house of trade” (Gospel of John).Lobbyists of all kinds, big LobbyingFirms proper, NGOs, Consultants, Law Firms and individuals including formerDirectors General and retired high-rankingCommission officials, former MEPs andmany others. Many of them distributemoney at will and they have very impor-tant friends. However, so were the money changers at the Solomon Temple and JesusChrist kicked them out. Europe must defi-nitely clean its Temple. 
 Basil Α. Coronakis
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FROM THE EDITOR 
 
Baku bringsEurope closer toCaspian region
 Messenger of the “Silk Road”Peace Culture
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 The smoking gun
(Page 4)
MEPs call for change after 'insidious' lobby campaign on tobacco law 
 
02
ANALYSIS
NEW EUROPE
www.neweurope.eu
13 -19 October, 2013
 TheShootingGallery
Seriously. Can that machine of yours guarantee me the numbers in May?
BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ
On November 9, 2013, Europe lost a great lead-er: Wilfried Achiel Emma Martens.Martens was born in Sleidinge (East Flanders).During his political career, Martens served asthe Prime Minister of Belgium from 3 April1979 to 6 April 1981 and 17 December 1981 to7 March 1992. From 1994 to 1999 he served asChairman of the EPP-ED in the European Par-liament. Most notably, Martens served as thePresident of the European People’s Party from1990 until his passing.Left, is the front cover of New Europe issue670, from March-April, 2006, featuring aninterview with Wilfried Martens.The loss of Martens is a loss for Europe and itscitizens. We join in the mourning of this greatfamily man, European leader, politician, andcitizen.
 n e  7.5  Y e A  R  S  A GO
M
 
M
During the 1980s, a local council in the UK came up with an in-triguing slogan aimed at making people question their own socialconscience. It went like this: “Are you a racist? ‘Cause you’d be anicer person if you weren’t.” Never, on more than one level, has amore false note been struck.It is certainly unlikely that a racist skinhead would be swayed by this appeal to social acceptability. If you want to be liked, theargument goes, then you had better be more tolerant; becauselikeability is always the first thing any self-respecting neo-Nazithinks of. Self-image is very important.Of course, it is possible those behind the campaign were appeal-ing to the middle classes, where social acceptability is key tosocial standing. Curb that hate speech, your membership of therotary club depends on it. And remember, you are always free to vote in any way you want. At this point, it might be pertinent to introduce that other smugrelic of 1980s bourgeois political sloganeering: “Nuclear? NoThanks”. That really gets to the heart of things.Of course, there is a point to be found lurking behind all this; thefear to address issues at their root, that a snappy slogan (no mat-ter how ill-conceived) can substitute for political engagement.The comfortable bourgeois types who want to express their op-position to nuclear energy by not actually campaigning at a grass-roots level, preferring instead to represent their views throughthe medium of a bumper sticker, also find themselves oddly mir-rored in the authors of the racism slogan, who wish to alter per-ceptions, but do not want to address serious social and politicalissues.On 9 October, the European Parliament debated the rise of right- wing extremism in Europe.In many ways, it was a timely discussion; far-right and populistparties are expected to increase their representation in the par-liament after next year’s elections. Far-right and populist politicsare not exactly the same thing, although justice commissioner Viviane Reding was happy to lump them together, but the fearthat parties representing those particular viewpoints will upsetthe political staus quo in Brussels is driving the need to exposethe issue at this level.The debate was predictably disjointed, with the right wanting toknow why left-wing extremism wasn’t debated, and the Greeksfeeling insecure; we are not the only ones with a problem, they argued (not unreasonably).Still, the sad fact is that all eyes are on them right now, despiterising support for extremist parties in Denmark, Finland, France,Hungary and elsewhere. A toxic mixture of failed economic policies, cumulating in thedeath-squeeze of austerity that has left so many of Europe’s young without the immediate prospects of employment, as wellas its older citizens left starving, owing to a reduction is pensionsand other social provisions, and the complacency of the Europe-an institutions and member state governments, that has fosteredextreme and misguided opposition, is effectively giving votes toextremists.The heavy-handed clampdown of the Greek authorities onGolden dawn serves only to martyr those it seeks to destroy. The weakly-worded response of Europe’s politicians serves only toenforce its own isolation from the political realities faced by somany of its citizens in this time of crisis.
Debate? No Thanks
 
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© 2013 New Europe all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored ina retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or otherwise, without ex- press permission. The Publishers accept no liability for third party views published, nor damagecaused by reading, viewing or using our content. All information is correct at the time of goingto print, we accept no liabilities for consequent changes.
   N   E   W    E   U   R   O   P   E
    I    S    S    N    N    u    m    b    e    r   :    1    1    0    6  -    8    2    9    9
director
 Alexandros Koronakisak@neweurope.eu
executive layout Producer
Suman Haquesh@neweurope.eu
suBscriPtioNs & distriButioN
subscriptions@neweurope.euSubscriptions are available worldwide
iNdePeNdeNce
New Europe is a privately ownedindependent publication, and is notsubsidised or financed in any way byany EU institution or other entity.
editor
Basil A. Coronakisbc@neweurope.eu
MaNagiNg editors
 
Konstantin Tsapogas von Taube
 (Online)
kt@neweurope.eu
 
 Theodoros Benakis (Print)tb@neweurope.eu
seNior editorial teaM
 ostis Geropoulos(Energy & Russian Affairs)kg@neweurope.euCillian Donnelly (EU Affairs)cd@neweurope.euAndy Carling (EU Affairs)ac@neweurope.euAlia Papageorgiou (Business)ap@neweurope.euJennifer Baker (ICT) jb@neweurope.euAriti Alamanou (Legal Affairs)aa@neweurope.euLouise Kissa (Fashion)lk@neweurope.eu
 
03
ANALYSIS
NEW EUROPE
www.neweurope.eu
13 -19 October, 2013
C
ommission Vice-President VivianeReding, responsible for Justice, pro-posed Tuesday a five point actionplant on free movement followingreportsthat some Northern member state wantedto see this most cherished of the four funda-mental freedoms outlined in the Europeanfounding treaties limited.The plan comes just a few weeks beforethe final restrictions on citizens from Bul-garia and Romania are lifted and as Spiegelmagazine in Germany reported today thatBerlin wants tighter rules on “poverty im-migration.”“It is our common responsibility tostrongly uphold this right. The four free-doms anchored in the Treaty cannot bepicked and chosen,” Reding told EU JusticeMinisters.“You will always see me fighting forpreserving free movement, but I will also al- ways be on your side when it comes to usingexisting EU tools to effectively fight againstabuse,” she added.Reding has in the past warned that freemovement is in danger. Her plan foreseesthat:The Commission will work with mem- ber states to propose a handbook on mar-riages of convenience that will provide aclear framework for national authorities tooperate in so as to fight fraud and abuse.The concept of “habitual residence” will be clarified in order to assist authorities pre- vent so-called benefit tourismThe European Commission proposesthat money available from the European So-cial Fund (ESF) for member states to meetsocial inclusion challenges are increased to20 percent from around 15 percent.ESF Managing Autorities from memberstate will continue to meet to exchange bestpractices. .The Commission will invite mayorsin spring 2014 to discuss challenges andexchange best practices and develop anon-line tool to help staff in local authoritiesunderstand and apply free movement rightsof EU citizens, in cooperation with your ex-perts.“Free movement is the EU Treaty right which citizens value the most andsee as the most important achievement of EU integration. It goes to the heart of Un-ion citizenship,” Reding pointed out andadded that 67% of EU citizens think thatfree movement is an asset for their coun-try’s economy.The problem appears to have been blown out of proportion by vote-hungry politicians in any case. According to Redingat the end of last year, only 2,8 % EU citi-zens (14.1 million) were residing in anotherMember State. Annual cross-border mobil-ity rate in the EU is only 0,29%. In the USannual mobility rate of persons between the50 States is 2,4%.Mobility within the EU makes econom-ic sense. “As a result of post-enlargementmobility between 2004 and 2009, GDP of EU 15 is estimated to have increased by al-most 1%,” Reding said.“We have to ask ourselves why some 2million vacancies remain unfilled in the EUdespite the crisis. For me, it means that weneed a genuine European labour market,like in the USA,” the Commission Vice-President went on to say.“Free movement is a two-way streetfrom which all Member States benefit.This was one of the reasons why you unani-mously agreed to the successive EU enlarge-ments.”One day later, 9 October, speaking dur-ing a plenary debate in The European Parlia-ment on the situation of Roma people in theEuropean Union, the Commissioner notedthat “free movement is currently not actively enough used by EU citizens and this is notexpected to change after 2014.Reding’s comment targeted, in particu-lar, MEPs who unsuccessfully tried to tieup the expected lifting of labour restrictionsagainst Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2014 with the idea that the labour marketsof their countries will be “flooded” by Romapeople after the removal of restrictions forBulgarian and Romanian workers.“I am actually ashamed to hear com-ments like these,” said Reding and addedshe was glad to hear that the vast majority of the MEPs took the opposite view.“Roma are human beings, they are Eu-ropean citizens who have the same rightsand obligations as other citizens,” continuedthe Commissioner for Justice while statingthat the situation of Roma people involves“all of us”.The debate in Strasbourg focused main-ly on the recent revelations that Swedishpolice have established a database of Roma,something which according to Anna MariaBildt Corazza MEP the government in Swe-den did know about and was not involvedin.“It’s a shame for Europe that a wholeminority is treated as a criminal group,” saidMikael Gustafsson MEP.For many countries like France whichrecently got to experience difficulties deal-ing with thousands of Roma who settled ontheir territory, Roma inclusion has became amassive economic and social burden. More-over, it has fuelled the use of hate speechamong French politicians in an attempt togain electoral support.“Rising right-wing extremism in Europeis an enormous common concern for theEU,” reiterated Reding during the followingplenary debate. She warned that it endan-gers, among others, the freedom of move-ment within European Union.
Reding: ‘no invasionexpected after 2014’
European Union Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding speaks during a debate on the situation of Roma people at the EuropeanParliament in Strasbourg on 9 October.
AFP PHOTO/FREDERICK FLORIN
Obamacare will bringthe Europeanisationof America
By Basil A. Coronakis
Healthcare is good, and Barack Obama wants to pass inhistory as the US president who made the “change weneed.” And it seems that, if he does not make it, he mightgo as extreme as to put the American nation in default. What intelligent thinking!Default, when American businesses flourish all over the world, at the end of the day will not bother the businesses which are spread all over the world. Yet it may lead to arenegotiation of the US government debt.Certainly Barack Obama, while insisting on taking therisks of retaining an extreme position, has in mind a fall- back position. This might well include the American gov-ernment debt to China. Why not? It is from Americansthat we have learned how to turn liabilities into assets.This will have unpredictable repercussions as China isan equal term superpower to the United States, and incase of a confrontation, it is much more disciplined thanany other.In this context, one should also consider Russia, the thirdequal term super power on the planet today. Further-more, since for sometime now, Russia is taking steps toturn the “cold peace” we live in since the collapse of the Wall, to cold war once again. Perhaps, as a measure to re-store the world equilibrium established after the second world war. With reference to Europe; sorry, it is not a superpower,although its has all necessary armaments, nuclear orotherwise. To be a superpower two things are required. Weapons than can destroy the entire world at least once,as more than once is irrelevant, and an undisputed leaderto hold the keys to the nuclear weapons and be ready topress the button (that means leader), eventually preven-tively (that means leader with guts).The United States, China and Russia have both the weap-ons and the undisputed leadership (with guts). Europe,has the weapons. The nuclear arsenal of France and thatof the United Kingdom together make Europe a first classsuperpower. Yet, who is the undisputed leader, with oreven without guts, of Europe that will push the button,and where is that button?However, the deficiencies and the challenges Europe isfacing is not the issue this time. The issue is America andthe Obamacare plan.In the last half century, Europe developed a strong and ef-ficient Medicare system while the United States did prac-tically nothing. The end result was that Europe, build-ing on the Medicare system launched an efficient socialsecurity system, introduced worker-friendly labour lawsand set huge state machines aiming not only at servingthe people but also in many cases accommodating unem-ployment thus giving the dimension of a “social state.”The first results of this Europe-wide practice we witnesstoday in Greece, Italy and France while in less that 15 years time, it is estimated that Sweden will no longer becapable of paying pensions.This will happen also in the United States if the Obamac-are plan succeeds. The question is, and it is deeply politi-cal, if the United States will continue to scarify the pre-sent for the future refusing Obamacare, or will take a stepforward to Europeanisation, which may bring it closer tothe end of its financial supremacy.The wise solution, however, seems to be the withdrawalof the Obama plan, maintaining the status quo for aslong as it can be maintained. As to Barack Obama , he will not pass into history, but at least he came very closeto doing so.

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