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New Europe Print Edition Issue 1055

New Europe Print Edition Issue 1055

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New Europe Print Edition Issue 1055
New Europe Print Edition Issue 1055

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Published by: New Europe Newspaper on Oct 27, 2013
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Year of Publicationnumber 105527 october - 2 november, 20133.50
hen the president of the European Council,Herman Van Rompuy,proposed the “digital agenda” as themajor theme of the 24-25 OctoberEU summit, everybody thought it arather prudent and clever attempt toavoid discussing anything controver-sial on the background of the ongo-ing economic crisis.Unsurprisingly, in spite of itremaining officially on top of theagenda, the “digital agenda” has been overshadowed by more urgenttopics. There has been the bankingunion, creeping slowly among themain topics, then suddenly camethe Lampedusa disaster, and evensuch themes as EU’s position to- wards Ukraine. The stubbornness of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanuko- vich, who refuses to pardon the jailedopposition leader Yulia Tymoshen-ko, whom the West considers a polit-ical prisoner, puts now in doubt thesigning by Ukraine of an Association Agreement with the EU at the specialsummit to be held end of Novemberin Vilnius, Lithuania.EU leaders have been criticisedfor their inability to react quickly af-ter the sinking of a ship off the Italianisland of Lampedusa, which led to thedeath of nearly 400 illegal migrants.The topic has been forced upon thesummit’s agenda by Italian premierEnrico Letta, who also practically summoned the EU Commission’spresident, Jose Manuel Barroso, togo visit the island of Lampedusa afew days after the sinking of the ship(although Barroso said today he went"at the Italian government’s invita-tion”, acknowledging thus indirectly that it hadn’t been his initiative).This was a summit with no deci-sions taken. At a common press con-ference at the end, both Barroso and Van Rompuy promised that the EU will take unspecified “determined ac-tion” in the fight to stem illegal immi-gration, but made clear that the stress will remain on “cooperation with thecountries of origin, as well as with thecountries of transit”.For the moment, the EU’s only tool to fight the tide of refugees isFrontex, the underfunded and un-derstaffed agency for external bordersecurity. Another tool to fight sav-age migration, which has still to beimplemented by member states, isEUROSUR, the European BorderSurveillance System.The Italian Letta had come to thesummit hoping to obtain an agree-ment for a quota system that woulddistribute refugees and asylum see-kers in all EU states. Letta wants toscrap or modify the Dublin II regu-lation, which requires asylum seekersto be processed in the country wherethey first entered Europe. Due tostrong opposition from the Northerncountries, the proposal was tacitly put on hold.
The EU is continuing to give the impression that it is swamped by events andunable to manage the agenda.
Syr Page 10ECONOMy Page 08
Page 14
Le Chat goes global  with the Bible
The Belgian cartoonist Philippe Geluck, creatorof the much-loved Le Chat, will soon be releas-ing his famous creation's first book in English.New Europe spoke with Geluck, who talksabout his life and work, and shares his thoughtson various world leaders.
CULTUrE Pages 17,32
Healthcarein crisisSnoopersmust face justice
G  'th'f Ch-r dl
Ept thcd
Bogusław Sonik MEP Page 07HELTH Page 05ENErGy Page 13
Summit Hijacked
(Continued on Page 03)
India and China push forward together
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singhsaid on 22 October that he hopes to getto know the new Chinese leadership, andstrive for better co-operation between thetwo countries. Speaking before embark-ing on an official visit to China, Singh saidthat over his nine-year term as prime min-ister, he has been seeking to ensure Indian-Chinese relations have been on a stablepath.“Working together with the Chineseleadership, my attempt has been to createa forward-looking agenda for our bilateralrelations,” he said prior to leaving for China.It is his first visit to the country in five years,and the first since the global financial crisis.
Page 06
HVR's digital dreams sidelined by migrant deaths
27 October - 2 November, 2013
‘Mr President, how do you always remember my birthday?’
Ten years ago, Azerbaijan was looking to in-crease its EU ties and eventual membership.Meanwhile Europe was trying to find a way toend Iran’s isolation, but this depended on solv-ing the dispute on nuclear power and suspi-cions of a nuclear weapons programme. Migra-tion was also being discussed in the EU.This allseems familiar to today’s political observers.Belgium was investigating reports of fraud inDG AGRI after suspicions were raised thatsome staff may be leaking information overfuture grain prices to speculators. Rupert Mur-doch was selling off Italian digital broadcastlisences and Slovakia was pushing for one com-missioner per member state.
 n e  1 0  Y e A  R  S  A GO
Two, as it were, external issues competed for the attention of EUleaders at the council summit of 24-25 October, away from themain issue of European competitiveness. The first was the east-ern partnership, and the dim prospect of a spat with Russia overdominance of the in-between countries; Ukraine, Georgia, Mol-dova and the like. The second was migration.Brought into sharp focus by the recent tragedies off the Italian islandof Lampedusa, there is an accelerated feeling that Europe needs todo something to prevent a similar kind of incident happening again; but also that it is getting tough on illegal immigration. It is a fine balancing act; compassion played off against toughness.To some, the concern shown by EU leaders, and the declara-tion to built a proper migration policy, has come too late. DanielCohn-Bendit, co-president of the Greens in the European Parlia-ment, for instance, has called for an end to “platitudes.” He wantsmore solidarity amongst member states in migration and asylumpolicy. Hitherto, the more directly-concerned countries, Malta,Italy, Greece and the like made the running. Croatia, the latestEU member, also shares the concerns. But there is a feeling thatmigration is fast-becoming (if it wasn’t already) a wider issuethan one that solely effects the Mediterranean countries; Swedenhas the highest asylum applications in Europe, followed by theUK. As one council official put it, “no one envisions building alife on Lampedusa.”But underneath tragedies like Lampedusa and the Syrian con-flict, is a big issues that Europe is going to have to deal with, “anawkward and difficult issue” as one EU source succinctly put itahead of the summit. The problem appears to be, however, thatEurope doesn’t want to deal with it. At least not yet.The summit discussions centred around formulating a timetablefor marshalling resources and policies, including a strengtheningof FRONTEX, its border patrol. It is all about prevention andprotection. Member states are largely in agreement that the in-cremental approach is best; by June next year, when a new legis-lature is beginning, a policy should be in place. An EU discussionon migration, we are told, will take place. Just not this side of theEuropean Parliament elections.The issue is wider than just who gets to settle in Europe. It isalso about free movement of people, one of the key pillars of theEU, and one of its success stories. But there is obvious concern inEuropean Union circles about how exactly next years parliamentelections will be played. No one is under any illusions about thefact that gains will be made by the far right and other populistparties in 2014. In France, the Front National actively campaignon immigration, blaming Europe for an influx of illegal immi-grants. In the UK, the Eurosceptic Ukip have also included theissue as prt of their anti-EU position.European legislators are aware of the balancing act. They areaware that immigration will be in many countries (to the aboveadd Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and others) an issue for voters. The standard response is to try and have it both ways;show compassion for those seeking asylum, but be seen to beclamping down on illegal activity, and the threat of so-called“benefit tourism.” It isn’t working. Perhaps, then, a dialogue isa needed thing; from discussion comes ideas. But if there is anunwillingness to engage in “difficult and awkward” discussions,then policy can only stagnate. If so, there can be no complaints when the predicted outcome of 2014 actually materialises.
Silence is poison
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Dan AlexeChristina Vasilaki
inside eU
27 Octobr - 2 novmbr, 2013
(Continued from Page 01)
In parallel with the EU summit in Brus-sels, a special “Task Force”, composed of representatives from all the Mediterraneancountries, the most afflicted by illegal im-migration, met on Friday morning in Rome,together with representatives from Frontex. Asked in Brussels, at the press confer-ence concluding the summit, whether con-crete measures are envisaged, such as en-hancing the funding of the two institutions, both Barroso and Van Rompuy passed theresponsibility to the Task Force. The Task Force will have to come with concrete pro-posals by the end of the year, and decisions will only be taken at the June 2014 EU sum-mit, time enough for the Mediterranean seato become a real mass grave.Concerning relations with Ukraine, bothBarroso and Van Rompuy talked tough, sug-gesting that Kiev might after all not sign thepromised Association agreement with theEU. Van Rompuy said that Kiev “knows whatto do” in order to stop applying “selective jus-tice”, an allusion to Yulia Tymoshenko’s fate. Youth unemployment and innovation were also discussed, as well as well as “regula-tory fitness”, in plain words: the necessity tocut red tape in order to help small and me-dium enterprises (SME).The “digital agenda”, discussed by theheads of state and government on Thursday evening, also covered data protection, as wellas VAT, the leaders asking the Commissionto address issues such as differentiated tax rates for digital and physical products.Finally, on the banking union field, it was decided that the European Central Bank (ECB) will conduct a series of stress tests onmajor banks across the Eurozone, a first steptowards the introduction of a single standardfor all banks. These will have to be more seri-ously conducted that previous similar tests,in order for the ECB to retain its credibil-ity. In 2011, the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia went bankrupt only months after having suc-cessfully passed the stress test.
Dan Alexe
By Christina Vasilaki
aris and Berlin demand an EU-US “no-spying” agreement on the work of intelli-gence agencies.“Spying on friends is unacceptable. It’s not just about me but about every German citizen”,said Angela Merkel at her arrival to the EU Sum-mit, determined to force the topic to the top of EU leaders’ agenda. Earlier this week, reports inGerman media revealed that the US NationalSecurity Agency (NSA) allegedly tapped theGerman Chancellor’s phone. Similar reports inthe French media talked about some 70 milliontelephone calls being intercepted between mid-December 2012 and mid-January 2013. After the end of the first day of the Summit, Angela Merkel stated: “We want action fromPresident Barack Obama, not just apologetic words. We are partners but this must rest onmutual trust and respect and this applies to theintelligence community.” More specifically, theGerman Chancellor along with the French Presi-dent François Hollande, agreed to ask for a “no-spying” agreement on the work of intelligenceagencies. “That means a framework for coopera-tion between the relevant (intelligence) services.Germany and France have taken the initiativeand other member states will join,” Merkel said.“The problem is not which leader has been spiedon, but it is the extent of this network. Because itdoesn’t only concern heads of state, but also com-panies and citizens. So it goes much further than just relations between states and leaders, It is amajor problem”, Hollande added.The 28 leaders endorsed the Franco-Germanplan, while earlier information coming from thenewspaper Guardian alleged that a number of 35 world leaders had been monitored in 2006.
EU – US free trade agreement
 According to Reuters it is “the worst spat between the close allies in a decade”, however, itseems that the clash between the two continents won’t be enough to put in distress the economicrelations between the two blocks. Although, thereis pressure from different sides to halt EU – USfree trade talks, Merkel and the other leaders seemdetermined to resist this.European Parliament President, MartinSchulz was the first to propose that “we stop for amoment the negotiations and discuss. People arespied only in dictatorships and not in democraticcountries”.More specifically Mr Schulz said: “The NSA scandal was a wake-up call. Now that there is evi-dence that EU embassies, European parliaments,European heads of government and citizens have been spied on by the USA on a grand scale, theEuropean Parliament has called for the suspen-sion of the TFTP Agreement. We are calling forthe exchange of bank data with the Americans to be temporarily suspended. The European Parlia-ment will also safeguard the interests and funda-mental rights of EU citizens at the negotiations onthe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partner-ship”. Under pressure from Germany and France,the 28 leaders added a separate, inconspicuousannex to the main conclusions of the summit, in which they expressed their concern in the faceof “recent developments concerning possible in-telligence issues”. In carefully crafted words, they expressed their conviction that partnership withthe USA “must be based on respect and trust, in-cluding as concerns the work and cooperation of secret services”.In this statement, the EU leaders underlinedthe importance of intelligence gathering in thefight against terrorism. “This applies to relations between European countries as well as to relations with the USA. A lack of trust could prejudice thenecessary cooperation in the field of intelligencegathering”, they stressed. As sole concrete initiative, the leaders men-tioned that they “took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks withthe USA with the aim of finding before the endof the year an understanding on mutual relationsin that field”.This annex does not figure in the final com-munique. To say that it is formulated in a low key rhetoric would be an understatement.
NSA spying is challenging EU leaders politically and commercially. 
EU to seek “no-spyingassurances
 The highjacked summit
 The highjacked summit - the refugees’ drama makes VanRompuy’s digital agenda dwindle into insignificance

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