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June 2014 Newsletter Features:
  1. After the European Elections: what to expect?
  2. Interview with Madi Sharma #ECI Act4Growth
  3. Juncker and the Spitzenkandidaten process
  4. Matteo Renzi and the Italian Presidency
  5. News on migration and intra-EU mobility legislation
  6. Report from the "Europeanisation of Everyday life"
  7. Calendar of events
  8. Funding Alerts
  9. Consultations
After the European Elections: what to expect?

Joan Manuel Lanfranco Pari is the Policy and Communications Manager at VoteWatch Europe, an independent organisation set up to promote better debates and greater transparency in EU decision-making. He has worked on the development of VoteWatch's special projects aimed at raising awareness of, and interest in, the European elections of 2014, namely Electio2014.eu and PollWatch2014.eu and MyVote2014.eu. Email: joan@votewatcheurope.eu. Twitter: @jmlanfranco.
 
This years election has been different from those in the past due to 3 main factors: the extension of powers granted to the European Parliament through the Lisbon Treaty, which made it easier to sell the elections as a sure thing. Political parties have largely been placed on a binary of austerity vs. integration, and issues most concerning citizens, such as unemployment, have been raised at national level throughout the campaign. The Spitzenkandidaten process, where every party choses a leading candidate to be the President of the Commission has been an experiment that has set a precedent for future elections and attracted attention. It goes without saying that it’s too early to predict how this will affect abstentation, but one can speculate that even stronger candidates will be put forth next election.
 
It is expected that the new coalition formed in the European Parliament by the EPP, S&D and ALDE will take steps to soften austerity measures and make the fight against (youth) unemployment a priority. In my view, the new European Parliament's hot topics for the years to come will definitely be:  energy, and migration and freedom of movement also according to the recent developments in Ukraine and in Southern Europe.
 
The ECI Support Centre interviews Madi Sharma, founder of the ECI "Act4Growth" . 

Click here for the full interview

Italy's Upcoming Presidency

On July 1st 2014 Italy will take over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. This comes at a pivotal time for Italy and the rest of the European Union(EU). It's been a long time since an Italian leader as charismatic and strong headed as Matteo Renzi has ascended to power. At the age of 39, Renzi has overtaken Benito Mussolini as the youngest person to become Prime Minister since Italy's unification in 1860 and he is one of the few European leaders to emerge stronger from the EP vote on May 25th.                                           
Based on the 2014 annual report of Italy's participation in the EU, and various statements made by Renzi, and his government, we have compiled a list of expectations for the next six months. Policy priorities will fall under three broad themes:
growth and employment, external relations, and justice and citizenship. 

1. Renzi has stated that his priority is to stimulate weak economic growth through greater budget flexibility-a move away from austerity. 
2. Migration will be an important issue for Italy. Last October, 368 shipwrecked migrant perished in an accident off Lampedusa and since then Italian authorities have been calling for more financial support from the EU as well as a more unified pan-European approach to migration, asylum, and integration. 
3. This year Italy is hosting EXPO 2015 under the theme of "Feeding the Plant, Energy for Life". Renzi is planning on hosting some high level meetings here in order to promote Italy. 
4. The creation of a
single digital market through the overhaul of telecommunication rules

For the full article click here 

#Renzi #ItalyEU2014 


Juncker and Spitzenkandidaten

The question is not only, whether Juncker will be the next President of the European Commission, but it is also important to underline the new process of choosing the Presidency and how that sets out a new precedent for Europe. It has been said that the Spitzenkandidaten will lead us to a vote from the citizens themselves, although it does seem to early to make assumptions. 

The Spitzenkandidaten offers a new step towards further integration and a more representative European Union. Advisers from BEPA (Bureau of European Policy Advisers) warn that the Spitzenkandidaten process might politicize the European Commission(EC), and threaten it's independenceWe can also assume that politicizing the EC may create a gap between the citizens and the politicians. If the EC is supposed to be impartial, so to speak not particas, to what extent is the Spitzenkandidaten an innovative process? The pros and cons will appear more or less during the next few months. 

The Spitzenkandidaten has first and foremost been an experiment; however, it also raises the problem of the personalization of this the President of the Commission.The focus has been on Jean-Claude Juncker but it seems odd to forget the other candidates. 

#spitzenkandidaten #EP2014 #Juncker
The Musical Chairs Are Over  
After the elections, the number of far-right MEP's increased their visibility through social media and all the media attention. This new influence was given to them by the citizens through democratic elections. The debate on the Presidency of the European Commission, the potential coalitions and groups formed in the far-right affiliations have been a controversy given much attention. 

On Thursday July 26th the new Parliament released the political parties which were formed for the 2014-2019 legislative term. It is now official that Le Pen’s National Front and Wilder’s Freedom Party have failed to create a new group.The deadline was June 24, and no group was formed, although Le Pen has vowed that she will do everything in her power to form a group by December of this year. Furthermore, Mr. Farage succeeded in preserving his Europe of Freedom and Democracy group with a total of 48 lawmakers. 
Moreover, since N-VA recently joined the European and Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Liberals (ALDE) are also changing. What we might call a game of
“musical chairs”, as Europe Decides puts it, is very important to understand the future influences within the European Parliament. It is not only a political question, but also a financial one. If a political affiliation fails to form a group, it cannot receive grants or EU money. Speech time is also at stake, because members of political groups are able to speak more substantially during the plenary sessions. We should all be very watchful of the (re)shuffling that has taken place.              #EP2014

News on migration and intra-EU mobility legislation

The European Policy Centre (EPC) has released a policy update for The European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM),  highlighting recent policy updates on integration and migration within the EU.
Two crucial legislative texts have been adopted:


The Intra-Corporate Transferees Directive was adopted by the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of intra-corporate transfers. This Directive will make it easier for multinational companies to temporarily assign highly skilled employees to subsidiaries situated in the EU as well as allow for easier mobility among Member States. Secondly, the New Frontex Regulation at Sea sets new rules for intercepting and pushing back migrants at sea as well as for rescuing them. 

The European Commission published its
fifth annual report on immigration and asylum highlighting the major trends in these policy areas. Apart from updated statistics and recommendations, the report highlighted the need to find solutions to the problem of migrants dying at the EU’s external border. 

Furthermore, two other Commission reports have been issued: one evaluating the impact of the Blue Cards Directive which lays out the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals and their family members for the purpose of employment; and the second on the field of irregular migration evaluating the Employers’ Sanctions Directive

#EUmigration #lampedusa #EC 


The Europeanisation of Everyday Life

On Wednesday June 25th ECAS hosted a conference in partnership with EUCROSS entitled "The Europeanisation of Everyday Life: Cross-Border Practices and Transnational Identities among EU and Third-Country Citizens". The conference was organized to present the findings of the EUCROSS project which examined the relationship between the various activities of EU residents(nationals, mobile EU citizens, and third-country nationals) across the borders of nation states and their collective identities.Various professors and researchers from all over Europe presented a total of 8 papers on their findings. 

The project was initiated based on a need to better understand the individuals local, regional and national experience with European identity and solidarity. The importance of the findings is to better understand individual differences. As border crossings and interactions among individuals of different nationalities increase it is presumed that a solidarity of "Europeaness" will increase as well. EUCROSS demonstrated that it is much more complicated than that, with numerous variables playing a part in identity formation. 

To read the final report click here

Save the date for ECAS' events:

Calendar of Events 

  • 3rd July: EESC: Conference on boosting partnerships in collaborative consumption. Programme and Registration.
  • 7th July: EESC: Food Donation – Fighting food poverty and addressing food waste. Programme and Registration.
  • 9th July: European Women’s Lobby: ‘No more excuses: Gender equality after the EU elections – what’s next?’. Programme and Registration.
  • 9th July: Wales Council for Voluntary Action: Introduction to data protection and confidentiality. More Details.
  • 10th July: Half-day course on the financial auditing and control of EU projects. Programme and Registration.
  • 10th July: Kick-off meeting to public consultation on the European Investment Bank’s transparency policy. Programme and Registration.
  • 14th July: Law Centres Network: ‘Registration of children as British citizens’ training event. Details and Registration.
  • 15th July: Law Centres Network: Funding Masterclass. Details and Registration.
  • 16th July: Two stakeholder engagement events during the sixth round of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Programme and Registration.

Funding Alerts

                                           
 

Consultations

  • Consultation on tax problems faced by EU citizens when active across borders within the EU. Deadline: 3rd July.
  • Consultation on the contributions of credit institutions to resolution financing arrangements. Deadline: 14th July 2014
  • Consultation a green goods initiative. Deadline: 31st July 2014.
  • Consultation on Emission Trading System (ETS) post-2020 carbon leakage provisions. Deadline: 31st July.
  • Consultation on combined transport in the EU. Deadline: 15th August.
  • Consultation on the quality of drinking water in the EU. Deadline: 23rd September.
  • Consultation on the future EU initiative on No Net Loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Deadline: 26th September 2014.
  • Consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy. Deadline: 31st October.
  • Consultation on the equivalence of third country regimes regarding the country by country reporting by extractive and forestry industries. Deadline: 10th October.

                             
 
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