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Archive for June, 2010

SUEPO informs:

The Administrative Council of the EPO will meet from 28 to 30 June in Munich. The agenda counts about 60 points and a roughly equal number of supporting documents. The election of a new Chairman of the Administrative Council and the appointments of new Vice-Presidents for DG1 (search and examination) and for DG5 (legal matters) are amongst the more important internal matters to be dealt with. Topics of interest for the external stakeholder include those concerned with fee reforms, and with co-operation at European and at global level.

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Wed 30/06 at 19:30 Speeches by José Manuel BARROSO, EC President and Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council at the European Business Summit

Fri 02/07 at 12:30 Press conference following the Belgium EU Presidency / European Commission joint meeting

G20 Summit (pool photos)

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M. Bernard Carayon appelle l’attention de M. le ministre de la défense sur l’accord cadre n° 2009-027/09-54-149 signé par la direction interarmée des réseaux d’infrastructure et des systèmes d’information (DIRISI) avec la société Microsoft Irlande. Si cet accord minimise sans aucun doute le coût des licences payées par le ministère pour les logiciels, des effets secondaires doivent être soulignés. Sur la légalité de la procédure d’abord, car cet accord signifie une option d’achat pour une somme d’un montant maximum de 5 150 000 euros sans appels d’offres ni procédure de marché public. Sur les conséquences de l’accord ensuite, l’arrêt de toute recherche d’alternatives aux logiciels de Microsoft, la mise en danger de tous les logiciels libres gratuits qui ne bénéficieront plus d’appels d’offres, l’abrogation des directives de la direction des systèmes d’information et de communication (DGSIC) favorisant l’utilisation de standards ouverts (article 4 de la loi de 2004 pour la confiance dans l’économie numérique) et l’assujettissement aux formats et protocoles propriétaires fermés. …

A bit strange that the French make defense contracts for their critical information infrastructure with American companies and surrender their domestic procurement rules. Why doesn’t the President care, asks the MP:

Alors que le Président de la République s’inquiétait, lors de ses voeux au monde de la culture d’une éventuelle position dominante de la société Google, il est surprenant que personne ne s’inquiète de la prédominance de Microsoft depuis quinze ans dans un secteur aussi innovant. Aussi, il lui demande ce qu’il entend faire pour éviter une uniformisation des systèmes d’information.

The ministry fully affirms the current approach and adds:

Ainsi, la première version de cette architecture logicielle est principalement issue de solutions propriétaires et elle tire profit de l’accord-cadre passé avec Microsoft. Mais une autre version, composée sur la base de solutions open source, sera disponible dès 2011 et déployée parallèlement à la première. Les retours d’expérience dont bénéficiera le ministère de la défense sur l’utilisation en parallèle de ces différentes solutions par différentes populations d’utilisateurs éclaireront les décisions à prendre à l’avenir.

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With the change of the European Commission old web content was archived and is not accessible anymore. Among the lost content also a landmark speech of C. Ashton from last year.

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ELDR conference on the future of the euro zone
Thursday 17th June 2010 – 13.00 to 15:00
Concert Noble, rue d’Arlon 82, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
In the framework of the upcoming summit of EU leaders this week, the European liberals organise a public conference about the present situation in the euro zone to discuss the liberal perspectives in view of the agreement for a greater attention of economic imbalances.

“The idea behind the euro zone is to ensure European prosperity – why one has to look at the longer term effects for European financial stability, rather than applying populistic short-term behaviour. Reliable policies are not built by turncoats.”

What effects would the dissolution of the euro zone have for the EU? What effects would it have for the mutual trust and cooperation between European neighbours? I believe that the longer term effects would benefit neither Europe nor Greece. It stands perfectly clear that Greece will not avoid going through a thorough domestic reconstruction process, similar to that of e.g. Ireland”, comments ELDR Party President, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck MEP, ahead of the conference. The speakers will include:

  • Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck MEP, ELDR Party President;
  • Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice President (Estonia), who will present the Estonian perspective of the state of play in the euro zone in view of Estonia’s expected entry into the euro at the beginning of next year;
  • Robert Priester, Head of Department – Wholesale and Regulatory Policy, European Banking Federation;
  • Olle Schmidt MEP, Coordinator of the European Parliament’s committee on the economic and financial crisis who will talk about possible measures or strengthening euro zone cooperation and the European financial supervisory framework.

The conference is open to the press who can participate in the panel
discussion.

For more information about the conference and to confirm your participation please contact Robert Plummer, rplummer@eldr.eu, +32.2.237.0147. For press enquiries, please contact Chiara Puletti cpuletti@eldr.eu +32.2.237.0143.

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A press release provides a misleading record from the European Parliament LIBE meeting.

Cutting off finance for terrorism: towards a European system
(Committees) – Justice and home affairs – 24-06-2010 – 18:17
Many Civil Liberties Committee MEPs hailed the progress achieved in the new agreement on banking data transfers to the USA for counter-terrorism purposes, four months after rejecting the previous agreement and pressing the European Commission to come up with a new deal. On Thursday, Parliament won firmer Council and Commission commitments to put in place an EU programme to combat finance for terrorism.

The article is wrong on multiple levels and does not provide a clear track record. I can only recommend to listen to the original LIBE audiovisual records for yourself, in particular to the clear word of Dutch MEP in’t Veld. The press release of the European Parliament is outrageous.

Update: Apparently a backroom deal was reached after the meeting. For instance MEP Alvaro twitters:

“Negotiations with span. presd. after LIBE com today achieved breakthru on #SWIFT agreement. EP gained signifikant changes in agr. & council.”

It does look procedurally wrong to me to get such off-the-record agreements and even if the achievement was that good the press release of the Parliament is still false. The public cannot scrutinize backroom deals and given the trickery of the Presidency such deals are not fixed unless there is an official record.

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Interesting questions which sound like a competitor wants to troll the sTesta system. I wonder why the Commission awarded the contract to a non-European company.

Question for written answer E-4470/2010 to the Commission Rule 117
Carlos Coelho (PPE)
Subject: s-TESTA network
The s-TESTA network (= secure Trans-European Services for Telematics between Administrations) provides a generic infrastructure for secure trans-European information exchange between national and European administrations.
At present, this ‘secured’ communication network, which falls under the responsibility of the Commission, appears to have more than 30 applications. The EURODAC system operates within the s-TESTA network, as will the SIS II and VIS information systems.
This network will accordingly be vitally important to in the Schengen area, since it is impossible to have an area without internal borders unless the communication network for the Schengen Information System and the related SIRENE interfaces operates continuously and in a manner making for a high degree of security.
Taking into account the importance and the growing role of the s-TESTA network within the EU,
1. Is it true that personal data are transmitted via the network?
2. The Commission has hired a private consortium – Orange Business Services and HP – to manage the network. Will the most stringent security requirements be met, bearing in mind that the consortium operates out of an industrial suburb of Bratislava and is based on the second floor of a building belonging to a local private owner where there are other private companies working on the other floors and there is no form of diplomatic protection?
3. Is it true that technicians working for the consortium can access private data being transmitted via the communication network?
4. Is it true that the consortium also has offices in Cairo and that its employees are even issued with a handbook giving the addresses of all the network’s component systems and the corresponding access points?

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