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Archive for the ‘Brussels’ Category

The ExxonMobile Executive Nicolas Mockfort was shot dead in Brussels close to Italian restaurant Da Marcello two weeks ago, in an event that looked first like car jacking. To the Belgian police authorities it appears likely that he was asssasinated. Given the company Exxon Mobile keeps, I just feel reminded of ruthless anti-French smear group TechCentralStation, hardly a suprise. The Telegraph for more. Usually Brussels is no dangerous place. What to make out of that:

But a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil said that, although the death was a shock, there was nothing to suggest a link with the company. However, one family member, who asked not to be named, told the Daily Telegraph that they thought he was killed in a professional hit.

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Another conference

Working together to create a better internet for children
15th November 2012, The Renaissance Hotel, Brussels

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Der Europaabgeordnete Bütikofer verliert die Nerven:

Wobei noch gar nicht erklärt ist, was PNR überhaupt ist. PNR = Passenger Name Records. Also der Austausch von Fluggastinformationen. Dazu gibt es ein Abkommen mit den USA zur Datenweitergabe, wobei die Frage, was wir als Gegenleistung erhalten, etwas im Dunklen liegt. Mit anderen Worten: Datenschützer gegen Politiker, die sich über den Teich ziehen lassen.

Ich finde es grundsätzlich gefährlich, wenn Positionen nur noch solche Flipkarten sind, für oder dagegen. Manchmal muss man hart für oder gegen etwas sein, meistens handelt jemand Verbesserungen aus, und das ist auch gut so. Differenzierte Positionen lassen sich nicht so klar kommunizieren, aber die Verflachung der Debatte schadet der Entscheidungskultur, wo man doch lieber einmal jene Kräfte hinter dem Abkommen zur Rede stellen sollte.

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Great news from Martine Reicherts from the EU Publications Office. EUR-LEX will get PRE-LEX functionality:

…I would like to inform you that we are working on a whole new version of EURLex, in which legislative procedures will be fully integrated. In other words, the information on the outcome or status of a proposal will be more explicit, and you will no longer need to check PreLex or other sources to get a precise view of the life-cycle of a document.

I personally thought it was a good idea to seperate law-in-force and law-in-the-making. But they say EUR-LEX also includes acts that are not in force.

you mention that you thought only adopted law is made available on EUR-Lex. This is not the case. EUR-Lex also encompasses numerous other types of documents, such as preparatory acts, opinions, EFTA documents, EU case-law and even national case-law.

I with there a simple kind Button for Dummies to identify if the specific EUR-LEX document shown is an act Law in force/Law in Preparatin/Retired Law. For ACTs I understand the process but for case law I rely on legal experts.

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The chair man of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) Klaus-Heiner Lehne (CDU) defend their decision to publish the legal opinions documents. It’s a letter to the Trade committee INTA. Keep in mind that the JURI committee is usually the most qualified in judicial aspects and an kind of authorative source in Parliament. Lehne’s argument for transparency is straightforward and common sense. I could not agree more. Erik explained:

The letter references RoP 103 (see below) and the Turco case and concludes that “JURI was merely applying the general rule, which is that there is an obligation to disclose the opinions of the legal service relating to a legislative process”.

Rule 103 : Transparency of Parliament’s activities

1. Parliament shall ensure that its activities are conducted with the utmost transparency, in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union, Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

You may remember my popular blog post where I published the “confirmatory reply” from Mr. Wieland to my document access request to this Legal Opinion. When my initial request to the INTA document was denied, it had already been disclosed by the JURI committee. You could even find it on the internet. I filed a confirmatory application to the document. What suprised me is that in the rejection it got affirmed, see the letter of Wieland to me. I didn’t link to the documents disseminated on grounds of the JURI decision, some press persons did and considered it a “leak” (which it was not).

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Economists proposed in the past a Financial Transaction Tax. Ten years ago left wing activists campaigned for that. Now conservative politicians. Still people doubt if that’s a good idea to prevent excessive trading or would even distort the markets. The political debate may lead to other considerations.

Elsewhere I commented:

The point is not whether the proposal makes much sense, it is simply that there are no other proposals offered… Get us another stone and a bird to kill. You could also view the FTT as a service fee for financial security externalities of the market borne by the public sphere.

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Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti writes in Futurezone about alleged fears that the UN would take over the internet. With the UN she means ITU, the cartel-like UN organisation for international telecommunication companies, which still breathes the spirit of the times when telecommunication was a public utility service. She refers to an op-ed by Robert M McDowell in the Wallstreet Journal:

On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet.

Just consider the recent attempt with the SOPA laws to annex the Internet as a property of the United States. The position of McDowell is good old cyber-libertarianism:

A top-down, centralized, international regulatory overlay is antithetical to the architecture of the Net, which is a global network of networks without borders. No government, let alone an intergovernmental body, can make engineering and economic decisions in lightning-fast Internet time.

Still for certain functions you rely on neutral govermental players. Privacy and libel, contract law, protection of property, law enforcement etc. Non-intervention is a deliberate choice as is intervention.

Pro-regulation forces are, thus far, much more energized and organized than those who favor the multi-stakeholder approach.

I don’t know why anyone would still favour multi-stakeholderism. In Brussels multi-stakeholderism makes citizens feel alienated and public servants appear disloyal to their people.

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Das Programm für den Workshop morgen. Gestreamt wird er hier. Was mir aufgefallen ist, als ich das zum ersten Mal gelesen habe, das ist wie wenig europäische Experten daran teilnehmen. Herausgehoben sind engagierte Sprecher, die nicht mal EU Bürger sind. Solange das “demokratische Defizit” nicht geschlossen ist, sollten wir jedenfalls die Kohäsion mit der Bevölkerung verbessern, und die andaurnde Unterrepräsentation von Europäern bei Anhörungen und Workshops endlich beenden.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
Brussels
József Antall Building
Room JAN 4Q2
Thursday, 1 March 2012
(15.00-18.30)

PROGRAMME
15.00 Welcome and introduction to the workshop by
INTA Chairman Prof. Vital MOREIRA
15.15 Panel 1: A comprehensive assessment of the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA) and the EU IPR protection and enforcement-related trade policies.
Speakers:

Mr Karel DE GUCHT, EU Commissioner for Trade
Dr Michael GEIST, University of Ottawa
Prof. Christophe GEIGER, CEIPI, University of Strasbourg

16.15 Panel 2: Presentation of the European Parliament’s External Study entitled “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (Policy Department, 2011)
Speakers:
Prof. Anselm Kamperman SANDERS, Maastricht University
Prof. Dalindyebo SHABALALA, Maastricht University
The presentation will be followed by comments from the European Commission represented by Mr Pedro VELASCO MARTINS, Deputy Head of Unit, DG TRADE (B-3)

17.15 Panel 3: Specific aspects of ACTA
The EU acquis and ACTA: Are civil liberties under threat? – What will be the likely impact of ACTA on EU Member States’ national legislation on IPR enforcement?

Speakers:
Dr Olivier VRINS, partner, ALTIUS Lawyers
Mr Rupert SCHLEGELMILCH, EC, Director, DG TRADE (B)

Is ACTA likely to restrict access to medicines in developing countries? Is ACTA a potential danger for trade in generic drugs?

Speakers:
Dr Meir PUGATCH, University of Haifa
Mr Rupert SCHLEGELMILCH, EC, Director, DG TRADE (B)

18.15 Concluding remarks by INTA rapporteur Mr David MARTIN

18.25 Closure of the workshop by INTA Chairman Prof. Vital MOREIRA

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Ein venezianischer Abgeordneter der Lega Nord fragt nach deutschen Plänen zu einem Rücksturz in die D-Mark.

Parlamentarische Anfragen 9. Dezember 2011
E-011671/2011 Anfrage zur schriftlichen Beantwortung an den Rat Artikel 117 der Geschäftsordnung
Mara Bizzotto (EFD)

Betrifft: Plan der deutschen Regierung, die D-Mark wieder einzuführen und der Druck neuen Geldes

In letzter Zeit wurde in der europäischen und internationalen Presse das Gerücht verbreitet, die deutsche Regierung wolle aus dem Euro aussteigen und folglich die D-Mark wieder einführen.

Dieser Plan wurde vor wenigen Wochen von Philippa Malmgren enthüllt, der Vorsitzenden von Principalis Asset Management und ehemaligen Wirtschaftsberaterin von Präsident George W. Bush und der Deutschen Bank.

Malmgren zufolge beschränke sich die deutsche Regierung nicht darauf, den Plan zur Wiedereinführung der D-Mark als gesetzliches Zahlungsmittel lediglich in Erwägung zu ziehen. Stattdessen soll sie bereits mit seiner Umsetzung begonnen haben, indem sie ein in der Schweiz tätiges deutsches Unternehmen damit beauftragt habe, mit dem Druck neuer D-Mark-Scheine zu beginnen.

In den letzten Wochen wurden diese Gerüchte immer beharrlicher wiederholt und von der Presse verbreitet, wobei schließlich sogar interne Quellen aus der Regierung und dem Geheimdienst zitiert wurden.

Ist der Rat über Pläne der deutschen Regierung unterrichtet, die D-Mark wieder einzuführen, und insbesondere darüber, ob bereits mit dem Druck neuer D-Mark-Scheine begonnen wurde?

Sollte dies nicht der Fall sein, gedenkt er dann, für Klarheit zu sorgen und Aufklärung zu den verbreiteten Nachrichten zu fordern?

Hat Deutschland den Rat zu dieser Angelegenheit unterrichtet?

Wie bewertet der Rat die Möglichkeit eines Ausstiegs Deutschlands aus dem Euro-Währungsgebiet?

 

Dazu der Rat ungewöhnlich knapp und geradezu unverschämt:

DE
E-011671/2011
Antwort
(1.2.2012)

Es ist nicht Sache des Rates, zu Presseberichten Stellung zu nehmen.

Üblicherweise werden solche Fragen beantwortet. Insbesondere die Frage der Unterrichtung wurde nicht beantwortet in Widerspruch zu den Verpflichtungen aus Artikel 15 AEUV.

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The Kangeroo Group, a lobby group that emerged as an MEP round table in the early stages of the European Parliament and chaired by Karl von Wogau, finally moved its office out of the European Parliament buildings. It was quite odd to have a lobby platform with a letter box address inside Parliament which covered up as an MEP group.

The annual activity report explains:

By the end of this year, we will have to move to a new location. The Eastman Building where we had our office as an intermediate solution will now be needed for the project of the House of European History. We have found a new location in Rue Wiertz which is very near to the premises of the European Parliament.

Their website says:

As of 30 January 2012 we will be relocating to the below address:

The Kangaroo Group aisbl
Rue Wiertz 11
B-1050 BRUSSELS
tel: 0032 2 280 60 95 (new)
fax: 0032 2 280 07 84
email: office@kangaroogroup.eu
url: http://www.kangaroogroup.eu

The Kangaroo organises so many events with high level speakers like Commissioners, and is known to generate a down to earth atmosphere, also in my field of interests:

Concerning the Internal Market, we have started two new Initiatives: The Forum on Intellectual Property and a working Group on Consumer Goods. Concerning Intellectual Property, we have debated about the Trade Agreement with India, illicit trade in tobacco products, Intellectual Property and Perfume Creation and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

I assume, they would also in the future take place inside the Parliament building.

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