Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

The schizophrenic Council

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Are you allowed to spoil a party when you are invited? What if the host of the party actually is quite schizophrenic, one day ignores you and the other day treats you like your best friend? The EU Council is such a schizophrenic institution. EU member states either use it to fight populist fights against […]

Some remarks on the Council briefing: Off the record!

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This morning, thanks to my short-term blogger accreditation,  I’ve been at the off-the-record briefings on the upcoming Competitiveness Council (see my previous posts on my preparations for the Council here and here). I am not supposed to talk about the content of these briefings unless I quote “Brussels sources” or “EU sources”. This is actually a […]

Cybercrime in Europe and in the European Union: No personal affair!

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You may have read my previous post in which I asked: “Cybercrime in Europe and in the European Union: A personal affair?” My informed guess in this post was correct: The expert on cybercrime from the Hungarian Council Presidency we – Europasionaria, Ralf, Sandra and I – were speaking with was Péter Csonka. Yet, my […]

How influential is the EU’s Committee of Regions?

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The consultative bodies of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), both residing in the same building in Brussels, are usually ignored, their influence questioned and their need doubted by some and defended by these bodies. But let us have a look in to current […]

A well-reformed EUR-Lex would be sexy indeed: A short story on access to EU documents

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In December, I wrote a post on this blog titled “A new EUR-Lex: Finding EU documents 2.0?”. The starting point for this article was a non-public EU Council document titled “A new EUR-Lex”. I wasn’t satisfied with the fact that I could not access this document and so I did a Freedom of Information request to the EU Council Secretariat.

Fighting cyber crime

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By Claudia Hillebrand One of the topics discussed earlier this week at the JHA Council were EU-wide measures to fight cyber crime. The European Commission presented a legislative proposal to the Council with the aim of revamping the EU’s anti-cyber crime toolbox, in particular concerning large-scale cyber attacks. This is a timely topic, as there […]

Journal-istic: Does EU democracy assistance fail?

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[I]n democracy assistance the EU starts with a relatively big plan and ends up with a particularly small outcome I was surprised to find this kind of statement in a scientific journal; it sounds so nicely down to earth that I was really interested in finding out how Federica Bicchi had come to this conclusion The […]

EU-US Agreement on SWIFT bank data transfer

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By Claudia Hillebrand On Monday night, a contested transatlantic counter-terrorism agreement jumped another hurdle. In an extraordinary meeting in Strasbourg, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) accepted a recommendation suggesting that the plenum of the European Parliament (EP) should approve the revised EU-US Agreement on SWIFT bank data […]

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