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Jun 272008
 

According to the recent outcry in the Swedish blogosphere and some “liberal” MSM, the European Parliament (or “the EU”?) is going to enforce legislation forcing bloggers to register, publish their photo and name and pay a fee all in order to prevent wrong  or dangerous ideas being spread in an uncontrolled fashion. The initiative comes from an Estonian MEP, Marianne Mikko, who according to Swedish media has not been able to rid her self of her communist background and, according to freedom fighter Christopher Fjellner (conservative MEP), has “a hole in her head.”

EU Observer carries an article which puts things in the right perspective and so does Europaportalen (SW). It may be significant that we have only found one blogger with a knowledge of the facts and a cool head. We have to admit, however, that various statements to the press by Ms. Mikko, an individual MEP,  have been considerably less than helpful  to the sake of common sense.

This is not the first Swedish media storm over alleged EU attacks on personal freedom: News of an EU-tax on SMS and email as well as of a prohibition to sell home-baked cookies at charity events are other recent examples.  A combination of  a lack knowledge of how the EU works, British type tabloid sensationalism and the hidden agenda of a certain group of so-called liberals can make wonders in influencing the public opinion, a very useful thing in these days when the future of the Union is very much at stake.

As far as we can see there has not been any similar discussion in other member states. They are probably more inclined to accept Ceausesculike regulations to use a phrase from a leading Swedish newspaper.

Jun 232008
 

Mr Christopher Johnson, “former chief economic adviser to a London clearing bank” in an article in Financial Times complains about the bad exchange rates he gets when travelling to Europe or sends money to his relatives in France. It was better, he explains, in the times when “Lord Northcliffe was the proprietor (of the Times and) he ordered a man to be ready in the office with a bag of gold sovereigns for any correspondent called on to cross the Channel to cover an urgent story.”

Yes, the good old days! But here is a chief economic (and free) advice to Mr. Johnson: Have your country adopt the Euro and at least part of your problems will be solved! 

Jun 172008
 

It appears that the opposition leader, Ms Sahlin, has changed her mind and now feels that Sweden should continue the ratification process although there are dissenting voices in her party. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, is quite clear: Sweden should go ahead. On his blog (SW) he makes the point that whereas Ireland voted for Ireland,  Sweden should vote for Sweden. Back from Luxembourg he claims that “all others”, including Ireland, was of the same opinion.

It seems pretty obvious that the best way ahead would be ensure a ratification by the 26 and then find a solution for Ireland, with or without a new referendum. In spite of some well considered and argued comments to the contrary, I still fail to see that 862 415 Irishmen and -women should have the final say on this issue. As Mr. Bildt more or less put it the Irish voted for themselves and all others should do the same thing. The demand for “Proportionality” is normally very strong  in EU contexts: why don’t we hear it now?

Jun 142008
 

So 0.173175 % of the EU population has voted “No” to the Treaty of Lisbon and thereby the whole process is stopped, and the decisions (at least potential) of 26 democratically elected governments, accountable to their democratically elected Parliaments and representing 497 137 585 Europeans are nullified. Anyone else thinking this is somewhat peculiar?

Obviously, the results of a democratic referendum should be respected. Equally obvious is that it should have consequences only for Ireland. It is important now that the ratification process continues and that, when finished, a separate solution is found for Ireland.

Unfortunately, Swedish opposition leader Mona Sahlin already “scents thee morning air” and has stated that the Swedish Parliament ought “to apply the hand-break” to the ratification process in the hope of attracting eurosceptics from all parties at a moment when her comfortable lead in the opinion polls has begun to crumble.

Swedish EU-blogger and MEP Åsa Westlund approvingly quotes the comments to the Irish “no” from the Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation :”For far too long, Europe has paid too little attention to the expectations and rights of workers and others who feel threatened by globalisation and the pace of change.”  Fine, I agree, but fail to understand what this has to do with the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon excepts in so far as it gives a Denkzettel  to a Government whose policies you don’t like.  Challenges such as those mentioned by the Secretary General of ETUC and others, for instance those connected with climate change, energy, food prices and geopolitical upheavals should make it all the more urgent to work for a strong and efficent European Union.