Tag Archives: 2010

Environmental security

At their Summit in Strasbourg / Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009, NATO’s Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General to develop a new NATO Strategic Concept. This exercise should be completed by the time of NATO’s next Summit, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2010.

NATO’s new strategic concept: link

The report can be found directly on the following link.

As the European Security Strategy recognises that predicted global climate change will have increasing impact on stability and security in many regions around the world and more particularly in Asia and Africa, and in the context of the forthcoming new NATO strategic concept, the set up of an environmental security strategy is more than needed.

It is important to analyse commonality of assessment between the EU and NATO of predicted global climate change as a factor of instability and insecurity in the most vulnerable places in the world, especially in terms of climate change as a driver of current or future conflicts. Climate change consequences like resource depletion, drought and floods, famine and mass migration, might have a direct impact on EU and NATO security interests.

The adequacy of existing NATO and EU capacities to respond to climate change driven catastrophes and the extent to which existing civilian, policing and military capabilities and assets could be deployed or adapted to meet these future challenges should be assessed.

It would be necessary to recommend measures and modifications to training – through NATO’s ACT described above – and to procurement policies, necessary to improve the EU and NATO’s ability to respond to such crisis.

Existing command and control structures and policies in the context of their applicability to the long-term nature of likely climate-driven crisis and conflicts should be reviewed.

The potential for burden-sharing and specialisation between the EU Member States and NATO allies to optimize resource allocation, civilian, policing and military assets which are required for crisis response and conflicts, whether climate driven or not should be explored.

At present, the climate change issue is only mentioned in the new report presented by the group of experts, chaired by Madeleine Albright.
Taking into account environmental security related to it in the new strategic concept would be a breakthrough.

Iceland's EU accession

The Iceland’s EU accession negotiations are currently on. As by this accession the EU’s presence in the AC would, it is a strategically great chance to play a more active and constructive role in the Arctic region, also contributing greatly to the multilateral governance. It could also help to solve collective environmental problems and increase EU’s interest for the Arctic and for its protection on both regional and international level.

A resolution on Iceland’s accession was adopted in July plenary and therewith the EP welcomed the prospect of Iceland becoming the 28th Member State of the EU. Iceland filed its accession application in July 2009. At the same time, Parliament asked Iceland to cease all whaling which is in contradiction with EU laws and that the preservations the country has lodged with the International Whaling Commission should be dropped.

Iceland’s accession would allow the EU to play a more active role in the Arctic- region which is already of growing importance for the EU (and for the rest of the world). Iceland is part of the Schengen Area, is a NATO member country and signatory of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA).

Although Iceland is already cooperating closely with the EU as a signatory of the Schengen Agreements and as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), having therefore adopted a significant part of the acquis communautaire (notably single market legislation), the state still need to substantially reform the organisation and functioning of its financial supervisory system, and the way judges, prosecutors and supreme judicial authorities are appointed.

The two major issues during the accession talks are banking and fisheries. Other policy areas that will also have to be fully negotiated with Iceland are agriculture, taxation, economic and monetary policy and external relations. One of the most challenging and sensitive issues for both Iceland and the EU member states is whaling. Whaling plays an important role in Iceland’s traditional coastal culture and Icelanders tend to perceive the accession to the EU as a great threat to their national identity.

The support of the public in Iceland has gradually decreased since the summer of 2009, and there are signs that let us believe it will decrease even more. Therefore Iceland’s authorities have been asked to start a public discussion in order to find out what are the main concerns for Icelanders regarding the membership.

One of the reasons why the public support for the accession could decrease is an amendment about whaling made in the resolution. The amendment was made by two MEPs from the Greens, Indrek Tarand and Heidi Hauttala (Finland). The amendment was adopted in the July plenary.

Commenting on the resolution, the authors said:

“This is a great result for all those who have campaigned long and hard against whaling all over the world. This resolution sends a strong signal that if Iceland is serious about membership of the European Union, it must respect international standards. We hope that Iceland will now join the rest of Europe in seeking to put an end to this inhumane practice in the rest of the world”

And they added that from now on, whales would be naming their sons Indrek and Heidi.

For more information, please read:
European Parliament: “European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2010 on Iceland’s application for membership of the European Union”
Green EFA: “Whaling: Parliament insists that Iceland cease all Whaling at EU accession”
Europa: “EU opens accession negotiations with Iceland.”
Euractiv: “EU kick-starts Iceland’s accession.”

Additional information on EU enlargement:
Europa: “EU enlargement.”
European Parliament: “EU enlargement”

Working and legislative programme of the European commission for 2010

President of the Commission Mr Barroso presented to the Members of the European Parliament in the plenary of the 20th of April his new programme for 2010 and beyond.

The main goals of this programme are to develop measures enabling the EU to get out of the economic and financial crisis and to establish a strong basis for sustainable growth.

Another priority is the stability of the Euro-zone. At the time, he stressed the financial mechanism of support for Greece, which was adopted on 11th of April, was ready to be activated by Greece in case this country would need it.

In this framework, the stability and growth pact should be reviewed with increased economic monitoring of the Member States and permanent mechanisms to be set up to resolve unexpected crisis situations.

The European commission is expected to communicate on enhanced coordination on economic policies to improve the use of the possibilities the Lisbon Treaty offers.

The Commission wants public financing to be reliable and sustainable.

In the meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed a new monitoring system of national budgets, with supervision by a new European economic government on national budgetary programme and decisions ahead of the vote in National Parliaments. This would allow more budgetary discipline and a stronger economic coordination between the 27 Member States. The European Council still have to decide how to develop the new structure and the implementation of the decision will belong to all three institutions.

According to Mr Barroso, since one year and a half, the European financial system is more ethical, has a new monitoring structure and alternative investments funds. The new structure of the financial system would be operational in 2011.

He stressed the social inclusion by 2020 with the creation of a platform against poverty insisting on social and economic cohesion.

Three-months rolling programme of priority debates in the plenary (Strasbourg)

  • June – financial supervisory package, sustainable future of transport, European Council preparation.
  • July – belgian presidency, EP’s right of enquiry, Kosovo and Albania.
  • September – State of the Union, Mid-term report on financial crisis, Afghanistan, (tbc EEAS, Employment guidelines 2010)