Reding predicts eurozone to become a federal state
Euobserver: “European Commission vice-president Viviane Reding has predicted that the eurozone will become a federal state, while urging the UK not to leave the Union.
The Luxembourg politician in Cambridge University on Monday (17 February) recalled a speech by Britain’s World War II leader, Winston Churchill, in Zurich in 1946.
“In my personal view, the eurozone should become the United States of Europe. Like Winston Churchill, I believe that the UK will not be part of this, but it should remain a close ally with the federated eurozone, with which it would continue to share a common market, a common trade policy, and, hopefully, a common security agenda,” she said.
Reding noted that euro countries have made an “extraordinary” leap in terms of integration due to the economic crisis.
Citing the commission’s new powers to scrutinise national budgets and plans to create a banking union, she said: “a few years ago no one could have imagined member states being prepared to cede this amount of sovereignty.”
She added that “if this country [the UK] decides one day to be part of a stronger integration, you know where to find us. The door is open, and there is a seat at the table for you.”…”
Switzerland gets first penalty for immigration vote
Euractiv: “The European Union said yesterday (16 February) it had postponed negotiations with Switzerland on its participation in multibillion-dollar research and educational schemes, after Berne said it could not sign in its present form an agreement to extend the free movement of people to Croatia, the newest EU member.
The Swiss decision was expected following a referendum in the Alpine nation held on 9 February, in which a narrow majority backed proposals to reintroduce immigration quotas for the European Union.
Switzerland is legally obliged to open its labour market to Croatian nationals in the next 10 years, started from 1 July 2014. The Swiss press quoted the Croat ambassador in Berne, Aleksandar Heina, as saying that it was unacceptable for Switzerland to treat his country as not belonging to the EU for the next three years. Switzerland has three years to enact the referendum result.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has warned that the narrow Swiss vote to restore quotas for migrants from the EU breaches an accord with Brussels and would have “serious consequences” for relations between the wealthy Alpine nation and the EU.
Free movement of labour is one of the EU’s fundamental principles…”
Also on the same topic:
La UE suspende la participación de Suiza en Erasmus y fondos I+D por su política migratoria : http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/2014/02/17/mundo/la-ue-suspende-la-participacion-de-suiza-en-erasmus-y-fondos-id-tras-el-referendum-sobre-cuotas
EU and Switzerland: Research deal halted : http://www.neurope.eu/article/eu-and-switzerland-research-deal-halted
EU wants investigation into Spanish border guard shootings
Euobserver: “The European Commission wants answers after Spanish border guards fired rubber bullets at migrants swimming to safety off the coast of the Ceuta, a Spanish-enclave in north Africa.
At least 12 people are said to have drowned in the incident, which occurred earlier this month, but which was confirmed on Thursday (13 February) by Spanish minister interior Jorge Fernandez Diaz.
“The commission will be requesting explanations from the Spanish authorities on these events as they continue to unfold,” EU home affairs spokesperson Michele Cercone said in an email.
He pointed out that commission, as a guardian of the EU treaties, reserves the right to take appropriate steps where there is evidence that a member state has violated EU law.
The 12 who drowned are part of a larger group of some 200 migrants who attempted to enter Ceuta on 6 February from Moroccan territory.
Some tried to cross on land. Others attempted to swim around a man-made breakwater that separates Moroccan and Spanish waters, where the drowning took place.
Diaz said the rubber bullets were fired at a distance of 25 metres to deter them from entering Spanish territory.
He said the guards did not fire directly at the people in the water. He noted that the shootings were appropriate due to what he described as the aggressive behaviour of the migrants, Reuters reports…”
French ex-minister backs calls for European public prosecutor
Euractiv: “After the European Parliament adopted the EU Commission’s proposal to put in place a European public prosecutor (11 February), former French Justice Minister Robert Badinter gave his support for the idea at a hearing in the French parliament.
The idea for a common public prosecutor office in the EU is not new, said Badinter, who authored the law that abolished the death penalty in France.
“The project for a European prosecutor goes back a decade. We are not lacking ideas but political will,” he said, insisting on the necessity of such an institution. However, in practice it seems more complicated…”