David Cameron’s speech at Chatham House: the Securitization of the Brexit


On 10th November, the British Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech at Chatham House about Europe and the place of the United Kingdom in the European Union. This speech occurred while the debate in society about the Brexit is intense. Indeed, after his re-election on May 8th 2015, Cameron promised to British people to organise a referendum about the membership of the UK in the EU before the end of 2017. This date is getting closer, and 3 years after the Bloomberg’ speech, Cameron once again exposed his views of what Europe should be and what kind of changes are necessary for the Brits to stay in the Union.

The United Kingdom entered the Union in 1973 under a Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath. Nevertheless, the party has become more clearly euro-sceptic nowadays. To fully understand Cameron’ speech, we need to highlight the complex current situation of Europe, which is the theatre of several crisis: the economic recession and the Eurozone crisis, the Ukrainian conflict; and as Cameron says, also the rise of external threats like ISIL.

All along his speech, David Cameron claims that the EU needs to be reformed, and this necessity will not only benefit the UK but the EU itself as a whole. After looking more closely at Cameron’s demands and the possibility of a Brexit if the renegotiation appears to fail; this article will highlight an important component of David Cameron’s speech with is the recurrent theme of security.

What’s new since Bloomberg’ speech?

According to David Cameron, Europe is in urgent need of reforms and the future of the UK’s membership is linked to those. Negotiations with European partners enter in the formal phase, which justify the timing of his new address. His speech is then not only addressing the Brits, but the Europe’s leaders as well.

“We see European Union as a means to an end and not an end in itself”

     The British Prime Minister formulates two challenges Europe faced and still faces: the economic crisis and the security threats. The threats are even worth than few years ago, because of the Ukrainian crisis, the grown up of the ISIL, the situation in Syria and the rise of extreme political parties. The rise of these threats has reinforced the central arguments made 3 years ago by David Cameron that Europe needs urgently to reform. David Cameron lays emphasis on the realism of his politics and of the national identity of the United Kingdom in general. This British realism is expressed in their vision of Europe as “an instrument to amplify our nation’s power and prosperity”. Cameron even compares the EU as other International Organisation, like the UN or the IMF. Although, David Cameron doesn’t want to picture himself as eurosceptic and several time during his speech he proves his good attention towards Europe by detailing some of his previous actions as an “engaged nation”.

“Britain has contributed in full measure to the freedom that Europe’s nations enjoy. (…) Today, we continue to play our full role in European security”

     His vision over the nature of EU is fundamentally intergovernmental, and the answer to the current challenges have to be dealt with at the national level through a renewal of sovereignty.

“Let’s acknowledge that the answer to every problem is not always more Europe, sometimes it’s less Europe”. 

     The reforms of Europe have to be made around 4 challenges: the imbalance existing between Eurozone Member States and those outside; the lack of European’s competitiveness; the democratic deficit and last but not least -a new challenge not mentioned in the Bloomberg speech and linked to the actual migration crisis- the free movement right.

“Non-Euro Members need certain safeguards”

Even if the United Kingdom is not part of the Eurozone, David Cameron reckons that non-Euro Member States should have their word to say, because the policy of the Eurozone is affecting them. David Cameron requests several safeguards in order to protect non-Euro countries. First of all, David Cameron would like the recognition that the European Union has more than one currency. The Euro should be placed on the same level as any other currencies used in Europe. Consequently, the treatment of Euro-countries and non-Euro countries must be equal.

“There should be no discrimination and no disadvantage for any business on the basis of the currency in their countries”

     Secondly, “the integrity of the single market should be protected”. The fundamental reason of living for the European Union is the creation of the single market. It was the primary purpose for the Union, and this principle should always be placed in front of all other Union’s considerations. That is why David Cameron declares: “any issues that affect all Member States must be discussed and decided by all Member States”. Then, any advancement of the Euro-zone may never be mandatory for non-Euro countries as well as the population of non-Euro countries as tax-payers should never bear the cost to support the Euro. Finally, David Cameron claims the independence of his monetary policy, which should remain a competence of the Bank of England.

In a sense, the EU should respect the choice of those who refused the common currency, and Britain positions itself as the leader of a coalition of non-Euro States. The possibility of a Brexit is for the first time invoked in this paragraph.

“Because if the EU were to evolve into a single currency club, where those outside the single currency are pushed aside and over-ruled, then it would no longer be a club for us”

“Write competitiveness into the DNA of the whole European Union”

Although, David Cameron acknowledges the progresses made since his previous speech, he wants Europe to go further to become more competitive and attractive. Europe needs to be more flexible in order to allow the competitiveness to operate. However, David Cameron doesn’t formulates concrete propositions here, but set a goal for action.

“We need a target to cut the total burden on business”

Sovereignty and subsidiarity

The part on the democratic accountability of the European Union is in fact divided into two axes. One concerns the citizens of the United Kingdom and what we generally called the European democratic deficit which touches not only the Brits but all the Europeans. Indeed, it exist among the European population a form of disillusion concerning the European Union. The low turnout of European elections confirms this idea. Only 42.61%[ii] of the European citizens have voted during the last elections of the European Parliament in 2014. To deal with this growing issue, David Cameron calls for a “more significant role for national parliaments (…) which are the main source of real democratic legitimacy”. The European Parliament is then not considered as legitimate as the national parliaments, forgetting the fact the MEPs are elected by universal suffrage since 1979.

The second axe of his development about democratic accountability is the issue of sovereignty of the State and the subsidiarity. As we know, Cameron shares an intergovernmental vision of Europe.

 “We believe in a flexible Union of free member states who share treaties and institutions, working together in a spirit of cooperation”

      In saying, that he would like to “end Britain’s obligation to work towards an ever closer Union”, David Cameron calls into question the UK’s signature of the Treaty on European Union, where we can read in the Preamble, that the signatories “resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”. Implicitly, he asks for a revision of the treaty, and therefore, his declaration raises several legal problems.

“Britain can never be engaged in a political Union against our will”

     David Cameron wants to get back sovereignty into the national sphere and asks for a strict application of the subsidiarity principle. In the Treaty on European Union, this principle says that “the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objective of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States (…), but can rather be better achieved at Union level” (TEU, Art5.3).

“We believe that if powers don’t need to reside in Brussels, they should be returned to Westminster. So we want to see EU’s commitments to subsidiarity fully implemented”

     Finally, David Cameron wants to restore the authority of the British Courts to the detriment of the European Court of Justice. By doing so, the United Kingdom wants to reform the relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Plus it wants to be able “to review the legal acts of European Institutions and court to check that they remain within the scope of power of the EU’s powers”

“We do want to restore a sense of fairness to our immigration system”

The last area which needs reforms according to David Cameron is quite a new challenge, because it was not mentioned 3 years ago. The Conservative Prime Minister questions the fundamental objectives and basis of the free movement right in the European Union. David Cameron thinks that migration -from Europe and outside- exercises a pressure on public services and infrastructures as well as the welfare benefit system. What seems new in this discourse claiming that immigration must be slow down, is the inclusion of European citizens in this flow. Although, Cameron declares himself attached to the free movement because “over a million Brits” benefit from this right, he questions the universality of a right attached to the European citizenship. To support his argumentation, David Cameron pull out that “40% of all recent European Economic Area migrants are supported by the UK benefits system” and that it is not sustainable.

“We need to be able to exert greater control on arrivals from inside the EU too”

     Cameron demands that this right does not apply to new members until their economies have converged with the UK. Moreover, Cameron wants to fight to abuses on British welfare system in order to “restore a sense of fairness”, forbidding the fraudster to re-entry, in reducing the pull factors of the welfare system, in ending the practice of sending child benefit overseas, and in obliging European citizens to contribute for 4 years before being entitled to work benefits or social housing (the scope of this contribution is not clarified).

The Securitization of the In-Out referendum

All along his speech a recurrent theme is easily identifiable. Indeed, the four areas mentioned are all framed into security terms. All of these issues are considered by David Cameron and his government as a matter either of economic or national security. Framing a political issue into security terms demanding thus security responses is called a process of securitization. It is interesting to notice that even the economic issues are treated by David Cameron into security terms, saying that if nothing is done; the lack of competitiveness, the Eurozone and the non-national pressure on the domestic welfare system will constitute a threat for the British society. Moreover, the term of national security appears several times in the speech and Cameron argues that national security must remain the sole responsibility of Member States. Consequently, the European question itself and the In-Out referendum are securitized. At the end of his speech, addressing himself to the Brits, David Cameron highlight the importance of the security question for the referendum. The British Prime Minister calls the citizens to seriously think about the danger that a Brexit at all costs, or on the contrary the status quo, could cause to the economic and national security of Britain.

“I am in no doubt that for Britain, the European question is not just a matter of economic security, but of national security too” 

     Several times during his speech, David Cameron attempts to show to his European partners that his demands were reasonable and measured, that he is not an Euro-sceptic and that the reforms he asks for will benefit the UK as much as they will benefit others Member States and the EU as a whole. Obviously, beyond his sayings of good will, his propositions go far beyond the moderate ideas he pretends to have. For him, the EU needs as much the UK as the UK needs the EU. One can perceive his words as a form of blackmail, or at least a strong warning to the European Union. Finally, he declares linking his choice of campaigning for remaining of leaving the EU to the latter’s responses to his expressed concerns.

An “Awkward Partner”?

In 1998, Stephen George[iii] has analysed the political history of Britain in the European Community, and came to the conclusion that the United Kingdom was an “awkward partner”, because it is half-in, half-out. Indeed, from the very beginning, the United Kingdom played the “awkward partner” in refusing to join the original Six creating the Common Market. Then, since its adhesion in 1973, the United Kingdom has often tried to slow down the integration process. It has refused to change his currency in 2002, and it’s not part of the Schengen Zone. Today, it is legitimate to raise the question of the validity of this thesis regarding the recent events and the attitude of Cameron towards Europe. Indeed, even before calling for a renegotiation of the British membership in the EU and a referendum; David Cameron was already hostile to an “ever closer union” in supporting the idea of a ‘two speed Europe’. Within the European Parliament, the British Conservatives even created a new group, splitting from the European People’s Party (EPP), where many pro-Europe right-wing national parties sit (German Christian-Democrats, French UMP). Moreover, David Cameron used his veto in the European Council concerning the fiscal pact and even removed himself from the table. Chatham House’ speech seems to be coherent with the political direction took by Cameron embodying the idea of awkward partner.

[i] Website of the British’s Government, Script and video of David Cameron’s speech, 10/11/15, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-on-europe

[ii] Web site of the European Parliament, Results and Turnout of 2014 European elections, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2014-results/en/turnout.html

[iii] GEORGE Stephen, An Awkward Partner, Britain in the European Community, Oxford University Press, Third edition, 1998

The European Neighbourhood Policy regarding the Ukrainian crisis

The recent Ukrainian episode has been analysed as a confrontation of two supranational identities, a European and a Russian one. The European identity would be the one of freedom and democratization. Indeed, the refusal of the former president Ianoukovitch to sign the Agreement of Association which had to give a new momentum to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) seems to have caused the spark of a civic movement in favour of both democratization in the country and rejection of a Russian influence in the internal affairs. The ENP is a policy created in 2004 to increase cooperation with EU neighbours in order to stabilize them politically and economically with due respect to the EU principles of democracy, rule of law and liberalism and thus avoid huge migration flows towards member states. The Russian feared this policy was a way for the EU to gain influence in their “near abroad” and thus, put pressure on Ianoukovitch to turn his back to the EU.

This work tries to analyse the real capacity of the EU to transfer its standards and spread its values to Ukraine through the ENP, in order to know if the Policy was one of the lever of the Maidan mobilization. In other words, in which extent can we consider that the ENP was a geopolitical tool to spread a certain European democratic model in Ukraine? The topic is limited to the ENP developed in Ukraine from 2004 until the events of November, 2013. This work will study only European actions carried out in favour of the democracy and of the civil society in Ukraine. It is based on a study of the European Commission sources dealing with the political reforms in Ukraine as well as a semi-directive interview with V. Kuzca, an expert of the euro-Ukrainian bilateral cooperation, led on the occasion of the writing of a university dissertation.


I. The ENP : no direct transfer of norms

a. More and more programs and fund to spread democracy in Ukraine

An intensification of the financing programs designed to help the neighbouring countries to stabilize politically is noteworthy after the Orange Revolution in 2004. Ukraine, one of the new neighbours after the 2004 great enlargement, then appeared to be the most inclined to adopt a political regime in accordance with the EU principles of democracy, human right and rule of law. In this context, the European Neighbourhood Policy was developed. It was built on the basis of a financing program for EU Candidate Countries named “TACIS”. The access to this fund was the subject of compliance with political and economic reforms. But it created a confusion regarding the future of the receiving countries. Indeed, most of the neighbours were not considered as potential member states. Thus, the ENP has been equipped with another tool, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (2007). It allocates more financial help and develops a partnership with civil society as well as a European Fund for democracy (2012). These funds and initiatives were available to promote the balance of powers, the fight against corruption and clean elections, to strengthen judicial capacities and law enforcement agencies, to cooperate in Human Right matters or foster an alignment with European administrative, civil and criminal codes. The participation of civil society in these goals became more and more prominent as it is consider as a means leading to modern societies.

The legal framework also changed. The ENP was divided in 2009 into two areas: the Oriental and the Mediterranean Partnership. It was designed to differentiate the needs of the neighbours. Poland and Sweden were the two main stakeholders of this change. Indeed they had a strong interest in strengthening the political and economic cooperation in the East. This innovation gave to each neighbours an “Association Agenda”, a program to reach the goals foreseen in the “European Union Association Agreement”.

b. But no measurable results

i. Few reforms

The cooperation with the neighbours was designed on the idea of a progressive legal and political alignment with the European standards. But an analysis its achievement reveals that the vertical transfer of norms to Ukraine was a failure. As a consequence, we cannot say that the Maidan was backed up by a democratic framework partly developed thanks to the ENP.

Indeed, very few changes in favour of the Rule of Law were done in the administrations. Only 7% of the financial help devoted to democratization and good governance were used between 2007 and 2010. We observe a more efficient use of the funds from 2011 to 2013 but it was still insufficient to reach the Oriental Partnership goals. There have been few bilateral projects led between the EU and the Ukrainian administrations because of their lack of financial and human resources as well as their inertia. Most of the Twinning programs designed to create a close cooperation with member state’s administrations have been used to foster the alignment with European economic standards and not with the democratic principles. When they did, it is difficult to measures their real effect as they often trigger to a food-for-thought paper on European good practice. The Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) programmes are another tool which have been disappointing in terms of transfer of norms. Indeed these five-day workshops and seminars for professionals of both sides to exchange on good practices are too short to lead to a real transfer. Eventually, SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management) programs which work to improve administrative management have also had limited impacts. Between 2008 and 2012, only 8 projects were led and 3 of them concerned the Rule of Law. The lack of implication can be explained by the fact that the ENP is not clear regarding the degree of alignment to reach. Furthermore, the lack of adhesion perspective may discourage administrations to do efforts. Eventually, the programs proposed are very long to set up. The National Civil Service in Ukraine takes care of the application evaluation, according to their criteria. The selected dossiers then go to Brussels which estimate them again. One year is generally needed before obtaining the financing.

ii. Limited civil society participation

Although the Ukrainian civil society has been invited for strategic meetings concerning all the subjects of the euro-Ukrainian relations (Forum for Civil Society) and has more and more been the target of various programs such as the IEDDH (European Instrument for the Democracy and the Human Rights), Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility, the Program for the non-State Actors and the Local Authorities (ANE-AL), the dialogue between civil society organizations (CSO) and the national government remained insufficient between 2004 and 2013. Moreover, the CSO participating in the Forum for Civil Society are not representative of all the Ukrainian civil society as the economic organizations, labour unions or other socioeconomic groups of interest are missing. Eventually, the CSO which receives the European financial help are limited to a certain number of huge organizations which are well-integrated in the European web and which know how and when they have to fill an application dossier.

As a consequence, the civil society financed by the ENP does not correspond to the Maidan stakeholders scope. According to a survey on Maidan, made by the polling organization “Democratic Initiative” (Ilko Koutcheriv) and published by Courrier International in March, 13th 2014, 70 % of the participants had come from their own initiative, 8 % were members of organizations, 14 % participated in social movements and the others were members of opposition parties. The movement grew as the authorities’ repression became tougher (Ioulia SHUKAN) and social media played an important role to mobilize and coordinate individuals. The CSO financed by the ENP participated but they were not really visible for the average Ukrainian as their number were small and their help was limited to specific services. For example, the Kharkiv Group, the most known CSO financed by the ENP provided judicial advice to fight against the growing number of arrests during winter 2013-2014.

iii. In a context of a major backward step for democracy

In spite of the political will displayed by Ioutchenko (president after the Orange Revolution from 2005 till 2010) to lead a democratic transition in his country, it must be admitted that few reforms were reached notably because of the administrative inertia, corruption and the inadequacy between the European programs and the institutional and human resources. When Ianoukovitch came to power, the hopes of European standards transfers were even more shattered. Indeed, some political elections were dimmed by undemocratic practices, amendments were added to the legislation on corruption, the presidency gained in power in 2010 to the disadvantage of the Parliament, small progresses were made in terms of justice and law enforcement, some political opponents were imprisoned, media liberty also regresses as well as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and civil society participation in the decision process.

In conclusion, the PEV was not a lever for a transfer of the European model towards Ukraine. The context has even deteriorated. This gives nuances to the expression “geopolitics of the democratization” used by J. Rupnik in his last book Geopolitics of the Democratization to qualify the hidden purposes of the ENP. It does not correspond a mechanical transfer of democratic standards. So, we can underline the fact that the Russian reaction was a priori disproportionate given the limited results of the ENP. Nonetheless, the protest of numerous citizens in Maïdan suggests that a part of the country has adopted a certain conception of what the European democracy and civil society were. Next part develops that the PEV have allowed to make circulate the big concepts of democracy, Rule of Law and civil society within the Ukrainian imaginary. Those concepts have taken different shapes following the stakeholders involved in the definition of the ENP. As a consequence there is no direct transfer of norms but rather a dissemination of ideas invested by stakeholders’ meaning.

II. ENP: a mean for different stakeholders to spread ideas

a. A mean to spread ideas in Ukraine: the Polish example

Some member states have bet a lot on the foreign relations the ENP was offering. The example of Poland is remarkable (although it is not the only one) for the country has built a discourse towards Ukraine on its exemplary experience as a former communist country which has succeeded in democratize. It has used this rhetoric inside the ENP, giving different interpretation of the ENP goals apparently consensual and depoliticised for they have been designed inside the Commission which had no competence in this area. Indeed, the ENP enables member states to be involved through different exchange programs which are platform for the good practices broadcasting ‘TAIEX, twinning or forum with Civil Society…). These programs give to neighbouring countries experts an opportunity to compare their practices to the European ones and be more open to change, although we saw that no tangible results can be measured. TEMPUS and ERAMUS have also to be mentioned here for they have participated in the idea spread through socialisation. Under the European label, member states’ actions were less likely to be qualified as imperialist for the EU appears as an actor full of willingness with universal interests.

As a matter of fact, Poland contributed to link the ENP with the idea of a step to democratization and disconnection with Russia, giving to the ENP its geopolitical aspect. The polish experience of independence from the Soviet Empire gives to this rhetoric roots and legitimacy. The ancient relations with Ukraine also contribute to spread it. The political context of the Russian-Georgian war and the gas crisis in Ukraine allowed also to legitimize it.

Poland was well situated in the arena of the ENP stakeholders. Indeed, in 2003, the Polish foreign minister had already submitted a paper to the Council on the European policy to the East and participated actively in the debate “Wider Europe” proposed by Romano Prodi, influencing the Commission final document (Elsa TULMET). It also capitalised on the debate launched by the Czech presidency in 2007 on an Oriental Partnership and initiated a cooperation with Sweden to reshape the ENP. Poland has also had weigh on the European diplomatic declarations. The Polish president in 2004 openly declared he was in favour of Ioutchenko, the leader of the pro-european party during the Orange Revolution. The country used its veto in 2006 against a Euro-Russian partnership, strongly denounced the Georgian war in 2008 and participated to European alliances in favour of a greater foreign policy to the East (Weimar Triangle and Visegrad 4). Since 2012, a Polish official, Jan TOMBINSKI, has been nominated by the Commission to preside the European Delegation in Ukraine. He clearly claims a proximity with the Solidarnosc tradition. Eventually, the Polish administrations and NGOs have particularly participated to the ENP programs in Ukraine (Pasos, Batory, Education for Democracy Foundation, PAUCI…).

b. A meaning which have resonance on a part of Ukrainian society

The Central Europe, for its geographical and cultural closeness, has served as a reference in Ukraine. The Ukrainian political context gave to this rhetoric a special impact. Indeed since its independence, national political forces have been debating on the Ukrainian identity referring to the European and Russian models. The Ukrainian nation has been built in the differentiation from the Russian model (1980-1990s). Then, a closer relationship with the West through the EU and NATO was claimed in the political discourses (1990-2000) through culturalist discourse as well as desire to democratize. It printed its mark in the population as relations with European countries strongly increased (working migration and new foreign policy). Nonetheless, it has been less effective in the eastern part of Ukraine for it has kept strong link with Russia.

After the Orange revolution in 2004, the pro-european discourse became stronger. The idea of a EU membership was broadcast by the political leaders. When the ENP was proposed, it was considered as a step towards integration. It has been so rooted in the Ukrainian politics that Ianoukovicth built his presidential campaign on the promise to sign the ENP Association Agreement. When he broke his commitment, the discontent grew. He was seen the Russian puppet. That is why the ENP took the aspect of the unique way to get rid of the Russian influence becoming a geopolitical tool for Ukrainian stakeholders. Nonetheless this orientation was not planned by the EU institutions and the oldest member states which feared a conflict with Russia. This discrepancy between meanings given to the ENP was particularly visible within the crisis. Indeed, the EU as a whole has been ambiguous regarding its position toward the events. The EU was reluctant as for taking economic sanctions. On February 21st, 2014, the EU even suggested to get Ianoukovitch back to his functions until the elections. Even Visegrad was divided during the crisis of 2013-2014. Indeed, Polish showed themselves favourable to a hard answer with regard to the Russians while the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary preferred a political dialogue and refused the deployment of the NATO.


     As a conclusion it can be said that with regard to the ENP meagre results as for the vertical transfers of standards, it is proved that the ENP is not a geopolitical tool in itself. However, thanks to the events of the winter 2013-2014 we were able to notice that some stakeholders from both sides have built a certain idea of the European model and have spread it through the ENP thanks to socialization programs. One interpretation of the ENP goals put forward by some powerful stakeholders emerged for it has resonance within the Ukrainian political and social context. This interpretation presents the ENP as a way to reach a future membership and definitively detach from Russia. So the declarative aspect of the ENP played a greater role than its capacity to transfer norms in the Maidan uprise.

By Elise Wattrelot


1. Institutional sources

– PRODI Romano, President of the European Commission, « L’Europe élargie Une politique de proximité comme clé de la stabilité »- 6th ECSA world conference. Jean Monnet project. Bruxelles, decembre, 5th 2002, Speech 02/619 (online)

– European Commission Communication to the Council and Parliament, « L’Europe Elargie- Voisinage : un nouveau cadre pour nos relations avec les voisins de l’Est et du Sud », Bruxelles, le 11.03.2003 (online)

– European Commmission, EuropAid, « Acteur Non Etatiques et Autorités Locales dans le développement», disponible en ligne – Commission Européenne, Ukraine Action Plan (disponible en ligne)

– European Commission, “EU-Ukraine Association Agenda to prepare and facilitate the implementation of the Association Agreement”, (online)

– European Commission, “European neighbourhood and partnership instrument Ukraine Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013” (online)

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress in 2013 and recommandations for actions, March 2014 (online)

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress in 2012 and recommendations for action, March 2013 (online)

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine: Progress in 2011 and recommendations for action, May 2012 (online)

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress in 2010 and recommendations for action, May 2011 (online)

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress in 2009 and recommendations for actions, March 2010

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress un 2008 and recommendations for actions

– European Commission, Implementation of the ENP in Ukraine : Progress in 2008 and recommendations for actions

– European Commission, “EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Ukraine”, disponible en ligne

– European Commission “Activity Report 2012 Twinning, TAIEX and SIGMA ENI Region “

– European Commission Européenne “Activity Report 2011 Twinning, TAIEX and SIGMA ENI Region “

– European Commission “Activity Report 2010 Twinning, TAIEX and SIGMA ENI Region “

– European Commission “Activity Report 2009 Twinning, TAIEX and SIGMA ENI Region “

– European Commission, « L’Instrument européen pour la démocratie et les droits de l’homme 20072010, Egaux en Droits partout dans le monde » online

– European Commission « SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR UKRAINE Frequently asked questions » online https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/faq-support-package-ukraine20140806_en.pdf

– the EU Delegation in Ukraine, project lists available online via : http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ukraine/projects/list_of_projects/projects_en.htm

– EU Neighbourhood Info Center, “European Neighbourhood Instrument 2007-2013 – Overview of Activities and Results” (online)

– EU Neighbourhood Info Center “Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility”(online)

– Decision 2006/62/EC COUNCIL DECISION of 23 January 2006, enabling countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as Russia, to benefit from the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) Programme

– Avis du Comité économique et social européen sur la «Contribution de la société civile au partenariat oriental», 2011/C 248/06, Journal Officiel, de l’UE, 25/08/2011, online : http://eurlex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2011.248.01.0037.01.FRA

– WelcomEurope, « Appels à propositions de ce programme: IEDDH – SCHEMAS DE SOUTIEN PAYS », online http://fr.welcomeurope.com/link/Program/Funding/591.html#replierTexte

– TOMBINSKI Jan, head of the EU Delegation in Ukraine: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_PRES-07-9_fr.doc

– Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility 2012 and Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (NSA&LA) 2012 and 2013. Actions in partner countries – Ukraine. Guidelines for grant applicants.

– European Commission and EU Delegation in Ukraine, “Ukraine country roadmap for engagement with civil society 2014-2017”

2. Academic literature

– BARTHE Yannick, La Politisation, ouvrage dirigé par Jacques LAGROYE, chapitre « le recours au politique ou la problématisation politique par défaut », édition Belin, 2003.

– DE TINGUY Anne, « Chapitre 1 : La détermination européenne de l’Ukraine », in Jacques Rupnik , Les banlieues de l’Europe, Presses de Sciences Po (P.F.N.S.P.) « Nouveaux Débats », 2007 p. 41-73. – DAUBENTON Annie, « Ukraine : les euro-déterminés », Jacques Rupnik Géopolitique de la démocratisation SciencesPo Les Presses, 2014

– RUPNIK Jacques, Géopolitique de la Démocratisation, SciencesPo. Les Presses, 2014.

– RUPNIK Jacques, « Introduction » L’Europe et ses périphéries, in Jacques Rupnik , Les banlieues de l’Europe, Presses de Sciences Po (P.F.N.S.P.) « Nouveaux Débats », 2007 p. 9-40.

3. Articles

– BOUTKEVITCH Bohdan “Ukraine. Maïdan – La révolution des classes moyennes », published in March 13, 2014 in Oukraïnsky Tyjden and in Courrier International, (online www.courrierinternational.com)

– CARNAGUE Samuel, De nouvelles lignes de partage en Europe de l’Est ? online on IRIS website, June 20, 2014

– DELCOUR Anne « Quelle influence pour l’Union européenne dans son voisinage oriental ? », Études européennes, La revue perm@nente des professionnels de l’Europe. www.etudes-europeennes.eu – ISSN 2116-1917 Online 15/02/2012

– GOTEV Georgi « Le triangle de Weimar, un tremplin politique de choix pour la Pologne », published in 12/09/2014. Online : http://www.euractiv.fr/sections/europe-de-lest/le-triangle-de-weimar-un-tremplin-politique-dechoix-pour-la-pologne-308368

– GOUJON Alexandra, Les nouveaux voisins de l’Union européenne Stratégies identitaires et politiques en Ukraine, Biélorussie et Moldavie, publication du CERI, 2004, online www.sciencespo.fr/ceri/fr

– HAVEL Vaclav « Ukraine loses its way », le Journal Day, 6 Septembre 2010 – JEANDESBOZ Julien “Définir le voisin, la genèse de la Politique Européenne de Voisinage”, Cultures et Conflits, n66, été 2007 – LAIDI Zaki, La norme sans la force, 2013/1 (3e édition), chapitre 1, Presses de Sciences Po (P.F.N.S.P.).

– LOUATI Claudia, “Service européen d’action extérieure et politique de voisinage : vers plus d’efficacité ? ”, Nouvelle Europe [en ligne], octobre 31st 2010, http://www.nouvelleeurope.eu/node/948, consulted in May 4th 2015

– LEFORT Philippe, « La crise ukrainienne ou le malentendu européen », Politique étrangère 2014/2 (Eté), p. 109-121. DOI 10.3917/pe.142.0109

– MINK Georges « Maidan, l’Ukraine rêvée de la Pologne », 16 mars 2014 dans le journal Libération – STANKEVITCH Irina « Un grand fonds UE-Ukraine pour la création de petites entreprises », Courrier de Pologne, Numéro 2 – mars-avril 2014, online

– STRUK Sarah, « La diplomatie polonaise : de la doctrine “ULB” au Partenariat Oriental », publié sur le site internet www.nouvelle-europe.com, le 23/08/2010. – THEDREL Arielle, « L’Ukraine tourne le dos à l’Union Européenne », Le Figaro, publié le 21/11/2013, online.

– TULMETS Elsa « L’exportation des normes « molles » dans la politique extérieure de l’UE. Un ou plusieurs modèles ? », Politique européenne 2014/4 (n° 46)

– TULMETS Elsa « Le transfert d’expérience de l’Europe centrale et orientale vers le voisinage européen : rhétorique ou réalité ? Les cas polonais et tchèque », Etudes du CERI – n° 193 -mai 2013 – “Ukraine court boosts powers of President Yanukovych”, BBC News, Rubrique “Europe”, 1 October 2010, online

– « Ukraine: 7 ans de prison pour l’ex-Premier ministre Ioulia Timochenko », par France Info mercredi 2 novembre 2011, online, http://www.franceinfo.fr/actu/europe/article/ukraine-7-ans-deprison-pour-l-ex-premier-ministre-ioulia-timochenko-82413

– « Pourquoi l’Ukraine est-elle si importante pour la Pologne ? » Courrier de Pologne, Numéro 2 – mars avril 2014 | Rubrique Politique, (online http://www.courrierpologne.fr/pourquoi-lukraine-est-elle-si)

– Kyiv post « Foreign Ministry pins high hopes to EU’s new ambassador to Ukraine”, Mai 17, 2012 www.kyivpost.com

– SHUKAN Ioulia, Blog Carnets de Terrain, (online https://carnetsdeterrain.wordpress.com/)

4. Videos

– Interview TEPSIS – « Analyse de la situation en Ukraine par Ioulia Shukan » (Mars 2014), online on Youtube.fr

– « Le dessous des cartes : émission » online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK09NacYxIg

Newsletter – october 2015



Poland’s Eurosceptic shift

On October 25th, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice party, won the parliamentary elections with 39,1 % of the votes, putting Eurosceptic and anti-immigration policies on top of Poland’s political agenda.

Alongside with the other Visegrad’s members, Law and Justice is campaigning against the European Union policies on the management of refugees and on the EU’s responsibility in their care. Kaczyński’s party has demonstrated a fierce Euroscepticism and has stood against Angela Merkel’s ruling position within the EU. Indeed, Poland’s new leading party is feeding its statements on the frustrations felt towards Germany’s influence and its predominant role in EU decision-making processes. Along with the anti-German feeling, the Law and Justice party feeds its anti-EU policy with the argument that the EU has not been punitive enough to Russia regarding its role in Ukraine, Poland seeing the Ukraine crisis as a Russian threat for its own territory. Thus, Kaczyński blamed the EU to jeopardize Poland’s national identity as well as its security, regarding the imposition of an issue they do not wish to tackle and the EU’s unwillingness to properly sanctioned Russia.
Jaroslaw Kaczyński’s discourse and his success show how the EU relationship with Russia and the refugee crisis could play into the hands of anti-European Union parties.
This ideological turn is likely to have a strong impact on the EU solidarity. Indeed, the Law and Justice party is more than willing to put its member Beata Szydlo on the Prime Minister’s chair and to strengthen its action at the head of the Visegrad group, thus toughening anti-immigration policies alongside with Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Le Monde, The Guardian, NY Times

The UK’s ‘inner circle’ of its international influence: why the UK should keep its position within the EU.

On October 19th, President Xi Jinping came to the UK for a four-day state visit, thus being the first Chinese leader to come to the country for the past 10 years. With this visit, the UK is seeking to enhance its relationship with the country by reinforcing their business agreements and promoting a “strong partnership”.
Despite the UK’s strategy to gain international influence through strong investment ties with China, Cameron should also rely on its ‘inner circle’, the EU, as well as on its ‘second circle’, the US, with which the relationship is mainly focused on economic and security bonds.
A third actor, the ‘outer circle’, embodied by President Xi Jinping, highlights the changing global context and its new main actors.
Regarding this global context, the inner circle’s influence would be the best response for the UK to adapt quickly and gain a strong visibility in the three-circles scheme.
Indeed, staying in the EU would allow the UK to leverage the EU’s global economic weight to enhance its economic interest internationally (benefits form trade agreements, contributing to EU and global standard-setting). Getting out of the EU would also mean rewrite more than 100 trade agreements and endanger the UK interests in EU markets.
Plus, the UK would have an important say in the design of EU policies towards European and British policies, for example related to the migrant crisis or the management of Russia in the Middle East. Then, the cooperation with EU members would be the best way to find efficient solutions to shared problems (cyber security, implementing strong governance in failed states, combating terrorism).

BBC, Chatham House

Migrant crisis: overwhelmed Slovenia, Austria’s fence, and Germany’s pressure

After Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shut down Hungary’s borders by erecting a wall, the refugees have cut their path to Europe through Croatia and Slovenia. Thus, 85,000 refugees have poured into Slovenia since mid-October, after Hungary closed its border, to then join Austria and Germany. Overwhelmed by the situation, Slovenia is threatening to erect a fence along its border with Croatia, if the EU cannot deliver the pledged assistance: the creation of 100,000 spaces in refugee reception centres, with 50,000 in Balkan countries, and 400 police officers to Slovenia. This assistance had been decided over a “mini-summit” with 11 EU Member States, on October 25th, regarding the necessity of an emergency plan.
But the EU has been fiercely criticised after Slovenia did not receive the help it was asking. Slovenia is hence willing to erect a fence surveyed by guarded forces.
At the same time, Germany said it expected the number of deportations of failed asylum seekers to rise. It triggered Austria’s chancellor Werner Faymann willingness to implement several barriers at the Slovenian border, saying it would not be to shut down the entrance, but to improve security and to develop the control of arrivals.
Even though President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker said that “fences have no place in Europe”, the tensions between EU Member States lead to the inability to find a common response.

However, Angela Merkel has kept her role as leader in this issue, in spite of Germany’s rising scepticism and anti-immigration acts of violence (Pegida demonstration on October 27th and the stabbing of Henriette Reker, the newly elected pro-‘refugees welcome’ Cologne’s mayor), by committing to welcome from 800,000 to 1,5m refugees.
“German flexibility” as her motto, the Chancellor carried out policies creating new housing centres, requisitioning town gymnasium, or providing education. Also, her determination to handle this human crisis and to call up for the international responsibility has been shown through a rapprochement with Turkey, during her visit to Ankara on October 18th.
Facing the necessity to lower the increasing number of refugees coming to Europe, Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have reached an agreement on the management of the refugee flows. Even though the concessions made by Merkel on Turkey’s EU adhesion process, the authorization of delivering a higher number of visas and her negotiation with a president whom authoritarian drifts has ostracized him on the European scene were criticised, Turkey and Germany have settled to an agreement whom effects remain to be seen, in order to prevent the departure of more refugees from Turkey’s borders.

BBC, Le Monde, The Guardian


The Nordic and Baltic states’ security programs reviewed regarding Russia’s expanding threat

As a response to Russia’s growing influence and omnipresence on the international scene, especially regarding Syria’s military intervention and the Ukraine crisis, the Baltic and Nordic States have rethought their military capacity and are working for a deepened cooperation, both with themselves and with NATO. As an example, Norway’s budget in armed forces for 2016 will increase of 9,8%. Those expenses will be located in weapons, equipment, infrastructures and intelligence services. Latvia and Lithuania are considering reintroducing conscription regarding the tensions in Ukraine and their possible repercussions on neighbouring countries.
Considering their particular relationship with Russia, the Baltic States feel the need to strengthen their social cohesion, energy security and cyber defence in order to be prepared to fight a State whose power is considered to be consistent of an existential threat. Indeed, Russia growing presence and its influence on the EU as well as on the US vis-à-vis the military commitment in Syria, Putin’s relationship with Assad and with the newest actor in the conflict, Iran, is worrying Russia’s neighbouring states about their own security.
For the Nordic States, strengthening their military force is more about protecting the region from a potential attack by Russia or from being drawn into a conflict: if the Baltic countries needed help from NATO, the Nordic countries would be drawn into conflict, even though neither Finland nor Sweden is an actual member. Indeed, in order to protect Baltic States, NATO would need the Nordic States’ soil. They would hence be drawn out of their neutrality.
Nevertheless, Finland and Sweden rethinking their defence policy and equipment may be the first step to reconsider their neutrality as well as their possible membership to NATO. Indeed, a recent poll shows that 41% of Swedes are now in favour of being a NATO member.
This shift in those States’ policies are mainly the result of the outrage over Russia’s aggressive behaviour in Ukraine, Russia’s infringement of Swedish airspace, and the bad security situation around the Baltic Sea.

Defense news, Center for Strategic and International Studies

For the EU, gathering all the actors, even Iran, is the only solution to the Syrian crisis

Pending the international negotiation on Syria on Friday 30th, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini sheds light on the necessity of the presence of regional actors in order to bring up Syria’s political transition. Thus, the UN, the USA, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Egypt will attend the meeting and will have to work together. For Federica Mogherini, there can be no security in this region without the assistance and the involvement of those countries.
Furthermore, thanks to the nuclear agreement with Iran, the EU is a particularly privileged interlocutor to Iran and this relationship will be very useful for dealing with the Syrian crisis, if properly handled.

Le Monde


Volkswagen scandal: the European Commission imposes minimal standards to constructors

Following Volkswagen’s fraud recognition on the polluting gas emissions (nitrogen oxide) on 11 millions of VW vehicles, the Member States have agreed on the implementation of a new test emission durint a summit on October 28th.
However, even though the tests will be more constraining for the constructors, they won’t be as much restrictive as the European Commission would have wanted. Indeed, the EU Member States and their experts have shown their disagreement by being the advocates of their constructors, imposing the Commission to review the significance of its tests through a more permissive polluting norm.
Thus, between 2017 and 2019, the new cars will not be allowed to produce more than 2,1 % the upper limit of oxide authorised within the EU, and from 2020, they cannot go through the limit of 1,5 points. However, the European Commission and environmental NGOs wanted to reach a conformity factor of at least 1,6 from 2017 to 2019 and then 1,2 from 2020.
But since a lot of EU member states would not sign the initial proposition of the Commission because it was perceived as too demanding for their car industry, it had to be changed.
Thus, the civil society denounces that this new agreement bypassed the European Parliament: Member states and the EU wrote the polluting gas emissions norm not within the Parliament, but in a closed hearing. Indeed, the law has been built within the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles, a technical body regrouping the 28 Member States. Letting the elaboration of EU norms in the hand of an experts comity grants an important role to lobbies and lower the influence of the European Parliament.
The question of transparency in decision-making in a sector that deals both with economic and health issues is questioning the lack of democracy when national industries are at stakes.

Le Monde


By Caroline Huard

Newsletter – March 2015


France: François Hollande loses in French local elections

In the French local elections of March 22 and 29, former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing party UMP made large gains obtaining the most votes in the first ballot. In total, UMP, together with its political ally UDI, received 28,8% of the votes. Marine Le Pen’s extremist right-wing party Front National (FN) obtained 25%, whereas president François Hollande’s socialist party only took 21,5% of the votes. After the second ballot, however, FN was not able to win any of the 101 départments, whereas UMP and UDI took by far the largest share by winning 66 départments. Hollande’s party incurred great losses winning only 33 déparments, just over half of the 61 departments it held before.

Although the départments only have limited competences, the local elections are considered as an important indicator for the upcoming presidential elections in 2017. In that sense, the results of the local elections reveal the French voters’ dissatisfaction with the current presidency of Hollande. This is mainly attributed to the continuing economic crisis and the high numbers of unemployment in France. (Die Zeit) (EurActiv)

Eurozone crisis

Quarrels over structural reforms in Greece continue

After the extension of Greece’s bail-out programme until June had averted a ‘Grexit’ and a Greek state bankruptcy in February, quarrels between the Greek government and its Eurozone partners have continued. Although EU leaders demanded that Greece presents a credible list of concrete reforms in order to receive further relief funds, the Greek government’s propositions have so far been dismissed by the other Eurozone countries as too vague and not ambitious enough. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras defended the reform plan and stressed that his government seeks an “honest compromise” with its creditors and that it will not “sign an unconditional surrender”. Prior to the most recent negotiations starting on Friday, March 27, Tsipras threatened to stop any repayments of debts, should the Greece not receive the last relief fund rate. According to calculations from the European Commission Greece faces the threat of a state bankruptcy once again on April 9, when another large credit repayment of €450 million to the IMF is due.

Meanwhile investors have continued to withdraw money from Greek banks putting further pressure on the government to find an agreement with its creditors. New data has shown that in February alone businesses and private savers have taken over €7,5 billion out of Greek credit institutes. (The Guardian) (Spiegel Online) (Euobserver)

ECB launches bond-buying scheme

On March 9, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it and the national central banks had started buying public and private bonds in order to stimulate growth in the Eurozone countries. This quantitative easing programme plans for the ECB to buy bonds worth €60 billion every month. This way a total of around €1.1 trillion will be spent until at least September 2016. Under this strategy the ECB is effectively creating money that it then uses to buy government bonds on the financial markets. By pumping money into the economy the taking of credits is encouraged as the interest rates decrease. The intention behind this is to boost economic growth and create employment. At the same time the programme is supposed to tackle the deflationary trend currently threatening the Eurozone.

Although there have been warnings against a qualitative easing scheme in the Eurozone, ECB President Mario Draghi defended his strategy claiming that the markets have already reacted positively to the announcement of this monetary policy decision. (EurActiv) (The Guardian)

Foreign Affairs

Russia alleged to still send arms into Ukraine

According to allegations made by US general and Nato military commander, Philip Breedlove, and US top diplomat on Ukraine, Victoria Nuland, Russia is still sending arms into Ukraine. This was reported two days after EU leaders had decided to keep its economic sanctions against Russia in place until the conditions of the Minsk ceasefire pact are met. The ceasefire pact had been negotiated between the EU and Russia and demands that foreign weaponry and
military equipment are pulled out of Ukraine and that full control of the country’s border with Russia is returned to the Ukrainian state.

Reacting to the alleged violation of these accords by Russia, Nuland and Breedlove stressed the possibility to have weapons delivered to the Ukrainian military. Federica Moghereni, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on the other hand, emphasised the need to stick to diplomatic measures in the Ukraine crisis dismissing military means.

EU and Nato relations with Russia are, however, still tense as the latter has just threatened Denmark with pointing nuclear weapons at its ships, should it allow parts of a Nato anti-missile system to be stationed in the country. A Nato spokeswoman stressed that the system is for defensive purposes only and that such Russian threats “do not inspire confidence or contribute to predictability, peace or stability”. (Euobserver)

Other News

Aeroplane crashes in French Alps

On March 24, an Airbus A320 of the airline Germanwings, subsidiary of the German Lufthansa, crashed in the French Alps. All 150 people on board of flight 4U9525 died as the plane flew at full speed into the mountain range in the commune of Méolans-Revel. Having started at 10.01am in Barcelona the aircraft dropped at 10.45am just after reaching its regular cruising altitude of 38,000ft on its way to Düsseldorf.

Although the circumstances of the crash remained unclear at first, it is now believed that the co-pilot had intentionally locked his colleague out of the cockpit and initiated the decent of the aircraft. The French investigators came to this conclusion after analysing the voice recorder – one of two black boxes on board of the plane – that had already been found on the day of the crash. As was revealed by the public prosecutor’s office in Düsseldorf during the following days, the co-pilot suffered from depressions and had been issued a certificate of unfitness for work for the day of the crash. He had also undergone medical treatment because of suicidal tendencies before obtaining his pilot’s license. However, the co-pilot had not been certified of suicide risks during his professional career.

These information have sparked debates over loosening medical confidentiality regulations and increasing the frequency of psychological tests for pilots. Additionally, several airlines have announced to introduce new rules requiring two authorised people to be in the cockpit at all times. The European Aviation Safety Agency encouraged the adoption of this rule in a directive. (The Guardian) (Spiegel Online) (Euobserver)

Author: Moritz Kuhn

Newsletter – January 2015 (previously published)



Main headlines

  • New Greek government sworn in
  • New European Central Bank plan to prevent the single currency bloc sliding into an intractable slump
  • “Je suis Charlie”: solidarity, unity and … controversy
  • The EU to maintain its sanctions against Russia


New Greek government sworn in

The left-wing Syriza party won the Greek general election on 25 January with 149 seats, just two seats short of an outright majority in the national parliament. It has formed a coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks, which won 13 seats. Renegotiating the terms of Greece’s bailout with the troika is the main priority for this new coalition, as both parties take the same stand on austerity conditions. The new governmental members’ names may be found here.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano steps down

89-year old King Giorgio resigned on 14 January 2015. More than 1,000 Italian lawmakers and regional representatives will gather from 29 January in Rome for a special session of parliament to pick their new head of state. This will test the political authority of the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, who is facing down rebellion within his centre-left Democratic party. Some former Italian prime ministers, such as G. Amato and R. Prodi, and others high ranking Italian economic policy makers — from P.C. Padoan, the finance minister, to I. Visco, governor of the Bank of Italy are plausible presidents. Mario Draghi, European Central Bank president, repeatedly denied interest and may be more useful to Italy in Frankfurt than in Rome. (The Guardian)

Croatia elected first female president after run-off vote

On 12 January the conservative opposition challenger Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won by the narrowest of margins of just one percentage point. The 46-year-old is a former foreign minister and assistant to the NATO secretary general. Her wining of the largely ceremonial job signifies a possible shift to the right after voter discontent with Croatia’s economic decline. The election has been seen as a key test for the main parties ahead of parliamentary elections widely expected to be held at the end of 2015 (euronews).


New European Central Bank plan to prevent the single currency bloc sliding into an intractable slump

On 22 January, ECB president Mario Draghi pledged €60bn monthly top-up until September in quantitative easing move to save currency bloc. The European Central Bank launched what City experts called a “shock and awe” plan to pump €1.1tn into the Eurozone. The Frankfurt-based bank will use electronically created money to buy the bonds of eurozone governments – quantitative easing – to try to boost confidence, push up inflation and drive down the value of the single currency, helping to increase exports and kickstart growth (the Guardian)


The EU to maintain its sanctions against Russia

On 19 January, EU foreign ministers agreed to pursue the Union’s policy toward Russia, including sanctions. The EU imposed limited economic sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. F. Mogherini, the Union’s diplomatic chief added that the “latest developments on the ground are not encouraging, rather the contrary.” For this reason, the EU would stick to its course until Russia fully implemented the Ukraine peace accords it had backed in September.


“Je suis Charlie”: solidarity, unity and … controversy

On January 7th, France faced with its bloodiest terrorist attack in more than half a century. Twelve people died after jihadists attacks in Paris. The editorial team of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was targeted for having drawn and published images of Prophet Mohamed. People and politicians across France, Europe and the world gathered together to express their solidarity. Emotion was even greater as this terrorist attack targeted one of France’s most precious and universally shared values: freedom of speech. On Sunday 11 January, the heads of State and Government of at least five European countries (Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, Mariano Rajoy and Charles Michel) took part in a march against terrorism in Paris. However a controversial debate arose regarding the slogan “Je suis Charlie” since the conspiracy theory is put forward. (thenewfederalist).


The EU lifts its ban on GM crops

On January 13th the European Parliament lifted the EU-wide ban, instead allowing national governments to impose their own restrictions. The plan has already been approved by governments, so the change should come into force this spring. It will still not be a breakthrough for GMOs, as most European governments remain firmly against them. However, governments will now be free to impose national bans for almost any reason (The Economist).


How to teach … the EU

Please find, if interested, this article on how to teach the EU. This is full of interesting links which may be useful for a better understanding of the European process (the Guardian).

Newsletter – February 2015



Main headlines

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Orban loses his “super-majority” in parliament
  • The Eurogroup reaches an agreement with Greece
  • Swissleaks, the huge banking fraud scandal

Political Headlines

Hungarian Prime Minister Orban loses his “super-majority” in parliament

Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats), the conservative party of Viktor Orbán, lost on 22 February a bi-election in Western Hungary. This election was organized to replace the former representative Tibor Navracsics (also former foreign minister), who became the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship. Orban lost its two-thirds majority, which allowed him to change the constitution and pass major legislation. The Hungarian leader, regularly accused of authoritarian and populist excesses, is also blamed for its proximity to Vladimir Putin, who was received in Budapest on 17 February.

Podemos’ rise in Spain

On 31 January a demonstration against austerity in Madrid gathered about 100, 000 people at the initiative of Podemos (We Can), the rising left-leaning
Spanish party. After Syriza’s success in the Greek elections, Podemos wanted to show that it is a serious candidate in the several elections to be held in
Spain in 2015 (national, regional and local elections), despite its relative youth. Currently vaulted to the top of opinion polls, it could bring an end to the bipartisan political system that has governed Spain since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. Podemos’ leader Pablo Iglesias (36 years old)
claimed that “Southern Europe cannot continue as a condemned colony whose only outlet is a reduction in salaries” and “Europe is under question over the
austerity policies it has applied”. (The Guardian) (El Païs) (El Païs)


The Eurogroup reaches an agreement with Greece

On 20 February, Athens finally obtained a four-month extension of the program of financial assistance it has been receiving since 2012. This agreement was
reached at the cost of significant concessions for the new government Tsipras, who promised “the end of austerity” to its constituencies. Athens is committed to complete the work of the previous government in implementing the reforms imposed by the troika of creditors (the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission – now simply referred to as “the institutions”). In exchange, the country will receive about 7 billion €. Still, Athens obtained
some concessions: the head of the Greek government, Alexis Tsipras, may amend the list of reforms, provided they preserve the balance of public finances. (Le Monde)

Foreign Relations

A Threat to Europe: The Islamic State’s Dangerous Gains in Libya

Rival militias in Libya threw the country into civil war and turned it into an easy prey for the Islamic State. The country currently hosts two parliaments, two governments and two armies. Both sides have fought each other since last autumn, attacking airports, oil terminals and cities. The official Libyan government is waging war against the Islamists, with military support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. On the other side, the Islamists’ Dawn alliance is backed by Turkey and Qatar. The bloody power struggle is leading to Libya’s collapse. Oil production has fallen dramatically.
Revenues are still sufficient to cover the salaries of the civil servants and to subsidize gasoline, but there is not enough left to maintain hospitals or
cover necessary infrastructure repairs.

One of the outcomes deemed most likely is a mass exodus of at least 200,000 non-Libyans piled onto refugees’ boats and pointed in the direction of Europe.

(Der Spiegel) (Corriere Della Serra)


The Energy Union on the European agenda

The inauguration of the Santa Llogaia – Baixàs power line took place on February 20th. This power line – a project of common European interest – doubles the existing electricity interconnection capacity between France and Spain (from 1400 megawatt to 2800 megawatt) and helps connecting the power system of
the Iberian Peninsula to other European energy markets. Energy interconnectors are crucial to build an Energy Union: it is one of the key priorities of the new Commission as laid down by President Juncker in his political guidelines. As part of the Energy Union Strategy the Commission will present a Communication on how to achieve an electricity interconnection of 10% in all Member States by 2020 on February 25th. (Bloomberg)


Swissleaks, the huge banking fraud scandal

The famous French newspaper Le Monde, published an investigation on early 2014 global banking data, covering the period 2005-2007 and establishing a gigantic fraud on an international scale. The newspaper shared this information with sixty international media.

According to investigators, a total of 180.6 billion Euros were placed in Geneva by more than 100,000 customers and 20,000 offshore companies on HSBC bank accounts between November 9th, 2006 and March 31th, 2007. The digital archives were stolen from HSBC PB by Hervé Falciani, a former employee of the bank. Customers involved in the fraud scheme are sociologically very diverse: weapons or narcotics traffickers, funders of terrorist organizations, politicians, showbusiness stars, Sport icons, and CEOs from the industry…

Pressure on HSBC increased on February 18th when Swiss prosecutors announced a money-laundering investigation in its Geneva-based private banking subsidiary and raided its offices in the city.

(Le Monde) (The Guardian)

Newsletter written by: Alain Leroy