A quick Europe round-up

Schengen Agreement
The Schengen area in blue. Image via Wikipedia

Aside from the rolling soap-opera/fiasco that is the euro crisis, there have been a few bits of democratic interest going on in Europe this week. Quickly to run through them:

Eurosceptics of the “ENGLAND NOT EUROPE, Malaga” variety will like this ruling from the European Court of Justice, which says that British people living in Britain are unable to make use of their European citizen status in disputes with the UK Government, because they are in their own member state. Thus, it seems, for EU law (as opposed to human rights), your European citizenship is what you have when you’re posting dyspeptic rants about immigration from the Costa del Sol, and British citizenship is the only thing you can rely on when you’re back in Blighty.

Another win for Eurosceptics, when the European Court of Human Rights supported the UK press campaign against a privacy law and rejected Max Mosley’s claim that pre-notification should be required of journalists about to publish kiss-and-tell articles. Through tightly gritted teeth, the editor of the Daily Mail called it: “a rare, if welcome, expression of common sense”.

Mr Dacre is unlikely to greet the comments of Michel Barnier, French European Commissioner, in the same way. M. Barnier was the first senior European figure to call for a single President of Europe, bringing together the President of the Council political role (Herman van Rompuy) and the President of the Commission administrative role (José Manuel Barroso). In the medium term, he suggested, the President should be elected on the basis of candidates put forward by the Europarties in the European Parliament elections. It doesn’t answer the question of a lack of European demos, but it’s an interesting proposal coming from such a senior source, and the Treaties are worded in such a way that the proposal just requires a political commitment, not a Treaty change to implement.

Finally, today has been one of those days where national politicians roar about borders and red lines in their national press, then huddle together in European meeting rooms reaffirming their commitment to the freedom of movement. Eurobloggers Ronny Patz and Joe Litobarski were given accreditation to the public parts of the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, asked a question suggested by people on the Net, and produced a page of resources and some good live tweeting. More of the same on Thursday.

And finally, I hope everyone had a happy Europe Day on Monday. I can’t say I did anything particularly European other than being a European and being in Europe, though I did read a good post by Nosemonkey, but at least I wasn’t filled with impotent rage, more than usual.

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Published by Anthony Zacharzewski

Anthony Zacharzewski was one of the founders of Demsoc in 2006. Before starting work for Demsoc in 2010, he was a Whitehall civil servant and a local government officer.