Displaying items by tag: European Commission
Thousands of climate activists added their names to a Greta Thunberg campaign asking the European Commission to retract a farming policy which would make it impossible to reach the EU’s climate goals. Greta called on her followers to sign an open letter to EU leaders after the European Parliament endorsed the proposal across the bloc. The letter said that on 23 October they let us down once again, in voting for a dirty deal which betrays commitments to the Paris agreement and to justice and to democracy.
The mandate for the 2019-2024 European Union sees the election of new MEPs to the Parliament and a change to the whole European Commission, as Ursula von der Leyen replaces Jean Claude Junker as president. Pray for God to direct the new members to be people of integrity as they step into positions of authority. Ms von der Leyen, who took office on 1 December, will focus on an ambitious climate agenda to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, and will work closely with the European Parliament to strengthen democracy and create a fair social market economy in Europe. She also gave a very personal insight into her idea of Europe’s path amid global challenges saying, ‘We need to do it the European way’.
The European Commission has said that free ports, the Singapore-style tax-free zones favoured by Boris Johnson, are ‘potentially vulnerable to money-laundering and financing terrorism’ in the European single market. Free ports are ‘the new emerging threat’, said the European justice commissioner, Věra Jourová. ‘This is something we want to focus on more.’ Prime Minister Johnson says he wants ‘about six’ tax-free zones in ports as part of his vision for the UK after Brexit. He has yet to give details on their size and location. EU countries and their dependencies already shelter 80+ free ports, including one on the Isle of Man, a British crown dependency which is neither in the EU nor the UK. The commission’s report warned that the EU has ‘a structural problem’ in preventing the financial system from being used by criminals.
The European Commission has threatened it will take legal action against Romania unless it reverses moves to cripple the independence of its courts and hinder the fight against corruption.
The commission, which is the European Union's executive body, has repeatedly warned that measures adopted by the ruling Social Democrats -- including moves to reduce statutes of limitation that would close some ongoing corruption trials -- are reversing years of anticorruption reforms and weakening the rule of law.
Spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news briefing in Brussels on May 13 that Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans had sent a warning letter to Romania's government on May 10.
"The main concerns relate to developments interfering with judicial independence and the effective fight against corruption, including the protection of financial interests of the EU and particularly to the recently adopted amendments to the Criminal Code that create a de facto impunity for crimes," Schinas said.
"Possible legislation to allow extraordinary appeals would further aggravate the rule-of-law situation," he added.
The commission has already put Hungary and Poland under a special "rule of law" framework over steps to tighten state control over the courts, media, academic institutions, and advocacy groups. This could theoretically lead to the eventual activation of the EU's Article 7 -- the so-called "nuclear option" -- resulting in a suspension of their voting rights in the EU.
Schinas said similar action would be taken against Romania unless it addressed the EU's concerns.
Schinas also signaled that Romania's becoming a member of the EU's passport-free Schengen travel area -- for which Bucharest has been pushing for years -- might not happen if the government ignored the rule-of-law concerns.
A senior EU diplomat, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said penalties could include loss of EU funds.
"The Romanian coalition government is systematically undermining the rule of law for the sole purpose of saving corrupt political leaders from prison," the diplomat said.
"If Bucharest continues on this dangerous path, taking part in the Schengen travel-free area will remain a pipe dream.
"Infringement of the rule of law will endanger the distribution of more than 30 billion euros [$33.7 billion] in cohesion funds earmarked for Romania in the draft EU budget for the years following 2021," the diplomat told Reuters.
Pray: That the integrity of the Romanian judicial system will be maintained.
Pray: That proposed legislation that undermines the rule of law will be overturned.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and RFE/RL's Romanian Service
There are men and women who pray in the European Commission, even though it adopts a neutral position towards all religion and any display of it. However, this does not mean that religion and beliefs are banned from Commission buildings. About 175 staff members, from different denominations and nationalities, take part in one of the seven prayer meetings that gather on a weekly basis on Commission premises. Numbers vary as many can only take short breaks because of their heavy workload. Each prayer group in principle is independent of the others, although there have been some joint events in recent years.
After meeting Dominic Raab on 21 August, Michel Barnier outlined things yet to be done: a backstop solution for avoiding a hard border in Ireland; outstanding issues of the Withdrawal Agreement, eg protection of borders; and a political declaration on future relationships. We can pray for the teams now working on these issues to make progress according to God’s timing and strategy. Mr Barnier also said, ‘As you know, we need a legally operational backstop solution in the Withdrawal Agreement. We must find pragmatic solutions, in line with the commitments made by Theresa May in December and March. We must de-dramatise the issue, and spell out which controls are needed, and and how they should be done. Next time we meet, Dominic and I will take stock of this work. The negotiations are now entering the final stage. We have agreed that the EU and the UK will negotiate continuously from now on.’ See also UK article on Brexit key dates.