WikiLeaks and the Chinese Government


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WikiLeaks and the Chinese Government

  1. 1. Europe from the Centre-Right Perspective In focus: a European Future for Moldova? / The Nationalists win inCatalonia / Slovak Municipal Elections / Presidential Election in Belarus / Presidential Elections in France and Russia / EU Budget 2011 / Irelandin a Debt Crisis / Discontented youth in Italy, the UK and France / Hungary EU Presidency Priorities / Europe-wide Debate on Immigration andAsylum / Towards a European Strategy for the Roma / EU Enlargement / Cancún Climate Conference / PES Council sparks PessimismWATCHTOWER:WIKILEAKS AND THE CHINESEGOVERNMENT
  2. 2. Editors:Roland Freudenstein, Katarína KrálikováResearch assistance:Bonnie Chan, L’ubica Nádaaká, Boyan Tanev, Lauren ZoebeleinDesign: RARO
  3. 3. WikiLeaks and the Chinese Government Foreword by CES Deputy Director and Head of Research Roland FreudensteinTweet by a friend of mine: ”If Julian Assange was Chinese and if he had leaked 250.000 secret Chinese governmentdocuments, the West would declare him a hero and give him the Nobel Peace Prize.”My Answer: “Maybe. But he would also be dead by now.”Superficially, one might indeed see Liu Xiaobo and Julian Assange as two victims of illegitimate authority, speakingtruth to power, and therefore somehow on the same side of history. But I think there are much better reasons toput Julian Assange on the same side as the government of the People’s Republic of China. Here is why:The first thing they obviously have in common is that the Chinese in the Peace Nobel saga, as well as WikiLeaksand AnonOps, have a different understanding of freedom and human rights than most governments and mostpolitical parties in Europe, North America and some other countries of the global West. The second thing they shareis the perception that, in many respects, they represent the future, as opposed to a West that simply looks outdated.On Julian Assange, there can be no doubt that he has been very successful in attracting attention and followers,and certainly partially successful at damaging the United States of America which, in his view, has an “authoritariangovernment”. But he has hardly opened up a new page in world history, and certainly not a positive one. His puttingthe governments of the West on the same level as dictatorships is already hard to stomach for anyone who knowsdictatorships. Mr Assange doesn’t, I assume. But the ultimate irony is that, for all his opposition to war, he andhis followers undermine one of the crucial instruments to prevent war: diplomacy – which cannot operate withoutconfidentiality. In the end, he acts like those pacifists in Britain and France in 1939: Trying to deprive the Free Worldof the decisive instruments that would keep it free. And thereby helping Hitler. Thank God they ultimately failed.Just like the new breed of hiveminds, botnets and internet flashmobs loosely organised by groups such asAnonOps, actually resemble a dictatorship of a few thousand over billions of people. That’s why someone recentlycalled them the “new Jacobins”. Whatever they do to PayPal, Amazon etc., has got nothing to do with thedemocracy exercised by voters in a free and fair election, or consumers choosing to buy, or not to buy, a product.It’s the illegitimate rule of a few over many.Which brings us to the dictators in the glass, steel and composite highrises of Beijing. They, too, believe theyrepresent the wave of the future. And with a tad more justification than the Wiki crowd, they can actually pointto some real achievements, such as having lifted half a billion people out of poverty in the last 20 years. This pointhas been made over and over again in the last couple of weeks by the critics of awarding Liu Xiaobo with thePeace Nobel Prize. But here is what I fail to understand: The very people who claim that Liu Xiaobo is completelyisolated in Chinese society and alien to Chinese culture in his belief in “Western” democracy – these peoplesomehow buy the Chinese government rhetoric about Liu being a dangerous criminal whose ideas (f.e. askingfor the separation of powers) would turn stable and prospering China into anarchy and mayhem. My conclusionfrom this is that maybe the lords of the steel-and-glass China are not as much in control, and Liu Xiaobo not asisolated, as we are made to believe.So in the end, both Julian Assange and the Chinese government have a third and a fourth thing in common: afundamental contradiction that destroys their respective case. And an arrogance and overestimation of their ownpower relative to the West as a whole, and to the United States in particular. They should not rejoice prematurely. TheWest admittedly looks outdated in all this, to many people around the world. But it has looked outdated a couple oftimes before. In the 1930s, for example, when capitalism and democracy both seemed like a thing of the past, andmost of Europe was either fascinated by, or afraid of the new “Cesars of the world”, as a contemporary guru namedOswald Spengler lovingly called them. Or in the late 1950s, when Khrushchev’s “We shall bury you!” rang ominouslyin the ears of a good many Europeans and Americans, and even hopefully for some fellow travellers in the West. TheWest has looked bad before. And yet, it has pulled itself up every time, through its unique ability to learn from mistakes.One of these mistakes today is defeatism vis-à-vis the new dictators – whether in China or in the internet.
  4. 4. In Focus: a European Future Besides the election of a president, the new government will be faced with many other challenges. The countryfor Moldova? greatly needs to accelerate its social and economic reforms, create a functional social market economyIn April 2009, the Communists won the election in and motivate private initiative. In doing so, it must alsoMoldova. In response, young protesters stormed the fight poverty, unemployment and inflation; stop theParliament building, belting out anticommunist slogans brain-drain; fight corruption and human trafficking; andand waving EU flags. This might happen again if the improve the country’s poor infrastructure. The2010 election result is not pro-European. Young government should also try to negotiate a settlementMoldovans are impatient, but their longing for economic in Transnistria, where recently certain attempts towardsgrowth, which will bring a European standard of living closer cooperation have been seen, such as theto Moldova, is legitimate. However, the new Parliament reopening of a railway line. Most importantly, it has towill first have to elect a president – something which define clear goals and undertake clear actions whichcould be considered to be ‘mission impossible’ for will deliver concrete results and thus demonstrate theMoldova. The acting president has been forced to dissolve benefits of a democratic election to a sceptical andParliament for the second time since 2009. This frustrating confused electorate. Here, the West should give apolitical deadlock, which could have ended in September hand. It should offer mentorship in good governance2010 if enough voters had come to the referendum to and teach Moldova’s politicians to become better stateapprove the direct vote of the president, has thrown the builders. The EU should also find agreement amongcountry into a two-year electoral campaign and paralysed its member states to press for a solution in Transnistrianany progress on reform. conflict and thus prove to Moldovans that the EU can make a difference.The Communist Party (PCRM) came first again in theNovember 2010 election, receiving nearly 40% of thepopular vote. However, fewer than two in five Moldovans 2010 Election Campaignnow support the communists who have lost sevenpercentage points and six seats, and have lost in several The election campaign ahead of 2010 Novemberraions. On the other hand, the three parties from the election was polarised and exposed the sharp divisionpro-European Alliance – the Liberal Democratic Party between the parties. Key parties portrayed their main(PLDM), the Liberal Party (LP) and the Democratic Party competitors as being influenced by the foreign policy(PDM) – have strengthened their position and reached of other countries, as either ‘pro-Russian’, ‘pro-43% of voter support, which is sufficient to form a Romanian’ or ‘pro-European’. Minority issues weregovernment, but not to elect a president. The fourth not prominent in the campaign, but many parties spokemember of the pro-European Alliance, Alliance Our about the importance of inter-ethnic dialogue. SomeMoldova, did not meet the 4% threshold required to brought up the status of the Russian language. Onlyenter the parliament. Failure to elect a head of state two parties mentioned the issue of gender equality inwould mean the new parliament must be dissolved again their campaigns, although social topics related to thewith yet another round of elections to follow. Let us hope role of women were included in the electoral platformsthat Moldova – in dire need for stability and effective of several parties. However, only a few women werereforms – can avoid this. A solution could be to modify placed near the top of candidate lists and their visibilitythe constitution and lower the threshold needed for the in the campaign was low. Despite the high rate ofelection of the head of state from qualified to simple human trafficking in Moldova, only two partiesmajority. Another option is having the Alliance broker a mentioned trafficking and domestic violence in theirdeal with the Communist Party which would include the platforms.nomination and election of the president in consensuswith the Communists, consultations with the Communist The high presence of civil society organisationsParty over the government’s programme and high posts monitoring the election and the campaign contributedfor the Communists in the new parliament. Two weeks to the election’s transparency. However, theafter the 2010 election, the political direction of Moldova Constitutional Court, after examining PCRM’s appeal,was still uncertain. The Democratic Party was leading ordered a recounting of the votes on 15 December.coalition formation talks with both the other twodemocratic parties – PLDM and LP – and the CommunistParty. A coalition of the Democratic Party and the Moldova and the EUCommunist Party would provide a comfortable majorityto appoint a president. However, it would not only be In November 2010, EPP President Wilfried Martensformed across ideological lines, but it would also definitely went to Moldova to support the PLDM, which hastest Moldova’s commitment to the democratic reform recently applied for EPP membership, during theagenda and European integration project. election campaign. The PLDM, with the election slogan 3
  5. 5. ‘Moldova Without Poverty’, promised to finish the job – which seeks autonomy but not independence forof instituting power in the state and to continue the Catalonia – could create problems for Zapatero byeconomic and democratic reforms which would help pressing for more control of its own tax revenue.Moldova one day become a member of the EU. Rightafter the election, the President of the EuropeanParliament, Jerzy Buzek, underlined the EU’s hopesof forming an efficient government coalition in Moldovaand visited Moldova on 10 December. The EUCommissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Slovak Municipal ElectionsPolicy, Stefan Füle, also expressed his satisfactionwith reforms in Moldova and confirmed that the EU The results of the municipal elections in Slovakia havestands ready to back democratic processes in Moldova confirmed the strength of the major Socialist party,and its EU integration efforts. As proof of close Smer. Robert Fico, the leader of Smer, concluded thatEU–Moldova relations, a number of meetings were the results in the mayoral races in the eight regionalorganised in Brussels and Chisinau in October 2010, capitals were a victory for his party. The centre-leftsuch as the EU–Moldova high-level political dialogue. independents and those supported by SocialIn October, foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg Democrats captured five of the eight major cities, andalso tasked the European Commission with drawing the centre-right experienced its most shocking loss inup an action plan for visa-free travel, on the model of the Slovak capital Bratislava, where Magdalénaa plan that had already been drafted for Ukraine. The Vás ˇáryová lost to Milan Ftácnik, who was supported ˇIMF also gave a positive evaluation of the government’s by the opposition party, Smer. Independent candidatesreforms to liberalise the economy when it published a for mayors won in 979 municipalities and Socialpress release about Moldova being on the right track. Democrats in 599 municipalities, while the ruling centre- right coalition won in only 161 municipalities. The leader of the senior coalition party – the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ–DS) – Mikulás Dzurinda, ˇ admitted the failure of the centre-right and sees the municipal elections 2010 as a defeat of the centre-The Nationalists win in Catalonia right parties by the more successful Left. He said they will learn from this experience and build on it. AccordingCatalonia, one of Spain’s richest and most populous to the political scientist Miroslav Kusy the success of ´,regions, held an election on 28 November. The the Social Democrats lies in their popularity in thenationalist Convergence and Union Party (CiU) secured municipalities. The defeat of the centre-right parties is38.1% of votes and got 62 seats in the 135-seat also due to the fact that they form the coalition andCatalan Parliament. On the other hand, the ruling are making unpopular decisions at a national level.Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), aligned with Zapatero’s Kusy also said that municipal elections are more about ´Socialists, received only 18.6% of votes, which makes the particular individual and their sympathies than hisfor 28 seats in the parliament. This is the worst result or her affiliation with a political party. This is evidentin the 32-year history of the PSC; the leader of the when looking at the success of independent voters.PSC, Jose Montilla, has subsequently announced thathe will be stepping down as head of the party. Spain’slargest centre-right party (on a national basis), thePopular Party (PP), managed to win 18 seats in theCatalan Parliament. The victory of CiU and a rise invotes for the PP is indicative of future trends in Spanish The Winds of Change in Polandpolitics. The CiU’s success can help the Right in Madrid.Its minority government, six seats short of a majority, Despite being winter, Poland–Russia relations are gettingcould implement a later deal that might see CiU deputies less frosty. The first sign of improvement was Poland’sprop up a PP minority government in Madrid after positive reaction to a Russian resolution on the Katyn2012, in exchange for PP support in Barcelona. The massacre, in which the Russian Parliament for the firstelection results also partly reflect the declining popularity time officially admitted that the killings were carried outof Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero, who has been under the direct order of Stalin. This was followed byaccused of having erratically handled Spain’s deep President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Poland last weekeconomic crisis. The results could be mirrored in – the first visit of a Russian President to Poland sincenationwide municipal elections and other regional 2002. Besides signing a series of economic agreements,parliamentary elections in May 2011 and will be seen Medvedev presented the Russian Order of Friendshipas a further test for Zapatero ahead of national elections to Andrzej Wajda, the Oscar-winning Polish film directorin 2012. Furthermore, the results suggest that the CiU who made a film about Katyn. He also emphasised 4
  6. 6. Russia’s intention to develop open and friendly relations is very keen for partnership with Western allies. Onewith its immediate neighbour and has called on Poland of the conditions of the partnership with the West isto open its energy market to Russian companies. the gradual political liberalisation in Belarus, for whichMedvedev also met with Polish President Bronislaw the election campaign could be a very good startingKomorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Among point. Indeed, this campaign has some signs of formalother topics, they discussed the investigation into the liberalisation: registration of all opposition candidates,plane crash last April that killed Polish President Lech live prime time on the national TV channels for allKaczynski and 95 others. Even though Medvedev’s visit participants of the presidential bid and the possibilitywas met by several dozen right-wing protesters who for candidates to make speeches in the centre ofbelieve that Russia was responsible for the plane crash, Minsk. However, the most substantial element of allparadoxically several commentators say the accident election campaigns – the legislation – was not changed,actually contributed to the improvement of relations as it was required by international human rightsbetween two countries. The visit was followed by the organisations, in particular the OSCE. Presentopening of the Poland’s labour market to Russian Belarusian electoral law falls short of guaranteeingimmigrants, as well as to the citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, transparent and free elections. For instance, observersMoldova and Georgia, as of 1 January 2011. do not have the possibility of really observing the counting of bulletins. The presidential vertical is alsoPrior to Medvedev’s visit, Poland held its regional and using other instruments to control the results of themunicipal elections, from which the centre-right Civic election, like administrative resources and mandatoryPlatform (PO) has emerged as Poland’s strongest political voting in state factories and universities. Therefore,force. The party won in 12 of the country’s 16 regions. the result of the election is quite predictable. AnotherThe PO’s junior coalition partner – Polish People’s Party very particular feature of this election is the number of(PSL) – also gained an unexpected success and won democratic candidates who are taking part in the16.3% of the regional vote. On the other hand, the election campaign: nine, a record number. Theconservative Law and Justice (PiS) party’s 23% in the candidates represent different political parties andregions was a few percentage points lower than four affiliations; however, they could not agree on a soleyears ago. Another interesting feature of this election representative candidate and that has made the positionwas the success of independent candidates in becoming of the democrats weaker. Due to the fact thatmayors. They were leading in half of Poland’s cities, Lukashenka`s administration will probably manipulatewhereas the PO candidates were ahead in just six cities. the results of the election, opposition leaders proposeLooking at this more positively, the PO candidates won to organise a demonstration on the day of the election,in some important cities, including Warsaw. Meanwhile, 19 December, in the main square of Minsk.the PiS key figures, such as Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowskaand Elz ˙bieta Jakubiak, criticised the internal situationof the party which caused the party leadership to dismissthem from the party. Others left the party in the nameof solidarity and decided to create a new parliamentarygroup, ‘Poland is most important’ which became an 2012 Presidential Elections inofficially recognized political party on 12 December. So France and Russiafar, PJN is only supported by around 2% of theelectorate, but the group still has some time until the Former Socialist Party presidential candidate Ségolèneparliamentary election in the autumn of 2011 to increase Royal announced on 29 November that she will onceits popularity and position itself as an alternative to PiS again run for her party’s nomination in 2012. France’sand PO. The bad news for PiS is not only that it lost 15 current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, from the centre-MPs, but also that with their withdrawal, the party lost right UMP party, beat Royal in the 2007 run-off votethe blocking minority in parliament. by approximately two million votes. Royal said she was announcing her candidacy because she knew from experience that it would take more than a few months to prepare for a run, and that her candidacy would help to convince the French people ‘that togetherPresidential Election in Belarus we must and can take our destiny into our own hands’. Royal also stated that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the current head of the IMF, would make an ideal primeThe presidential election campaign 2010 in Belarus minister. Strauss-Kahn is facing growing pressure tostands out from other election campaigns which were announce whether he will run for the presidency andconducted under Lukashenka’s rule. Due to the challenge his fellow Socialist party member. A recenteconomic conditions and conflict relations with the poll had one in three Socialist voters choosing Strauss-Russian Federation, the acting president of the Republic Kahn as their preferred presidential contender, while 5
  7. 7. one in ten backed Royal, leaving her a distant second Ireland in a Debt Crisisand tied with the current head of the Socialist Party,Martine Aubry. On 7 December 2010, the Irish government announcedThe year 2012 will also be the year when Presidential its arguably harsh four-year austerity plan which waselections will be held in Russia. President Dmitry subsequently endorsed by the Council of financeMedvedev says that he does not rule out running for ministers. Some economists have expressed concernsa second term. Both he and Prime Minister Vladimir over the measures included in this plan, stating thatPutin have said that they would take ‘a coordinated export-oriented business would instigate economicdecision’ as the election draws closer. Putin said on growth instead of domestic spending. Also, these3 December that he was thinking about whether or not measures will have the greatest impact on low-incometo take part in the elections. families, the working class and students. There are also concerns over the loss of financial sovereignty for the next 20 to 30 years. Despite these reservations, the Irish will accept and implement the conditions accompanying the bailout package; however, this plan has failed to calm the financial markets. Trailing closelyEU Budget 2011 behind Ireland are Portugal and Spain, followed by Italy and Belgium. This has caused some, includingAgreement among the institutions regarding the 2011 Slovakia who rejected the Greek bailout, to questionEU budget is finally in sight, after overcoming the failure the stability of the euro and has even caused someof the conciliation procedure between the European to consider the disintegration of the Eurozone.Parliament and the Council on 15 November when the Germany, as the EU’s strongest economy and largestEuropean Parliament negotiators faced opposition contributor to the bailout packages for Greece andfrom the UK and the Netherlands. The representatives now for Ireland, has been at the forefront of this debate,of these two countries insisted on more austerity in among others. Chancellor Merkel is faced with athe EU budget, in line with spending cuts introduced dilemma: a German public that resents its moneyin most EU countries to fend off the crisis. The collapse being given to countries considered to be less efficientof the conciliation procedure was followed by the new and hard working, versus her commitment to the eurodraft of the EU budget for 2011 which was adopted and the EU project as a whole. She is also aware ofby the European Commission on 26 November 2010. the German constitutional court’s investigation intoThe new draft budget for 2011 was immediately sent whether the EU bailout packages are in violation ofto the European Parliament and the Council and they the conditions that Germany agreed to before signingare yet to reach an agreement. ‘It is crucial to reach the Maastricht agreement by 31 December,’ CommissionerLewandowski emphasised. Otherwise, from 1 January In response to the number of potential member states2011, the EU would operate under the system of joining Greece and Ireland, Belgian finance minister,‘provisional twelfth’. In short, each chapter of the Didier Reynder, has proposed to increase the size ofbudget would be funded monthly by one-twelfth of its the current bailout fund now instead of waiting until2010 budget or even less if the amount in the draft 2013 when the current crisis mechanism expires. Also,budget is lower for that chapter. the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also the current President of theOn 6 December, after the trialogue meeting, the Eurogroup, has suggested the creation of a EuroPresident of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, bonds market. However, Chancellor Merkel hassaid that this is no time for austerity in the European rejected this idea. Guy Verhofstadt, the Chairman ofUnion budget, despite deep spending cuts and tax the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, disagreesrises being imposed across much of the continent. He with her and supports the introduction of Eurobonds.also believes that there will be a common understanding In an article published on 1 December, Verhofstadtbetween the European Parliament and the member also emphasised the need to transfer bailout decision-states because the Parliament will give the final approval making power from the European Council to theby 15 December and that would be in time for heads Commission to allow for a true EU-centred decision.of governments to approve it at their 16–17 December EU Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, hasEuropean Council meeting. The spokesman for the emphasised the interconnectedness of the differentEuropean Commission, Michael Mann, also said after EU member states and the need for continual mutualthe trialogue meeting that we are much closer to an support. He has also expressed his confidence in theagreement on the 2011 EU budget and that it is now euro and the fundamentals behind the Eurozone ofin the hands of the member states. low inflation, a balanced current account and respectable economic growth. 6
  8. 8. Discontented Youth in Italy, improving family policies and alleviating child poverty, and, lastly, achieving a breakthrough in the area ofthe UK and France Roma inclusion. ‘Hungary, as a third member of the Trio Presidency, takes over a heavy agenda from SpainDuring the past few weeks, Italian students and teachers and Belgium in the area of employment and socialhave engaged in numerous protests against government affairs’, Commissioner Andor commented. He alsoreforms which are aimed at saving the government said, ‘Hungary thus has an opportunity to shape theseveral billion euros by 2012. They will include the future of the European social model and make a decisiveintroduction of a single teacher for elementary school contribution to the implementation of Europe 2020’.classes, as opposed to a number of teachers for According to the Hungarian Ambassador to France,different subjects. The reforms will cut teaching hours ‘Hungary wants a political presidency, as Europe isat secondary schools and impose restrictions on above all a political project’. For its first presidency,research at universities. The protests come at a difficult Budapest wants to leave its mark by pushing a moretime for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose political agenda, and to take advantage as a smallgovernment faces two confidence votes this month. country. ‘We need to develop new common policiesThe government says the law, which deals mostly with [such as climate, energy or innovation], and then toprimary and secondary schools, will trim waste and see how we can fund them, not vice-versa,’ he said.put Italian schools on an equal footing with other Hungary also seeks to accelerate EU accessionEuropean school systems. The government has stated negotiations with Croatia and the Western Balkans, tothat reform is also needed to make universities more strengthen the Eastern Partnership and develop a realcost effective, but protesters say results of the reform Danube Strategy.will harm the system.Similar protests against reforms to the educationsystem are taking place in the UK. There, the protestsare against a proposal to raise tuition fees and includeschool and higher education students. According to Europe-Wide Debate ona recent report, one-third of England’s universitieshave been identified as being ‘at risk’ from government Immigration and Asylumcuts. The Liberal Democrats have been criticised overgovernment plans to charge students as much as Integration and Populism in Europe£9,000 per year in fees from 2012 after pledging beforethe general election to oppose any increase. But Prime The debate on immigration in the EU’s biggest memberMinister David Cameron has said that Britain has no state has rapidly intensified in the last months, startingchoice but to follow through with the increase ‘at a with the publication of a controversial book on Muslimtime when markets are gripped by fear about immigration in Germany, and the following confessiongovernment finances in Europe’. by Chancellor Angela Merkel that building multiculturalism in the country has been unsuccessful. The discussionThe French youth has also protested, not against engaged politicians, media and immigrant communitieseducational but pension reforms. What started in these in Germany and touched on aspects such as thecountries as narrow protests against austerity measures necessities for skilled workers in the labour market,is shifting to what some observers are calling a social language skills improvements for immigrants, educationphenomenon. and welfare issues, and the role of Islam in integration. The German debate was not a stand-alone occurrence; there is a growing influence of anti-immigrant movements, including from right-wing extremists, in various European countries. The decision made by theHungary EU Presidency Priorities coalition government in the Netherlands (CDA–VVD) to strengthen the measures against illegal immigration in the country and make it punishable by law has provokedOn the 17 November, representatives from Hungary debate among MPs and civil society. It should be takenvisited the European Commission in preparation for into account that the Dutch government depends onits presidency of the Council in the first half of 2011. the support of the far-right Freedom Party whichAmong its priorities are the promotion of growth, jobs professes anti-Islam and anti-immigration sentiments.and social inclusion, strengthening the economic policy The rise of populist parties and their rhetoric againstcoordination of the member states, implementing the immigration has also been an issue in other EuropeanEurope 2020 Strategy, supporting small- and medium- countries such as Denmark, where immigration lawssized enterprises, tackling the demographic challenge, are facing similar changes, or Sweden, where a populist 7
  9. 9. party with avowed anti-immigrant views has for the first payment and social security. However, the Europeantime won parliamentary seats. Switzerland’s right-wing Parliament could not agree on draft “single permit” has continued to make dividends on immigration French Socialists delegation, for example, does notfears through referenda on stringent laws. Populism want to see the comeback of the principle of countryand xenophobic politics is a serious concern for both of origin, which they regard as a danger of socialthe centre-right and centre-left and presents them with dumping, and rejected in the “Bolkestein Directive” ondifficult choices to make. movement of services in 2006. There are also fears that the new directive could be discriminative against seasonal workers or seconded workers from thirdAsylum Management countries and deprive them of social rights.Unconnected to that particular debate, but not unrelatedto the policies on immigration and asylum management,Germany has begun to send asylum seekers fromAfghanistan who do not meet the requirements for Towards a European Strategypolitical asylum back to their homeland. In fact, thewave of illegal migration from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, for the RomaPalestine and other countries in the Middle East is areal difficulty for several EU member states. Especially Earlier this year, the controversies over Romaproblematic is the situation at Greece’s border with immigrants residing in France and Italy while in searchTurkey, where illegal crossings have increased fivefold of better living conditions demonstrated to state leadersin comparison to the year before. Measures at the EU and EU officials that their integration is a commonlevel are being taken by the European Asylum Support European issue and should be tackled as such. SinceOffice in providing assistance to Greece to implement the summer of 2010, European activities on theits National Action Plan on Asylum Reform and Migration integration of Roma have intensified and remindedManagement. Preventing illegal migration at the political leaders of their commitment to the ‘DecadeGreek–Turkish border is also the first deployment of Roma Inclusion’ (2005–2015). From 30 Novemberengagement of the Frontex Border Emergency to 1 December, the Committee on Civil Liberties, JusticeIntervention Team. and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament held a public hearing on ‘The EU Strategy on RomaIn light of those developments, EPP MEPs and ministers Inclusion’. During the hearing, EPP MEP Lívia Járóka,responsible for home affairs, migration and asylum who is a rapporteur of the Initiative Report on the EUpresented a common position paper on the EU Asylum Strategy on Roma inclusion, called for a common EU-System. The paper was prepared within the framework level action plan which would include clear indicatorsof the EPP Justice and Home Affairs Ministers’ meeting and benchmarks and performance-based competitionwhich the EPP organises; the meeting gives a timely for the financing of projects. The views of the rapporteurand pertinent response on the issues discussed above. are that the strategy should be defined according toThe document outlines several guiding principles for economic denominators and tackle social exclusion atthe EU Asylum System, emphasising the need for a the local level and in territories which are lagging behind,high level of protection for asylum seekers and the rather than focusing mainly on ethnicity. Other concernsresponsibility of all member states and the European expressed during the public hearing, including thoseCommission to properly implement asylum law. of draftsperson for the opinion in Committee on Culture,Furthermore, it calls for solidarity with the member states Hannu Takkula (ALDE), and László Andor,that are experiencing a higher number of asylum seekers Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs andand also for further efforts in the activities of the European Inclusion, touched on breaking the vicious circle ofAsylum Support Office. poverty and unemployment by increasing education levels and the need for the further involvement of Roma people in the design of policies. EU Commissioner forSingle permit to live and Work in the EU Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, reminded attendees of the necessity for EUOn the 14 December the European Parliament voted member states to cooperate with the Roma Task Force,on a single application procedure for a single permit an organisation which was established in Septemberfor third-country nationals to reside and work in the 2010 by the European Commission to assess memberterritory of a Member States and on a common set of states’ use of EU funds for Roma integration.rights for third-country workers legally residing in aMember State. This could provide legal immigrants On 30 November, the EPP Group’s Working Group onwith easier access to EU residence and work permits Roma Inclusion held an open session on the situationas well as give them equal rights with nationals on and had leading European researchers present their 8
  10. 10. findings on the situation of Roma and the necessary dynamics, because ‘it can swing the doors wide openpolicies. The session was opened by the President of for the rest of the region’. The European Parliament andthe European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, who emphasised the EPP both expect Croatia to actively contribute tothat combating social exclusion is an EU priority set in EU policy in the region once it becomes an EU memberthe Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of state. Hökmark emphasised that Croatia needed tothe European Union. Earlier in November, the Group of continue to prepare itself for membership and that ‘oncethe Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D) the Accession Treaty has been signed, the JPC Membersadopted the Budapest Declaration, calling for a and the EPP Group will do their utmost so that thecomprehensive strategy for jobs and education to European Parliament gives assent to the Croatianimprove living standards for Roma people. Solving the Accession Treaty in the shortest delay’.problems faced by the Roma communities in Europe isalso among the top priorities of the Hungarian Presidencyof the EU, which starts on 1 January 2011. Efforts will Long-Distance Runnerbe made to coordinate actions on the ground with acommon EU approach. The EU Roma integration Although Turkey began its accession talks on exactlystrategy is expected to be presented on 8 April 2011 the same day as Croatia, the European Commission’sby the European Commission. progress report has shown that Turkey is not as close as Croatia to becoming a member of the EU. The European Commission concluded that Turkey has made progress in meeting the EU membership criteria, in particular in reforming the constitution. However, furtherEU Enlargement progress and results are needed with regards to fundamental rights. Overall, the negotiations have been advancing rather slowly. Regarding the Turkish accession,Just One More Step the Commission has also repeated criticism of its failure to comply with the Ankara Protocol to open up its portsOn 9 November, the European Commission adopted to Cyprus. Turkey refuses to open its ports and airportsits Annual Strategy document explaining the EU to traffic from Cyprus as long as Cyprus continues toenlargement policy as well as the progress reports on block EU plans to initiate direct trade with the northerncountries aspiring to join the EU. According to the part of Cyprus. After adopting the progress reports, theprogress report on Croatia, the former Yugoslav state EU Enlargement Commissioner made his commentsis very close to completing its accession negotiations about Turkey’s accession, claiming that Turkey urgentlywith the EU. It continues to meet the political criteria needs to fulfil its obligation of a full non-discriminatoryand many of the difficult chapters have been closed, implementation of Additional Protocol to the Associationincluding the chapter on ‘Institutions’ which moved Agreement and progress towards normalisation of theCroatia to the final phase in its EU accession talks. It bilateral relations with the Republic of Cyprus. Godelievehas also continued to make progress in other relevant Quisthoudt-Rowohl, MEP and EPP Group’s Shadowfields such as national economy and regional Rapporteur, said, ‘Turkey’s blockading tactics have tocooperation, and therefore it is expected to conclude stop. For the last five years, the Turkish government hasthe accession negotiations in the first half of 2011. refused to allow goods from Cyprus to enter the country, while at the same time asking for more free trade.’ InOn 17 November, the EPP and the CES participated in conclusion, the strategy paper and the annual progressthe conference on ‘Croatia in the EU’ in Osijek, where report made it clear that Turkey, unlike Croatia, still hasEPP President Wilfried Martens said that as the European a long way to go before gaining EU membership.Commission’s progress report has acknowledged, thehard work of Prime Minister Kosor has brought Croatiato the doorstep of the EU. He highlighted several pointsin Croatia’s work towards achieving EU accession,especially in the fight against corruption. He expressed Cancún Climate Conferencethat there is no doubt that Croatia will become the EU’s28th member state, which will be a great asset for the The United Nations Climate Change Conference tookEPP because Kosor will become an EPP Prime Minister. place in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10At the 12th meeting of the EU–Croatia Joint Parliamentary December 2010. The conference finally reached anCommittee (JPC), a meeting which brings together agreement to fight global warming after an all-nightrepresentatives of the European Parliament and the session, overruling objection from Bolivia. The agreementCroatian Parliament, the JPC Chairman and the Vice- includes plans to create a ‘green fund’ to help developingChairman of the EPP Group, Gunnar Hökmark, stressed countries deal with global warming and to increase effortsthe importance of the Croatian accession for regional to reduce emissions from deforestation. The fund should 9
  11. 11. eventually supply $100 billion, but it is not yet decided in the EU institutions “from Europe of cooperation tohow the funds will be raised, although preferred options Europe of punishment”. Drawing a very abstract andare a new tax on aviation or shipping, or increased dark picture on the future of the European economy,carbon taxes more generally. Governments also made Rasmussen pointed the finger at both centre-right andprogress on international cooperation on low-carbon liberal parties, freeing his own political family from alltechnology and providing assurance to the $20 billion responsibilities. Criticism is often an appreciated approachinternational carbon markets, but did not discuss a from both political supporters and opponents, however,mechanism for reaching the pledges made by the it needs to be a constructive one. The constructive ideascountries involved. They still remained divided on the and proposals for feasible alternatives were not revealedKyoto protocol and on the question of the legal form in Rasmussen’s speech. Pessimism in the aftermath ofthat any new global climate agreement should take. The the economic crisis is probably not the best tool to earnhigh-profile discussions included some 25,000 back the public trust and encourage the growth. Negativegovernment officials, businessmen, researchers and messages will not alleviate the situation and free-ride onlobbyists from more than 190 countries. people’s insecurity in difficult times. Yet, some of the issues that Rasmussen addressed are relevant and needPrior to the UN Climate Summit, MEPs from the European special attention both from the left and the centre-rightPeople’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament political spectrum. Such are the topics of unemploymentcalled on EU member states to adopt unilateral restrictions in Europe and the rise of extremist and populist partieson industrial gas projects before 2012. Green Party MEP, in several European countries.Bas Eickhout, stated, Crucially, MEPs have called onthe EU to improve its current greenhouse gas target for The Council’s discussion focused on the selection of2020 by moving to a 30% reduction target (from 20% the common candidate for the European election 2014.currently). Recent analyses have revealed how utterly The discussion has already started at the last year’s PESobsolete the EU’s current 2020 emissions target is. It is Prague Congress, where the PES took the unanimousacting as a barrier to proactive emissions reduction decision to run for the next European election with aefforts and investments in green technologies. Sticking common strategy, a common programme and a commonto the 20% target is also now somewhat of an candidate for the Commission President. At this year’sembarrassment for its international climate diplomacy Council, the PES adopted a resolution on a democratic– particularly given other countries’ pledges are ahead and transparent process for designating the PESof the EU. EU governments must step up the target candidate for the European Commission’ The Socialist Party has been pressing for the EU The first step made by the Council was establishmentto serve as an example to others and to have a higher of a Working Group ’Candidate 2014’. The Workingcarbon emissions reduction target. This view echoes Group’s role will be to discuss the criteria to stand asthat of the EPP group, which ‘…is encouraging EU a candidate, including proposals for endorsement, theleaders not to dilute the targets the EU has set itself. scope of the electorate, the selection procedure, theRather, every effort must be made to persuade other organisation and financing of the selection process andglobal players that the further reduction of greenhouse a timetable for the selection. In June 2011, the Workinggases is much cheaper than the long-term costs of Group is supposed to provide the PES Presidency withcoping with increased climate change. In the medium an intermediary report and in September with a finalterm, developing technologies to fight climate change report. This will be followed by the proposal from thewill create green jobs in Europe and help export green PES Presidency to the Council and adoption of thetechnologies to other regions in the world.’ process by the Council at the next PES Council. Other documents adopted by the Council were the resolution on building a fair Europe by and for the people, policy paper about European Employment and Social ProgressPES Council sparks Pessimism Pact for fair growth and policy paper about making green growth become a reality.On 2-3 December in Warsaw, the Party of European Right after the Council, over 150 PES activists held aSocialists held their Council which takes place each two-day Forum in Warsaw. The Forum started with ayear without a Congress and helps PES shape their presentation on the interactive online forum Re:new,policies. The Council was opened by the PES President linked also to Facebook and Twitter, where activists canPoul Nyrup Rasmussen who addressed the stability of have a debate on various issues. Besides other topicsthe eurozone, underlined the importance of the welfare discussed, the activists held a presentation on My PES,state – social, pension and job security-, and criticized a PES new online platform. However, the initiative is notthe changing attitude of the centre-right towards public so new to the EPP which created My EPP platformsector. In the words of the PES President on those already several months ago. And copied ideas andissues, the EU has gone under conservative guidance improvised content do not bring positive results. 10
  12. 12. Europe from theCentre-Right Perspective