Thursday, April 14, 2005


Alarming for Brits: "Veritas at the London Assembly is calling on the Mayor to join its members in condemning the government's acceptance of EU police officers operating in Britain with lifetime immunity from prosecution. These Europol officers will have authority to steal, lie and even kill in the course of their duties. Members of the public will have no right of redress. The European Communities (Immunities and Privileges of the European Police Office) Order 1997, already in force, states: "such persons shall enjoy immunity from suit and legal process in respect of acts, including words written or spoken, done by them in the exercise of their official functions."

The good news (1) "Once they were seen as the most loyal of all Europeans, but this week President Jacques Chirac faces one of the biggest battles of his political career as he launches a crusade to persuade the French to vote 'Oui' in next month's referendum on the EU constitution. Chirac will use a televised debate on Thursday to lay out his arguments in favour of the draft European constitution, amid mounting hostility. Yesterday the president of the European parliament, Josep Borrell, warned the French that they would plunge Europe into crisis if they rejected the constitution. Alarmed by opinion polls which show the 'Non' campaign in the lead, Borrell warned that rejecting the treaty on 29 May would have far more serious implications for the future of Europe than they imagine."

The good news (2): "The CIA has predicted that the European Union will break-up within 15 years unless it radically reforms its ailing welfare systems. The report by the intelligence agency, which forecasts how the world will look in 2020, warns that Europe could be dragged into economic decline by its ageing population. It also predicts the end of Nato and post-1945 military alliances. In a devastating indictment of EU economic prospects, the report warns: "The current EU welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalisation could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the EU, undermining its ambitions to play a heavyweight international role." It adds that the EU's economic growth rate is dragged down by Germany and its restrictive labour laws. Reforms there - and in France and Italy to lesser extents - remain key to whether the EU as a whole can break out of its "slow-growth pattern". Reflecting growing fears in the US that the pain of any proper reform would be too much to bear, the report adds that the experts it consulted "are dubious that the present political leadership is prepared to make even this partial break, believing a looming budgetary crisis in the next five years would be the more likely trigger for reform"."


No comments: