The EU and the Unanimity Trap

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • The European Union is unlikely to reach the consensus that is required to reform its treaties or to accept new member states within the next decade.
  • While security and defense cooperation is likely to increase within the European Union, the need for unanimity will continue to create complications for the bloc’s foreign policy.
  • In the coming years, the temptation to bypass the European Union’s institutional constraints by letting some countries introduce reforms while others opt out will increase, but this move could come at the cost of a more fragmented union.
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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #211

The Week That Was: December 26, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21 – Smoke and Mirrors: The Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended with significant changes to the earlier, to be agreed upon, agreement with the changes in a few small words. As Paul Homewood recognized the word “shall” was changed to “should” in the paragraph “Developed country Parties shall should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Homewood suspected that the US delegates (probably under instructions from the White House) demanded the change. The issue was making the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of the document legally binding. Making emissions reductions legally binding on the US would require Senate approval while the term “should” is not legally binding. President Obama has not consulted with Congress on the “Nationally Determined Contributions.” Contrary to the name, these contributions were decided by the administration, not nationally, and making them legally binding would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. The Administration’s game-playing faced harsh reality.

According to an article by Nitin Sethi, of the Business Standard out of India, the US Administration did not shoulder the burden of the harsh reality, but placed the burden on delegates from the European Union. The article opens with:

“If there was one overarching imprint on the Paris climate change negotiations, it was of the diplomatic heft that the US enjoys. The last hours of the talks, when the US was faced with the challenge of removing a phrase it didn’t like in the final agreement, it was left to the European Union to walk across the aisle to convince everyone to not oppose the changes the US demanded. The European Union, once hailed as the climate change leader of the world, was canvassing the developing country bloc to accept an agreement that was discordantly against its own non-negotiable position wanting a strict legally-binding protocol and not a loosely-bound agreement that the Paris outcome eventually became.

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EU Takes Countries To Court Over ‘Bail-In’ Laws

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The European Commission is taking legal action against six European countries, including the Netherlands and Luxembourg, after they failed to implement rules that would allow for depositors to have their cash confiscated.

Six countries will be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for their continued failure to transpose the EU’s “bail-in” laws into national legislation, the European Commission said last Thursday according to The Telegraph.

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Iceland Announces Dropping Bid to Join EU

By http://www.RT.com – Re-Blogged From http://www.LewRockwell.com

Iceland has dropped its bid to join the European Union, the Foreign Ministry in Reykjavik says. The announcement follows pledges made by the country’s euro-skeptic government since winning the 2013 election.

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, the Icelandic foreign minister, said in a statement that he had informed Latvia, the current EU president, and the European Commission that his center-right government had decided to withdraw its application, which was submitted six years ago.

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