Seit ihrer Wahl ins Europäische Parlament hat Silvana Koch-Mehrin mehr als 80.000 Euro (um genau zu sein 81.400 Euro) durch “Honorare” verdient. Ein nettes Beibrot – zu den etwas mehr als 7.000 Euro monatlich und einer nicht zu verachtenden Büropauschale.
Nun ist sie nicht die einzige Europa-Abgeordnete, die Nebenverdienste hat. Allerdings scheint ihr die Sache so unangenehm zu sein, dass sie sich entgegen früherer Ankündigungen von ihrem Transparenz-Versprechen verabschiedete. – Die entsprechenden Erklärungen über die Spenden sind seit einigen Wochen von ihrer Website verschwunden. – Ist ja vielleicht auch verständlich, denn irgendwie sieht es vielleicht doch nicht so gut aus, wenn man pro Jahr für weniger als 10 Auftritte mehr als 10.000 Euro verdient. – Inwiefern diese Honorare mit ihrer parlamentarischen Arbeit im Haushaltsausschuss (mehr zur niedrigen Anwesenheit bei der Jungen Union Pforzheim) zu tun haben, ist mir umso mehr schleierhaft. Was haben Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, Verband forschender Arzneimittelhersteller oder VDE da wohl eingekauft? Oder ist alles ein großes Mißverständnis und die Einnahmen stammen in erster Linie aus ihren Buch-Tantiemen? Wenn dem so wäre – umso mehr ein Grund, durch Transparenz Mißverständnissen vorzubeugen!
Fakt ist: So vorbildlich Frau Koch-Mehrin noch bis vor kurzer Zeit ihre finanziellen Erklärungen für 2005, 2006, 2007 und 2008 auf ihrer Website veröffentlicht hat, so schnell sind sie kurz vor dem Wahlkampf auch wieder verschwunden. Vielleicht fragt sich das etwas schlechte Gewissen doch, wie sich so hohe Nebenverdienste in so unruhigen Zeiten verkaufen lassen?
Admittedly, the PES is running a fairly good internet campaign. They have relaunched their web presence way ahead of the European elections and maybe even more importantly they have made a good effort to reach out to (EU) bloggers. They have even included me in their blogger email target list – so that I get updates whenever key blog posts from the party leader Nyrup Rasmussen come out or they hold key events.
I wish the European Greens (EGP) would have been able to run an equally good campaign.
There are two reasons why I am writing this blog entry – and why I am writing it on my blog.
The other day I have received an email from Jeremy Cliffe, the PES’s focal point for bloggers. He was linking up to a recent blog entry by Nyrup Rasmussen in which he declares that the PES is working towards a new majority to stop Barroso. – What a surprise I thought… as if this is not the logic of pluralist political party systems in which parties actually compete for leadership. However, this logic has not really got through to the PES leaders who have been incapable of agreeing on a candidate for the job of Commission President. Given that the PES is (still?) by far the second biggest grouping in EU politics, such a lack of responsibility is the biggest farce in democratic politics Continue reading →
One of the greatest benefits of studying at LSE has been to attend public lectures by world leaders and academics. So far my highlight had been the 3-day “tour de growth” with Philippe Aghion. After last night I feel that the most (academically) stimulating experience has been Andrew Moravcsik’s lecture on the “European Constitutional Settlement”.
As a committed federalist I have often found it difficult to agree with Moravcsik’s analysis of the process of European integration. Since his landmark studies in the early 1990s he has long been the defender of the intergovernmental method – acknowledging continuing control in the hand of EU member states. My experience working in and around EU politics over the last 9 years has been different but I have always valued Moravcsik’s contribution as a valid intellectual and academic challenge to any federalist.
Yesterday’s speech of Andrew Moravcsik at the LSE was in many ways interesting and inspiring. I shall blog more about the substance in the forthcoming entry but thought I share his final remarks first.
When the chair Damien Chalmers intended to close the debate, Moravcsik asked to make a final statement. As a regular professor of politics and international relations at Stanford University he had spent his last year researching in China. As much as he loved the country and was inspired by its politics, he pointed to us, students of Europe, and made this really interesting statement:
After having talked to a Chinese leader for five minutes, he will acknowledge that China is still very far away from a global super power. At this moment, China is at most a middle power like Britain and will remain to be one at least for our generation. Therefore, studying the US and Europe, the two only global super-power, is as fascinating as it can be to study international relations these days.
Now this was warm words in everybody’s ears I guess. And it is so different from “Prof” Joschka Fischer who claims that the real balance of power is quickly shifting towards the US, India and China.
88% of European fish stocks are overfished. Most of my favourite fish like (mediterranean) red tuna and ocean perch are about to be extinguished within a generation unless extreme measures are taken. But these problems are common knowledge.
The EU Commission and key member states have for too long resisted a reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). While most northern countries including Germany have long given up on wide-scale fishing, southern member states like Spain, Portugal, France and Italy (and maybe Scotland) have preserved strong and extremely vocal fishing industries. Together these member states have long managed to serve their fishermen’s (short-term) interests by continuously oversubscribing on the annual fishing quotes.
Unfortunately, neither the non-fishing member states have engaged the “fish mafia” in a serious dialogue to tackle the problem with a long-term vision, nor have these fishing nations shown any leadership in facing fishermen and working towards a reform of the sector. The lowest-common denominator in this failed policy is that the tax-payer makes up for this lack of political leadership. In 2009 EU tax-payers foot the annual bill of 630 mio Euro. Annual Continue reading →
Ich dachte immer, ich wäre der einzige, der als einzige deutsche Flagge im Hausstand die Fahne der DDR hätte… Aber vor wenigen Tagen wurde ich eines besseren belehrt. Da hat doch eine dieser lahmen Agenturen aus dem EU-Umfeld bewiesen, dass sie im Gegensatz zu mir nicht nur eine DDR Flagge besitzen sondern diese auch für zeitgemäß halten. Anlässlich der aktuellen Wirtschaftspolitik könnte man von Zeit zu Zeit tatsächlich auf diese Idee kommen, der Anlass der Beflaggung war aber ein anderer.
Was passierte also?
Am 23. Februar wurden in der Brüsseler Bibliotheque Solvay die Preise an die European Green Capitals Hamburg (für 2011) und Stockholm (für 2010) vergeben. Die Grüne Hamburger Umweltsenatorin nahm den Preis für ihre Stadt entgegen und im Hintergrund hängt neben der EU Flagge die DDR Fahne (s. BILD Bericht oder Hamburger Abendblatt). Continue reading →
I am currently working on a meta-study about the job potential of Green policies (or a Green New Deal) in these days of economic crisis. The study should be available in a few weeks – and any input about job estimates and scenario’s is highly appreciated. But while working on this I was wondering who actually termed the phrase of a “Green New Deal”?
From my (limited) EU/German/UK perspective I have so far seen the debate and terminology taking off at different places over the past year. The first essential contribution and to my knowledge also the first mentioning of the term is in Van Jones’ great book “The Green Collar Economy” which must have been out around spring 2008. In this book he devotes a specific chapter to his idea of a Green New Deal (for the US) considering a new partnership encompassing a wide variety of different social groups who would bring about economic change and a low-carbon economy.
On FollowTheMoney.eu I have published a first article with some thoughts about the main developments with regards to the EU budget in 2009. This article looks at the budget review, the possible denial or delay of discharge for the Council and the provision of new transparency data.
In a second articleto be published later this weekby now I will speculate on the impact of the European elections on budgetary policy in the European Parliament and the Commission – including my guess for the next Budget Commissioner.
After more than two months without my blog, I could not wait to get started again. There are just too many things that should not go uncommented, so here we go again.
As much as I will try to improve my writing on this blog, I must admit that I have become a little unfaithful. I have started to blog about career perspectives for the LSE’s Finalists Blog and I will also try to share some thoughts about the EU budget on a new project called FollowTheMoney.eu. But whenever I feel that my comments on those blogs can also be interesting for my readers here, I shall notify you here.
But let’s call it a night – and a happy new year – with this great New Year’s card from our old family friend Ilja from Slovakia who reminds us of the great development of Slovakia joining the Euro by Januar 1st 2009.
The financial crisis is far from being over, but what is interesting is that governments and the EU Commission are getting more innovative in using all means at their disposal to fight back. Commission President Barroso is announcing a “comprehensive European Union recovery plan ” for 26 November. If this will go as far as the Delors plan from early 1990s is another question though.
What really surprised me, however, was the reaction to the crisis in Hungary. Undoubtedly, after the first shock wave has dealt (well…?) with by the big western member states, it became high time to turn east now. Here Hungary is worst hit so far, so a massive rescue package has been prepared over the last days (read FT). It consists of 12.2 bn Euro from the IMF, 1 bn Euro from the Worldbank (the already provided 5 bn Euro credit from the ECB) and 6.5 bn Euro from the EU. Now the latter point is really interesting because the EU is invoking article 119 to step in. Even more surprising to me is the (first ever?) issueing of “Euro bonds” to finance the EU’s side of the Hungarian rescue package. Making use of such bonds has long been the demand of UEF. But their consideration were circling more around a general infrastructure back-up and investment programme and less of a concern for crisis intervention. If the bond move works out, it could set a worthy precedence for future intervention.
Die Ratsverordnung “zur Einführung einer Fazilität des mittelfristigen finanziellen Beistands zur Stützung der Zahlungsbilanzen der Mitgliedstaaten” ist hier als PDF verfügbar.