Seven Days in Europe

It’s been a tumultuous week in Romania with a vote called on whether to oust their president, Traian Basescu, over claims from government opposition that he had violated the constitution by continually overstepping his authority and had used the secret service against his rivals. Basescu urged his supporters to avoid the vote – a tactic that worked in his favour as he remains in power despite more than 80% of those who voted voting for his impeachment due to a rule that there has to be over 50% turnout for a vote to be valid. The Constitutional Court has now been called in to play to determine whether the population data used to calculate the turnout was accurate.

Greece’s coalition government has agreed further spending cuts in order to qualify for the next tranche of its EU/IMF bailout. Demands from within the government for renegotiation of the bailout terms fell flat, with the prime minister asserting that Greece must regain credibility before it can ask its creditors for an extension to its austerity deadline.

The European Commission has replied to the Daily Mail’s pieceThe REAL migrant scandal? Politicians still pretend we control our borders – when the truth is Brussels won’t let us” with a letter pointing out the inaccurate information in the article:

“Christopher Booker’s piece on immigration (24 July) requires multiple clarifications. First, the UK was not forced to allow migrants from new EU Member States to work here in 2004. EU rules allowed for a seven-year transition period without access to labour markets, but the UK and two other Member States chose not to apply it. Second, the UK itself decides which non-EU migrants it lets in and how long they stay. Third, even for EU migrants there is no automatic right of residence. They must prove they can support themselves. Fourth, protection of genuine refugees is established by the Geneva Convention. But the European Commission has put forward to national Ministers and MEPs proposals to reinforce procedures, to avoid asylum shopping and ensure asylum requests are more fairly distributed among Member States.”

The letter is taken from a website created by the Commission in order to debunk the many myths surrounding EU legislation which appear to be mostly perpetuated by British newspapers. Other posts include a response to the Daily Express’s claim that the EU plans to “liquify corpses and pour them down the drain”, a piece on how it would not be possible to legislate on an international level to ban people from calling women “love” in pubs, and setting the record straight on a front page story claiming that milk jugs are banned.

The Emissions Trading Scheme suffered a knock after it was announced that the US congress was to vote on a law that would make it illegal for US based aviation companies to pay into the EU carbon tax scheme, amid worries the scheme would pre-empt countries around the world to impose similar measures, creating a patchwork system of different policies and taxes. However, a two-day meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation ended without a viable alternative being put forward.

Two Belarusian generals have been sacked after a Lithuanian pilot was able to evade air defences and drop hundreds of teddy bears sporting humanitarian slogans into Belarus. The protest was to show support for human rights activists and embarrass president Lukashenko, who has bragged in the past about the capabilities of his air force. It has been suggested that the incident could cause backlash in the form of a crackdown on dissidents, and that the Kremlin may now decide to put a Russian general in charge of the air force.

The Commission announced deductions from fishing quotas for countries that had exceeded their set quotas in 2011. Deductions were further increased for member states that had repeatedly overfished the same stock.

Finally, rapper Snoop Dogg has been banned from Norway for two years after trying to enter the country last month carrying cannabis and more cash than is legally allowed in the country. His lawyer stated his client had no immediate plans to appeal the ban, and that he could “live with the decision”.

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