Sunday, 15 June 2008

Wednesday, 11 June 2008 / Greece

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the Greek Parliament

The results…

The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the Heads of State or Government of the 27 Member States in Lisbon on 13 December 2007. The Treaty of Lisbon amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them. It will provide the Union with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens' demands. After the official signing on 13 December 2007, the treaty will still not apply until and unless it is ratified by each of the European Union's 27 member states. It is up to each country to choose the procedure for ratification, in line with its own national constitution. The target date for ratification set by member governments is 1 January 2009 — a few months before the elections to the European Parliament.

In Greece, New Democracy (Conservative Right) & Panhellenic Socialist Movement - PASOK (Socialist) voted in favor, while the Communist Party of Greece - KKE (Communist), the Coalition of the Radical Left - SYRIZA (Leftist) and the Popular Orthodox Rally - LAOS (Far Right) voted against. In detail, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement - PA.SO.K (Socialist) declared the wish for a referendum. Former Prime Minister and current PASOK MP Costas Simitis said that George Papandreou (current leader of PASOK) decision is not in keeping with the policy of the governments of his father, Andreas, and Simitis himself, which had always opted for the ratification of treaties to take place in Parliament. As a response, George Papandreou no longer considers Costas Simitis as a deputy of the Socialist party. What would happen if there was a referendum and the Greeks voted against the treaty of Lisbon? The Coalition of the Radical Left - SYRIZA (Leftist) declared that Greeks should vote in favor or against the treaty and that the government is afraid of the people and has fear for democracy. The Communist Party of Greece - KKE (Communist) is against EU and against everything it represents. The Popular Orthodox Rally - LAOS (Far Right) claimed that with the treaty, many decisions will be taken in Brusseles.

Members of the European parliament…

In 2004, 63,11% of the population voted in Greece while the mean rate of participation for the rest European Union member states was 44,6%. Following the results of the elections, Greece has 24 members in the European Parliament. Out of the 24, 11 are members of the European People’s Party, 8 are members of the Party of European Socialists, 4 are members of the Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left and 1 is member of the Independence/Democracy Group. It’s worth noting that the 3 out of 4 members of the Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left are members of the Communist Party of Greece – KKE.

As a conclusion…

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty didn’t receive the proper attention in Greece. Media gave more attention to the disagreement between Simitis and Papandreou than to the treaty itself. If a referendum was organized, who would (+could) explain to Greeks that the European Union is based on the rule of law and everything derives from treaties, which are agreed on voluntarily and democratically by all Member States? The treaty of Lisbon follows the Treaty of Nice, which follows the Treaty Amsterdam, which follows the Treaty of Maastricht and so on and so on…

Coalition of the Radical Left – SYRIZA: “No to EuroTreaty – Referendum now!”

More info:
EUROPA – Treaty of Lisbon

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Thursday, 5 June 2008 - World Environment Day*

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June each year to increase environmental awareness and action. This year’s focus is on climate change, with the theme “CO2 – Kick the Habit! (Towards a Low Carbon Economy)”.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, said - among others - on his message for World Environment Day 2008: Addiction is a terrible thing. It consumes and controls us, makes us deny important truths and blinds us to the consequences of our actions. Our world is in the grip of a dangerous carbon habit. The message of World Environment Day 2008 is that we are all part of the solution. Whether you are an individual, an organization, a business or a government, there are many steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. It is message we all must take to heart.

In Thessaloniki, no-one focused on carbon dioxide but most env authorities, locals, citizens and the private sector participated in the celebration of world environment day 2008.

What about organizing GREEN WEEK 2009 all together?

* World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Monday, 26 May to Friday, 30 May 2008 / Strasbourg - France

More than 100 youth adopted the idea of “Join (together) or die” and Model European Union 2008 was realized in the European Parliament in Strasbourg – France…

Monday, 26th of May 2008 Mr Evangelos Gintersos welcomed us on behalf of the European Parliament in Strasbourg and immediately after the Council started the discussion on the first proposal, e.g. ‘Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the advertising and sponsorship of alcoholic products’. Mr Philipp Otmar, head of the administration of the European Paliament in Strasbourg closed the first day.

Tuesday, 27th of May 2008 the council debated and finally voted on the amendments of the first proposal while few hours later the second proposal was presented in the Council: ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on compulsory licensing of patents relating to the manufacture of pharmaceutical products for export to countries with public health problems’.

Wednesday, 28th of May 2008 the Council and the Parliament agreed only on the second proposal and the proposal about the advertising and sponsorship of the alcoholic products was left aside for the next presidency to bring the subject in discussion.

Thursday, 29th of May 2008 Mr Tim Goosmann made an introduction on the subject ‘Do we need a Common European Foreign Policy’ and after that most youth participants from the Balkan or South Eastern Europe region joined the debate on ‘Peace through enlargement’ run by
Mr Alexandre Hamzavi. It was one of the most intresting debates during the week…

Final day, Friday, 30th of May 2008 Youth in Action – were there are money - was presented by Helena Schmiemann. Mr Rainer Wieland (EPP-ED MEP) closed the week in European Parliament in Strasbourg with a thorough conversation on different subjects, regarding our simulation in the procedures of the European Parliament, the profession on an europarliamentalist and the peace through enlargement issue along with the candidate member countries of South East Europe.

Malte Lindenthal & Louisa Lösing (JEF-Osnabrück), Ines Verspohl (AEGEE Osnabrück), Sandra Hohlfeld, Kathrin Steinweg, Nora Ratzmann & Hanno Woelm Danielle Gluns (JEF-Osnabrück), Kristina Schroelkamp (AEGEE Tübingen), Helena Maria Schmiemann (AEGEE Augsburg), Amelian Pastor (AEGEE Timisoara) THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

left: with Mr Rainer Wieland (photo courtesy of Lenne Rahn) &

right: most of us ... (photo courtesy of Bogdan Vasilescu)