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September 05 2013

European Commission preparing for EU-US trade talks : 119 meetings with industry lobbyists |…

European Commission preparing for EU-US trade talks: 119 meetings with industry lobbyists | Corporate Europe Observatory
http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/09/european-commission-preparing-eu-us-trade-talks-119-meetings-indust

http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/meetings_with_stakeholders.jpg?itok=yneUHDUZ

In response to an access to documents request from Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Commission has released a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ on the EU-US free trade talks. At least 119 meetings were with large corporations and their lobby groups. This means that more than 93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the negotiations were with big business. The list of meetings reveals that, in addition to the civil society dialogue meetings reported on the DG Trade website, there is a parallel world of a very large number of intimate meetings with big business lobbyists behind closed doors - and these are not disclosed online.

Negotiations on an EU-US ‘free trade’ agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) started in July this year amid strong controversy and public concern about the impacts such an agreement could have on environmental regulations, food standards, data protection and other issues. The European Commission, which represents the EU in the negotiations, has reacted with a propaganda offensive that includes a Q&A website full of misleading claims about the TTIP talks and a ‘@EU_TTIP_team’ that counters critical messages on twitter. In mid-July, the Commission made a huge deal out of the civil society dialogue it had organised in Brussels on the TTIP talks, posting dozens of tweets about the event, praising the “interesting discussion” on issues such as “the environment, transparency, development” with “as many questions from NGOs [...] than there were from Industry”.

The event also features prominently on the website of the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade), in the ‘Dialogues’ section where the Commission states that it aims for “a transparent and accountable trade policy based on consultations with all parts of European civil society”. But what is disclosed on the website is only a tiny part of the meetings that DG Trade has with ‘stakeholders’.

In April, Corporate Europe Observatory submitted an access to documents request in order to get an overview of the Commission’s contacts with industry, in the context of the preparations for the EU-US trade talks. The Commission’s first response was to ask us to "narrow down the scope” of the request, because it “concerns a very large number of documents”. Three months later the first result arrived: a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ that took place between January 2012 and April 2013.1 A few weeks later another five meetings were added to this list. DG Trade has informed us that the minutes and other reports of these 135 meetings, as well as correspondence between DG trade and industry lobbies, will be released later, but that they “cannot yet commit to a specific date”.

#EU-US
#European_Commission
#TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)
#NGOs #ONG

August 06 2013

Energy and Politics : Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

Energy and Politics: Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

http://www.iai.it/content.asp?langid=2&contentid=967

The European Union launched the Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the twofold aim of strengthening the diversification of Europe’s gas sources and transportation routes, and reducing the role of upstreamers in the European gas market. The clear preference expressed by the European Commission - the corridor’s mastermind - for Nabucco was expected to weigh in heavily, allowing the EU-backed project to easily win the competition. However, other factors, beyond political support, ended up tilting the balance decisively in favour of Nabucco West’s final rival, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). These do not include only the technical and commercial criteria set out by the Shah Deniz II consortium, but also more mundane considerations. Nabucco West’s complex organizational and decision-making procedures, the attractiveness of the exemption from Third Party Access (TPA) granted by the EU to TAP, and SOCAR’s specific interest in the Greek market also influenced the consortium’s final decision. An analysis of the Southern Gas Corridor competition suggests that when it comes to energy, political support and institutional involvement do not always represent the decisive element, and may be counterproductive at times.

#russie #europe #énergie #gaz #nabucco #tap

*Immigration : Malta forbids docking of ship carrying migrants* ❝VALLETTA, AUGUST 5 - At least 111…

Immigration: Malta forbids docking of ship carrying migrants

VALLETTA, AUGUST 5 - At least 111 would-be immigrants rescued off Libya’s coast are stuck on board a Liberian-flag tanker after Malta’s government did not allow the captain to dock in Valletta’s port.

The MV Salamis rescued the migrants, including four children, about 45 miles from the Libyan coast at the request of Italian authorities. The captain claims Italy asked Malta to dock but Malta refused on the grounds that the safest port was Tripoli. Three Navy patrol boats blocked access to the port of Valletta and the MV Salamis is currently 25 miles off Malta awaiting instructions. The three children have been taken to Malta’s Mater Dei hospital for treatment.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2013/08/05/Immigration-Malta-forbids-docking-ship-carrying-migrants_9120249.html

#Malte #migration #mer #secours

July 23 2013

Catherine Ashton : Israeli settlement products to be labeled in EU by end of 2013 By Barak Ravid…

Catherine Ashton: Israeli settlement products to be labeled in EU by end of 2013
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz, 23rd of July
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.537315

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is seeking to draft comprehensive guidelines on labeling settlement products by the end of this year, she told several senior EU officials last week.

She made the comment in a letter - a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz - sent on July 8 to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the seven commissioners responsible for justice, industry, consumer protection, agriculture, taxation, trade and internal market. The commission is the EU’s executive arm.

July 17 2013

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines by Barak Ravid Haaretz

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines
by Barak Ravid
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.536229

A senior Israeli official Tuesday described new guidelines conditioning future EU agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories as an “earthquake.”

The guidelines, which were drawn up by the European Commission, are expected to be officially released on Friday. Haaretz revealed Tuesday that the document was circulated among all the EU institutions, foundations, investment funds and aid organizations two weeks ago, as well as to all 28 EU member states. They go into effect on January 1.

In a scathing response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will not accept any external edicts on our borders.” Most cabinet ministers were caught by surprise. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called the decision an “economic terror attack.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said it was “unfortunate and badly timed,” adding, “every day that Israel is not in talks harms its international status even further.” Meanwhile, opposition chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called for an immediate resumption of talks.

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