07. December 2015

Self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP. Has the EU heard its citizens’ voices?

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The citizens’ initiative is set out in Article 11(4) of the Treaty on the European Union.1 The European citizens’ initiative allows one million EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. Since the entry into force of the regulation on the European Citizens’ Initiative on 1 April 2012, civil society organisations have criticised the many bureaucratic procedures ECI organisers are facing. Despite serious efforts of the European Parliament in 2015 to improve the ECI, many obstacles remain for the time being. Due to the very restrictive registration procedure used by the European Commission, nearly 40% of initiatives (20 of 53) were rejected. The usual reason for these rejections are related to the fact that the Commission has no competency to act. 33 European Citizens’ Initiatives were registered (16 registrations in 2012, 9 in 2013, 5 in 2014 and only 3 in 2015). 18 registered initiatives have reached the end of their collection period2. Among the 33 officially registered European Citizens’ Initiatives, only ‘Right to Water’, ‘One of us’ and ‘Stop Vivisection’ have collected over one million signatures.

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29. November 2015

COP21 in Paris: we must step out of our industrialised comfort zone

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Early December, Paris will find itself with being the capital of heated politics.

Representatives from all over the world will come together in Le Bourget in the outskirts of the city, in order to achieve consensus and a legally binding agreement on battling climate change. The forum`s response to the ongoing global warming and its ability to effectively deal with the challenges ahead will not only have a tremendous effect on societies around the world, but also on future generations. Recent interest in establishing common goals may be somewhat overdue, though hopefully not too late. It has never been more important that we clean up our mess before a polluted mother earth retires.

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27.  November 2015

What the EU is actually doing about Syria, the refugees & ISIS

by Doris Manu

doris-manu With the refugee crisis being the major preoccupation and challenge in Europe this year, it is no wonder that a great part of the 2015 Berlin Foreign Policy Forum (BFPF) was dedicated to discussions about the future of the Middle East, Syria in particular, and about the refugees themselves.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, addressed these issues in his speech at BFPF. Talking about the diplomatic negotiations exploring a peaceful solution to the Syrian war, FM Steinmeier said that ‘’We need to be as ambitious as we can for Vienna talks on Syria to succeed’’, signalling that Germany and its EU partners went beyond looking for short-term solutions to the refugee crisis and are now focused on addressing its roots. This is without a doubt a very good approach, especially now that refugees are faced with the European winter. The German commitment in this endeavour is extremely positive and leaves me hopeful that a solution will be found to end the war and stop the refugee flow.

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26. November 2015

‘Stuck’ in Dayton for twenty years?

by Hatidza Jahic

When the Dayton Agreements were signed in October-November 1995, I was nine years old. I don’t remember that much from those times, but what I do remember is the feeling of relief, which in my family’s case was expressed by the “return“ to the first floor of our house, up from the basement where we had spent the previous three years. The war was over! Now, there were no restrictions on where and when to play with the children from the neighbourhood and we could have regular classes in ‘normal’ schools and not in some neighbour’s basement.

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19. November 2015

Why I didn’t change my Facebook photo after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris

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1-adnan-rahimicPersonally, I will use every world’s event to express my opinion about it, whether it was positive or negative event. Although longing to have only positive thoughts expressed in the article, photos, FB status, sadly negative events are much more present and current.

It hasn’t even been a full year since I wrote my reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, and now, after the city has been wounded once again by terrorists, I feel a need to react as well. And it’s like déjà-vu; the killing, the bombings, the fear and prejudices… I have seen too much of it, starting with the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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