The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reaffirms its complete opposition to capital punishment. The Assembly considers that the death penalty has no legitimate place in the penal systems of modern civilised societies, and that its application constitutes torture and inhuman or degrading punishment within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [from: Assembly debate on 25 June 2001]
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reaffirms its complete opposition to capital punishment. The Assembly considers that the death penalty has no legitimate place in the penal systems of modern civilised societies, and that its application constitutes torture and inhuman or degrading punishment within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Using the DEATH PENALTY as an example, do Europeans generally view Americans as more primitive in nature?
Mon June 23, 2003 10:37 AM ET
By Robin Pomeroy
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States will join forces with the European Union and other countries this week to develop a new technique to fight global warming -- pumping carbon dioxide underground, EU sources said Monday.
The move will be another symbol of rapprochement between the EU and the United States on the climate change issue. They fell out in 2000 when Washington withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
"Carbon sequestration" is a way of keeping CO2 from fossil fuel use entering the atmosphere and adding to the greenhouse effect which prevents heat radiating back into space by injecting it into rock strata, mines or gas or oilfields.
On the sidelines of a EU-U.S. summit in Washington Wednesday, EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio will sign an international charter with the United States and other countries including Brazil, Canada, Russia and China creating a "carbon sequestration leadership forum."
"It is a new charter on cleaning up carbon," an EU source told Reuters.
In a similar move earlier this month the EU and the United States agreed to collaborate on researching hydrogen power, which could have less environmental impact than other fuels.
Some environmentalists are skeptical of both hydrogen and carbon sequestration, saying they will allow the continued use of fossil fuels coal, oil and gas rather than a switch to renewable energies like solar and wind and reducing energy use.
Bush's criticism of EU moratorium attacked
By Tobias Buck in Brussels
Published: June 24 2003 21:04 | Last Updated: June 24 2003 21:04
The European Union on Tuesday hit back at President George W. Bush, who earlier this week joined the growing chorus of US officials determined to link Europe's opposition to genetically modified crops to hunger and poverty in Africa.
Mr Bush had on Monday urged Europe to end its five-year de facto moratorium on approving new GM crops "for the sake of a continent threatened by famine", and had argued that the EU's position was "based on unfounded and unscientific fears".
His remarks were branded "false" by a European Commission official, who added: "The suggestions made by the United States are simply not true. It is false that we are anti- biotechnology or anti- developing countries."
EU: Tabloids' Topless Attractions Safe
BRUSSELS, Belgium - European tabloids' topless attractions are safe despite possible changes in sex laws, the European Union said Friday.
Proposed EU sex discrimination laws won't ban daily photos of topless women carried by several European tabloid newspapers, the organization said.
"To talk about banning certain aspects of certain publications is not possible," explained EU spokeswoman Antonia Mochan. "The European Union does not have the legal tools to intervene."
The measured words from EU head office contrast with a media uproar this week after reports of a clampdown on gender stereotyping filtered out of Brussels.
"I'm supposed to be gotten rid of," proclaimed Bild, pointing to a topless blonde appearing Thursday on the newspaper's front page.
"The EU wants to outlaw the beautiful girls from the front page," bemoaned the German daily.
The Sun in Britain warned, "Saucy bra adverts face ban under the latest nonsense from Brussels."
The tabloid tantrums were provoked by leaks of an internal document from within the EU's employment and social affairs department looking at how Europe's already strict laws on sexual discrimination in the workplace could be extended to other areas.
One suggestion would ban advertising and other media images that offended "human dignity" or promoted gender stereotypes.
The document is a long way from becoming law. EU officials said it was only meant to promote discussion and legal experts said the bloc has no powers to ban such material.
EU officials expressed irritation that the furor over raunchy pictures had overshadowed proposals to tackle sexual discrimination in areas such as taxation, insurance or pensions.
Even if the proposals were adopted by the Union's head office, the European Commission, it would still need approval from governments of the 15-nation bloc and the European Parliament.
"One thing is certain: the present consultation paper does not, alas, mean that the end is nigh for sex discrimination," EU Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, wrote Thursday in London's Financial Times.
By Judy Dempsey in Brussels
Published: July 1 2003 18:44 | Last Updated: July 1 2003 18:44
Weeks before Italy took over the European Union's rotating presidency, it put one of its own foreign policy ambitions to the test.
It wanted the EU to send patrol boats, helicopters and night vision equipment to Libya to help President Muammer Gadaffi curb illegal immigration across the Mediterranean to Italy. It failed to achieve its aim.
Several countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, opposed the move. Some claimed it could contravene a United Nations ban on arms to Libya. Others, such as Germany, suggested Libya still had to pay compensation for the 1986 bombing of Berlin's La Belle disco.
In the end, they all agreed the Commission should send a mission to Libya to see what was needed to curb immigration. It was a salutary reminder to Italy how national interests can impose limits on EU foreign policy initiatives...
IG Metall to call off failed strike
June 30, 2003
Berlin - Thousands of striking German workers prepared to return to work yesterday after the stunning failure of their powerful union to push through demands for a 35-hour working week.
The IG Metall union was expected to ratify a decision by negotiators to call off a four-week strike in east Germany.
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder hailed the end of the stoppage as good for the economy. "I am very happy about it," he said. "The economic impact would have aggravated the difficulties we are facing."
It is the first time in nearly half a century that IG Metall, Germany's biggest industrial union, has failed to win concessions by striking
Part of the reason for the failure was poor support, arising from fear that the strike would undermine investment in eastern Germany, which trails far behind the more affluent west on nearly every economic indicator.
Employers justified the 38-hour week on grounds of productivity, which they claimed was up to a third lower in the east than in the west.
Italians hit back at Berlusconi critics
The Italian government hit back at its critics today as it assumed the presidency of the European Union, saying a barrage of media criticism of Premier Silvio Berlusconi was "insulting and defamatory".
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Parliament the government had all the right credentials to lead the 15 member bloc as it struggles to patch up relations with Washington, finalise its constitution and absorb 10 new members next year.
Italy, he said, was taking over the EU helm at a "historic moment" that the government intended to use for the interest of all Italians and Europeans, "even those who accuse the government with insulting and defamatory expressions".
Frattini was responding to a rash of critical stories in the European media that have highlighted Berlusconi's legal problems and conflicts of interest, while also questioning his government's commitment to the EU line.
Berlusconi has deviated from EU orthodoxy by suggesting that Russia and Israel may soon join the EU.
Some of his Cabinet ministers continue to question the good of the euro.
He followed a US rather than EU line by refusing to meet Yasser Arafat on a recent Middle East visit and has pushed to end an EU arms embargo on Libya.
Billionaire Berlusconi is also Italy's richest man, presiding over a media empire that includes the nation's largest private television broadcaster, Mediaset.
Together with state-run RAI, he directly or indirectly controls about 90% of Italy's television market, leading critics to charge he has too much influence over information that he can use for his political and personal gain.
He denies the charges but the parliament has not yet passed promised conflict-of-interest legislation.
The premier has also been beset by a series of legal woes, including accusations he bribed a judge in the 1980s to sway a business deal in his favour.
The trial was suspended Monday - the day before Italy took over the EU presidency - after Berlusconi's allies in parliament passed an immunity law that spares the premier and four other top officials from prosecution while in office.
"He's our president now - a man whose hand we would not shake voluntarily," the Berlin daily Berliner Zeitung wrote today.
"A shady dealmaker who ... has used his political and economic power to assure that all proceedings (against him) ran into to the sand and who, thanks to his lack of scruples, became the richest man in Italy at the same time."
Berlusconi has said he is innocent of all charges against him and is the victim of left-leaning prosecutors.
He echoed that defence Monday in an interview with French radio to personally rebut the media criticism, which he said was spawned by Italy's left wing opposition.
Berlusconi will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg tomorrow.