The European Union’s Teeth

OPINION
KLAUS FELDMANN

The current impasse on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU-UK Brexit agreement teaches 2 important lessons:

  1. EU membership carries with it the possibility of peace. Peace in Northern Ireland, as agreed upon in the Good Friday Agreement, was made possible under the EU umbrella, under which national boundaries lose significance. With folding the EU umbrella by exiting the EU the UK has reinstated the pre-GFA and pre-EU-membership context.
    The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to mitigate the dire consequences. It was the result of extensive negotiations in which both sides made concessions to uphold the conditions for peace in Northern Ireland in spite of Brexit. Not adhering to the Protocol is tantamount to pulling out the rug from under the result of 5 years of negotiations.
  2. All this should not come as a surprise: Even before becoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his Brexit philosophy by declaring that he wants to have his cake and eat it too, i.e. have all the benefits of EU membership without any of the strings and responsibilities attached.
    With respect to the Northern Ireland Protocol, it is safe to assume that the British side never intended to honor their commitments. It was a negotiations ploy to get the exit agreement over the hurdle. Considering all the public statements made along the way by Johnson, Frost et al. (Johnson: „absolutely no border down the Irish Sea“) as well as the recent actions like unilaterally moving out deadlines for the protocols implementation are a case in point.
    Here is the naked thought underlying the UK approach to negotiating the solution for Northern Ireland: To demonstrate effort we will negotiate hard but in the end it does not matter what we sign! We will not stick to it anyway. We will appeal to the court of UK public opinion, ask the EU for pragmatic solutions, call them legal purists* and a bureaucratic monster, request the EU to avoid being “bloody-minded” about the issue of border checks, we depict ourselves as the victim of EU-agression etc… In this way we’ll win the war for public opinion at home and put pressure on the EU to make further concessions beyond the agreed upon treaties until we get, what we want. And that is „We want to have our cake and eat it too!

This is where the European Union’s teeth come into play. And I’m glad I’ve seen them being bared a bit lately. The EU can not let itself be suckered by this approach.

At the same time, we need to keep the candle in the window for the British people: You are part of our European family, and you’ll always be welcomed back!

*as if this is a bad thing

This article was written by Klaus Feldmann and reflects his personal opinion.

We look forward to your comments. Discuss with our community on Discord:
Hello, my name is Klaus. My grey hair gives me away for pushing our group’s age average a bit north. It’s great fun cooperating with such a dedicated group of young people from different EU member states on that lofty goal of a united Europe. A real European Union, based on the EU-Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Rule of Law and a healthy environment, a global flagship project, is what I want to leave behind for my grandchildren. I help out here and there and provide some content.
Klaus
Research Work

Schuman Traineeship – Apply now:

The goal of the Schuman traineeships is to contribute to EU citizens’ European education and vocational training and to provide an insight into the work of the European Parliament.

The European Parliament is an equal opportunities employer; candidates without distinction as to gender, sexual orientation, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds or disability are encouraged to apply, with reasonable accommodations available for successful candidates with disabilities who may need them.
 

Applications have opened for the fall session 2021 for traineeships in the European Parliament, known as Schuman Traineeships

This time there are around 428 positions available, and you can send your application for up to three positions. 

The deadline to do so is on the 30th June, so don’t miss out the opportunity to get an experience in the European Parliament.

 

*The information about the project does not come from MeetEU but from an official EU site. We cannot answer any questions about the project.

 
 
 

Test your Knowledge!

A new month, a new challenge! Do you know in which EU country this picture was taken? Look closely…
 
Thank you N. Doychinov and EC AV for this picture (c) EU 2020

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Ask the Commissioner!

European Commission’s initiative to fight discrimination and promote diverse and inclusive workplaces and societies.
Don’t miss the chance to share with the Commissioner Mariya Gabriel your views, opinions or concerns on Youth and Education.
 

As a warm-up for the upcoming European Youth Week, taking place from 24 to 30 May, the Commissioner for Youth and Education, Mariya Gabriel, wants to hear your voice. 

Your questions, comments and opinions can tackle areas such as:

  • The new Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes 2021-2027
  • Strengthening young citizens’ engagement in decision-making and promoting their democratic participation
  • Sustainability commitments in new programmes
  • The digitalisation challenges and how they will be tackled in Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps programmes
  • The post-Covid recovery and contribution of the new programmes towards enhanced resilience

Anything else that comes to your mind, related to Europe’s youth, your opportunities and participation in democratic life is equally welcomed!

Who can participate?

You need to be between 18 and 30 years old living in an Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes countries and acting on your own personal capacity (e.g. any entries submitted by journalists and media representatives will not be considered).

How?

Send your question in a video format of maximum 30 seconds to EAC-SOCIAL-MEDIA@ec.europa.eu or post it on social media (Twitter or Instagram) using the hashtag #EUYouthWeek.

In exceptional cases, entries in the format of a photo with a written question or an audio file are accepted. 

You can ask as many questions as you want!

Send them by 30 May 2021 00:00 (Brussels time) and stay tuned for the answers. Read Terms and Conditions

 

*The information about the project does not come from MeetEU but from an official EU site. We cannot answer any questions about the project.

 
 
 

New Month, New Quiz!

A new month, a new challenge! Do you know in which EU country this picture was taken? Look closely…
 
Thank you L. Kobus and EC AV for the picture (c) EU 2020

You have an idea? Share it with us!

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EU Diversity Month: United in Diversity

European Commission’s initiative to fight discrimination and promote diverse and inclusive workplaces and societies.
 

European Commission’s initiative to fight discrimination and promote diverse and inclusive workplaces and societies.

During the month of May 2021, we will celebrate the European Diversity Month to raise awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in our workplaces and in society throughout the whole European Union. It is organised by the European Commission and the EU Platform of Diversity Charters together with its members.

The launch event by Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, will take place on 4th May 2021 at 10 am (CET), and you can follow it live.

It will bring together policy-makers, chief executive officers of diversity charter signatories, other organisations and stakeholders to review and promote the consideration of racial and ethnic origin in diversity strategies.

Read more about the EU Diversity Month here and share your views on social media using #EUDiversityMonth

 

*The information about the project does not come from MeetEU but from an official EU site. We cannot answer any questions about the project.

 
 
 

European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 launched

The Commission launched today the first call for proposals under the new European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027.
 

With a dedicated budget of €1.009 billion for 2021-2027, the new European Solidarity Corps programme will offer opportunities to at least 270,000 young people to help address societal and humanitarian challenges through volunteering or by setting up their own solidarity projects. For the first year of action, more than €138 million are available. The first annual work programme and the Programme Guide 2021 have also been published.

The call covers volunteering projects, volunteering teams in high priority areas, solidarity projects, quality label for solidarity volunteering activities and quality label for humanitarian aid volunteering. Deadlines for submission of applications are 28 May and 5 October. Applications for the quality label for solidarity volunteering can be submitted on a continuous basis. Deadline for applications for the quality label for humanitarian aid volunteering is 22 September. 

The new European Solidarity Corps supports the political priorities of the European Union and engages organisations and young people in projects to address them. The programme promotes inclusion and diversity, aims to incorporate green practices in projects and encourages environmentally sustainable and responsible behaviour among participants and participating organisations. It supports the digital transition through projects and activities that boost digital skills and fosters digital literacy. The programme also promotes participation of young people in democratic processes and civic engagement. In addition, the new programme has the flexibility to add annual priorities addressing pressing issues. This year’s additional thematic area is health. The programme will mobilise young people in projects addressing health challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recovery. 

 

*The information about the project does not come from MeetEU but from a official EU site. We cannot answer any questions about the project.

 
 
 

MeetEU – A successful start to 2021?

Let’s talk about how you liked the first months of MeetEU! To give you an overview of exactly what our ideas were for the first months of the year, we have briefly summarized them here for you.
 

We have used the first three months of the new year on MeetEU to try out new formats and diversify the backgrounds of our guests. While we welcomed many MEPs on very interesting topics at the end of last year, we have been able to discuss current issues with speakers from NGOs, climate activists and scientists in the last weeks. In this way, we have achieved our goal of introducing our participants to issues from different perspectives. In addition, we were able to offer seminars on specific topics (EU elections, strategic autonomy), which are becoming increasingly popular in this form. We have expanded our communication channels by setting up two new social media accounts, LinkedIn and Instagram.

We have also begun planning for a series of events in May. For this, the community has chosen the title: It’s up to EU. Even though a large part of the organization is still ahead of us, we are already very much looking forward to this special month, in which we will talk with guests from various political groups, especially about the conference on the future of Europe. At the same time, we have events coming up in April that we have not yet realized in this form on MeetEU.

January-April in figures:

  • Over 150 participants
  • 11 events
  • Speakers from 5 different countries (3 first time on MeetEU)

 

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What are your wishes for the next three months?

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