The Council adopted its conclusions on the European military capability development. The conclusions point out to measures such as exchange of information on defence budget cuts, capability pooling and sharing options (such as the recent UK-France Defence Cooperation Treaty), developing civil-military synergies in capability development, and developing cooperation with NATO regarding the development of military capabilities.
Now NATO is somewhat wary of EU’s military capability development, since it can divert important military infrastructure from the Alliance. The EU is not convinced of the success of most important NATO operation in the moment in Afghanistan. On the other hand experts say that the two organizations can align force development and mission-planning processes, and ensure closer communication and discourage any rivalry.
There is however a not-so-obvious threat both to EU and NATO military capabilities that at first looks somewhat anecdotal. OECD reports that over half of adults in the European are overweight. As Letters from Europe notes, this is a military problem, since too many European men and women, just like in the US, are too fat to fight.
Hence the idea – couldn’t EU and NATO work on a obesity mitigation program as a first step in improving overall military capability?
The Member States have criticized and in fact rejected a proposal by the European Commission on a new type of regulation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According to EUobserver both pro-GMO and anti-GMO Member States have objected the newly proposed regime. The Commission proposal provides that the general approval of the GMO will still be made on EU level under current rules, but once GMOs are approved, Member States will be able to decide whether to allow the introduction of the GMOs on their territory or not.
This reaction is not surprising, but the current discord on GMOs must be managed somehow. So the Commission proposal at least provides a starting point for negotiations. Member States should also keep in mind that they need the approval of the European Parliament, where reaching a consensus will also be difficult.
Posted in Agriculture and Fisheries, Consumers' Protection, Environment, Healthcare, Internal Market
Tagged approval, European Commission, European Parliament, GMO, Member States, regime, regulation
The second amendment of the Cotonou Agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states has been signed. The Cotonou Agreement constitutes the foundation of the special relationship between the EU and ACP nations. It is aimed at reducing and eventually eradicating poverty as well as at sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP states into the world economy.
The changes include strengthened provisions against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as provisions against organized crime and trafficking of human beings, drugs and weapons. There are new procedures for assistance to ACP states for adapting to global warming and for integrating climate change into their development strategies, as well as improved support to the aquaculture and fisheries sectors in ACP states and to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
For a critical assessment see the briefing paper of the CONCORD Cotonou Working Group.
Posted in Environment, Foreign and Security Policy, Healthcare, Justice and Internal Affairs
Tagged amendment, Climate change, Cotonou Agreement, fisheries, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, organized crime, small arms
I became recently aware of a really worrying problem: it appears that the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has stopped the delivery of some drugs against cancer for children under 18 years.
Let me repeat: we don’t deliver some drugs to the Bulgarian kids that have some forms of cancer. The reason for this situation is that at least two drugs (L-asparaginase and Purinethol) were not included in the positive drugs list of the NHIF for 2009 and 2010. The parents of affected children say that the drugs are essential in their kids’ overall therapy. Some of the parents are able to shop the drugs abroad, mainly from Greece and the UK.
A very simple question arises: what sort of a European Union Member State is Bulgaria, really??? How is it possible to leave the children without proper medication supply? Who will take the responsibility if the health of these children deteriorates further because of erratic treatment?
A lot can be said about the incapacity of the Bulgarian public administration to secure the rights of Bulgarian citizens. But can we try a little harder AT LEAST for the kids???