Lobbying in the United States and the European Union: New Developments in Lobbying Regulation
The paper compares lobbying in the United States and in the European Union taking into account the specific environments in the two areas. It is focused on recent developments (2006 – 2008) in lobbying regulation in the US, at the federal level, and in the EU, at the level of the European institutions. The compulsory system typical of the American approach is compared to the lower regulated system specific to the European Parliament, as well as to the self-regulatory approach that is still proper to the European Commission, even though its recent decisions indicate a departure from it. The main conclusions highlight the increasing similarities between the American and European approaches, as well as the differences that still exist, mainly in the framework of the pluralist – corporatist dichotomy. Having in view this background, the concluding remarks also stress the need to intensify the debates on lobbying regulation in Romania.
Keywords: corporatism; European Union; interest groups; lobbying regulation; pluralism; United States
How Far Can the European Parliament Correct the European Union’s Democratic Deficit?
Whatever the definition for democracy and democratic deficit is, the European Union is expected to develop some of the democratic features that member states present in order to compensate for the loss of legitimacy at the national level. The European Parliament, as the single elected institution of the European Union, is not only expected to comply with the basic requirements of democracy, but also to be a tool for enhancing democracy in the whole European political system. Starting the discussion by presenting the most important views expressed in the literature regarding the European Union’s democratic deficit, the paper aims to present the main strengths and weaknesses of the European Parliament in correcting the democratic deficit. It will be demonstrated that although the EP can correct the democratic deficit at the European level through its elections, the functions it performs and through its party system, it also has many limits in fulfilling this task. It can be stated that the same mechanisms which allow the EP to be a promoter of democracy inside the EU, also limit its capacity in this area and make the EP seem rather as part of the problem than a solution to it.
Keywords: democratic deficit, European Parliament, European Union
The State of the Art of the EU”, the French Presidency and a Forecast of Future Franco-German Cooperation”
The French Presidency has more or less dropped its initial agenda and has turned nearly exclusively to crisis management, forced by the need to address the three major crises the EU stumbled into in the course of the second half of 2008: the institutional crisis after the Irish on the Treaty of Lisbon, the breakout of the Russian-Georgian war and the subsequent EU relations with Russia and the financial crisis and its potentially recessionary consequences.
Keywords: French Presidency, EU-Russia relations, Franco-German relations
Czech Republic behind the Steering Wheel of the European Union: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities of the First Czech EU Presidency
The Czech Republic will be only the second of the EU members that joined in 2004 to preside over what is viewed as the most powerful and influential institution within the European structures in the Council. While technical preparations have been well underway for several years, the current political constellation inside the EU seems to be leaving certain signs of nervousness among Prague-based decision makers. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Lisbon Treaty with the Irish ‘no’ and uncompleted ratification in the Czech Republic itself, recent controversy between the EU and Russia and not least highly complicated political situation at home are all likely to have an impact on the first, and – in the current form – perhaps also the last Czech presidency of the EU. This article will try to have a look at a critical assessment of the preparations for the Czech presidency, various factors, both internal and external, that are likely to influence its execution, as well as at its priorities as they are tabled at the moment.
Keywords: EU presidency, Czech Republic, enlargement, European Neighbourhood Policy
The European Union’s Trade Negotiations with the ACP: Entrapped by its own Rhetorical Strategy?
This paper deals with the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It addresses the question why the EU firmly insisted on upholding the negotiating deadline for these new trade agreements, despite the very damaging consequences; these hastily initialed trade deals entailed. Regional integration in the South was hampered; the development of the friendly image of the EU got a serious blow; the EU did not manage to include the WTO plus issues, and the prospect of full EPAs at later stage is not guaranteed. We first qualify the Union’s argument to the expiry of a waiver by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which legitimized the former trade regime, and placed an external and insurmountable pressure on the negotiations. There is no rational explanation for Europe’s harsh attitude on the EPA deadline, since neither legal, nor economic interests would have been harmed, if the deadline had been postponed. The main argument advanced in this article addresses whether the EU had to push through these trade deals, because it had entrapped itself through its own ‘rhetorical action’. In its negotiation discourse, the European Commission (EC) had so often emphasized the deadline together with the fact that there were no alternatives to EPAs, that it could not change its mind overnight, when at the end of the 2007 negotiations they were still going nowhere. The Union was forced to keep up with the deadline it had imposed upon itself with the risk of losing all its credibility.
Keywords: EU trade policy, discourse, ACP, negotiation strategy, Economic Partnership Agreements, rhetorical entrapment
The Role of the Competition Policy in Forging the European Common Market
Radu-Cristian Musetescu, Alina Dima, Cristian Paun
The forging of the Single Market represents the most important dimension of the first pillar of the European Union, which is the European Community. It can be argued that, as compared to the other two pillars (the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Police and Judicial Cooperation in the Criminal Matters), it has the most powerful impact on the welfare of European citizens. The European policy makers define however the Internal Market as not only an economic area where there are no more state-imposed barriers in the path of the freedom of movement of goods and services at the borders of the member-states but also a single business environment where there are a single currency, coordinated economic policies as well as homogeneous business practices of private undertakings. In this process, despite a large set of common policies, the competition policy has reached the status of the building block of the Common Market.
Keywords: Common Market, competition policy, market integration
The New Migration Patterns of Educated Romanians to the EU: What Challenges for the Individuals and for the Nation-State?
Romanians, together with other Eastern Europeans, endured under communism confinement to the communist space, often described in terms of a geographic prison. The fall of communism brought Eastern Europeans the possibility of free movement. However, most Western states adopted restrictive admission policies towards the low-skilled and selective policies that favour the highly-skilled ones. Romanian skilled migrants recurred to a wide range of strategies in order to move around in the European space. In this paper, the case study on the Romanian community in France provides an insight into the life of the recent wave of Romanian skilled migrants to France: from the reasons to leave the country and the strategies adopted, to problems of professional and social integration. But, the physical absence does not mean that all the ties with the home country have been cut. Due to the development of information and communication technologies and price drop of means of transport, the ties with the home community are easily maintained. The virtual and real contacts create a flow of values, information and ideas generating a culture of networks that could play an important role in the process of convergence to the European values and institutions. The challenge facing the Romanian state is how to encourage this process, and, at the same time, how to help spread these flows at the level of the entire economy.
Keywords: brain circulation, highly-skilled migration, information and communication technologies, state policy , trans-national networks