The Snow Post
Welcome Issue of The Snow Post - National Selection Session Moscow 2013
CONTENT Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) 5
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee on Security and Defence (SEDE)
7 Committee on Development (DEVE) Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) 8 9
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON)
Read it or Eat it!
he Media Team welcomes you in Moscow! Though, it is obvious that not many people read editorials, I would like to try and make a difference. First, the name of the newspaper, since the Media Team wanted to continue the New Year festivities fairy tale, it was decided that the magical name of The Snow Post would be associated with information during the upcoming days. Second, dear delegates, this newspaper is intended entirely for you. The journalists did, are and will be doing their best to contribute to your efficient work during the session. The only option for you is to show your appreciation and read this publication. Like one
of the officials put it, “read it or eat it”. Third, this issue contains the topic articles which were written to provide you with an unbiased point of view of the journalists on the questions brought up at this session. The aim of the articles is expand your knowledge and ignite discussions among the participants of this grand event in the life of EYP Russia. Finally, many of you are first-time delegates that is why the Media Team strongly encourages you to enjoy this session and perform this act of European citizenship. Have fun! Dmitry Vyskrebentsev
Evelina Kuznetsova (RU) Janne Vanhemmens (BE) Dong Nga My (RU) Alexander Guzenko (UA) Anastasia Minakova (RU) Tamer Özgen (TR)
Visa-free: Real Life or Fantasy? Evelina Kuznetsova discovers the intricacies of the introduction of the EU-Russia visa-free regime.
t present, the most intriguing and unresolved issue of the relations between Russia and the EU is the one regarding the implementation of the visa-free regime. For about ten years people have been discussing the problem but the negotiations on this urgent matter are inconclusive and the clear stance has not been established yet. So how can the possibility of free movement affect the EU countries and the ideal world which the European Union is creating for itself? To date, the EU’s unavailability to sign the visa-free agreement is due to some concerns that may have substantial reasoning behind them. For example: active migration. Some EU countries are convinced that after the abolition of visas to Europe, it will be swept by a huge wave of refugees who wish to work in western European countries. However, a few years ago, the way to solve the problem was the signing of an agreement on visa facilitation and readmission agreements. It should mentioned, that readmission is a document aimed at cessation of migration. According to this document, we can see that the
most effective method of dealing with migration is the cooperation in the field of readmission. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Europe is such a popular area for tourism and vacations and if the EU wishes to remain this popular tourist destinations as it is today, it definitely ought to issue visas more willingly. It is obvious that tourists with money are one of the most profitable clients for many businesses. Visa-free tourist visits could positively influence the development of the European Union’s economy. Each year, the EU delivers a massive amount of visas to Russian citizens, especially countries such as Finland, Spain, Greece and Italy. All this advocates for the signing of the visa-free agreement. The desire of Russians to visit European resorts is growing every year and this is a big catch for the EU tourism sphere. Anyway, in the near future, we will see an explicit solution to the problem of the implementation of the regime. We should not wait. There are many mitigating arguments for signing up «the sheet» but it’s getting harder to come to a consensus just because of a huge amount of opinions. The whole point is that several EU countries still have so many controversies about the agreement and are not ready to sign it. The European Union consists of 27 countries, making decisions among which is necessarily dependent on the opinion of each member. At the moment, some important agreements are signed, which include the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European community. So, The Treaty of Lisbon aimed at more centralized decision-making within the EU. This agreement
should help the countries with misunderstandings to find a consensus and finally come to a consolidated decision. Business development and the increasing mobility of students depends on this decision. But also there are cons of taking a visa-free travel into consideration. As mentioned earlier, there is a fear that the «breaking of barriers» bears the threat of illegal immigration. But beyond that, there are some problems which have technical aspects, unified passport standards, etc. Summarizing, it must be said that visa-free regime will be strong and would lead to the development of mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and Russia. If every one of us living in Russia or Europe will be able to move freely anywhere in the EU and the Russian Federation, in this case, we will manage to break the distance indeed. 5
An Article from the Blacklist Alexander Guzenko questions the newly passed legislation regarding the safety of the Internet content.
t is not a secret that each of us is addicted to the World Wide Web. Back in 1950’s Internet was created for the purposes of provision and accessibility of information for and to all users. Many years have passed, and the web is now turned to for completely new purposes. It is a common fact that every Internet user spends at least two hours per day to check e-mails, Google news, surf the Wikipedia and update information on Facebook. However, the primary task of the web remains the same; it is intended to provide the users with required information, anytime and anyplace. But according to the newly established law in the Russian Federation, not all information will be accessible. According to experts,
Internet is not the safest place to get information, despite its accessibility, because some of the content might be harmful to its users. Sometimes, while looking up certain information, the users can face pop-out articles or videos with the content they were not looking for. To avoid such kind of information, the government of the Russian Federation introduced a law, which will ban the negative information on the Internet, such as child’s pornography or suicides. The law has passed, and followed by the introduction of the so called “black lists”. The special commission is now responsible for the monitoring of negative information on the web. The procedure of banning is very simple: if the commission finds the web site unsafe, firstly they will notify the owner and give them two days to remove the negative content, if the content is not removed within this period, the website is banned. Undoubtedly, deleting such kind of information is necessary for the provision of safety. Nevertheless, popular educational and entertainment sources, like Wikipedia or Youtube also might contain such information, and access to them should not be restricted. Luckily, none of the major information carriers has been banned, because without
the access to information, one can hardly imagine the Internet. Not all Internet users were happy with the introduction of such drastic changes of the legal framework under question. Popular web sites, such as LiveJournal, Yandex and Wikipedia protested against the new law, and found their supporters. The main reason behind the protest is that the wider community does not want someone from the government to decide which information is appropriate and which is not. At the moment, anyone who finds illegal content on a website has a right to notify the commission, and, consequently, bring the case to the ban of the web site. As the society continues developing with its demand for information growing, users request information as their basic right. But who knows, maybe tomorrow, other pieces of information will be prohibited, and this article will never be published, as it contains illegal information, concerning negative content of web sites. As the users do not want to create a copy of the Great Firewall of China, and still want to feel safe about Internet’s content, the measures have to be taken. If the government cannot strike the balance, maybe the Russian youth is capable to do so?
Big Cities – Big Attraction With the rapid increase of the capital’s population in these past years, Dong Nga My reveals a new challenge for Moscow.
ig cities are always a big attraction; people come there to settle down with an idea in mind that they are to have a better, higher-class life, or maybe a chance to improve their life in a modern city. Moscow - the capital, the heart of Russia - now holds the status of one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world with a population of 20 million citizens. However, it seems like the growth of population has brought more harm than good. Moscow is the largest city in Russia in size and population. According to the 2010 Census, there were over 11.5 million people living in Moscow. By its territorial expansion on July 1st, 2012 southwest into the Moscow
Oblast, the capital increased its area 2,5 times and gained additional population of 230,000 people. It was claimed to help the mega-city develop harmonically, said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. But on the other hand, along with the addition of new citizens comes the increasing number of slums in, supposedly, the most developed city of the country. According to “The Case of Moscow, Russia” by professor Alexey Krasheninnokov in 2010, there are 4 official definitions of slums in Moscow: communal flats (or communalky in Russian), shabby and dilapidated buildings (vethi and avariyni in Russian), outdated and deteriorated buildings and bomji (people without permanent addresses). In other words, the main reason of slums in Moscow lies in the current house crisis; UN-Habitat’s Global Report on Human Settlements in 2003 points out that before 1992, almost all houses in Moscow were state owned, municipal or corporate. “There were practically no private houses in Moscow for 70 years, two thirds of the housing stock became private through privatization and new construction. Poor people
generally stay in state-owned flats that they rent or lease.” Two decades after that, it is truly regrettable to see the housing conditions in Moscow have hardly seen any change. Moreover, with the incredible growth of population, it is not that hard to understand why the number of slums has grown rapidly in recent years. Usually, when a city is faced with the problem of overpopulation, one of the solutions is urban planning, method that has been familiar to European countries for many years. England, France, Germany, Sweden, etc have gained much experience in this area. However, the question is: How exactly is the government going to incorporate it effectively? Moreover, we should not forget that urban planning means dramatic life change of Moscow citizens, therefore it is important to take into consideration how the citizens are going to cope with such a change. One thing is certain: security of Moscow from potential new slums is our top priority right now. How can we use the help of urban planning and ensure that everyone is happy with it, is the question that we must find a solution to as fast as possible. 7
The Neverending Issue Janne Vanhemmens investigates the socioeconomic pitfalls of the seemingly unresolvable migration issue.
he movement of workers over borders is one of the international factor movements in economics: it exists in many ways and on various levels. We can, for example, think about physical labour force migrating to do manual labour in the agriculture for seasonal or long term work, but also about so-called “brain drain” or “human capital flight”, the migration of highly schooled and knowledgeable experts because 8
of the bad home situation or the appealing position of the target country. On all levels, migration of workers can be regarded as a threat for the domestic workers and lead to higher unemployment rates. On the other hand, such a situation can be considered as enlightening, creating a platform for innovation by mutual exchange of services and knowledge in a way beneficial to both sides. Taking into consideration interest rates that differ, political and economical situation in different countries, it is almost impossible to come up with an overall solution to the problem. Some economists predict that wages over time will become equal amongst people working in the same sector in countries where labour migration happens in both directions. What happens in several countries is that the migrant workers are cheaper or illegal, this worsens the situation. They are prepared to work under the minimum wage, a situation
that countries try to stop by implementing a minimum wage law. Usually these workers lack proper education and even when they do an underpaid job, housing infrastructure is often not adequate because of the amount of migrant workers. Another problem is discrimination. It is deeply rooted because of educational, regional or social discrepancies. Poor people in search of a better life and therefore a job to provide for their families, arrive to places where they are not welcomed because of anti-immigrant policies, or where they can only get into illegal employment, for example, migrants in the United States who come from Mexico or the Caribbean. In countries where domestic employment is threatened because of migrants “stealing” jobs, it often happens that movements or political parties start striving to implement an policies against guest workers by putting the them in a very bad light. Labour migration is an important factor in the global economy, influencing many people’s daily lives with its flow. Considering both economical and social advantages and disadvantages, it is clear that we are facing a reoccurring situation that can only be tackled taking into account employers and employees, human rights, minimum wages and other relevant factors. It is a formidable challenge for national governments to adopt their policies according to the current flow, to improve opportunities and to initiate programs for companies and workers, to find ways to minimise illegal migration and to prevent migrant child employment and prostitution labour.
Crisis – the Only Threat? Anastasia Minakova discovers a new problem that might impede the stable development of Russia’s economy.
esterday there was a crisis, today there is a crisis, tomorrow, for sure, crisis will be... It looks like the situation has stabilized! In 2012, the world managed to survive in many situations from doomsdays to important economic events. The most important developments for Russia were the crisis in Greece and the accession of Russia to the WTO. The Greek crisis could not but affect the world economy. If Athens would announce default, the consequences for Russia are quite clear: • reduction of prices on goods from the EU • strengthening of capitaloutflow • the fall in oil prices. Everyone knows what will happen next. But not the crisis hits us so much how our accession to the WTO does. This caused a lot of disputes, since this process had a number of advantages and disadvantages. From the start the idea of Russia’s accession to the WTO came under severe criticism of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).
However, neither the Russian diplomats nor the government listened to the opposition’s or business men’s opinion. The Protocol of accession of Russia to the WTO was signed. And it had the conditions which they protested against. Yet, so far there is no clear and definite answer to the question: what positive socio-economic effect will Russia gain from the new status. Russia is joining the WTO in a situation of deficit of industrial policy instruments. As a matter of fact, most common instruments such as foreign trade tariffs or subsidies will be limited, while more sophisticated methods
have not yet been elaborated and tested. This is a serious lapse of the government. Before attracting investment, one needs to mitigate the factors that repel investors. Foreign investors name three major problems that they face in Russia: corruption, lack of infrastructure and bureaucracy. Losses incurred by the Russian economy after the accession of Russia to the WTO - are prohibitively high, and the state in this case has shown a consistent policy for the protection of national manufacturers. Taking into account the fact that many Russian regions have seen development recently, more foreign investors consider the regions, which were not visited in the past. The APEC Summit in Vladivostok, is a confirmation of the fact that Russia, as a country, present the international community with new regions that can create conditions for investors to conduct business. According to statistics, the majority of foreign capital goes into regional energy, oil and gas industries. But the country’s next goal is to persuade the international business community that regions have more opportunities for investment in other sectors of the economy. What social and economic consequences of accession of Russia to the WTO - positive or negative - will outweigh in the end - is not known yet. One thing is certain: local entrepreneurs now have to be ready for serious competition. Not all managed to survive the crises of the «transition» period. Nevertheless, it is evident that the losses incurred by the economy may be compensated by bolstering GDP growth. 9