13th National Selection Conference of the European Youth Parliament the Netherlands 8-10 February 2013, Amsterdam
Topic overviews Overviews The overviews are written by the Committee chairpersons to serve as background material. They aim to identify the key issues at stake while synthesising the topic area. The objective is naturally to keep these overviews as balanced as possible, yet they may not receive unanimous consent. It should be noted that the EYP strongly encourages independent thinking so feel free to disagree! Keywords The non-‐exhaustive list of keywords intends to facilitate searching for information, may it be documents, news items or articles, at different types of search engines, news websites and encyclopaedias. Research Links As regards the suggestions for research links, the list is by no means exhaustive. Rather than citing individual links, we have preferred indicating links to websites where several relevant documents and articles can be found. Please note that the EYP is not responsible for the contents on various websites; the texts reflect the opinions of their authors only. We wish you a successful preparation and interesting reading!
Victoria Wilkinson, President of the session Zahra Runderkamp, President of EYP the Netherlands Florentine Oberman & Julie van der Post, Head-organisers of the session
Message from the president
Dearest delegates, The National Selection Conference of EYP the Netherlands is getting closer by the minute. When I write this it is actually just two weeks until we are in the middle of the session. I hope you are all as enthusiastic and excited about the session as me. I know most of you have been at one of the Preliminary Rounds already and therefor know at least a bit about what is going to happen in Amsterdam. Either way, I will shortly explain what it is we are now sending you. You now have the preparation booklet for session in your hands. This booklet contains an overview of your topic, and also of everyone else’s topics. I do urge you all to read your own overview carefully. Check out the links, and also do some research of your own. Find new links, new articles and different statistics. The overview is not meant to give you everything you need to be prepared to discuss your topic at the nationals. The topic overview is rather meant to serve as an introduction to your topic, and to give you a direction for further research. I also urge you to read and research the other overviews in the booklet. On the last day of the session we will discuss all the topics in the booklet at General Assembly. For you to be able to enjoy this part of the session even more, knowing the topics that are to be discussed is a good tip. You can also discuss your topics with your classmates who are also going to the session before the session – exchange information. I am looking forward to seeing you all in not very long. Until then, enjoy this piece of work done by your chairs, and prepare well to what is going to be an amazing long-weekend. Thank you to Karim, Emilie, Fahad, Nastassia, Lorenzo, Bernet, Bram, Arriana, Willem, Sophie, Stefan, Dirk, Elina, Gráinne and Boaz for making this. Good work.
All the best, Victoria Bendiksby Wilkinson President of the session
Information resources on the European Union
The European Union The Gateway to the European Union: http://europa.eu.int/
Introduction to the EU The European Union at a glance: http://europa.eu.int/abc/index_sv.htm What does the EU do? http://europa.eu.int/abc/index2_sv.htm How is the EU organised? http://europa.eu.int/abc/index3_sv.htm Europe in 12 lessons: http://europa.eu.int/abc/12lessons/index_sv.htm The history of the European Union http://www.historiasiglo20.org/europe/index.htm
Institutions Introducing the EU institutions and other bodies: http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutionsbodies/index_en.htm European Commission: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/ Council of the European Union: http://ue.eu.int/ European Parliament: http://www.europarl.eu.int/
Content Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) The agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) has been a topic of debate since its incubation in 1994. Originally designed as an agreement made for multiple countries it now grants only three countries special rights and access to the European Internal Market. Is there still a place for the agreement in our current Europe? Should the agreement continue as it is, with modifications or should the EU present an ultimatum to the three nations to be in or out? Committee on Security and defence (SEDE) Nothing to hide nothing to fear – with the increase of CCTV cameras being used to combat crime across Europe as well as new DNA databases being used to prevent future criminality, should the European Union concern itself with the privacy of it’s citizens and limit the use of such technology or is it a necessary evil in today’s world? Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) The Dublin Agreements are designed to combat ‘asylum shopping’ of asylum seekers amongst the countries who have ratified the agreement. In light of recent reports questioning the treatment of asylum seekers in Italy, Hungary and Greece, what should be done to limit the need to transfer asylum seekers between the members of the agreement due to unsatisfactory reception conditions? Should they be transferred at all? Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) With 25% of Western Europe’s ‘Healthy Years’ lost to chronic illness as a result of obesity, and the impact it has on people’s lives as well as our healthcare systems. What should the role of the European Union be to combat rising obesity in Member States and what actions should be taken to decrease the harmful impact it can have on people’s lives? Committee on Fisheries (PECH) The world’s fish stocks are collapsing and some blame the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for worsening the decline. The EU has recognised this and is in the process of reforming the CFP so that it can be implemented by 2014. The reforms, however, have been criticised and questions are raised if the proposed reforms will do enough. Should the EU look to implement more drastic reforms or are the current plans sufficient to preserve marine biodiversity and stop overfishing?
Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) MEPs and other experts have debated the growing levels of debt among sports clubs, recent corruption cases and possible remedies under the topic ”Playing by the rules: financial fair play and the fight against corruption in sport”. How should the EU take the lead in promoting transparency and stepping up the fight against corruption, match fixing and betting? Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) In light of the recent status upgrade of Palestine by the UN General Assembly, should the European Union follow suit and adopt a unified stance on the Israel/Palestine conflict in the hope of promoting it’s peaceful end? Committee on Agriculture (AGRI) With the growing international competition in the food sector, European farmers have been driven to adopt new measures to remain competitive and to be able to produce cheap food. However these measures come at a cost, specifically to animal welfare within the Union. Is the European Union doing enough to protect the welfare of these animals and if not what should it be doing to ensure the welfare of animals within the EU?
Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) The agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) has been a topic of debate since its incubation in 1994. Originally designed as an agreement made for multiple countries it now grants only three countries special rights and access to the European Internal Market. Is there still a place for the agreement in our current Europe? Should the agreement continue as it is, with modifications or should the EU present an ultimatum to the three nations to be in or out? Topic Overview All of the gain but none of the blame? Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are currently the only three countries, bar Switzerland to some extent, that have access to the internal free market of the European Union (EU). This combination of 27 EU member states and three other countries is commonly known as the European Economic Area (EEA) with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of around €12000 billion in 2009. In that same year, the cumulative GDP of Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, €285 billion, accounted for roughly 2.36%1: a significant proportion. What sets these three countries apart is that, as members of the EEA they do have access to the European internal market, but are not necessarily bound by the EU’s economic laws, rules and guidelines, impeding their accountability. With the recent widespread economic downturn in Europe, there is increasing pressure to address this issue and force these three countries to either fully commit to the European project, or leave the internal market altogether. With the start of the European project half a century ago, several Western-European countries, including Germany, France and the BeNeLux, started on a path of economic convergence. With its goal of a single free European market, soon this ‘European Project’ was desirable by other western European countries, including the United Kingdom, Austria and Norway. They set out to form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1960, with their goal of ‘promot[ing] closer economic cooperation and free trade in Europe’2. Over the years this association evolved, many of its member states at one point joining what is currently known as the EU, rendering their membership to the EFTA obsolete. This eventually only left Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland as members, whose citizens declined to join the EU after being consulted through various referenda. Of these four countries, all accept Switzerland acquired access to the European internal market through the EEA agreement in 1994, while still remaining independent from the EU3. As a consequence, currently no trade barriers exist between the EU member states, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, allowing for free movement of capital, goods, persons and services, although specific exemptions were made with regards to common agriculture and fishing policies, the customs 1
Acquired from the following source, based on the 2009 census: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/refreshTableAction.do;jsessionid=9ea7d07e30db7ebb75d72a5f48a6bde 2 As obtained from: http://www.efta.int/about-‐efta/the-‐european-‐free-‐trade-‐association.aspx 3 http://www.efta.int/about-‐efta/history.aspx
union and several other fields of policy. Having access to the single market, but not bound by the EU’s institutions and policies these countries enjoy what some consider an unfair advantage. Not only do they believe that compliance with all EU rules is required to maintain equal competitiveness, but they are also convinced that the EU’s rules are necessary to sustain economic and political stability in Europe. Enter, the Eurocrisis, a situation in which the abovementioned stability is out of reach. When the EU spiralled into a recession, at least partially caused by flaws in its design, many called for a deepening of the European integration in order to fix these. This would inevitably lead to more and stricter policies, for example in the field of public finance. This deepening of the integration would of course result in stricter bonds between those inside the EU and especially the Eurozone, but also lead to the other members of the EEA being more excluded from the institutions and systems that guide and govern the internal market. At one point, some say, this position might be impossible to uphold, forcing Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to either join the EU or leave the free internal market altogether. On the other hand, however, many have questioned whether this is actually is the proper path to take. The European Economic Area provides many benefits to all of its member states, allowing the EU for example to benefit from Norway’s huge oil-reserves without asking its citizens to commit to the EU, which they in the past have refused. Therefore, some argue, forcing Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to join the EU could also very well result in them breaking their numerous economic ties with the area, not a very pleasant prospect. In the end, the question of whether the EU should force the other EEA countries to either commit or leave the free internal market comes down to several points. Is the legislative and economic position of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein fair to the EU and its member states? Do these countries’ citizens even want to become member states, and should the EU risk the possibility of losing them as members of the EEA altogether? Does the EU even want all of them as member states, keeping in mind for example the IceSave debacle? Or should the status quo be upheld, especially in these times of recession, preventing another severe hit to the EU’s economic wellbeing? Keywords: The EEA agreement; The Internal Market; EEA legislation; Referendum in 1994 Written by: Dirk Hofland (NL) and Gráinne Hawkes (IE) Suggested Readings The European Economic Area Website of the European Union http://eeas.europa.eu/eea/ The Official Website of the European Free Trade Association http://www.efta.int/eea.aspx
Further readings Norway’s stance regarding the EEA http://www.eunorway.org/Global/SiteFolders/webeu/NOU2012_2_Chapter%2013.pdf Official EEA Agreement http://efta.int/~/media/Documents/legal-texts/eea/the-eeaagreement/Main%20Text%20of%20the%20Agreement/EEAagreement.ashx
Committee on Security and Defence (SEDE) Nothing to hide nothing to fear – with the increase of CCTV cameras being used to combat crime across Europe as well as new DNA databases being used to prevent future criminality, should the European Union concern itself with the privacy of its citizens and limit the use of such technology or is it a necessary evil in today’s world? Topic Overview “…the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” – On Liberty, John Stuart Mill The above quote accurately demonstrates the balance SEDE needs to strike as concerns how far mass surveillance techniques should be allowed to be used before constituting a breach of the freedom of privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. For a society to be free, it needs to ensure that its citizens are confident to act as they like without feeling pressured to conform to external norms. The overexpansion of CCTV monitoring and DNA databases can easily slip into this precarious grey area, resulting in a need for society to determine how much freedom it is acceptable to sacrifice in the name of safety. It goes without question, however, that the threats to society which various governments need to address are far greater now than they were a few decades ago. This means that more drastic measures may be needed to guarantee society’s safety, with this safety perhaps coming in at a higher price than we are currently comfortable with. A lack of comfort does not, however, denote a lack of balance in the proposed methods of preventing harm to others. CCTV footage and DNA samples provide crime investigators with necessary information which can help them identify crime perpetrators, as well as an accuracy which can prevent mistakes leading to the incrimination of the wrong people. Surveillance cameras act as a deterrent for many small crimes, as it indicates to the potential offenders that they will probably be penalized for their wrongful behaviour. DNA databases, on the other hand, allow the police to keep tabs on offenders and cross-reference evidence new crimes across databases with offenders already registered on the system encouraging efficient solutions and providing leads. The defense for such methods is that a citizen should not fear the involvement of these methods in his or her private life if they have nothing to hide. After all, if there is nothing illegal about an activity, then what is wrong with being part of an information database which will prevent harm to others? The response to this question grows out of the fundamental right that each of us has to keep information concerning oneself private. It is worth drawing parallels here with developments in online data protection. The accusation against data collection is not so much that it will be abused, but rather that citizens whose information is recorded have not agreed to sharing such information, particularly if it does end up being misused. The same principle applies for the protection of privacy. To keep certain activities to oneself does not indicate clandestine 10
activity, but merely an exercise of one’s liberty. A further concern is that the State itself may abuse the information it acquires to impose its control on the public in an unauthorised way, referring us to concepts such as George Orwell’s Big Brother in his book 1984. To expose citizens to CCTV supervision or include them in expansive DNA databases without their consent – and in some cases even awareness – infringes their liberty to act and develop as they like. The issue at hand is not, however, whether all surveillance ought to be banned. It is the accepted duty of a state to protect its citizens, and part of that protection involves being able to monitor certain anti-social elements. The problem that the EU needs to address is how far should that surveillance be allowed to go before it constitutes an invasion on people’s privacy. There is a valid concern that such extensive CCTV monitoring may lead to a form of policing a population beyond the acceptable parameters of what is allowed in the name of social security and peace. Does controlling the misdemeanours of a few really justify invading the privacy of the many? In conclusion, we come to see that the issue SEDE is dealing with is essentially concerned with establishing where the balance lies between protecting the individual and protecting society. While preparing, consider not only whether such surveillance is in fact successful, but also how such specific measures may also impact society at large. There is an opportunity cost in choosing to invest in these methods of crime deterrence. If the aim of these techniques is to stop crime from happening, should we invest more in these methods of deterrence, or perhaps look into the reasons why the perpetrators of these crimes are inclined to break the law in the first place? This points us towards social issues greater than the scope our discussions at the session will have time to cover, but it is worth viewing the topic from this perspective in order to understand the context in which surveillance operates. Keywords: Freedom of privacy; Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); police state; NDNAD ; surveillance culture; S and Marper v UK (European Court of Justice case); Written by: Elina Terea Mantrali (CY) and Boaz Manger (NL) Further Readings: A fine presentation of the debate with respect to DNA databases: http://www.yourgenome.org/ethics/dnad/dnad_ethics.shtml On DNA databases: http://hstlj.org/articles/concerns-associated-with-expanding-dna-databases/ On the inherent dangers of a DNA database: http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/dna-database-innocent-or-guilty-whats-difference A defense of CCTV monitoring by the industry itself: http://www.info4security.com/story.asp?storycode=4126538 11
An argument that CCTV does not in fact fulfill its prescribed function: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/aug/17/why-cctv-does-not-deter-crime A discussion on the use of CCTV in British schools: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/12/cctv-cameras-schools-out-of-hand An essay on the topic with reference to DNA databases: http://www.lawteacher.net/technology-law/essays/a-national-dna-database.php
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) The Dublin Agreements are designed to combat ‘asylum shopping’ of asylum seekers amongst the countries who have ratified the agreement. In light of recent reports questioning the treatment of asylum seekers in Italy and Greece, what should be done to limit the need to transfer asylum seekers between the members of the agreement due to unsatisfactory reception conditions? Should they be transferred at all? Topic Overview For over a decade illegal immigration has been a key focus point of the EU’s common immigration policy. On the one hand most member states which are affected by the flow of illegal immigration have proposed to create a common EU policy on this matter. Their reasoning behind this is to divide the burden between all member states as equally as possible. Whilst on the other hand member states who aren’t affected as much by this phenomenon, such as many Northern European countries, tend to focus more on decreasing push factors in immigrant’s respective countries. And by doing this they would lose less sovereignty then if a common immigration policy would be introduced. The Dublin agreements were installed in order to deal with the problem known as asylum shopping. Henceforth it was declared illegal for immigrants to file for asylum in any of the countries that ratified the agreements apart from the country they arrived in. This also made it illegal for immigrants to travel to other countries whilst their file was being processed. On top of this, border control has been strengthened to decrease the flow of illegal immigration into namely Greece, that accounts for almost 90% of illegal border crossings in the EU. It is fair to say that that the amount of illegal immigrants has decreased over the past few years due to EU regulations and initiatives, but these regulations haven’t gone without criticism. There is still a form of discrepancy regarding illegal immigrants that have already succeeded in entering the EU-zone. And under the Dublin agreements this means that these illegal immigrants will be sent back to the country of entry. This places a considerable burden on states on the borders of the EU, seeing as they have to regulate their own borders but also focus on the influx of immigrants being sent back by other member states. Moreover there are also many examples of illegal immigrants’ human rights violations in detention centres, such as on the Italian island of Lampadusa and the Greek town of Amygdaleza. Amnesty International recently commented on the situation in Greece. Amnesty International stated that refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Greece are highly exposed to a range of human rights abuses, especially in detention centres which often lack sufficient sanitary facilities and healthcare. On top of that physical abuse by border guards has also been
a reoccurrence in Mediterranean countries. Also Greece still does not have a fair and effective asylum system, and asylum-seekers face major obstacles just to register their claims. Although not all member states suffer the exact same burden of illegal immigration, most feel some effect of this phenomenon. At the moment Greece is still the main entry point for illegal immigrants, yet many manage to escape the red tape and illegally continue their journey across Europe. This brings along certain consequences, such as the rise in other criminal activities like human trafficking and illegal employment. Many questions arise with this specific topic. Can the Dublin agreements be seen as a success in combating asylum shopping? Or are they burdening border countries with more than they can handle especially regarding the economic situation of southern European countries? And if the latter is the case what can be done to solve these problems? A re-evaluation of the Dublin agreements? Or should the EU start to focus more on decreasing push factors in immigrants’ respective countries? Will the EU be able to tackle this issue to relieve pressure on member states by coming up with a common migration policy that would see a rise in shared responsibility, and if so, to what extent? Keywords: Dublin Agreements, Dublin II, Frontex, Eurodac, European Charter on Human Rights, Asylum Shopping, Asylum Seekers, Greece, Italy, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Europol, Eurodac, Common Migration Policy, Schengen Written by: Karim Ben Hamda (NL) and Victoria Bendiksby Wilkinson (NO) Further readings: Official article on the EU’s stand on the matter: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/immigration/index_en.htm http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons _asylum_immigration/l33153_en.htm Official article about the EU legislation on the Eurodac System: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons _asylum_immigration/l33081_en.htm
News articles concerning the problem: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/07/dublin-regulation-european-asylum-seekers http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2011/may/11/europe-asylum-systemcrisis Academic article concerning the matter of the Dublin Agreement vs the European Convention of Human Rights: https://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CEc QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dublinproject.eu%2Ffr%2Fcontent%2Fdownload%2F192%2F1356%2Fversion%2F2%2Ffile%2FD ublin%2Bvs%2BCEDH.pdf&ei=I-H-UNOiEoO30QWLyoCQDQ&usg=AFQjCNHhtlBtdpv7YSYESq8tuiSSF2INg&bvm=bv.41248874,d.d2k Amnesty International has taken a clear stand on the question: http://www.amnesty.eu/en/press-releases/all/eu-must-call-on-italy-to-stop-human-rightsviolations-of-migrants-and-asylum-seekers-in-lampedu-0393/ https://www.google.nl/search?q=eurodac&aq=f&oq=eurodac&aqs=chrome.0.57j60j61j64j61j 0.1325&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Video of the situation the Asylum Seekers live under in Greece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgonnC2xrFU
Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) With 25% of Western Europe’s ‘Healthy Years’ lost to chronic illness as a result of obesity, and the impact it has on people’s lives as well as our healthcare systems. What should the role of the European Union be to combat rising obesity in Member States and what actions should be taken to decrease the harmful impact it can have on people’s lives? Topic Overview Obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. The number of people in the world who are overweight has now exceeded those who are undernourished and the issue is particularly prevalent in Europe. According to a 2010 report, over half of adults in the EU are overweight and on average 15.5% of the adult population is obese4. However, the most alarming fact highlighted by the report is the large increase in obesity, with the rate of obesity more than doubling in most EU countries over the past 20 years. Child obesity is also of great concern as it increases the risks of cardiovascular problems in later life even if the weight is lost. Across most EU countries, 1 in 7 children are overweight or obese, with the problem particularly prevalent in Southern European countries such as Malta, Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain5. Childhood is also important for forming healthy behaviours; it is essential that children understand the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. The impact of obesity goes beyond the health risks to individuals. Obesity is already responsible for approximately 6% of health costs in Europe6, along with indirect costs due to loss of productivity, lives and related income that are at least two times higher. In addition, lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to be overweight or obese, particularly in Western Europe. There is no single organisation that is instrumental in tackling the problem as it can instead be dealt with on many different levels. Health ministries are likely to play a vital role in reducing obesity levels and improving awareness. The role of the health system is also important when dealing with those who are already at risk, overweight or obese. Local authorities also have great potential for creating environments and opportunities for physical activity and an active lifestyle. This can be supported by European citizens and non-Governmental organisations to 4
OECD (2010), Health at a Glance, Chapter 2.8 OECD (2010), Health at a Glance, Chapter 2.4 6 Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand (FOOD), http://www.food-‐programme.eu/en/project/why-‐such-‐ a-‐project 5
help foster public awareness and demand action. Food producers and retailers in the private sector also have a responsibility to promote healthy choices. Potential solutions include introducing legal limits on fat, sugar and salt content in foods, improving packaging and labeling, improving the availability of healthy food and promoting an active lifestyle. There are also more radical suggestions such as introducing a ‘fat tax’ such as the system recently trialed in Denmark or even cutting welfare benefits received by adults who are obese. However, criticisms to measures to control obesity often claim that governments interfere too much with personal choice, with policies labeled as a ‘nanny state’. The role of the European Union therefore needs to be considered carefully. Key words: Obesity; nutrition; physical activity; body mass index; public health; socioeconomic background; child obesity. Written by: Sophie Duffield (UK) and Stefan Oberman (NL) Further readings: European Charter for Counteracting Obesity (2006): https://docs.google.com/a/eypuk.co.uk/viewer?a=v&q=cache:CytDHKfDQvYJ:www.euro.wh o.int/document/e89567.pdf+&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESi9Yj8vGkJ7bLbvZQrh pOcaT51cGRG48xo5C1cwMkFNxeyLAtLfwrxVZYvgQ9IbCqNR4MoaimDjcuPkA_ByGlT zaoAdYV5WAak30RikvjJfZgsmI8rsVcTauVfZvrgohfpTC80&sig=AHIEtbSFhoSa5TxP16YPCpom6oqyRoMdfw European Commission White Paper on Nutrition (2007): http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CE EQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Feurlex.europa.eu%2FLexUriServ%2FLexUriServ.do%3Furi%3DOJ%3AC%3A2010%3A008E %3A0097%3A0105%3AEN%3APDF&ei=FjjsUIKVC4iBhQfXwoD4AQ&usg=AFQjCNGt Ggr2SjSxf-srlqn3mx6MRvcLVg&bvm=bv.1357316858,d.d2k European Food and Nutrition Action Plan (2007): https://docs.google.com/a/eypuk.co.uk/viewer?a=v&q=cache:VB4HtPrEIcJ:www.euro.who.int/document/e91153.pdf+&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADG EESjzmdaHmp12xOnF0QJ_bJqCNhN8iy1FQpM8krQlkW6s__389yhDjfvZDCZwyxP90NqXYjWMCaCc_97jNQZMXC3b2dFePssStj0WJEGtrlkMLGXeNcIkA5SlMK3zbl5bMu0Buo&sig=AHIEtbSNkoqXH0zwdEEsL64swF0 jb9KodQ 17
Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related Health Issues; progress report (2010): https://docs.google.com/a/eypuk.co.uk/viewer?a=v&q=cache:ku9796C3BwJ:ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/docs/implementation_report_en.pdf+&hl= en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiwCBfDA2J9ZKnS4VWh3ofoH2XX0mooHaa3Nunbsv6 hNHAbdh_5FVRj1eIKebn65At4szyfA98ZPm8TDBkABt5Y_UBy4ov1cQSjzIZ4PVsz0UbUykXJJhFaStkNvbe_NXvQ9F&sig=AHIEtbR7Gyu_ujKHjtIaq2OOi1hTE150Dg Other useful links: OECD, Health at a Glance (2010); information on diseases including obesity along with healthcare systems: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC 8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fec.europa.eu%2Fhealth%2Freports%2Fdocs%2Fhealth_glan ce_en.pdf&ei=k4jUOu9FuaY1AXt4YDYDA&usg=AFQjCNFAUKFbxK2NsjUnlmZF7FAeV3GbBw Article on the Danish ‘fat tax’ (2012): http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21566664danish-government-rescinds-its-unwieldy-fat-tax-fat-chance Useful data and guidelines; quite comprehensive: http://www.easo.org/ WHO European Region Website: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/healthtopics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity
Committee on Fisheries (PECH) The world’s fish stocks are collapsing and some blame the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for worsening the decline. The EU has recognised this and is in the process of reforming the CFP so that it can be implemented by 2014. The reforms, however, have been criticised and questions are raised if the proposed reforms will do enough. Should the EU look to implement more drastic reforms or are the current plans sufficient to preserve marine biodiversity and stop overfishing? Topic Overview With only 22 percent of Europe’s fishing stocks known not being overfished7, the situation is more than worrying. Vessels are catching more fish than can safely be reproduced, causing exhausting individual fish stocks and threats to the marine ecosystem. The situation is not only bad, but it is also getting worse: we are losing species, as well as entire ecosystems. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has clearly overshot its mark and the European Commission has plans ready for a (third) ambitious reform of the programme but is it ambitious enough? The CFP was launched in 1970 to provide a common market for fish to the initial 6 Member States. It initially aimed at an effective fisheries management in EU waters to stimulate the fishing industry at the time. Only in 1983, after almost 7 years of difficult negotiations, the CFP mentioned the need to combat overfishing by introducing the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). In 1992 and 2002, two major reforms to CFP were made with the purpose to further protect the environment and limit the amount of fish allowed to be caught. Unfortunately those last 2 reforms did not really bring positive results and the need for a third reform is more pressing than ever before. Since its 2002 reform, the CFP has lacked focus in its objectives on environmental, economical and social sustainability. One of the main problems for CFP as it is today is undoubtedly overfishing. Too many boats are looking for too few available fishing resources and coupled with technological innovations the EU’s fishing capacity is increasing every year. Despite TACs and the yearly quotas per Member State, there still exists manifest overfishing practices. A key proposal as voted in the PECH committee on 18 December 2012 proposes that ecosystem-based fisheries management plans should be established for all fisheries. This would extend the approach on maximum sustainable yield (MSY); the largest amount of fish 7
that can be harvested from a stock indefinitely given current environmental conditions.8 The CFP reform aims that by 2015 at the latest, fishing mortality rates will be set to allow stocks to recover or to be maintained above biomass levels. Furthermore, the EU aspires to phase out discarding, an unacceptable practice that allows fisheries to throw unwanted fish overboard. Most animals that are discarded do not survive, thus representing a waste of resources and an unnecessary impact on stock and ecosystem health. However, the TAC, that should set the fish catches, does not limit the amount that can be caught but only the amount that is landed. This allows vessels to discard, without recording it. Keeping this in mind, will the reforms have any effect, when nothing about a change of the quota system is mentioned? The fishing industry has been heavily subsidised over the last 40 years. Take the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), it accounts for 4,3 billion euro of the EU’s 2007-2013 budget. It provides the industry with funds to, for instance, adjust their fishing fleet to more modern standards. But is that not giving the wrong signal? With fleets subject to severe overcapacity and fishing stocks to collapse, this might not be the right solution. One of the main questions to the committee is: What measures should the EU take in terms of financial support to the fishing industry for it to remain economically and socially valuable? Is today’s support sustainable enough? Other issues and topics of debate still centre on much the same crisis in EU fisheries as the one that existed prior to 2002. In the EU, the small-scale fleet accounts for 77% of the total fleet in vessel numbers, but only for 8% in tonnage, causing poor profitability in the sector. The EU recognises the necessity to change the current situation, an idea that is strengthened by the recent financial crisis. However, if decision making under the CFP continues to compromise the ecological sustainability of fish stocks and the marine ecosystems, as in the reforms of 2002, it is difficult to imagine that there will be a turnaround of the economic, and therefore social, decline in the sector. The fishing industry is facing an uncertain future and it cannot be denied that Europe’s fisheries policy is in urgent need of reform. The Common Fisheries Policy third major reform strives for healthy marine ecosystems, whilst also securing a profitable and economically independent sector. What balance should be made between economical and social interests and the sustainability of our marine ecosystem? Can the current strives be achieved by the reforms proposed or are more drastic measures to be implemented?
Keywords Common Fisheries Policy, European Fisheries Fund, overfishing, total allowable catch, maximum sustainable yield, discard ban, transferable fishing concessions Written by: Nastassia Winge (NL) and Lorenzo Van de Pol (BE) Further reading Legislative Documents CFP legislation after 2002 reform: http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2002:358:0059:0080:EN:PDF Proposal to reform CFP, as voted by the Fisheries committee in the European Parliament: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0425:FIN:EN:PDF Proposal for a regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0804:FIN:EN:PDF Official Sources Green paper on the reform of CFP: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0163:FIN:EN:PDF Communication concerning the reform of CFP: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0417:FIN:EN:PDF Articles and Media Good overview on the progress of the reforms: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/mare/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=9310&su bweb=343&lang=en Video concerning CFP reform, giving different views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn1eSjcRPss (must watch!) What will actually be changed with the reform?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-JTm84pMdw (must watch!)
Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) MEPs and other experts have debated the growing levels of debt among sports clubs, recent corruption cases and possible remedies under the topic ”Playing by the rules: financial fair play and the fight against corruption in sport”. If, how should the EU take the lead in promoting transparency and stepping up the fight against corruption, match fixing and betting? Topic Overview “Match fixing and illegal betting kill the very spirit of sport”, Tadeusz Zwiefka, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) said in 2011. As the multi-billion dollar industry it is, it is no secret that sport is closely tied to political and private interests, unfortunately resulting in a fertile soil for corruption. This corruption appears in many forms; referees and players can take bribers to fix matches, club owners can demand kickbacks for player transfers, and companies and governments can take rig bids for construction contracts. Organised crime is behind many of the betting scandals that have dented sport’s reputation. Also, money laundering is a widespread problem. This can take place through sponsorship and advertising arrangements, or it may be through the purchase of clubs, players and image rights. Complex techniques are used to launder money through football and other sports. These include crossborder transfers, tax havens and front companies. The complexity of sporting finances and illegal online betting rings offer ideal avenues for money laundering, with amounts running into the tens of millions of euros. When the idea of sport is to provide a healthy platform for practice of good sportsmanship and intercultural exchange, it is truly a tragedy to see it often being reduced to a mere vehicle for crime. Sporting and other associations independent life is a vital component of a democratic society, however associations can no longer be allowed to become shelters for those who abuse this freedom to practice corruption and crime, with no respect at all for the basic values of society and the importance of fair play in sport. Sport is strongly embedded in Europe's societies and the sector plays an important role in Europe's economy. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, the EU acquired a supporting competence in the field of sport and can henceforth promote European sporting issues. But the major issue is that the majority of European Union (EU) member states do not have a definition of this type of fraud and match-fixing in criminal law within sports. Some countries have minimum fines as low as €100 and maximum prison sentences as low as four years for those convicted. A public hearing was organised by the European Parliament in December last year where experts unanimously agreed that EU institutions should take the lead in promoting transparency and stepping up the fight against corruption, match fixing and betting, which are now serious problems not just in Europe, but worldwide. The MEPs were calling for a large-scale study on corruption in European sport, focusing especially on links between organised crime and illegal betting, sport agents, referees, club officials, sportsmen. They also wanted the European Commission to regulate online betting in order to combat match fixing and ensure fairness in sport. It should also be added that as a 22
result of an international initiative, the recent 2012 Nicosia declaration on the fight against match-fixing9 was signed. While the EU congratulates this quality effort, it should be clear that the EU is not authorized to concretely tackle these complex difficulties without clear transparency. However, the declaration forms a solid welcome step, having considered the massive increase in sport revenues internationally. So what can more specifically be done, and most importantly what can the EU do? Delegates of CULT have to consider matters such as match-fixing and high debts in order to come up with a balanced and well-constructed answer to tackle these problems. In addition, the committee has to come up with feasible solutions to questions such as ‘What steps, including legislation, does the European Union (EU) intend to take to monitor and eventually combat problems such as fraud and money laundering in sport?’ One of the EU’s main objectives regarding this topic should include finding a practical way to ensure every participant plays by the rules. The call for UEFA’s Financial Fair Play system does not come as a surprise that the top-10 football clubs have more than €4,5 bln debt (as of 2010). And most importantly, Member States have to work together and make use of existing organizations. As European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said, “If we do not watch to protect the integrity of sport, its very essence will be destroyed. We are all convinced that we must unite all our efforts, all authorities must cooperate”. Keys Words: Corruption in sport, match fixing, debt ceilings, financial fair play, transparency in sport Written by: Emilie Tilstam (SE) and Fahad Fahad (NL) Further reading: Official sources European Parliament EP Public Hearing: ‘Playing by the rules: Financial fair play and the fight against corruption in sport’ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201212/20121219ATT58351/201212 19ATT58351EN.pdf Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty: EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, YOUTH AND SPORT http://ec.europa.eu/sport/documents/library/article165_en.pdf
A declaration outlining five key areas: 1. Education, Prevention and Good Governance, 2. Monitoring 3. Sanctions, 4. Cooperation, 5. International coordination http://ec.europa.eu/sport/library/documents/b1/eusf2012-‐nicosia-‐declaration-‐fight-‐against-‐match-‐fixing.pdf
Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)10 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on promotion of the integrity of sport against manipulation of results, notably match-fixing http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/epas/resources/texts/CM_Rec_2011_10_en.pdf European Commission: EU and Sport http://ec.europa.eu/sport/about/about-this-website_en.htm Match fixing http://ec.europa.eu/sport/what-we-do/match-fixing_en.htm European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/fight_against_fraud/antifraud_offices/l34008_en.htm Transparency International: Sport http://www.transparency.org/topic/detail/sport Financial Fair Play http://www.financialfairplay.co.uk/ playthegame.org: Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations (AGGIS) http://www.playthegame.org/theme-pages/action-for-good-governance-in-internationalsports-organisations.html Media Coverage The Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2011/11/corruption-sport European Parliament/News: Time to end corruption in sport http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/content/20110624STO22594/html/Time-toend-corruption-in-sport Euractiv.com: Parliament mulls EU laws to fight organised crime in sport http://www.euractiv.com/sports/parliament-mulls-eu-wide-laws-fi-news-514844
Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) In light of the recent status upgrade of Palestine by the UN General Assembly, should the European Union follow suit and adopt a unified stance on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the hope of promoting its peaceful end? Topic Overview The recent10 status upgrade of Palestine by the General Assembly of the United Nations to a ‘non-member observer state’ brought the Palestinian goal of a sovereign state in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza closer. However, due to perpetual tensions between Israeli government, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Hamas, peace still seems far away. What steps should be taken to move towards an end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what role can the EU play in this process? Ever since the decomposition of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Palestine region has been an area of dispute. After the Gaza War in 2008 and 2009, missiles have continued to be launched by Hamas on Israel, and vice versa. Most recently, Israel answered to Palestine’s UN upgrade with the announcement that more settlements are to be built on the West Bank, which is part of the Palestinian territories11. At the same time, the Gaza Strip blockade by Israel is still in place. This blockade is generally considered as illegal on the basis of international law, as it can be regarded as a collective punishment of a civilian population. The Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, which violently removed representatives of the PNA when it took over control in 2007. As of today, the EU, among others, still regards Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Despite recent efforts for reconciliation, the Palestinian people remain divided. Until now, supporting the Middle East Peace Process has been a “strategic priority”12 for the EU. The European stance wishes to reach “a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours.”13 In order to contribute to this process, the EU has given both its political and financial support. For instance, with the introduction of the EU Special Representative in the Middle East, the 10 Status upgrade happened on the 29th of October 2012 11
according to the pre-‐1967 borders http://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-‐ 2019/WashingtonPost/2012/07/14/National-‐Politics/Graphics/w-‐ObamaMideast.jpg
EU has tried to act as a facilitator for peace. Additionally, by participating in the Quartet,14 which includes representatives from the EU, USA, the Russian Federation and the UN, the EU has demonstrated a clear willingness to contribute to the Middle East peace process (MEPP). Moreover, with the creation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004, the EU has worked closely with the PNA to achieve goals set in the EU/Palestinian Authority Action Plan for the troubled region. A clear example of the latter is the fact that the European Commission is the biggest donor of financial assistance to the PNA. We can ask ourselves if such a status upgrade even acts as a catalyst to the peace process by any means? What should the EU’s stance, role and plan for action be to aid in reaching a peaceful end to this endless conflict? Keywords: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East peace process, Quartet, Non-Member observer state status upgrade, UN General Assembly, European Neighbourhood Policy Written by: Arriana Yiallourides and Willem Koelewijn Further readings: Official EU articles: http://eeas.europa.eu/mepp/index_en.htm http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/134140.pdf http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/partners/enp_palestinian_authority_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/country/pa_enp_country_report_2004_en.pd http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/pa_enp_ap_final_en.pdf Other official sources: http://www.quartetrep.org/quartet/ News Articles: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13701636 http://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2012/07/14/NationalPolitics/Graphics/w-ObamaMideast.jpg
Committee on Agriculture (AGRI) With the growing international competition in the food sector, European farmers have been driven to adopt new measures to remain competitive and to be able to produce cheap food. However these measures come at a cost, specifically to animal welfare within the Union. Is the European Union doing enough to protect the welfare of these animals and if not what should it be doing to ensure the welfare of animals within the EU? Topic Overview When you take a bite of your 1-euro hamburger, chances are you do not want to think about the animal’s suffering which enables you to have that hamburger. However, fighting for animal’s rights is no longer only an activity of extreme vegetarians. Since international competition forces the EU to keep up with the low prices of meat15, a large part of the costs are cut by being less careful with the product: the animal16. The EU is attempting to find the right balance between offering realistic competition and animal welfare. Over the past decade, the EU has taken different measures to improve the sustainability and market orientation of the agricultural sector. In 2003, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was altered by reducing the amount of direct payments made to farmers in order to modernise the agricultural sector. Funds were transferred from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) to the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). This means that farmers can only receive support to improve animal welfare by rural development. However, Member States are not obligated to offer this support and only 21 out of 90 of the rural development programmes currently in place include animal welfare. Furthermore, the decision-making process has become more intergovernmental. This means that the Member States have more individual influence on the practical and financial decisions to improve the agricultural sector. At the moment, there is still a debate about new reforms of the CAP, which are scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2013. These reforms should focus on the economic, environmental and sustainability challenges we face today. Many people, who fight for animal’s rights, like to see more constructive attention for animal welfare in European policies. The proposals of the CAP reforms promise to make the agricultural sector more sustainable by regulating payments to farmers by so-called crosscompliance. However, there has been criticism that there has not been enough emphasis on the situation of the animals that constitute our food. In 1998, the EU adopted the ‘Five Freedoms’ of animals in the food production. This resulted in a few policies regarding animal’s living space and abuse. Although these policies were a step in the right direction, they seem to be not as effective as hoped for, since various countries are not meeting the
Competition in the EU Food Industry, paper by the Polytechnic University of Madrid [for link: see below]. Conclusions of Welfare Quality®, a research project funded by the European Commission, which focused on integration of animal welfare in the food quality chain.
prescribed standards. Moreover, many people17 wish to see more elaborate rules for, for example, animal transport, the use of antibiotics and the circumstances in slaughterhouses. As Member States have more individual influence on the regulations in the agricultural sector, the process of taking new and more detailed measures has dramatically slowed down. The question is which measures should be taken, and especially how to enforce policies more efficiently, with all the Member States’ approval. Or should the EU just let the Member States make their own national policies, to overcome the various needs of the different countries? Next to internal challenges, the EU must also take international competition into account, which has resulted in various cumbersome ways to favour the EU’s trade18. For example, the EU moves in cheap cattle from Latin America, which forces European farmers to produce ever-cheaper meat. Furthermore, the EU has been granting subsidies to European farmers to export their leftovers to the third world countries, whose farmers now venture bankruptcy. Some people fear that the liberalisation of the global food trade will result in less protection policies for European farmers, which will make the EU bound to import animal unfriendly products from other continents. Behind every product lies a specific production method that is the most efficient. Yet, when the product is a living creature we might want to exchange a bit of the efficiency for morality. In order to create a rightful production cycle in the food industry, the EU needs to overcome problems regarding internal discord and the international trade. Should the EU make their existing policies more elaborate? Will there eventually be a future for the 1-euro hamburger? Keywords: Animal welfare, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), cross-compliance, Five Freedoms, international food sector Written by: Bernet Meijer (NL) and Bram van Meldert (BE) Further readings: CAP reform proposal after 2013: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/legal-proposals/index_en.htm The EAFRD and its functions: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/agriculture/general_framework/l60032_en.htm Papers by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on animal welfare: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/cs/Satellite 17
Several institutions such as the PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Econ Welfare have emphasized the need of improvement on different welfare aspects [for link, see below]. 18 EU Policy-‐making: Reform of the CAP and EU Trade in Beef & Dairy with Developing Countries, by the Pro-‐ Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI) [see below for link].
Article about the ineffectiveness of the EU animal welfare policies: http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/2012/june/ten-member-states-warned-about-animalwelfare/74689.aspx Eurogroup for Animals, an organisation who wishes to protect the animal’s rights in the EU: http://eurogroupforanimals.org/ Inside and outside sources of the Competition in the EU Food Industry, by Polytechnic University of Madrid: http://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CHwQFjAH& url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ip.aua.gr%2Fstudies%2Fbriz_final.pdf&ei=ze3UN3VCurB0QWMx4HwDA&usg=AFQjCNFuuhutnFASEt0n1eTyyWO3N0NXQ&bvm=bv.41248874,d.d2k Econ Welfare report concerning effective policy instruments in the route towards a higher animal welfare in the EU (first report on the list. NOTA BENE: although this report is from 2011, it contains some useful information about possible change and different aspects of welfare that could be considered): http://www.econwelfare.eu/publications/Default.aspx Evaluation of the EU Policy on Animal Welfare and Possible Policy Options for the Future, by the Food Policy Evaluation Consortium (NB although this report is from 2010, it contains some useful information about possible policy options, see the summary in section 1): http://www.eupaw.eu/docs/Final%20Report%20-%20EUPAW%20Evaluation.pdf Paper from the Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI) on the effect of the CAP reforms and EU policies on farmers in Developing Countries: http://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CGEQFjAE&u rl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fao.org%2Fag%2Fagainfo%2Fprogrammes%2Fen%2Fpplpi%2Fd ocarc%2Fwp18.pdf&ei=tvf-UNH6Jo_J0AWZzoGYDQ&usg=AFQjCNFhLdFNE2uF0f95DKfNfFBOJRd6g&bvm=bv.41248874,d.d2k