2012-11-28

Swedish PM Misses the Point...

According to media reports such as for example [1], the Swedish PM Reinfeldt seems annoyed with the EU budget proposal voting by the MEPs from Sweden.

The PMs main gripes seems to be that the the parties in Sweden has another line in the Swedish Riksdag, and that this would somehow be confusing. The PM then misses the main idea about having two chambers in the EU lawmaking process. There is ONE chamber representing the states, and therefore the parliaments and governments of the states, this is known as the Council of Ministers. Then, there is a directly elected chamber called the European Parliament, whose purpose is to do the best job they can for Europe, without being shackled by national politics.

The Swedish PM did not seem to be confused when municipal council members in the surrounding municipalities of Stockholm where against congestion charges and the main party voted for these in the parliament.

It should be added that it is a ridiculous amount of energy being put into the debate about the EUs long term budget, the initial proposal from the commission was to raise the budget with roughly 3%, a budget that is only 1% of the total GDP of the member states. We can all multiply, and 0.03 * 0.01 = 0.0003, so the fight is really about 3 hundreds of a percent of the GDP (0.03%). This is really a piss in the Nile in the greater picture. It seems that the main reason for cutting the EU budget is simply to cut in the EU budget.

2011-06-30

Time for the freedom of movement

In many places around the Union, government debt is rampant, unemployment growing and especially for the young. However, many states are screaming for work force in both white and blue collar areas.

There is ample opportunity for utilizing the freedom of movement and get a job elsewhere.

If you are unemployed, and living in one of the debt-struck states. Investigate wether you can get a job in for example Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands. Not only would you get a job, but you would save your government (and therefor your fellow tax paying neighbours) from handing out unemployment benefits.

2010-09-20

Elections in Sweden

In General
In last day's elections, the Swedish government lost their majority of seats (down to 172 from 178 (175 needed for a majority)) in the parliament. Though their proportion of votes rose from 48.24 % to 49.3 %. In general then, I would say that the Alliance government did a better election than the last one, but other factors conspired against them.

The main reason to that the proportion of votes went up, and the seats went down is of course that the Sweden Democrats passed the 4 % hurdle for getting parliamentary seats. With their votes now being included in the full results, the Alliance was able to raise their number of votes and lose seats.

I have some hypotheses that I would like to play around with, these are in no way based on any real data, so I have to admit that I am speculating about this, but in any case:

The red-green opposition, decided to join together to meet the alliance. This meant that the Left Party (formerly the Communist party), was guaranteed seats in the government in the case of a red-green victory. Many Social Democrats who, would refuse to vote at the Alliance therefor jumped ship and voted on the Sweden Democrats, anything to prevent Lars Ohly, the leader of the Left party from becoming a minister.

Since I am a scientist, I need to be honest and stress once again this is speculation and not based on any real "voter flow" data, but I think it is an entertaining thought anyway.

Sverigedemokraterna
For those who wonder, the SD-party is a party who have a rather inflamed rhetoric about immigration. They are against Union membership for Sweden, and do in general have a leftish social model. Some call them the extreme right, but not so much for them actually being to the right, but rather them having their roots in an organisation nicely named Bevara Sverige Svenskt or Keep Sweden Swedish. These are as could perhaps be guessed from their name in general seen as neo-nazis (and the organisation certainly had connection to various national socialist people and movements) and thus the extreme right (not that the nazis where particularly right-oriented in their politics, but anyway...).

The party claims to have washed themselves clean from their past (I suppose in a similar way that the Left party washed their communist past clean (their party leader is has literally admitted to being a communist)).


In Täby

In the municipality of Täby, just north of Stockholm (a place I have a special connection to, even though I live in the Netherlands), the Moderat majority was lost. Overall the Moderates lost 11.2 % while the Liberal People Party, gained the same share. The main reason for this being local politics, and most likely being rooted with the fact that the Moderates sold of a public school (no problem with that) for virtually nothing (9.2 MSEK or roughly 1 M€) (big problem with that), the Täby council ended up in court and was found to have broken the law (sv) when selling of the public property. Despite the verdict, the council refused to do anything about it.

Obviously, people are not happy if you hand over tax-payer property without just compensation. Thus, we can see the voters verdict of this in the local elections of Täby today.

2010-08-05

WTF: Screw the Swedish Embassy

Great service for Swedes, not living in Sweden! Applying for a new passport or identity card has the trivial cost of 150 €, compared to doing it in Sweden for 50 €.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I would also say a hinder for the free movement of people in Europe!

2010-06-17

Stupid decisions from the EP

Renate Sommer and Peter Liese, MEPs, has just introduced new regulation (see here for a summary in swedish), which strangely passed, where food package markings in joule will be removed, the only marking left will be the kcal (a completely arbitrary unit).

The definition of calories also varies between:

  • Kilogram calorie, also written Calorie or Cal (with a capital C). The energy needed to warm up one kg of water by one degree C.
  • Gram calorie, cal with small c. The energy needed to warm up one gram of water by one degree C. One thousand of these are written as kcal.
  • Pound calorie, which is the energy to warm up one pound of water by one degree C.

So, by forcing away the joule, they are adding confusion to the food labelling (which calorie are they referring to?) and they are assuming that the Unions citizens are stupid and do not understand what a joule is.

Further, why is it difficult to know that a man needs 10 MJ of energy and a woman 8 MJ (as compared to 2500/2000 kcal (or should we say Cal to add to the confusion?))?

What is next? Will Renate Sommer want to dismantle the metre and revert to national foot and inches?

It would be better if they just decided to ban the use of kcal, Cal and cal on the packaging completely. People are not stupid and will adapt, especially if you consider that most people managed to switch to the Euro without to many problems.

Peter Liese also writes [en] that the regulation will not patronise the citizens, but that is exactly what they do when they remove the branding in joules. I and the rest of the citizens are apparently to stupid to understand what a joule is according to Peter. Thank you for not patronising us!

2009-07-02

Stupid Media and Honduras

Why do media keep on insisting on using incorrect terms, for everything that has happened in Honduras the past week?

The last thing on DN use the word decree for something that they also write is approved by the Honduran congress. A decree is an order from the head of state taking the form of law, similar to an executive order in the US. But, in this case apparently a lawfully elected congress can issue decrees, I really do not follow.

The second part is of-course how quick everyone was to react and condem the ousting of the former Honduran president, calling it a military coup d'état. While it is true that the military carried out the ousting, this was done after order from the supreme court that issued the order after the former president Manuel Zelaya. It seems many states and organisations had a knee-jerk reaction with trying to condem the event without knowing what it was about (including the EU), many others (the OAS, US et al.) keep on with trying to punish Honduras for their actions that seem to have been conducted according to the Honduran law.

The rule of law is central to a civilized society and I am actually a bit shocked that the OAS now require that the Honduran supreme court decision should be declared null and void, and that the safeguards in the Honduran constitution that prevents presidents from becoming dictators should not have been acted on.

There have been several recent developments that are worrying in Honduras, such as arrests and extended curfews, but this according to media here. Considering that the DN article (linked above) use the term opposition when they refer to street-protests, I do not trust a single word from Swedish media about this. Other technically legal problems are of course that Honduras for example does not seem to have a defined procedure to impeach or get rid of a president that is breaking the law. Flying the ex president to Costa Rica was probably not the smartest thing, and the ex-president should have the right to be tried in a court, but even the presidents party members in the congress voted to get rid of him, which would at least say one or two things about the president himself.

In general, what I think is that the fact that the congress and supreme court is able to dispose a misbehaving president is probably a good thing (most European states are parliamentary democracies, meaning that the head of state must have support of the parliament), while most of the American democracies have directly elected presidents that rules over a cabinet or the government (European presidents/kings/queens typically have no real power, and the governments are headed by a prime minister).

OK, enough ranting for now... sorry for not putting more work into the entry.

2009-03-30

Time to Rethink the EP Elections

In June we will have new elections for the European Parliament, the only directly elected institution of the Union. As usual, we can expect that the participation will be low.

This year I will vote in the Netherlands, though I am not sure which party yet, but I have some rough ideas at least. This is a fundamental issue, a citizen has the right to vote in the state where he is registered as resident.

In the interest of further integrations, I believe that it is the duty of every citizen that lives outside their home-state to vote in the local elections.

The problem that I can see now, is that the parties in the European Parliament are not very clearly laid out to the citizens. For most Dutch voters, they will go and vote on the same party that they voted for in their national elections. This in terms mean that the questions that will be brought up in the elections will be very specific to the state itself, that is certain questions will be debated in Sweden, some others in Netherlands, but there is no uniform election platform.

I believe that it is time for change, we should ban all national parties from participating and enforce that any party that signs up to the elections must be represented under the same name in at least several of member states. This would prevent voters from thinking nationally wen they cast their vote and start thinking European.

2008-09-19

Ryssland

Nästan ingenting i media om Unionens gemensamma agerande mot Ryssland. En liten artikel på DNs huvudsida som snabbt blev ersatt med utländska nyheter om det USAianska presidentvalet.

I England fick the Telegraph in rubriken: "Brown fails to make EU punish Russia" . Ganska intressant eftersom Storbritannien aldrig ville ha några direkta sanktioner och att EU faktiskt bestraffade Ryssland med att avbryta samtalen och att skicka 200 observatörer till Georgien (de 200 observatörerna är en bestraffning i den meningen att det bör få Ryssland att skämmas en hel del).

Med andra ord, när Unionen visar sin enighet (och i min åsikt är detta en milsten i den gemensamma Europeiska utrikespolitiken) skiter media I det, för det är inte intressant att rapportera om när Unionen fungerar väldigt bra. Om USA hade gjort samma sak (avbrutit samtal inriktade på ett avtal med Ryssland) så hade förmodligen rubrikerna i både Engelsk och Svensk press varit i stil med "Bush bestraffar Ryssland hårt" eller något I den stilen.

Det som EU har gjort är ju en sak som kan leda till bättre folkligt stöd för Unionen, så det känns som en ganska viktig sak att rapportera om, och medan jag hade förväntat mig att Aftonbladet och The Sun inte hade brytt sig (Anna-Lisas nya silikon-pattar är nog mycket viktigare för att sälja lösnummer) eller att de hade vänt det hela uppochner (som the telegraph, men mer extremt), så hade jag förväntat mig mer av DN och SvD. BBC har dock faktiskt rapporterat ganska nyanserat om det hela.