Marcilla no expedienta al directivo que llamó «estado fascista» a España

La firma holandesa Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), que comercializa marcas de café como MarcillaSaimaza y Tassimo, defiende a su director general en Francia, el catalán Xavier Mitjavila i Moix, quien publicó en Facebook una imagen con un lazo amarillo y la leyenda «España es un estado fascista» en inglés.

Jesús Arroyo@GenteQueLucha

Esto es lo que opina de España Xavi Mitjavila, alto directivo de cafés MARCILLA, SAIMAZA y HORNIMANS, por si tienes dudas a la hora de realizar tus compras hasta que pidan perdón

En un breve comunicado que publicó en su sitio web, la empresa defiende que «las opiniones personales son opiniones personales». «JDE está siendo presionada en las redes sociales para tomar una posición sobre este asunto debido a las publicaciones personales de uno de nuestros empleados», se lee en el comunicado.

«Xavier Mitjavila no habla por nosotros y su publicación no representa nuestra filosofía de que compartir un momento con un café o un té puede ayudar al entendimiento mutuo», concluyó la compañía.

El ejecutivo de Marcilla y Saimaza borró sus perfiles en las redes sociales después de la polémica publicación

Por su parte, el ejecutivo corrió a cerrar todos sus perfiles en las redes sociales, desde Facebook hasta Linkedin. Pero a raíz de su publicación, cientos de usuarios piden desde Twitter hacer un boicot contra las marcas de café que JDE comercializa en España. 

«Vengo de tomar el último café del día. Le he pedido al camarero que no fuese ni de la marca Marcilla ni de Saimaza», dijo un usuario llamado García Domínguez.

«Yo no regalo dinero a los ejecutivos idiotas que insultan a mi país. Y tampoco a los empresario (sic) no menos idiotas que los mantienen en sus puestos», agregó, en un tuit que recibió el corazón de «like» de 1.400 personas.

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Las abuelas gallegas se suben por las paredes

A lo largo de los 180 kilómetros de la carretera N-550, que cruza Galicia de arriba abajo, desde A Coruña hasta Tui, llaman la atención cosas como el deslavazado urbanismo de muchos pueblos y aldeas que hay al paso; casas desperdigadas, muestras de bricolaje con soluciones imaginativas convertidas ya en un subgénero, las «chapuzas galegas»… y mujeres mayores dando el callo. Es habitual verlas, suelen ser ancianas, en plena faena: cavando en una huerta, transportando un haz de leña, arreando unas vacas… Esas mujeres fueron la inspiración de Joseba Muruzábal, un artista de 33 años que ha sembrado sus pinturas colosales por esos pueblos de Dios. De repente emergen unas gigantescas heroínas de avanzada edad, abuelas gallegas con superpoderes que se suben por las paredes, inmortalizadas a todo color en medianeras de edificios, en Ordes, en Cambre, en Carballo, en Muxía, en Santiago.

‘Fenómenos do rural’ se llama la serie de obras que retratan a esas señoras con mandilón a cuadros, el que para Joseba, que firma sus obras como Yoseba MP, debería ser el uniforme nacional gallego. «El objetivo de estas imágenes -explica  el artista- es dar testimonio del trabajo que estas mujeres desempeñan en sus hogares y la relevancia que eso tiene en su entorno». «El minifundio gallego es cosa de ellas y eso determina que desarrollen una mentalidad de trabajo y una fuerza para ejecutarlo fuera de lo normal«, añade Yoseba MP, que recuerda que en esa comunidad «cuatro de cada cinco centenarios son mujeres».

La anciana, su mandilón de cuadros y la patata flotante. Así son los ‘Fenómenos do rural’ que pinta Yoseba MP. / EL PERIÓDICO

«Galicia tiró de la economía de subsistencia para soportar la pobreza y la falta de industria, en la posguerra, en el franquismo y en la transición. Esas mujeres son supermujeres porque están enganchadas al campo, a lo que siempre hicieron. Desbordan energía». Cada modelo que utiliza tiene su historia. Por ejemplo, A Greleira de 50 pies: «Se le llama la ruta del grelo a un tramo de la carretera anterior a la entrada en Ordes. Las mujeres venden sus grelos en pequeños puestos cerca de la carretera o en la puerta de sus casas. Lola, que así se llama la modelo, es la abuela de una amiga de Cambre. Sujetando un manojo de grelos en cada mano, hice la versión gallega de ‘El ataque de la mujer de 50 pies’, una película de serie B de los años 50″. «Los grelos de Ordes son mucho más potentes que las espinacas de Popeye», ironiza.

Los poderes de las abuelas

En Cambre, el pueblo natal de Yoseba MP, está ‘Balbina, a muller microondas‘; hace levitar un pollo y le da un asado exprés con ondas de calor que le salen de los ojos. Ahí contó con la ayuda de la AMPA del colegio del pueblo, los niños se implicaron a fondo. «Me gustó explicarles los poderes de sus abuelas, despertar la fascinación de los más pequeños por ellas era algo que no estaba previsto».

‘A ninja Claudina e a raspa dourada’, la percebeira de Muxía. / EL PERIÓDICO

Fina de Carballo, es ‘A muller Nitromón’, en alusión a la variedad autóctona de patata que se da en esa tierra y al abono que utilizó su modelo, Elisa, transformada en ‘Obelisa’. «Quería una mujer de complexión fuerte, quería cambiar el menhir de Obelix por una patata gigante«. Otra de las retratadas es Claudina, percebera de Muxía desde los 15 años hasta los 65, siempre escapando de la espuma de las mortales olas, a veces por los pelos.

La mayor de las modelos con que ha trabajado es ‘Carmen da depuradora, Lady Falcón’. «Tiene 95 años de buen humor. Su marido -relata el pintor- trabajaba en la depuradora de agua del pueblo. Hasta entonces, mucha poebreza. Ahora es viuda desde hace 20 años y como homenaje la pinté subida a un depósito de agua como el que hay en muchas casas de Galicia, esas bolas bicolor».

‘A Cortesa de Cambre, a muller acróbata’. / EL PERIÓDICO

Para trabajar sus monumentales murales, lo primero es hablar con las paisanas, que le cuenten sus historias, les deja que se extiendan para captar la idea que plasmará. Luego viene la sesión de fotos. La obra en sí tarda entre siete y nueve días en estar lista. Lo hace con pintura plástica, rodillo y brocha. Lo más caro, explica, es alquilar la grúa para encaramarse 10 o 15 metros. Aunque hay distintos grados de implicación, no suele tener problemas con los ayuntamientos, ni con los vecinos. «Les suele gustar, es algo que representa a todos los gallegos, eso hace que el espectador empatice fácilmente con la obra, y más aún cuando conoce a la modelo». Sigue buscando voluntarias, pero espera al verano: «Pintar en invierno es un infierno, y en Galicia más. Siempre llega el momento en que la lluvia te chorrea a gusto el mural».

elperiodico

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Tesalia 2015, un vino de alma gaditana y elegancia británica

Realmente fueron los ingleses quienes dieron a los vinos del Marco de Jerez, la relevancia que hoy tienen en el mundo. El pirata Drake, Sir, para los británicos, saqueó Cádiz haciéndose con unas 500 botas de vino que encontró en los almacenes de la ciudad y los trasladó al Reino Unido donde se convirtió en uno de los vinos favoritos de los súbditos de su Majestad. En este caso también es cierto el aforismo de “que nadie es profeta en su tierra”, ya que como indicamos fueron los ingleses los que han mantenido la fama, el consumo y el prestigio de los vinos del Marco de Jerez. Hoy 430 años después, es otro inglés quien se enamora de esta tierra, funda una bodega y elabora un gran vino.

Deslumbrado por la belleza de las singulares tierras de Cádiz Richard Golding estuvo durante años fraguando un sueño, elaborar un gran vino Tesalia 2015. Cerca de la Sierra de Grazalema, uno de los entornos naturales más espectaculares de España, en Arcos de la Frontera, Golding adquirió en 2008 un viñedo en el que ha ido plantando variedades de uva autóctonas muy particulares, estableciendo de forma rigurosa los procesos que extraerían todo el potencial del vino, hasta conseguir un vino elegante y refinado, complejo pero bien montado, toda una joya enológica con vocación de ser exclusivo con una producción limitada a 6.000 botellas.

El enólogo Ignacio de Miguel, el experto viticultor José Ramón Lissarraque y el Master of Wine, Cees Van Casteren; han compuesto la trilogía elegida para elaborar Tesalia 2015. El resultado un vino que refleja el alma de la tierra en que nacen sus uvas. Un suelo arcilloso sobre una capa de suelo de tiza, se convierten en el mejor terreno para la maduración de los viñedos de la variedad autóctona Tintilla de Rota, además de cepas de syrah, cabernet sauvignon y pettit verdot. La vendimia sólo se realiza por la noche. Se recogen por separado las uvas de cada parcela en cajas pequeñas, para mezclarlas posteriormente y potenciar así la complejidad del vino.

Las características de cada cosecha determinan los coupage de cada año. Así, en este primer año se ha utilizado un 65% de pettit verdot, un 25% de syrah, un 5% de cabernet y otro 5% de tintilla de Rota. Doce meses en barricas de roble francés han hecho el resto, y dando lugar a un vino de intenso color rojo rubí y un aroma que sorprende y evoluciona en la copa y que da una gran profundidad en la boca. Su enólogo habla de una gran capacidad de envejecimiento, por lo que durante los próximos diez años, este vino ganará en aromas, matices y elegancia.

Tesalia 2015: 30€/botella

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Lo de Ciudadanos ya no es una quimera: ganaría las elecciones con rotundidad frente a un hundido PP

Según la encuesta de Sigma Dos que este domingo publica el diario ‘El Mundo’, de celebrarse hoy elecciones, Ciudadanos obtendría un claro triunfo con el 26,7% de los votos.

Le seguiría el PP, con el 23,3% de los sufragios, hundido en las encuestas por su mala gestión de la recuperación de la crisis económica así como la crisis política catalana. El partido de Génova clama por un anuncio de renovación interna que pase también por la sucesión de Rajoy cuanto antes.

En tercer lugar se situaría un insignificante PSOE, con el 19,7% de los votos. La prometida revolución de Pedro Sánchez cayó en el olvido y empeoraría los ya pobres resultados que logró en 2016.

Podemos, en cuarta posición, obtendría el 18,4%. Tampoco está mejor situado, por tanto, la formación de Pablo Iglesias, que incluso sumando a sus socios regionales (gallegos, catalanes y valencianos) tampoco llegaría la barrera del 20%, casi necesaria para ser determinante.

Según estos resultados, destaca el diari ‘El Mundo’, Ciudadanos y PP lograrían el 50% de los votos, mientras que los partidos de izquierda, PSOE y Ciudadanos, solo llegarían al 38%. Según este periódico, el ascenso de Ciudadanos, que gana 13,6 puntos desde las últimas generales de 2016 y 10 desde la última encuesta de Sigma Dos publicada en octubre pasado, se produce a costa del desgaste de populares y socialistas.

El PP pierde casi 10 puntos respecto a 2016 y 8 desde el pasado octubre. El PSOE frena el ascenso conseguido tras la vuelta de Pedro Sánchez a la Secretaría General, y hoy sacaría 3 puntos menos que en los últimos comicios y se dejaría 6 respecto al sondeo de octubre.

De esta manera, el trasvase de apoyos desde la derecha hacia las posiciones más centradas y liberales que representa Ciudadanos es masivo, mientras que el flujo desde la izquierda es más moderado.

diariocritico

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Keeping freedom of movement is the top Brexit priority for young people

What are young people’s priorities in the Brexit negotiations? In focus groups held around the country, Shakuntala Banaji and Sam Mejias (LSE) found a majority want to keep the right to freedom of movement and maintain trade links with Europe. They also complained about the lack of political education in British schools, which they felt left adults ill-prepared to vote.

Young people in our focus groups were asked the question ‘What are the most important issues to you that you want UK policymakers to focus on during the Brexit negotiations with the EU?’ The table below highlights the main priorities articulated in order of frequency.

Table 1: Priorities expressed by young people for Brexit negotiations

Priority
Freedom of movement
EU membership benefits
Provide mechanisms for young people’s voices to be heard
Improve education
Economic growth
EU and/or global relationships
No Brexit
Involve youth in negotiations
Single market access
Northern Ireland
EU and/or global trade
EU-UK rights to remain
Guarantee human rights in the UK
Strong and clear negotiation
Improve NHS
Promote an inclusive and multicultural society
Devolve power to regions
Engage young people
Make immigration fairer
Oppose inequality
Youth policy

When asked what their most important priorities for the Brexit negotiations were, almost half of all individual focus group participants in over half of the 40 focus groups stated their preference for keeping essential aspects of their EU membership intact. This included either keeping freedom of movement, EU membership benefits, residency rights for EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, and in several cases outright calling for Brexit to be reversed. As with their concerns about the impact of Brexit, freedom of movement was mentioned frequently, and often in the context of the impact that its absence would have on economic realities and on jobs; however, some young people were convinced that capital would continue to move flexibly after Brexit and hoped that the same would be true of human beings:

[It’s] frustrating that we prioritise the freedom of movement of capital over the freedom of movement of people. Participant aged 15-17, Swansea

backpacker

Photo: Antoine K via a CC-BY 2.0 licence

Yeah, I [prioritise] free movement of people … at least free movement of workers, so that we can still have people coming in to fill nursing jobs, and we can go there to find jobs. If you look at what the EU was founded on, the principle that labour should be allowed to move freely, the idea that if we still have this immigration, if we still have people coming in, if you look at the statistics of nurses, at the moment, the amount of people coming from the EU to apply for nursing positions has dropped. And the NHS is already in horrific crisis, and we’re having these EU citizens who are good at what they do, they specialise in what they do, flooding out of the country. I think the single market is really important but also there are other aspects of the economy which are kind of influenced by the talent we have coming in from the continent. Male, 22, Cardiff 

EU membership benefits, particularly studying in Europe and taking advantage of European education programmes and reduced tuition fees for EU members, were also mentioned many times as priorities:

I’d be quite upset if it was lost because my mum went on the Erasmus plus programme [in the 1980’s]. Probably Erasmus maintained, that’s the first [priority]. Male, 19, London

The one thing I’d ask for is the flexibility to go to university in Europe. Education is the most important thing to us. Participant aged 15-17, Swansea

Keeping EU-UK residency rights for citizens currently living outside their country was also frequently discussed, as was the maintenance of EU funding schemes:

Status for EU nationals… and also sources of EU funding like EU structural funds for deprived communities and persons, that’s something they’ve not confirmed when we leave where all this money is going to come from or if these groups and projects are just going to suddenly have no funding left and not be able to continue operating. Female, 23, Edinburgh

After EU membership benefits, young people in our focus groups were most likely to prioritise their own involvement and agency during the Brexit negotiations. Specifically, many young people asked for the establishment of mechanisms for their voices to be heard, or to be involved in the negotiations somehow. Some young people also expressed a desire for the government to engage them more generally, or to create specific youth policies to support their voices and preferences.

Leading up to the negotiations they need to create a shadow youth negotiation panel. So they’ll have a team of negotiators that will go to Europe, right? I think there needs to be a shadow of that but made up of young people, a panel from all across the UK, from all across socioeconomic backgrounds and ages and up to about 24 maybe 25 … but they work in tangent with them. And so, whatever they come up, they will be scrutinised. It’s almost like a scrutiny panel, but made up of young people. That’s what I would suggest. Male, 18-26, London

In the focus group sessions, young people spoke of the importance of economic growth to their own life chance and to overall prosperity in the UK. Some young people specifically asked that single market access be maintained, while others spoke of the importance of keeping EU and global relationships stable via strong trade deals. Again, these priorities were often framed both in terms of the disproportionate impact that economic stagnation could have on young people, and also on building a fairer and more equitable future for people in the UK:

The most important thing is to have economic certainty. That whatever the negotiations happen they won’t cause either a meltdown in the UK economy or the global economy. Because for young people, we’re going to bear these consequences for the rest of our lives. Male, 18-26, London

We’re a part of Europe, we’re a part of something else, there’s that coalition between us that we have this reciprocity in trade and work, and I want to see this at the heart of wherever the negotiations end up. I don’t want that to go, to change to ‘Little England’. People can just say I can go and work there. People from Ireland can trade with them in Europe and its not going to cost any extra. We make like 200 billion a year in exports. That’s so much money for us in the UK. That’s what I want to see protected, as well as everyone’s freedom of movement. Female, 19-22, Huddersfield

Findings from the YouGov survey showed overwhelming support for improving political and media education in schools. 67% of YouGov survey respondents between the ages of 18-24 felt that it was important to improve political and media education in schools. However, agreement about the importance of improving political and media education in schools diminished across generations, with 51% of 25-49 year olds, 49% of 50-64 year olds, and 47% of respondents aged 65 and above finding it important.

In many of the focus groups, young people lamented the lack of information available to them about the EU during the referendum campaign, and they also expressed scepticism about the information they were provided by politicians and the media – the disputed claim that £350m a week would be redirected to the NHS if citizens voted for Brexit being the most often cited example. They also overwhelmingly spoke of the absence of sufficient and critical political education in schools, and education about the EU. Many felt that improving education about both politics and the EU was essential to equipping young people with the tools to participate in politics.

Well one of the bigger things is, you need a political education. I think specifically, if this is gonna happen, we need a specific education around the EU…[and] politics in general but it’s pivotal because the young people don’t know how it affects them. Female, 24, Nottingham

With regard to political education, the male dominated nature of the political sphere and school classrooms dealing with politics was also referenced as a cause for concern:

Gender [is another possible barrier to learning about politics]. Because when I was doing A-levels, whilst we were a female majority class, the two males that there were in the group made it clear that politics was not a place for women apparently … And it was only because we all basically said to them you have no right to tell us this and you are outnumbered here. So, we respect your viewpoint, but we are not leaving because you tell us to.  Female, 15-21, England

In over a quarter of all focus groups, youth participants spoke passionately about the importance of the UK remaining an open and inclusive member of the global community of nations and building strong EU and global relationships. They also discussed the importance of arriving at a peaceful and feasible solution to the issue of Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland. Finally, they insisted that post-Brexit, the UK enact policies that are inclusive and multicultural, and that prioritised a socially just approach to migration and cultural exchange.

The stuff that existed for young people should stay there because, like young people nowadays, my generation obviously had the benefits of the EU. The next generation is just not gonna have any benefits of the EU, it’s just gonna, say if Erasmus goes, they’re gonna have to just study in the UK and that’s it. Male, 20, London

On the one hand, the idea that ignorance of other cultures causes greater intolerance was repeated by many of our participants. The idea that travel and encounter discourage closed and racist views, was also nuanced by those who argued that more needs to be done to make travel economically viable for economically insecure young people. On the other hand, amongst the participants who stated that they supported leaving the EU, some stated their desire for maintaining good relationships with their global neighbours, although this was first framed in terms of needing independence from Europe in order to do so:

I hope with Brexit we don’t become an insular nation. Well the whole point was that we get independent from Europe and we can spread out to across the world. I would like to see us become more global post-Brexit, rather than less global. Male, 17, East Renfrewshire

Others felt that globalisation required the UK to be a stronger member of the global community and that leaving the EU was a step in the wrong direction.

Finally, some respondents saw the UK’s role as needing to be one where tolerance and openness to multiculturalism needed to be prioritised post-Brexit. This was accompanied by comments in which young people specifically demanded that the UK government guarantee human rights in the UK that reflected current rights protections afforded by EU membership. And the issue of social justice and fairness continued to appear throughout the focus group sessions, in terms of prioritising improvement of the NHS, a fair immigration policy, and the opposing of inequality in the UK. Some young people felt that fairness in the UK should be extended to all who have legal status in the UK, regardless of citizenship status.

This post represents the views of the authors and not those of the Brexit blog, nor the LSE. It is an edited extract from UK Youth Priorities and Perspectives for Brexit Negotiations.

Dr Shakuntala Banaji is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, with a research specialism in young people, media and civic participation

Dr Sam Mejias is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, specialising in the fields of human rights and citizenship education, international educational development, youth media, and media for development.

lse.ac.uk/brexi

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EU citizens in the UK are in a particularly weak position and need an independent authority to monitor their rights

he Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been unveiled, and there are serious limitations to the future protections of EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit. As things stand now, EU citizens risk falling into an implementation gap created by the limitations to bottom-up enforcement, and the limits of international dispute settlement. In this blog, Stijn Smismans (Cardiff University) argues that EU citizens in the UK need a proper independent authority to monitor their rights.

On 19th March 2018, Michel Barnier and David Davis proudly presented the draft text of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) which had most of the document coloured as green, indicating agreement from both sides.  Although each part of the text remains open for potential revision as long as there is no full agreement on the entire text, the WA’s part on citizens’ rights appeared to be considered a job done.  However, the ‘agreed’ text is far from guaranteeing that EU citizens in the UK and British in Europe can continue their life as it is. Some rights will be lost, such as the right to bring in a future foreign spouse, or protection against expulsion on the grounds of criminality, and freedom of movement through the entire EU for the British in Europe.  For the EU citizens in the UK, the biggest challenge is how and to what extent the WA will be implemented and enforced.  As the UK will no longer be part of the EU,  the enforcement tools traditionally available within the EU are no longer applicable.

Within the EU, enforcement of EU law is guaranteed both through bottom-up and top-down enforcement tools.  Bottom-up enforcement is ensured via the principles of direct effect and supremacy, which allow citizens to invoke EU law directly in their national court.  Additionally, the preliminary reference procedure allows a national court to refer to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) when there is doubt about the proper interpretation of EU law. Top-down enforcement is organised via the infringement procedure, which allows the European Commission to take Member States to court for the non-respect of EU law. If a Member State would also not comply with the decision of the Court of Justice, financial sanctions can be imposed.

The British citizens in Europe would still be able to rely on these enforcement tools as the Member State they reside in will remain under the jurisdiction of the CJEU. However, this is not the case for EU citizens in the UK. The draft WA provides for a set of enforcement tools, partially copying existing mechanisms of EU law. However, its enforcement framework still leaves EU citizens in the UK in a particularly weak position.

The EU has insisted on replicating EU bottom-up enforcement tools in relation to the protection of citizens’ rights.  Article 4 WA confirms that the UK will have to respect the direct effect on the citizens’ rights provisions of the WA. Article 151 WA also allows UK courts to refer to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling in case of doubt on the interpretation of these provisions. However, it remains to be seen whether the UK will properly translate Article 4WA into national law. David Davis has made confusing statements suggesting that the mere adoption of a national legislative act implementing the WA would equal direct effect “if you like”. However, such an Act would need to include a specific provision recognising the direct effect of the WA citizens’ provisions.  So far, the Withdrawal Bill is mute on the matter and the UK has not made an explicit statement it would include such a provision in a WA implementation Act.

The WA itself also sets a limit of 8 years after transition on the possibility of preliminary references to the CJEU.  One can understand this compromise given the UK’s sensitivity about CJEU’s involvement. It is also likely that most interpretation issues of the WA will arise during the first years of implementation of the WA, and in particular during the period that all EU citizens will need to register. That being said, the time limit takes away future protection when new issues arise, e.g. as a consequence of new administrative practice or legislative initiatives that may diverge from the WA.

Yet, the biggest question mark about bottom-up enforcement is how these tools will be applied in the context of a country that is no longer a Member State. The effectiveness of direct effect and supremacy and the potential reliance on preliminary references depend on the extent to which national courts and public administrations have appropriated these principles and consider themselves as part of the EU’s judicial system. As the UK will be out of the EU, national actors will no longer perceive themselves as part of the EU’s judicial system, and it remains to be seen to what extent courts and administrations will be inclined to apply these tools just for the implementation of the citizens’ rights provisions of the WA.

As ‘bottom-up enforcement’ might thus be a problem, ‘top-down enforcement’ would be even more important. Unfortunately, the WA does not provide continuation of the infringement procedure. It would be hard to imagine the UK could ever accept that.  Even the EU has never explicitly suggested the continuation of the infringement procedure, although its initial negotiation positions did refer to monitoring by the European Commission.

The WA thus refers mainly to the traditional international law mechanism of monitoring via a Joint Committee. However, such a diplomatic and political body is very weak compared to EU top-down enforcement. To give the enforcement system more teeth, Article 162 of the draft WA provides that issues on which the Joint Committee cannot agree can be brought before the CJEU, even at the single initiative of either the EU or the UK. However, the UK has not yet agreed to Article 162, and the potential for judicial action following disagreement within the Joint Committee remains open for discussion.

Even if Article 162 gets approved, the dispute settlement mechanism via the Joint Committee and potential recourse to the CJEU are far from sufficient to deal with the multiple implementation problems EU citizens in the UK are likely to face. Joint Committees provide a forum to discuss systematic problems with the interpretation of an international agreement. But they are primarily based on dialogue and compromise, and their infrequent meetings stand far away from the daily practices and challenges faced by individuals, which require an immediate resolution.

EU citizens thus risk falling into an implementation gap created by the limitations to bottom-up enforcement as explained above, and the traditional limits of international dispute settlement.

Article 152 appears to intend to address this particular implementation void in the UK by requiring the latter to set up an Independent Authority. However, the way this Independent Authority is defined is very weak, and can hardly be said to compensate for the potential problems with bottom-up enforcement and the absence of the infringement procedure.

Article 152 leaves monitoring and enforcement entirely in the hands of the UK.  There is no guarantee at all that the ‘independent authority’ will at any stage operate independently. The recent row over the attempted appointment of Toby Young as a member of the Board of the Higher Education Regulator is a fresh reminder of how the government intends to control assumed independent authorities. Given the political context, it is highly unlikely there is any chance this independent authority will be allowed to operate independently if the UK government has entire freedom to define the parameters of setting up such an authority.

The UK is asked here to monitor itself on rules it has signed up to because of international bargaining, not because of it believes in a particular policy for which it is convinced that an independent authority would provide the best outcome.  Its political priority of reducing immigration means it has mainly an incentive to make the independent authority as weak as possible and closely under control of the government. As Article 152 is framed now, it is most likely that appointees to the ‘independent’ authority will share government views and operate under government control, while the Authority will most likely be badly resourced.

CC0 Creative Commons

The only solution to ensure that the Authority will be adequately independent and can compensate for the ‘implementation gap’ is that it be set up as a joined EU-UK institution and embedded within the international commitments of the WA.

It makes little sense to leave monitoring of an international agreement to the sole initiative of the party that has the least interest to ensure such monitoring. Hence, instead of Article 152 requesting the UK to set up an independent authority, the WA itself should create it. Alternatively, a Protocol attached to the WA could set out its features in more detail.

Such an Independent Authority could take the following form:

Composition: to ensure the independence of the authority and its link to the international guarantees provided by the WA, the organisational design cannot be merely national. The way European agencies are set up can be an inspiration here. The Authority could be composed of a Board, Director and administration. The Board of the Independent Authority should be composed of independent experts appointed on the basis of their expertise, half of whom appointed by the UK, half by the EU. The Board could also include civil society organisations operating in the field (as is the case for several European agencies). The Board would set out the general policy of the Independent Authority and appoint its Director. This appointment procedure would ensure that the Director can operate independently from the Government.

The Director would be responsible for the daily running of the Authority and would be supported by an administration (many of whom with legal training). Administrative staff would be appointed by the Director on the basis of their expertise.

Budget: the only way to ensure that the Authority would have a proper budget to play its role is by requiring co-financing UK-EU on an equal basis.

Powers: Article 152 gives the Authority the power to receive and investigate complaints from Union citizens and their family members, and to conduct inquiries on its own initiative. However, Article 152 only mentions breaches by administrative authorities.   It is not clear whether this includes (directly or indirectly) issues where legislation breaches the citizens’ provisions of the WA.  In case it does not cover legislative action, Article 152 leaves a big lacuna, compared to infringement procedure within the EU. To address this, the Independent Authority should be able to monitor also whether legislation respects the WA.

The current formulation of the WA also remains vague on how the Independent Authority can use its inquiries. It states that it should have the right to take the issue to the competent UK court or tribunal. It is important that an appropriate legal remedy is available for that. Moreover, it is preferable that the WA is more prescriptive in giving the Authority explicit decision-making power or at least the power to make recommendations to authorities breaching the WA, with the subsequent option to go to court if they do not comply with the decision.

It is also important to strengthen the link between monitoring by the Independent Authority and political monitoring provided by the Joint Committee. Article 152 (2) states that the Independent Authority should report annually to the Joint Committee. This allows assessing annually the overall implementation at a diplomatic level. Yet, given the potential limitations to bottom-up enforcement, the WA  should also provide the opportunity for the Independent Authority to trigger a meeting of the Joint Committee whenever it deems this necessary. It is important to create a direct link between operation on the ground and possibility to trigger political action for serious systematic breaches via the Joint Committee, and potential subsequent judicial action via the CJEU. This is particularly the case for legislative action not respecting the WA, or if national courts fail to implement the WA properly.

Sunset clause: Article 152(3) states that the Joint Committee can allow the UK to abolish the Authority after 8 years. This sunset clause was not in the Commission draft of the WA, but was subsequently introduced at the request of the UK.  However, this leaves EU citizens in a particularly weak position for the future, especially as also CJEU involvement (via preliminary rulings) will fall away at the same time.

Given the limits of bottom-up enforcement tools and international dispute settlement, the Independent Authority is likely the most central mechanism to ensure proper implementation of the WA. It should, therefore, be properly enshrined in the WA as an EU-UK institution and its role should not be limited in time.

The WA is still not set in stone. The Commission, and in particular the Member States and the European Parliament can still revise the text and do what is required to protect EU citizens properly.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Brexit blog, nor the LSE.

Stijn Smismans is Professor of Law at the School of Law and Politics and Director of the Centre for European Law and Governance at Cardiff University.

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Profesores universitarios españoles denuncian las mentiras del soberanismo

n grupo de profesores universitarios españoles han escrito una carta a la directora de la Universidad de Saint Andrews, Sally Mapstone, denunciando las mentiras del independentismo. Esta iniciativa se produce después de la férrea defensa que la profesora universitaria hizo de la ex consellera de Educación del Govern, Clara Ponsatí, ahora en libertad bajo fianza tras entregarse a las autoridades escocesas.

Mapstone afirmó, tal y como recogieron medios británicos, que “Clara es una estimada colega y estamos comprometidos a protegerla”, alegando que “en las circunstancias actuales, creemos que se puede defender legítimamente que Clara está siendo atacada por defender sus creencias políticas”. La directora del centro escocés también apuntó a que “continuaremos ofreciéndole todo el apoyo adecuado, respetando el debido proceso legal”.

Ante esas palabras, un grupo de académicos españoles han decidido remitirle una misiva en la que recuerdan que los procedimientos judiciales contra los altos cargos del procés han sido respaldados por la Asociación Internacional de Jueces, y le mencionan que Reino Unido cuenta con el doble de casos de violación de los Derechos Humanos que España, con 314 frente a los 103 de nuestro país, tal y como recogen las estadísticas del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos.

Clara Ponsatí escapó a Bélgica junto a Carles Puigdemont y a otros cuatro ex consellers del Govern después de declarar la independencia de forma unilateral, algo por lo que está siendo ahora reclamada por la Justicia.

Los argumentos

“El gobierno de Cataluña, al que pertenecía la Sra. Ponsatí impidió que los partidos de la oposición presentaran enmiendas y argumentos contra las leyes propuestas para decidir unilateralmente la separación de Cataluña del resto de España”, continúa la carta, recordando que “si el Parlamento escocés hubiera actuado así, el Gobierno de Reino Unido hubiera intervenido para evitar ese acto antidemocrático y anticonstitucional”.

Los profesores españoles continúan recordando la hoja de ruta de los independentista y apuntando a que “los Sres. Sánchez y Cuixart encabezaron manifestaciones violentas para evitar que la Guardia Civil investigara la posible malversación de fondos públicos destinados a financiar el referéndum ilegal” o señalando que “los Mossos d’Esquadra desobedecieron órdenes de los jueces para evitar la ejecución de tal acto ilegal”.

“Por lo anterior, nosotros, los abajo firmantes, exigimos que se muestre a las autoridades españolas el respeto que merecen. Sin duda, usted sabe que sus acusaciones contra la Justicia española están alentando a sus propios estudiantes a unirse contra los jueces españoles“, termina el escrito.

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How the Dutch will take Britain’s place in Europe

“ALL the North Sea’s people are connected to each other,” muses Hans de Boer, president of VNO-NCW, the Dutch business lobby, as he gazes from his 12th-floor office in The Hague. It is not a bad place for a Dutchman to consider the consequences of Brexit. The port of Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest, is just visible in the morning haze. Eighty thousand Dutch firms trade with Britain; 162,000 lorries thunder between the two countries each year. Rabobank, a Dutch lender, calculates that even a soft Brexit could lop 3% off GDP by 2030. Bar Ireland, no country will suffer more. “Brexit was not our preferred option,” offers Mr de Boer, drily.

Dutch governments spent the 1950s and 1960s trying to get their British friends into the European club; when Britain voted to leave, in June 2016, some wondered if they might drag the Dutch out with them. The EU’s economic and migration traumas had tested the patience of voters for years, andMark Rutte, prime minister since 2010, seemed unwilling to make the case for Europe. Eurosceptic strains found a vessel in Geert Wilders, a platinum-haired race-baiter who urged “Nexit”. Just over a year ago, with an election approaching, Europeans braced for trouble.When newspaper compositors were sporting heroes

What happened next was more interesting. Mr Rutte won the election, although Mr Wilders’s success forced him into a four-party coalition with a tiny majority. But rather than continue to play the spoiler, Mr Rutte, with some prodding from his advisers, joined the European debate with a vigour few knew was in him. In early March he visited Berlin to deliver a detailed speech on the EU, his first major intervention since taking office in 2010. Soon afterwards the Dutch and seven like-minded small northern and eastern European countries (one official calls it the “bad-weather coalition”) issued a paper laying out a common EU vision.

Arguably, there is no substantive policy change involved. The Dutch still want to limit risk-sharing and common spending in the euro zone, and to boost intra-EU trade. With a Calvinist finger-wag, they urge governments to mind their own yard before seeking common solutions. But Mr de Boer says this is about reassuring Dutch voters rather than attacking the EU. And the Berlin speech marks a change of style for a prime minister long reluctant to engage in European debates. Mr Rutte used to return from EU summits moaning about windbaggery. Now he jumps right in. “I’ve never seen him so pro-European,” says a colleague.

To explain why, Mr Rutte notes cheerfully that Brexit requires the Dutch to recalibrate their four-century diplomatic balancing-act between France, Germany and Britain. That means two things. First, an unabashed commitment to Europe. The Dutch want the EU to forge a strong trading relationship with Britain, but will not break ranks to help bring it about. Second, a willingness to form ad hoc coalitions on specific issues. Mr Rutte reels some off: the Germans on migration, trade and the euro; some central European countries on the EU internal market; the French on climate change. “Brexit is a wake-up call,” says Ben Knapen, a former Europe minister. Where the Dutch were often content to let Britain take the lead, now they must step up themselves.

In part this is a hedging strategy against a big-power stitch-up. Fear of being steamrollered by the Franco-German engine, now cranking into gear again, sits in the DNA of Dutch diplomats. Yet they are cautiously optimistic that the Germans will not sell them out on matters like the EU budget or euro-zone reform. Indeed, the Germans are happy to have the group of eight as attack dogs because it places them at the centre of the debate. Peter Altmaier, Germany’s economy minister and a confidant of Angela Merkel, has lent the bad-weather coalition his tacit support.

But Mr Rutte is also investing in Emmanuel Macron. After twice hosting Mr Rutte in Paris, France’s president dropped into The Hague last week. French-Dutch enmity runs deep, especially on the euro zone; the Dutch want stronger national buffers to protect against crises, whereas Mr Macron is impatient to build supranational bodies and a hefty common budget. Mr Rutte acknowledges the differences, but suggests that if he and Mr Macron can strike a deal, the rest of the EU may follow in their wake. (Germany might have something to say about that.) Trade-loving Dutch diplomats used to shudder at Mr Macron’s call for a “Europe that protects”. Now, glancing nervously at rapacious Chinese investment, Russian menaces, Donald Trump’s tariffs and the terrorist threat, they wonder if he has a point.

Not a mouse, and roaring

It is a delicate moment for the Dutch. Brexit eliminates an ally, but creates an opportunity to take the initiative. The renewal of the Franco-German relationship presents a hazard, but also a chance to shape the debate. The EU’s deal with Turkey to stem illegal immigration in 2016, which the Dutch helped construct, taught Mr Rutte that there is a role for European action in fixing national problems. Dutch officials admit that they are still finding their feet in this new world. But there is a fresh swagger to their diplomacy. Mr Rutte bristles at any suggestion that his country is “small”.

Nonetheless, he must be careful to avoid a backlash at home, which makes him careful what he says. MPs, including members of the ruling parties, and the media are alert to the merest hint of being dragged into an EU “transfer union”. The Dutch are increasingly weary of eastern Europeans who refuse refugees but lap up EU subsidies. The Eurosceptic right also has a new champion in Thierry Baudet, a well-groomed, piano-playing political entrepreneur. Mr Baudet is dismissed by the establishment as a pseud-in-a-suit, but his calls for the Dutch to leave the EU resonate. His Forum for Democracy has vaulted past Mr Wilders in the polls.

That alone will force Mr Rutte to take a tough line in the coming EU debates on asylum reform, the budget and the euro zone. For many Europeans, the Dutch will only ever be a stalwart member of the awkward squad. But having spent so long on the sidelines, they are at least now taking part.

economist.com/

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Is the BBC abdicating its responsibilities over Brexit?

When the BBC is accused of bias, its reaction is always the same – executives and journalists protest that if all sides attack the BBC with equal force all the time then they must be doing something right. This plausible defence isn’t good enough when it comes to Brexit. As we enter the final year before the UK is due to leave the EU, there is a widely held belief among EU supporters that the BBC is guilty of something almost worse than bias – shutting down the story.

A chill surrounds the subject of Brexit, a fearfulness that means interviewers swerve from obvious lines of questioning and editors are reluctant to carry reports that question the inevitability of leaving the EU and the competence of the government’s strategy. Also, important stories are downplayed, such as Christopher Wylie’s appearance in front of the Commons culture committee with folders of evidence alleging Vote Leave’s overspend during the referendum.

As Wylie made a convincing case that Vote Leave had distorted our democracy with data and cash, news sites across the world, from Canada to Denmark, began to run the story prominently. But not the BBC, which initially tucked his evidence into a report about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to appear in front of the same committee. The corporation did just enough to cover itself but in reality it was pressing the mute button and that, too, has implications for our democracy.

Still rife is the practice of false equivalence – placing verifiable facts from one side of the Brexit debate against airy assertions from the other to create an illusion of balance. So economists who quote the government’s predictions of a Brexit penalty of between 2-8% of GDP must be “balanced” with the wildly optimistic predictions of Brexit economist Patrick Minford.

And when even this phony balance can’t be struck the BBC turns its back. Last weekend, thousands of EU supporters marched in towns and cities across the country, but little appeared on the BBC. Yet Nigel Farage has only to tip a crate of fish into the Thames and the BBC dutifully turns up to film the stunt.

The BBC seems to have abdicated its duties of judgment and guidance. While its correspondents are happy to steer the British public to the truth of what is happening in Putin’s Russia, they are extremely tentative when it comes to Brexit, even though the country’s unity and economic survival are plainly at stake. Last week, the prime minister made a “unifying” tour of Britain, stating that Brexitwill mean more money for schools and hospitals, yet it occurred to few at the BBC to place this claim against the government’s own certainty that there will be less money available.

The veteran broadcaster John Simpson put it well in an interview after the referendum. “If people looked to the television or radio for a clear guidance about what to do, well, we didn’t give a clear enough guidance on the lies being told.” In other words, the BBC had failed in its duty to interrogate claims and, yes, to judge them. Nearly two years on, that is still the case.

It’s hard to say categorically that the BBC’s top interviewers have their own agendas, but the conviction on social media that, for example, John Humphrys and Nick Robinson of the Today programme are personally motivated is awkward for the BBC. Last week, in an interview with Chris Patten, Humphrys stated that people had voted to leave the single market in 2016. Patten shot back that they hadn’t.

In an interview with Wylie on the day after his evidence, Robinson said: “Some might argue that issues of friendship, issues of sexuality and your own guilt at having developed the technology… you are confusing these with claiming democracy has been overturned.” Robinson has a right to ask the question, but it seemed to be an attempt to diminish the importance of what Wylie was saying about the referendum.

The World at One and World Service, incidentally, do not slap down contributors who remind us that parliament still has a crucial vote on the Brexit deal in the autumn. But this not does not alter the picture of a cowed BBC; nor does it excuse the shocking fact that over a period during which Ukip MEPs have been on Question Time more than 30 times, MEPs from Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, Greens or Plaid Cymru have been hard to see.

How we have got here is interesting. As with much else in British society, the toxins released by the referendum have affected the BBC. It also suffers from constant pressure applied by the government and hardline Brexiters in the Conservative European Research Group. Yet it has to be said that an element of its compliance does appear to be voluntary – a kind of cleaving to the established order, which I can’t remember seeing to this degree ever before. In these fraught times, the last thing we need is a BBC that mistakes the state of being neutered for neutrality.

theguardian.com

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The unpopularity of Brexit in London is likely to hurt Theresa May’s party in local elections

Recent elections have seen the opposition Labour Party’s performance in London diverge from its results in the rest of the country. In last year’s general election, it won 40 percent of the vote in the U.K., but 54 percent of the vote in London. According to Tony Travers, professor of politics at the London School of Economics, that reflects a widening demographic split.

‘More International’

“You’ve got different populations, with different interests, voting in a clearly different way,” he told reporters on Monday. “Londoners are younger, more international, more progressive.”

These voters are less likely to support Brexit, and more likely to support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But they also create a problem for Labour: The more that it plays up to those London voters, the more it risks losing voters outside the capital.

PARTY 2014 RESULT HIGHEST (YEAR) LOWEST (YEAR)
Conservatives 612 1,438 (1968) 519 (1994)
Labour 1,060 1,221 (1971) 350 (1968)

Overall, the Conservatives have been doing better in local elections than might be expected from a party in government. The usual pattern is for governing parties to lose council seats each year as voters use the elections to register protests at the national government. But in recent elections, the number of seats the Conservatives hold has gone up. That’s partly because Conservatives have benefited from the collapse of smaller parties, but it could also be partly related to Labour’s lower popularity outside London.

“There’s no question that for a party in opposition, Labour should be doing far, far better than they are,” Travers said. “They’re still trailing the Conservatives in England.”

bloomberg.com

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