Media In EU

Media freedom is a fundamental right that applies to all member states of the European Union and its citizens, as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. Within the EU enlargement process, guaranteeing media freedom is named a “key indicator of a country’s readiness to become part of the EU”.

The vast majority of media in the European Union are national-oriented. Some EU-wide media focusing on European affairs have emerged since the early 1990s, such as Euronews, EUobserver, EURACTIV or Politico Europe. ARTE is a public Franco-German TV network that promotes programming in the areas of culture and the arts. 80% of its programming are provided in equal proportion by the two member companies, while the remainder is being provided by the European Economic Interest Grouping ARTE GEIE and the channel’s European partners.

The MEDIA Programme of the European Union intends to support the European popular film and audiovisual industries since 1991. It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond.

Press freedom and democracy

Media Freedom is inherent to the decision making process in a well-functioning democracy, enabling citizens to make their political choices based on independent and pluralistic information and thus is an important instrument to form public opinion. The expression of a variety of opinions is needed in public debate to give the citizens the possibility to assess and choose among a wide range of opinions. The more pluralistic and articulated the opinions, the greater is the legitimising effect that media has on the wider democratic political process. Press freedom is often described as a watchdog over public power, underlining its significant role as an observer and informer of the public opinion on government actions.

Freedom of expression refers back to individual journalists’, as well as to press institutions’ rights. In other words, its significance covers both the individual right of each journalist to express his or her opinion and the press’ right as an institution to inform people. To guarantee the protection of free media, state authorities not only underlie the negative obligation to abstain from intrusion, but as well to the positive commitment to promote media freedom and act as a guarantor against intrusion of public as well as private actors.

Sources:

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Media (10.01.2020)

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_freedom_in_the_European_Union (17.01.2020)

EU Symbols

The flag used is the Flag of Europe, which consists of a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the European Communities, the predecessors of the present Union, in 1986. The Council of Europe gave the flag a symbolic description in the following terms, though the official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the “Western world”:

Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars symbolise the peoples of Europe in a form of a circle, the sign of union. The number of stars is invariably twelve, the figure twelve being the symbol of perfection and entirety.

— Council of Europe. Paris, 7–9 December 1955.

United in Diversity was adopted as the motto of the Union in the year 2000, having been selected from proposals submitted by school pupils. Since 1985, the flag day of the Union has been Europe Day, on 9 May (the date of the 1950 Schuman declaration). The anthem of the Union is an instrumental version of the prelude to the Ode to Joy, the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions. Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythological figure of Europa has frequently been employed as a personification of Europe. Known from the myth in which Zeus seduces her in the guise of a white bull, Europa has also been referred to in relation to the present Union. Statues of Europa and the bull decorate several of the Union’s institutions and a portrait of her is seen on the 2013 series of Euro banknotes. The bull is, for its part, depicted on all residence permit cards.

Charlemagne

Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne (Latin: Carolus Magnus) and later recognised as Pater Europae (“Father of Europe”), has a symbolic relevance to Europe. The Commission has named one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification. Since 2008, the organisers of this prize, in conjunction with the European Parliament, have awarded the Charlemagne Youth Prize in recognition of similar efforts by young people.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Symbols (10.01.2020)

Culture and sport

Cultural co-operation between member states has been a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty. Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 seven-year programme, the European Cultural Month event, and orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra.

The European Capital of Culture programme selects one or more cities in every year to assist the cultural development of that city.The European Capital of Culture programme was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the European Union. Association football is by far the most popular sport in the European Union by the number of registered players. The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing.

Sport is mainly the responsibility of the member states or other international organisations, rather than of the EU. There are some EU policies that have affected sport, such as the free movement of workers, which was at the core of the Bosman ruling that prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship.

The Treaty of Lisbon requires any application of economic rules to take into account the specific nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity. This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over the application of free market principles to sport, which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. The EU does fund a programme for Israeli, Jordanian, Irish, and British football coaches, as part of the Football 4 Peace project.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Culture (10.01.2020)

Environment and Climate

In 1957, when the EEC was founded, it had no environmental policy. Over the past 50 years, an increasingly dense network of legislation has been created, extending to all areas of environmental protection, including air pollution, water quality, waste management, nature conservation, and the control of chemicals, industrial hazards, and biotechnology. According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions, making environmental policy a core area of European politics.

European policy-makers originally increased the EU’s capacity to act on environmental issues by defining it as a trade problem. Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state. In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was established with the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987.

Initially, EU environmental policy focused on Europe. More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in global environmental governance, e.g. the role of the EU in securing the ratification and coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol despite opposition from the United States. This international dimension is reflected in the EU’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme, which recognises that its objectives can only be achieved if key international agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. The Lisbon Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions. EU law has played a significant role in improving habitat and species protection in Europe, as well as contributing to improvements in air and water quality and waste management.

Mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities of EU environmental policy. In 2007, member states agreed that, in the future, 20% of the energy used across the EU must be renewable, and carbon dioxide emissions have to be lower in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels. The EU has adopted an emissions trading system to incorporate carbon emissions into the economy. The European Green Capital is an annual award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy efficiency, and quality of life in urban areas to create smart city.

In the Elections to the European Parliament in 2019, the green parties increased their power, possibly because of the rise of post materialist values.

Proposals to reach a zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 were suggested in 2018 – 2019. Almost all member states supported that goal at an EU summit in June 2019. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland disagreed.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Environment_and_Climate (10.01.2020)

Telecommunications and Space

The Galileo positioning system is another EU infrastructure project. Galileo is a proposed Satellite navigation system, to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Galileo project was launched partly to reduce the EU’s dependency on the US-operated Global Positioning System, but also to give more complete global coverage and allow for greater accuracy, given the aged nature of the GPS system.

Governmental Satellite Communications (GovSatcom)

Satellite Communications (SatCom) are critical elements for defence, security, humanitarian aid, emergency response or diplomatic communications. They are a key enabler for civil missions and military missions/operations in particular in remote and austere environments with little or no infrastructure. Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) has been defined as one of the four capability development programmes by the European Council in December 2013. The mandate was given to prepare the next generation of satellite communication (2025 timeframe).

Start Date:2013
End Date:n/a
Participating Members:AT, BE, DE, EE, EL, ES, FR, IT, LT, LU, LV, PL, PT, SE, UK, NO, ATHENA MECHANISM
Other stakeholders:European External Action Service, European Commission, European Space Agency

Project goals

* Demonstrate the benefits of a European dual-use approach for the development of such capability.

* Provide EDA Member States and European CSDP actors with access to a GOVSATCOM capability, based on existing, pooled and governmental SatCom resources.

* Demonstrate the benefits of a Pooling and Sharing collaborative model.

Sources:

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Telecommunications_and_Space (10.01.2020)

European Defence Agency, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/governmental-satellite-communications-(govsatcom) (17.01.2020)

Religion in EU

The EU has no formal connection to any religion. The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the “cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe”. Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included proposals to mention Christianity or a god, or both, in the preamble of the text, but the idea faced opposition and was dropped.

Christians in the European Union are divided among members of Catholicism (both Roman and Eastern Rite), numerous Protestant denominations (Anglicans, Lutherans, and Reformed forming the bulk of this category), and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 2009, the EU had an estimated Muslim population of 13 million, and an estimated Jewish population of over a million. The other world religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism are also represented in the EU population.

Photo: https://pixabay.com/it/illustrations/religione-ges%C3%B9-battesimo-fede-1976784/

According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2015 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union. Catholics are the largest Christian group, accounting for 45.3% of the EU population, while Protestants make up 11.1%, Eastern Orthodox make up 9.6%, and other Christians make up 5.6%.

Affiliation% of EU population
Christian71.6
Catholic45.3
Protestant11.1
Eastern Orthodox9.6
Other Christian5.6
Muslim1.8
Other faiths2.6
Irreligious24
Non-believer/Agnostic13.6
Atheist10.4
Wikipedia, Religious affiliation in the European Union (2015)


Eurostat’s Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 that 52% of EU citizens believed in a god, 27% in “some sort of spirit or life force”, and 18% had no form of belief.

Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years. The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were Estonia (16%) and the Czech Republic (19%).The most religious countries were Malta (95%, predominantly Roman Catholic) as well as Cyprus and Romania (both predominantly Orthodox) each with about 90% of citizens professing a belief in their respective god.

Across the EU, belief was higher among women, older people, those with religious upbringing, those who left school at 15 or 16, and those “positioning themselves on the right of the political scale”.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Religion (10.01.2020)

Foreign relations

Foreign policy co-operation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957, when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the EU’s common commercial policy. Steps for a more wide-ranging co-ordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. In 1987 the European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.

The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU’s own interests and those of the international community as a whole, including the furtherance of international co-operation, respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP sometimes lead to disagreements, such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq.

The coordinator and representative of the CFSP within the EU is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who speaks on behalf of the EU in foreign policy and defence matters, and has the task of articulating the positions expressed by the member states on these fields of policy into a common alignment. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU department that has been officially implemented and operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union.

Source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Foreign_relations (23.12.2019)

Home affairs and Migration

Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs; initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. Accordingly, the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition, family law, asylum law, and criminal justice. Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties. In more recent years, these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation. By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.

Photo: https://pixabay.com/it/photos/discriminazione-fico-paura-mondo-4731780/

The Union has also established agencies to co-ordinate police, prosecutorial and immigrations controls across the member states: Europol for co-operation of police forces, Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors, and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities. The EU also operates the Schengen Information System which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. This co-operation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime.

Source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Legal_system_and_Justice (23.12.2019)

Legal system and Justice

The EU is based on a series of treaties. These first established the European Community and the EU, and then made amendments to those founding treaties. These are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to implement those goals. These legal powers include the ability to enact legislation which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants. The EU has legal personality, with the right to sign agreements and international treaties.

Under the principle of supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified, and thus the laws enacted under them, even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law, and (within limits) even constitutional provisions.

The direct effect and supremacy doctrines were not explicitly set out the European Treaties but were developed by the Court of Justice itself over the 1960s, apparently under the influence of its then most influential judge, Frenchman Robert Lecourt.

Courts of Justice

The judicial branch of the EU—formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union—consists of two courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions, and cases referred to it by the courts of member states. Because of the doctrines of direct effect and supremacy, many judgments of the Court of Justice are automatically applicable within the internal legal orders of the member states.

Photo: https://www.needpix.com/photo/download/1128823/justice-right-legal-lawyer-word-letters-law-free-pictures-free-photos

The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU’s courts, and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service. Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law.

Fundamental rights

The treaties declare that the EU itself is “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities … in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU’s legal acts can be judged. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the Court of Justice and derived from the “constitutional traditions common to the member states.” The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has, on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.

Signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership previously, the EU itself could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state nor had the competence to accede. The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14 to the ECHR have changed this: the former binds the EU to accede to the Convention while the latter formally permits it.

Photo: https://pixabay.com/it/illustrations/destra-diritti-umani-umano-le-mani-597133/

The EU is independent from the Council of Europe and they share purpose and ideas especially on rule of law, human rights and democracy. Further European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, the source of law of Charter of Fundamental Rights are created by Council of Europe. The EU also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its worldwide abolition. Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership.

Source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Legal_system_and_Justice (23.12.2019)