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Ashton appoints Dane as special adviser

March 31, 2020 | News | No Comments

Ashton appoints Dane as special adviser

Poul Skytte Christoffersen to help Catherine Ashton setting up new foreign policy service.

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3/3/10, 10:17 PM CET

Updated 4/12/14, 7:10 PM CET

The decision by Catherine Ashton to appoint Poul Skytte Christoffersen to her private office as her special adviser on the EEAS is a smart move that will bring much-needed experience to her team. 

Skytte Christoffersen’s long career in EU affairs, dating back to 1977 when he joined Denmark’s permanent representation to the EU, combines experience of the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. He has the network and the know-how to sort out many of the difficulties that will arise in setting up the EEAS. He knows how to cope with the competing expectations of the Commission and the member states.

Skytte Christoffersen was head of the private office of Nils Ersbøll, the Danish secretary-general of the Council, from 1980 to 1994. After a year back at the ministry of foreign affairs in Copenhagen, he returned to Brussels as Denmark’s permanent representative in 1995, a position he was to hold until 2003. Skytte Christoffersen was widely tipped to take over the day-to-day running of the secretariat of the Council in 1999 as deputy to Javier Solana, who had been appointed the EU’s first foreign policy chief and secretary-general of the Council. But Gerhard Schröder, Germany’s chancellor, who was chairing the European Council meeting, had cut a deal with Jacques Chirac, then France’s president, that the job should go to Pierre de Boissieu, France’s permanent representative to the EU.

Enlargement

Skytte Christoffersen lost out, but he stayed on as a member of the committee of permanent representatives for an unusually long eight years, in part so as to look after Denmark’s presidency of the Council of Ministers in the second half of 2002. In that capacity, he was the chief negotiator in the final stages of the talks with ten candidate countries seeking membership of the EU.

In 2003 he was posted to Rome to be Denmark’s ambassador to Italy. He was also the country’s permanent representative to the international food and agriculture organisations based in Rome: the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

In 2006 he returned to Brussels as head of the private office of Mariann Fischer Boel, the then European commissioner for agriculture, replacing Claus Sørensen. He was seen as a very effective operator within the Commission, and his experience with the United Nations agencies in Rome informed the Commission’s €1 billion food facility for food security in developing countries.

Respected intellectual

Skytte Christoffersen is quietly spoken, but widely respected for his intelligence and political skills. Alexander Stubb, Finland’s foreign minister, says he has “an institutional memory unlike anyone else in Brussels”. Skytte Christoffersen turns 65 next year and was scheduled to become Denmark’s ambassador to Belgium in September. If he has the freedom to operate, Ashton’s decision to bring him on board is a significant boost to the chances of creating an effective foreign service for the EU.

Authors:
Simon Taylor 

Robin Leproux, nouvel homme fort du PSG?

March 30, 2020 | News | No Comments

Depuis le départ de l’ancien patron du PSG, Charles Villeneuve (en janvier dernier), les rumeurs vont bon train sur le nom de son éventuel remplaçant. Une personnalité figure en tête de liste (et cette piste semble se préciser) celle de l’ancien directeur général de la station de radio RTL. Selon les informations du Parisien, Robin Leproux pourrait prochainement reprendre la présidence du Paris Saint-Germain…

Les hommes des médias sont de plus en plus sollicités par les clubs de football français. Après Charles Villeneuve (nommé président Paris Saint-Germain de mai 2008 à janvier 2009), et plus récemment Jean-Claude Dassier (nommé président de l’Olympique de Marseille depuis le mois de juillet, en remplacement de Pape Diouf) l’ancien patron de RTL pourrait prochainement arriver à la tête du PSG.

Selon les informations du Parisien, Sébastien Bazin, actionnaire majoritaire du PSG, devrait dévoiler le nom du nouvel homme fort du club le week-end prochain. Et le remplaçant de Charles Villeneuve ne serait autre que Robin Leproux, l’ancien directeur général de RTL. D’après le quotidien régional, l’ex-responsable du pôle radio français de RTL et ancien vice-président du directoire de M6, devrait être nommé à la présidence du Paris Saint-Germain avant la reprise du championnat de ligue 1, le 8 août prochain.

Si cette nouvelle se confirme, Robin Leproux devra rapidement se montrer convaincant. Au PSG, les règles du jeu sont parfois aussi impitoyables que celles des médias. Charles Villeneuve l’a appris à ses dépens…

Mardi 28 juillet 2009

Sénégal, l’influence des confréries

March 30, 2020 | News | No Comments

 Nous voici à Touba, la ville sainte des Mourides, la confrérie musulmane réputée la plus puissante du Sénégal. Les candidats à la présidentielle y recueillent les prières du chef religieux, et lui présente leurs programmes. Même si elle ne donne plus de consigne de vote officielle, son influence reste bien réelle.Pourtant, Khadim Diop, le secrétaire générale du Khalife des Mourides, se défend de toute ingérence.   « Non, il n’y a pas de consigne de vote. Le Khalife des mourides, dont je suis proche, montre sa neutralité, et je pense que c’est important. »   Pour Bakary Sambe, chercheur au « Timbuktu Institute », l’influence des marabouts sur le vote est en recul parmi les jeunes, mais il est toujours une réalité.  « Il y a une constante qui est là, de l’importance du rôle du religieux et de la conscience qu’ont les politiques de cette force électorale, sur l’opinion publique. Maintenant est-ce que cela se traduit mathématiquement par des votes lors des élections ? C’est là la grande question sur quoi on travaille. »  95% des Sénégalais sont musulmans. La très grande majorité d’entre eux appartiennent aux confréries Mourides, Tidjane, Layène ou Khadre, qui sont les principales du pays.

#AlertePollutionRivières ou sols contaminés, déchets industriels abandonnés… Vous vivez à proximité d’un site pollué ?
Cliquez ici pour nous alerter !En quelques heures, une large tache noire recouvre plusieurs hectares de champs. Un pipeline souterrain s’est rompu, des milliers de litres de pétrole s’écoulent en pleine nature. Trente pompiers spécialisés sont mobilisés pour tenter de limiter la propagation. “On essaye de contenir la pollution, je ne vous cache pas qu’il y a une partie des hydrocarbures qui continue à courir dans les cours d’eau, mais on essaye de contenir, par de multiples barrages, cette pollution“, explique Jean-Christophe Etcheberry du service départemental d’incendie. Beaucoup d’inquiétude pour la biodiversitéLa fuite a eu lieu sur le long pipeline de l’entreprise Total qui relie le port du Havre (Seine-Maritime) à la raffinerie de GrandPuits (Seine-et-Marne), au niveau d’Autouillet dans les Yvelines. Pas de risque immédiat sur l’eau potable, mais beaucoup d’inquiétude pour la biodiversité.Le JT

  • JT de 12/13 du mardi 26 février 2019 L’intégrale

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    Décathlon : un hijab de running fait polémique

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    Ascoval : un mois pour trouver un repreneur

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    PSA : des résultats records en 2018

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    Chômage : vers de nouvelles règles d’indemnisation

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    Vietnam : le sommet Kim-Trump se prépare

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    Nouvelles demandes de remises en liberté pour Alexandre Benalla et Vincent Crase

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    Roubaix : avis de recherche contre un chauffard qui a renversé des retraités

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    Saône-et-Loire : les éleveurs veulent améliorer la qualité de la viande

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    Environnement : les moutons des villes

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    SNCF : les boutiques en voie de disparition

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    Cinéma : “Marie Stuart, reine d’Écosse” réhabilite une figure historique

#AlertePollutionRivières ou sols contaminés, déchets industriels abandonnés… Vous vivez à proximité d’un site pollué ?
Cliquez ici pour nous alerter !En France, entre janvier et mars, le Golfe de Gascogne connaît une saison de pêche au bar dont les dauphins sont les victimes collatérales. Cela est dû à l’utilisation d’un chalut-bœuf sur les bateaux de pêche, un filet traîné par deux bateaux qui attrape tout sur son passage.Problème : entre 100 000 et 200 000 dauphins vivent dans cette zone de pêche. Par conséquent, les prises accidentelles sont nombreuses et inévitables. S’ajoute à cela un nombre de dauphins échoués 30 fois supérieur à la normale. Selon Willy Dabin, ingénieur à l’observatoire Pelagis, sur 90 % des animaux trouvés, des traces externes de contact avec des filets de pêche, des amputations et des morts agoniques en profondeur ont été constatées et attestent d’une capture accidentelle.Des chiffres troublantsLe nombre de prises accidentelles fluctue selon les sources. Les pêcheurs en signalent 400 par an là où les observatoires soutiennent un chiffre proche de 4000 dauphins tués. Ce bilan regrettable dépasse largement le seuil de mortalité tolérable pour la survie de population de dauphins. Le directeur de l’observatoire Pelagis Vincent Ridoux est catégorique : “Ce seuil-là, il ne faut pas le dépasser sur une année entière de mortalité enregistrée“, soutient-il avant de relever : “Ici, on le dépasse sur un mois seulement.

Ce soir, Dailymotion, en partenariat avec le label Eye on Films vous invite à découvrir gratuitement et en intégralité le film polonais “Fear of Falling” de Bartosz Konopka, trois mois avant sa sortie en salles. Rendez-vous de 18h à 2h du matin sur le site de partage video.

Ce vendredi 6 avril, Dailymotion, en partenariat avec le label Eye on Films vous invite à découvrir gratuitement et en intégralité le film polonais Fear of falling de Bartosz Konopka, trois mois avant sa sortie en salles. La diffusion, qui aura lieu entre 18h à 2h du matin, se fait en accord avec l’ayant droit. Dailymotion, bien installé comme l’un des sites leader de partage video, s’était déjà associé à une telle initiative en dévoilant, dans les mêmes conditions, le film Red heart de Halkwat Mustafa. Plus de 3600 spectateurs étaient au rendez-vous. Une telle initiative n’est pas sans bouleverser la chronologie des médias. Néanmoins, un canal de diffusion comme celui-ci permet d’assouplir un peu les règles de diffusion d’une oeuvre et s’impose comme un excellent outil de promotion pour le cinéma indépendant sur le web.

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Pour visionner le film, ce soir à partir de 18h, rendez-vous ici !

 

En attendant, découvrez la bande-annonce de Fear of Falling

 

En Nouvelle-Zélande, les attaques contre deux mosquées de Christchurch vendredi ont fait 50 morts et 50 blessés. Ce bilan aurait pu être beaucoup plus lourd sans l’intervention d’un fidèle, Abdul Aziz. Il témoigne au micro de l’envoyée spéciale de franceinfo Carrie Nooten et explique comment il a mis en fuite le tireur.Cet homme de 48 ans, originaire d’Afghanistan, participait vendredi 15 mars avec ses quatre fils à la prière dans la mosquée de Linwood, la deuxième cible du tueur. “J’ai vu l’assaillant et j’ai jeté sur lui une machine pour les cartes de crédit. Il a réussi à attraper une arme et il a commencé à me tirer dessus”, raconte Abdul Aziz. Deux de mes fils ont essayé de me retenir. Je leur ai dit de rester cachés et que tout irait bien pour moi.Abdul Azizà franceinfoAbdul Aziz réussi à se cacher entre les voitures et se saisi d’une arme vide laissée derrière lui par le tireur. J’ai couru derrière la mosquée, vers le parking, j’ai vu un corps avec une arme. Quand j’ai essayé de tirer, il n’y avait plus de balle alors j’ai crié ‘Reviens, je suis ici !’ et je me suis dirigé vers l’entrée de la mosquée”, poursuit-il. Lorsque le tireur entend et voit Abdul Aziz, il court pour rejoindre sa voiture.Je l’ai poursuivi, j’ai lancé l’arme que j’ai récupérée et cela a cassé sa vitre. Il a eu peur. J’ai couru après sa voiture, pieds nus, avec cette arme à la main. Il est passé au feu rouge et il a disparu.Abdul Azizà franceinfo  Le tireur sera finalement arrêté quelques instants plus tard par la police. Les autorités estiment qu’Abdul Aziz a sauvé la vie d’une cinquantaine de personnes.Click Here: New Zealand rugby store

David Coulthard is predicting a swift return of F1 in the coming months, but the ex-F1 driver also believes the racing will resume without any spectators.

A string of eight cancellations has set the earliest possible start date for the 2020 season at Montreal on June 14, although many consider a mid-summer kick-off as more realistic.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey expressed earlier this week his confidence of getting the show on the road “at some point over the summer”.

But if the sport is fortunate enough to get itself in gear sooner rather than later, Coulthard believes the action will take place in front of empty grandstands.

    Ecclestone calls on F1 to abandon 2020 season

“I really believe that sporting events will return much faster than concerts and other events that attract a lot of people, so the races will start again soon,” the Channel 4 pundit told Ziggo Sport.

“I think the Grand Prix will take place without spectators in the stands soon.”

Coulthard’s prediction somewhat defies commercial logic as one wonders how a promoter could possibly be enticed to stage a race that would generate zero box office sales.

©RedBull

But the Scot insists that closed-gate events can happen, including the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, a race guaranteed to attract a full house thanks to Max Verstappen.

“The races will be held with the public in the last part of the season,” added the 13-time Grand Prix winner. “Even if there are no fans, I think the Dutch Grand Prix will be successful.

“It is a pity that the race did not take place on the scheduled dates because of this. Everyone was eagerly awaiting such a race and I hope they can set a specific date.

“Everything that happens reminds the world that we should be careful.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

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Diving into turbulent waters

March 30, 2020 | News | No Comments

Diving into turbulent waters

Member states are struggling to keep up with EU legislation.

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Updated

The European Union has a long tradition of acting to protect Europe’s rivers, lakes and seas. The 1976 bathing water directive has been followed by measures to guard against chemicals, sewage and floods, and by EU standards on drinking water and fish farms. The centrepiece of EU water policy is the water framework directive, an overarching law that aims to restore Europe’s waters to a pristine state by 2015. 

Yet less than five years before the deadline, almost half of EU member states are behind schedule in implementing the directive. Moreover, the countries with the most severe problems, such as arid Spain and population-dense Belgium, are the worst at implementing the flagship law.

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EU leaders asked for legislation on water-protection in 1995, after worrying reports from the European Environment Agency and a growing sense that policy was too fragmented to protect European waters fully. The directive came into force in 2000, with the central objective of restoring rivers, lakes, groundwater and coastal water to a ‘good’ ecological status by 2015. Water is ‘good’ when it is uncontaminated and marine life thrives, as if there were no (or nearly no) human impact. (The marine framework directive of 2008 set the same target for seas, for 2020.)

The directive requires national authorities to draw up river-basin management plans to assess pressures and demands on water bodies and how to achieve (or maintain) a good state. A legal obligation to involve the public in drawing up these plans was intended to give people a stronger voice in the expected conflicts with interest groups, such as agriculture or industry.

Lack of consultation

Progress in implementing the directive has been underwhelming. River-basin managers were supposed to adopt plans by December 2009 and send them to the Commission in March this year.

Authorities in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia have failed to send their adopted plans to the European Commission because they have not finished consultation. A further three countries – Ireland, Poland and Romania – have also failed to complete plans, although they have at least finished the consultation process.

The Commission is now considering infringement proceedings against these 12 countries, which could lead to fines for failure to meet the directive. Janez Potocnik, the European commissioner for the environment, told MEPs and water experts last week (5 May) that member states had to speed up implementation. Delays in the Mediterranean were “especially worrying”, he said, adding: “The earlier they face their severe problems, the better.”

As it ponders legal action against the countries that have not yet delivered, the Commission also has the enormous task of assessing the 170 plans that it will receive in total, which can be up to 5,000 pages long. The Commission’s final assessment of these plans will not be published until 2012.

Until then, the Commission is withholding judgement, although officials are already convinced that further efforts will be needed to meet some parts of the directive.

Potocnik has stressed the need for a water pricing policy that gives incentives to farmers to be more efficient when using water. Water pricing is required under the directive, and policies are meant to be in place this year, but not enough has been done.

“There are gaps in water-pricing that will need to be addressed,” said a Commission official.

Bottom of the league

Green campaigners are already concerned about inadequate national implementation. Member states are not all taking “the once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands”, according to an analysis of the draft plans by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and conservation group WWF.

In a league table they have prepared of rivers, not one country was a ‘high’ performer in implementing the directive, few were ‘good’, and many were ‘moderate’ or ‘poor’.

The green groups concluded that objectives such as reducing water use, phasing out hazardous substances, and long-term planning of river-use were not given sufficient weight in river-basin management plans. Moreover, even governments that are on track with their plans were deemed to be poor at involving the public. The EEB and WWF believe that authorities do not recognise the importance of non-experts.

As is frequently the case with environmental problems, the EU legislation is stronger than the determination of member states to comply.

Authors:
Jennifer Rankin 

EU-US move closer to deal on derivatives regulation

US treasury secretary calls for EU-US co-operation while Michel Barnier welcomes US’ ‘level of ambition’.

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Updated

The European Commission has reached agreement in principle with the United States on regulation of the derivatives market. 

Timothy Geithner, the US treasury secretary, has written to Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for the internal market, setting out a reform plan and calling for EU-US co-operation, which he said was essential to address systemic risks posed by derivatives that are traded between counterparties off exchanges, known as over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.

A spokeswoman for Barnier said that the commissioner “very much welcomed the level of ambition” in Geithner’s letter. She said Geithner’s proposals were “completely in line” with a draft law that Barnier will present in June. Barnier’s proposal would then have to be agreed by the EU’s member states and the European Parliament.

US priorities

Geithner’s letter sets out four priorities for reform, namely: subjecting the market to substantial supervision and regulation (including conservative capital requirements); pushing all trading of standard (ie, commonly traded forms of) derivative contracts onto exchanges or other regulated trading platforms; obliging all traders of standard derivative contracts to use central counterparty clearing; and giving regulators full authority to monitor transactions (including setting position limits).

Barack Obama, the US president, is currently pushing Congress to include regulation of derivatives trading in a financial reform bill that he wants adopted by the end of May. He said last week that he would veto any version of the bill that did not cover derivatives. Obama said that the US “can’t afford another AIG” – a reference to the insurance company American International Group, which had to be bailed out by the US government at the height of the financial crisis because of overexposure to the derivatives market.

The tougher approach to derivatives has been incorporated into draft versions of a communiqué that G20 finance ministers are to adopt at a meeting in Washington, DC, tomorrow (23 April). The Geithner letter goes further than reforms agreed at the last G20 summit, held in September in Pittsburgh, which agreed that standardised contracts should be cleared on exchanges “where appropriate”. It also goes farther than the European Commission’s most recent policy paper on derivatives reform, from October 2009, which stopped short of proposing that all derivatives trading should be carried out on exchanges.

Co-ordinated regulation

The Geithner letter says that the EU and US should co-ordinate how they regulate non-financial firms that use the derivatives markets to hedge risk. Both the Commission and the US administration support a lighter regulatory regime for these companies, which only account for a small part of the over-the-counter market. Geithner has sent a similar letter to Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank.

The G20 meeting is also expected to discuss international co-operation to wind up failing banks, and to address macroeconomic imbalances. The meeting will prepare the next summit of G20 leaders, which will take place in Toronto on 26-27 June.

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Authors:
Jim Brunsden