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French "Three Strikes" Law Gets New Life

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the batter-batter-batter dept.

The Internet 193

Kjella writes "A little over a week ago we discussed the EU's forbidding of disconnecting users from the Internet. But even after having passed with an 88% approval in the European Parliament, and passing through the European Commission, it was all undone last week. The European Council, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, removed the amendment before passing the Telecom package. This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial 'three strikes' law from going into effect. What hope is there for a 'parliament' where near-unanimous agreement can be completely undone so easily?"

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None, not without massive reform (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25953841)

The EU is a great idfea but the execution is terrible. The council should be destroyed, stricken from the legislature.

That anyone on the council thought that this was even remotely conscionable tells you just how undemocratic the people on it are. The fact that they could then go and do this tells you how undemocratic the council system is.

Get rid of it. It's sick.

After the Germans invade a third time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25953921)

they get to keep France. Maybe if they keep it they'll fix their economy.

Re:After the Germans invade a third time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954295)

No! is not fair. French people fight hard in both wars. It was French occupation that defeat Nazis. France has only bad reputation because american not like socialist ways, but we think is better for the people. Look at our health care is finest !

Re:After the Germans invade a third time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954931)

Do you mean "French resistance" instead of "French occupation" ?

You dork bag. You totally failed it.

Why don't they want people copying music? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954993)

This is all about the music industry trying to disconnect people from the internet who copy music. What is their problem? Turn on the radio, there's some of their precious music playing. Turn on the TV, you can hear their music. Go into a shop, it's playing there too. They even have special shows on TV, just about commercial music. Even special TV channels about commercial music.

Record companies pay radio stations to play their songs so that people can hear it. They put a lot of effort into making video clips so that the song can get on TV so that people can hear it. Do they care if you record music off the radio? Nope. Do they care if you record a video clip on TV? Nope. Do they want you to hear their music? They say they do, and they act like they do.

But if you copy a song on the internet because you want to hear it, suddenly they are all screaming "Cut them off from the internet! We're going to sue those illegal downloaders who tried to hear our music! We'll sue them for thousands of dollars per song!" Why? Don't they want people to hear their music? Isn't that why they pay radio stations to play their songs? Isn't that why they make expensive video clips?

Why do they want to cut people off from the internet? Why aren't they saying "This is a great way to get people to listen to our music! And we don't even have to pay, unlike the radio and TV stations"? Why are they trying to kick people off the internet, sue them, bankrupt them, wreck their lives? But if you listen to a song on the radio, they're really happy about it. Listen to it on the internet, you're dead meat.

Sure they don't make money from downloads, but they don't make money from radio or TV either. It costs them money. What's the real problem?

Re:After the Germans invade a third time (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956035)

The French healthcare system is good, but it's certainly not the greatest system in the world. The US system has the benefit of it's not a system so much as a free market, enabling those with the cash to buy the most advanced healthcare in the world. If only everyone was rich, then the US system would be perfect. But I digress and cease this route because it seems very offtopic.

The French people fought hard and once the war was over pretty much murdered in cold blood anyone who cooperated with the Germany. I'm not sure if the French should feel pride or shame for what happened after the war, but it is what it is. France gets a bad rap for what went on in WWII, but one could just point to how long the Americans took before entering. But really, I would place most of the blame on Germany and more specifically the Nazis for starting the whole thing or at least keeping it going.

Also France is not socialist by any textbook definition of the term, nor it is communist. Those terms, when applied to EU members, are pure hyperbole as an attempt to show widely contrasting ideologies where the difference in actuality is relatively small.

Re:After the Germans invade a third time (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956619)

A third time ? There have been more than two conflicts between German and French people. Have you forgotten about the 1870 war, which was also quite bloody ?

Re:None, not without massive reform (2, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25953933)

Hmmm, I guess it's sort of like Al Gore winning the presidential election, but George Bush ending up the President?

It's all about thinking you are in a democracy, not actually being in one. Happy people are easier to control.

Lordy, I think all this /. paranoia is finally starting to rub off on me.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25953981)

Al Gore did not win the election. He had the majority of the popular vote. That's it. The popular vote means nothing in itself. It doesn't even mean, that if the popular vote WAS the determiner for election that Al Gore would have won, since the entire campaign would have been conducted differently.

Re:None, not without massive reform (-1, Offtopic)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954799)

Al Gore did not win the election. He had the majority of the popular vote.

Al Gore -did- win the election, by any rational measure, including the electoral college.

Aside from Florida Bush had 246 electoral votes Gore at 266.

Giving Bush Florida gave him 271, and won him the election. Winning Florida requires winning the popular vote in Florida; ie having the most vote for him. but Bush VERY didn't likely do that. The voting machines and process was defective, and the manual recounts were consistently adding votes to Gore's tally.

The Bush campaign essentially ultimately blocked and stalled the recounts to 'allow' Florida to declare a winner without having been allowed to make an accurate count of the votes. (Especially if you consider Katherine Harris' blatant conflict of interest in the situation as a republican in charge of 'certifying the result' and who participated enthusiastically with the Bush campaigns efforts to prevent and stall recount efforts.)

Now we can dig further and talk about overvotes, undervotes, hanging and dimpled chad, etc, but the real test should have been 'can the voter's intention be discerned'? And by that measure Gore won.

I mean seriously, their were some 1200+ votes (mostly for Gore) where the voter had selected a candidate on the ballot, and then wrote his name in the write-in line as well. To not count those votes for either party, in race this close, is completely idiotic.

Frankly, given Florida was as close as it was, and a recount effort was not possible, and a federal deadline was looming, the fairest thing for Florida to have done, would have been to allocate its electoral votes evenly ... say 13 for Bush, 12 for Gore. (Given that Bush had won the initial count.) And the election would have gone to Gore (278 to 259). Of course that would probably violate the Florida constitution/rules/whatever...

But abstaining would have been practically equivalent (Gore wins 266 to 246), and it would not have been impossible for them to simply say "We cannot certify a result in time for the deadline and will abstain from the electoral college vote.' I suspect this is might have happened if Katherine Harris & co had been democrat. Or even better -- neutral non-partisans -- which is how it SHOULD BE.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954869)

... and Obama won by a "landslide".

Despite the popular vote being only 6% or so apart, and with McCain winning the majority of states.

The Electoral college called the election before even CNN, and while it is clear Obama won, I don't think he's quite got the mandate he thinks he does.

Not that that really matters, either, since the Democrats are going to rain all over his "change" message with more of the same political BS that both parties have been shoveling for 40 years now.

Re:None, not without massive reform (-1, Offtopic)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955015)

... and Obama won by a "landslide".

I never said that, and I don't believe it to be true. Frankly, I was shocked by how close that race ultimately was.

Re:None, not without massive reform (2, Interesting)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955299)

Bullshit.

All voting machines have a margin of error - accounting for the likelihood of a misread, a data entry error (someone hitting the wrong button), or other malfunctions.

The voting machines used across the USA have an average margin of error of at least 1.5%, sometimes more depending on whose analysis you are using.

Al Gore "won" the popular vote by less than 1% nationwide. That means that all you can say is he had a statistical dead heat in the popular vote. If you wanted to have a national recount, there were plenty of states with margins that could easily have swung the other way around and not gone for Gore in a recount, it's just that Florida (and in particular, a couple of Florida counties) got focused on.

Of course, the OTHER option would have been to throw Florida's votes out, and then turn it over to the constitutional option when nobody has a majority... which means... oh, yeah, a vote by Congress with one vote apportioned to each state delegation. And the Republicans handily controlled that particular vote method at the time.

Frankly, given Florida was as close as it was, and a recount effort was not possible, and a federal deadline was looming, the fairest thing for Florida to have done, would have been to allocate its electoral votes evenly ... say 13 for Bush, 12 for Gore. (Given that Bush had won the initial count.) And the election would have gone to Gore (278 to 259). Of course that would probably violate the Florida constitution/rules/whatever...

You're right, it would have violated the Florida statutes on electoral apportionment. And frankly, setting it up that way would be pretty lousy policy regardless, since it would give Florida that much less clout overall (ever noticed that nobody, political campaigning/advertising-wise, gives a crap about the couple of states that DO send in a "roughly proportional" number of electors?)

Re:None, not without massive reform (-1, Offtopic)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955809)

Al Gore "won" the popular vote by less than 1% nationwide. That means that all you can say is he had a statistical dead heat in the popular vote. If you wanted to have a national recount, there were plenty of states with margins that could easily have swung the other way around and not gone for Gore in a recount,

I'd be willing to take that bet. For what its worth the voting process itself is implicitly biased towards republicans. Your generally going to find more voting errors made by Democrats, and manual recounts will find more Democrat votes than otherwise. (not the republicans fault, just a reality resulting from the demographics the parties draw from... poor non-english speaking people trend as democrats, and these are the people most likely to vote "incorrectly". (circling a name instead of following the instructions and checking-off a box... etc)

it's just that Florida (and in particular, a couple of Florida counties) got focused on.

Because that it was where it was the closest.

Of course, the OTHER option would have been to throw Florida's votes out, and then turn it over to the constitutional option when nobody has a majority...

Really? What voting system requires you to have a majority of the POSSIBLE votes? All that I've ever seen have required you to have the majority of CAST votes. I.e. if there are 501 senators and 301 of them don't show up, and the rest vote 150-50 on some vote than the 150 vote wins. You don't need 251 to 'win', unless EVERYONE votes. You just need the majority of the votes actually cast... you need more votes than the other side.

So, if you throw the votes out (or if Florida had abstained), you would reduce the total possible votes by that amount, and it would have given Gore the majority. (But even if it had given Bush the majority I wouldn't have complained. It would at least have been fair.

And frankly, setting it up that way would be pretty lousy policy regardless, since it would give Florida that much less clout overall (ever noticed that nobody, political campaigning/advertising-wise, gives a crap about the couple of states that DO send in a "roughly proportional" number of electors?)

Its pretty lousy policy at the -federal- level that you can even have swing states that decide elections. Too many states simply don't matter and have no real voice. The electoral college is a joke.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956129)

They simply should have counted it all the way to the end.

I can't see whats the point in rushin things. The old presidenicy continues for a few months anyway...

Re:None, not without massive reform (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955759)

nice troll.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0, Offtopic)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954063)

You're a nitwit. The popular vote determines what representatives will be voting in the electoral college and that is all. The only thing Al Gore ever won in his life was a double chin.

Re:None, not without massive reform (2, Insightful)

Mathonwy (160184) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954083)

Well, and Florida.

And a Nobel prize.

Re:None, not without massive reform (3, Insightful)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954155)

And an Oscar. I'm pretty sure he won a few Senate elections too.

Re:None, not without massive reform (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954159)

Well, he did win a Nobel Prize. Florida not so much.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954335)

One more time:

Gore would not have won Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties in the recount.

Gore would have won a state-wide recount, a common-sense solution BushII et alia prevented by having the GOP use the Federal court and then the Supreme Court to kick the Florida courts and state law in the teeth.

All in all, an interesting overriding of "state's rights" by a party that claims to highly prize those rights. (For the irony-impaired, that's what irony sounds like.)

Re:None, not without massive reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954435)

One more time:

Gore would not have won given recounts in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties.

Gore would have won in a state-wide recount, a common-sense solution the GOP prevented by having the Federal courts and then the Supreme Court kick Florida courts and law in the teeth.

That was an interesting override of "state's rights" by a party that claims to highly prize those rights. (For the irony impaired, that is what irony sounds like.)

Re:None, not without massive reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954359)

i lost all respect for the noble prize as soon as that money hungry hippo won it.

Re:None, not without massive reform (2, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956229)

All of that means nothing unless he can capture manbearpig.

I was thinking the same thing... (0, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955753)

The EU is a great idfea but the execution is terrible.

You know, I was thinking the same thing about the united states political system... er, what is left of it, anyways.

Re:I was thinking the same thing... (0, Flamebait)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956243)

aw, c'mon. troll for truth? what is next, flamebait for my honest opinion?

Re:None, not without massive reform (4, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956485)

Well, if the council changes it, the new proposal has to pass through the parliament again (they cannot just change the directive and be done with it (they could in the 80s, but the world have changed since then and the EP have a lot more power)):

Look at: http://ec.europa.eu/codecision/stepbystep/diagram_en.htm [europa.eu]

I think that they just finished point 9. This means that the EP must take the councils amendments and their common position into account and vote again, the parliament have all the rights to reintroduce the amendment that was dropped by the council.

If they do, they are putting a clear message to them that the amendment is critical and the directive will not pass without it.

This is why you have a bicameral system. You cannot just remove the points by the other camber and be done with it.

Although the EU legislative system has it's flaws, it is often criticized today for how it worked in the 80's at which point it was still an international organisation (and a lot of the critics believe it still works as in the 80s).

There are problems for sure, such as that the council is not appointed as a separate body, but it consists of the member states governments (i.e. it would be better with senators that do not have a foot in the member states' governments since the council would then be accountable to Europe and you could in theory fire the entire council, but any way... I am drifting of my main points now).

I do not like the council, but it is not really as bad as you think. Please write your parliamentarian and ask them what they will do for the second reading.

Re:None, not without massive reform (0)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956727)

There are problems for sure, such as that the council is not appointed as a separate body, but it consists of the member states governments

The council isn't part of the member states governments. It is simply a collection of unelected officials without accountability. I.e. an oligarchy.

Re:None, not without massive reform (4, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956737)

Sorry I'm wrong. The commission is like that, the council is the way you described it.

Re:None, not without massive reform (4, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956821)

The commission is appointed by the council, but subject to the scrutiny and approval / disproval by the parliament.

The commission does not have lawmaking rights in general (they do in two small areas, but have basically only used that power twice in 30 years or so).

From wikipedia:
-------------------
The Commission can adopt laws on its own initiative concerning monopolies and concessions granted to companies by Member States (Article 86(3)) and concerning the right of workers to remain in a Member State after having been employed there (Article 39(3)(d)). Two directives have been adopted using this procedure: one on transparency between Member States and companies[16] and another on competition in the telecommunications sector.
-------------------

So, two cases where the commission unilaterally did something in 30 years or so.

The telecom directive in question here is probably the capping of roaming fees, but that is typically not something that would go under law, but rather regulation of law (which is not necessarily handled by an elected body anyway) in the member states, so I cannot really see that they stepped over the line in that case, but yeah... in theory they have the power.

The important thing from the start of this post, is that the commission needs the approval of the EP, if the loose that approval, they can no longer remain in office.

No one in Europe elects their government directly, typically the prime minister is appointed by the head of state that may or may not be elected, but this is only a rubber stamp and the head of state has to appoint a prime minister that in term will name his ministers and then get the approval of the parliament for his government.

So I really cannot see the difference between how the commission is appointed and how each member states government is appointed. So blaming the commission for being unelected is a bit strange I think if you at the same time does not criticise all the parliamentary systems in Europe for having the same flaw.

The main problem as said is the council, but in many cases, the system of the Union gets a lot more critique than it has earned, and for the commission this is certainly so. Because, people does not really bother about checking the facts about how things work. If you criticise something, then make sure that you know how things actually work and you can make some concrete suggestions for improvements.

Re:None, not without massive reform (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956835)

Agreed. As an European who likes the whole idea, I would happily get rid of the European Council which serves nothing except providing an easy point of entry to lobbyists and corruption.

European Commission to stop the 3-strikes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25953845)

European Commission to stop the 3-strikes?:

http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises/communication/telecom-internet/20081127trib000314818/loi-antipiratage-sur-internet-les-observations-de-bruxelles-.html

An french2english translation not done by robots might be welcomed.

Usually I'm rather pro-European (2, Insightful)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25953859)

The European parliament in Strassbourg (France): http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Institutions_europeennes_IMG_4292.jpg [wikimedia.org]

I see my country's flag. Yet my voice can not be heard.

Re:Usually I'm rather pro-European (1)

thesaurus (1220706) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954107)

Maybe they were all in Brussels at the time...

Re:Usually I'm rather pro-European (1)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954845)

As was I (and still am now) with a political scientist, thank you :)

The parliament is GREAT (2, Interesting)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956641)

They're mostly on the side of angels. Seriously. Maybe the fact that they don't have that much actual power forces them to act more responsibly. I don't know. But they usually side with the good guys.

No standing anyway (3, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25953893)

\begin{rant}

This French law is stupid, but to what extent should the badly-run shady organization in Brussels overturn by fiat laws made by the National Assembly?

The European Union executive runs roughshod over the European Parliament; there is much backroom dealing and invisible lobbying. Under such conditions I don't think the laws passed have much legitimacy, even if they achieve good results (they rarely do). Depending on the dictators from Brussels to enforce freedom in France is a contradiction in terms.

\end{rant}

Re:No standing anyway (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25953987)

That's the problem, the dictators in Brussels.

The parliament also needs reform, greater visibilty and greater accountability. The reason they can ride roughshod over national laws is because member states lead by France gave them that power. It's perfectly legitimate, or at least it would be without the damned comission.

We already had that reform (0, Flamebait)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956709)

The parliament also needs reform, greater visibilty and greater accountability.

A few years back we seemed to be headed towards a European constitution. The text was horribly formatted, there was no declaration of values as in most constitutions, it was so long no one could reasonably expected to read all that, and there was endless bitching from the Catholic church and their lackeys about inserting a paragraph about the continent's Christian roots, conveniently forgetting that modern democracy in Europe is mostly due to anti-clericals and that the Church has opposed pretty much any progress in civil rights (yesterday's news: they support killing gays [timesonline.co.uk] in Iran and other religious cesspits).

However, that constitution was still better than nothing. Among other things, it finally gave power to the EU parliament [wikipedia.org] , but who shot down the constitution? The French [wikipedia.org] , in a national referendum. So, if anything, they are getting what they asked for—continued unaccountability of Brussels bureaucrats.

Re:No standing anyway (4, Interesting)

marnues (906739) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954013)

As an American, I want a strong EU. They are an entity that would bring very positive competition that I'm not certain China or India can offer. So please take your rant and turn it into activism. Change those "dictators in Brussels" into democratically elected and fully responsible civil servants. The world would be a much better place.

Re:No standing anyway (0, Flamebait)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954213)

As an American, I agree. If we can depose our dictator, so can you guys.

un changement que nous pouvons croire en

(I don't speak French; blame Google.)

Re:No standing anyway (4, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955259)

Yeah that plan you had to deposed him was sublime in its genius. Getting rid of him by letting him serve his full term of office was a masterstroke.

Re:No standing anyway (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955773)

I dunno, I'd translate it as "un changement en ce que nous pouvons croire". But then, I'd be correcting the grammar as well. Not sure if it was an intentional thing or not.

Yurp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956203)

Yeah thanks, because as everyone knows, we all speak French here in Europe...

Re:No standing anyway (1, Interesting)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954371)

You miss a point: The whole concept of europe is based on the concept that some selfappointed burocrats run everything while the elected MEPs have absolutely no power, the parlament "rubberstamps" decisions taken by others... Nations can't decide anymore what's legal nor how to regulate the invasion from north africa even inside their borders. New laws against "xenofobia" are coming into effect whose aim is to suppress free speech.

The problem, or good part of it, is that Sarko is such a id..t that he makes this process remarkably evident to anyone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bM2Ql3wOGcU [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kr0Foq3CQE [youtube.com]

Re:No standing anyway (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954033)

It is relatively new. And it is a force of good. But it has much to improve. We shouldn't call for destruction of the EU but rather better mechanisms.

Not a contradiction, that's what happens (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956659)

The European Court of Human Rights (which is not an EU institution, but close enough) acts as a last measure in many cases, much like the SCOTUS but w/o Adolf, err Antonin Scalia. They forced many positive changes in our disturbingly creepy judicial practices.
In other matters the Commission forced the break up of the former telecom monopoly, which resulted in one of the highest broadband penetration in the world. They might next save us from the current oligopoly in the mobile phone network industry, which holds firmly in place because corrupt motherfucker Sarkozy is best buddies with many a stakeholder.

Well that's what you get (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954001)

The EU is something of the worst parts of a government and a diplomatic organization. It wants to pretend to be the unified European government, but it really isn't. It also isn't democratically elected or directly accountable to it's constituents.

The basic problem is that the European nations wanted to create a union that was along the lines of the United States (which as the name implies is a union of independent states). However they half-assed it. The reason the United States is so powerful is because of the united nature. While the states are independent, the laws of one do not affect the laws of another, they are all a lesser part of the whole. The states have to do as the federal government says and there is no leaving the union (that was what the civil war was actually about, can you leave the union). Though separate, they act as a whole.

Now this means two important things on a governmental level:

1) The federal government has real power. It can make laws, treaties and so on that the several states are required to abide by (within the bounds allowed in the Constitution). There isn't any weaseling out of it or leaving. Thus the government can speak for the US as a whole.

2) The government is directly accountable to the people. The federal government is elected by the citizens of the states, and thus is accountable to them. If they behave in a way the citizens don't like, they can be ousted as happened in this most recent election. Though it is a republic, not a democracy, it is still a democratic process where the people in the states say who will lead, not the leaders of the states.

Well unless the EU is willing to do this sort of thing, then crap like this ruling will happen. It isn't a real government. It has some trappings of a government, and some authority like it, but it isn't really a government.

I really think the EU needs to change. They either need to go all the way, become a unified nation fully, or they need to scale back, and basically become a trading bloc. This "We're a European government but not really and you don't get to elect us," is just bad news IMO.

Re:Well that's what you get (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954025)

We elect the european parliament.

Just not the commission. This must change, starting with the scrapping of the commission.

Re:Well that's what you get (1, Insightful)

cobraR478 (1416353) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954255)

But then how would those in power in the particular countries ensure that the EU was their, respective, bitch?

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955757)

Right, but that would not have had an effect in this case, since the Commission rubber stamped the Parliament's decision, and it was the European Council (made up of the elected heads of member states) that vetoed it.

Re:Well that's what you get (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956249)

We (Europeans) elect the commision too, directly via our national governments.

Indirect voting is just another form of democracy, a bit like the electoral vote in the USofA.

The real problem are France and the UK, they form an axis of evil that refuses to grant the European Parliament full rights.
This is especially cynical when you see and hear how the British press is always going on about the so-called non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels, I believe the British scandal press is part of the European problem not getting solved.

Re:Well that's what you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956781)

Moreover, the Commission has to be approved by Parliament. The Council is also "indirectly elected" in the same way; it's made up of ministers from each state's government. It's half-assed and not good enough, but not as bad as it might look at first. As you say, the parliament should be the one point where all laws are made or discarded.

Oh, and the STUPID "rotating presidency" has to go. How can a state be the president of a union? It's completely retarded.

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954307)

The federal government has real power. It can make laws, treaties and so on that the several states are required to abide by (within the bounds allowed in the Constitution). There isn't any weaseling out of it or leaving. Thus the government can speak for the US as a whole. Wrong. The judiciary can overide and ignore laws and treaties negotiated and approved by the federal government. For an example see the Softwood Lumber dispute between Canada & the US.

Re:Well that's what you get (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954645)

this would be the state judiciaries? No - the federal judiciary overturned a decision taken by the federal government. However the mechanism actually works, the GP's point, that the federal government actually runs the country that the rest of the world sees, is still valid.

Re:Well that's what you get (1, Insightful)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954427)

The European Parliament gets elected directly by the people whereas the other bodies get assigned by the national governments. In regards to whether it is half-arsed or not you will find that the US does not want a united Europe because it will not be able to sell as many weapons / interfere as easily in domestic politics like the various US government bribing groups dictate (see political party donations in the US). If you want a sample of what is going on read the story of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and who managed to convince the electorate to vote No (see Libertas and Declan Ganley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declan_Ganley [wikipedia.org] and his connection with the US arms industries). Of course it is our fault as Europeans that we let ourselves to be taken in by charlatans and fear mongers.

Re:Well that's what you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956851)

Ganley is an interesting figure. His views on European politics (the ones that are out in the open, anyway) are quite sensible, but his (alleged) connection with US military or whatever is disturbing.

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954441)

The European Parliament gets elected directly by the people whereas the other bodies get assigned by the national governments. In regards to whether it is half-arsed or not you will find that the US does not want a united Europe because it will not be able to sell as many weapons / interfere as easily in domestic politics like the various US government bribing groups dictate (see political party donations in the US). If you want a sample of what is going on read the story of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and who managed to convince the electorate to vote No (see Libertas and Declan Ganley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declan_Ganley [wikipedia.org] and his connection with the US arms industries). Of course it is our fault as Europeans that we let ourselves to be taken in by charlatans and fear mongers.

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954449)

Actually, the US is a republic and a democracy. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Well that's what you get (4, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954725)

I really think the EU needs to change. They either need to go all the way, become a unified nation fully, or they need to scale back, and basically become a trading bloc. This "We're a European government but not really and you don't get to elect us," is just bad news IMO.

There is strong sentiment within several of the member states of the EU to withdraw from the organization. The European Parliament and Commission is seen, by many, as weak and/or corrupt (depending on who you ask); and the rest don't really know who they are or what they do.

The Governments of England, France and Germany do not wish to give away more of their own sovereignty or power, yet they wish to maintain or increase their influence upon the management and direction of the EU itself. At the same time as they want to remain as much a part from it as possible. If the EU were to become a proper union it would drastically reduce the power of some of the founding states, while increasing the influence of economically weaker nations (such as Poland).

Cultural, economical and political factors ensure that the EU as it stands today will never become a Union and if the governing body of the EU tried to do anything that seemed to pull towards such a scenario the Union would dissolve in a heart beat. It has no military power, and none of the member states wish to give their military, or security, forces over to EU control. Not to mention the fact that some member states are a member of NATO while others are not.

In practical terms as it today the EU drafts various trade laws that it tries to enforce upon weaker nations while the stronger nations decide if they want to implement, ignore, claim to lack the resources to implement, really lack the resources to implement or simply decide that it is not in their best interest to implement.

Then there is the EEA (European Economic Area) which binds the signing Nations to parts of the EU laws. EEA is the members of EU and Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. Oh and Switzerland isn't part of the EEA because they got a special deal with the EU (since their constitution requires them to vote upon ever part of the "Deal" offered by EU membership). These nations gets free trade within the EU (kinda, but not really); but they have to follow parts of EU law (those outside the EU gets no say or influence upon those laws).

If you are confused by any of this, or don't get how this really is supposed to work in practice; then don't worry; most of us Europeans don't get it either. For the most part we refuse or neglect to do any sort of personal research on the subject; much rather we listen to our own national politicians who have a real self interest (as I mentioned earlier) in keeping what power they have within their own Nation.

Re:Well that's what you get (2, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956295)

There is strong sentiment within several of the member states of the EU to withdraw from the organization.

But none of them is a key member.

The Governments of England, France and Germany do not wish to give away more of their own sovereignty or power, yet they wish to maintain or increase their influence upon the management and direction of the EU itself.

You are wrong about Germany, historically it's only the UK and France that limit the rights of the European Parliament.

At the same time as they want to remain as much a part from it as possible. If the EU were to become a proper union it would drastically reduce the power of some of the founding states, while increasing the influence of economically weaker nations (such as Poland).

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

major_fault (1384069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956655)

Not in terms of relations with Russia. Germany has strong self-interests there with most nations bordering Russia opposing these interests.

Re:Well that's what you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956677)

You are wrong about Germany, historically it's only the UK and France that limit the rights of the European Parliament.

This is completely related to the fact that Germans form the largest group in the parliament, and they regularly vote on a national basis instead of a political basis everytime the German industry says so (see every directive that could have any impact on Volkswagen or the german chemical companies).

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954995)

In short, they don't realize that it takes both the United part and the States part before the United States of Europe will work. So until they do, we're trapped in a metastable state and waiting for it to decay.

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

mcnellis (1420749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955477)

It sounds like basically the European Union is analogous to the United States under the Articles of Confederation. All of these problems are the reason for the drafting of the current Constitution. How long before the European Union is reformed? Will they reform for a more powerful European Union or will the independent states cut back on their centralization of power?

Re:Well that's what you get (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955781)

Sounds an awful lot like the states now a days...

Re:Well that's what you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25956735)

"However they half-assed it."

The money quote. We have a Frankensteinian political system that is still designed to be run by states and their governments rather than by their people.

While we don't have the same amount of "people power" spirit that the Americans have, we're still a whole lot better than China or Russia, and if we don't get out act together they're the ones who're going to be running the show.

What we need to do:

1. The Parliament needs increased powers
2. The Commission needs to be taken from the largest party in the parliament (kind of happens already) OR we elect its President directly
3. The Council needs to become a real senate, where each state's representative is directly elected

I.e. we need to get over our big fucking egos and take it all the way out. That means a real constitution (not that cobbled together piece of crap they tried to force on us earlier), a real, elected government (the Commission) with a foreign minister who will be the union's representative to the rest of the world. We need a real federal structure with the right balance between federal and state power. The national governments always act on short-term self interest and many are prone to, shall we say, interesting solutions to some problems (read: protectionism, nationalisation of industries, etc). Sarko, Berlusconi and their other friends would be quite amusing if only they didn't have so much power.

We need clarity, simplicity and real democracy.

It's almost like... (1)

AgentFade2Black (968245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954009)

...having a measure to reduce income tax pass, then the legislature raising it back to normal the next day.

True story. Happened in the "wonderful" state of Massachusetts.

Re:It's almost like... (2, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954495)

Hey, you ain't telling me nothing new. here in AR We, The People, have voted like 4 times for a damned lotto. And so far the bible thumpers have found some legal BS way to weasel out of listening to us 3 times. This past election yet again we voted for a lotto, this time by nearly 3 to 1. The profits will ensure that all the children of AR can have a free college education if they keep up their grades.

So now I am just waiting on those God Damned bible thumpers to find yet ANOTHER way of screwing us out of what we voted for. You know, it really is a shame we can't have a "thump a bible thumper" day, as that would be something I would look forward to like Xmas and 4th of July all wrapped together.

Re:It's almost like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954621)

here in AR

Did you find a way to do way instain mothers?

Re:It's almost like... (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956349)

And yet the same idiots keep getting re-elected.

Who's fault is that?

Here in New Zealand too (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954019)

We've got Section 92a of the copyright act being voted for in February here. It's all prepared and last time they voted this way

* New Zealand Labour 49
* New Zealand National 48v * New Zealand First 7
* ACT New Zealand 2
* United Future 2
* Progressive 1
* Independent 2 (Field, Copeland)

Noes 10
* Green Party 6
* Mori Party 4

There's no good reason to think New Zealand won't have this by the end of February.

Re:Here in New Zealand too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954109)

I suspect a flight Australia is cheaper than paying for everything I download.

I actually wouldn't have a problem with all these copyright if little countries like NZ weren't overcharged and way latter than everyone else. For example, Desperate Housewives is mid season in the US, but we won't get it until late January, and then when I want to buy it off of iTunes (when they add the feature here), I'll still have to wait until it airs on NZ TV. Or, I can torrent it the day it airs in the US, costing me only the high bandwidth internet plan.

Re:Here in New Zealand too (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954147)

Ugh, sorry about the formatting. That was 111 votes for the three strikes law in New Zealand and only 10 against. We're so fucked :(

Sarkozy = French Version of Bush (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954037)

No wonder I've seen so many French people describe Sarkozy as a French version of President Bush. I remember many people protested his election, too, saying he was only elected due to playing off of people's prejudice.

Re:Sarkozy = French Version of Bush (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954339)

And the last time Bush did something without the legislature voting for it was when?

Re:Sarkozy = French Version of Bush (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954445)

Executive order * fill it in, come on, any number or word combination will be good!

Re:Sarkozy = French Version of Bush (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25955787)

Looks like the answer to the question here is actually... today was the last time, so far.

See this page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/orders/

I never thought I would write this (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956847)

But here it is: the parent post is unfair to President Bush. To misquote Obelix apropros the last French presidential election, "ils sont fous ces francais".

What would prevent the French people ... (1)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954111)

... from dragging this issue to the European Court of Justice and therefore forcing a definite decision? The support for striking down any such restrictions on internet access for copyright infringements seems to be broadly available.

Who else saw the headline ... (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954171)

and got "excited"?

Hmmm?

"French" and "Three" and, ooohhh , "Strikes"... in the same sentence? I mean ... come on!

Never mind. I need to be alone with my computer now.

The French (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954337)

Well here is my opinion about the three strikes law. France is very steeped in taking their time, they take long lunches and dinners, have more conversations in person over dinner I bet than in an online forum. Repeated illegal file sharing is not a good thing IMHO. I guess they are just trying to weed out the people online that keep it up after being warned. Maybe their thought process is, well people spend a lot of time online, why not treat it in the same way that you would in a real life situation. Also, the French are not enforcers, their dogs poop everywhere, they don't have dog parks like we do, and people smoke everywhere there, even if it is prohibited, and not too much happens. The three strikes deal sounds like a panacea or a band aid to me.

Re:The French (4, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954739)

Time for another line from yes minister (about a compulsory European ID card): "The Germans will love it, the French will ignore it and the Italians will be too disorganised to implement it; it's only the British who will resent it"

While 'Let the French do what the Fench think is good for France' is a good sentiment, the way it works is that the EU presidency rotates around every 6 months, and during those 6 months, whichever country hold the presidency has a completely free hand to try and force the craziest nonsense from their law books onto the rest of Europe.
The UK forced 2 years retention of electronic communications particulars through, for instance. (Which I suspect that they did because they wouldn't have got enough support for the measure at home)

Re:The French (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955161)

But what about the Americans? We think we are so superior and if you think about, our country hasn't had much to feel very superior about in about 10 years. No major accomplishments lately for the ol' US of A.... I honestly didn't know that about EU presidency. Thanks for the insight on their process. Also, Cowpat, this article seems like it was posted before, I don't remember though.

The EU Presidency (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956691)

... is largely symbolic. It only gives more exposure, not more power, and no way it gives a "free hand." That's just nonsense.

And people like to call the US corrupt (0, Troll)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954347)

Between Britain's massive, rapid drive towards becoming a complete police state and things like this story illustrating just how easily a few hacks in a backroom can completely undermine a democratic vote, it almost makes the US look like a fairytale paradise in comparison. Not to say our country isn't going to shit as well, it's just taking longer.

Unsurprising (0, Flamebait)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954481)

They're Europeans. Do you think the agreement would have had so much support if it actually meant anything, or had real-world consequences? That's not how things work over there. Look what it's like trying to get them to do anything as NATO partners besides sit around and pull their peters.

Re:Unsurprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954563)

And the above is not modded flamebait, because?

Nepotism at work (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25954727)

Why is Sarkozy so keen on draconian copyright laws and punishments for people breaking it? Could it be that his latest wife is a singer, composer and model?

I mean, most politicians are pretty self centered and don't give a rat's ass about their subjects, but I have rarely seen it used with such bluntness.

Re:Nepotism at work (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954927)

I reckon he was actually handed Bruni as payment by the entertainment industry. He's a horrible little gnome with serious small-dog syndrome. Yes, women are attracted to powerful men. But Bruni could pretty much have had her pick of various good looking, tall powerful men.

This FP fo8 GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25954903)

this is co8si5tent to this. For people already; I'm

European Council does not have legislative powers (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25955807)

What was the European Council doing passing legislation? They are not supposed to have legislative powers, they get together a couple of times a year to propose policy direction for the Parliament and Commission to follow.

Re:European Council does not have legislative powe (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956217)

We are speaking here about the Council of the EU [europa.eu] , which owns co-decision power along with the Parliament of the EU (with historically more power to the Council until the Lisbon treaty is ratified). There is a lesser known "European Council" which gives orientations, but it is not the subject of this article.

EU - Dictatorship or Democracy ? (5, Informative)

theocrite (1348043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956379)

A little note. From the article :

The European Council, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, removed the amendment before passing the Telecom package.

Well not exactly.
First of all, this is the Council of the European Union [wikipedia.org] , not the European Council [wikipedia.org] . Everybody confuses them (and also with the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org] , with is not related with European Union. Someone even mixed up with the European Commission [wikipedia.org] some comments above). Some people argue that people make things hard (like similar names hard to remember), so that it's harder to fight (you can't fight what you don't understand).

Also, the Council wasn't led by Sarkozy, but by Luc Chatel [wikipedia.org] , secretary of State for Consumer affairs and Industry. But it's true that nobody in the French government would have the guts to make Sarkozy unhappy on purpose. They are totally devoted to him. So incidentally we can indeed say that Sarkozy led the Council even if he wasn't here.

Laquadrature published something more accurate : Citizen safeguards striked out in EU Council [laquadrature.net]

This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial 'three strikes' law from going into effect. What hope is there for a 'parliament' where near-unanimous agreement can be completely undone so easily?"

Woa, kinda alarmist, don't you think ?

The text hasn't been adopted yet. You can fin a nice diagram [laquadrature.net] describing where we are in the current procedure. The step described in this article is the point #4=>#9. The next step will be #11. But first, there will be a tripartite meeting (Council + MEPs + commission) and probably a #10 as commission and council doesn't agree.

So there will be a second reading by the EP. So please stop saying that UE is a dictatorship. There are a lot of things to notice before we can say that :

  • As you can see on the diagram 1/ there will be a second reading by the EP 2/whatever happens then, after the second reading by the council, the act cannot be adopted without EP approval (steps #15, #28 and #30).
  • At any moment, the commission can change the text (or withdraw it).
  • Remember that the two legislative chambers are composed by MEPs (elected), and by ministers (witch are named, this is true, but you elected the guy who names them).
  • As a French, I can say that it's way much easier/friendlier to reach MEP, than member of my own national parliament. I can argue with them (and by them, in most case, I mean their assisants), I can know what they do, what they vote etc. For example : if I want to know who voted for 138, then I just wget the pdf from the EP webside, and I can see a list of names page 43 : http://quadrature.theocrite.org/results_of_roll_call_votes_20080924.pdf [theocrite.org] . This allows people to script the results and make it more user friendly, like this : http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_package_directives_1st_reading_details_by_score [laquadrature.net] . Pretty transparent for a dictatorship, isn't it ?

Again, nobody says that EU is perfect. Of course it isn't. But saying that "The EU is a great idea but the execution is terrible.", or other thing I read in the comments, seems disproportionated to me. It's probably due to the fact that the article was misleading and could be understood as "the act is adopted, and the amendment 138 voted by 88% of MEPs is dead".

Well no, it's not dead. And even worse, MEPs are really angry now. They told us that this amendment will be reintroduced during the next reading by the EP. But this amendment will be written differently. It will be stronger and totally focused on the 3-strike approach and the french law (HADOPI) with is being examined by the French Parliament and Senate.

For more info on this topic, you can subscribe to laquadrature's rss [laquadrature.net]

Sorry for making a comment longer than I usually aimed to do and sorry for my poor English.

Re:EU - Dictatorship or Democracy ? (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956471)

I wish I had mod points...

One of the larger problems with the EU is that in general, it is a better, more transparent government than the national ones. It panders very little to special groups, and does almost non of the politics meant to please people instead of doing the right thing.

Because the national governments are so opaque, the people can maintain the illusion that their is democratic. And in general, when something bad comes from the EU, you can trace it to some local political squabble...

Re:EU - Dictatorship or Democracy ? (1)

Wheely (2500) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956527)

It is really refreshing to read a post about the EU from someone who seems to know something about it.

Discussions about the EU tend to be full of hysterical nonsense with no facts. Your post is an exception.

By the way, the only part of your post that made me realise you are not a native English speaker was the apology at the end.

Re:EU - Dictatorship or Democracy ? (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956567)

It will be stronger and totally focused on the 3-strike approach and the french law (HADOPI) with is being examined by the French Parliament and Senate.

Wouldn't such a focus weaken the 88% agreement of the European Parliament ? The amendment was previously written in general terms, which seemed like a good idea in order to make it relevant to the whole European Union. I fear that if it becomes too obvious that some MEP are fighting at the European Parliament level a national battle, the support might vanish.

Fun ahead (1)

migloo (671559) | more than 5 years ago | (#25956913)

Good news actually.
The french love to break the law.
I am french.
I have a dozen weakly WEP-protected WiFi equipped neighbours within range (wepcrackable within 10 minutes average).
It will be a lot of fun to download plenty of stuff through their connections and have *them* punished.
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