UK fishing vessel in breach of EU fishing regulations



A UK registered fishing vessel was detained by the Irish Naval Service today after it was found to be in breach of fishing regulations.

The vessel is being handed over to the UK Maritime Management Office and will return to the UK this evening.

Speaking to News Anois, the Naval Service revealed that the reason for returning the vessel to the UK rather than seeking prosecution in Ireland is because the breach is of “EU fishing regulations”, not just those of Ireland.

Regardless of the EU country that the law is broken in, anyone in breach of these fishing regulations is guilty of “the same breach” and prosecution can be carried out in any EU country.

The vessel will be turned over to the appropriate authorities in the UK where the breach will be investigated further.

Lauren O’Halleron

OPINION – Why are Ukraine unwilling to join the EU?



Last Thursday the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, announced that his country would not sign a landmark partnership agreement with the European Union.

‘Ukraine is a sovereign state and we respect its decision. Nevertheless in the same time we would like to express our strong disappointment that the process of association with the EU was suspended on the final straight’ said Marcin Wojciechowski, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

The comprehensive free trade agreement was seen as the linchpin of a renewed EU commitment to engage with the states of the former Soviet Union. ‘Ukraine’s decision may, unfortunately, lead to indefinite suspension of the talks with the UE and to irreversible losses in the process of modernisation, reform and democratisation that the country needs so much today’ added Mr Wojciechowski. There is a risk of losing what has been achieved as a result of long and difficult preparations to sign the Association Agreement.

The most probable reason of suspending the talks is Kremlin economic pressure according Aleksander Kwasniewski, former president of the Republic of Poland and EU representative in Ukrainian negotiations. Independent Ukraine keeps on balancing between the East and the West, remaining uncommitted to either side and trying to obtain as much advantage as possible from its situation.

For now, Yanukovych has agreed to Russia’s principal demand: to boycott the EU deal. Even if Yanukovych resists Moscow’s blandishments and still does not want to see Ukraine fully absorbed into Russia’s Eurasian structures, he seems unwilling to do anything to prevent his country’s continued dependency on Russia while at the same time declaring the will for closer relations with Europe.

On top of his foreign relations issues, Yanukovych needs to cope with every-day domestic problems – his decision to suspend the deal prompted more than 100,000 protestors to take to the streets in Kiev, resulting in clashes with the militia and the deployment of tear gas. Additionally, Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister of Ukraine, has begun a hunger strike in protest of the president’s reluctance to join the EU. This has caught the attention of foreign governments and human rights watch organisations, and it now seems unlikely that Yanukovyvh will be re-elected in 2015.

Considering the above, Ukrainian authorities bear the full responsibility for their exclusion from the EU. Poland and the European Union itself were prepared to make a far-reaching compromise, benefiting Ukraine more than the other member states. Yanukovych, meeting the European leaders in Vilnius later this week, will have an opportunity to sound out what he might be able to salvage from the wreckage of the deal. Until then, the true nature of his motives remains a mystery.

Katarzyna Sowa

Government gives the go-ahead on plain packaging of cigarettes

THE Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Bill to remove all branding from cigarette packets has been approved by the government at a meeting this morning and will now go to the Oireachtas health committee for feedback.

The bill also permits for larger health warnings on a standard packet of cigarettes as over 5,000 people still die every year from tobacco related diseases.

Ireland is the first country in the European Union to permit plain uniform cigarette packaging. Ireland was also the first country in the world to ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces, public transport and workplaces in 2004.

Australia introduced plain olive green packets for cigarettes and tobacco products last year, prompting anger from tobacco firms.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents have criticised the bill warning it will enable the black market.

Lilah Gafaar

Conference of the parties of the United Nations in Warsaw



THE COP19 Conference is the 19th Conference of the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held together with the 9th session of the Meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The conference is supposed to implement resolutions of the Convention by member states, as well as improve already proposed solutions regarding the emission of greenhouse gases. One of the proposed measures (and the only legally binding one) was the Kyoto Protocols, signed in 1997.

The 19th Conference takes place in the National Stadium in Warsaw from 11th to 22nd of November. During that time organisers expect to host about 12,000 delegates from 194 countries, including ministers of the environment, UN, NGOs and lobby groups representatives.

The main aim is to get together and marshal common standards and solutions for all the member states. The Warsaw Summit delegates are to work out the basis for a new worldwide agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases – it is essential to state the preferred form of the future document, its duration and conditions for ratification (in short, all the steps that need to be taken before the Paris Summit in 2015).

The Polish Summit is the first of three conferences on the way to reach the agreement in terms of the reduction of greenhouse gases worldwide. In the same time Poland will hold the presidency as a part of the Climate Conference until the next summit in Peru, COP20 in 2014.

As climate change affects the whole world, it is a challenge for all countries to reach the agreement and take actions to counteract its further development into extreme climate phenomena like prolonged droughts or tornadoes. These problems endanger socio-economic development all over the world, which is why countries cannot be passive in taking action and procrastinate.

It is in their own best interest to effectively counteract climate change and work out appropriate solutions for all the member states, not only developed ones (as it was in Kyoto, 1997). The requirements need to be therefore proportional to the country’s capabilities and financial resources, ensuring the balance in action.

It is worth mentioning, that the EU is responsible for about 11% of the whole emission and has began decreasing it’s output successfully. However, even if all of the European countries reduced their emission quotas t ao minimum, the global climate changes would go on.  In order for any substantial progress to be achieved, a worldwide agreement is essential.

Katarzyna Sowa