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Recent QCEA Activity

The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) and Quaker Peace and Social Witness of Britain Yearly Meeting held a conference at the end of October on the theme Working for Peace in the Middle East: What can Quakers do. Here are the synthesis of the conference and the key note address by Jean Zaru.

Report from Council meeting on 8th-9th October 2010

QCEA work continues to be focussed on Human Rights, Peace, Economic Justice and Sustainable Energy Security.

Human Rights

The research on support availble to ex-prisoners on and after release in member states is now almost complete and a report will be published by the end of the year. 24 Member States of the Council of Europe (out of a possible 47) responded to 60 questions about the social re-integration of prisoners.

Economic Justice

With the departure of Policy Officer Neil Endicott, the advocacy work on Sustainable Energy Security and the continued focus on military responses to energy security problems will be taken forward by a new member of the team, Paul Parrish, who will join QCEA in November. An American Quaker, Paul has been living and working in the UK. It is likely that the focus of his work will be on Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan. In the meantime, Martina Weitsch presented a copy of the report on the Nabucco Pipeline to people attending a hearing in the European Parliament arranged by Heidi Hautala, MEP, Chair of the Committee for Human Rights, on Turkmenistan. This represents a very real opportunity to influence the debate on these issues.

These four fact sheets are still available:

The following papers are available:

As well as on-line, these fact-sheets and papers can be obtained for the cost of postage from the contact below. Alternatively, consider becoming an Associate Member – for £32 or €40 per year you will receive regular editions of Around Europe (in English and German) and any papers published during the year.

Peace

Middle East. The project advisory group set up to develop a programme of work on advocacy with the European institutions for a just solution to the conflict in Israel-Palestine is working well. A briefing paper on EU and Israel: the Arms Trade is available on the QCEA website.

QCEA was represented at the 13th International Conference on War Tax Resistance & Peace Tax Campaigns at Skiringssal College July 2-4 2010. This looked at the philosophical and legal basis for bringing about change in the way taxation is “conscripted” to the support of military responses to conflict, and how pressure can be brought to bear to allow freedom of conscience in this matter. The next conference will be held in Argentina.

European Developments

QCEA is keeping a watching brief on developments within the European Union, in particularly the recently set up External Action Service, the EU Budget Review (where the expectation is for substantial cuts in budgets from 2014) and EU Enlargement.

The annual Study Tour took place from 20th to 25th June 2010 and was a great success. The tour had a theme, and it focused on sustainable energy security programme. 18 people took part, 12 from the UK, and the rest from Palestine, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, and two from Hungary (whose report can be read in Among Friends), ranging in age from 17 to 74. Because of clashes with the Joint EMES and EMEYF Meeting at Easter 2011, and the residential Yearly Meeting Gathering of Britain Yearly Meeting in July 2011, there will not be another study tour until 2012. In the meantime, however, Friends living in EU member states are encouraged to ask their local MEPs to organise a tour of the European institutions for them. QCEA will be happy to take some part in any such arrangements, as they did in 2009, when such a trip had been organised by an MEP from the UK.

Planning for the biennial Conference is now very advanced, as the conference will be taking place shortly.

Contact name: Liz Scurfield

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