MAIN FOCUS: The US President skips Europe | 03/02/2010

from euro|topics

US President Barack Obama will not be attending the EU-USA summit planned for May. The official explanation given is that he wishes to devote himself to domestic problems. The European press, however, suspects that he doesn’t want to waste time in Europe, which still hasn’t found a collective voice.

U.S. Slights a Disunited Europe

from NYT > Turkey by By JUDY DEMPSEY
Behind President Obama’s decision to skip a United States-European Union summit meeting in Madrid are signs of U.S. exasperation with E.U. squabbling.

EU leaders to meet in old library

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
The new EU president, Herman van Rompuy, will host an EU summit in an old library in Brussels next week – a first for the 107-year-old building.

Europe?s friend, George Bush

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by P O Neill

To anyone who wasn?t immersed in the finer details of the Treaty of Lisbon, January was a confusing month.  Lisbon was supposed to put an end to that rotating presidency of the European Union by establishing a permanent Council presidency headed by Herman Van Rompuy and a high representative for foreign policy, in which case Henry Kissinger?s famous question ? if I want to phone Europe, who do I call? ? seemed to have been reduced to a fairly small number of people.

Expanding Natura 2000 network

by Grahnlaw

Natura 2000 is an ecological network on protected areas, based on the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive of the European Union.

New agency to enforce EU waste laws

from EurActiv.com by Outi

The feasibility study on the benefits and costs of creating a special agency to enforce EU waste legislation was commissioned as part of the EU executive?s search for new initiatives to strengthen the implementation of EU legislation on the field.

EU summit to seek deal on ‘2020 vision’

from EurActiv.com by Gary

The depth of the jobs crisis that continues to grip the EU, coupled with the perceived failure of the Lisbon Agenda to deliver a more competitive Europe, has ratcheted up the pressure on politicians to produce an effective new roadmap for growth.

Internal market: Switzerland at the heart of Europe?

by Grahnlaw

German government frets over morality of paying tax informer, reports Deutsche Welle (2 February 2010). Should Germany pay 2.5 million euros to buy stolen bank data of 1,500 people suspected of tax evasion?

Spain Is A Serious Country

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain?s prime minister, said in Davos this week: ?We are a serious country and we will fulfil our promises.?

With these words Spain?s Prime Minister sought, during his visit to Davos last week to reassure international investors that Spain, despite the severity of the recession it is currently suffering, and the major challenges facing its banking system, is not about to become another Greece.

Creating debates: The European Parliament on Facebook

by Julien Frisch

There is nothing new in the fact that the European Parliament is on Facebook.

But it is worth noticing that the daily updates by the great people writing for y(EU) are regularly provoking debates. Some just produce 3 comments, other like the one from today regarding enlargment make it up to 80 comments within two hours (Update: 150 within five hours).

Schengen residents with long-stay visa: Proposals on freedom to travel

by Grahnlaw

There is a problem concerning circulation within the Schengen area without internal borders for third-country nationals legally residing in one of the Schengen states on the basis of a long-stay “D” visa issued by that member state:

EU 2020 seeks to balance green growth and jobs

from EurActiv.com by Daniela

A number of member states have called on the European Commission to develop links between economic, social and environmental elements of the plan, as well as demanding better links between EU ‘2020’ and existing social policy.

Brussels endorses Greek deficit cutting plan

from EurActiv.com by frederic

The Commission’s assessment will be closely watched by financial markets as they weigh Greece’s credibility as a debtor. Sharp upward revisions to Greek deficit and debt figures last year led to ratings downgrades and sent yields soaring.

Greece ordered to slash public sector wages

from FT.com – World, Europe
The European Union’s highest authorities tell Greece to slash its public sector wage bill, speed up pension reform and set aside10 per cent of current expenditure in a contingency reserve in order to extract itself from the most dangerous crisis in the eurozone’s history

Big business demands accountability on EU 2020

from EurActiv.com by Gary

Frustrated by the failure of the Lisbon Agenda, big business has stepped in to force Brussels and governments across Europe to deliver on political promises designed to improve Europe’s competitiveness in the face of mounting challenges from climate change, an ageing population and Asian rivals.

EFTA member Switzerland outside EEA and EU

by Grahnlaw

The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is of interest to governments, businesses and residents, including expats.

Yesterday, in the Grahnlaw blog post Internal market: Switzerland at the heart of Europe? we highlighted the briefing paper commissioned by the European Parliament on the complex relationship between the European Union and Switzerland with regard to the internal market:

Obama’s not the only one confused by Lisbon

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team

The Obama “snub” continues to gather headlines in today’s papers. PJ Crowley, the US Assistant Secretary of State, today confirmed that the uncertainty created by the new posts created under the Lisbon Treaty had been a major factor in Obama’s decision to withdraw, saying:

The EU’s Increasing Irrelevance to the US

from Atlantic Review by Joerg Wolf

Reuters reported yesterday:

The European Union and the United States are likely to scrap plans to hold a summit in Madrid in May because U.S. President Barack Obama has decided not to attend, EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

Obama and the snub to Europe

Having taken decisions that are insular and singularly unhelpful to America, the European Union cannot then complain when the US president finds he is too busy to travel to Europe

Obama ‘snubs’ Europe

from cafebabel.com by Dave Keating

Given that this is a blog about EU-US issues, I would be remiss if I didn?t mention the sad, sad tears that are being shed today over Barack Obama?s decision to ditch the planned EU-US summit in Madrid in May.

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