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France and UK to sign historic defence pact

from EUobserver.com – Headline News

The Moroccan girl, the president, the dental hygienist, and the ‘bunga-bunga parties’

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

Here’s Italian President Silvio Berlusconi’s underaged girl scandal #4,080:

At the heart of it all is a Moroccan girl nicknamed Ruby, who turned 18 on Monday, but was still a minor last May when she was held in a police station in Milan, accused of theft until Mr. Berlusconi called and demanded she be released, Italian newspapers reported.

What UK-France defence link means

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Britain and France are set to announce a much closer degree of co-operation on defence.

Double-edged sword

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Realpolitik see France and Britain’s ancient enmity buried

Why Geert Wilders is not Liu Xiaobo, Markha Valenta

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Markha Valenta

It is rather striking, at first sight, to note how much the Dutch politician Geert Wilders and the Chinese Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo have in common. Both threaten the political and ideological status quo of their countries; both have been legally prosecuted by their nation states for their public pronouncements; both speak in the name of democracy; both have received significant ideological and economic support from abroad; both have had their personal lives severely disrupted as a result of their public statements; and both are seen widely as martyrs for free speech. These similarities mark them out as men who at this moment have caught the pulse of the planetary transformations taking place in the practice of liberal democracy as a form of politics, social mobilisation and ambition.

A cordial entente to match the realities of power

from FT.com – World, Europe
The signing of new defence and nuclear treaties between Britain and France marks an important moment. Behind the preamble about shared strategic perspectives and common adversaries lies a mundane but pressing reality. Both countries want to retain their global reach. Neither can afford any longer to go it alone, writes Philip Stephens

Cameron aims for pivotal European role

from FT.com – World, Europe
David Cameron will welcome Nicolas Sarkozy to London on Tuesday as he completes a whirlwind of triangular diplomacy aimed at improving co-ordination with Paris and Berlin

A busy week in the European Union: European Council only part of it

by Grahnlaw

It was a busy week in the European Union. The heads of state or government were in the limelight, because the summits or meetings of the institution called the European Council are at the centre of media attention, although a fair amount of the reporting in national media has been through the prism of domestic politics. (Nowhere is this clearer than in the United Kingdom, with perpetual political and media pressure to leave no veto unused.)

The euro cannot live by budget discipline alone

by Open Europe blog team

An interesting new paper by German think tank Centrum für Europäische Politik has listed “Five hard rules for a hard Euro”. It sums up some of the ideas on how to save the euro, currently floating around Germany.

Here they are:

Control Orders – what’s Britain’s problem with the evidence? Is there a US connection, Anthony Barnett

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Anthony Barnett

We’ll carry a longer post on the very important Control Order controversy now underway in Britain, summed up calmly and well in today’s Guardian leader and Sunder Katwala discusses the politics in Next Left and there’s a strong post by the new Conservative Dominic Raab in the Telegraph.

Spain?s Troubling Unemployment Statistics

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

Spain?s statistics office continue to issue worryingly confusing press releases. The latest example is one published in connection with the quarterly labour force survey which came out last Friday.

Now the data the INE assemble in their report is very interesting, and as many observe, the complete survey gives far more reliable data about the state of the labour market than the monthly labour office signings do.

Does the UK’s Coalition have a constitutional strategy?, Anthony Barnett

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Anthony Barnett

The coalition is engaged in making a number of constitutional changes that may have far-reaching consequences for the British state. In the past, new governments generally trod carefully in altering the way the UK is governed. This approach changed with the first New Labour government of 1997-2001, which drove through very rapidly a set of major reforms that (before it got to power) experts had said would take a decade or more to implement. At the same time the Blair government refused to offer any overall synthesis of how they might be connected ? any constitutional strategy.

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