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Belgium beats Iraq

from Brussels Blog by Stanley Pignal

Belgium sets a dubious record on Thursday when it overtakes post-war Iraq as the country that has gone longest without a government.

It?s a surreal achievement greeted with a mix of amusement and quiet despair in the streets of Brussels. (I speak of ?Brussels? as the capital of Belgium here ? Eurocrats based in the city pay only passing attention to things Belgian).

In pictures

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Belgian protesters eat chips to mark new world record

Euro crisis and eurozone economic governance: Third media roundup

by Grahnlaw

After a first media roundup and a second helping with media reports and other online materials on Grahnlaw Suomi Finland, we continue reading and annotating, now on Grahnlaw (in English).

We look at the euro crisis, economic governance and the ?competitiveness pact? in the European Union, or more narrowly in the eurozone.

MAIN FOCUS: Hungary’s half-hearted changes to media law | 17/02/2011

from euro|topics

Hungary’s right-wing conservative government has avoided a run-in with the EU Commission by agreeing to make changes to its controversial media law. But the changes don’t go far enough, writes the press, as elastic clauses still allow the country’s media council to penalise the media at will.

Concessions made in Hungary’s controversial new media law – but will they hold?

from Editors Weblog – all postings by Ashley Stepanek

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now seeking to end the potentially damaging dispute over the coutrys controversial new media law by agreeing to change some aspects, according to The New York Times.

Which ‘multiculturalism’ has failed, David Cameron? , Cecile Laborde

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Cecile Laborde
Despite Cameron’s talk of ‘the failure of multiculturalism’, the Coalition are abandoning a British tradition of culturally-sensitive integration. Instead, they are adopting a state multiculturalism that is segregationist and poses a grave threat to minority communities.

Berlusconi – and Italy – on trial, Geoff Andrews

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Geoff Andrews
The new legal case against Italy’s prime minister is also a test for a divided nation at a critical stage in its history, says Geoff Andrews.

A European political leader whose name has long been associated with scandal is now facing his gravest legal challenge. On 15 February 2011, prosecutors in Milan called Italy?s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for trial on two charges: procuring the services of a then 17-year-old girl called Karima El Mahroug for sex, and abusing power by negotiating with the police in an attempt to secure her release from custody.


The EU?s new politics of movement

from Centre for European Reform by Centre for European Reform

by Hugo Brady

The freedom enjoyed by EU citizens to live and work in each others’ countries is a unique liberty. It is the basis around which European governments have tried to build a single border, a compensatory system of co-operation between police, judges and immigration officers and a common refugee policy. But hardening attitudes towards immigration in many countries and widening policy disagreements between governments and the EU’s institutions are exposing fault-lines in this structure. As the cracks threaten to widen over the coming months, policy-makers face some tricky dilemmas.

Berlusconi’s shadow will long be cast over the psyche of young Italian women, Valentina Pasquali

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Valentina Pasquali
Italy has been raising a generation of women to think that mini-skirts, tank tops and swimsuits, and a chance to shake their bottoms on national TV, are the key to success.


Hungary amends media law after EU criticism

from FT.com – World, Europe
A weeks-long spat between Brussels and Budapest seems to have been defused as the European Commission said it was satisfied with proposed changes to Hungary’s controversial media law


Hungarian journalists wary despite EU tweaks to media law

from EUobserver.com – Headline News

The Democratic Peace Hypothesis and Greece : an introduction

from cafebabel.com by Elina Makri

by Vassilios Damiras

Genesis

The ?democratic peace? hypothesis encourages hope for a new age of international peace among nation-states that adopt democratic values and beliefs. It argues that democracies are more likely than non-democracies to resolve disputes among themselves in a peaceful manner. Its core assumption–that democracies do not fight wars with each other–constitutes the closet one can get to an ?iron-clad law? in international relations. The policymaking world strongly adheres to this viewpoint, as demonstrated by U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.


“Europe’s last dictatorship”: A self-fulfilling prophecy

from Eurozine articles by David Marples, Manfred Sapper

Lukashenka’s departure from the path of liberalization suggests Russian pressure, says David Marples. The Belarusian president may have been able to dispose of political opponents, but the country’s economic weakness poses a more elusive threat to the stability of his regime.

EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) 15 February 2011

by Grahnlaw

The video of the Eurogroup press conference Monday, 14 February 2011, has now been posted on the Council website, under the heading European Stability Mechanism. You can also find the video recording of the press conference following the official Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) 15 February 2011.

Here is an overview of the Ecofin documents published, even if they reflect only some of the macroeconomic issues being discussed.

G20 and SDR in Action

from Ideas on Europe by Jaanika Erne

Established in 1999 as response to the financial crises as the primary forum for economic coordination, G20 is meeting on the 18th and 19th of February 2011 in Paris, under the French presidency.

South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, the United States, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, and the European Union belonging to G20, the priorities of the French presidency are:

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