Europe?s eastern future at stake at the EU Vilnius summit

The aggressive attitude of Russia towards neighbour countries seeking closer EU integration indicates a new reality which the EU?s Eastern partnership must be ready to face, writes Alex Petriashvili.

 

Alex Petriashvili is the Georgian state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

On the East-West divide, Georgia has historically been at a crossroads of choices, constantly challenged by global geopolitical turbulence. A new phase that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union continues to unfold, as Georgia consolidates its democracy and aspires towards Euro-Atlantic integration even as Russian barbed wire runs through it. That process is at stake at this month?s EU Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit.

EU ministers discuss deployment of drones

 

European foreign and defence ministers will discuss how to deploy drones for civilian operations, ranging from disaster prevention to deterring human traffickers on the EU’s borders, in a two-day meeting that opens in Brussels today (18 November) .

 

The unusually long conclusions of this Defence council will include progress in several areas, according to one diplomat.

The text will stress the importance of advancing the development of common European capabilities on drones and air-to-air refueling technologies, thought essential for European air forces in distant operations.

German coalition talks enter convincing game

 

Angela Merkel‘s conservatives and Germany’s Social Democrats have forged a political marriage before and know each other’s ways, but as a new “big day” approaches, they are having to work hard to convince sceptical party members and the business world that they should give it another go.

 

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian allies were the clear winners in September’s election, taking 41.5% of the vote, but their former liberal partners in government lost all their seats, so the centre-right still needs to form a coalition with the humiliated centre-left (see background).

French EU minister seeks solutions to fight social dumping

 

In an interview with EurActiv.fr, the French Minister in charge of European affairs, Thierry Repentin, expressed his worries of a surge by far-right in next year’s EU elections. He calls for better regulation of posted workers and a general minimum wage across the EU.

 

As social tensions mount in France, especially in Brittany where farmers and food sector workers have protested against government taxes for weeks, Repentin expressed serious concern about “posted workers”, who often pay fewer social contributions and taxes than local employees.

Germany struggles to respond to NSA spying

Germany has had the most visceral reaction to NSA spying but is struggling to formulate a response amid competing demands from industry and society

 

Why Central Europe Needs Atlanticism Now

A Must Read article in The American Interest by A. Wess Mitchell, President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC and Jan Havranek, Director of the Defense Policy and Strategy Division at the Czech Ministry of Defense, who writes in his personal capacity.

Weakened Berlusconi relaunches Forza Italia

Following split, rump centre-right party lacks numbers to bring down Letta government

MAIN FOCUS: Alfano breaks with Berlusconi | 18/11/2013

Together with several members of parliament Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano has split from Silvio Berlusconi‘s conservative PdL party in a bid to keep the government in office. Alfano’s Nuovo Centrodestra will fail just as all other newly formed parties have done so far, some commentators predict. Others see the new conservative alternative as offering hope that the political situation will stabilise.

 

MAIN FOCUS: EU promises young people jobs | 13/11/2013

The EU member states plan to introduce a job guarantee for all unemployed youths within the next two years. This was agreed at a special meeting on youth unemployment attended by 24 heads of state and government in Paris on Tuesday. Commentators doubt such a programme can be financed, particularly in the crisis states, and argue that measures to boost the economy make more sense.

 

Spain faces growing threat of deflation

From a corner shop in Madrid to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and investors in London, everyone seems to be worried about falling prices

 

Romaphobia: the last acceptable form of racism

The recent cases in Greece and Ireland have revealed the dominant negative stereotypes of Romani communities and suggest that Romaphobia is still an acceptable form of racism.

Greek far-left group claims Golden Dawn killings

A previously unknown Greek far-left group claimed responsibility for the killings of two neo-Nazi Golden Dawn members, saying it was in retaliation for an anti-fascist rapper’s murder

Well-being inequality on the rise in Europe: Survey

While life satisfaction grew slightly across the EU between 2007 and 2011, happiness and optimism levels fell, according to a new survey by Eurofound, which highlights a growing gap between low and high income groups since the financial and economic crisis broke.

The report by Eurofound, a tripartite EU agency, was conducted in all 28 EU member states as well as a further six European countries and assesses the impact of the crisis on the subjective well-being of Europeans.

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