Sunday, November 15, 2009
Both the European Union as a whole and the sixteen EU countries sharing the euro currency (the “eurozone“) posted positive growth, at 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. This follows five consecutive quarters of negative growth. The data was published by the European statistical agency Eurostat and announced by the European Commission in Brussels.
The beauty of blogging does not lie in the superficial debates on topics of obvious urgency but in the minor but messy issues that are irrelevant to most and thus for the mainstream media (making them even less relevant for most).
Yesterday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced not just that Foreign Secretary David Miliband was not in contention for the job of EU high representative for foreign policy — a powerful new post created by the Lisbon Treaty — but that he never was interested at all.
The twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on 9 November 1989 is being commemorated around the world. A flood of articles, broadcasts, conferences and books are re-examining the events, retelling the stories, and reviewing the outcomes of that unforgettable moment.
by Alex Harrowell
It’s the 9th of November…so, in total observance of my usual standard operating procedures, let’s think about the European presidency, or as my wonderful, wonderful Soizick puts it, who’s going to get the job of being Tony Blair.
It looks a lot like the lucky girl won’t be Blair; the reason why is more interesting and more telling. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a string of small states around Germany take quite a daring stand in foreign policy; Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, all progressively came out against Tony Blair. It seems more obvious that this is an interesting or daring stand if you take a Brussels view, in which Blair is still a respected member of the world elite, than if you take a street level view, in which he’s widely despised. Also, if you consider the UK or Norway to be a 10 on the NATO scale, the Netherlands must be about an 8 – the presence of the Joint Forces Command in Brunssum, and the long-standing and very close relationship with the British armed forces over the commitment to the NATO Northern Flank, are the most obvious manifestations of this. Indeed, the Dutch army served in the British zone of Iraq and its Apache helicopters, the first European-owned ones, are still flying in Afghanistan. (That the first AH-64Ds in European ownership are Dutch is a marker of NATO spirit in itself.)
Today is clearly a historic day, and the blogosphere and the euroblogs use the opportunity to look back in time, into their own lives, into global moments, into politics and art.
For the citizens of the European Union, the nominations for the top jobs is an edifying spectacle of how intergovernmentalism works in reality between ”freely cooperating, sovereign nation states”. We are spectators, offered selective leaks and plants, with scant information and no say.
If you search for information about Garwolin on the internet, you will find that it is a simple but attractive little town in eastern Poland, about 50km east of Warsaw. Yet 25 years ago, when I lived in Poland, Garwolin was the scene of a nasty confrontation between the forces of communist secularism and Roman Catholicism that has echoes in a
The most remarkable outcome in the Angus Reid poll, published 10 November 2009, is not that almost half (46 per cent) of Britons still want an undoable referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, despite David Cameron’s recent climb-down and diversionary proposals.
by Katinka Barysch
It is 20 years since the Berlin Wall crumbled and political and economic freedom started spreading through Eastern Europe. Today, however, the region is mired in deep recession. The global economic and financial crisis has hit the Central and East European countries (CEECs) harder than any other emerging market region. In February 2009, I asked whether the savage downturn would make the new EU member-states question their entire transition model of trade opening, financial integration and EU-conforming reforms (‘New Europe and the economic crisis’
When I wrote the 10 November 2009 blog post EU top nominations: Edifying spectacle, I did not know how soon and how emphatically this picture of “freely cooperating, sovereign nation states” would be confirmed, by Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the (s)election procedures and Charlemagne’s notebook.
Enlargement of the European Union is, almost imperceptibly, moving forward once more. EU foreign ministers are expected next week to forward Albania’s membership application to the European Commission for an opinion. This is a necessary technical step on the path to entry – small, but important. The Commission is already preparing opinions on the applications of Iceland and Montenegro.
Former UK Ambassador to the US and current Fleishman-Hillard’s International Advisory Board member Sir Christopher Meyer talks to colleagues in our DC office about US/EU relations after Lisbon. More thoughts from Sir Christopher on the US and the EU over at our YouTube Channel.
Gordon Brown is a troubled man so the prevailing wisdom goes. He does have his demons to seek, from his flawed personality to the ghost of Tony Blair that won’t quite leave the stage. He is widely seen in the media as an unattractive mixture of indecision, control freakery and paranoia.
Czech Happenings report that prime minister Jan Fischer deposited the 27th and last ratification instrument of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty on Friday with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome: Czech PM brings Lisbon treaty to Rome ending ratification process (13 November 2009).
Eurobloggers have actively spread the word about the vote arranged by Fondation Robert Schuman between some of the personalities officially in the running or presumed to be candidates for the new post of president of the European Council, to be decided by the heads of government or state on 19 November 2009.
Here are some of the blog posts about the vote on the president of the European Council: