The international financial system has been rocked by one of the biggest bank collapses in history. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest US investment bank, led on Monday to dramatic stock market losses across the world. What consequences will the crisis have for European and international financial systems?
The headlines in Poland’s main daily newspapers were unanimous. Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Moscow and Tbilisi on 8 September 2008 to seek assurances from the Russians that they would withdraw their troops to the positions they held before the outbreak of war with Georgia on 7-8 August was a failure. "Sarkozy failed to take the Kremlin", declared one; "Russia dictates to Europe", proclaimed another; "Sarkozy defeated. Peace with Georgia possible only on Russia’s terms", shouted a third.
A meeting of European finance ministers in Nice over the weekend highlighted the EU’s lack of common tools to prevent or deal with a collective catastrophe like that currently occurring in US financial markets with the failure of two of the world’s largest investment banks, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.
The European Commission will present a new EU languages strategy on 18 September, emphasising the importance of language skills in addressing challenges as diverse as globalisation and increased mobility and immigration.
The United States is leaderless.Europe is leaderless; the world is leaderless. But neither Russia nor China are – and a vacuum does not remain a vacuum. The conclusion is obvious. As Charlemagne wrote in this week’s Economist, “there is a place for Europe in the new world order. But Europeans do not agree over what
Russia’s isolation by the international community in August-September 2008 was to a great extent determined by objective circumstances. However, one subjective factor played an important role too. That was the character of Vladimir Putin, who despite his change of role from President to Prime Minister remains the dominant political figure in the country.
The economic growth of the last decade, based as it is on oil and gas, is the most important of these objective factors. This gives the Kremlin considerable room for political manoeuvre. Europe’s dependence on Russia’s energy resources mitigates the foreign policy consequences of drastic military steps. Consumers of our energy resources are wary of falling out with Russia without very good reason.
Meeting in Brussels on 15 September, EU foreign ministers are expected to commit to sending a 200-strong observer mission to Georgia before 1 October, as any delay would give Russia an excuse not to withdraw from territories in Georgia proper and render the EU-brokered peace plan meaningless.
Human rights groups have called on the European Commission to refrain from preaching empty words and come up with concrete strategies to tackle the problems faced by Europe’s Roma population during the first EU ‘Roma Summit’ in Brussels today (16 September).
EU countries have been slow to implement rules to improve energy efficiency in buildings, with many of the bloc’s newer member states facing ‘substantial problems’, according to a new report by RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
During his first official visit to France, Pope Benedict XVI has called on Europe not to neglect its Christian heritage. After talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy on the concept of "positive laicism", his visit culminated in an address to around 100,000 faithful at the Christian pilgrimage site Lourdes. Europe’s press takes stock of the visit of the leader of the Catholic Church.
by Katinka Barysch
Last week, Russia belatedly signed up to a timetable for pulling back its troops from the ‘buffer’ zone in Georgia. The EU, and its current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, deserve credit for having brokered the initial ceasefire and then pushing hard for Russia to follow the terms. The important question now is how the EU will respond in case tensions do not ease, or even grow further.
Source: The Brookings Institution Full Paper (PDF; 108 KB)
Today, the European Women’s Lobby launched their 50-50 campaign for democracy, a Europe–wide initiative to increase the presence of women in the decision-making process and to encourage women to cast their votes in the next European elections that will be held in June 2009. The campaign launch will be followed by activities directed towards decision-makers and political parties at European and national level, urging them to achieve equal representation of women and men when lists for the European elections are drawn up and when new Commissioners will be appointed .
Muslims in Europe: A Short Introduction
Source: The Brookings Institution
This paper aims to briefly present the basic facts and issues concerning Muslims in Europe, from a political and sociological perspective, and to offer elements of comparison with the US.1 There will be a slight emphasis on France, due to author’s area of specialty – and to the fact that France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe.