An EU policy document reveals a vigorous debate under way among member governments about how far, and how quickly, to restore relations with Moscow after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August
Eurostat yearbook 2008 — Europe in figures
Source: European Commission & Eurostat
Europe in figures — Eurostat yearbook 2008 presents a comprehensive selection of statistical data on Europe. Most data cover the period 1996-2006 and some indicators are provided for other countries such as candidate countries to the European Union, members of EFTA, Japan or the USA (subject to availability). With just over 500 statistical tables, graphs and maps, the yearbook treats the following areas: the economy, education, health, living conditions and welfare, the labour market, industry and services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, international trade, transport, the environment, energy, science and technology and European regions. This edition’s spotlight chapter covers Europe’s ageing society and associated demographic challenges…
Furthermore, it contains PDF versions of the pocketbook Key figures on Europe and the end-of-year brochure
German officials have developed a habit of reacting negatively in anticipation of what the French might propose, writes Wolfgang Münchau
by Hugo Brady
The financial crisis is challenging many of our assumptions about the course of politics and world affairs. Gordon Brown – only weeks ago portrayed as nearing the end of his time as UK prime minister – has been elevated to European, even global leadership status. After years of pan-European financial integration, the EU is heading back to national banking systems, with heavy state involvement. And the French desire for a different kind of globalisation – considered either hopelessly vague or a form of Gallic envy a short time ago – might well be realised in the coming months. Cliché or not, these are interesting times indeed.
The French president calls for a European "economic government" to ensure a more united EU response to financial turmoil.
Most debates related to energy transport are "directly or indirectly tied to Russia," writes Susanne Nies, research associate at the (IRIS), in a paper for the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI).Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the co-president of the Green group in the European Parliament, shared his views on the forthcoming European elections with EurActiv France, unveiling "Europe Ecologie", a new movement launched together with radical farmer and peasant leader José Bové.
Public voting to nominate this year’s ‘worst EU lobbyists’ opened online yesterday (20 October). The awards will be given to those lobby groups and EU officials that in 2008 engaged in "the most deceptive lobbying" and "the most-biased decision-making" respectively.
Addressing the European Parliament French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a European "economic government". Above all his proposal for the partial nationalisation of key European companies has triggered controversy. Europe’s press discusses the answer of the president of the EU Council to the financial crisis.
The situation of the Europeans in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating. On Monday Gayle Williams, a British woman working for the charity organisation Serve Afghanistan, was murdered by the Taliban. The same day German Nato soldiers were killed in an attack by a suicide bomber. The press asks how the European presence in the Hindu kush should continue.
The blog’s been noticeably quiet the past week, apologies for that. I had two exams in French class last week, a quiz and a midterm, and then this weekend I had a friend from London visiting. My life’s been a lot busier than I thought it would be during this sojourn, non-stop French tests all week and then visitors from London on the weekends! It’s fun though.
Last week’s EU summit in Brussels saw EU heads of state tackling a number of tricky issues, including the financial crisis, climate change and relations with Russia. Although there were some clear successes, there was also the usual degree of squabbling and money business.
"Discredited and inadequate national loyalties must give way to a new European patriotism," argues German ALDE MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis in the autumn edition of Europe’s World.
In MAIN FOCUS
Despite warnings from Beijing, the European Parliament has awarded the jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia (35) the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The critic of the regime had been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in China for "incitement to subversion of state power". The awarding of the prize has also caused controversy in Europe.
European Liberals and Democrats are delighted that their candidate, Chinese cyber dissident Hu Jia, has won the Sakharov Prize awarded each year for freedom of thought. Hu Jia was arrested in part for addressing the European Parliament in November 2007 for a parliamentary hearing on the situation of human rights in China. Despite fierce Chinese lobbying the European Parliament decided to award Hu Jia the Sakharov Prize.
At a meeting of ministers of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Germany and France called for the "blacklist" of tax havens to be updated. Following Monaco, Andorra and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is now to be added to the list. The European press asks: Is this action against tax havens a question of morality or just a diversionary tactic?
France is to set up a new ‘strategic investment fund’ to stop French companies from falling into the hands of foreign ‘predators’. It will focus on shoring up smaller French groups judged strategically important because of their technology or sector
In France it’s hardly unprecedented for major capital spending to be directed by the state, whether under the Commissariat au Plan, through state-controlled or -influenced enterprises, or directly by the Ministry of Finance. Sarkozy always danced nimbly between the neoliberal and state-capitalist camps. If the last two decades were the neoliberal decades, the coming two are likely to consecrate the hegemony of state capitalism. Sarkozy has been quicker than most to draw that conclusion and try to get ahead of the tsunami.
It has come to this. Does anyone remember Nicolas Sarkozy of a year ago? Back then he was being feted by the anglospheric media as a French Thatcher, a neoliberal wind of change shaking a battery of outdated perceptions to its heart and mixing a few other metaphors whilst they were at it. We blogged a certain amount about how vacuous so much of this was; France, after all, did indeed go through a fearfully tough industrial restructuring in the 1980s, apparently entirely unnoticed by the media establishment. Its economic problems simply are not those of Britain in the early 1980s; anyway, a lot of people are now busy amending the level of confidence they have that those solutions were appropriate at all. (This London Review of Books article is required reading.)
Atlantic-community.org summarizes five press commentaries every day. Here’s a sample from today, which exemplifies the Weekly Standard‘s simplistic weekly standard criticism of Western Europe, but it is full of catchy phrases, incl. its headline, and that is all that matters: "Old Europe, New Europe, Red Europe, blue Europe." And my colleague Jesse came up with an even better headline for his summary:
The death of far-right Austrian politician Jörg Haider took an interesting twist today. The huge outpouring of mourning and sympathy which Haider’s death inspired has received much press coverage in Europe over the past two weeks, but the biggest open secret about Haider has not – the fact that he was gay. That is until yesterday, when his lover of five years Stefan Petzner publicly acknowledged their relationship in a tearful confession.