What Do Europeans Care About? Google Searches as Measured in the Individual Member Countries by the EU Observer Monthly Top 10
by Andis Kaulins
EU Observer has a new feature by which they produce a monthly EU Observer list via Google Zeitgeist of the Top 10 percentage spikes in Google searches in the EU, which, as the EU Observer writes, "allows small countries such as Finland and Austria to figure in the results, if an event prompted a sudden surge in interest."
A subject worth another look every year or so – especially with EU elections looming in 2009 – is what sort of discussion (if any) the European Union is inspiring among its citizens. After all, I remain top Google result for “EU debate” (and second only to the EU’s own Debate Europe forum without the inverted commas), and the nature of political discourse surrounding the EU was one of the reasons I first started blogging about the whole thing. (Largely to slag off some of the nuttier anti-EU types, at first, but I’ve expanded a bit since then…)
If Europe is to successfully find a way out of the financial crisis, the euro zone "urgently requires three reforms," writes Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, for the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
The logo of the Czech EU Presidency and its accompanying motto ‘Europe without barriers’ were officially unveiled this week in what appears to be something of a retreat from a previous message, ‘We’ll make it sweet for Europe’.
The US media favoured Barack Obama during the campaign and made fun of Sarah Palin, but the governor of Alaska will remain a force to be reckoned with in the future, Sheila Tate, the vice-chairman of Powell Tate (Weber Shandwick’s Washington, DC office) told EurActiv in an interview.
G20 members should "boost the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) independence so it can act as a global ‘whistleblower’ to help the financial crisis," writes Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), on VoxEU.org.
Multilingualism Commissioner Leonard Orban has spoken to EurActiv Slovakia of his conviction that the dossier will continue to be afforded "its own place" in the EU policy framework after the expiry of the European Commission’s current mandate in autumn 2009.
At a summit meeting in the southern French city of Nice the EU wants to resume negotiations for a partnership agreement with Russia. The talks had been temporarily broken off owing to the conflict in Georgia. Europe’s press discusses the problems to be dealt with and expectations for the summit.
Czech President Vacláv Klaus has angered the Irish. During a state visit to Ireland he participated as guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Eurosceptic Declan Ganley, who provided considerable support to the Irish No campaign against the Treaty of Lisbon. Europe’s press questions the behaviour of the man who will take over as EU Council president this January.
The resounding victories of Barack Obama and the Democratic party in the United States are great news for relations between Europe and the United States. Better relations are an unmitigated good. There may have been people who hoped for a more independent Europe as a result of poor relations with the Bush administration. But Europe was split, instead of united, by this antagonism. And it has since only returned to being ineffectual in its foreign policy.
Or: much as I would like for Europe to stop being the playground for American and Russian nuclear positioning by kicking American nukes out, stopping their useless missile defence and stopping the Russians from transporting their (ostensibly conventional) Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, this is not going to happen.
The EU and Russia at their summit last Friday (14 November) agreed to resume talks on a new partnership agreement and to set up a common security pact with the US. The new pact should address issues like missile defence, which again seems to divide Europe between ‘old’ and ‘new’.
Representatives of the 20 most important industrial and emerging countries (G20) met in Washington over the weekend to seek a solution to the global financial and economic crisis. The European press agrees it was a historic meeting, but opinions vary over what the summit achieved.
by Nabeelah Shabbir
The European parliament passes an amendment defending consumer rights on internet downloads, promotes fruit and vegetables and the Blue Card – the latest news from Brussels
by Mircea Vasilescu
Despite talk of a "unified European plan" to combat recession, the motto among EU member states seems to be "each to his own". The financial crisis is reimposing the divide between eastern and western Europe, writes Mircea Vasilescu.
Les Echos (France), 5 novembre 2008, p. 8
Le choix de Barcelone par les 43 pays euro-méditerranéens comme siège de l’Union pour la Méditerranée n’est qu’un succès de façade.
C’est l’arbre qui cache la forêt. Les 43 partenaires euro-méditerranéens – les Vingt-Sept de l’Union européenne et seize pays de la rive sud de la Méditerranée – se sont mis d’accord, hier, à Marseille, pour que le secrétariat de l’Union pour la Méditerranée (UPM) siège à Barcelone et que la Ligue arabe en soit membre à part entière. Le diplomate en chef de l’Union européenne, Javier Solana, s’est dit « heureux » de ce consensus, tandis que le chef du gouvernement espagnol, Luis Zapatero, a parlé de « grand succès ».
Tomorrow’s EU-Russia Summit will be a backward looking affair. Differences over Moscow’s compliance with the EU-sponsored peace deal and its democratic record must be aired before we can move on in the spirit of engagement and cooperation.
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is impressed by the far-reaching new "Energy package" adopted today by the European Commission. The package is part of a significant revision of the European Union’s energy policy strategy. All aspects of the energy policy have been addressed, forming the basis for a credible and effective piece of legislation.
by Edward Lucas
Looking west, hopefully
Nov 13th 2008 | WASHINGTON, DC
Eastern Europe awaits a new American president nervously but in hope
DETAINING the next president of the United States for three hours in what an eyewitness called a “malodorous” small room at an airport in the provincial Russian city of Perm looks, in retrospect, to have been a pretty bad idea. No matter that the Kremlin muttered an apology for delaying Barack Obama, along with his mentor on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, in August 2005. The hold-up was blamed on a muddle over paperwork—although some Russia-watchers suspected it was a calculated Kremlin snub to the Republican Mr Lugar.