It is now certain that the Czechs encolor the otherwise boring EU politics. His recent speech in the EU Parliament was sensational as the roundup shows.. In the roundup there is more about the EU- as usual…
Despite ratifying the Lisbon Treaty this week, the Czech Republic seems hell-bent on offending the European Union as much as possible while it holds the organization’s rotating presidency. First it was that sculpture, then yesterday, Czech President Vaclav Klaus — an outspoken Euroskeptic — spoke to the European parliament and compared them to a communist dicatorship:
Following on from the interesting remarks by Vaclav Klaus reported in this blog yesterday, it is interesting to look at the Civitas factsheet on the European Parliament. (Civitas is a eurosceptic thinktank that has published a series of factsheets on different aspects of the European Union, apparently having consulted people from different parts of the argument to make them as neutral and balanced as possible. I have my doubts about how neutral and balanced they actually are, as we shall see from my comments below.)
Czech president Václav Klaus touched a few raw nerves with his speech in the European Parliament today, but he also unveiled the contradictions in his position. (You can read the speech here.)
In a speech before the European Parliament yesterday (19 February), Czech President Vaclav Klaus likened supporters of greater European Union integration to communists of the Soviet era.
Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, gave a speech yesterday, in front of the European Parliament. Vaclav Klaus has always been rather outspoken in his opposition to the European Project. So the speech contained not much new. But it is a nice example to discuss many things that are problematic with the Europhobic view in general.
Tobias Wolny: Do not be misled by President Klaus’s speech to the European Parliament. The Czech EU presidency has done a good job so far, managing a number of unexpected international and domestic issues over the last two months. And the Czechs deserve more credit from fellow European leaders in the current debate on protectionism.
Czech president shakes up "sleepy and docile" EU parliamentarians
While the Czech Lower House of parliament approved the EU Lisbon treaty, their president Vacláv Klaus gave a stinging speech in the EU parliament against the EU’s rigid structure and operational procedures, which he said lack flexibility and the inclusion of the European population in its decision making.
In what’s becoming an annual tradition, roughly 6,000 neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists marched in Dresden over the weekend to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the city’s firebombing during World War II. It was one of the largest gatherings of neo-Nazis in Germany’s postwar history:
Bulgaria and Romania must take more vigorous steps against corruption. According to a progress report by the European Commission, judical reforms in both countries are still lagging. While Bulgaria is making progress, the situation in Romania has worsened, the report concludes. Establishing the rule of law was a condition for the countries’ admission to the EU at the start of 2007.
by Charles Grant
After several years of chilly relations between Moscow and western capitals, a little warmth is detectable. At both the Davos Word Economic Forum in January, and the Munich Security Conference in February, the Russians’ exchanges with Americans and Europeans were fairly polite. Of course, this change in the political weather may prove to be short-lived. Indeed, some commentators argue that even if the style is softer, the substance of Russian foreign policy is as hard as ever (see Quentin Peel in the Financial Times, and a forthcoming CER policy brief by my colleague Bobo Lo). Thus in recent weeks Russia has announced plans for a new naval base in Abkhazia (which is legally part of Georgia) and encouraged Kyrgyzstan to close the American airbase at Manas.
Geert Wilders – Let Him In
Denying entry to the UK for a Dutch demagogue is bad politics and precedent.
The protectionism we are experiencing now is caused by co-ordination failure. It is neither sudden, nor surprising, writes Wolfgang Münchau
The G7 states want to cooperate more closely in the battle against protectionism. At their meeting in Rome the finance ministers and heads of the central banks of the seven leading industrialised nations agreed on boosting the economy and reforming the banking system, but there were no concrete decisions.
UBS has become the the first Swiss bank to pass confidential data about its clients to a foreign government. By giving the US access to this data the bank hopes to preempt charges of aiding and abetting tax fraud. The European press comments on this heavy blow for Switzerland’s status as a financial hub and for Swiss banking secrecy.
Growing political instability in Latvia, Ukraine and Georgia are mainly triggered by the global economic crisis and deep internal problems, such as corruption. But problems with Moscow could be adding an extra "irritant" to an already bad situation, according to leading analysts questioned by EurActiv.
The school system put in place for the offspring of EU officials is creating a socially-homogenous "apartheid regime" that could foster a feeling of superiority among the pupils, Professor Philippe van Parijs of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) told EurActiv in an interview.
Well, I think it is now obvious that (following the articles from Munchau and Soros, and a string of leaders on the general topic of how the Eurozone need to strengthen its architecture) that the Financial Times has thrown its full weight behind the campaign for a new initiative on the European Bonds front, but what about that other stalwart of the UK Economic and Financial media? It seems to me they have yet to position themselves (unless anyone can point me in the way of something to the contary).
George Soros has an opinion editorial in the Financial Times today endorsing the call for EU Bonds. Apart from the fact that he, more than anyone, should be aware of just how dramatically pressure in financial markets can lead to the break-up of a common monetary system, the article makes many valid points, including the following one, which I think is very much the heart of the matter:
A team of experts is set to be named to assist those EU countries most exposed to large flows of asylum seekers, following a proposal by the European Commission
The Czech Republic has tried to reinvigorate its EU presidency, saying it is determined to uphold unity and ensure that member states obey the rules on the single market
Central and eastern Europe faces a classic emerging markets crisis, and like all such crises, its troubles spread afar
For a decade, western banks deployed ample liquidity and made handsome returns in central and eastern Europe. Now the boom has bust
The US carmaker General Motors (GM) wants to cut 47,000 jobs worldwide. Of these, 26,000 are to be axed outside the United States. In Europe Opel plants in Germany and Belgium are among those affected by the measure, while the Swedish GM subsidiary Saab is threatened with bankrupcy.
The state reform in Belgium has once again failed. The leading representatives of the French and Dutch language regions Wallonia and Flanders have broken off the negotiations. Now the Flemish and the Walloons are eagerly awaiting the results of the next provincial elections on June 7.
A year ago the Republic of Kosovo declared its independence. But relations between Albanians and Serbs remain strained and most states have not yet recognised the former Serb province.
by Simon Tilford
Twelve months ago it seemed inconceivable that any member of the EU could face a sovereign debt crisis. It would have been the stuff of fantasy to argue that Ireland or Austria could be among those at risk. Such an outcome is now well within the realms of possibility. If one country suffers a crisis, that will not be the end of it. It would almost certainly trigger a wave of crises, plunging the EU, and especially the eurozone, into turmoil. There is nothing inevitable about this. But a way out requires Germany to show more vision.
Barack Obama’s first foreign trip as president will take him to Canada tomorrow, not to Europe. He gave his first press interview to an Arab TV station, not a European broadcaster.
EU Elections 09: Eurosceptics will not gain ground in EU elections
One of the youngest MEPs in the European Parliament, German liberal Alexander Alvaro, told EurActiv in an interview that Eurosceptics will try to gain ground at the European elections next June, but will not succeed "because in times of crisis, voters do not want to try new experiments".
At the end of a narrow road high in the mountains, at the furthest corner of the valley at the southernmost tip of Kosovo, there is a small village called Brod. The people who live here are Gorani, members of a small Slavic Muslim minority in Kosovo. They live mostly off agriculture, including a special cheese sold on market-days in the nearby city of Prizren. Many of their number have moved down from the mountains to Kosovo’s capital Pristina, to other parts of former Yugoslavia or to western Europe; but a good number of Gorani remain in this corner of a corner of Europe’s newest independent state.
Stefanie Babst: If governments are to deal effectively with the key foreign policy challenges of our age, they must engage in a new form of public diplomacy: one that combines understanding a given challenge with the ability to mobilize networks and public support to bring about concrete change.