Katinka Barysch of Centre for European Reform explains why EU enlargement is in trouble and there is more from the EU in the roundup…
by Katinka Barysch
It is five years since the EU admitted eight Central and East European countries, followed by another two in 2007. To celebrate this anniversary, Commissioner Olli Rehn has just released a report that explains how these countries have benefited from integrating into the EU. But any jubilant mood was dimmed by the current economic crisis in Central and Eastern Europe; and by the bleak outlook for further accessions.
There are long-standing and well-known reasons why enlargement to Turkey and the Western Balkans is proceeding so slowly: the political instability and economic backwardness of most of the current applicants; the enlargement fatigue of many West Europeans; the specific questions that Austrian, French and other politicians ask about Turkey’s European destiny.
In just over 30 years, the European Union has grown from a six-member club with a population of 185 million, to a 27-member bloc with around 490 million citizens.
With less than 100 days to go until the 2009 European elections, EurActiv asked a number of political players and experts to identify new trends which may play a part in political campaigns across Europe this spring.
The EU must "restore self-confidence and cohesion" in its policy towards Russia, argues Arkady Moshes, programme director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, in a February paper for the Robert Schuman Foundation.
The European Commission has received much praise for putting innovation and creativity at the centre of attention in 2009. But it remains to be seen whether the special year can go beyond mere symbolism and deliver concrete results at a time when Europe is engulfed in a global economic recession.
Preparing the ground for EU leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels on Sunday (1 March), the EU executive has outlined measures to tackle ‘economic nationalism’ looming large over the European car industry.
More than 20 years after abandoning nuclear power, Italy now plans to build new nuclear power plants with the help of France. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have signed an agreement to this effect in Rome. The first new plant is to go on grid by 2020.
The European members of the G20 states met on Sunday at a summit in Berlin, where they agreed on sweeping control measures for the international financial system. The European press evaluates the results of the meeting held in preparation for the London Summit on the global financial crisis this April.
I have published a new commentary on the experience of the Obama campaign and European political parties with DIE ZEIT. The German version can be read here.
I wrote the latest UK country report for the International Policy Analysis Unit of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. In case you read German and fancy a 16 page analysis of UK politics and econcomics you can read the text here.
The global financial and economic crisis also left its mark on this year’s Academy Awards. The film industry is rethinking its financing strategy. The independent, multinational film "Slumdog Millionaire" about a poor Indian boy who wins a quiz show won eight Oscars.
The countries of Central and Eastern Europe are especially hard hit by the financial crisis. The European papers put the blame for this on the region’s fragile democracies and the rapid growth of recent years, yet point out that there can be no talk of a uniform Eastern European crisis.
by Philip Whyte
On February 25th, a Commission-appointed taskforce headed by Jacques de Larosière published its much-awaited report on financial supervision in the EU. By coincidence, a parallel (but less widely reported) event took place the same day on the oth
er side of the Channel: Lord Turner, the chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA), gave evidence to a parliamentary committee. What light does Lord Turner’s evidence shed on the UK’s likely reception of the Larosière report?
Stefan Wagstyl’s friends in Warsaw, Prague and Bucharest cannot understand why, if they take the trouble to distinguish Spain from Portugal and Belgium from the Netherlands, west Europeans struggle to separate Czechs from Slovaks and Ukrainians from Russians
The unpredictable nature of the French president
One of my other reasons for pondering a change in direction here (beyond boredom with party politics in the run up to the summer’s EU elections) is that the other big story in the EU – hell, everywhere – is the ongoing economic crisis. What I know about economics could be written on the back of a postage stamp, so comment is best avoided. (Of course, even the supposed experts have been shown to know precisely tit all about what’s going on with the global economy over the last year, so perhaps economic illiteracy isn’t such a handicap after all?)
BERLIN – The legendary American investor Warren Buffet once said, "It’s when the tide goes out that you find out who has been swimming naked."