An early sign of how the financial crisis in east-central Europe in February 2009 was being perceived in the west came in a major feature in the Financial Times. The story was not so much in the words as in the accompanying map, which showed the old Comecon countries as an undifferentiated mass. It was as if nothing had changed since the 1980s, when the Soviet Union’s own "single market" still kept a swathe of states from the Baltics to the Balkans tightly in its orbit. Krzysztof Bobinski is the president of Unia & Polska, a pro-European think-tank in Warsaw. He was the Financial Times’s Warsaw correspondent (1976-2000) and later published Unia & Polska magazine. He writes for European Voice and is an associate editor on the Europe section of Europe’s World
Experts put cases for and against EU’s Lisbon Treaty
In a single strike, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso put a stop to rampant speculation regarding issuing EU bonds, rebutted suggestions that troubled EU countries would be put on a fast-track to eurozone accession and dismissed calls for a single EU-wide financial supervision watchdog.
Swedish EU Affairs Minister Cecilia Malmström unveiled the logo of her country’s upcoming EU presidency on Monday (2 March). The design, a golden S-shaped curve dividing – or perhaps uniting – two blue sides was described by the winning advertising agency, Bacon Advertising, as reflecting "openness, dialogue, climate and light".
"For public affairs practitioners to be truly effective, [they] must have a profound understanding of institutional and cultural differences," argues Michael Burrell, vice-chairman of Edelman Europe and deputy chairman of the European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA).
In its battle against the economic crisis the European Central Bank (ECB) has cut its key interest rate by 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent – the lowest level since the introduction of the euro ten years ago. The European press comments on the record low and its consequences.
Works of fiction have always dealt with political issues and institutions, "but the last decade has seen a much more concerted trend in this direction," argues Conor McGrath, an independent scholar and deputy editor of the Journal of Public Affairs, citing an upsurge in the number of novels, movies, TV shows and songs featuring lobbyists.
Eurozone membership criteria must in future be applied more strictly than they have been across the eurozone. But today they must be interpreted flexibly
A British version of Gaullism, on the free-trade-friendly definition, might find a ready audience, writes Howard Davies
Has the global financial crisis crossed yet another threshold with indications that the financing of the Euro 2012 Championship could be imperilled? The successful joint bid of Poland and Ukraine looked on one hand like a smart move to recognize the eastern European fan bases but on the other like a gamble given all the costs that the tournament brings, not least in stadium upgrades. And with money tight for everything, money for football was perhaps going to be a tough sell. Hence this interesting Polish courtship of Kuwait –
In a few months, the financial crisis has changed everything – the nature of capitalism, the appropriate role of the state in managing markets, the limits of government action to name a few. The global financial crisis is now understood to have implications that go far beyond the financial and economic sectors. But what will the crisis do to the EU’s fledgling foreign policy? Uncertainty is the currency of the moment, but even through the cloud caused by imploding financial institutions, some of the likely effects on the EU’s Common and Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) are discernable.
The outcome of the European Union summit in Brussel
s on 1 March 2009, intended in part to address the crisis afflicting some of the member-states of east-central Europe, was tame. It might be summed up as "pious declarations of solidarity, no hard cash". The response in many policy and media circles has been a mix of surprise and disappointment – tinged in many cases with alarm over the union’s future. This is misconceived: for the reality is that the EU cannot deal in any meaningful way with the high-profile problems afflicting some of its members – and, for its own sake, shouldn’t try.Anand Menon is professor of West European Politics and Director of the European Research Institute at the University of Birmingham.
An interesting wrinkle for those who care about summitry: Barack Obama’s visit to Europe in April will include Prague for what is being billed as the annual EU-USA summit. Normally this includes just the Commission, the USA, and the Council Presidency which of course is the Czech Republic at the moment. Last year’s summit was in Slovenia in June so they seem a little ahead of schedule. But more importantly, it won’t be just the 3 leaders –