A. Gorskiy. Missed in action. in Soviet War Paintings.
The Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker has declared his willingness to run for the post of EU president in an obvious bid to prevent British politician Tony Blair from obtaining the post and becoming too powerful. But in the end the EU may decide not to elect either of these two formidable politicians and opt for a lacklustre candidate instead.
The Financial Times today carries an article by Paavo Lipponen, former prime minister of Finland, outlining his view of what the role of president of the European Council entails. (Read it here.) Another candidate launch, in other words, to join those of Mr Blair and Mr Juncker.
Historian Simon Schama has a marvellous knack of explaining the big themes of history through the life stories of selected individuals. For example, in his ?History of Britain?, he describes the peak and decline of the British empire using the contrasting stories of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, and in the marvellous ?The American Future?, he uses the life and career of Montgomery C Meigs, Quartermaster General of the Union armies during the American civil war, to bring together the development of American republican nationalism with its economic ingenuity and its military prowess. Everything you need to know about the victory of freedom in the cold war you can find in the life of Brigadier General Meigs.
Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010 (PDF; 357 KB)
Source: European Commission
The fifth enlargement of the EU has helped to consolidate democracy and the rule of law in Europe. It has enhanced economic opportunities and increased the weight of the EU in tackling global challenges such as climate change, competitiveness and the regulation and supervision of financial markets. Over the last five years, the enlarged EU has demonstrated its capacity to work together to address the important challenges it faces. Enlargement is one of the most effective foreign policy instruments of the EU.
From the 1957 Treaties of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), the ratifications of the treaties marking the various stages of European integration have been deposited with the Italian government in Rome.
A few vague thoughts towards predicting a new global geopolitics:
Globalisation has been the undeniable trend of the last half century.
As transportation and communication technologies have advanced, the world has got smaller. You can now get from London to Australia in a day where, two hundred years ago ? at the height of the nation state ? it would have taken several times that to travel from London to Edinburgh. A century ago, most goods in your local shop would have been local to your (more or less) immediate area ? even with the expansion of 19th century Empires and the arrival in Europe of affordably-priced exotic fruits and out-of-season vegetables, delivered via early refrigerated ships. Now we have to go to specialist shops to get local produce ? and local today often means little more than ?from the same country?. As for the interconnectedness of the global economy, we have had the ultimate proof over the last year as recession has spread around the world.
What is disturbing about the campaign of Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi, Brian Cowen, David Miliband and their entourages to appoint Tony Blair the first President of the European Council?
Hopes that inviting a racist party member to prime-time television questioning would detract from his appeal were dashed last week. Ratings for the far-right British Nationalist Party increased following leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the influential BBC program Question Time.
For two days last week (22-24.10), Stockholm was a real buzz. The fourth edition of European Development Days was organised jointly by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency. I was honoured to be asked to participate in this annual event that drew together thousands and thousands of people from all over the world.
Can?t you just see it?
According to Eurostat in both the euro area (EA16) and the EU27, the seasonally adjusted household saving rate continued to increase and the household investment rate to decrease n the second quarter of 2009. In both regions the fall in business investment rates and profit shares continued, though at a lower rate. In the second quarter of 2009, the seasonally adjusted gross saving rate of households was 14.4% in the EU27 compared with 13.5% in the first quarter of 2009. In the euro area, the household saving rate was 16.5% in the second quarter of 2009, compared with 16.0% in the previous quarter. In both cases these were the highest rates recorded since the start of the time series in the first quarter of 1999.
Have we advanced much since I looked at the freshly signed amending treaty in the blog post ?EU Treaty of Lisbon: CFSP implementation? (13 January 2008)? Have our leaders improved the procedures? Have they taken the citizens of the European Union on board?
So some British think tank called the ?Legatum Institute? has published an index of the best countries in which to live. Apparently they?ve been doing this every year for a while now, but it just now caught my eye.
Let me start by saying that I find this index pretty dubious. (N.B., there are a lot of bad international indexes out there. Don?t get me started on the American Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.) The Legatum Institute?s staff appears to be a mixture of warmed-over Thatcherites and recently-unemployed American conservatives. So it?s not surprising that the top 20 countries are dominated by western Europe and the Anglosphere, while the bottom ranks are all former colonies full of brown folk.