The Irish government is no longer excluding the possibility of asking the EU for financial help. However the highly indebted country could need up to 90 billion euros. The press discerns several reasons for the Irish crisis and discusses the use of the bailout package as well as its risks.
It?s raining in Italy. Literally and figuratively pouring cats and dogs on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Highly productive regions in the northeast are flooding, archeological treasures in the south are collapsing, trash is once again piling up high around Naples, and yet another underage girl testifies about the prime minister?s dissolute lifestyle.
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The European Commission has decided to add Montenegro to the list of Candidate Countries. In an opinion issued on the 9th of November the Commission stated:
By reshuffling his government the French President Nicolas Sarkozy hopes to improve his dismal results in the opinion polls and secure a re-election in 2012. But that could prove difficult in view of his social policies and the loss of the centre, writes Europe’s press.
The increasingly likely prospect of an Irish bailout is looming and that is also likely to have an impact on the UK.
While the UK was not involved in the Greek bailout, British taxpayers are liable for one of the two bailout funds agreed in its aftermath: the ?60bn European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), founded on a very dubious reading of the EU treaties, is a lending facility guaranteed by all EU member states, including the UK, using the EU budget as collateral. The other bailout fund, the ?440bn European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), was agreed outside the EU treaties, and can also issue loans guaranteed by eurozone governments.
As expected, Bernard Kouchner’s tenure as France’s foreign minister has come to an end. The left-wing former human rights activist had been increasingly marginalized in the increasingly realist Sarkozy administration and at times appeared to have publicly given up on any pretense of reconciling human rights concerns with French foreign-policy interests.
When EU institutional comms are not up to scratch I say so ? see posts about the EEAS, Citzalia and the Citizens? Initiative for example. So it?s only fair, in return, when I see a good example of what the European Union is doing to give some credit where credit?s due.
By Simon Tilford
There is an awful inevitability about the latest instalment of the eurozone crisis, which looks highly likely to culminate in Ireland being forced to seek a bailout from the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF). As soon as German and French leaders raised the spectre of private holders of government bonds incurring losses under a permanent crisis resolution mechanism, borrowing costs for the struggling members of the eurozone were only going to increase. Unless the EU changes track and agrees to make the EFSF permanent and the European Central bank (ECB) steps up its purchases of the hard-hit countries? government bonds, investors will believe that default is inevitable and demand correspondingly punitive interest rates. Contagion to other member-states will be all but inevitable. If, and when, it reaches Spain, the crisis risks spiralling out of control.
Do you want to see what a real internet mob looks like? You need look no further than the new Facebook page ?Let?s show these poppy burning bastards how many people want them deported?. The crowd has turned ugly and I?m sickened, saddened and scared by the whole thing.
By Nilgun Gulcan with Cihan News Agency
Two threat letters were sent to the Eyyub Sultan mosque in Strasbourg (France). The racist threatening letters were sent by the ‘Freedom Movement in Europe’. Some white powder was found in one of the letters.
It turns out that The European Citizen has been nominated for a poll of the most influential left-of-centre Euroblogs in a Social Europe Journal poll. If you like the blog, and think I’ve been suitably left-of-centre enough, you can for me and 2 others (or even, theoretically, 3 blogs which aren’t The European Citizen) here. The vote is open to 5pm tomorrow.
What do a dog fitness centre, a ?5.25m fleet of limousines, a cartoon horse and ‘virtual language swimming’ have in common?
Yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s that time of year again. Today we’ve published yet another list of wasteful EU projects, the third such list in as many years (you can find the previous ones here and here).
One of our favourites is “Eurogaloppo” the cartoon horse which was dreamt up in order to teach German schoolchildren about the EU. A booklet was published chronicling Eurogaloppo’s journey to Brussels on which he met several high-profile EU leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel and former European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering.
European Council President Van Rompuy gave a speech on Tuesday, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (link; PDF). As you would expect from a Europe-focused, (European dated) 9/11 speech, the reunification and integration of Europe had a central place. However, the rise of nationalism, economic governance, and the EU’s budget made their way into the speech. Van Rompuy made clear that economic union would have to accompany currency union, but he did not suggest anything new, only pausing to name-check the economic task force that he recently headed.
By Claudia Hillebrand
One of the topics discussed earlier this week at the JHA Council were EU-wide measures to fight cyber crime. The European Commission presented a legislative proposal to the Council with the aim of revamping the EU?s anti-cyber crime toolbox, in particular concerning large-scale cyber attacks. This is a timely topic, as there has recently been much talk about the threat of cyber crime, computer attacks and cyber warfare on both sides of the Atlantic. Take the case of the UK, for example. On Tuesday, British Defence Minister Nick Harvey pointed out in a talk that the UK is increasingly facing such cyber threats. A similar assessment can be found in the 2010 National Security Strategy. In recent years, new bodies have been set up or the few existing ones have been expanded (e.g., the centre for cyber security operations at GCHQ, the UK Defence Cyber Operations Group, the UK Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance). Moreover, the British government launched the National Cyber Security Programme funded with £650m over the next four years (cf. pp. 47-49 of the British Strategic Defence and Security Review) and the Home Office will publish a new National Cyber Crime Strategy in late autumn. Finally, the UK-France Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation includes a paragraph on enhanced co-operation to fight cyber attacks.
Today there is no agreement on what should replace the Kyoto Protocol (KP) expiring in 2012. What is certain, however, is that the framing of the new climate regime may create new scenarios involving new fora and strengthening certain international players while weaking others.
Since the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 (COP15), the effectiveness of the UNFCCC has been put into question, and, with it, the image of the COPs (Conferences of the Parties) as the most appropriate fora to carry out negotiations, despite their wide membership and legitimacy. Hence, some officials have started considering the necessity to find alternative fora to deal with climate change (e.g. G20, WTO), as well as the need to find new approaches. As far as the fora are concerned, this was for instance the position of some officials of the Spanish EU presidency, but was opposed by the Commissioner Hedegaard and by Runge-Metzger, EU chief climate negotiator. According to the Commissioner it would be a ?waste of work?, while, more pragmatically, the EU chief negotiator argued that an agreement should be drafted in other fora and then fed into the main UN negotiations. The key, he is reported to have said, is to appear to be endorsing the UN process while still pushing for other fora to do the ?heavy lifting?.