Belgium sets a dubious record on Thursday when it overtakes post-war Iraq as the country that has gone longest without a government.
It?s a surreal achievement greeted with a mix of amusement and quiet despair in the streets of Brussels. (I speak of ?Brussels? as the capital of Belgium here ? Eurocrats based in the city pay only passing attention to things Belgian).
We look at the euro crisis, economic governance and the ?competitiveness pact? in the European Union, or more narrowly in the eurozone.
Hungary’s right-wing conservative government has avoided a run-in with the EU Commission by agreeing to make changes to its controversial media law. But the changes don’t go far enough, writes the press, as elastic clauses still allow the country’s media council to penalise the media at will.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now seeking to end the potentially damaging dispute over the coutrys controversial new media law by agreeing to change some aspects, according to The New York Times.
A European political leader whose name has long been associated with scandal is now facing his gravest legal challenge. On 15 February 2011, prosecutors in Milan called Italy?s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for trial on two charges: procuring the services of a then 17-year-old girl called Karima El Mahroug for sex, and abusing power by negotiating with the police in an attempt to secure her release from custody.
by Hugo Brady
The freedom enjoyed by EU citizens to live and work in each others’ countries is a unique liberty. It is the basis around which European governments have tried to build a single border, a compensatory system of co-operation between police, judges and immigration officers and a common refugee policy. But hardening attitudes towards immigration in many countries and widening policy disagreements between governments and the EU’s institutions are exposing fault-lines in this structure. As the cracks threaten to widen over the coming months, policy-makers face some tricky dilemmas.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
by Vassilios Damiras
The ?democratic peace? hypothesis encourages hope for a new age of international peace among nation-states that adopt democratic values and beliefs. It argues that democracies are more likely than non-democracies to resolve disputes among themselves in a peaceful manner. Its core assumption–that democracies do not fight wars with each other–constitutes the closet one can get to an ?iron-clad law? in international relations. The policymaking world strongly adheres to this viewpoint, as demonstrated by U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Lukashenka’s departure from the path of liberalization suggests Russian pressure, says David Marples. The Belarusian president may have been able to dispose of political opponents, but the country’s economic weakness poses a more elusive threat to the stability of his regime.
The video of the Eurogroup press conference Monday, 14 February 2011, has now been posted on the Council website, under the heading European Stability Mechanism. You can also find the video recording of the press conference following the official Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) 15 February 2011.
Here is an overview of the Ecofin documents published, even if they reflect only some of the macroeconomic issues being discussed.
South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, the United States, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, and the European Union belonging to G20, the priorities of the French presidency are: