Lisbon era starts in Europe while Merkel makes her historic US address…

In EU Foreign Policy, EU summits/meetings, European Economy, State of Europe on November 4, 2009 at 10:38

A roundup as usual… last updated: 14:30 (4 Nov)

Consensus growing for low-profile EU ‘chairman’

Confirming that EU leaders appear to read the job description of the first-ever permanent Council president as more of a ‘chairman’ than a ‘leader’, agencies reported today (2 November) that the mild-mannered Belgian prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy, is the “most consensual” figure for the top job.

Merkel makes historic US address

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Angela Merkel receives standing ovations as she becomes only the second German chancellor to address US Congress in decades.

Angela Merkel in Washington DC

from Atlantic Review

I wonder what the Obama team is asking the Merkel team right now.

The German election campaign is over. So is the grace period for tough demands for more German support, which the Obama administration probably gave the German government due to the unpopularity of the Afghanistan war.

Liveblogging the Lisbon apocalypse

from Nosemonkey’s EUtopia

With Vaclav Klaus’ low-key signature this afternoon, the Lisbon Treaty – which its critics have long accused of being capable of altering the very fabric of European life – has been ratified. I was in London, reporting the reactions live on Twitter as the news of the signing spread. First update c.3:15pm UK time, last c.6pm:

Right. So Lisbon’s signed. I await the end of the nation state (as warned of by some of its madder opponents) with positive glee.

If I got the anti-Lisbon memo right, we now all have to have abortions and join the army as well. Are the queues already forming?

Blair lobbies directly for EU presidency

from – World, Europe
Tony Blair, the former prime minister, has attempted to revive his fading prospects of becoming the European Union’s first full-time president by lobbying directly the leaders of France and Germany, EU government sources have told the Financial Time

Reconnecting Power and Politics

from Social Europe Journal by Zygmunt Bauman

Social democrats need to reassert the protective power of the state – this time through global institutions.

zygmuntbaumanTen years ago Gerhard Schröder declared that: ‘economic policy is neither left not right. It is either good or bad’. Today we can conclude that this was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then, eleven out of fifteen governments of the European Union were run by socialists. Now – in election after election, in country after country – the left has been elbowed out of state power. The crucial point, though, is that such changes of the guard have ceased to matter.

Expats and MPs

from Federal Union by Richard Laming

President Sarkozy has floated the idea of having French MPs to represent French people abroad. There are hundreds of thousands of French citizens living in the UK – London is now the seventh largest French city – and they currently have little voice in French politics. Candidate Sarkozy came to London to campaign for votes during the presidential election – French expats in the UK are probably more favourably disposed to the centre-right than the average French voter at home – and now he thinks about extending the principle.

Klaus grudgingly signs Lisbon Treaty

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

The EU’s long international nightmare seems to be over. Czech President Vaclav Klaus has signed the Lisbon Treaty treaty, nearly two years after the ratification process began. Klaus finally agreed to sign after the Czech constitutional court finally ruled against a legal challenge to the treaty, but the legendary Euroskeptic also took the opportunity for a parting shot:

Even Islamists love Angela Merkel

from FP Passport by David Kenner


Sayyed Imam al-Sharif gets all the credit, but another important Islamist preacher has published a letter renouncing violence in Europe. Mohammed al-Fizazi is currently sitting in a Moroccan jail for his role in the 2003 Casablanca terrorist attack, which killed 45 people.

Europe in Denial of a Changing World

from by Dave Keating

The European Council on Foreign Relations came out with an interesting report today on the US-EU relationship, concluding that Europeans “remain in denial about how the world is changing, making a fetish out of the transatlantic relationship.”

Woman @ EU top: let’s enter the 21st century now!

from Social Europe Journal by Eurosocialiste

Since I wrote the blogpost “One of the 3 top EU jobs must be held by a woman” early October, I’ve been delighted to see that the idea of a woman at one of the top EU jobs has gained momentum, both in social media and mainstream media, both among women and men. Just a week ago, after a few EU geek girls met in Brussels, linotherhino launched a clever campaign on Twitter to raise support for the nomination of a woman at one of the top EU jobs. The concept is simple and efficient, you add a pink “twibbon” -a Twitter ribbon- with the motto “Woman @ EU top” to your profile picture on Twitter (you can do it here). The initiative was a dazzling success: my twitter page turned all pink in just one day. And I was very pleased to see that many men adopted the pink twibbon as well, and so did a few MEPs.

Conservative Europarty hijacked?

by Grahnlaw

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament joins 54 members, which is well above the needed 25, but only three countries have substantial delegations: the UK Conservatives (25 MEPs), the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS; 15) and the Czech Civic Democrats (ODS; 9). In addition, there are five solitary MEPs from five member states, which brings the number of countries represented to eight. This leaves the ECR with a slender margin above the minimum of seven countries.

Fianna Fail and the Liberals

from Stephen Spillane

Things aren’t looking so good for the Fianna Fail Party in their new Grouping in the European Parliament. At the last plenary session they caused hassle by abstaining on a vote on a resolution by the ALDE, Green and Socialist groups on media freedoms, this caused the vote to be lost. This has causd huge anger in the ALDE grouping.

Guest Post: Chris Patten for ‘EU Foreign Minister’?

from Nosemonkey’s EUtopia by nosemonkey

A guest post from that rare beast, an openly pro-EU Tory – in this case Thomas Byrne of the blog Byrne Tofferings, who is keen to sound out the thoughts of a more international audience to his suggestion for the first High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the successor to the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (currently Javier Solana):

Chris Patten has signalled his interest in the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy position, something I’m going to give my support to.

Climate tops Brussels’ agenda for EU-US summit

from – Headline News

Must read Euroblogs in French

by Grahnlaw

When we look at the Euroblogs on multilingual, we notice that some of the top blogs are in French.

The Coulisses de Bruxelles, Regards-citoyens, Bruxelles2 (Europe de la Défense) and Le Taurillon make it worth your while to brush up your French and to get acquainted with informed debate about European integration.

Europe’s progressive test: three crucial months, Simon Maxwell Paul Engel Dirk Messner Pierre Schori

from open Democracy News Analysis –

The key decisions made over the next three months will determine Europe’s future international role. Both the world and Europe are changing. On the one hand, the script which drives global policy-making is being rewritten to address the financial crisis, climate change, and global security challenges. On the other hand, the institutions of the European Union are – whether or not Ireland’s referendum on 2 October 2009 allows the Lisbon treaty to be ratified – on the brink of radical overhaul. By January 2010, the union’s institutions, leaders and agenda will have acquired a new aspect. But will the changes that are coming allow Europe to emerge as a progressive force?

Obama ‘doesn’t care’ about Eastern Europe, analyst says

US President Barack Obama sees Eastern Europe as a “Bush administration project” and is not conscious of the need to counter growing Russian influence there, Edward Lucas, who has been The Economist’s correspondent for Eastern Europe for over 20 years, told EurActiv Slovakia in an interview.

Analyst: Russia pushing US out of Europe

US President Barack Obama “does not care very much” about security in Europe, Edward Lucas, who has been The Economist’s Eastern Europe correspondent for more than 20 years, told EurActiv Slovakia in an interview.

Finland vs Britain: Pride and Prejudice?

by Grahnlaw

Take a look at Finland, a small Nordic country with a population of 5.3 million, a member of the European Union only since 1 January 1995.

Most Finns are tickled by the fact that enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn (centre party, European liberals) has been mentioned in international media as one of the candidates to become the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and that media speculation about the president of the European Council has included former prime minister Paavo Lipponen, former president Martti Ahtisaari and current president Tarja Halonen.

Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council?

by Grahnlaw

Is the prime minister of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy, now the favourite to become the first president of the European Council?

Van Rompuy belongs to the Christian Democratic and Flemish party (Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams; CD&V), represented in the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest in the European Parliament.

Czech court gives green light to EU treaty

An EU ‘fit for purpose’ in the global age: Can we rise to the challenge?

Although the imminent completion of the Lisbon Treaty ratification process should allow the EU to emerge from its “period of introspection”, “we should be under no illusions” as the “long and painful” ratification experience revealed problems with the legitimacy of EU integration and the direction the Union is taking, write Loukas Tsoukalis, Olaf Cramme and Roger Liddle in an October paper for the Policy Network.

A deal with the Czechs

from Federal Union by Richard Laming

So, a deal was struck with the Czech Republic to get the Lisbon treaty through. An opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, along Polish and British lines, was added to the treaty, and that was enough to satisfy the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus. (Read page 15 of the European Council conclusions here.)

Opponents of the European Union say they find the manner in which agreement was reached unedifying: they are right, but for the wrong reasons.

Global Manufacturing, France Outperforms, As Spain Continues To Flounder

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

Well, it is not as if I relish rubbing salt into old wounds, but this quote from the latest piece by Ben Hall in Paris and Ralph Atkins in today’s Financial Times is just too good to resist.

French manufacturing output rose at its fastest rate for nine years, according to a survey on Monday, confirming that France has become the economic powerhouse of continental Europe. Purchasing managers’ indices for manufacturing showed France performing significantly better than the continent’s other main economies – thanks to robust domestic demand.

Norwegian Wood

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

Well, if John Lennon had still been around today he would undoubtedly have entitled his song Norwegian oil, but whatever way you want to put it Norway is back in the news, and this time not because of adolescents who find themselves with no alternative to sleeping overnight in the bath-tub, but rather because its central bank has been put in a position where it has little alternative but to raise interest rates, even if in fact it would be more comfortable for it not to do so. So, not being in the habit of looking for a quiet life, decision makers over at the Norges Bank decided last week to put themselves in the hot seat by lifting the banks main rate by 25 basis points to 1.5 per cent and in this inauspicious and modest way entered the history books as the first European central bank to raise interest rates since the financial crisis started to ease.

Angela Merkel: Europe’s Quiet Leader

from Atlantic Community RSS-Feed
Anne Applebaum: The international community is not worried that Germany is heading towards a Fourth Reich because Angela Merkel is at the helm. It is the Chancellor’s dull-pragmatism, her “anti-Obama” demeanor, which has allowed her to quietly increase Berlin’s influence, while being roundly applauded.

Britain and EU: Crunch time for Cameron

from Grahnlaw by Grahnlaw

Next we will get a cast-iron guarantee of prolonged institutional wrangling for the Conservative Party, Britain and the European Union, when David Cameron abandons his previous pledge to arrange a UK referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

Death on the Tisza

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Douglas Muir

A sad story from the edge of Europe last week: fifteen Kosovar Albanians died trying to cross the border between Serbia and Hungary. The border there is a a river, the Tisza, which is a large and swift-flowing tributary of the Danube. The Albanians were illegal immigrants trying to move from Kosovo into the EU. Their boat capsized and most of them drowned. The immigrants seem to have been family groups, and the dead include at least two children.

MAIN FOCUS: Klaus frees the way for Lisbon | 04/11/2009

from euro|topics

After months of blocking progress Czech President Václav Klaus yesterday became the last head of state to sign the Treaty of Lisbon. The Constitutional Court in Brno had previously rejected claims brought against the legislative document by conservative Czech senators. There are high hopes for the EU Reform Treaty, which can now come into effect.

National parliaments key to Lisbon’s success

“The formal involvement of national Parliaments in EU political choices is one of the main keys to the success of the Lisbon Treaty,” writes French MEP Alain Lamassoure of the centre-right European People’s Party in an October editorial, proposing a number of measures for implementation in early 2010.
  1. See here for the first campaign – the Right2Bet Campaign – hoping to be the first to utilise Lisbon’s “Citizens Initiative” provision. In my opinion more focus should be given to this kind of initiative rather than the wheeling and dealing of the European elites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: