Eurosphere roundup: Eurozone vs. Britain, Berlusconi defends Mussolini, France at war in Mali…

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2013 at 23:52


Eurozone slump derails Britain’s economic strategy

by Centre for European Reform
The British government’s attempt to rebalance the UK economy has failed. In 2012, the deficit on the country’s current account (the broadest measure of foreign trade) was larger than in any year since 1990. Britain’s problem is not its trade performance with non-European markets: exports to these are rising strongly and the country runs a small surplus with them. The UK’s problem is the weakness of its exports to the EU, and the huge trade deficit it runs with its EU partners. As the eurozone’s biggest trade partner, the UK is bearing the brunt of the eurozone’s neglect of domestic demand.

G4S human rights record under tough Scandinavian scrutiny

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Adri Nieuwhof
Putting reputational capital at risk: when a security company’s human rights record counts in the contest for public contracts.

Lost in a 1990s timewarp: the UK and the European Union

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Kirsty Hughes
Is the crucial change in the UK’s position in the EU, that demands a referendum, really the need to extend UK doctors’ working hours? And what of the EU – has it got a better story to tell?

MAIN FOCUS: Zeman to be new Czech president | 28/01/2013

from euro|topics
The left-leaning ex-prime minister Miloš Zeman has won the presidential election in the Czech Republic. In the second round held on Friday and Saturday he claimed victory over the conservative Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Commentators attribute Schwarzenberg’s defeat to his opponent’s nationalist campaign and are hopeful that the future leader will at least do a better job than current president Václav Klaus.

Berlusconi defends Mussolini at Holocaust memorial event

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

Anger over Berlusconi praise of Mussolini

from – World, Europe
Italy’s political left outraged as former PM defends the fascist wartime leader at a ceremony commemorating victims of the Holocaust

A Czech President and a Bulgarian Poll

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric
Milos Zeman, a former social democrat Prime Minister, won the first direct elections to the office of Czech president at the weekend. The presidency in the Czech Republic is mostly ceremonial, though Vaclav Klaus used the position to great effect in his opposition to the Lisbon Treaty during the Czech presidency of the Council. Before this the President was indirectly elected.

A false start for the UK’s fresh settlement with Europe

from open Democracy News Analysis – by David Gow
While Germany and France were celebrating 50 years of European successes, David Cameron outlined a much more pessimistic vision of the future of the Union, further underlining, if proof were needed, fundamentally different approaches to the European project. Can these two perspectives ever be reconciled?

MAIN FOCUS: Cameron evokes possibility of EU exit | 24/01/2013

from euro|topics
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on Europe on Wednesday has for the most part met with criticism. He called for changes to the EU treaties and announced that a referendum on Britain’s exiting the EU would be held by 2017. While some commentators applaud the idea of putting London’s strained relations with the EU to the test, others say such a debate is the last thing Europe needs right now.

A view from France: “Long live Europe without the UK!”

by Open Europe blog team

Last week, we noted how the German media’s reaction to David Cameron’s Europe speech had been cautious, but receptive. Unsurprisingly, the French press has been much less receptive to the British Prime Minister’s call for a reformed EU. In today’s Les Echos, Jean-Marc Vittori pulls no punches:

Mali and France: about that ‘pact of European solidarity’…

by Open Europe blog team
It’s always interesting to watch rhetoric and negotiation posturing clash with reality.

Following David Cameron’s EU speech last week, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a French government spokeswoman,insisted that:

Mali, and the al-Qaida trap

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Paul Rogers
A decade ago, western leaders’ excessive reaction and inflated rhetoric served to amplify rather than diminish the power of Islamist groups. The same danger now overhangs Mali, Algeria and beyond.

MAIN FOCUS: Allied troops recapture Timbuktu | 29/01/2013

from euro|topics
French and Malian soldiers brought the town of Timbuktu under their control on Monday, leaving only the provincial capital of Kidal in the hands of radical Islamists. Commentators talk of an important victory in a battlethat will be a long one and say that now it’s time for politics to take the stage.

MAIN FOCUS: Paris and Berlin celebrate their friendship | 22/01/2013

from euro|topics
Members of parliament from Germany and France celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty today, Tuesday, with a joint session in the Bundestag. The governments of both states want to promote even closer cooperation on the occasion of the anniversary. Commentators lament that the relations between the two countries have cooled considerably under Merkel and Hollande, and put their hopes in close people-to-people ties.

2013 Italy elections: no winner, only losers

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Giuseppe Lenzo
The run-up to the next national elections in Italy (to be held on 24/25 February) is marked by two trends that have already troubled the country’s political life in the past years: fragmentation and political instability.

Could Sarkozy be the next French tax refugee?

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

Revolutionary France and the social republic that never was

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Vincent Bourdeau

After the 1830 revolution, French workers waited for the introduction of the republic into the heart of production. It never came. The struggle that ensued was to shape French politics during the Second Republic and after as republicans sought to reconcile work with the principle of non-domination.

Hungarian Student Protesters Face Punishment, Keep Fighting

from Global Voices Online by
In December 2012, Hungarian university and high school students united to protest against the significant cutbacks in higher education admission quotas. Their fight for tution-free slots continues. (GV coverage is here,here, and here.)

A ‘Fresh Start’ for Britain in Europe?

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Stuart Weir
A new manifesto, ‘Fresh Start’, has been published by a group of Conservative MPs proposing a new relationship between the UK and EU. The (not so hidden) agenda: sweeping away many of the rights that protect British workers from exploitation.

Starting today all new standardized driving licences issued across the EU

from Turkish Digest by EU-Digest
Starting today, January 19th 2013, all new driving licences issued across the EU will be in the form of a plastic “credit card,” with a standard European format and tougher security protection.

“Greece is like Germany’s Weimar Republic” by Fabian Lindner

from Social Europe Journal » Blogs by Fabian Lindner

Algeria, Mali and beyond

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Paul Rogers
The seizure of an international gas-plant in Algeria follows closely the escalation of conflict in Mali. The response of western states to both reinforces the worldview of their Islamist adversaries.

Central European Links

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Alex Harrowell
Here’s a depressing but interesting story. More and more Jews are moving to Vienna, which sounds rather hopeful…except that they’re coming from Hungary, to get away from anti-Semitism and people like piece o’work Zsolt Bayer.

Europe’s capital strike, Central European edition

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Alex Harrowell
Even if Monti seems to have succeeded in dragging the spreads closer together, there are plenty of problems around the European economy. Bloomberg reports on central and eastern Europe’s economies in search of a growth model. So far, some of them chose export-led growth and integration into (basically) German automotive supply chains, and others had a credit and property boom.

Flashmobs and Citizen Classrooms – Spain’s Creative Protests Channel Discontent

from Global Voices Online by Anna Williams
Spain’s anti-crisis movement has been characterized by creative and constructive protests since 2011. Among the most well-known are organizations like the 15M (May 15 Movement) with its “occupation” of public space, demonstrations against austerity cuts (education, health, housing, etc.) by various affected sectors and their communal response, the 25-S protest that literally surrounded Congress and has repeated the act many occassions since, and marches that have swept the country.

Why is France in Mali

from Hurriyet Daily News
French troops engaged in clashes with Islamist militants in Mali on Jan. 16…

MAIN FOCUS: EU prepares for mission in Mali | 17/01/2013

from euro|topics
The EU foreign ministers hope to reach a consensus on a training mission for Mali’s military at their emergency meeting today, Thursday. However they continue to reject the idea of joint military intervention. Europe must prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist state on its doorstep, some commentators demand. Others argue that Mali is purely a French issue.

A new angle to UK-EU trade?

by Open Europe blog team
The WTO and the OECD yesterday announced the release of a new set of trade data. This data tries to pin down the “value added” from trade rather than just the gross figures. Essentially, this means the data tries to track where the final demand for an exported product/service comes from, thereby netting out trade which simply contributes to the production line of the finished good/service.

MAIN FOCUS: Cameron advocates EU reform | 25/01/2013

from euro|topics
British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos that his country does not want to turn its back on the EU. At the same time he underscored his demand for a reform of the community. While some commentators support Cameron’s call for a more competitive Europe, others believe that Germany and France won’t agree to special terms for Britain.

Italians need more than the old politics

The lack of competitiveness weighing on the economy cannot be addressed by a continued refusal to face reality, says Lorenzo Bini Smaghi

MAIN FOCUS: Cameron’s risky game with the EU | 16/01/2013

from euro|topics
British Prime Minister David Cameron will deliver an eagerly awaited speech in The Hague on Friday on Britain’sposition regarding the EU. According to media reports he plans to announce a referendum on the return of competences from Brussels. The project could prolong the euro crisis and jeopardise Cameron’s political career, commentators write.

Inside the Audacious Assassination Attempt in Bulgaria

from Global Voices Online by Ruslan Trad
On January 19, 2013, a gunman attacked Ahmed Dogan, the founder of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), described by some politicians as Bulgaria’s “Turkish party,” as he was delivering a speech at a televised party conference in Sofia. No shots were fired, and the gunman was beaten by MRF members, while security guards acted slowly.

Berlin and Paris need a relationship reset

The goal has to be to foster in a pragmatic way a European federation – or community – of nations, writes Joachim Bitterlich

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