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9/30/05

CBS 5: EU Wants International Control Of Internet - US says its unacceptable

CBS 5

EU Wants International Control Of Internet - US says its unacceptable

The European Union insisted Friday the job of Internet traffic cop must be shared by governments and the private sector. The U.S. wants to remain the Internet's ultimate authority, rejecting calls in a United Nations meeting in Geneva for a U.N. body to take over.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr rejected American claims the EU had changed direction. "We are looking for a new cooperation model, a model that allows Internet governance and the laying down of public policy principles in coordination by all countries which are interested in the governance of the Internet because the Internet is a global resource," he said. Negotiators said there was a growing sense a compromise had to be reached and that no single country ought to be the ultimate authority over such a vital part of the global economy.

A top U.S. official said the U.S. was "deeply disappointed," with an EU proposal, made Wednesday, which appeared to support wresting control of domain names from the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and placing it with an intergovernmental group, possibly under the United Nations. "We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

Market Wire: Rail Europe Announces New European Railpasses for 2006; Romania Becomes 18th Eurail Pass Country

Market Wire

Rail Europe Announces New European Railpasses for 2006; Romania Becomes 18th Eurail Pass Country

For 2006 Rail Europe will add four completely new European railpasses covering the two-country combinations of France-Germany, France-Benelux, Germany-Austria and Germany-Switzerland. In addition, three new single country railpasses for touring Greece, Poland or Sweden will be offered. The new single and two country passes will be members of the "Eurail" family of products.Another new development in 2006 is that the Eurailpass will be expanded to cover 18 countries, as Romania is added to the current list of 17*. Eurail Pass prices for 2006 will increase on average 3% but may vary due to changes in dollar-Euro currency exchange rates. All new passes will be available for purchase starting January 1, 2006.

Businessweek online: EU expects Sept. euro-zone inflation up - but businesses are optimistic

Businessweek online

EU expects Sept. euro-zone inflation up - but businesses are optimistic

new data showed businesses are optimistic about the European economy despite higher energy prices holding back Europe's sluggish recovery. The first estimate for euro-zone inflation from the EU statistical agency Eurostat did not have a detailed breakdown to explain why the rate rose from 2.2 percent in August. "The economic sentiment indicator for the EU and euro area saw a remarkable increase over summer, defying the uncertainty created by soaring oil prices and the devastating hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico region," the European Commission said in a survey of business and consumer confidence. It said managers were expecting to step up production. Only French executives were gloomy about their prospects. Consumers in the larger countries also seem bullish about the future. Germany, France and Poland showed an upswing, while Italy remained unchanged. Britain saw a fall in consumer confidence as shoppers desert the high street.

Europe needs to rebut the Polish plumber myth

Business Day - News Worth Knowing

"Europe needs to rebut the Polish plumber myth

BARRING a last-ditch stand at the gates of Vienna, the member states of the European Union (EU) will launch negotiations next week for Turkey to join their club. Austria is the only one still looking for reassurance.

It should be a historic moment for the EU and Turkey, a symbolic recognition that centuries of struggle between the Ottoman Empire and its European rivals have been set aside. Sadly, it will not be an occasion for whole-hearted celebration."

9/29/05

September: Iraq Coalition Casualties Report : 2130 US, European, and other Coalition member casualties in Iraq since invasion

Iraq Coalition Casualties

2130 US, European, and other Coalition member casualties in Iraq since invasion

The top US commander in Iraq acknowledged Thursday conditions may worsen in Iraq because of Sunni opposition even if a constitution is approved in next month's referendum. General George Casey said plans to reduce US forces over the next year will depend heavily on the outcome of the political process and insurgents were expected to pull out all stops to defeat it. Casey predicted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the constitution would likely be approved in the October 15 vote even if, as expected, Sunnis vote against it by a large majority. Sunnis need a two-thirds majority in three provinces to block the constitution, which provides for national elections on December 15. But when asked whether the situation could worsen in Iraq even if the constitution is approved but with a large Sunni "no" vote, Casey said, "I think that's entirely possible." Other senators sharply questioned the progress being made by in Iraq, zeroing in on a disclosure by Casey that only one Iraqi battalion was operating fully independently. The last time Casey reported to Congress several months ago, he said three battalions were fully capable.
"We fully recognize that Iraqi armed forces will not have an independent capability for some time, because they don't have an institutional base to support them," he said. "And so Level One is one battalion. "It was three. Now it’s gone from three to one?" interjected Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona.

macon.com: US Poll -Americans doubt exporting democracy promotes peace.

Macon.com

US Poll -Americans doubt exporting democracy promotes peace

Most US Citizens are not buying into President Bush's contention that "promoting democracy is a critical means for fighting terrorism and making the world safer", according to a recent poll. The American public has doubts about whether the Bush administration policy of promoting democracy internationally will make the world a safer place. A poll done at the University of Maryland found that just over a fourth, 28 percent, say they think the world is safer when there are more democracies, while more than twice as many, 68 percent, say democracy may make life better within a country but does not make the world safer.The poll, released Thursday, was conducted by the university's Program on International Policy Attitudes in association with the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.
PIPA director Steven Kull said the poll indicates most people have not bought into President Bush's contention that "promoting democracy is a critical means for fighting terrorism and making the world safer." Bush has made promoting democracy around the world a centerpiece of the war on terrorism.

ITAR-TASS - Russia-EU summit to consider Russia WTO admission-diplomat

ITAR-TASS

Russia-EU summit to consider Russia WTO admission-diplomat

Great Britain’s Ambassador to Russia Anthony Brenton said on Thursday that Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organisation would be discussed at the forthcoming Russia-EU summit in London. The top diplomat noted, however, that prior to discussing concrete steps by the EU, Russia should sign an agreement with the USA. He said the EU welcomed Russia’s bid to remove all obstacles on the way to its admission. Focusing on forthcoming discussions on cooperation in the energy sphere at the summit, Brenton said that the EU hoped Russia would become a reliable supplier of energy. Speaking about Turkey’s bid to join the EU, Anthony Brenton said Turkey met EU demands on many points, but the issue was discussed only within the context of the start of a long process.

Deutsche Welle: German elections: CDU says coalition with SPD most likely

Deutsche Welle

German elections: CDU says coalition with SPD most likely

The leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democrats, Angela Merkel, has said that a grand coalition between her party and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's ruling Social Democrats is more likely than any other arrangement. Merkel made her comments after a meeting with leading members of the liberal Free Democrats, the CDU's preferred coalition partner. The two parties had hoped to form a government but failed to win a majority in the general election two weeks ago. The Social Democrats and the CDU held talks on Wednesday but are still no closer to solving the issue of who would be chancellor in a grand coalition.

Europe 'losing competitive edge'

BBC NEWS

"Europe 'losing competitive edge'
French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Europe's old guard are losing out to their younger, livelier rivals
Europe's major economies are continuing to lose their competitive edge, according to a global business survey.

Britain, Germany, Spain and France all dropped in the rankings of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) latest global competitiveness report.

Nordic countries again dominated the survey in 2005, with Finland remaining the most competitive country for the third year running, the WEF said.

It was followed in the rankings by the US, Sweden, Denmark and Taiwan.

Iceland and Norway are also in the top ten, while Australia has reached that rank for the first time."

Euractive: EU-Turkey talks to kick off on 3 October

Euractive

EU-Turkey talks to kick off on 3 October

The scheduled 3 October start of Turkey's accession talks will put Ankara's EU bid in a new perspective. Alongside the ongoing broad debates, structured negotiations will also steal the headlines.

Background:

Turkey has been working toward full European Union membership status for 40 years. In 1999, the EU formally accepted Turkey’s candidacy for membership, and determined that the so-called Copenhagen criteria must be met by the country to achieve that status.

Under the Copenhagen criteria, a candidate country must have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for / protection of minorities. The candidate state must have a functioning market economy and the capacity to manage competition and the free market of the Union. Furthermore, the candidate must adhere to the aims of political, economic and monetary union and must effectively implement the EU’s rules and regulations (the 'acquis communautaire').

In its 2004 report on Turkey, the EU specifically called on Ankara to reduce its budget deficit and inflation; continue with the reform of its administration; strengthen the rule of law; accelerate the privatisation process; and generally make the country’s economy more attractive to external investors. The Commission’s next progress report on the country is due out on 9 November.

At the December 2004 EU summit, the member states specified two key conditions which Ankara was supposed to meet in order for accession talks to start as scheduled on 3 October 2005. The Turkish government had to enact six pieces of legislation which the EU considered essential for the related political and legal accession criteria, and Ankara also had to sign a protocol to its customs union with the EU-15, extending it to the EU-10 states. Both conditions have been met.

One major stumbling bloc has been the recognition of Cyprus. This, however, has never been part of the conditions for starting accession talks.
Issues:

Although the framework for the upcoming accession talks is rooted in the so-called Copenhagen criteria and the main focus is the EU’s acquis, the negotiations themselves - as well as the accompanying debates - will predictably cover or touch upon a broad range of issues external, in a formal sense, to the above focus. This will make the process yet more complex, but at the same time it will also ensure that Turkey’s eventual European integration is not ‘limited’ to the adoption, implementation and enforcement of the acquis. The accession talks are expected to last at least a decade.

The Hindu : European Union shuts the door on LTTE

The Hindu

European Union shuts the door on LTTE

The European Union said on Tuesday that its member-states would no longer receive delegations from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and warned the group that the EU was "actively considering" listing it as a "terrorist organisation."The EU is actively considering the formal listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. In the meantime, the EU has agreed that with immediate effect, delegations from the LTTE will no longer be received in any of the EU member states until further notice," a statement issued by the British High Commission here said.

9/28/05

M&C News: Ms. President? France mulls prospects

MNC NEWSMs. President? France mulls prospects

So what if France`s next head of state were a 'she?' The question has long been a favored theme of talk-show debates, but nobody really took the idea seriously -- in part, because there were no viable candidates at hand. Until now. This month, two prominent female members of France`s top two parties suggested they might consider running in the 2007 presidential elections. Not in so many words. They are, after all, politicians. But Socialist party deputy Segolene Royal -- the female half of France`s leftist power couple -- said in early September she might mull a bid if nobody better did so. Then France`s center-right Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie suggested, sort of, that she might do the same. 'I`ll participate in the presidential debate,' Alliot-Marie told Le Journal de Dimanche newspaper, in an interview published Sunday. 'I`ve even the intention of playing a top role.' Pundits have seized that ambiguous statement as a near-declaration of intent. Never mind that Alliot-Marie`s Union for a Popular Movement party already has two formidable presidential hopefuls -- French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who also heads the UMP party. Or that the current president -- Jacques Chirac -- has not yet ruled out running for a third presidential term, however unlikely the prospect. 'Elysee 2007: Two women advance,' the Journal du Dimanche wrote in a headline Sunday.
'I have the feeling that being a woman isn`t a handicap anymore to become a presidential candidate,' said Etienne Schweisguth, an analyst at the Paris-based Center for the Studies of French Political Life, assessing the sentiments of ordinary French.

Expatica: France plans for 2.25pc economic growth next year

Expatica's

France plans for 2.25pc economic growth next year

France presented on Wednesday a budget for 2006 based on economic growth of 2.25 percent, a budget deficit just within EU limits and an oil price of US $60. But the public debt and the total amount of national output taken by taxes and charges would both rise. Meanwhile, separate data showed that controversial reforms to slash huge overspending on health services, a central factor in the overall budget deficit, have so far failed. Finance minister Thierry Breton said in a copy of a speech for the National Assembly that he stood by a growth target of 1.5-2.0 percent this year. He said that "nearly all studies point towards a rebound of activity" and that "the economic situation in the second half of 2005 and for 2006 looks unquestionably better than during the last 12 months: the French economy has emerged from the slowdown.

Business Day: Oil doesn’t run Euro economy

Business Day

Oil doesn’t run Euro economy

To listen to Europe’s politicians and central bankers, you may think it is the early 1970s all over again. Soaring oil prices are pushing the continent near recession. The sheiks are holding us all hostage.
Don’t believe it. Europe’s economic leaders are just creating a smoke screen. There is no reason why the increase in oil prices should be more than a minor hurdle.
Blaming oil for Europe’s woes is nonsense because it shifts the focus to something they can’t control, while deflecting attention from the real reasons for the region’s dismal showing.
“Obviously, oil prices have some impact on the euro-zone, but it is mainly just an excuse,” said Howard Archer, an economist at consulting firm Global Insight in London, in a telephone interview. “Even if you were generous and said the oil price had knocked half a percent off growth, then growth in the euro area still wouldn’t reach 2 percent this year.”
That hasn’t stopped politicians from lining up to pin the blame on oil. UK Chancellor Gordon Brown has already lowered his growth forecasts for 2005, citing oil as a reason. “The impact of the oil price rise is more considerable than was earlier thought,” Brown said at a press conference in Washington this month. French President Jacques Chirac has been calling on oil companies to find ways of boosting alternative energy sources. And European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet said this month that oil prices will have “a very significant impact on growth and inflation over three years”.

ITAR-TASS: EU seeking to have wider access to Russia oil, natural gas

ITAR-TASS

EU seeking to have wider access to Russia oil, natural gas

The European Union is seeking to get a reliable and long-term access to Russia's oil and natural gas, Minister of State for Europe in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Great Britain Douglas Alexander said at the European Parliament on Wednesday on behalf of the European Union. Informed sources in the European Parliament say the EU intends to make the energy issue the main one at the EU-Russia summit that will open in London on Tuesday, October 4. The existing EU-Russia energy dialogue testifies to effective relations formed between them on the most important issue on the current agenda, Douglas Alexander stressed. The energy dialogue is based on the simple balance of interests - Russia needs investments from the EU for the development of its oil industry and the European Union wants to have access to Russian energy resources.

160Characters Association: IM: Branded Mobile IM Hits Europe

160Characters Association

IM: Branded Mobile IM Hits Europe

Netherlands and France first to start MSN IM service on i-mode in Europe using the OZ Mobile IM Solution, the first european launch of Instant Messaging on i-mode using the OZ Mobile IM Client that offers a mobile IM experience that looks familiar to users' existing desktop IM services is live now with KPN in the Netherlands. Bouygues Telecom will follow in October in France. Customers can access their MSN IM service chat by sending and receiving IM's from their i-mode mobile phones, whether their contacts are logged in on a PC or on a mobile device. To connect users enter in their existing username and password and are then able to chat with members of their existing contacts. OZ says its client has a small memory footprint and can be added as a downloadable Java application. The service will cost users 2.50 Euros per month plus a message charge and any additional data transfer. Skuli Mogensen OZ ceo"Being away for your PC doesn't mean that you should not be able to stay in touch with the people that matter most in your life," said Skuli Mogensen, CEO and Founder of OZ.

noticias Info - European union emissions trading scheme

noticias info

European union emissions trading scheme

British Airways today welcomed the European Union's decision to develop proposals to include aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme. The airline believes that emissions trading is the most environmentally effective and economically efficient way to manage carbon dioxide emissions from aviation. Andrew Sentance, British Airways' chief economist and head of environmental affairs, said: "The EU scheme should provide a practical and realistic way of addressing the climate change impact of carbon dioxide emissions from aviation. "We believe that it should apply initially to intra-EU flights only. There is no international agreement to introduce emissions trading for global aviation and we do not want the EU scheme to be sidelined by international disputes or for EU airlines' competitiveness to be jeopardised. "The emissions trading scheme must be given every opportunity to succeed. Increasing taxes on aviation is a blunt way of placing additional costs on the industry without offering any guarantee of a reduction in emissions." British Airways is the only airline participating in the UK government's trial emissions trading scheme and its domestic flight and property carbon dioxide emissions are down 23 per cent compared to a 1998-2000 baseline.

Will Europe Make a Historic Mistake?

ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER:

"Will Europe Make a Historic Mistake?

As October 3, the start date for Turkey’s membership negotiations approaches, contradictory demands by the European Union (EU) are being made one after the other. On Thursday, the EU issued a counter declaration on Cyprus, ignoring all the legal processes so far.

In fact, Cyprus is just an excuse to slow down Turkey’s accession process or hinder it when necessary. Some member states, France in particular, continue worrying about the negative impact Turkey’s membership would bring. According to the circumstances, if there wasn’t a Cyprus problem, they would definitely have produced another artificial crisis issue."

9/27/05

The Globe and Mail: Northern Ireland - Protestants scorn IRA disarmament

The Globe and Mail

Northern Ireland -Protestants scorn IRA disarmament

Belfast — Protestant politicians, rejecting the Irish Republican Army's disarmament as inadequate, said Tuesday that they would not share power in Northern Ireland's government with the IRA's political party Sinn Fein for years – if ever. A day after international weapons inspectors backed by Protestant and Roman Catholic clergymen announced that they had overseen the IRA's full disarmament after eight years of efforts, Rev. Ian Paisley led his deeply skeptical Democratic Unionist Party into talks with the disarmament chief, retired Canadian General John de Chastelain. Mr. Paisley is hoping to get more details on the process. Gen. de Chastelain said Monday that in the past week he had personally inventoried and got rid of a mammoth stockpile of IRA weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. Today's Protestant hard-liners said they would not revive power-sharing until the IRA disbands. Mr. Paisley, whose party holds veto power on reviving power-sharing with Sinn Fein, said the IRA probably had lied to the inspectors and were keeping weapons in reserve. He said the group's insistence on secrecy – including the refusal to allow photographs – showed that they had something to hide. Democratic Unionist legislator David Simpson said international pressure could not force his party, which represents most of the province's British Protestant majority, to co-operate with Sinn Fein, the major Irish Catholic-backed party.

portfolio.hu: Hungary to hike minimum wage 75% by 2010 - PM

portfolio.hu

Hungary to hike minimum wage 75% by 2010

The Hungarian government wishes to raise the minimum wage to at least HUF 100,000 on average from the current HUF 57,000 by 2010, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány announced. “If we say that our economy is growing faster than the European economy and we add that we want to adjust the rise of wages to this expansion, then we will catch up with the European average also in terms of wages," Gyurcsány said in Parliament on Monday. The government is also proposing a new three-tier minimum wage system from 2006, based on qualifications.

Assyrian International News Agency: EU Seeks to Resolve Austrian Doubts Over Turkey

Assyrian International News Agency

EU Seeks to Resolve Austrian Doubts Over Turkey

Turkey EUEuropean Union diplomats this week will seek to resolve the dispute between Austria and other EU governments that has become the chief remaining obstacle to the start of membership negotiations with Turkey.The way ahead for the membership talks with Ankara, scheduled to begin next Monday, was largely cleared last week by a deal thatsatisfied the main concerns of France, Cyprus and Greece. But Austria maintains that the negotiations should leave the door open for a "partnership" between Turkey and the EU rather than focusing exclusively on full membership. In addition, it is calling for stalled membership negotiations with Croatia to begin although Austrian diplomats insist the two issues are not linked. "We are continuing our work of persuasion [on Turkey]," Ursula Plassnik, Austrian foreign minister, told the FT. "There is not much support among governments, but what we are reflectingis a responsible and moderate approach that many people across Europe not only in Austria are expressing."

Sofia News Agency: Half of the EU Citizens Bilingual

Sofia News Agency

Half of the EU Citizens Bilingual

Half of the population in the European Union can speak at least one more language than their native one, a Eurobarometer survey revealed.

The survey that focuses on Europeans' knowledge of languages was published by the European Commission in celebration of the European Day of Languages. The Council of Europe started commemorating its linguistic diversity on September 26, 2001, aiming to encourage people to learn foreign languages.

According to the Eurobarometer survey, bilingualism largely depends on the country of residence. An all-time winner is Luxembourg with 99 % of its population saying hi in more than one tongue. Less impressive are the numbers for Portugal, Spain and Italy (36 %), the UK (30 %) and Hungary (29%).

Naturally, English tops all, and is spoken as a second language by a third of the Europeans, far down the ladder are German with 12 % and French with 11 %. The fourth place is a tie between Russian and Spanish. As far as occupations go, students are at the top with a whooping 80 % of them being bilingual. Primary schools follow suit and offer more and more opportunities for studying a foreign language. As a result the number of pupils who take up at least one foreign language at a tender age has risen to 50 % almost everywhere recently.

Bloomberg.com: EU's Mandelson Says U.K. Politicians Sabotaged Case for Euro

Bloomberg.com

EU's Mandelson Says U.K. Politicians Sabotaged Case for Euro

European Commissioner Peter Mandelson said U.K. government leaders have sabotaged the case for adopting the euro by suggesting the region's economy is a ``basket case'' holding back growth in Britain. Speaking to leaders of the U.K.'s ruling Labour Party in Brighton, England, Mandelson said there would never be a ``perfect'' time to push for using Europe's common currency and the government needs to make the political case more strongly. ``People have come to see Europe as a drag-anchor,'' Mandelson said today. The allegation ``has been peddled, or more politely, made, by some in the British government.''

9/26/05

swisspolitics.org: Turkey's EU entry would halt integration-Giscard

swisspolitics.orgTurkey's EU entry would halt integration-Giscard

The architect of the European Union constitution warned the 25-nation bloc on Friday against starting accession talks with Turkey next month, saying Ankara's entry would kill off hopes of tighter political integration. Speaking just 10 days before the EU launches membership talks with Ankara on October 3, former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing said most French voters opposed Turkish membership. "They fear that, four months after the referendum (on the EU constitution), this decision is being taken behind their backs," Giscard told a conference of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), France's governing centre-right party. Concern about Turkish membership was blamed in part for French and Dutch voters' rejection of the EU constitution in referendums earlier this year. French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, the UMP leader, has steadfastly opposed Turkish EU entry and wants the Union to offer Ankara a special economic partnership instead.President Jacques Chirac has backed Turkish membership and said voters would have the final say on whether Ankara will join the union in a referendum. But Giscard said French voters realised that if accession talks were to begin France would not have the political weight to bloc Turkish membership if, after 10-15 years of negotiations, Ankara met all entry requirements.

Swiss open doors to eastern Europe

EUpolitix.com - Press Review

Swiss open doors to eastern Europe

Switzerland will open its labour market for workers from new EU member states, after a 56 per cent vote in favour of the move in a referendum on Sunday, the European press writes.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said he "welcomed” the decision of the Swiss, stating it contributed to the “growing together” of Europe.

Commissioner Rehn: Call for Turkish 'second class' EU membership is strange

Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition - Foreign

"Commissioner Rehn: Call for Turkish 'second class' EU membership is strange
'Enlargement of Union is used as scapegoat for member states' internal problems'

Commissioner Rehn: Call for Turkish 'second class' EU membership is strange
print this
The European Commissioner for Enlargement, Finland's Olli Rehn, is astonished by Austria's demands that negotiations with Turkey be limited to talks of 'privileged partnership' rather than full EU membership.
'Certainly I'll be keeping an open mind to what this could mean. But Turkey already has tight relationships with the Union in the form of a comprehensive customs union', Rehn wonders when interviewed in Brussels by the Scandinavian media, the Finnish Helsingin Sanomat, the Danish Politiken, and the Swedish Dagens Nyheter "

Iacovou: EU won’t replace UN in Cyprus peace drive

Turkish Daily News
"Iacovou: EU won’t replace UN in Cyprus peace drive
Monday, September 26, 2005
Greek Cypriot foreign minister says Annan will re-engage after Turkey starts accession talks with the EU on Oct. 3

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

The European Union will only contribute to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's efforts to find a settlement in Cyprus and will not replace it since the process is exclusively under U.N. auspices, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou was quoted as saying yesterday.

Iacovou also said the start of Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU would trigger fresh U.N. efforts for a solution on the island."

Regime change, European-style, is a measure of our civilisation

Guardian

"Regime change, European-style, is a measure of our civilisation

European self-interest must not be trumped by the politics of identity on the road to Turkey's accession to the EU

Madeleine Bunting
Monday September 26, 2005
The Guardian

A week from today, barring a last-minute upset, there will be a small, quiet signing ceremony, probably in Strasbourg. Not even the UK Foreign Office seems entirely sure of the venue or its format. But no one is questioning the scale of the ambition nor the risks which underpin this event - the opening of the accession process for Turkey's membership of the European Union. Welcome to regime change, European-style."

9/25/05

Constitution-less EU fumbles for world voice

Turkish Daily News

"Constitution-less EU fumbles for world voice
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Since French and Dutch voters rejected the European Union's draft constitution in referendums three months ago, Solana's prospects of becoming the single voice and face of a coherent European foreign policy have gone up in smoke. And it shows

PAUL TAYLOR

UNITED NATIONS - Reuters

Javier Solana has lost the spring in his step.

Leaning on a barrier in the United Nations to ease his aching back after a week of intensive diplomacy, Europe's ex-future foreign minister looks as if he has had the stuffing knocked out of him."

9/23/05

News Analysis: Following the trajectory of the candidate Merkel

International Herald Tribune

"News Analysis: Following the trajectory of the candidate Merkel
By Richard Bernstein The New York Times

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
BERLIN It would be much too early to write her political obituary, but the German commentary and conversation these days is full of speculation about what could be one of the most rapid flameouts in the history of European politics.

Only a few weeks ago, Angela Merkel, the preacher's daughter from the former East Germany, seemed far in the lead in the race to be Germany's new chancellor, with almost all the public opinion polls showing her conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union, 14 points or more ahead of the Social Democratic Party of her rival, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder."

Referendum will test Swiss-EU relationship-Swiss to vote on East European workers

International Herald Tribune

Swiss to vote on East European workers
By Tom Wright International Herald Tribune

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
GENEVA Switzerland's relationship with its European Union neighbors is being tested this weekend in a referendum on whether to open its doors to East European workers.

Although Swiss voters blocked moves toward full EU membership more than a decade ago, the small Alpine country has signed a number of bilateral agreements with Brussels since then.

Financial Express: Greece, Portugal win; northerners lose in EU budget

Financial ExpressGreece, Portugal win; northerners lose in EU budget

The report published on Thursday by the European Commission on how member states benefit from the EU mirrored battle-lines drawn in stalled negotiations on the bloc’s 2007-2013 budget shows Northern States lose in EU budget.With the exception of France and Britain, who benefit from generous subsidies.

The poorest EU members want a substantial increase in overall budget spending which amounted to some 100 billion euros ($122.2 billion) last year. They are also fighting for the bloc’s generous regional aid funds. The report showed Greece and Portugal, the poorest countries in the pre-enlargement EU of 15 members, netted the equivalent of 2.52 percent and 2.37 percent of their respective gross national incomes (GNI).

That was more than the 2.13 percent and 1.82 percent received respectively by the much poorer Lithuania and Latvia, which were among the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004. The report said the Netherlands continued to be the EU’s biggest net contributor, paying 0.44 percent more of its GNI into the common pot than it took from it. Germany, the EU’s biggest net payer in nominal terms, has a negative balance of 0.33 percent of GNI and Sweden 0.38 percent of GNI.

Those three countries are the staunchest advocates of freezing the EU budget in 2007-2013 at the current level of about 1 percent of GNI, compared with the Commission’s proposal of 1.14 percent of GNI. The bloc hopes to agree on the new budget in December. The report also showed Britain and France, among the wealthiest EU nations, are less financially burdened by the EU. Their negative budgetary balances amount to only 0.16 percent and 0.19 percent respectively of GNI. France benefits from the EU’s generous farm aid programme and Britain enjoys a rebate from the coffers in Brussels, won in 1984 by then prime minister Margaret Thatcher. A demand by France for a reduction in the British rebate, worth some 5.2 billion euros last year, and Britain’s insistence on slashing farm spending were the main reasons for the collapse of the budget negotiations at an EU summit in June.

CORDIS:Students from Germany, Spain and Switzerland claim EU Young Scientist prize

CORDIS

Students from Germany, Spain and Switzerland claim EU Young Scientist prize

From a field of over 120 young hopefuls, students from Germany, Spain and Switzerland claimed the three first prizes at this year's European Union Contest for Young Scientists at a ceremony in Moscow.

Some 78 scientific projects, all of which had come through national contests to make the grand final, were vying for recognition at the ceremony hosted by the Bauman University. In the end though, top honours went to projects in the fields of fluid physics, biology and medicine.

German pairing Igor Gotlibovitch (18) and Renate Landig (19) claimed their 5,000 euro first prize for an investigation into the 'hydraulic jump' phenomenon in fluid dynamics. 'Every day, when we run the kitchen tap, we see a 'hydraulic jump' - where the water hits the basin it spreads out thinly, but a little further out the water level suddenly 'jumps' and becomes much deeper,' the scientists explain. 'This project investigated the phenomenon under laboratory conditions, and found that under certain conditions the border between the shallow and the deep water was not circular but polygonal: the water had corners.'

IHT: Prospects growing worse for Iraqis, Saudi warns

International Herald Tribune

Prospects growing worse for Iraqis, Saudi warns

Prince Saud al Feisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he has been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq is hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war. "There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters on Thursday. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart." Prince Saud al Feisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he has been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq is hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.

"There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters on Thursday. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart." Feisal said he had carried this message "to everyone who will listen" within the Bush administration. The prince's message, one of the most pessimistic public comments by a Mideast leader, was in stark contrast to the generally upbeat assessments that the White House and the Pentagon have been offering in recent weeks.

But in an appearance at the Pentagon, President George W. Bush, while expressing long-term optimism, warned that the bloodshed in Iraq was likely to increase in the coming weeks.

9/22/05

Fortune Magazine - Why Weather is Getting Deadlier—and Costlier - its time to take global warming more serious

Fortune MagazineWhy Weather is Getting Deadlier—and Costlier- its time to take global warming more serious

To New Orleans residents, Hurricane Katrina must seem like an incredibly bad piece of meteorological luck that could only happen once in a lifetime. But to many climate researchers, it looks like a harbinger of things to come—with catastrophic regularity—as the world's atmosphere heats up.

In fact, less than a month before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Kerry Emanuel published a portentous paper in the journal Nature that illustrated how hurricanes' destructive potential has risen dramatically over the past few decades, in tandem with global warming. And a few weeks before Emanuel's paper, the Association of British Insurers issued an equally ominous report on the growing financial risks posed by extreme weather events due to global warming. It predicted that the U.S. may suffer insured losses from single hurricanes of up to $150 billion in 2004 dollars. (To put that in perspective, Hurricane Andrew racked up insured losses of about $20 billion, in 2004 dollars, when it slammed Florida and Louisiana in 1992.)

While the great majority of climate researchers believe that global warming is real (and also that it is partly caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels), no one says Katrina sprang directly from the warming—that would be like arguing that a particular stock's plunge was caused by the onset of a bear market a year ago. But Emanuel and other experts have warned for over a decade that global warming may be creating an environment prone to more violent storms, droughts and other weather extremes, just as a bear market can pave the way for an outsized drop in a particular company's stock price. Emanuel found that since 1949, the average peak wind speeds of hurricanes over the North Atlantic and the western and eastern North Pacific has increased by a whopping 50%. Such increases have huge consequences, Emanuel notes, since even a small increase in wind speed can produce dramatic increases in damage—a 50% rise in a hurricane's wind speed more than triples its destructive potential. Meanwhile the duration of the storms, in terms of the total number of days they lasted on an annual basis, rose by roughly 60%. Almost wildly understating his work's implications, Emanuel concluded that global warming and increasing coastal population "may lead to…a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses." The British insurance association report, titled "Financial Risks of Climate Change," reported:
* Each year since 1990, there have been at least 20 weather events categorized as significant natural catastrophes.
There were only three years that bad among the 20 years preceding 1990.
* Four hurricanes that hit the U.S. last year racked up a record $56 billion in total losses over a period of just a few weeks, setting an annual record for such losses.
* Last year 10 typhoons hit Japan, four more than the previous record, making it the costliest year ever for typhoon damage there.
* In 2003, Europe suffered the hottest summer of the past 500 years, causing 22,000 premature heat-related deaths. Accompanying wildfires caused $15 billion of losses.
Changes in the weather appear to have already doubled the chance of such hot summers.
* The number of severe winter storms in Britain has doubled over the last 50 years.

FT.com: UK achieved ‘very little' in presidency

FT.com

UK achieved ‘very little' in presidency

Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former French president, on Thursday joined a chorus of criticism of Britain's presidency of the European Union, claiming it had so far achieved “very little”. Almost half way through the six-month presidency, Tony Blair is accused of failing to provide the leadership needed to drag Europe out of its political crisis. The discontent has been building for some time, with claims that he has failed to lead a political debate on Europe's future and is not coming up with new ideas to solve the EU's acrimonious budget wrangle. Mr Giscard, who led the drafting of the moribund EU constitution, said: “We are now at the end of September. What was the contribution of the British presidency up to now? Practically very little.” He did not blame Mr Blair for the lack of action, as he had been rightly distracted by the need to tackle the terrorist threat to Britain. But, he said, the lacklustre presidency illustrated the need for a full-time EU president a key proposal in the constitutional treaty.

inadaily.com:IMF raises Spain's growth forecasts as domestic demand remains strong

inadaily.com

IMF raises Spain's growth forecasts as domestic demand remains strong

The International Monetary Fund raised its economic growth forecast for Spain to 3.2 percent for this year and to 3.0 percent in 2006, on the back of strong domestic demand, while lowering its estimates for the euro-zone and maintaining them for the global economy. The IMF had previously forecast an increase in Spain's gross domestic product of 2.7 percent this year and 2.9 percent in 2006. Its estimate for global output was held at 4.3 percent, while the forecast for euro-zone GDP was lowered to 1.2 percent from 1.6 percent this year and to 1.8 percent from 2.3 percent the following year, in part due to the impact of higher gasoline prices on private consumption. Spain, along with Japan, was one of the few economies in the industrialized world to have their growth forecasts raised.The IMF also predicted that unemployment, one of the endemic problems of the Spanish economy, would fall to 9.1 percent this year - from 11 percent in 2004 - and to 8.0 percent the following year. However, inflation - another of the persistent problems facing the domestic economy - is expected to remain at 3.0 percent or above this year and the next, over one percentage point higher than in the euro zone.

BBC: EU drops hardline stance on Iran

BBC

EU drops hardline stance on Iran

The EU's "big three" are said to have backed down from a demand that the UN nuclear watchdog should immediately report Iran to the Security Council. Diplomats from France, the UK and Germany said the shift came amid opposition from Russia and China. They are now reportedly proposing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should only implicitly threaten Tehran with such action. Iran is accused of developing atomic weapons, an allegation it denies

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia: LABOUR COST: ITALIAN TAXES HIGHEST IN EU

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia

LABOUR COST: ITALIAN TAXES HIGHEST IN EU

Italy is the country with highest labour cost taxes in Europe. Referring to the tax wedge, worked out by the influence of fiscal revenue on labour cost and considering the average wage of a worker, Italy is in third place after France and Germany. The Confindustria Research Centre, in its macroeconomic forecasts, an Italian company spends 183 pct of its net revenue, compared to 175 pct by a Dutch company, 160 pct in Spain, 158 in Norway, 145 in the UK and 132 in Ireland. Research results also showed that the Italian tax wedge is made up one third by taxation and over two thirds by social contributions. If contributions are 58 pct, 13 pct are owed by the worker and 45 pct by the employer.

9/21/05

Businessweek: Gasoline price probe started in US

Businessweek

Gasoline price probe started in US

The Federal Trade Commission has started investigating whether there was any illegal behavior that may have led to gasoline price gouging after Hurricane Katrina, and FTC official told a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday. He also warned that the investigation will be difficult because price gouging isn't illegal under federal law, nor is it easily defined.

Speaking before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, FTC Associate General Counsel for Energy John Seesel said staffers are looking into whether "unlawful conduct affecting refinery capacity or other forms of illegal behavior have provided a foundation for price manipulation."

SFGate.com: Germany's Left Party Excluded From Talks

Germany's Left Party Excluded From Talks

Germany's Left Party Excluded From Talks

Germany's new Left Party could give Germany's left a majority in the country's parliament — but has been shut out of talks on forming a new government because of its communist roots and controversial leaders.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats began coalition talks with their allies, the Greens, on Wednesday, three days after their seven-year-old government was defeated in parliamentary elections.

But rather than turning to the Left Party next to take them past the 50-percent mark and prevent conservatives led by Angela Merkel from taking power, Schroeder's party is wooing the pro-business Free Democrats, who have refused to agree to attend talks to seek common ground.

National Post: Ottawa to host 'climate change' summit

National Post

Ottawa to host 'climate change' summit

Environment ministers from more than 30 countries will gather here this weekend to open what is likely to be a difficult and bitter new round of negotiations on climate change.

The meeting is being held behind closed doors, and no agenda has been released. But environmentalists expect frenzied lobbying and alliance-building by opponents and supporters of the Kyoto treaty. They are urging Environment Minister Stephane Dion, who will moderate the talks, to press hard for extension of the Kyoto emissions-cutting process beyond the current 2008-2012 timeline. "It's about trying to come to some agreement among countries that have voiced support for action on climate change on what should be the next step,'' said John Bennett of the Sierra Club in an interview Wednesday.

"The Americans will also be there trying to make sure that nothing happens. So it's really a chance for Canada to demonstrate its diplomatic prowess in bringing together diverse countries.''

Kyoto commits member countries to cut greenhouse emissions by an average of about five per cent from 1990 levels by 2012. Some countries are on track, but many are not.

Tri-City Herald: Police in Europe crack down on child porn

Tri-City Herald

Police in Europe crack down on child porn

Police have conducted raids in six European countries and detained up to 30 people to crack a child pornography ring that shared abusive images over the Internet, officials said Wednesday.

Rome's Carabinieri paramilitary police, who led the operation, said about 80 people had been placed under investigation and computers, DVDs, CD-ROMs, video tapes and memory cards for digital cameras were seized in raids in Italy, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain.

The suspects had created a secure network that allowed them to use the Internet to anonymously share pornographic images of children aged 11 and under, the Carabinieri said in a statement.

freenewmexican.com: Positions on key issues between Germany's two leading parties ahead of coalition talks

freenewmexican.com

Positions on key issues between Germany's two leading parties ahead of coalition talks

The two parties said Tuesday they will hold talks later this week about forming a government but would have to overcome significant differences to seal a left-right "grand coalition."

TAXES:

_ Christian Democratic leader Angela Merkel wants to cut top and bottom income tax rates from 15 to 12 percent and 42 percent to 39 percent. She would cut Germany's high non-wage labor costs by raising value-added tax in order to cut the payroll tax for unemployment insurance.

_ Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats oppose an increase in VAT, and want to raise the top income tax rate by 3 percentage points on incomes of Euro 250,000 (US$305,650) a year or more.

LABOR MARKET:

_ The conservatives want to ease rules on hiring and firing staff and make it easier for companies and workers to opt out of industrywide wage deals between employers and labor unions.

_ The Social Democrats want to preserve current rules in the labor market. They also want to impose a minimum wage should industry organizations and labor unions fail to agree on minimum pay levels among themselves.

FOREIGN POLICY:

_ The Christian Democrats oppose Turkey's membership in the European Union, arguing they should instead be extended financial and trade advantages under a vaguely defined "privileged partnership." They plan to "reinvigorate the trans-Atlantic cooperation with the United States."

Within the EU they have pledged to take more account of the concerns of small EU countries.

_ The Social Democrats support Turkey's EU membership bid, arguing that bringing in the overwhelmingly Muslim country would enhance Europe's security. They also want to maintain a policy of positioning Germany as "a middle-sized power for peace." That stance meant opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

_ Both parties rule out sending troops to Iraq.

Reuters.co.uk:No EU constitution for at least 2 years - Barroso

Reuters.co.uk

No EU constitution for at least 2 years - Barroso

The head of the European Commission said he did not expect the EU to have a constitution for at least two or three years but vowed his team would push ahead quickly with attempts to modernise the region's economy.

Attempts to introduce a constitution that would have given new powers to the European Union's executive failed this year when voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the treaty. "In all probability at least for the next two or three years we will not have a constitution," Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference. "That ... should not be a source of paralysis for Europe." He said the Commission would focus on measures to streamline European laws and other reforms to make Europe's economy more competitive including reform of the chemical industry.

""We don't want a mediocre, defensive Europe that tries to bury its head in the sand to avoid the realities of the 21st century," Barroso said.


Khaleej Times Online: Russian opposition threatens EU push on Iran

Khaleej Times Online

Russian opposition threatens EU push on Iran

A European Union drive to haul Iran before the UN Security Council over its nuclear plans was in jeopardy on Wednesday following stiff opposition from Russia, which warned against escalating the standoff with Teheran. The EU has circulated a draft resolution calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) governing board to report Iran’s secretive nuclear programme to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions on Teheran. But Russia, which as a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Council could block any action, warned against antagonising Iran, which Western countries suspect is developing atomic weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear energy programme.

EU economy at risk from German stalemate

EUpolitix.com - Press Review

"EU economy at risk from German stalemate

Uncertainty triggered by Sunday’s election deadlock is set to hit Germany's economic growth - already bruised by high oil prices.

German economic think-tank ZEW suggests the political deadlock will negatively influence the investment climate, with most Germans unhappy over the inconclusive election result, FT Europe reports.

FT Deutschland highlights earlier comments made by European industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who said that "When Germany as an important EU member is not capable of decision-making, the whole EU stagnates”."

Iraq Coalition Casualties:Death toll now stands at 2104

Iraq Coalition Casualties

Death toll for "coalition forces" now stands at 2104

Total number of US forces killed stands at 1907

More than 100.000 Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq

Following the installation of the Iraqi Police and Guardsmen force last year 3194 of these forces were killed by insurgents.

9/20/05

EUobserver.com: Commission holds extraordinary seminar on EU's problems

EUobserver.com

Commission holds extraordinary seminar on EU's problems

European commissioners will decamp to a spot 50km outside Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the range of problems facing the bloc. Headed by its president, Jose Manuel Barroso, the Brussels executive is to have a "brainstorming session" on all the difficult issues on its agenda. The day-long meeting is set to deal with four main topics: the EU's social model; the EU constitution; improving the commission's own performance and the bloc's next budget (2007-2013). All 25 commissioners have been asked to prepare a personal contribution to the meeting with what they feel the answer to some of the problems could be, said an EU official.

ifamericansknew.org: US Jewish Lobby snubs Bush as House Sets Limits on Palestinian Aid and DeLay Defies Calls of Bush, Rice

IfAmericansknew.org

US Jewish Lobby snubs Bush as House Sets Limits on Palestinian Aid and DeLay Defies Calls of Bush, Rice as "he became more Jewish than the chief rabbi"

Defying the wishes of the Bush administration, Congress approved a foreign-aid package this week forbidding any direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority and, in a rare snub, denying the president the authority to waive restrictions in the interest of national security. The legislation was approved 388-to-44 in the House of Representatives and is expected to sail through the Senate. The House approved $200 million in aid, to be channeled to nongovernmental projects outside the control of the P.A., as part of an $81 billion in emergency spending bill to help pay the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The limits on Palestinian aid were the product of a deal brokered by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse, known as Aipac, was called to mediate talks involving administration officials and lawmakers from both parties, including New York Rep. Nita Lowey, an influential Jewish Democrat, congressional sources said. Sources also said that the driving force behind the rejection of direct aid was House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, who at one point threatened to cut all aid to the Palestinian territories out of the bill. “DeLay became more Jewish than the chief rabbi – if you can twist the phrase that way – and he was not going to let it through,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York who supported direct aid.

Jerusalem Post: EU raises 2005 aid to Palestinians to $342.8M

Jerusalem Post

EU raises 2005 aid to Palestinians to $342.8M

The European Union announced details of new aid for the Palestinians, raising the 2005 total to 342.8 million on Monday - a day before talks between the four parties that drive the Mideast peace process. If assistance from the 25 EU governments is added, Europe's total annual aid to the Palestinians amounts to some $612.15 million. "Only Israel and Palestine can make peace, but Europe is playing its part in the international Quartet to create the environment in which peace can take root," EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement.

Bloomberg.com: U.K.'s Brown Faces EU Warning Over Deficit Breach, Draft Says

Bloomberg.com

U.K.'s Brown Faces EU Warning Over Deficit Breach, Draft Says

The European Commission will tomorrow reprimand the U.K. over its budget deficit, saying Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is likely to exceed European borrowing limits for four consecutive years. EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia will say Britain's deficit will reach 3.2 percent of gross domestic product in the fiscal year through March 2006, the same as a year earlier and above the European Union's 3 percent ceiling. The commission expects a deficit ``of the order of'' 3.25 percent in fiscal 2007 and ``slightly above'' 3 percent the following year. Previous economic projections for the U.K. ``are no longer tenable,'' the commission said in a document to be published in Brussels tomorrow. The deficit ``does not result from an unusual event'' and cannot be blamed on ``a severe economic downturn.'' The criticism is an embarrassment for Brown, who insists he can meet his self-imposed rules to balance non-investment spending and tax revenue over the economic cycle as he increases spending on schools and hospitals. The government plans to boost spending by 100 billion pounds ($180 billion) over the next three years, according to budget documents published in March.

Deutsche Welle - EU Reaches Deal on Turkey-Cyprus Tangle

EU Deutsche Welle

EU Reaches Deal on Turkey-Cyprus Tangle

Two weeks before accession talks with Turkey are set to start, Brussels reached a diplomatic breakthrough on Ankara's refusal to recognize EU member state Cyprus. European Union ambassadors on Monday managed to agree on a draft declaration which tells Turkey to officially recognize Cyprus as a state before it can join the bloc. The deal removes a key hurdle ahead of the start of accession talks with Turkey on Oct. 3. "The way for accession talks should be cleared in time," said a spokesman for the British EU-presidency. This so called "counter-declaration" was necessary because Turkey issued its own declaration in July stating that it had no immediate intention of establishing diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government. Back then Turkey signed a customs accord concerning the EU's 10 newest member states, which included Cyprus. However, Ankara has failed to open its ports to Cypriot
vessels, despite the accord. The EU warned Turkey in no uncertain terms, that failure to fulfill the obligations stemming from this customs union could stall accession talks indefinitely.

Expatica: The EU's motor stalls

Expatica

The EU's motor stalls

As Germany's parties start the bartering to see who will form the next government, European Union policymakers are worried about a serious Europe-wide fallout from Germany's post-election deadlock, fearing a damaging impact on the bloc's hopes for economic recovery and political revival. As speculation grew of a possible 'grand coalition' between Angela Merkel's conservatives and Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats, officials in Brussels said a government in Berlin composed of strange bedfellows would not provide much-needed decisive political leadership to the rest of the E.U. Europe, struggling to rev up its economy and meet global competitive challenges, needed a Germany in full gear, an E.U. diplomat told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

9/19/05

How Germany twisted the knife

The Times Online guest contributors Opinion

"How Germany twisted the knife
Anthony Browne
Any lingering EU hopes of economic reform have been terminated by the election result
“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven.”

*

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH was of course writing about Paris in 1789, but Eurosceptics are starting to feel the same about Brussels in 2005. Being modern-day Brussels, the revolution is neither quick nor bloody, but painfully drawn out and (usually) diplomatic. In the capital of Europe, it is difficult to escape the feeling that, wherever you look, the regime is changing."

Bavarian Lessons

Jim Geraghty on German Politics on National Review Online

"Bavarian Lessons
The German people have spoken-to us too!

Berlin, Germany — Here are eight things Americans can learn from Germany's recently completed election:

Thank goodness for our two major parties and the Electoral College. After weeks of intense campaigning, Germans (and others around the world) tuned in on election night and learned... nothing. The vote was split amongst the five major parties.




The right-of-center Christian Democrats got 35.2 percent; their traditional allies, the FDP, received 9.8 percent — no majority there. On the Left, the Social Democrats got 34.3 percent; their current allies, the Greens, garnered 8.1 percent; and the new way-out-there Left party that none of the other parties want to work with received 8.6 percent."

Expatica: One last chance for Gerhard Schroeder?

Expatica

One last chance for Gerhard Schroeder?

The 61-year-old Schroeder took the risky decision to call early elections last May after his party was thrashed in a regional vote and he faced a legislative logjam for the rest of his scheduled term ending in 2006. During a short, sharp campaign, Schroeder showed some of the political savvy that helped him in 2002, when he came from behind to be narrowly re-elected. With the first results in Sunday, he declared that his party had achieved what many had declared impossible during the campaign. The polls had said he could not win: the economy is barely growing, unemployment is near its all-time record, and voters know that federal spending cuts are likely after the dust of the election has settled. Schroeder this time also lacked a touchstone issue, like his vow in 2002 not to send troops for the Iraq war, or an opportunity to display leadership talents, like his direction of emergency relief during deadly Elbe River floods in the summer of 2002.

AP Wire: Schroeder jubilant after Germany election

AP Wire

Schroeder jubilant after Germany election

Written off as a lame duck just weeks ago, a jubilant Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder celebrated his better-than-expected performance in Sunday's election and insisted he can still lead Germany after his conservative opponent fell short of getting a majority.Official results showed that his government of Social Democrats and Greens had been voted out of power. Still, his party finished close enough behind Merkel's Christian Democrats to give him a chance to remain in office depending on coalition negotiations. Until this month, surveys gave the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union a lead of 12 points or more and indicated that Merkel was on course to form a government with the pro-business Free Democrats. "I was able to make my contribution to what many professional observers ... in this country believed was completely impossible weeks and even days ago," Schroeder told supporters. "I do not understand how the (Christian Democratic) Union, which started off so confidently and arrogantly, takes a claim to political leadership from a disastrous election result," Schroeder said.

9/18/05

Merkel's shortfall roils politics in Europe

International Herald Tribune

"Merkel's shortfall roils politics in Europe
By Graham Bowley International Herald Tribune

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
LONDON Angela Merkel's failure to win a clear victory in Germany is expected to disrupt the political dynamic in Europe, where the ascent of a center-right government had been broadly expected to bring a fresh direction on policies like Europe's relations with the United States, economic changes and strained relations between countries within the European Union.

'This result, if confirmed, could mean difficult times ahead for Europe,' said Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister and president of the Socialist bloc in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The result could be a boon for Turkey, as the election result will weaken Merkel's power to obstruct Turkey's joining the EU, which she opposes."

Reuters UK: Merkel, Schroeder both claim victory in German vote

Reuters.co.uk

Merkel, Schroeder both claim victory in German vote

Voters plunged Germany into political limbo on Sunday, splitting their ballots between Angela Merkel's conservatives and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats so closely that both claimed victory. Projections by leading polling institutes gave Merkel's conservatives the biggest share of the vote at around 35.2 percent, far less than pre-election surveys had predicted and not enough to form a coalition with their preferred partners, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), who stood around 10 percent. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD were just behind Merkel's party at around 34.1 percent, their partners the Greens were at 8.2 percent and the new Left Party stood at 8.6 percent. The most likely outcome of an election that ended up far tighter than expected appeared to be a so-called "grand coalition" between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the SPD. Schroeder, 61, who was counted out before the election by the pollsters despite a tireless, dynamic drive to win himself a third term, refused to concede the top job to Merkel in a speech to cheering supporters Sunday night. "I feel I have a mandate to ensure that in the next four years there will be a stable government in our country under my leadership," Schroeder bellowed. "There will be no coalition under her leadership with my Social Democrats." As long as Merkel's party maintains its lead over the SPD, the only obvious way for Schroeder to stay in office would be to seal a so-called "traffic-light" coalition with the Greens and the liberal FDP. FDP chief Guido Westerwelle ruled out such an alliance on Sunday, as leading members of the Greens have in recent weeks. Yet another option would be brand new elections, if after weeks of coalition negotiations none of the major parties are able to form a majority government. This has never happened in the history of post-war Germany.

The Boston Globe: German elections seen pointing to 'grand coalition'

The Boston Globe

German elections seen pointing to 'grand coalition'

polls also confirmed what has become increasingly clear in recent days -- that Merkel may struggle to form a coalition with her preferred allies, the liberal Free Democrats, and could instead be forced into an alliance with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats. Germany has had only one such ''grand coalition" between its largest parties in the post-war era, a government run by Christian Democrat Chancellor Kurt-Georg Kiesinger between 1966 and 1969. Schroeder has ruled out participating in such a government, which, barring a dramatic shift in the polls, would be run by Merkel. But leading moderates in his party appeared, for the first time, to be preparing the ground for a link with the CDU if Merkel wins but is unable to get a parliamentary majority with the FDP.

ABC: Merkel winning but no majority

ABC News

Merkel winning but no majority

Conservative challenger Angela Merkel headed into Sunday's election with a good chance of ousting Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, but with many voters undecided as polls opened, she might not win a convincing mandate to pursue her vision of Germany's economic revitalization and foreign policy.

Deutsche Welle: German Election Nitty-Gritty | Election 2005

Deutsche Welle

German Election Nitty-Gritty | Election 2005

Nearly one-third of Germany's voters -- 19.7 million -- are 60 years old or more. Young voters, below 21, who have the opportunity to cast ballots in their first general election, make up 4.2 percent of the total. Germans are eligible to vote from age 18, and 2.6 million of them are registered.All told, 3,648 candidates are running for seats in Germany's house of parliament, the Bundestag, including 936 women. Their average age is 46. Twenty-five parties are vying for votes.During the general election in 2002, 79.1 percent of the country's voters went to the polls, putting Germany in the mid-range of Western countries. Until the late 1980s, voter participation was consistently above 84 percent. In 1972, the electorate positively flooded the polls in the biggest turnout ever, when 91.1 percent of voters cast ballots in a general election that had become a poll about Chancellor Willy Brandt's controversial Ostpolitik focussed on improving relations with Eastern Bloc countries and the German Democratic Republic. The lowest turnout was recorded for the first election in reunited Germany, in 1990, when only 77.8 percent of voters cast ballots.

9/17/05

People's Daily Online -- EU, China to step up cooperation in bio-economy

People's Daily Online

EU, China to step up cooperation in bio-economy

The European Union (EU) and China agreed on Thursday to boost cooperation in developing modern knowledge-based bio-economy. "We are both very interested in looking for solutions that lie in the life sciences and bio-technology, because these are sustainable solutions that can help us find a balance between the needs of our economies and our environment," said an EU-China joint statement issued at a conference on bio-economy. At the same time of the two-day gathering in Brussels on bio-economy, a conference on the same topic was held in the Chinese capital of Beijing. The document, made by EU Science and Technology Commissioner Janez Potocnik and Chinese Science and Technology Minister Xu Guanhua, highlighted the importance of bio-economy.

9/16/05

US, Britain want Schroeder out [September 17, 2005]

The Australian
"US, Britain want Schroeder out
Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent
September 17, 2005

A SENIOR European Union official took the unusual step yesterday of saying publicly what US President George W.Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have said only privately: that they hope German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is voted out of office tomorrow.

The EU's powerful competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said she wanted to see conservative opposition leader Angela Merkel elected as chancellor, treading into domestic political turf that foreign politicians usually avoid.

Ms Kroes, a former Dutch politician and businesswoman, said she preferred Ms Merkel because she was a woman and Europe needed more female leaders."

On World Stage, Four New Empires and One Sleeper Vie for Spotlight

Pacific News Service

"On World Stage, Four New Empires and One Sleeper Vie for Spotlight

Commentary/Analysis, Franz Schurmann,
Pacific News Service, Sep 16, 2005
Editor's Note: China is not the only rising star on the world scene, writes PNS editor Franz Schurmann. Other empires in the making will soon resist or challenge American hegemony. All have an Asian outlook.

SAN FRANCISCO--As he leaves the U.N. summit in New York amid his domestic troubles, President Bush might be mulling whether America is a declining empire. In fact, there are four other contenders for revival of empire waiting in the wings, and one sleeper.

Historians know that regardless of the political differences of empires, they hold one key factor in common. All of them wield direct power over big chunks of the world. Every time a new empire appears, some countries decide to cling to it and others resist it. "

ArabicNews.com: Syria ready to finalize association agreement with the EU

ArabicNews.com

Syria ready to finalize association agreement with the EU

Syria announced on Thursday full readiness to finalize the association agreement with the European Union and to merge with the world economy. Opening a symposium on "Realistic Challenges to the Syria-EU Association Agreement," Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affaires Abdullah al-Dardari said that "we had to stick to signing the agreement so as to keep Syria's "economic interests as well her sovereignty and prosperity." "We are ready for the partnership with the European Union as well to cooperate with the world economy, " Dardari said. Syria's future is linked in more than one aspect with the future of the Mediterranean area, he added, noting that Syria realizes there were reciprocated concerns by inking the Syria-EU Association Agreement, and that legislative and legal reforms were necessary for the partnership as they were without it. He noted that Syria's principal was to walk with a comprehensive and clear national vision for the future, to remove hinders obstructing the full development march, and to work to collaborate efforts in order to move from the market economy of monopoly into a social competitive economy that fulfills the interests of all sectors in the society.

Travel Intelligence: The Netherlands - Almere: Last Exit to Utopia by John Weich

Travel Intelligence

Travel Intelligence: Almere: Last Exit to Utopia by John Weich

Almere’s founding fathers created a flexible, polynuclear scheme comprising five homogenous cores spread across 132 square kilometres of pristine land. The decision to shun the modish compact city model (compact = prosperous) is indicative of the cum laude swagger with which the young architects of the responsible Projektburo strolled into the Zuiderzee wastelands and planned the new town. It also assured that full-blooded urbanites would revile Almere for its suburban façade right from the very beginning. The Projektburo’s open-ended approach was tinged with pragmatism and the euphoric dogma of the early 1970s. The flexible model that designated a high street, city hall, business district, public facilities and communal space for each self-sufficient core, would enable future planners to mould and shape the city over time as the demographics became more specific. Moreover, they would avoid typical new town snags that saddled pioneer residents with sterile and amenity-less environments. One-third of the city would be dedicated to industry, one-third to housing and one-third to parks and open space. Eighty percent of the dwellings would be devoted to single families, and 70% to low to middle income residents. Sidewalks wide enough for children to play on. One job for every three residents. One company for every 100 homes. Industrial areas would be situated close to the home to accommodate a female workforce. Bus stops erected every 400 meters, train stations every 800 meters, every home within a five minute’s walk a large park or forest. It was a heyday in methodical planning, and today many of those distances can still be pinpointed to the meter.larg Almere's distances between cores are much more akin to American towns than to Dutch ones

SBS - German election down to the wire

SBS

German election down to the wire

Support for German opposition leader Angela Merkel, widely tipped to become Germany�s first woman chancellor, has slipped just days before voters go to the ballot box on Sunday. But with polls showing one third of German voters undecided the race between Ms Merkel and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will be a tight finish, or quite possibly a deadlock. This week a Forsa Institute survey showed that 51 per cent of German voters were not ready for new leaders, while 45 per cent said they would want the opposition Christian Democrats in power. Another poll by the independent Allensbach institute showed that more than 30 per cent had not decided which party they would vote for.

HindustanTimes.com: Norwegian troops to quit Iraq, Bush informed

HindustanTimes.com

Norwegian troops to quit Iraq, Bush informed

Norway's incoming Prime Minister has told US President George W Bush that he will order Norwegian troops to leave Iraq as soon as he takes office, the NTB news agency reported. Labour Party leader Jens Stoltenberg, who will take up the post in mid-October as the head of a coalition of three left-wing parties, told the US president "the Norwegian officers should not remain in Iraq," NTB quoted the Labour leader on Thursday. As Stoltenberg has not officially taken office, he is unable technically to announce a troop withdrawal. But he reportedly made his intentions clear during a telephone conversation with Bush who called to congratulate him on Monday's election victory.

Guardian: Unions turn on 'Thatcherite' EU

Guardian

Unions turn on 'Thatcherite' EU

The TUC took a strongly Eurosceptic turn this morning, voting to oppose further "liberalisation and militarisation" of the EU in the wake of the failed constitution. The conference, meeting for its final day in Brighton, broke with its traditionally pro-EU stance and voted by a large majority to oppose measures such as the creation of a proposed EU diplomatic service and EU defence agency and further liberalisation of European freight and passenger railways.

9/15/05

Germany: new left, old right

Le Monde

"The disappearance of the social democrats
Germany: new left, old right

The general election on 18 September will change Germany’s political landscape permanently, although the outcome is in doubt. Will the Christian Democrats win enough seats to govern with the support of the Liberals, or form a coalition with the Social Democrats? The SPD, facing competition from the new Left party, is in steep decline."

9/14/05

Europe leaders pump up volume

The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

"Europe leaders pump up volume

By Al Webb
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
September 14, 2005

LONDON -- Governments across Europe have launched a series of urgent measures to try to deal with soaring fuel prices that have triggered panic buying and threats of massive protests by thousands of angry car owners, truck drivers, farmers and even fishermen.
While Americans grumble about paying $2.96 a gallon for gasoline, European fury comes at a higher cost. Prices have climbed to between $5 and $7 per gallon in Britain, France and Germany, and $7.50 in Turkey. It is $6.56 in the Netherlands, $5.66 in Sweden and $5.28 in Hungary. "

Domestic Policy news : Brown: Globalisation a 'race to the top'

politics.co.uk

Brown: Globalisation a 'race to the top'

Britain will only meet the challenge of globalisation by investing in a skilled and well-educated workforce, Gordon Brown said today. In his address to the TUC conference, the chancellor warned that while Britain was beginning to move towards the labour movement's ideal of full employment, an even greater challenge lay ahead. Asia's manufacturing output is now greater than that of Europe, while China and India are now turning more computer scientist and engineering graduates than the whole of Europe and the US combined. But the answer does not lie in protectionism, in hoping Asia will go away, but in "radically upgrading our skills, science and technology", Mr Brown told delegates. The global challenge was not a race to the bottom but a race to become high-skilled, high-technology economies. "We will answer the Asia challenge, not by becoming resigned to a Britain of low skills and high unemployment, but by creating a Britain of new skills and new jobs," he said.

Who will EU sell out, Turkey or Greek Cyprus?

Turkish Daily News

"Who will EU sell out, Turkey or Greek Cyprus?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The situation in Brussels is very confused. Debates have almost nothing to do with Cyprus or Turkey. The clashes are chiefly due to the domestic political wrangling in France. One side will be sold out, but no one knows who.

Mehmet Ali BIRAND

I constantly report to you on the state of affairs in Brussels. Actually, it is a very complicated situation. The debates center on extremely technical issues, and the documents debated are hard to both understand and explain."

9/13/05

Stressing the obvious

Turkish Daily News

"Stressing the obvious
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

TDN editorial by Yusuf KANLI
It's sometimes difficult to understand diplomacy. After much wrangling Britain and France have agreed on “compromise wording” for a counter declaration the European Union will issue to Turkey's July 29 declaration stating that extension of the customs union to cover all new EU members including the Greek Cypriot state did not amount to Turkish recognition of the internationally recognized EU-member government in southern Nicosia.

Right from the beginning of the latest flurry of activity between Turkey and the EU and between EU term president Britain and the French-led “Turkey-skeptics,” it was known that excluding the Tassos Papadopoulos regime in southern Cyprus, neither Paris, nor Vienna or any other capital was demanding Turkey's outright recognition of the Greek Cypriot state as a condition for the start of the talks, and even the Greek Cypriots had started mellowing. "

AP Wire: EU court: penalties for polluters OK

AP

EU court: penalties for polluters OK

The European Commission can draft criminal penalties for environmental offenses within the 25-nation European Union, the EU's Court of Justice ruled Tuesday. The Luxembourg-based court said the commission had the right to force member states to impose fines or jail terms on those who violate EU environmental rules. The commission welcomed the ruling as setting a new precedent, saying it boosted its power at the cost of EU governments.

Webindia123.com: Manmohan holds closed door breakfast meeting with French CEOs:

Webindia123.com

Manmohan holds closed door breakfast meeting with French CEOs

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has just concluded his first engagement in Paris, a breakfast meeting with 30 key French captains of industry. Informed sources coming in and out of the closed door meeting said that the Prime Minister had made a strong pitch for boosting French investment in India, which he (the PM) said was an emerging global economic giant. The meeting was also attended by the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Christine Lagarde, who headed the discussion from the French side. From the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pierre Simon is leading the team and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dominique Girard is participating. Ramesh Muklya, Advisor of the Confederation of Indian Industry is attending the meeting. The French are reportedly attaching a great deal of importance to the meeting, with the trade between the two countries having gone up by 80 per cent during the last decade and Indian exports to France growing by about 97 percent. The balance of trade is currently in India's favour since 1995, and for the year 2004-05, it was an estimated 384 million Euros.

Independent Online Edition: The Collapse Of Globalism, By John Ralston Saul

Independent Online Edition >

The Collapse Of Globalism, By John Ralston Saul

"A decade ago, there was an assumption that globalisation on its own could lift people out of poverty. That braying enthusiasm has given way to no more than a squeak. Saul is right to guard against the credulity of the globalisation gurus, who tend to believe that two countries whose economies are heavily intertwined will never go to war. He is excellent at conjuring the uncertain atmosphere of the 1970s, in which a resurgent market ideology was to triumph over tired state socialism. The privatisations of the 1980s, he points out, were less about unleashing the market to work miracles than allowing timid big business to cower in safe sectors. Saul has a keen eye for hypocrisy and a pungently dry wit. What a shame, then, that his book should be such a ramshackle structure, a collage of epigrams and aperçus tied together with little more than venom and disdain. Since Saul favours the implacability of culture over the transformations wrought by economics, he also tends towards the worst kind of conservatism."

dive-news: EU parliament launches glossy campaign to promote new website

dive-news

EU parliament launches glossy campaign to promote new website

The European parliament has launched a completely new website designed to provide quicker and easier access to information on the political decisions taken by the elected representatives of Europe's citizens. Replacing the old website which was essentially a collection of databases, the new website is a dynamic and attractive information tool presenting updated news on parliament in a colourful manner and easy-to-read format in 20 languages. On Tuesday, European Parliament president Josep Borrell launched the website and explained the philosophy behind the new site, its layout and the editorial innovations introduced by his team. The new website ( www.europarl.eu.int ) consists of five different inforamtion sections, and is tailored to the needs of three different categories. The five sections are: News, Parliament, Your MEPs, Activities and EP Live. Mr. Borrell said that the site is structured around the answers to five questions: What happens at the European Parliament? What is the European Parliament? Members of the European Palriament, who are they? What does the European Parliament do? And how can one see what goes on in parliament? With the launching of the new website, the European parliament kicked off a lavish advertising campaign under the slogan "457 million people @ one address" with the aim to generate traffic to the new website.

9/12/05

Copenhagen Capacity: Danish economy has never been better

COPENHAGEN CAPACITY

Denmark’ s economy has never been better writes Berlingske Tidende

While a large part of the European economy lags behind everything is going in the right direction for Danish economy. It is in fact very hard to find just a little imperfection and Danish economy is one of the strongest in the world estimate several economists after the publication of key figures from Statistics Denmark.

Interview: EU foreign boss Ferrero-Waldner

monstersandcritics.com

"Europe Features
Interview: EU foreign boss Ferrero-Waldner
By Gareth Harding
Sep 12, 2005, 19:00 GMT

BRUSSELS, Belgium (UPI) -- On the eve of the U.N. summit of world leaders in New York, United Press International spoke to European Commission foreign policy chief Benita Ferrero-Waldner about U.N. reform, trans-Atlantic relations and Turkish membership of the bloc.

UPI. Does the EU still have full confidence in U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan after the stinging criticisms about the Iraqi oil-for-food program contained in the recent Volker report?

Ferrero-Waldner. We have full confidence in him, but it is clear that an efficient and well coordinated United Nations is not only a U.S. crusade, but is a concern for us and the whole international community. We are very much in favor of managerial reform and Kofi Annan was the one who started that process. Now he must extend it to those fields that have not been looked into."

The monsters Europe risks reawakening

JTW Comment:

"The monsters Europe risks reawakening
David Barchard
The New Anatolian

Anyone who's seen or read the 'Lord of the Rings' will remember the nightmarish scene when Gandalf and his companions feverishly try opening a magical doorway beside a Godforsaken lake. Unfortunately, the sillier, younger hobbits pay no attention and foolishly amuse themselves by tossing stones into the lake. Inevitably they awaken a danger much worse than they've faced already: Out of the lake's grim, forgotten depths arises a terrible multi-tentacled monster which very nearly eats them all alive."

EU should act together on oil threat

EUpolitix.com - Press Review

"EU should act together on oil threat

EU governments should not cut petrol prices by slashing taxes or compensating consumer because of the risk of fuelling oil demand, Europe’s finance ministers warned this weekend.

Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland are moving to cut taxes, sparking calls for an EU-level response to manage demand-led rises in oil prices.

German newspapers report Brussels will call on the US to save energy and ask the oil-producing countries' cartel OPEC to boost output.

The British media warn there could be protests from hauliers and farmers as soaring oil prices begin to bite.

The Spanish press reports that the EU will push for more refinery capacity and corporate investment in renewable energy sources."

9/11/05

Examiner:Only one in three Irish support EU Costitution, but strongly support EU

Examiner

Only one in three Irish support EU Costitution, but strongly support EU

THE number of Irish people who say they support the European Constitution stands at just one-in-three - the third lowest level of support among all 25 member countries. An analysis of a poll carried out in May and June shows half of those questioned said they had no opinion on the document designed to guide the EU in the future. The constitution is in limbo after rejection by France and the Netherlands. The number opposed to the document has grown from 5% last November to 13% but the number supporting the document has also increased from 28% to 37%. Those with no opinion have dropped from a high of 67%. In the latest poll 63% of those queried said they knew nothing about the contents of the constitution. It was two years in preparation and members of the Dáil and the government were directly involved. The lack of knowledge was confirmed by a short quiz in which over half the Irish mistakenly believed the constitution would do away with national citizenship and introduce a direct European tax. Almost half of the 13% of Irish people who said they are opposed to the Treaty are concerned about loss of sovereignty; believe the EU is not democratic enough; don't want Turkey to join the EU or are simply opposed to the Irish government or particular political parties. Those who say they were most knowledgeable about the constitution were the Dutch and French who rejected the new treaty in referendums. However, there were still about two thirds in both countries that admitted their knowledge of the treaty was poor.The Belgians, whose government has ratified the constitution, are its biggest fans with 70% favouring it, while the British are the most opposed at 30%, with 31% in favour and 39% saying they don't know. Despite Irish ambivalence about the constitution on which final agreement among EU leaders was negotiated by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the Irish are the most positive of all about the union.

TODAYonline: Next EU budget must be agreed this year: Visegrad group

TODAYonline

Next EU budget must be agreed this year: Visegrad group

British Finance Minister Gordon Brown chairs the ECOFIN meeting in Manchester. The Visegrad group of eastern European Union member states warned that the bloc must pass its next long term budget this year. The Visegrad group of eastern European Union member states warned that the bloc must pass its next long term budget this year. "Late or no agreement would have negative consequences, both at European and national level, not only for budgetary planning and programming, but even more for the efficient budgetary support of community policies," they said Saturday. "The lack of predictable medium-term financial implies serious risks for the implementation of the convergene programmes in the new member states and for the execution of national and EU budgets," they said in a statement. Talks on the 2007-2013 budget between EU leaders in June collapsed in acrimony amid a dispute about reforming the bloc's budget consuming farm subsidy system and Britain's costly rebate. Britain, which holds the EU rotating presidency until the end of the year, has been holding bilateral talks in an effort to agree on the controversial spending project before its term ends. The Visegrad group comprises Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. They joined the EU in its big bang round of enlargement in May 2004. They said the failed project presented by the previous, Luxembourg, EU presidency was a good basis for further discussion. The Visegrad group of eastern European Union member states warned that the bloc must pass its next long term budget this year. "Late or no agreement would have negative consequences, both at European and national level, not only for budgetary planning and programming, but even more for the efficient budgetary support of community policies," they said Saturday. "The lack of predictable medium-term financial implies serious risks for the implementation of the convergene programmes in the new member states and for the execution of national and EU budgets," they said in a statement.

9/10/05

Time for an accurate picture of Turkey in European eyes

"Time for an accurate picture of Turkey in European eyes
Sunday, September 11, 2005

‘Clich's are born of ignorance. Nevertheless, as Turkey’s EU entry moves closer to reality, there is more interest from the European public towards Turkey and Turkish society,’ says Financial Times editor Leyla Boulton
"Time for an accurate picture of Turkey in European eyes
Sunday, September 11, 2005

‘Clich's are born of ignorance. Nevertheless, as Turkey’s EU entry moves closer to reality, there is more interest from the European public towards Turkey and Turkish society,’ says Financial Times editor Leyla Boulton""

More:Turkish Daily News

The Beaufort Gazette: Bordeaux wine producers told to cut output

The Beaufort Gazette

Bordeaux wine producers told to cut output

Makers of Bordeaux wines have been told to reduce their output this year by an unprecedented amount because of overproduction and falling prices, the body that controls French winemaking said. In response to a growing surplus of French wine in a tough global market, France's Institut National des Appellations d'Origine instructed growers in most French wine-producing regions to reduce output for the 2005 grape harvest - but none by as much as Bordeaux. Winemakers' unions there had already suggested lowering output by 10 percent to cope with falling prices. But Bordeaux makers were told to reduce output by about 12 percent, the institute said in a statement. In the first quarter of 2005, exports of Bordeaux fell by 11.4 percent in volume and 17.9 percent in value. Bordeaux winemakers, unlike those in other regions, were slow to participate this year in a European Union-financed campaign that attempted to deal with surplus wine stocks. Wine makers were offered an EU-fixed price for wine sold to distillers, who in turn received a pledge from the EU to buy up the alcohol they produced.

icNewcastle - British Chancellor reassuring on oil prices

icNewcastle

British Chancellor reassuring on oil prices

Chancellor Gordon Brown has described surging oil prices as a "global problem which requires global solutions" and said he was confident the economic consequences would be "limited". Speaking on behalf of EU finance ministers, the Chancellor urged oil producers to recognise their "common interest" in ensuring sufficient supplies and expressed a need to improve the "transparency" of oil markets. The talks were part of a two-day meeting of Ecofin (European Union's Council of Economics and Finance Ministers), being held in Manchester, which began on Friday. Ministers from all 25 European Union states have been considering whether action should be taken in response to soaring crude oil prices, which have reached more than 70 US dollars a barrel following the disruption caused to the US industry by Hurricane Katrina. Protesters have threatened a repeat of the refinery blockades of 2000 in the UK, as prices at the pump touch £1 a litre for petrol.