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11/30/06

Talk turkey? It's gobbledegook

Comment - Times Online

"...It is time, as the Americans would say, to “talk turkey” about Turkey — and about Europe. Whether or not Turkey survives the Euro-inquisition, is the EU fit for anybody to join? As for measures to make Turkey a modern European-style democracy, those arguments must be won in the open with the Turkish people, not slipped through the back door via Brussels...."

680News - Minority youths torn between cultures as Europe debates integration - by Jamey Keaten and Palma Benczenleiter


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Minority youths torn between cultures as Europe debates integration - by Jamey Keaten and Palma Benczenleiter

PARIS (AP) - Nacera Berrouba, a young Algerian in Paris, says she couldn't get the job she dreamed of until she dyed her hair blond. Straight-A student Gokboru Ozturk was born in Germany and waved the German flag during last summer's soccer World Cup tournament, but wants to be buried in Turkey because "as much as I feel German, I cannot be buried here." His mother jokes he should change his name to Schmidt to boost his job prospects.

As Europe goes through a wrenching debate over integrating immigrant populations, the children of those immigrants find themselves grappling with issues of identity in an environment where racial tensions are complicated by the scarcity of jobs and distorted by the fear of terrorism.

BBC NEWS: EU unveils new immigration plans

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EU unveils new immigration plans

The European Union has announced new plans to attract skilled labour from Africa while boosting efforts to fight illegal immigration and trafficking. Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini called for new job centres in Africa to help match supply with demand.

This year the Spanish authorities have detained about 28,000 migrants in the Canary Islands, while some 16,000 have reached Italy's Lampedusa Island.

Salon.com - Destination: The Netherlands - by Matt Steinglass


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The Netherlands - by Matt Steinglass

For a country that was once the global capital of the publishing industry, it's extraordinary how little the Netherlands has influenced world literature. Most of the canonical writers of Dutch fiction are unknown outside Holland; many are untranslated. From a traveler's point of view, this is wonderful. Nothing could be more tedious than arriving in a new country with a suitcase full of preconceptions about its culture, drawn from world-famous novels already reduced to cliché by generations of English-language critics. That said, some of the books any visitor to the Netherlands ought to read are familiar enough to the English-speaking world. Chronologically, one would have to begin with "In Praise of Folly," by the humanist clergyman Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466?-1539). The book is a tongue-in-cheek twist on the classical genre of the encomium, in this case delivered by Erasmus' invented muse Folly ("Moriae"), in praise of herself.

Time to ‘talk turkey’ about Turkey – and the EU

spiked

"Time to ‘talk turkey’ about Turkey – and the EU
The controversies over Turkey and the West will not be resolved by people hiding their arguments behind the Pope, the Greek Cypriots or the EU.

Many political Turks, I was assured in Istanbul last weekend, enjoy nothing better than an opaque and multi-layered debate filled with symbols, ciphers, and alleged conspiracies. If that is true, then they will have been having a high old time this week, in the rows over the Pope’s visit and Turkey’s accession to the European Union. For in those international controversies, little is really as it might appear to be, and almost everybody seems guilty of hiding their true arguments and agendas behind a false front."

People's Daily Online -- French Presidential Candidate Royal to visit UNIFIL during Lebanon trip


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French Presidential Candidate Royal to visit UNIFIL during Lebanon trip

France Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal will pay a visit to United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Friday during her high- profile tour of the Middle East, Socialist party spokesman Julien Dray told French media on Wednesday. Dray said that Royal was set to visit the UN force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, on Friday, to which France is the largest contributor with 1,650 out of a total of 9,500 troops.

Upon arrival in Beirut on Thursday, Royal will meet with Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, and will also be received by the parliament's foreign affairs committee.

Salon.com: Middle East : Dazed and confused - by Joan Walsh


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Middle East : Dazed and confused - by Joan Walsh

The three-way is off! The trilateral is now a bilateral! And the vain hope that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could solve the Iraq crisis is spinning away just as fast as the slimmer hope that a summit in Jordan could make President Bush look like a leader.

In a week of surreal attempts at what administration officials apparently think is "diplomacy," Wednesday's press briefing with deputy press secretary Dan Bartlett is still a standout. The facts are clear: On the heels of an all but official leak of a memo by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, criticizing al-Maliki as either ignorant, dishonest or incompetent, suddenly plans for a Wednesday night meeting between President Bush, Jordan's King Abdullah and the Iraqi prime minister are off.

While some Democrats are already protesting the Baker group's probable failure to call for a timeline for troop withdrawal, Vice President Dick Cheney is said to be dead set against its almost certain recommendation that the administration reach out to Iran and Syria. And so the administration is suddenly looking globally for its own answers. The problem? "There's complete bewilderment as to what to do," the advisor told Time.

Times Online: 'Blair's bridge between Europe and the US? It's falling down and he is left with nothing' - by Tom Baldwin


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'Blair's bridge between Europe and the US? It's falling down and he is left with nothing' - by Tom Baldwin

The policy of hugging America close has been a failure for the British, a US State Department analyst claims. Britain has moved closer to Europe, crab-like, and London is now much more like a European city — with European prices, I might add. But I think the British are still where they have been all along, unable to answer the fundamental question of ‘after Empire, what?’.”

In a brutal verdict on the cornerstone of Mr Blair’s diplomacy, he said: “Tony Blair could sound European on a good day, he could occasionally pronounce French well, and wear blue jeans with the best Americans. But the role of Britain acting as a bridge between Europe and America is disappearing before our eyes.”

Businessweek.com: Europe May Bear Burden of Dollar's Swoon - by Brian Bremmer


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Europe May Bear Burden of Dollar's Swoon - by Brian Bremmer

Global investors are keying in on the surprising rout of the dollar in recent trading sessions. On Nov. 27, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 158.46 points, or 1.3%, in its most severe decline since July. Part of the reason (disappointing sales by Wal-Mart played a role, too) has been the dour outlook for the dollar, which could weigh down U.S. stocks for some time to come. The greenback has fallen to its lowest levels since March, 2005, when compared to a basket of major currencies.

Yet the biggest loser in any major realignment of the dollar likely will be the Europeans. It is the euro that has appreciated most dramatically against the dollar. It's up 10.9% vs. the greenback on the year. Key Asia currencies such as the yen, up 1.5% vs. the dollar this year, and the Chinese yuan (which trades in a narrow band against the U.S. and other foreign currencies) haven't moved much at all. The Korean won, up about 8.5% vs. the dollar, is the big exception.

11/29/06

EU-Digest - European scientists designing the tools for tomorrow’s wind driven turbines


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European scientists designing the tools for tomorrow’s wind driven turbines

Worldwide, the market for Windmills is booming. It is already over EURO 1 billion per year. Presently Denmark gets 20 percent of its energy needs met from windmills.

Windmills are a wise idea towards energy independence. A Dutch researcher has developed a new and faster fatigue calculation method for designing offshore wind turbine support structures. The method, which uses a frequency domain analysis, is based on a fatigue assessment calculation tool widely used in structural offshore engineering, developed in the 1970s. It can be applied regardless of turbine make or type as well as support structure design. European scientists and the wind industry have joined together to design the tools for tomorrow’s turbines. Danish state laboratory Risø is leading the €23 million, five year project, UpWind, cosponsored by the European Union.

OPEdNews.com: Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar's New Book - Perilous Power - by Stephen Lendman


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Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar's New Book - Perilous Power - by Stephen Lendman

Chomsky and Achcar both explain that a major deterrent to democracy, especially in the Middle East with its oil treasure, is because the US opposes it. With it, the "bad guys" might win, meaning forces hostile to western interests. The same is true in other regions where the US is willing to use force or stage so-called "demonstration elections" it can manipulate to be sure candidates it favors win as nearly always happens in Central America and key South American countries like Colombia and Peru. When "mistakes" happen and the "wrong" candidates are elected like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, or Hamas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), they can expect harsh US-directed efforts against them (or Israeli ones in the OPT) to force their removal from office. The US has tried and failed three times to depose Chavez, and Israel now has the democratically elected Hamas government on its knees in the OPT, discussed further below.

The question then was raised whether an unintended consequence of the US invasion of Iraq has been an increase in democracy in the region. Not so far, but Chomsky explains it can happen as it did in Asia following the defeat of Japanese fascism. Their atrocities inspired a wave of democratic reform that included expelling the European (and US) imperialists as happened in Vietnam 20 years later. Chomsky imagines a generation from now the Iraq war may end up accomplishing the same thing in the Middle East, but Achcar stresses that's not, of course, what the US wants. For now, however, the US invasion of Iraq (and Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and Lebanese) has been a major destabilizing factor in the region and worlds away from showing any positive signs. Achcar notes that the "craziest of the (Bush) neocons" call it "creative instability" which is their nonsensical notion of "democracy" - the kind Secretary Rice calls "messy." He further notes the Bush administration has been "stupid" and "will go down in history....as the undertaker of US interests in the region." He might have added how equally destructive it's been to its stature worldwide, the state of democracy at home, and eventually for having been the prime mover for the decline and fall of the US empire along with its political and economic preeminence.

Noam Chomsky needs no introduction. He's MIT Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics and a leading anti-war critic and voice for over 40 years for social equity and justice. He's also one of the world's most influential and widely cited intellectuals on the Left. Gilbert Achcar is a Lebanese-French academic, author, social activist, Middle East expert and professor of politics and international relations at the University of Paris. Their new book, Perilous Power,covers US foreign policy in the most volatile and turbulent region in the world, the Middle East, and discusses the wars in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan as well as such key issues as terrorism, fundamentalism, oil, democracy, possible war against Iran and much more.

Scotsman.com News - Blair warns EU on rejecting Turkey


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Blair warns EU on rejecting Turkey

RIGA (Reuters) - Europe would be making a serious mistake in the long-term if it sends an adverse signal to Turkey on European Union membership, Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday. "We have got to make sure we allow Turkey's accession (to the EU) to proceed," Blair said in Riga after talks with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. "Just at the moment to send an adverse signal to Turkey I think would be a serious mistake for Europe long-term," Blair said.

A source familiar with the decision in Brussels said the European Commission decided on Wednesday to recommend a partial suspension of Turkey's EU membership talks over its failure to open its ports to traffic from Cyprus.

DW: Commission Cracks Down on EU Carbon Credit Give Away


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Commission Cracks Down on EU Carbon Credit Give Away

On Wednesday, the European commission demanded from some EU counties, including Germany, to cut carbon credit permits for, under its European Trading Scheme (ETS), after over-supplying emission rights. The ETS aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 8 percent by 2012 as it promised under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The scheme, established last year and ending in 2007, aims to reduce carbon emissions by providing a market-based trading system. It is based on limiting the total amount of CO2 emissions, but can offer control over reductions flexibly and at a low-cost.

It is designed to put caps on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by heavily polluting factories across Europe. But in 2006, the governments of some EU countries gave away free carbon pollution permits that exceeded the amount of pollution that was released -- which the European environment commission has decided to put a stop to.

WFAA.com: Serving a nation not yet their own (A US Foreign Legion?) - by David lemore

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WFAA.com: Serving a nation not yet their own (A US Foreign Legion?) - by David lemore

They come from Mexico, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Colombia, Cambodia and a hundred other countries across the globe to find the promise of America. Increasingly they enlist to fight, and sometimes die, in America's wars.

About 69,300 foreign-born men and women serve in the U.S. armed forces, roughly 5 percent of the total active-duty force, according to the most recent data. Of those, 43 percent – 29,800 – are not U.S. citizens.

Conservative critics fear that increased reliance on an immigrant-based military may create security problems and turn the U.S. armed forces into a "green-card army" where citizenship becomes just another recruiting tool. "Service to the country is good. But my concern is that by taking in too many noncitizens into the military, we separate service and duty from citizenship," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stricter immigration controls.

Expatica - The Netherlands: A Nation Split in Two - by Aaron Gray-Block


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The Netherlands: A Nation Split in Two - by Aaron Gray-Block

It sounds like a great dance party, swing to the right, swing to the left and turn it all around. But the reality is, the Netherlands is on the verge of a political stalemate and it will take inspired leadership to bring it home safely.

Amid concern over poverty after the 2003 recession, an 'audit' of election policies by the government's macroeconomic thinktank Central Planning Bureau (CPB) revealed the SP would boost purchasing power the most (second only to the green-left GroenLinks). PvdA leader Bos failed to take the initiative by backing a politically strong and emphatic left-wing coalition with the SP and green-left GroenLinks. But what is more important is how the new government will unite the country again. The coming coalition formation is thus symbolic of the task ahead.

If the CDA and SP cannot reconcile its differences, can the Netherlands? For the EU-Digest editors report on the Netherlands click here

swissinfo - Pope to visit "Mary's House" in Turkey and defuses tension - by Philip Pullella

For the complete report from swissinfo click on this linkPope to visit "Mary's House" in Turkey and defuses tension - by Philip Pullella

During the first day of his delicate trip to the largely Muslim but officially secular country on Tuesday, Benedict quickly set to work trying to soothe still simmering rows over his positions on Islam and Turkey's future role in Europe.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday that in a private meeting at the airport, Benedict had told him he backed Turkey's bid to join the European Union. "A surprise from the Pope: Benedict, who had opposed Turkey's EU membership, spoke differently in Ankara," said left-leaning newspaper Cumhuriyet said. Asked to explain the Vatican's precise position, spokesman Father Lombardi said it could not take any political stand but "encourages and views positively Turkey's path of dialogue, rapprochement and participation in Europe based on common values and principles".

Pope Benedict laid a wreath at the mausoleum of the republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who also made secularism the main pillar of Turkey's political structure.

Telegraph: Latvia may come to regret playing host to Nato's summit - by Toby Helm

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Latvia may come to regret playing host to Nato's summit - by Toby Helm

The flags of 26 Nato nations fluttered in the chilly Baltic breeze and you could feel the Latvian nation almost bursting with pride at joining the West.It is less than three years since this former Soviet satellite was admitted both to the EU and to Nato. Yesterday and today — as if in celebration — it is playing host to a gathering of the Western alliance at which issues affecting global defence and the war on terror will be played out.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the Latvian President, milked the moment, however, welcoming us by announcing the summit was "fitting recognition of the immense progress that Latvia and other former captive nations have made in the past 15 years". Never mind that Latvia has just 30 troops in the 31,000-strong Nato force in Afghanistan, compared with 11,800 from America and more than 6,000 from Britain: it has got its club membership and is enjoying it. The danger for Latvia, however, is that Riga 2006 could go down as a critical moment of failure for the Nato alliance it has just entered. Rather than highlighting transatlantic togetherness and European unity on defence, it threatens to do exactly the reverse.

Businessweek.com: France's Blogging Phenom Goes Global - by Dan Carlin

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France's Blogging Phenom Goes Global - by Dan Carlin

It started as a lark four years ago. French rap radio station Skyrock, operated by Paris-based media group Orbus, launched a free blogging service to give listeners a way to talk back and get to know each other. The response was beyond management's wildest expectations: Skyblog now attracts a remarkable 85 million page views a month, putting it fourth among all Web sites in France and No. 1 in the coveted 15- to 24-year-old age range, according to researcher comScore.

Skyblog isn't just about mouthing off, either. The hip-hop flavored site has become a major moneymaker for Orbus, pulling in profit margins of 20% to 25% on $6.4 million in advertising revenues last year, the company says. This year, Orbus—which is 70% owned by AXA Private Equity (AXA)—figures online revenues will double, and by 2008, they should equal or exceed those generated by the radio station. For Skyblog click here

11/28/06

Deutsche Welle: A Dummy's Guide to the EU

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A Dummy's Guide to the EU

"If you think that CAP is something to wear, OLAF is a man's name, and are completely lost when it comes to PSC, DW-WORLD.DE's EU dictionary may be able to help you out".

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES - Bush scrambles for help from U.S. allies - by Tom Raum

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Bush scrambles for help from U.S. allies - by Tom Raum

TALLINN, Estonia -- President Bush intensified diplomatic efforts on Monday to quell rising violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, turning to allies as his national security adviser said the conflict in Iraq had entered ''a new phase'' requiring changes. ''Obviously everyone would agree things are not proceeding well enough or fast enough,'' National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said.

The president was spending Monday night in this tiny Baltic nation ahead of a two-day NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, expected to deal with deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan, where NATO has 32,000 troops. Bush will head to Amman, Jordan, for talks Wednesday and Thursday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and King Abdullah of Jordan.

globeandmail.com: Turkey aiming for calm during papal visit - by Doug Saunders

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Turkey aiming for calm during papal visit - by Doug Saunders

ANKARA -- Shortly after he shakes hands with the Turkish Prime Minister this afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI will be driven through crowds of protesters and curiosity-seekers to a looming sandstone structure atop a forested urban hilltop, where he will become the first Roman Catholic pontiff to pay tribute to Turkey's most sacred shrine. It is not one of the churches or the mosque the Pope will also be visiting, but something more significant to many Turks: the St. Peter's of secularism. The Pope's wreath-laying at this vast, austere shrine to the values of non-religious government, a visit considered mandatory in Turkey, reveals much about what is at stake in the controversy-scarred visit -- and why Turkish and European leaders are so worried.

The mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, the man who founded modern Turkey eight decades ago as the only fully secular state in the Muslim world, is visited by more Turks each year than any other site, sacred or profane, in the country. It is Mr. Ataturk's legacy, a democratic state that is a relatively peaceful bridge between the Middle East and Europe, that many fear could be threatened by an upsurge of Muslim anger that the Pope has provoked with this visit and the divisive words of his speeches.

Yesterday, Turkey's politicians scrambled to avoid a confrontation that would turn this visit into an Islam-versus-Christianity clash that could overshadow the secular state. Mr. Erdogan, who had earlier snubbed the Pope by deciding to attend the NATO summit in Latvia this week, yesterday agreed to greet him at the airport. And the leaders of Turkey's two largest secular opposition parties issued statements in support of the visiting Pope.

EWEC 2007 - European Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition: Milan, Italy 7-10 May 2007

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European Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition: Milan, Italy 7-10 May 2007

EWEC2007 conference will discuss major issues of importance for European and Global wind markets, in technical and business areas, from resource assessment and innovative turbine design to market and policy developments, drawing on leading experience from all over Europe. Senior politicians and representatives from international institutions and national governments will be invited to speak at this leading international wind event. The conference programme will include over 200 speakers in 40 separate business, technical and workshop sessions, to further secure the EWEAs position as the voice of the industry for both the business and research sectors. Papers will be presented in plenary, parallel and poster sessions.

SOONEWS.CA - Ontario Leads Canada In Windpower Generation

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Ontario Leads Canada In Windpower Generation

Ontario is now Canada's leading wind power generator thanks in part to the opening today of the Prince wind farm on the shores of Lake Superior, northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced.

"Over the past three years, our government has worked to make Ontario the leading producer of renewable windpower in Canada," Duncan said. "By 2008 we will have increased the amount of wind energy in the province up to 1300 megawatts. This is an 85-fold increase since 2003 and it has brought an estimated $2.5 billion in new investment to Ontario."

IOL: Russia to increase gas prices in Europe

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Russia to increase gas prices in Europe

Russian state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom plans to raise the price of gas supplies to Europe next year by almost 15%, a Russian newspaper reported today. Vedomosti, citing a draft 2007 budget for the gas giant, said Gazprom forecasts gas prices of around £150 (€221) per 1,000 cubic meters for shipment to Europe next year. That’s up from roughly £133 (€196) in 2006.

Gazprom forecasts that the higher prices should yield total revenue of £51bn (€75bn), with export revenues accounting for nearly half that – £24bn (€35bn), Vedomosti reported. The company plans to export some 157.8 billion cubic meters to European countries in 2007.

11/27/06

Bloomberg.com: Europeans' Confidence in Economy Seen Rising to Six-Year High - by John Fraher


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Europeans' Confidence in Economy Seen Rising to Six-Year High - by John Fraher

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence in the European economy probably rose to the highest in almost six years in November and inflation may have accelerated, strengthening the case for higher interest rates, surveys of economists show. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the dozen nations sharing the euro may have increased to 110.4 from 110.3 last month, which was the highest since February 2001, according to the median of 24 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The European Commission will release the report Nov. 30.

Economists have revised up their predictions for European Central Bank interest rates on the view the economy of the dozen euro nations will gather momentum next year after a slowdown in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley last week abandoned a forecast for lower borrowing costs in 2007 and now expects the bank to lift its benchmark rate to 4 percent from 3.25 percent.

Boston Globe: Sharp divisions await pope in Turkey - by Anne Barnard


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Sharp divisions await pope in Turkey - by Anne Barnard

"The rage of the protesters and the caution of the authorities illustrate the deep ambivalence in Turkey over the papal visit. At a time of global anxiety over Muslim-Christian relations, the planned trip has reignited anger over remarks the pope made in September suggesting a relationship between Islam and violence. And perhaps more important for Turks, who are acutely aware of their history as a fulcrum between East and West, it has sharpened divisions within this 99-percent Muslim but officially secular country.

Benedict, 79, is seen as a lightning rod for Turkey's internal disputes. By highlighting questions about the status of Turkey's tiny but historically important Christian minority, his visit has sharpened those dividing lines -- between religious Muslims who want to end restrictions on public observance and secular Muslims who fear imposition of a religious way of life, as well as between Turks who want to tie their fate to Europe's and those who want to distance themselves from the West." Editorial Note EU-Digest: The Pope who is seen by some as a "fox in sheeps clothing", and the institution he represents, can not be considered to be a helpful instrument in a secular society such as the community of EU Nations and its applicant member Turkey.
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Daily Times - EDITORIAL: Will NATO clean up its act?


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EDITORIAL: Will NATO clean up its act?

Before the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit convenes in Riga, the member states should think very hard about its future. And if Afghanistan is any index of things to come, the lack of any new resolution to act with conviction is bound to prove fatal. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has tried to buck up the organisation by saying that NATO will definitely find a ‘joint position on troubled Afghanistan’ at the summit to make sure its difficult mission there will be a success. The statement should help because Germany is one of the member states that haven’t so far willingly sent their troops to the dangerous areas in Afghanistan.

The fact is that those who think negatively about NATO in Afghanistan have some grounds for such thinking. Europe doesn’t think consistently about projecting itself globally in military terms. In fact the EU believes in doing business with the rest of the world without getting too involved in regional conflicts. The old imperial habits have gone and the EU is increasingly an inward-looking body of states. If one can put it like that, while the EU doesn’t have a distinct foreign policy the fact is that any projection of its foreign policy through NATO is clearly guided by the United States. So even if France and Germany, having dug in their heels when it came to invading Iraq, now say they are committed to the Afghanistan operation, the fiasco in Iraq will make it difficult even for the best soldiers in the world to fight in Afghanistan.

The Sofia Echo: Bulgaria is the next Spain on the overseas property market

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Bulgaria is the next Spain on the overseas property market

Interview with Haris Menelaou, Director of Best of Bulgaria.

"Three years ago, we had already conducted market research, scrutinizing not only Bulgaria, but other neighbouring countries, including Romania. We concluded that “Bulgaria is the next Spain in the overseas property market”. Indeed, after 3 years of hard work in Bulgaria, we can now say that our clientele (our clients are mainly British, Irish and other North Europeans) is looking for a much bigger and longer-term investments in Bulgaria, simultaneously, dreaming of a second home in this beautiful country.

Mr. Platon Kyriakides, General Advisor of the Best of Bulgaria Group (ex Ambassador of Cyprus in New York, Moscow, Damascus), noted that “the EU accession in January 2007, will in fact bring even more political stability and improve the living standards in the country”. I believe this in fact motivates investors, likewise they did in Cyprus back in 2004.

Today’s economical figures praise the political world of Bulgaria, which along with the help of the EU have changed the socio-economical conditions of the country for the better. For the year 2007 the economy is forecasted to grow by 5.8 % and inflation to decrease to 3.1 %. Everything looks positive and we believe that foreign investments will continue. It is worth noting that foreign investments for the first half of 2006 doubled.

Hotnews.ro: Netherlands to restrict access of Romanian, Bulgarian workers


Dutch Parliament Building
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Netherlands to restrict access of Romanian, Bulgarian workers

Netherlands joined a consistent list of EU countries that try to avoid problems with a possible inflow of Romanian and Bulgarian workers on its market once the two countries join the EU in January next year. Its Government announced on Thursday that the the country will open its labour market to Bulgarian, Romanian employees gradually over a period of two years starting January 1, 2007.

The Netherlands will apply a transitional regime for an “initial” period of two years, during which working permits will be provided to Romanians and Bulgarians in case qualified personnel would not be found among the Dutch. “The future employer also has to guarantee sufficient labour and housing conditions”, a press release from the Netherlands Embassy to Bucharest says.

By the end of the first year the Dutch government would decide whether to open the labour market further after an evaluation of the national and European labour situation, the release says.

Businessweek.com: Europe's Wireless Future - by Kate Norton


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Europe's Wireless Future - by Kate Norton

Mobile operators such as Vodafone (VOD) have long been content to fly solo as they make the costly push beyond voice calling into data. Many European carriers reckoned they didn't need to form partnerships to make good on upwards of $100 billion spent on the government-issued licenses needed for delivering advanced wireless services such as Internet access.

They may be singing a different tune, judging from a spate of recent announcements. Vodafone, for example, announced on Nov. 14 that it was forming a partnership with Yahoo! (YHOO) to put advertisements on mobile phones. Then, on Nov. 16, Hutchison Whampoa's British wireless operator 3 unveiled its X-Series, which bundles wireless broadband applications including Google (GOOG) and eBay (EBAY) for a flat fee, an effort aimed at encouraging customer adoption of data services.

Hollister Free Lance: The Great, Shrinking Cultures of Europe

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The Great, Shrinking Cultures of Europe

The holiday season is upon us. It is the time of family gatherings that celebrate each other and the meaning of the season. Italian families, like so many of the ethnic families of Europe and the countries with European progeny, will have large Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. These celebrations will be peopled with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, siblings, once-removed, and more. Celebrate now, for large Italian families will soon be a thing of the past. The incessant march of demographics is dooming the future of Europe. Italy's birthrate is down to 1.2 children per woman, a level that is dramatically below the minimum replacement level for a stable population, of 2.1 children per woman. And it has been below replacement level for a quarter of a century. At the present child replacement rate, Italy's population will fall from its present level of 57 million to just 41 million by 2050. Said another way, by 2050, 60 percent of the group in question will have no brothers, sisters, aunts, or uncles, as pointed out by Mark Steyn in America Alone.

The story is the same throughout the countries of Europe. By 2050 at the present rate of births, it will be less than 600 million, a loss of a staggering 125 million Europeans. In 1960, people of European origin, including U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, made up one fourth of the world's population.And the population is obviously aging. The numbers tell their own story. By 2050, only 2 percent of the population of Germany will be younger than 5 but more than 40 percent will be 65 or older. The implications for the social welfare systems of these countries will be catastrophic. In Europe the ratio of working-age people (15-64) to retired people (65 and older) will go from 4:1 in 2000, to 2:1 in 2050. This means there will be only two workers for every one retiree. Since the socialist democracies rely almost entirely on public pension systems, the burden on those remaining in the workforce will be oppressive.Editorial Comment EU-Digest:Absolutely true: that is why we need immigrants in Europe instead of opposing them. The average European of the future will probably have dark hair, be olive skinned and the predominant religion (if any) could be Islam. Again this should not be any problem, but the key must be that immigration is tied to guaranteeing European secularism at all cost and that this principle is anchored in the new European Constitution.

11/26/06

Scotsman.com News - Finns in last-ditch bid to resolve Cyprus-Turkey row - David Brunnstrom


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Finns in last-ditch bid to resolve Cyprus-Turkey row - David Brunnstrom

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Finland launches a last-ditch drive this week to resolve a row between Turkey and Cyprus before a December deadline, but is warning it sees no speedy solution to the issue threatening Ankara's EU entry bid. Confirmation that the Cypriot foreign minister would attend a regional forum in the Finnish city of Tampere starting on Monday, two days after saying the chances of progress were so slim he would not, offered a glimmer of hope for a breakthrough.

But Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said he did not see a quick solution to Turkey opening its ports to ships from Cyprus as required in its EU membership negotiations.

Playfuls.com: Euro Rallies To A 19-month High


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Euro Rallies To A 19-month High

The euro surged past the key 1.30 dollars mark Friday for the first time in 19 months as confidence grew about Europe's economic outlook and the countdown got underway to next month's widely expected European Central Bank rate hike. The common currency hit 1.3074 dollars in mid-morning trading to reach its highest level since April 2005. This brought the euro's rise for the year to about 10 per cent. Friday's increase in the euro coincided with the release of France's business confidence survey, which showed optimism in the 12-member eurozone's second biggest economy remaining buoyant and holding close to a five-year high in November.

This came in the wake of the release of Thursday's business confidence survey for Germany, the currency bloc's largest economy, which posted a surprise rise in November that pushed the index back up to the 15-year-high that it reached in June.

swissinfo - Merits of Swiss contribution to eastern Europe win the day

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Merits of funds for eastern Europe win the dayAdd story to my swissinfo panel

Sunday's "yes" vote to a SFr1 billion ($800 million) Swiss contribution to the ten new members of the European Union reveals more pragmatism than real enthusiasm. While rightwing opponents were licking their wounds over another failure on an EU issue, those in favour of helping mainly eastern European countries over the next ten years said voters had recognised the advantages of the deal. Voters accepted the contribution in a referendum with a 53.4 per cent majority, with 14 cantons voting in favour and nine against.

Despite the narrowness of the margin, Euro-MP Diana Wallis - who chairs the committee for relations with Switzerland - told swissinfo she saw it as a "positive result".

Europe's tolerance finds its limit-Death of multiculturalism

National Post

"Europe's tolerance finds its limit -Death of multiculturalism

Peter Goodspeed, National Post
Published: Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tolerance may have died in Europe the day Mohammed Bouyeri murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

On the morning of Nov. 2, 2004, as Mr. van Gogh cycled to work in Amsterdam, the bearded young man in a long Middle-Eastern-style shirt fired at him with a handgun."

AZCENTRAL: In Europe, it's East vs. West in debate over death penalty

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In Europe, it's East vs. West in debate over death penalty

PARIS - The European Union recoiled when an Iraqi court sentenced Saddam Hussein to death this month.Not even Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain wants to see the deposed dictator with a rope around his neck. Yet many people in Central and Eastern Europe applauded the death sentence. Some of them pine for the capital punishment that they had to give up to join the European club. The Czech Republic's right-wing prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, welcomed the Saddam sentence, calling it "an act of justice" and a warning to other dictators. President Lech Kaczynski of Poland called it "the only possible outcome." A former justice minister of Slovakia, Daniel Lipsic, criticized his country for pandering to the European Union in opposing the Iraqi decision.

The Guardian: Europe accepts its role as the green pioneer of the world


For the complete report in the The Observer click on this link

The EU will not put the challenge of tackling global warming in the 'too difficult' pile, says European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, who will tomorrow present UK bosses with his arguments for vital groundbreaking action

The facts are clear. We can all see the effects. Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth television series is bringing viewers face to face with them every week. We know our planet is warming faster than ever, and that human activities are the main cause. We have experienced the 10 warmest years on record since 1995. Most of the world's glaciers are in rapid retreat.

11/25/06

SundayHerald: Russias New Cold War - by Neil Mackay

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Russias New Cold War - by Neil Mackay

Russian intelligence officers now in exile or in hiding around the world and British intelligence operatives, July 9 this year was a seismic date. On that day legislators in the Duma - the Russian state parliament - unanimously approved new laws which allowed Russia's Federal Security Service to hunt down and kill enemies of the state anywhere on the face of the Earth. One British intelligence source said: "This marked a blatant return to the bad old days of the cold war when the KGB thought it could act with impunity anywhere it pleased." These so-called "Hunter-Killer" powers also curtailed the right of the Russian media - already cowed and under the control of the Kremlin - to report on these operations. However, the enactment of these new laws only put on a legal footing powers which Russian intelligence had been using extra-judicially for years. In Chechnya, the assassination of enemies of Russia is now so common that it scarcely bears comment, and in 2004 two Russian agents were arrested and sentenced to death in Qatar for the killing of exiled Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. The Russian team hunted him down and planted a bomb in his car. The Qatari court ruled that the killing was sanctioned by "the Russian leadership". The men were not executed but sent back to Russia following promises from the Kremlin that they would be imprisoned. Rumour has it that they were decorated for the assassination operation.

Naharnet Newsdesk - Chirac, Prodi Discuss Lebanon in Relations Revival Summit

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Chirac, Prodi Discuss Lebanon in Relations Revival Summit

French President Jacques Chirac and Italian Premier Romano Prodi, who held a summit meeting to shore up strained ties, reached "very broad agreement" on Lebanon, a diplomat said Friday.Prodi said the meeting in Lucca, Italy confirmed "the deep friendship" between the two countries, which were at odds notably over the contribution of troops to the multinational force in Iraq by the premier's predecessor Silvio Berlusconi. The two leaders also have a "shared approach" on the Middle East, where Chirac said a "sharp deterioration of the situation calls for a strong initiative by Europe."

The pair agreed to ask Britain, Germany and other EU countries to join a Middle East peace initiative they launched earlier this month along with Spain, a diplomat said.

Reuters AlertNet - Turkey and Jordan warn against Iraq's partition

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Turkey and Jordan warn against Iraq's partition

Ankara fears that the sectarian violence could rip Iraq apart and is anxious about the advent of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq which could fan separatism among its own Kurds

Iraq's neighbours, Turkey and Jordan, warned on Saturday that the partition of the country would take the sectarian bloodshed to new levels and plunge the whole region into chaos. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Jordanian counterpart Marouf Bakheet told reporters at the end of talks in Amman that the partition of Iraq was unacceptable. "We cannot accept the partition of Iraq and the partition of Iraq into three parts will increase the intensity of the civil war..." Erdogan said.

European minorities torn between worlds | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

Chron.com - Houston Chronicle:

"European minorities torn between worlds

By JAMEY KEATEN and PALMA BENCZENLEITNER Associated Press Writers
© 2006 The Associated Press

PARIS — Nacera Berrouba, a young Algerian in Paris, says she couldn't get the job she dreamed of until she dyed her hair blond.

Straight-A student Gokboru Ozturk was born in Germany and waved the German flag during last summer's soccer World Cup tournament, but wants to be buried in Turkey because "as much as I feel German, I cannot be buried here." Meanwhile, his mother jokes he should change his name to Schmidt to boost his job prospects."

washingtonpost.com: Prostitutes and drug dealers are welcome in the Netherlands. Just don't wear a veil.

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Prostitutes and drug dealers are welcome in the Netherlands. Just don't wear a veil.

EUROPE'S MUSLIM communities increasingly are portrayed -- especially by European media -- as havens for religious intolerance that flourish thanks to the overly tolerant policies of liberal governments. It's true that until relatively recently, some Western European governments shrank from confronting clerics or others who promoted extremist ideology or encouraged terrorism. It's also true that some European artists and politicians have been threatened or even killed for criticizing or mocking Islam. But another important part of the dangerous increase in tensions between Europeans and Muslims is the blatant bigotry of many mainstream political leaders, journalists and other elites against Islam and its followers.

A country famous for tolerating prostitution, drug use, euthanasia and public nudity considers Muslim veiling beyond the pale.

www.uruknet.info: The US Empire –Beginning of the End Game - by K.Gajendra Singh

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The US Empire –Beginning of the End Game - by K.Gajendra Singh

Bush has only succeeded in putting the US empire's decline into fast forward mode. Nothing is likely to reverse the course , much to the relief of most of the world , victim of its unilateralist policies. In 6 years USA ,from being a fairly popular country , with its many good points in spite of flaws , has become one of the most unpopular.The US regime has become the most hated , with Bush being rated a greater danger to the world peace than even North Korean dictator Kim Il Jong, even among neighbours and allies like UK.

11/24/06

Moneycontrol India: Trading is against human nature: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

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Trading is against human nature: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala


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'Trading is against human nature,' says Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, while talking about his investment approach in the stock markets. He says:



All risk taking is associated with two human conditions, viz the greed for profits and the fear of losses. The ability to strike the right balance between fear and greed is the most vital determinant of profitable risk taking. Human nature operates on the chance of a gain rather than maximizing gains. There is lack of focus on the magnitude of gains and losses, which is why I maintain that successful trading and investing requires you to go against the basic tenets of human nature.

We are programmed to learn, and we learn to a pain. But in trading and investing, you have to learn to take a loss. In trading, the first and the last principle is that trading is trend and price based, and not opinion based. This requires you to square an unfavorable trade regardless of your opinion. This means that if I buy a stock at Rs 100, and then the price falls to Rs 95, I take my loss and square off my trade. This is counter-intuitive to most people. This is the one common quality of all successful traders.

To be successful in investing, many elements have to fall into place. But four things are critical. There has to be an attractive, addressable, external opportunity; a sustainable competitive advantage; scalability and operating leverage; and the management should be of high quality and integrity. All have to be present but they still constitute only 50% of our necessary requirement. It is important what one buys, but it is more important at what price one buys.

Common Dreams: Iraq Disaster Isn’t Coming to an End, it’s Only Just Begun - by Iain Macwhirter


For the complete report in Common Dreams click on this link

Iraq Disaster Isn’t Coming to an End, it’s Only Just Begun - by Iain Macwhirter

Politicians need to convey the impression at all times that they know what they're doing, even when they don't. That's what they're paid for, after all. But every so often the mask of competence slips. They reveal, in a flash, that they simply haven't a clue; that they're winging it, making it up as they go along, hoping no-one will notice.

This moment came yesterday when the government announced that it was "full throttle" to the handover of power to an Iraqi civil administration on June 30. "Six weeks to sovereignty" – that's the message coming from the US-led coalition. We've done the job, now it's time to hand over to the grateful people of free Iraq. All we need to do, it seems, is send a few more troops to train the Iraqi military, stage elections, and then everyone can live happily ever after.

Sounds simple, but this promise of a handover to an Iraqi civil administration was announced less than 24 hours after Izzedin Salim, the head of the Iraqi governing council, was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad. It was announced as US troops besieged the holy city of Kerbala, and on the day Israel continued to defy the civilized world by bulldozing Palestinian homes in Gaza.

In retrospect, this story written on May 19, 2004 was right on target.

Irish Examiner:EU fail to raise former Russian spy's death with Putin


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EU fail to raise former Russian spy's death with Putin

"Coming on the eve of an EU-Russia summit, the suspicious death of an ex-Russian spy in London might have been expected to fuel animated discussions on Moscow’s human rights record between Western leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in six hours of talks, Alexander Litvinenko’s death went unmentioned. It’s an indication of how the EU’s energy dependence on oil- and gas-rich Russia has been preventing the bloc from applying pressure on Putin to respect basic freedoms.

At a press conference after today’s meeting, Putin said the death was a tragedy, extended his condolences to Litvinenko’s family – but denied any role in the death. “There is no ground for speculations of this kind,” said Putin.Coming on the eve of an EU-Russia summit, the suspicious death of an ex-Russian spy in London might have been expected to fuel animated discussions on Moscow’s human rights record between Western leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in six hours of talks, Alexander Litvinenko’s death went unmentioned. It’s an indication of how the EU’s energy dependence on oil- and gas-rich Russia has been preventing the bloc from applying pressure on Putin to respect basic freedoms."

Germany Ratified Bulgaria, Romania's EU Accession Treaty

JTW News

"Germany Ratified Bulgaria, Romania's EU Accession Treaty

Friday , 24 November 2006

Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, ratified unanimously the EU treaty of Bulgaria and Romania.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education and Science Minister Daniel Valchev attended the sitting.


Germany was the last EU member states to complete this key procedure without which it will be impossible for the country to become a full-fledged member of the bloc, as anticipated on 1 January 2007."

RIA Novosti - Polonium-210 found in Russian ex-spy's body


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Polonium-210 found in Russian ex-spy's body

A large dose of polonium-210, a radioactive isotope, has been discovered in the body of a Russian former spy who died in London, representatives of the British Health Protection Agency said Friday.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer and a close associate of Russia's fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was admitted to a London hospital three weeks ago and initially diagnosed with acute poisoning. Western media have circulated the deathbed note of Litvinenko, known as a fierce Kremlin critic, in which he accused Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his death.

The EU's Energy Worries


ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER)

"The EU's Energy Worries

The European Union has many problems and worries. A relatively new one of these worries is the matter of energy security. Emerging in the past several years, this concern is raised in almost every meeting, summit and report, and EU leaders also mention it constantly. Javier Solana, the EU security and foreign policy representative, is the latest leader to voice this concern. Proclaiming his anxiety in a dramatic way at the energy security conference held this week in Brussels, he gave the following message: “Today the struggles to be made in the energy field may take the place of past struggles to conquer land. We should take our energy wherever we find it. Even though energy markets are becoming increasingly global, today a large section of the worlds’ gas and petroleum reserves are located in unstable and non-democratic regions."

WorldNetDaily: Soros urges EU to forget constitution, challenge U.S.

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Soros urges EU to forget constitution, challenge U.S.

Billionaire financier and political activist George Soros advised a major European Union policy group this week that the EU should scrap its plan to form a constitution and, instead, embrace his vision for a "global open society." Speaking before the European Policy Center in Brussels, the Hungarian-born U.S. citizen and head of the Open Society Institute praised the EU as an "inspiring" example of an "open society," with none of its members dominating the others and human rights its central tenet, reported the EU Observer.

Citing the 20th-century sociologist, Karl Popper, Soros hailed the development of the EU by the "process of piecemeal social engineering ... directed by a far-sighted, purposeful elite who recognized that perfection is unattainable."

Soros urged the EU to "shelve" its proposed constitution, calling it "an over-ambitious step" in light of its rejection last year in referendums by voters in the Netherlands and France.Soros proposed that the constitution be "unbundled and presented piecemeal," particularly those reforms that would give Europe a "common EU foreign policy" to better challenge the U.S. "That is the one part of the European constitution that urgently needs to be rescued," he said.

"The United States used to be the dominant power and set the agenda for the world. But President George W. Bush's war on terror undermined the basic principles of American democracy by expanding executive powers." The U.S. is "no longer in the position to set the agenda in the world," he said. Soros called on the Europe to "play a more active role than it did in the past," noting the rising threat from Russia. "I have bad news on Russia," he said, noting that it "has emerged as an authoritarian state" and was using natural resources to "assert its power."

albawaba.com:EU membership will connect civilizations, says Turkish PM

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EU membership will connect civilizations, says Turkish PM

Prime Minister Erdogan stressed that Turkey is pushing ahead with deep economic, political and social reforms, which are essential if the country is to qualify for EU membership. The impact of these structural reforms has already been felt, he said. “It is a silent revolution.” His government would continue the responsible management of the economy that resulted in 7.6% growth last year and brought inflation and public spending under control. “We have not compromised on our fiscal discipline and will not in the future,” Erdogan promised.

Despite the roadblocks, Babacan said that Turkey would not walk away from its negotiations with the EU. “We will always be there to talk.” From his perspective as leader of a country that recently joined the EU, Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, said that the road to membership is painful. But he denied that double standards have been applied to Turkey. Such allegations are “nothing but false illusions”, he added. “The success of the negotiations will depend on the resolve and courage of people to make the necessary but not always popular decisions. There is a long way to go, but I have no doubt that one day the EU will welcome Turkey into the family.” The President concluded: “Europe needs Turkey and Turkey needs Europe.”

M&C News: Is 'new Europe' growing wary of Washington?

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Is 'new Europe' growing wary of Washington?

Berlin - US President George W Bush and his key security advisers fly to the Latvian capital Riga for a NATO summit this month just as relations between Washington and its Eastern European allies appear to be undergoing another change in mood.

More recently, however, a more sceptical approach to falling in behind Washington appears to be be taking shape in parts of Central and Eastern Europe following Iraq's plunge into chaos and a change to governments in many CEE countries which are less enthusiastic about adhering too closely to the US line.

Now, with the experience of being in the club, and of Russia trying to drive a wedge between members, they're leading the call for more common EU policies,' said Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia.

Indystar.com: Marriage no longer in fashion in France - by Molly Moore


For the complete report in IndyStar.com click on this link

Marriage no longer in fashion in France - by Molly Moore

PARIS -- Sandrine Folet and Lucas Titouh have two children, a stylish Paris apartment and a 15-year-old partnership. They have no intention of getting married. "We don't feel the need to get married," said Folet, 36, who has known Titouh, 40, since she was a teen. "I don't know many people in our age group who are married."

In France, the country that evokes more images of romance than perhaps any other, marriage has increasingly fallen out of favor. Growing numbers of couples build family lives without religious or civil approval of their partnerships. In the past generation, the French marriage rate has plunged more than 30 percent, even as population and birthrates have been rising.

"Marriage doesn't have the same importance as it used to," said France Prioux, who directs research on changing social trends for France's National Institute of Demographic Studies. "It will never become as frequent as it once was."

Mail and Guardian: Rwandans protest against France over 1994 genocide - by Gabriel Gabiro

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Rwandans protest against France over 1994 genocide - by Gabriel Gabiro

More than 25 000 angry Rwandans protested in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, on Thursday over France's alleged complicity in the 1994 genocide after a French judge called for the prosecution of President Paul Kagame and associates. Led by genocide survivors and community leaders, thousands paraded through the streets to Rwanda's Amahoro National Stadium, which filled to more than its 25 000-capacity, a media correspondent on the scene said. Carrying signs reading "France = genocide", "France get out of Rwanda", "The hell with French imperialism", and "Stop shielding killers", the marchers converged on the stadium for the rally to be aired live on radio, he said.

11/23/06

M&C: Norway`s Labor party back as leader

For the complete report in the M&C click on this link

OSLO, Norway (UPI) -- Norway`s Labor is back as the dominant party, ahead of the Progress party in the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, says a poll. The November opinion poll done by Norstat for Norwegian Broadcasting, NRK, showed Labor picking up 1.7 percentage points for the month to reach 28.6 percent, while the Progress party gave up 4.2 points to 27.7 percent, Aftenposten reported Thursday.

Stoltenberg attributed Labor`s strength to the coalition making good on election promises.

EuroNews : No quick solution to post-election uncertainty in the Netherlands

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No quick solution to post-election uncertainty in the Netherlands

There is disappointment for those who thought the Dutch elections would provide a quick answer on the make-up of the next government. Queen Beatrix is expected to name a mediator to start a lengthy process of working out the shape of a coalition of several parties. The incumbent Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats won the most seats, but not a majority. What is clear is that the main centrist parties lost votes to the far left and right. The far-left Socialists, led by Jan Marijinissen, became the third largest party, and an anti-immigration party won nine seats. That means the current Christian Democrats coalition cannot rule, and neither can the current Labour-led alliance.

Balkenende has described the election results as complicated and says it will take time to find solutions. Observers say the main parties decided to largely focus on the economy and not immigration during campaigning, misreading the concerns of many voters.

Playfulls.com: More Mosques Being Built In Germany

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More Mosques Being Built In Germany

The number of mosques in Germany has risen by more than 10 per cent in the past two years and many more are under construction, the Central Institute of Islamic Archives said Thursday. The head of the archives, Salim Abdullah, said Muslims in Germany could visit 159 mosques with domes and minarets, compared to 141 in 2004. In addition, some 128 mosques are under construction, Abdullah told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The figures are contained in a study that is due to be released next month by the institute, which is based in the town of Soest.

Playfulls.com: More Mosques Being Built In Germany

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More Mosques Being Built In Germany

The number of mosques in Germany has risen by more than 10 per cent in the past two years and many more are under construction, the Central Institute of Islamic Archives said Thursday. The head of the archives, Salim Abdullah, said Muslims in Germany could visit 159 mosques with domes and minarets, compared to 141 in 2004. In addition, some 128 mosques are under construction, Abdullah told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The figures are contained in a study that is due to be released next month by the institute, which is based in the town of Soest.

IHT: Champagne for the socialists following Dutch elections

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Champagne for the socialists following Dutch elections

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: It was champagne for the Socialists after Wednesday's Dutch elections. Socialist Party leader Jan Marijnissen, a balding 53-year-old former welder, may have come in third, but he was the big winner in the balloting, snatching 26 seats — nearly three times the nine seats his party won in 2003, according to unofficial results.

Marijnissen could now become a key power broker in what analysts expect to be drawn out haggling between parties to build a new ruling coalition. Both Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose Christian Democrats again won the most seats, and Labor Party leader Wouter Bos were quick to congratulate a potential coalition partner.Note EU-Digest:Mr. Jan Marijnissen is not known for being a strong proponent for the EU.

11/22/06

A special EU-Digest Report: The Netherlands: Trying to Find Itself Again – by Rick Morren

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A special EU-Digest Report: The Netherlands: Trying to Find Itself Again – by Rick Morren

The fact that the Dutch are able to successfully market Santa Claus twice in December, first to celebrate “Sinterklaas” on December the 5th and then again as the “Christmas man” (Kerstman) on the 25th , tells you something about this country of some 16 million people. The love of making money is in their blood.

But there is something new going on in the Netherlands. Sometimes change is more clearly seen by those who have been away from the country for a while. The tolerant and vibrant Netherlands I knew of yesterday is gone. Racism, segregation, intolerance, religion, class struggle, belt tightening, laziness, obesity, are all words appearing in the Dutch press these day, describing what seems to be a divided nation.

To make matters worse the Dutch population has not only become culturally Americanized, they also reflect this in their spending habits. The November issue of “Dutch Management Team” notes that Dutch consumers are buying more (245 billion EUROS) than they are earning (237 billion).

The US love for automobiles and fast food has also become a passion for the Dutch, regardless of the fact that the country has one of the best public transport systems in the world and that gas costs the equivalent of $6.00 per gallon here. Two and three car families are now considered pretty normal. As a result the Netherlands road network becomes gridlocked from 8 to 11 am and again from 4 to 7 pm. It also turned many of the ‘slim and trim’ Dutch, who in the past considered biking as a passion, into obese fast food junkies. Long live the free market system?

Another alarming survey shows that the majority of Dutch employees, who get an average of 6 weeks of paid vacation per year, are considered lazy by most of their employers. The Dutch might have copied some of the vices of America, but certainly not the work ethic.

Playfuls.com: Weimar Triangle Leaders To Meet In Germany On December 5

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Weimar Triangle Leaders To Meet In Germany On December 5

The leaders of Germany, France and Poland will meet December 5 in Germany for a Weimar Triangle summit, a spokesman for the German government said Wednesday. The meeting at Mettlach in Saarland brings together French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish President Lech Kaczynski. It will be held in place of a meeting cancelled in July because of Kaczynski's illness.

Media in Poland has speculated whether Kaczynski had deliberately cancelled that meeting in reaction to a satirical article in a German newspaper lampooning both him and his identical twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Forbes.com: Italy-French summit to explore Alitalia, Air France alliance

Italy-French summit to explore Alitalia, Air France alliance - report - Forbes.com

Italy-French summit to explore Alitalia, Air France alliance

The possibility of an alliance between Alitalia SpA and Air France will be explored at Friday's meeting between the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and his French counterpart Jacques Chiraq, Radiocor news agency said, citing diplomatic sources. 'Prodi is taking a keen interest (in Alitalia's future). It will be explored whether conditions for an alliance between Alitalia and Air France exist,' the sources told Radiocor.

The summit will be held in the city of Lucca, northern central Italy.

The Guardian: Dutch recover their courage - by Nicholas Watt

For the complete report in the Guardian Unlimited click on this link

Dutch recover their courage - by Nicholas Watt

Standing bolt upright in a tightly fitting suit, which showed the contours of a thick bullet-proof vest underneath, the armed bodyguard could barely contain the giggles. "Yes, you'd better keep that a secret," he joked with a Greenpeace protester when Guardian Unlimited asked Joris Thyssew how he had managed to infiltrate the Dutch prime minister's final election rally.

The friendly encounter on the steps of the main hall at the Keukenhof - the most famous tulip garden in the Netherlands - shows how traditional Dutch manners have returned to the Netherlands after four politically unstable years. Had Mr Thyssew absailed in front of the prime minister live on television a few years ago, when the Netherlands was in the throes of a bitter debate about its one million Muslims, he could have expected to have been bundled away in the manner of a British police operation.Today's general election is therefore likely to mark the end of the Dutch political malaise as Mr Balkenende's Christian Democrats, who were 16 points behind the opposition Labour party (PvdA) earlier this year, stage a remarkable political comeback.

Reuters AlertNet - ANALYSIS-Iraq, U.S. election losses trail Bush to Europe - by Caren Bohan

For the complete report from Reuters AlertNet please click on this link

ANALYSIS-Iraq, U.S. election losses trail Bush to Europe - by Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - When President George W. Bush visits Europe next week for the first time since crushing U.S. election losses, allies will find him hobbled by the defeat and chastened by the clamor for change in Iraq. Foreign policy experts and analysts predict at least a glimmer of the humility in international affairs that Bush promised six years ago when he first won the White House but hardly a wholesale rollback of the hawkish policies that angered many European leaders.

"European allies expect a turn back toward the center and a kinder and gentler America," said Charles Kupchan, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations.

News24: Morocco route to Europe replaced

For the full report in News24 click on this link

For west Africans dreaming of reaching the European "El Dorado", a new "Libyan route" has replaced the once-favoured and more direct path through Morocco, after Rabat stepped up controls to stem this human tide north. Ibrahim Diarra, a migrant biding time in the north Malian city of Gao, a key transit point for Europe-bound migrants at the edge of the desert, said: "It is practically impossible to go through Morocco anymore. The Moroccan police are very vigilant."

Morocco, under European pressure, increased surveillance after repeated attempts last year by African migrants to enter the Spanish - and hence European Union - territories of Ceuta and Melilla.

11/21/06

ZAMAN DAILY : 12 Turkish Origin Candidates to Run in Nov. 22 Dutch Elections


For the complete report in the ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER click on this link

12 Turkish Origin Candidates to Run in Nov. 22 Dutch Elections

Twelve candidates of Turkish origin from seven different parties will run in the upcoming elections in the Netherlands. In September, three Turkish candidates had been previously expelled from their parties because of their refusal to accept recognition of an Armenian genocide.

The Turkish origin candidates are running for the Christian Democrats (CDA), the Labor Party (PvdA), Democrat 66 party (D'66), Liberal Party (VVD) and several smaller right-wing parties.

Energy Must Not Be "geopolitical Bargaining Chip," Warns EU


World News - Playfuls.com - Business & World

"Energy Must Not Be 'geopolitical Bargaining Chip,' Warns EU

The European Union's top trade official on Monday warned against allowing energy resources to become a "geopolitical bargaining chip" among nations.

In comments made ahead of an EU-Russia summit expected to focus on EU demands for better access to Moscow's vast oil and gas resources, European trade chief Peter Mandelson made another push for energy issues to be covered in the bloc's planned trade pact with Russia. "

IOL: EU Crises looming ?-Turkey will not respond to Cyprus deadline


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EU Crises looming? - Turkey will not respond to Cyprus deadline

Turkey’s foreign minister today said there would be no response to deadlines on the Cyprus problem, a day after the European Union warned Turkey that it must speed up efforts to resolve the stalemate. “Issues like Cyprus cannot be solved by blackmail or setting deadlines,” said foreign minister Abdullah Gul.

Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen, whose country now holds the rotating EU presidency, said time was running out for Turkey and that its membership bid faced “an uncertain future” if the Cyprus problem remained unsolved. Note

EU-Digest: The Cyprus situation is far more complicated than is presently being expressed by the Finish Presidency of the EU. Half of Cyprus was let in as a EU member while the Charter cleary points out that no country can be admitted into the EU while there is a political dispute going on. In addition the Turkish half of Cyprus voted for unification in a UN supervised vote, while the Greek half voted against. The Cyprus question as a whole needs to be solved first before any ultimatums are passed out. Either we want Turkey in the EU or not, but playing "cat and mouse" is not fair.

ekathimerini.com: Greece, UK talk Turkey

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Greece, UK talk Turkey

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is to discuss Turkey's bid to join the European Union with his British counterpart Tony Blair in London this afternoon in an attempt to garner Britain's support ahead of a December 6 European Union deadline for Ankara to honor its commitments to Cyprus. The meeting comes a day after Brussels said that it would give Ankara until the first week of December to respect its commitments as an EU candidate state and open its air and sea ports to Cyprus, which is already an EU member state.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who is accompanying Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on their trip, described the EU's decision as «positive.» Greek diplomats in London said that Karamanlis and Bakoyannis planned to gauge the direction of British policy on Turkey's EU bid, particularly as regards proposals to «freeze» Turkey's accession talks should Ankara remain intransigent on key demands. Bakoyannis is also due to discuss Turkey and Cyprus in talks with her British counterpart Margaret Beckett and with Minister for Europe Geoff Hoon.

Bloomberg.com: France, Six Nations Sign Accord on EURO 10 Billion Iter Reactor - Tom Cahill


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France, Six Nations Sign Accord on EURO 10 Billion Iter Reactor - Tom Cahill

France, the U.S. and five other nations signed a 10 billion euro ($12.8 billion) agreement to build an experimental nuclear-fusion reactor that one day could replace conventional nuclear power plants. The U.S., South Korea, China, India, Japan, Russia and the European Union agreed to finance and share the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, at a ceremony at France's Elysees Palace in Paris today.

France, which operates 58 nuclear reactors, fought hard to host the project in southern France, winning out over Japan. French companies including Areva SA, the world's biggest maker of nuclear reactors and Alstom SA, a maker of power stations, will compete with companies such as Toshiba Corp., General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co. to build the project.

The Stree: Europe Clears Diabetes Drug - by Althea Chang

For the complete report in The Street click on this link

Europe Clears Diabetes Drug - by Althea Chang

European regulators approved the drug Byetta from Eli Lilly.Byetta is designed to enhance blood-sugar control in patients who haven't seen an adequate improvement using the maximum tolerated doses of the commonly used drugs metformin or sulfonylurea. The approval follows a positive opinion issued by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use at the European Medicines Agency. The regulators based their decision on data from 35 studies on nearly 4,000 individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The clinical results showed that the drug helped patients improve long-term blood-sugar control by lowering both fasting and post-meal glucose levels. Patients also lost weight thanks to their treatment.

Guardian Unlimited: Britain exposed as Europe's card fraud capital


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Britain exposed as Europe's card fraud capital

Britain has emerged as the card fraud capital of Europe, according to a report published today. Almost 20% of the adult population, equivalent to more than seven million people, have fallen victim to card fraud, research from the European Security Transport Association (Esta) showed.

According to the report, British adults are almost twice as much at risk of being the target of a credit or debit card scam as adults in seven other European countries.

11/20/06

Naharnet Newsdesk - French Peacekeepers Prepare Guns Against Israeli Warplanes


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French Peacekeepers Prepare Guns Against Israeli Warplanes

French U.N. anti-aircraft batteries on Friday took "preparatory steps" to respond when Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace despite global criticism of such incursions, a U.N. spokesman said.
"The anti-aircraft unit of the (French) battalion took initial preparatory steps to respond to these actions," Milos Strugar, spokesman of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),

He said "UNIFIL observed and reported 14 Israeli air violations this morning, on November 17, 2006, and 11 of these violations occurred in the area of operation of the French battalion with UNIFIL." Commander French General Alain Pellegrini of UNIFIL "strongly protested to the Israeli authorities and asked them to cease these actions which are unacceptable and in violation of Resolution 1701," the spokesman said.

United Press International: Europe wants US to join battle-by stefan Nicola

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Europe wants US to join battle-by Stefan Nicola

Germany and Britain have urged the U.S. government to do more to fight climate change, amid hopes the Democratic midterm election victory can bring about a policy change in Washington. As environmental experts and politicians in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, at the U.N. Climate Change Conference were bickering about the look of a post-Kyoto protocol to fight global warming, Germany experienced its warmest November day in more than a decade.

Temperatures of up to 69 degrees Fahrenheit -- the most since the first climate data was recorded down some 120 years ago -- delivered a timely warning. No wonder officials in Europe have decided to put climate change high on their agenda.

CFP: America’s Future is Red, Europe’s is Green - Paul Belien

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America’s Future is Red, Europe’s is Green - Paul Belien

The American mid-term elections are being widely discussed in Europe. The European media regard the results as proof that “Old Europe” was right all along, while America was wrong. In the center-right Parisian paper Le Figaro, Nicole Bacharan, a French political scientist and historian, wrote that the elections showed that “America is neither ‘red’ nor ‘blue.’ The majority votes centrist.” She also notes that, following the elections, the French have softened their view on the US because “The values and sensibilities of the Democrats seem to be closer [to those of the French]. And one can detect, in the new political constellation, a return to a less interventionist America.”

History is still to decide whether the Wahhabite, the moderate Sunni or the Shi’a will rule in Iraq, but one thing is already certain. While America’s future will still most likely be “red,” Europe’s will be “green” – the colour of Islam.

Khaleej Times Online - Why Europe looks like an extended vacation - by M.N. Hebbar

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Why Europe looks like an extended vacation - by M.N. Hebbar

AROUND the chancelleries of Europe and the dining tables of Brussels’ Eurocrats, officials sip exquisite wines and pore over battle plans to rescue and revitalise a dormant EU and offer it an opportunity to determine a viable future or fade into pathetic irrelevance. Strangely, prospects are bright for both scenarios. If Europe seems to be on extended vacation, it’s because the ‘pause’ envisaged by Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, has lost its way even as he struggles to sort out the institutional reforms that the EU has been crying out for ever since the EU constitutional treaty was blocked by French and Dutch ‘No’ votes in the referendums. The deadlock between the member states has now extended to a ‘pause’ to enlargement as well. There will be no more admission of new members after Rumania and Bulgaria.

‘Enlargement’ has now become a jittery word. It brings forth equally jittery responses such as ‘absorption capacity’, implying that new members will be sucked into the system and vanish, or at least need to be painfully digested. The member states know that there is a backlash against the inexorable enlargement process, an “enlargement fatigue”, especially in founder member states such as France.

BBC NEWS: Dutch emerge from doldrums - by Sam Wilson

For the complete report in BBC NEWS click on this link

After a tumultuous five years, it seems the Dutch may be sailing back into calmer waters. Two high-profile murders, a crisis over relations with Muslims and tensions with the EU shook the Netherlands' relaxed and confident outlook deeply.

But a strong economic recovery has lifted spirits, and sparked a remarkable political turnaround ahead of Wednesday's general election.

The European Union is being unfair with Turkey

"The European Union is being unfair with Turkey

By Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Commentary by
Monday, November 20, 2006

Turkey has been given what looks like an ultimatum from the European Union Commission: Open your ports for ships from Cyprus within a month, or you may risk a halt to the EU accession talks now under way. At the same time, the Commission's latest report on Turkey's progress toward accession notes that political reforms have slowed down, further calling into question the country's future EU membership."

More:The Daily Star - Opinion Articles

11/19/06

Woman'Life: What are the risks associated with physical activity? - European recommendations

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What are the risks associated with physical activity? - European recommendations

No action is without risk and exercise is no exception. For example, the risk of sudden cardiac death increases by a factor of 5 during vigorous exercise for fit individuals and by a factor of 56 for unfit individuals. There is also an increased risk of injury, particularly to feet, ankles and knees, while taking part in exercise or vigorous sports. Finally, much press attention has focussed on "exercise addiction", whereby people become 'hooked' on exercise to the detriment of other aspects of life such as work and social relationships.

For many years, exercise and health promoters adopted training guidelines for the improvement of cardiovascular fitness that involved quite vigorous exercise using large muscle groups in continuous work for a minimum of 20 minutes at a vigorous intensity (equivalent to 60-80% of maximum heart rate). The most recent recommendations in Europe are for regular bouts of activity at moderate levels of intensity. Moderate intensity physical activity, equivalent to brisk walking, is thought to be achievable by a much larger percentage of the population as it can be reasonably incorporated into daily routines and is less physically demanding. A daily 20-minute brisk walk will make a difference of 5 kgs per year and for most people there will be improvements in cardiovascular fitness and other physical and mental health benefits. Current recommendations emphasise brisk walking on most or all of the days of the week for 30 minutes at a time. Evidence suggests that the same amount of exercise taken in two or three shorter bouts can be almost as effective and may also be more manageable on a daily basis.

JURIST - Germany worried about fortunes of EU constitution in French presidential race - by Gabriel Haboubi

JURIST - Paper Chase: Germany worried about fortunes of EU constitution in French presidential race - by Gabriel Haboubi

German officials have expressed some concern about the future of the proposed European Constitution in light of positions taken by two leading rivals for the French presidency. Newly-chosen French Socialist Party candidate Segolene Royal, and conservative aspirant Nicolas Sarkozy have both shown reservations about approving the charter after French voters rejected it last May. Royal, an initial supporter of the pact, backtracked on it during the past year and Sarkozy has advocated a weaker version of the treaty.