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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:53:20 PM EST
Czech Republic 'planning to delay signing Lisbon treaty' - Times Online

EU leaders are said to be furious that the Czech Republic is planning to delay signing the Lisbon treaty for up to six months even if the Irish vote "yes" in their referendum next month.

The country might even try to delay it until after the British general election campaign when a Tory victory would see the question put to voters by David Cameron.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped to draw up the treaty after the French and Dutch voted against its predecessor, the EU Constitution, has warned Prague that it faces "consequences" if it does not swiftly follow an Irish "yes" with its own ratification.

The outburst followed a private warning from Jan Fischer, the Czech caretaker Prime Minister, to his EU counterparts over dinner at their summit in Brussels last Thursday, it has emerged.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Czech delay could mean British referendum on Lisbon Treaty - Telegraph
David Cameron might be able to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because the Czech Republic will probably delay its ratification of the agreement until after a general election in Britain, European Union leaders have been told.

Jan Fischer, the Czech prime minister, has privately warned other EU leaders that a legal challenge could impose a "long delay" on his country's ratification, perhaps until after the British election, widely expected next May.

Mr Cameron has pledged to put the Lisbon Treaty, formerly the European Union's constitution, to a popular vote in Britain as long as it has not been ratified by all 27 member states. If every country has given its approval and the Treaty has officially come into force, Mr Cameron's options would be extremely limited.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh. Crap.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:02:38 PM EST
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Cool; both Czech and Brit can leave the EU.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Russia's Medvedev to make historic state visit to Switzerland | France 24
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to discuss the economic crisis, among other bilateral issues, with his Swiss counterpart when he makes the first state visit of a Russian President to Switzerland on Monday.

AFP - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to discuss the economic crisis, bilateral issues and the reform of the G20 with his Swiss counterpart when he makes a state visit to Switzerland Monday, said a Swiss government spokeswoman.
  
Medvedev is scheduled to meet Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz Monday when they will also broach topics surrounding "security policies in Europe in reference to Switzerland's mandate as a mediator between Russia and Georgia," said the spokeswoman.
  
Bern has been representing the interests of the two countries in their respective capitals.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Clearstream trial: timeline of key events - Telegraph
France's "trial of the century" will open in Paris on Monday when Dominique de Villepin, a former prime minister, stands accused of running a smear campaign to destroy Nicolas Sarkozy's bid for the presidency.

Below is a timeline of key events.

January 2004: Then-Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin asks a retired general to investigate lists naming people alleged to have secret accounts with Luxembourg clearing house Clearstream used to hold bribes.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:02:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France's Epic Political Rivalry: Villepin on Trial Over Alleged Plot to Slander Sarkozy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Secret bank accounts, forged lists of names, ex-spies -- and two political rivals who wanted to destroy each other. The trial of France's former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin starts on Monday. His involvement in a financial scandal earned him the personal enmity of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It is a first for France's Fifth Republic, a legal drama of historic dimensions and a personal showdown between the current president and his former archrival in the French conservatives. On Monday, the trial begins of the former prime minister -- and with it a media storm.

Former Prime Minster Dominique de Villepin and a handful of prominent fellow defendants are faced with charges relating to their role in the shady Clearstream scandal. If Villepin is found guilty it would mark the political demise of a man who in February 2003, as French foreign minister, gave an outstanding performance at the UN General Assembly in New York when he outlined "Old Europe's" opposition to the US plans to invade Iraq.

Now the gifted poet and author of historical works is seeing his past finally catch up with him. The Clearstream affair first came to light in 2004 with allegations surrounding accounts at a subsidiary of Deutsche Börse, the German stock exchange. Lists suddenly appeared which seemed to prove that members of the elite of French society held secret accounts with the Luxembourg-based clearing house -- including President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then a cabinet minister.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Offensive start for Villepin on first day of trial | France 24
A trial pitting President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) against his arch rival, former PM Dominique de Villepin (left), opened on Monday amid questions of whether de Villepin can get a fair trial with the sitting president as a plaintiff.

One of the most acrimonious rivalries in recent French politics got under way Monday with the opening of a trial in which former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is accused of plotting to defame Nicolas Sarkozy before he became president by falsely accusing him of receiving kickbacks.


As Villepin arrived at the courthouse on Monday flanked by his wife and children, he insisted that the case was being propelled by Sarkozy alone.

 

"I am here because of one man's will," he said upon arriving at court. "I am here because of the dogged determination of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy."

 

"I will come out of this a free man and exonerated," he told reporters. "I know that truth will prevail."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
De Villepin attacks Nicolas Sarkozy as Clearstream trial begins - Telegraph
Dominique de Villepin, the former French prime minister, lashed out at his rival Nicolas Sarkozy as he went on trial on charges of plotting to smear the president.

"I am here because of the will of one man, I am here because of the dogged determination of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy," he said before entering the courtroom.

"I will come out of this a free man and exonerated," he said, adding that "I know that truth will prevail."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearstream flashbacks on ET: here and here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 02:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Berlusconi advocates creation of `core Europe' if Ireland says No again

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has suggested that if the Irish people vote against the Lisbon Treaty a second time, a group of European Union member states should move to create a "core Europe" in order to implement the treaty.

"If the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform does not pass, we need to completely revisit the current functioning of Europe to create a core of states that operate beyond unanimity," said Mr Berlusconi on Friday (18 September) at a press conference after meeting with Premier Slovenian Borut Pahor, according to Italian state broadcaster RAI News 24.

Mr Berlusconi says a 'core Europe' will need to be built if Ireland says No again

Mr Pahor was in Italy for a working visit to discuss greater economic co-operation between Rome and Ljubljana, talks on companies from the neighbouring entering foreign markets jointly, and the drafting of budgets in the current economic crisis.

"Europe cannot truly take decisions because decisions must be taken unanimously and that cannot continue," said Mr Berlusconi.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:03:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, what we need is a charismatic leader, a decision maker, a man undistracted by mere nationalist concerns, maybe a man who can never go back to his country.

His demands are small, a discreet but regular supply of young girls is the merest bauble he could ask that we, a grateful europe, should supply for the benevolence of his grace.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not as if this idea is even new:

Multi-speed Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe (called also variable geometry Europe or Core Europe depending on the form it would take in practice) is a concept that has been debated for years in European political circles, as a way to solve some institutional issues. It is currently possible for a minimum of eight EU member states to use enhanced co-operation, but this has not yet been used.

German Wikipedia dates the discussion to 2003.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:20:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue only became current after the Nice Treary. Before that there was hope of being able to advance in unison.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Greater EU harmony with foreign service, says diplomat

EUOBSERVER / SHANGHAI - An EU diplomatic service would greatly help the bloc define more unified positions when dealing with external countries says the European Commission's top representative in China.

Ambassador Serge Abou also sees future EU ambassadors becoming "primus inter pares [first among equals]" in areas of EU competence, when compared to member state diplomats working overseas.

Serge Abou, European commission ambassador to China

"Their role will not be to represent the view of France, Germany or Spain but to represent the views of all of us [27 member states]," the Frenchman with over 35 years experience working in the European Commission told EUobserver in a recent interview.

The commission currently has over 150 delegations overseas, primarily dealing with issues where member states have handed authority over to the Brussels-based institution.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Report: Independent Experts Blame Georgia for South Ossetia War - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

An EU expert commission has put the blame for last summer's South Ossetia war on Georgia, but also holds Russia partly responsible, SPIEGEL has learned. The findings, which are still under wraps, are likely to reignite the debate on the causes of the war when they are published.

The independent commission appointed by the European Union to investigate the war between Georgia and Russia last summer has concluded that Tbilisi is responsible for causing the five-day conflict, SPIEGEL has learned.

According to diplomats in Brussels who are familiar with the contents of the secret document, the EU experts also assign part of the responsibility for the war to Russia, however. The report, which stems from an initiative by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his colleagues from the Benelux countries, concludes that Moscow escalated the conflict through its massive deployment of troops.

The international commission, which is headed by Heidi Tagliavini, wants to keep its findings under wraps until next week because the Swiss diplomat first wants to present the controversial results to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. After that, the ambassadors of the 27 EU member states in Brussels and the Georgian and Russian governments will be simultaneously informed of the commission's findings.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU turns blind eye to 'inhuman' Italy-Libya migrant pact, watchdog says

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - While Italy's policy of intercepting and returning migrant boats to Libya - in breach of international and European law according to a new report - dumps potential refugees in a country where they cannot make asylum claims and are arrested, kept for ransom and in some cases simply left in the desert to die, the EU remains keen to move forward with enhancing ties with Tripoli.

A 92-page Human Rights Watch report, released on Monday (21 September) as EU justice and home affairs ministers were gathering in Brussels for their monthly meeting, with immigration high on the agenda, examines what it describes as the "brutal" treatment of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya through the eyes of those who have managed to leave and are currently in Italy and Malta.

"Conditions ... generally qualify as inhuman and degrading," the report accuses.

"One member state is going out and openly violating international law by intercepting migrants and maybe many refugees, sending them off to undergo degrading treatment, giving them no opportunity to seek asylum," Bill Frelick, author of the report told EUobserver.

"Can Europe wash its hands of this?" he asked.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian cabinet minister accuses Left of plotting coup - Telegraph
An Italian cabinet minister sparked outrage on Monday when he accused Left-wing critics of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, of plotting a "coup".

Renato Brunetta, the public administration minister and a member of Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, said the Left should all "go away and die".

Mr Berlusconi, 72, has been dogged by scandal for the entire summer-long scandal and insists that all the claims are all part of a plot to discredit him.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing we haven't read before from the EuroTrib expert reporting byline of DoDo

Trains in Spain signal the future - BBC News

The 0830 service from Madrid to Barcelona departs promptly and without fuss.
With no lengthy check-in queues, and a slick security control, many passengers had turned up at the Spanish capital's Atocha rail terminal at the last minute, safe in the knowledge that they would still catch their train.
On board, continental breakfast and the morning newspapers are digested, as the city suburbs whizz by. At this hour, the clientele are mostly business-types - people who would previously have made the trip by air, but now prefer the train.
"Door-to-door, I find the train is faster," explains Francisco Lopez, travelling to meet new work colleagues in the Catalan capital.


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they couldn't help:

BBC NEWS | Europe | Trains in Spain signal the future

"The Spanish model is very different from the populist approach of France - where passengers pay lower fares for a lower standard of service," explains Prof Josep Sayeras of the Esade Business School in Barcelona."


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lower standard of service!!??

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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