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by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:20:02 PM EST
London Bombings Failed to Unify Europe's Anti-Terror Fight | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Three years after Islamist extremists killed 52 commuters in attacks on London's public transportation system, the fight against terrorism in the Europe Union remains fragmented, experts say.

The EU rushed to show its unity in the weeks after the July 7, 2005 bombing of three London Underground trains and a bus. The EU drew up anti-terror pacts and appointed a counter-terrorism coordinator. Millions of euros were earmarked to fund studies analyzing the dangers posed by terrorism.

The result has been an information overload with very little to show for it, said Annegret Bendiek of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. It can feel like there is a certain amount of "terror hype" within the European Union, Bendiek said.

But there have been some "hidden successes," she said. Two years ago, Scotland Yard prevented a plot involving liquid explosives. Germany arrested two alleged "suitcase bombers," albeit only after their poorly-made bombs failed to go off as planned.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DW:
It can feel like there is a certain amount of "terror hype" within the European Union, Bendiek said.

It's difficult to win against something which barely exists.

DW:

wo years ago, Scotland Yard prevented a plot involving liquid explosives. Germany arrested two alleged "suitcase bombers," albeit only after their poorly-made bombs failed to go off as planned.

The 'liquid explosives' plot was debunked soundly. The suitcase bombers weren't stopped until they tried to blow up some suitcases.

So - where's the terror? Not that I'm in much of a hurry to see more people being blown up, but some evidence for actual terror networks planning actual attacks which aren't amateurish, silly or just plain made-up might go some way to justifying the hysterical security pantomime of the last few years.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 06:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So - where's the terror? Not that I'm in much of a hurry to see more people being blown up, but some evidence for actual terror networks planning actual attacks which aren't amateurish, silly or just plain made-up might go some way to justifying the hysterical security pantomime of the last few years.

Well, there's ETA's well-documented network, and they successfully demolished a parking structure at Madrid's Barajas Airport in December 2006... But I suspect that's not what DW has in mind.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's frightening that the implication is that Muslim terror is the only kind that matters. Separatists, white supremacists, paramilitaries and others are all more of a real threat, but don't get anything like the media attention.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Austrian Government Headed for Early Elections | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Austrians will likely go to the polls in September after a leadership crisis brought an end to a partnership between Social Democrats and the conservative People's Party.

The government of Austria's Social Democratic Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer is coming to an end after the conservative People's Party called for early elections on Monday, July 7.

According to sources within the Social Democratic Party, Gusenbauer told the party leadership on Monday that he would not run for chancellor in the upcoming vote. He proposed current party leader and Transport Minister Werner Faymann as the new top candidate, Austrian media reported.

Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer, the leader of the People's Party, said the Social Democrats' current leadership crisis had led the cabinet into a "dead end" and elections by September were the only way out.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sad, sad, sad. The constant infighting hurt the SocDems (SPÖ, down 8 points to 27% since elections), less so the conservatives (ÖVP, town 1 point to 33%) The far-right FPÖ, which is scary without Haider too, profited (doubling to 21%), Greens less (14%, +3).

As far as I understand the story, the last episode concerned the EU. The SPÖ leaders announced an intention to hold referenda on future EU treaties in an LTE to a newspaper, and both the move and the way it was announced led to outrage within the party, within the coalition, within the population, and in the EU Commission.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The newspaper in question is Austria's leading tabloid which has a modus operandi similar to the Murdoch-press. Basically it bashes immigrants and Brussels for a living and was instrumental in the rise of the FPÖ. Given its abysmal performance since the election it seems that the SPÖ was running for cover and inadvertently gave the ÖVP an excuse to break the coalition.
by generic on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you flesh that out in a diary?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll do what I can. It will probably take some time though.
by generic on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! I was trying to make sense of things from dry news reports, but I'm not as plugged into Austrian news as I am into German ones... (that I no longer get ORF1 on cable also plays a role).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris in the EU's chair on economic policy -EUobserver

France is due to make its first appearance in the EU's economic policy chair today (7 July) as EU ministers meet to tackle two issues where Paris has previously sparked controversy: the European Central Bank's interest rate moves and measures to freeze oil prices.

Finance ministers from the 15 eurozone countries are meeting on Monday, followed on Tuesday by the first economic ministerial session conducted by France, which has just taken on the six-month presidency over the 27-nation European Union.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has questioned the ECB's move on interest rates

The eurogoup gathering comes after last week's move by the European Central Bank (ECB) to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point to 4.25, following a record rise of inflation in the single currency area to 4 percent in June.

While that figure is double the Frankfurt-based bank's goal of keeping the bloc's inflation close to 2 percent, the eurozone has at the same time recorded a slump in economic growth, with major European exporters saying that a stronger euro will harm their businesses.

Speaking at a meeting of his centre-right UMP party over the weekend, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that while he did not regret that he had in the past voted in favour of the ECB's monetary policy being independent, he has doubts about its current policy.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / France - Sarkozy's EU options seen as limited
The French presidency of the European Union will be an exercise in "crisis management", according to Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, in particular with rocketing oil prices and the rejection of the Lisbon treaty by Irish voters.

The undiplomatic assessment echoes analysts' expectations that France's presidency, which began last week, will be short on new projects and instead have to focus on salvaging Lisbon and seeking answers to the global energy shortage.

"I think the French presidency will be very much influenced by the current challenges. As far as I know they understand themselves that they are sitting in the chair more in terms of crisis management," Mr Steinbrück told the Financial Times in an interview.

He said Germany would do what it could to support the French presidency. However, in an unusually frank manner, he also made clear Berlin's opposition to one of Paris' priorities - an attempt to counter the effects of rising oil prices by capping value added tax on fuel.

"There are some specific questions where we do not agree ... For example I'm not in favour of decreasing taxation on fuel at this point. It is one of the arguments of the French presidency," Mr Steinbrück said.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:58:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boosting Renewables: Germany Plans 30 Offshore Wind Farms - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The energy debate is heating up in Germany with advocates of abandoning the planned nuclear phase-out pitted against those who argue that renewable energy is the way to go. Now the German government has said it plans to give a massive boost to wind power in the coming years.

Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said on Sunday that Berlin plans to build up to 30 offshore wind farms to meet the country's renewable energy targets. Speaking to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper he said the plan was to build some 2,000 windmills in the North Sea and Baltic Sea which would provide 11,000 megawatts of electricity.

"The price of oil has made this all the more pressing and the interest from investors shows that it is economically viable," Tiefensee said.

Berlin wants to reduce dependency on energy suppliers from overseas and Tiefensee says the government is aiming to obtain 25,000 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2030. The farms, which will cost €1 billion ($1.56 billion) each to construct, are to be located in relatively deep water and will require hundreds of kilometers of cables to bring the power generated to the mainland. The first wind farm is to be erected off Borkum Island in the North Sea next year.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A reporter who doesn't know that megawatts don't measure energy should not report on energy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and its 25,000 megawatts of new, off-shore capacity.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:06:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An easily-made slip, at least the meaning is clear... better 'Watts of energy' than 'Kilowatt-hours per year' or the usual newspaper standby 'enough power to light a 100W lightbulb' (err, so that'd be 100W then?)...
by bobince ([and](at)doxdesk(dot)[com]) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:27:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, 'kilowatt-hours per year' would make sense, in appropiate context. But the German government will NOT obtain 25,000 MW of energy, or average power, but generators with a maximum generating capacity of that amount. For measure, those generators would be capable of delivering energy of about 85 TWh per year (85,000,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year), or about 14% of current total generation (and 17% of current total consumption) in Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interview on the EU and the Balkans: 'Ignorance Is Rife and Many Prejudices Exist' - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The Balkans Stability Pact is coming to an end. Yet, the region is by no means stable. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview the outgoing EU Coordinator Erhard Busek weighs up the chances of a flourishing future for these countries and demands the EU open new accession talks.

 NATO troops at the Serb-Kosovo border: Serbia won't "easily give up its claim to the territory."

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Busek the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe was founded by the European Commission and 40 partner countries and organizations to help the former crisis region with reconstruction. You were the coordinator in Brussels for six years. What progress has been made?

Erhard Busek: The region has growth rates of between 5 and 10 percent. With regard to human rights, good laws are now in the process of being passed, but there still are problems implementing them. On the other hand, all elections in the region have been held without any hitches. That's a very good result, if you consider that democracy did not used to exist here.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You paint a very rosy picture: The parliamentary elections in Macedonia had to be repeated in some constituencies because of irregularities. A man was even killed.

Busek: You will find violence in Spain's Basque country and irregularities happen in Florida, as well as Italy. Sometimes we are too critical of the Balkans.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown urges Britons to cut food waste | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britons will today be urged to make saving food as important as saving energy, with the publication of a government report which reveals that more than 4m tonnes of food are wasted each year at a cost of hundreds of pounds per household.

The Cabinet Office review of food policy states that the UK throws away an annual 4.1m tonnes of edible goods, the equivalent of £420 for every home.

Though Downing Street is wary of hectoring voters about what they eat, the call for greater awareness will come from Gordon Brown on the first day of the G8 summit in Japan, where rising food and energy prices will dominate debate between world leaders.

On his way there yesterday, the prime minister referred to the report: "If we are to get food prices down, we must also do more to deal with unnecessary demand - such as all of us doing more to cut food waste which is costing the average household in Britain around £8 per week."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That people in the West throw away food was a new experience for me two decades ago. (Now of curse the rich, the young, the mall food court and hipermarket frequenters do it here, too.) But this is a strong part of the carefree-ness of throwaway society, so it will be hard to get people to drop the habit.

Say, I observed some guests that they find scraping out the last bits of peanut butter from the bottom of the bottle, or not opening any cold collation or salami they'd like but eat those already opened; simply annoying, too frustrating and too much an effort to bother.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French unions furious over Sarkozy strike comments

Several unions in France lashed out on Sunday at comments made the previous day by President Nicolas Sarkozy that striking in the country now has little effect, and said he is "playing with fire."

Sarkozy said during a national meeting of his ruling UMP party on Saturday that "France is changing much faster and much more deeply than we believe" and that "now, when there is a strike, no one notices".

Unions suggested Sarkozy's remarks could encourage strikers to up the ante and take more aggressive action in future so as to get the public's attention.

"The president of the Republic is playing with fire because if now, to make collective demands heard, the participants must use actions that bother others, we risk entering into a dangerous spiral for our country," an official from the powerful CGT union, Maryse Dumas, told AFP.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Small Talk: No sign of property blues in booming Bulgaria - Sharewatch, Business - The Independent

Everybody knows that property prices in the UK are heading south and that the spectre of negative equity is once again raising its head. Not so in Bulgaria, apparently.

Last week, Bulgarian Property Developments was shouting from the Sredna Gora mountain tops after it managed to sell its logistics park in the Black Sea town of Varna for €15m (£11.9m), the valuation given to it by Colliers last Dec-ember. That is important, says its chief executive, Ivo Hesmondhalgh, not only because it helps bump up the group's cash position, but also because it goes some way to proving to investors that the group's net asset value is sound.

Mr Hesmondhalgh was so chuffed, in fact, that he has decided to buy more shares in the group, a lucrative move since last Tuesday when BPD announced a 19p dividend. The shares closed on Friday at 51.25p, and investors still have until 11 July to buy before the stock goes ex-dividend, effectively meaning that buyers can pick up shares for about 32p. Analysts say that the group trades at a significant discount and that the stock actually should be worth 56p given the net asset value. Moreover, if the group's application to increase density in its major site in Sofia gets approval, this figure will rise to 71p.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The factors that keep Bulgaria going still remain true. It's the russians who are buying and a lot of greeks in certain areas. They still have good economies and have plenty of money.

I can recommend a fabulous flat in Sandanski if anyone is interested.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if the dependent gets a commission on sales of shares....  Good grief, that pimping borders common securities market regulations on licensing and advertising.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Missile Shield Plan Continues to Rankle | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Poland has sent its foreign minister to the United States in hopes of salvaging a missile defense deal. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made it clear to George W. Bush that he is unhappy about the missile shield.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski was travelling to Washington on Monday, July 7 to try and elicit guarantees of US military protection for his country.

Poland has demanded billions of dollars in US investment to upgrade its air defenses, including Patriot ground-to-air missiles.

Sikorski will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He will also meet Republican presidential candidate John McCain and speak to Democratic hopeful Barack Obama by phone, foreign ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski told AFP news agency.

"I think we've got a signal from the American side that they are ready to negotiate," Paszkowski told TVN 24.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poles visit U.S. for crisis talks on missile shield - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: Poland's top diplomats were in Washington on Monday in crisis talks to seek agreement with the United States over terms for deploying part of the Pentagon's anti-ballistic missile shield on its territory.

Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, who over the past several months has adopted a tough negotiating stance, met with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

After the meeting, Sikorski said, "We have clarified our position, and we had some productive ideas," The Associated Press reported from Washington. Asked if he could salvage a deal, Sikorski said, "There is no need to salvage, because talks have continued all along and will continue."

The talks took place a day before Rice was to arrive in the Czech Republic for a landmark signing ceremony. The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday that Washington and Prague would sign a legal accord allowing the Pentagon to base its radar defense missile system not far from the capital, Prague. That ceremony, analysts say, will complete the Czech Republic's goal of becoming integrated into the U.S. security and strategic system.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:38:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I reported in April that according to Pravda(!), Poland is in reality following a clever strategy to kill the missile defense project while appearing to want the opposite, by raising ever newer demands that are unacceptable to the Americans. Now it looks more likely that Pravda was into something.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had the same hope, but this tactic is strictly briar patch time for the Bushites. "O please don't force me to write billions in last minute checks to my buddies at Raytheon/Northrop/Lockheed/Grumman/Halliburton/Boeing/Carlyle~!" or whatever the offshore accounts of AmalgamatedDeath© are called these days. Scrooge McCheney, down in his counting rooms below the bunkers at the Naval Academy, doing things with lucre that we can't even imagine.

Nope; the Poles were bought last decade with a shiny new air force and they'll get bought again.

Put it on the list of things that we can blindly hope that Obama will change as he centers in on the White House.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:15:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU won over to France's hard line on immigration and asylum - EUobserver

EU interior ministers have thrown their weight behind French-drafted proposals that aim to give the 27-nation bloc new tools to crack down on clandestine migrants, rejecting concerns that they are erecting a wall around Europe.

"We can't leave immigration in complete disorder, it has to be organized," EU home affairs commissioner Jacques Barrot said on Monday (7 July), after a first informal meeting of 27 EU interior ministers under the French EU presidency.

Other member states have been won over to much of France's hard line on immigration.

"It is necessary to have a Europe that is of course open, but a Europe with rules of the game, a Europe that remains a land of asylum, but that does that in a harmonised manner," Mr Barrot added, according to Reuters.

France, which holds the six-month EU rotating presidency for the second half of 2008, is pushing for a so-called European Pact on Immigration and Asylum - an agreement setting out common EU guidelines for how to cope with rising numbers of migrants wanting to make their home in Europe.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Europe votes on anti-piracy laws

Europeans suspected of putting movies and music on file-sharing networks could be thrown off the web under proposals before Brussels.

The powers are in a raft of laws that aim to harmonise the regulations governing Europe's telecom markets.

Other amendments added to the packet of laws allow governments to decide which software can be used on the web.

Campaigners say the laws trample on personal privacy and turn net suppliers into copyright enforcers.

Piracy plan

MEPs are due to vote on the so-called Telecom Packet on 7 July. The core proposals in the packet were drawn up to help European telecoms firms cope with the rapid pace of change in the industry.

Technological and industry changes that did not respect borders had highlighted the limitations of Europe's current approach which sees national governments oversee their telecoms markets.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The vote happened yesterday - we could try to get ahold of the minutes and the approved text and check whether the announced "secret" compromise amendments were voted instead of the published amendments.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - German and UK industrial output drops
European industry on Monday showed fresh signs of spluttering in the wake of global economic storms, with Germany and the UK reporting sharper than expected falls in output.

Weak German data for May, showing the largest monthly drop in industrial production since August 1997, will add to fears that the eurozone is sliding towards "stagflation" - or slow growth with high inflation.

The figures come just days after the European Central Bank raised its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 4.25 per cent, in an attempt to avert inflationary risks.

Meanwhile, a 0.8 per cent drop in May in industrial production in the UK - which is not part of the eurozone - added to a picture of an economy in a broad slowdown.

"There are no sectors in the UK economy which are showing any signs of growth," argued David Page, economist at Investec Securities. "It shows that the weakness of sterling is not helping demand."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - EU turns up heat on rating agencies
The European Union will take a first step towards stricter regulation of credit rating agencies on Tuesday by supporting calls to register them and make them answerable to financial market supervisors.

Finance ministers of the 27-nation bloc are expected to endorse the argument of Charlie McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner, that the agencies' system of voluntary self-regulation has proved inadequate.

EU governments, the European Commission - the bloc's executive - and many members of the European parliament share the view that rating agencies contributed to the financial market turbulence that broke out last year by significantly underestimating the risks attached to structured credit products.

Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, the main credit rating agencies, must already register in the US under a requirement introduced last year that brings them under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agencies accept the case for registration in Europe, but they are concerned that the push for tighter EU regulation may result in different rules from those in the US and thus inconsistent treatment of their activities in the world's big financial centres.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Brown given short shrift by Medvedev
Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, on Monday came away empty-handed after "very frank" talks with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian pre­sident, over the treatment of foreign staff working in the $38bn (£19bn, €24bn) TNK-BP joint oil venture.

Mr Brown ­was also given short shrift by Mr Medvedev in their first meeting after he tackled two other issues which have dogged British relations with Russia: the murder of Alexander Lit­vinenko and the closure of two British Council offices.

Mr Medvedev was in no mood to give ground in the hour-long talks, believing that Mr Brown had deliberately soured the atmosphere by raising the issues, instead of looking exclusively to the future. Russian diplomats were also furious at reports in the British press last week which suggested London was awash with Russian spies. Moscow believes the leak came from MI5, the British security service.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown given short shrift?

There was a picture of Brown and Medvedev in Metro today. Medveded was offering his hand and Brown was looking at him like who the F* are you?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown was looking at him like who the F* are you?

surly, truculent and churlish, that's how 'we' come across to the russians.

they have been far better diplomats on the whole, displaying understated confidence in response to 'our' mostly boorish, puerile and passive-aggressive stances.

mortifyingly embarassing, as well as counterproductive and patronising.

they have shown great restraint not to fall on the floor in hysterical
laughter at the monty python-esque behaviour exhibited by these
so-called statesmen, surely they have many hearty guffaws about it later in the sauna...

and why shouldn't they? they're holding the energy aces in their hands, happily anticipating the massively hefty slabs of euro-capital swelling their coffers for the next decade.

el gordo, an analogue politician in a digital age...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Nato seeks better EU-Turkey defence ties
The European Union should extend its defence ties with Turkey to help ease European co-operation with Nato, the alliance's secretary-general urged on Monday.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the EU should consider inviting Turkey to join the European Defence Agency, a body set up to promote industry collaboration. Such a move could encourage Ankara to drop its objections to close collaboration with the bloc.

Turkey has thwarted co-operation between Nato and the EU for several years because of a long-standing territorial dispute with Greece and tensions over Cyprus. These have blocked a bigger role for Ankara in Europe's defence efforts. Nato and the EU have been prevented from sharing intelligence, force protection and transport, for example in Afghanistan, because of the stand-off.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't know the EU was a NATO member.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Big Question: Why is tension rising in Turkey, and is the country turning Islamist? - Europe, World - The Independent

Why are we asking this now?

For Turkey's more radical secularists, there is a war going on between the defenders of Kemalism - the mix of authoritarian secularism, statism and nationalism that is still Turkey's official ideology - and a government intent on imposing Islam on the country. The AKP government insists the struggle is between democrats and defenders of an outdated authoritarian political vision. Cynics see a battle between two sides linked by their obsession with controlling the state apparatus and their cavalier attitude to democracy.

Since March, eight months after it swept to victory at general elections with 47 per cent of the vote, AKP has been facing closure on charges of anti-secular activities. The prosecutor who opened the case called for five-year political bans for 71 AKP members including the prime minister and the president.

Tensions soared again last week when police - for the first time in Turkey's history - arrested two retired top generals suspected of planning a coup attempt just two hours before the prosecutor pleaded for AKP's closure in court. Secularists insist the arrests were the AKP's revenge for the closure case.

What are the generals accused of?

Turkish newspapers said yesterday that the two generals will be charged with "leading an armed gang." For months, Turkey's press has reported that the 60-odd people in custody were planning a series of assassinations to destabilise society and force military intervention. One of the generals, however, is implicated in a different affair - two aborted coup attempts against the AKP in 2003 and 2004. The trigger for the plots was the Cyprus issue, not AKP's alleged threat to secularism. Many in the state apparatus saw the government's support for a UN-sponsored plan to reunite the divided Mediterranean island as a betrayal of Turkey's strategic interests.

by Fran on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:47:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia approves pro-Western government - International Herald Tribune

The Serbian Parliament approved Monday a new pro-Western government that aims to bring the poor Balkan nation into the European Union while banishing the virulent nationalism of the past.

The formation of the government, after two months of intense negotiations, is the product of an unlikely alliance between the Democrats of President Boris Tadic and the Socialist Party of the former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

The coalition of the two once bitter rivals was approved in a 127-to-27 vote with the remaining lawmakers in the 250-seat Parliament refusing to vote, The Associated Press reported.

Milosevic's government led a war against the West in the 1990s, but the new coalition has now vowed to bring Serbia back into the Western fold.

by Fran on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:48:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Seeks Data Exchange | Washington Post
Newer European Union Countries Want Waiver From Visa Requirements

The United States is negotiating deals with European countries to exchange fingerprint and DNA data in criminal and terrorist cases, and in some circumstances to transfer data on race or ethnic origin, political and religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

Such agreements are a condition for granting citizens of newer European Union member states the right to enter the United States without visas, and for maintaining that right for older E.U. members. U.S. citizens already enjoy such a right when traveling to Europe.

Senior Bush administration officials said the data exchange is crucial for spotting dangerous people before they enter the United States and for furthering criminal and terrorist investigations.

The United States and the E.U. have been negotiating a separate, broad agreement on commercial data protection. But European privacy officials are concerned that the emerging bilateral pacts will not adequately protect people's privacy. And U.S. privacy advocates are concerned about the potential transfer of sensitive information on U.S. citizens to Europe.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:35:55 AM EST
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What a failure of leadership by the EU, to let it come to this.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:35:02 AM EST
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I posted the story with you in mind, knowing you're such a huge fan of the VWP.... ;-)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:15:16 AM EST
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Considering now you have to send your data in advance, the State Department can deny you boarding within 72 hours of the trip, and when you arrive they can confiscate your laptop... Who needs a Visa Waiver Programme?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:33:21 AM EST
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Apart from privacy concerns, what I mean is that the bilateral agreements are a strategic failure for the EU Council, that is, for the National governments themselves.
But European privacy officials are concerned that the emerging bilateral pacts will not adequately protect people's privacy.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BREAKING: the two youths who beat up an old man in the Munich subway have been sentenced, reports SPIEGEL.

To recap what's this about: one december night in the Munich subway, a pensioner asked two youths to heed the smoking ban, who first insulted him, and after leaving the train at a station, beat him up brutally in plain sight of a security camera. Because the then 21 and 19-year-olds were of Turkish resp. Greek origin, the German Right and associated media whipped up a big controversy about "immigrant youth crime" (with Bild usually focusing on the Turkish guy and ignoring that him being best friends with a Greek is not really a sign of refusing integration by keeping to traditions...), which ended with a blowback (see
diary by me & nanne.

The 21-year-old was sentenced 12 years, the other 8.5 years.

The Bavarian interior minister announced his intention to deport both after the end of their sentences...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:53:16 AM EST
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