Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 07:05:33 AM EST
Welcome to the "Euro PDB", a briefing paper on today's events affecting Europe and European interests.
Today's big stories... Britain begins its 6 month tour as president of the EU and outlines its plans.. meanwhile Italy says it knew nothing about the CIA's kidnap plans.. and EU Commission president says the French-British spate could destroy Europe...
Sorry for the delay folks, but my computer has been under a nonstop onslaught of viruses this morning :(
Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka is in Indonesia today for a state visit.
Jim Dougal, the former head of the European Commission's office in Britain says Brussels is a "bureaucratic nightmare":
Mr Dougal writes in the Financial Times that he was “horrified and mystified” by what he found during his seven years “trying to put a human, British face on the operation of the European Commission”, the governing body of the EU.
Meanwhile today marks the official beginning of Britain's six-month tenure as president of the European Union and Foreign Minister Jack Straw outlined Britain's goals:
He says: “It is not just that the Commission fails to explain what the EU is for . . . Its modus operandi displays an outrageous lack of common sense . . . It became intolerable to work within what had come to seem like a bureaucratic nightmare that makes Whitehall look a model of simple efficiency.”
Accusations of overbearing bureaucracy are the hallmark of eurosceptic attacks on the EU but it is rare for a Brussels aficionado to echo those concerns.
In his article, Mr Dougal says: “The Brussels machine has no idea of how it should even begin to sell itself to the British public”. Mr Dougal was hired to brief the Commission on UK affairs and to help improve the British public's understanding of its workings but he describes how he quickly realised his job was impossible.
Mr Straw told the House of Commons that Britain would “work hard to reach an agreement on future financing by the end of the year“ but he warned that any deal on the EU budget would have to point to a “more rational“ financial plan. His comments came just weeks after the failure of the Luxembourg summit to reach agreement on the EU budget.
But the president of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, says that the French-British feud could "destroy Europe".
The foreign secretary said that another key area of concern for the UK presidency was Turkish membership of the EU, acknowledging that the issue was “controversial“ in many parts of Europe. Mr Straw said: “The British government remains strongly committed to Turkey joining the EU.“
The UK's presidency programme includes further talks on enlargement with Romania and Bulgaria, summits with India and China, and work on the Middle East peace process.
The President of Turkey, Recept Tayyip "Iyayea" Erdogan is in Azerbaijan today on an official state visit.
In other news, there is a report that police in Turkey have killed a "suspected suicide bomber" outside government offices in the capital
Joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, the first in modern history, will be held in August of this year. Nary a peep from the western media...
Macedonia and Greece were in a diplomatic spat as the Macedonian Foreign Ministry website had a link that led to a map of the country showing sections "under Greek occupation". That link has now been removed.
What's the old saying? Never stir up trouble in the Balkans! Sheesh.. I see the government of Greece is strenuously denying new reports that Greek soldiers were involved in the fighting in Srebrenica, Bosnia a decade ago.
Speaking of Bosnia, I see that a coalition of Muslim groups have the shoe to British Foreign Minister Jack Straw's plan for "reconciliation". Notice that even the Guardian continues the smear campaign, saying Srebrenica is the "Worst crime in Europe since the Holocaust".
The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has stated that he supports Uzbekistan's crushing of an uprising in Andizhan/Andijan in May, dismissing "human rights and freedoms".
The United States Navy is in Vladivostok, Russia for joint naval exercises and events which will help build cross-cultural ties.
There is a report that a patient in Ireland may be suffering from a variant of CJD, the human equivalent of "Mad Cow" disease.
The government of Italy denies it knew of the CIA's plan to abduct a man off the streets of Milan to be tortured in Egypt. This is the best article in English on the web about this story.
Germany has donated 12 Bo105 helicopters to the military of Albania.
A company in Denmark has come up with a unique, life-saving device - a "straw" which removes almost all bacteria and viruses, allowing someone to drink pure water from a contaminated source.
Riot police dispersed a protest rally yesterday in Georgia, prompting opposition parties to call for the resignation of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Most of the protestors were wrestlers, upset by the recent arrest of Aleko Davitashvili, the president of the Georgian Wrestling Federation.
Last night 20,000 people marched in the capital of Ireland as part of the "Make Poverty History" campaign, calling on world leaders at next week's G8 summit to cancel debts and equalize trade.
Lech Kaczynski, running for president of Poland from the Law and Justice Party, has rejected the idea of a flat tax rate.
The former Equality Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Margareta Winberg, has stated that gender equality "makes men violent", although she says her comments were taken out of context.
Yupi! In extremely good news for me personally, Ukraine has dropped all visa requirements for American tourists beginning today. Odessa, here I come!
And last but definitely not least, starting today, mothers in Switzerland will be entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Spanish - En castellano
''El problema es conflictivo porque hay una guerra civil en Colombia'', manifestó [el canciller ecuatorianio, Antonio] Parra en declaraciones a Radio Quito y agregó que ``hay una insurgencia, Colombia ha abandonado sus deberes de soberanía en toda la frontera sur (con Ecuador), por ejemplo en la parte amazónica del Putumayo''. - "The problem is contentious because there is a civil war going on in Colombia," said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Antonio Parra on Radio Quito, adding that "there is an insurgency and Colombia has abandoned its mission to maintain sovreign control of its southern border (with Ecuador), as in the Amazonian region of Putamayo"
Ecuador no intervendrá en el conflicto interno de Colombia porque "sería una locura", dijo el jueves el canciller Antonio Parra Gil. - Ecuador will not intervene in the domestic conflict in Colombia because "it would be pure madness", said [Ecuadorian] Foreign Minister Antonio Parra Gil on Thursday.
La Casa Blanca expresó ayer su oposición a la serie de cinco sellos emitidos por el Servicio Postal Mexicano con la figura del personaje de caricatura Memín Pinguín, con el argumento de que “los estereotipos raciales son ofensivos”. - Yesterday the White House criticized the 5 stamps issued by the Mexican postal service with the figure of "Memin the Penguin", saying that "racial stereotypes are offensive" [read the entire article where the Mexican gov't says it never protested "Speedy Gonzales" cartoons]
El gobierno calificó el jueves como un "acto de buena voluntad" el que Chile haya decidido comenzar en julio el retiro de minas explosivas personales enterradas cerca de la frontera con Bolivia. - On Thursday, the [Bolivian] government applauded the "goodwill gesture" by Chile to begin in July to remove landmines buried on its frontier with Bolivia
Zapatero dice que el país es 'más decente' con la nueva ley de matrimonio homosexual - [Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez] Zapatero said that the country has become "more decent" now that the law approving homosexual marriage has been passed
Italian - In italiano
Aver creato una sorta di «polizia» parallela nel settore della lotta al terrorismo: questa l' ipotesi di reato che ha portato la Digos della Questura di Genova a compiere nelle prime ore di stamani oltre 25 perquisizioni in nove regioni italiane. Decine di indagati tra appartenenti alle forze dell'ordine. Due arresti.- A kind of "parallel police" anti-terrorism department was created, this is the hypothesis of the Digos (police agency) in Genova, which has 25 investigations ongoing in 9 Italian regions. Dozens of members of security organizations have been indicted and two arrested.
Berlusconi: «Il governo non era informato» Il premier conferma le dichiarazioni di Giovanardi sul caso Abu Omar: «Mai stata autorizzata nessun operazione di questo tipo» - Berlusconi said, "The government was not informed". The Prime Minister confirmed Giovanardi's statement that "no operation of this type was authorized" in reference to the Abu Omar case
La convocazione dell’ambasciatore Usa è un atto dovuto, ma un paradossale e preciso segnale di tensione diplomatica - The American ambassador's met [with the Italian gov't], but it was a paradox in that it signifies diplomatic tensions
Il governo assicura che non ne sapeva nulla, ma qualcuno si chiede se non sia perfino peggio. - The government says it knew nothing [of the Abu Omar kidnapping] but one wonders if the truth might be far worse
"Vinceremo le elezioni. Ne sono assolutamente certo. E faremo una campagna d'attacco nei confronti della sinistra" - We will win the elections. We are absolutely sure of this. And we will open an attack campaign to confront the leftists" (said Berlusconi)
Una pattuglia, composta da paracadutisti italiani e da soldati iracheni, è stata attaccata questa notte a Nassiriya durante una normale attività di presenza sul territorio. - A patrol in Iraq, composed of Italian parachutists and Iraqi soldiers, was attacked last night in Nassirya during a routine patrol
Romanian - În limba româna
Moldova a prezentat propuneri de stabilizare a situatiei in zona de securitate din regiunea transnistreana - Moldova has presented proposals to stabilize the situation along the security zone (next to) Transdniestr
Jurnalista Marie Jeanne Ion a declarat, joi, ca este dispusa la o confruntare cu Omar Hayssam, în dosarul referitor la tinerea ei în captivitate timp de 55 de zile, în Irak, alaturi de Sorin Miscoci si Ovidiu Ohanesian. - On Thursday journalist Marie Jeanne Ion stated that she is ready to take on Omar Hayssam in the (criminal) case concerning her captivity for 55 days in Iraq along with Sorin Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian
Azi e prima zi cand puteti atinge leii noi.. bine ai venit! Reprezentantii BNR sustin ca au pus in circulatie suficiente monede si bancnote incat sa ajunga pentru toata lumea. - Today is the first day when you can get your hands on the new lei (currency).. welcome! Representatives of the National Bank of Romania said they have put enough coins and notes into circulation for the entire country
Cea mai lunga greva generala a feroviarilor din istoria postdecembrista a luat sfarsit ieri la pranz, muncitorii reluandu-si activitatea intrerupta timp de 23 de zile. - The longest railway workers' strike in post-Communist history came to an end yesterday afternoon, with employees returning to work after a 23 day strike [thank god!!!]
Leul greu a parasit cusca la miezul noptii - Leul greu isi face loc in portofelele romanilor - Ultima noapte a milionarilor - These are some of the headlines about the new currency, some of which are quite funny
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