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Europe’s immigration (un)policy October 4, 2006

Posted by jitorreblanca in EU, Europe, jtorreblanca, Spain, Uncategorized.
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The European Union is out there to help member states. True. But what the European Union cannot do is to replace member states where they fail to agree or, worse, fail to act. The question of immigration is a good example of it. As the issue becomes preoccupation number one in a growing number of member states, everybody is asking Europe “to do something” about it. But the tendency to upload national problems to the EU without giving it at the same time the legal, personnel, and budgetary instruments to deal with those problems is exhausting the EU’s capacity to act and is opening the room for a growing public frustration across member states. 

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Could Italy be forced out of the eurozone? October 4, 2006

Posted by johnwyles in John Wyles, Uncategorized.
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The state of the Italian economy clearly leaves a lot to be desired and the extent to which the left-wing parties in Romano Prodi’s coalition have vetoed substantial public spending cuts in the draft 2007 budget does nothing to inspire confidence that urgent remedies are on the way. Nonetheless, the constant drumbeat from mainly British commentators anticipating
Italy’s withdrawal from the eurozone testifies more to wishful thinking than political and economic common sense.

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How many pauses does the EU need? September 29, 2006

Posted by comment in Blogroll, EU, Kirsty Hughes.
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This week, the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso announced that, with the agreement to allow Bulgaria and Romania to join the EU on January 1st next year (despite their still dubious records on corruption), it was time for the Union to have an ‘enlargement pause’.  A couple of weeks before he’d told the Financial Times in an interview that the Union shouldn’t be obsessed with its comatose constitution but must get on with real politics. But now he says enlargement must pause while the EU obsesses with its comatose constitution (quote: “I do not think it would be wise to proceed with any enlargements before we have resolved the constitutional issue in Europe”.)  Well who said politicians have to be consistent? < (more…)

Cresson “punished” July 11, 2006

Posted by johnwyles in EU, John Wyles.
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Eyebrows shot sky high in Brussels today when the Court of First Instance – the arm of the European Court of Justice that deals with cases involving EU employees – found that Edith Cresson had “acted in breach of her obligations as a European Commissioner” but refrained from imposing a punishment.

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Enlargement fatigue July 4, 2006

Posted by jitorreblanca in authors, EU, Europe, jtorreblanca.
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The recent European Council meeting (held in Brussels on 15-16 June) will surely be remembered as one of the emptiest European Council meetings in years. But emptiness is seldom innocuous: the great nothingness in which Europe has developed since the failed referendum in France last year is slowly but relentlessly swallowing entire bits of EU’s future. Many argue that the Constitution should be buried in order to spare much-needed political energies for practical policies. But EU leaders have just refused to move justice and police matters to qualified-majority voting- a measure which would have enhanced national governments’ capacity to fight illegal immigration and transnational organized crime. Then, as they slept on the Constitutional project – containing rules which are essential for the EU to be able to effectively function at 27 members – they spent considerable time and energy discussing whether the Union should enlarge further or not. (more…)

Finland at the helm of the EU ship – but going in which direction? July 4, 2006

Posted by comment in authors, EU, Europe, Kirsty Hughes.
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Kirsty Hughes 

As all EU-watchers know, Finland now has its turn at the helm of the great EU ship for the next 6 months (its official website is at  http://www.eu2006.fi ).  What can we expect with this Nordic nation in the lead? (more…)

Arms conundrum on the road to peace in Nepal June 27, 2006

Posted by comment in authors, Kirsty Hughes, Nepal, South Asia.
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  Kirsty Hughes, 26th June 2006

Two months after Nepal’s extraordinary people’s movement that brought up to 5 million people onto the streets across this small Himalayan country, prospects for a permanent peace are getting tantalisingly close. But the closer Nepal’s political leaders and the Maoists get to a deal, the tougher are the questions.

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