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James Kynge in today’s Financial Times disputes the received wisdom that, with the collapse in US consumer demand, China has no alternative but to increase domestic demand. He argues that the huge increase in China’s trade with south-east Asia and Africa, Brazil and India, has been largely ignored. During the first 10 months of 2009,… » read more

Sir, Regarding ‘EU staff consider strike over pay freeze‘: Whilst the article is factually correct, one has to wonder about the relevance of the comparisons with certain member states. Ireland is in a crisis which is largely due to “irrational exuberance”. Yet only the highest-paid civil servants (who are certainly not totally innocent in respect… » read more

Sir, Regarding ‘Alcoa halts Italian plants after EU electricity ruling‘: European Union taxpayers must welcome the news here that its money is being used to subsidise big industry! The reference here puts it plainly: the EU executive has ruled that the ”preferential electricity tariffs offered to Alcoa by Italy for aluminium smelters in Sardinia and… » read more

Muslim communities say the decision will spread deep concern and worry. The Swiss government and businesses are worried too – about whether this controversial but democratic ballot will provoke an international backlash. Alan Fisher, Al Jazeera English, “Swiss brace for minaret backlash” What if that backlash were to include a disinvestment or divestment wave among… » read more

Asking this question, I am using the language of the Turkish chief negotiator Egemen Bagiş. He says that his country’s negotiating process should be ’sustainable’ and advocates benchmarks, allowing chapters to be opened, negotiated and the closed, insted of either being blocked once opened, or prevented from opening. However I am not sure whether he… » read more

War in the Gaza Strip has continued now over week, diplomats and demonstrations are demanding ceasefire immediately – war news and high-flown statements are following each other like they have done last decades. In this never ending story it was very refreshing to read an article of John R. Bolton published in […] 

In a letter to Michelle and Barack Obama, NASA’s Jim Hanson makes some valid critique of the “cap and trade” approach to the reduction of CO2 emissions that we also embraced in Europe: Policies being discussed in national and international circles now, which focus on ‘goals’ for emission reduction and ‘cap and trade,’ have the… » read more

Trust, the EU and Web 2.0

I was discussing online communities and the EU with some friends before Christmas, when a few interlinked thoughts and ideas popped up, stemming from an earlier post about “trust2“. I thought I’d commit them to screen while they were fresh in my mind, and ask for some ideas. Trust and (election) turnout Given that election… » read more

The first real Central European presidency, leaving aside tiny Slovenia’s debut, will be a good opportunity to turn the attention of the Union to the Eastern borders. The Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg started off with floating the idea to detach the issue of Serbian membership from the case of war criminal suspect General Mladic.… » read more

My colleague Tom Burke has an article in today’s (London) Independent-0n-Sunday: “Terrible though they are, war and recession pass. Climate change is for ever.” Full article here.  

Ok so been listening to a lot (too much!) of the UK media comment on prospective UK membership of the eurozone now that the pound is collapsing….consensus seems to be (consistnent with my previous posts) that UK citizens continue to feel pride in the picture of the sovereign on their notes and imaginery bridges simply… » read more

Less than three weeks to Inauguration, President-elect Obama already faces the Middle East in renewed turmoil. His first priorities will necessarily be domestic (see post of 5 November), and it will take some considerable time to see a coherent foreign policy emerge. The post of 21 July took as its starting point his ‘national security… » read more

Happy New Year!

Dear ReaderI wish you, and all your family a Happy, Healthy & Successful New Year. Re-reading previous messages is depressing. We have failed to solve most of the problems previously identified, and face even greater problems. There is no consensus as to the length and depth of the recession and no effective international economic and… » read more

This is the time for reflection, rather than deep analysis. With the cancellation by Beijing of the Lyon EU-PRC summit because “the Dalai Lama will be visiting several EU countries and will meet with heads of state and government as well as presidents of European institutions”, it would have been reasonable to assume that […] 

A ‘Interesting’ New Year to everyone! I’m catching up on all the things we missed while busy law-making. The new (12 November) IEA World Energy Outlook grabs my attention. If after the holiday period you need something to put your brain back in work mode, this is it. While the global economic situation will to… » read more

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