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From 31 March 2008, UK passport applicants in Belgium will need to apply for a renewal or new passport from the British Consulate General in Paris by post or in person. Only 40 days notice has been given. It is hard to imagine anyone with experience of the vagaries of the Belgian postal sytsem mailing… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Letter published in the Financial Times on 27 February: From Mr Stanley Crossick. Sir, Gideon Rachman’s denunciation of Barack Obama’s rhetoric (“Obama and the art of empty rhetoric”, February 26) misses the point. Barack Obama is appealing to voters who wish: first, to return to the traditional American land of hope from the present environment… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Andrew Wilson of the European Council on Foreign Relations argues that instead of rushing to embrace Dmitry Medvedev – Russia’s likely new president after the 2 March elections – European Union leaders should agree on a joint Russia strategy and set a series of tests for Putin’s successor. “A repeat of the experience of 2000,… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

A taste of things to come

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to the French Agricultural Show in Paris on 23 February was far more eventful than expected. This is not the place to compete with YouTube’s video clip of his extraordinary conversation with a visitor who refused to shake his hand. On the WTO trade negotiations, the French President brought up CAP… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The number of supporters of the UK ‘I Want a Referendum’ campaign reached 40 000 this morning according to its website, that is to say 0.09% of the electorate. ‘I Want a Referendum’ is organising a mass lobby of Parliament tomorrow. “This is your chance to come to Westminster and tell your MP that you… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

BLOGACTIV CYPRUS Congratulations President Christofias! The easy part is over. Now you have to face the difficult, very difficult, part. A huge weight rests on your shoulders as another failure to settle the inter-communal dispute will surely be the end of the reunification story. “The Annan Plan is dead: Long Live the Annan Plan”. The… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The new EU Diplomatic Service

An interesting Konrad Adenauer Stiftung debate on Wednesday, led by Elmar Brok, MEP, prompts me to offer some reflections on the planned new European External Action Service and the EU High Representative for Foreign & Security Policy. (ugh! I will go on referring to them as EU Diplomatic Service and Foreign Policy Chief). The earlier… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Comments are specially invited, even if only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ Alain Lamasourre (in his comment of) came up with a great idea for the appointment of the President of the European Council, which is expected to be decided during the French Presidency (July to December 2008). In a nutshell: Candidates are invited to declare themselves… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Eight months after becoming prime minister, Gordon Brown has deigned to visit the Commission in Brussels. Whatever his views of Brussels, the Commission, the European Union or indeed of non-Anglophone foreigners, this is not the way to win friends and influence people. But then, there has up to now been no indication that he wants… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Recognition of Kosovo’s independence is an unfortunate solution, but there is currently no better a solution. It is easy to say that EU foreign policy has failed because we could not unanimously agree this recognition. But is it to be expected that Spain and Cyprus could join in? Or some of the central European states?… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick