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Philip Stephens in his, a little unkind, article in today’s Financial Times, rightly emphasizes the need to have a European Council President who commands recognition and respect in Washington, Moscow, Delhi and Beijing. He believes that Angela Merkel qualifies on every count (see post of 6 February) but recognises that she prefers to remain as… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Slovenia yesterday indicated that it will seek agreement on this thorny issue during its Presidency. Industry wants a new, unitary Community patent to sit alongside the present national and European patent systems. The Commission’s Proposed Regulation of August 2000 was approved by Parliament and the EESC, but remains blocked in Council over the language issue.… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Protectionist winds (3)

Fears of growing protectionist sentiment in the US are worrying (see 4 March post). The US Air force decided that the Northrop Grumman/EADS (Airbus) refuelling tanker was to be preferred to that of Boeing; a huge sum of money is at stake. The outcry against the decision continues to grow, and is now mixed up… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

My 5 March posting commented on Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy making up after a period of strained relations. In a discussion yesterday, the sustainability of this rapprochement was questioned. The personal chemistry of the current Franco-German couple is unlikely to lead to the relationship matching that of several of its predecessors, but Franco-German cooperation… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

An important responsibility of the European Parliament is to oversee the Commission’s expenditure and indeed the Santer Commission was forced to resign due to alleged financial irregularities. MEPs have, however, refused to publish how much they pay their staff and claim on expenses, contrary to the recommendation of the European Ombudsman. Ironically, the Ombudsman is… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

The Barroso Commission has lost Markos Kyprianou, who has become Cypriot Foreign Minister. Joaquin Almunia could become a Spanish minister if Zapatero is re-elected this week-end. Franco Frattini is expected to join the next Italian government if Berlusconi wins the forthcoming Italian election. There was a time when this was most unlikely to happen. While… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy both referred on Monday 3 March in Hanover to the friendship between the two countries, after a period of cool relations. They announced agreement on Sarkozy’s ’Mediterranean Union’ project, originally opposed by the German Chancellor. No details were given and there will be a Franco-German proposal to next week’s European… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

Protectionist winds (2)

Today’s ‘Informal European Policy Dialogue on China’ (co-chaired by Elmar Brok and Glyn Ford) echoed the contents of yesterday’s post. Trade tensions were discussed in the light of today’s economic downturn. Both the European and Chinese participants agreed that there is a growth in protectionist sentiment in the EU and China, with action likely to… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

“Barroso protectionism alert” is today’s Financial Times headline. Also on the front page is a report under the title “US anger at award of defence contract to EADS”. Commission President José Manuel Barroso warns that protectionist pressures are increasing across Europe, even among forces traditionally committed to free markets. Fears of growing protectionist sentiment in… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick

I want a referendum (2)

I underestimated the British ‘‘I Want a Referendum’ campaign in my post of 26 February. The claim is that, in the selected parliamentary constituencies, 88% of those who voted in an unofficial poll favoured a referendum. A PR victory but a Pyrrhic one. There was an intensive ‘Yes’ campaign but the ‘Noes’ weren’t active. As… » read more

Posted by Stanley Crossick