Driving across the rolling farming country of northern and central France, as my wife and I have just done, you might think that French arable farmers have never had it so good. Grain prices are high and the landscape as far as the eye can see is bright yellow with rapeseed and brilliant green with [...]
For the European Union it was a depressing end to the year! Gone were all hopes of providing global leadership at the Copenhagen conference on climate change. The EU found itself helpless on the sidelines as the US president, constrained by a sceptical Congress, confronted a Chinese prime minister apparently determined to reject any binding [...]
At last a touch of balance in Britain’s Daily Telegraph over the nomination of Michel Barnier to the internal market portfolio, with responsibility for financial services! I guess it’s no coincidence that the writer, eurosceptic Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, was the newspaper’s correspondent in Brussels from 1999 until 2004 – the same time span as Barnier’s former [...]
It’s maybe hard to think of global warming as we shiver in the coldest European winter for two decades, but there are just nine months to go before COP15, the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, which may well determine whether or not the world can respond to a threat to our planet which [...]
The gas is flowing again. The deal signed between Ukraine’s prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow on January 21 should at last provide some respite for all those who have suffered severe hardship from the suspension of gas supplier in recent weeks.
In the short term everyone has been a loser from [...]
Is it business or politics? The official EU line is that the confrontation between Russia and the Ukraine on gas supplies is a commercial dispute which does not call for political intervention. This is far removed from the accusations of “pipeline politics” directed at Russia during the 2006 dispute.
Requests by the parties for the EU [...]
It seems that any major transfer of power from the national level to the European Commission for EU telecoms regulation has been scuppered by the Council of Ministers.
Commissioner Reding had threatened ten days ago to withdraw Commission proposals if ministers refused to go along with them, but the Council’s political agreement on November 27 was [...]
After all the excitement of an amazing US presidential election, here we stand in the cold light of dawn, wondering what happens next. What can we Europeans expect of President Barack Obama? As others have pointed out, his first duty will be to serve the interests of those who elected him and not the political [...]
The OSCE seems to have serious doubts about Georgia’s role and there are even suggestions that the conflict was provoked by Vice President Cheney in order to boost McCain’s cause in the US elections.
Rash initiatives by the Georgian government in South Ossetia were almost certainly the trigger for the Russian action, but a trigger [...]
The new Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a big effort at last week’s summit in the Siberian oil town of Khanty-Mansiisk to give new impetus to the EU-Russia dialogue. The president offered each of his EU guests an album of his own photographs and apparently charmed Messrs Solana, Barroso and Jansa in a way [...]