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Eighteen months ago, when the world economy seemed on the brink of collapse, one of the biggest fears was that economic depression would trigger a global wave of protectionism. So it’s all the more surprising that Europe is busily working on new trade treaties. The EU is on the brink of finalising a major free… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

We live in the age of media celebrity. So no surprise at the critical and sometimes bitter press reaction to the nomination of Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton, virtually unknown beyond their own parishes, as Council President and High Representative respectively. As someone said, it was like a TV talent show where the choice […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

With the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty the British Conservatives have set out the policy which an incoming Conservative government would apply towards the European Union. There is to be no referendum, but a series of legislative measures to limit the extent of EU jurisdiction, and negotiations to take employment and social policy law […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

A fundamental purpose of the Treaty of Lisbon is to make the European Union an effective force in the modern world, a global player with a power and influence far greater than the sum of its parts. The appointment of a High Representative bestriding Commission and Council, served by the European External Action Service (EEAS), […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

Let’s accentuate the positive! The G-20 meeting in London did achieve a much wider consensus and more far-reaching decisions than most people thought possible. Merkel, Sarkozy, Barroso and Obama all said so. The summit was also remarkable for its recognition of the realities of a changing world economy and the ability of its disparate players […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

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 […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

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 […]

Posted by Michael Berendt