Michael Berendt's blog

The European Union has hardly covered itself with glory over the Libyan crisis, but as events unfold we may be witnessing a far more effective performance than seemed likely just two weeks ago. One thing has become clear though: hopes of creating a serious EU defence capability for the future have taken a serious knock.… » read more

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It’s amazing what can happen in two weeks! Since posting my blog on the Year of (Arab) Revolutions on February 13 the winds of change have hit Libya with a vengeance. Of all the countries in the region Libya is the one whose fate will have the biggest short term impact on Europe. The international… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Watching events unfold in Cairo over the last two weeks, towards the dramatic climax of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, has been an exciting and moving experience, reminiscent of those days when we watched the collapse of communism and the spread of democracy across central and eastern Europe 20 years ago. But it presents a formidable challenge… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

The political pressures are building as we approach the next reform of Europe’s common agricultural policy. The European Commission will finalise its detailed proposals for the future of the CAP in the summer, with a view to decisions in 2012. Of course the budget issue already looms large, with President Sarkozy insisting that the EU… » read more

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“But always at my back I hear / Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near” wrote the English poet Andrew Marvell in the seventeenth century, when trying to persuade his coy mistress to be more accommodating. Marvell’s lines sum up rather well the sense of foreboding in the European Union at the start of 2011 as policy… » read more

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See amid the winter snow! For the second year running Eurostar services from London to Paris and Brussels have been hit by the weather. This time last year freezing snow in the drive motors stopped the trains for three days; this year thousands of frozen passengers have been queuing at the Gare du Nord and… » read more

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Merkel and Sarkozy have spoken! Forget about euro-bonds. Forget about increasing the emergency funding launched last May. Europe’s leaders, when they meet in Brussels next Thursday, will face a stark reality: the limits of eurozone support have been determined, at least for now, following the Franco-German summit in Freiburg. Economic growth combined with budget restraint… » read more

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The eurozone will never be the same again – and nor will Europe as a whole. The scale of the crisis which has hit the single currency area in recent weeks is transforming the European Union. It looks as if the first victim is the European social model, as governments slash and burn, reducing public… » read more

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Storm clouds loom once again over the eurozone. Interest rates on Portuguese, Irish and Greek government bonds are continuing to rise. Ten-year bond yields for Ireland reached a record 7.75 per cent on Monday, while for Portugal they were 6.67 per cent. The ECB started buying bonds again after several weeks’ abstention. There was some… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt