Michael Berendt's blog

The big cuts in Britain’s defence capabilities announced in London earlier this week will have far-reaching consequences for European defence policy. The decision of Britain’s coalition government to reduce defence spending by 8 per cent over the next four years condemns the UK to closer co-operation with European allies, and especially with France. British Prime… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

We’re all Europeans now!

We’re all Europeans now! At least when it comes to the Ryder Cup – the biennial golf competition between the United States and Europe. The European team triumphed on the final day by a nail-biting 14½ points to 13½ . Spot the flags in the victory picture! And note José Manuel Barroso’s proud message of… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Don’t expect the earth to tremble: this is evolution not revolution. New rules on supervision of Europe’s financial markets, which ECOFIN ministers were expected to approve on Tuesday (September 7) will certainly strengthen Europe’s capacity to anticipate trouble and to handle it when it comes, but the armoury remains firmly in the hands of intergovernmental… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Last week’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence did not contravene international law was bitter news for Serbia, which had brought the original case. The Serbian president Boris Tadic said that his country could never accept the unilateral declaration of independence, while for Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians it… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

So the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee has approved the set-up of Europe’s foreign service, as negotiated in Madrid two weeks ago. Formal agreement is expected in plenary after the holidays, allowing the European External Action Service (EEAS) to be operational by the end of the year. Creation of the EEAS is potentially the most… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

It has always seemed a curious paradox that the major policy-making institutions of the European Union should have settled in Belgium, a country with a political system in a permanent state of turmoil, deeply divided on political and linguistic grounds, yet somehow able to keep functioning as coalitions come and go and politicians struggle with… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

It was evident from the beginning of the eurozone crisis that the only way to discipline recalcitrant member states in the face of enormous budget deficits was to involve the International Monetary Fund, an independent, external organization which was definitely not part of the family, a body which could lay down tough conditions for winning […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

It was evident from the beginning of the eurozone crisis that the only way to discipline recalcitrant member states in the face of enormous budget deficits was to involve the International Monetary Fund, an independent, external organization which was definitely not part of the family, a body which could lay down tough conditions for winning… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Against the backdrop of a European economic crisis of monumental proportions, the creation of the UK’s coalition government must seem like “noises off” to the rest of the European audience. But at least the deal reached between Conservative leader David Cameron and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats could provide political stability in Britain for… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt