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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

The markets have been bowled over by the scale of the eurozone bail-out package announced this morning, after agreement by G-7 finance ministers, the ECB, the European Commission, the 16 eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund. An emergency funding facility of up to €720 billion is designed to protect weaker eurozone members and save […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

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 […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

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 […]

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), […]

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It looks like end-game for the Lisbon Treaty at last. Ireland’s two-to-one majority in favour of ratification on October 2 was a convincing reversal of the 2007 “no” vote, especially given the increased turnout, which at 58 per cent of the electorate was six points up on last time.
The convincing “yes” majority can be ascribed […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

The European Parliament’s convincing vote for Jose Manuel Barroso’s second term as European Commission president puts him in a stronger position than any candidate since Jacques Delors in the 1980s. To have secured the votes of the European Conservatives and their allies and an estimated 25 Socialists in addition to his centre right supporters in […]

Posted by Michael Berendt