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There’s never been a British general election campaign like this one! With just over a week to go before the May 6 election day it seems from the opinion polls that big changes could be on the way. Here the Brits stand, midway between a Continental tradition of coalition government with multiple parties, and a… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

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

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The new Barroso Commission has wasted no time in grasping the GMO nettle, after years of delay and obfuscation. It is authorising the cultivation and use of Amflora, a new genetically modified potato for industrial use, while at the same time working on a policy which will allow individual member states to forbid the cultivation… » read more

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Ironic that the European Commission’s positive report on Iceland’s application to join the EU, produced in just six months, should have coincided with the breakdown of talks over the €3.9 billion which the Netherlands and the UK are demanding from Iceland for the collapse of the Icesave bank. It is widely predicted that Icelanders will… » read more

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It should be a time for celebration. The Lisbon Treaty has come into force, a new European Commission has been convincingly approved by the Parliament, the European Council has a permanent president and a European foreign policy structure has been created. Yet it feels as if Europe’s clock has been turned back ten years, to… » read more

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We’ve heard a lot about banks that are “too big to fail”. Perhaps a more immediate question is whether the sovereign nation of Greece is too big to fail. The risk of default and the threat of Greece quitting the eurozone would have profound implications for Europe’s monetary union, for other European countries wrestling with… » read more

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It seems that France has had a good presidency. It could hardly have been a more challenging one, but despite the occasional sniff of folie de grandeur, President Nicolas Sarkozy has proved to be the man of the hour, with the élan needed to make things happen. Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and finance minister Christine… » read more

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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 […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

The worst fears of Europe’s leaders have been realised: Ireland’s voters have scuppered the Lisbon Treaty, with 862,415 votes against and 752,451 in favour on a turnout of 53.4 per cent in the Irish referendum. Politicians can complain till the cows come home about small countries and slim majorities. After all, the Irish “no” voters… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt