Michael Berendt's blog

It’s maybe hard to think of global warming as we shiver in the coldest European winter for two decades, but there are just nine months to go before COP15, the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, which may well determine whether or not the world can respond to a threat to our planet which […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

The gas is flowing again. The deal signed between Ukraine’s prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow on January 21 should at last provide some respite for all those who have suffered severe hardship from the suspension of gas supplier in recent weeks.
In the short term everyone has been a loser from […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

On January 16 the euro replaced the koruna as the official currency of Slovakia, bringing to sixteen the number of countries of the eurozone. It was the first country in the former Soviet bloc to adopt the single currency – and just 20 years after the Fall of the Wall. What a great way to […]

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

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 Lagarde […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

“The way forward is beginning to emerge”. So said Dick Roche, Ireland’s minister for European affairs, on the eve of the Brussels December summit. It looks like a second Irish referendum for the autumn of 2009.
The Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to tell EU colleagues that he will seek a second referendum in the […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

It seems that any major transfer of power from the national level to the European Commission for EU telecoms regulation has been scuppered by the Council of Ministers.
Commissioner Reding had threatened ten days ago to withdraw Commission proposals if ministers refused to go along with them, but the Council’s political agreement on November 27 was […]

Posted by Michael Berendt

In Britain’s popular culture the marketing restrictions on bendy bananas and curly cucumbers have always been associated with the Bureaucrats of Brussels. Nothing so well underpinned a public perception of meddling officials in a foreign country imposing their will on a hapless populace by setting fruit and veg dimensions by millimetre and by degree. The […]

Posted by Michael Berendt