Spring 2004

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Letter from the Publisher

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Bewildering New World

 Jacqueline GrapinAn unexpected conjunction of important and unplanned events produced an emotional week in early June. Western leaders gathered on the Normandy beaches to celebrate the 60th anniversary of D-Day, a new government was formed in Baghdad and the UN Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution on Iraq. In the course of the same few days, the G8 met on Sea Island, Georgia, and Washington National Cathedral opened its doors for Ronald Reagan's spectacular funeral with Mikhail Gorbachev in attendance. A strong feeling emerged from this special week: a page in history, and in our life, had been turned. What is going to come next?

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London's Atlantic Bridge Is Falling Down

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Trouble in Iraq and setbacks in his European strategy have frustrated Tony Blair's hopes of winning political acclaim for his twin roles as America's closest ally and leading European statesman. Instead, he now finds himself in the most difficult international and domestic position of his career, with his dreams of building a bridge across the Atlantic in ruins.

For all his talk of modernization, however, Mr. Blair has been a very traditional British Prime Minister. He has sought to avoid choosing between the United States and the European Union ­ arguing that there is no contradiction between both being a strong friend and ally of the United States and advocating a leading role for Britain in Europe.

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Italians Are Unusually Gloomy Over their Role in Europe

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Jean Cocteau, the avant garde French poet, playwright and film-maker, once defined his compatriots as "Italians in a bad mood" — a contentious little epigram that suggests, among other things, that Italians are usually in a good mood. That no longer seems to be entirely true — at least with regard to the country's pro-European, Atlanticist elite. At a recent conference in Venice organized by the Council for the United States and Italy, a large number of the Italian participants said they were deeply depressed by the current state of the European Union, Italy's role in it, and the disruptions that have occurred in U.S.-European relations.

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Anger over Outsourcing Is Less Strong in Europe

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Much heat has been generated recently, on both sides of the Atlantic, over the mobility of jobs and labor. In the United States, there has been a strong political reaction against the phenomenon of "outsourcing" work to low-wage countries, which, if the scaremongers are to be believed, threaten to move tens of thousands of U.S. jobs to India or China. In Europe, the preoccupying concern has been that citizens from Central and Eastern Europe might flood westwards, taking either jobs or welfare payments.

Warm words of welcome for the enlargement of the European Union this spring were undermined by an array of temporary defensive measures by the 15 older EU member states against citizens of the ten new members. These measures range in severity from denying entitlement to social security to refusing access to the labor market.

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Three Challenges for Europe ­ Enlargement, Growth and Fiscal Discipline

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Jean-Claude TrichetThe introduction of the single European currency has been a historic landmark, with important positive consequences for the 12 participant countries. For more than five years now, the European Union has had a single currency and a monetary policy conducted by the Eurosystem, consisting of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of the euro area. The euro has been firmly and credibly established as a stable currency. The euro area has witnessed a period of moderate inflation and low long-term interest rates. In almost all member countries, market interest rates have been at their lowest levels since World War II.

Now, however, there are three key priorities, which are particularly challenging at the present juncture. These are the recent enlargement of the European Union, the need for higher growth and employment by means of structural reforms and the necessity of implementing an original form of fiscal surveillance in a single currency area.

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