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German Constitutional Court and the European Bailout Fund (9/12)

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UPDATE—This morning the German federal Constitutional court upheld German participation in the European bailout fund. But it did impose the condition that any more money for the 500 billion euro fund will require approval of the German parliament.

At 10 am Wednesday morning in Germany, a panel of eight judges will  issue a ruling on whether the permanent European bailout fund passes constitutional muster in that country.

The case has brought unprecedented international attention to the federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) that sits in  Karlsruhe, hundreds of miles southwest of Germany's political and economic  centers of Berlin, Munich and Hamburg.

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Euro Crisis Comes Back - After Relative Quiet Period (8/21)

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Although it is still August, klieg lights are back up on European debt/euro crisis after a couple of weeks of welcome summer (relative) quiet.  

This week, French President Francois Holland and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on Thursday Aug. 23 to wrestle once again with the debt crisis that threatens European and global economic stability.  Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras , whose country hangs by its fingernails to the euro, travels to Berlin the next day, Aug. 24, before going on to Paris on August 25.

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Minimizing the Implications of Britain's Defense Cuts (7/24)

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By Michael Mosettig, Former Foreign Editor, PBS News Hour

It was a tough sell to a worried and skeptical audience, but British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond insisted that his country's military, going through a severe round of budget cuts, will remain "advanced enough to operate alongside the United States anywhere in the world."

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EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement Gets Boost from Interim Report (7/20)

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By Justine Revenaz, Editorial Assistant at “European Affairs”

While no one expects an EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be completed in this U.S. election year, prospects for a pact in the medium term future have brightened with the publication of a favorable interim report from a joint U.S.-EU working group. The report and background surrounding it is the subject of a recent article in European Affairs.

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Chinese FDI Growth In Developed Countries Soars; Germany Emerges as a Preferred Target for Chinese Investment (7/19)

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Burgeoning Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by China into the developed world is the focus of a recent report issued by The Bertelsmann Foundation, and aptly titled “Cash in Hand: Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. and Germany.”

The report’s scrupulously documented numerology on the increase of Chinese investment abroad is coupled with the eye-popping suggestion that Germany may ultimately overtake the U.S. as the leading destination for Chinese cash.

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Of Turkey, Syria and Europe (6/28)

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By Michael Mosettig, Former Foreign Editor, PBS News Hour

In a twist of fate, Turkey may provide the backdoor for deeper European and NATO intervention in the Syrian crisis. But whatever happens to Syria, the European Union is no closer to opening its front door to Turkey.

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Euro Crisis Has Washington on Edge (6/19)

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By Michael Mosettig, Former Foreign Editor, PBS News Hour

Washington policy wonks are so worried about the euro that a luncheon speech from German Vice Chancellor and Economics and Technology Minister Philipp Röesler packed a hotel ballroom. Sponsors of the event, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, said they haven't pulled in this kind of crowd in two decades.

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Hollande’s Socialist Party Wins Parliamentary Elections in France (6/18)

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By Justine Revenaz, Editorial Assistant at European Affairs

Francois Hollande, who last month unseated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to win the French presidency, has added, in Sunday elections, a convincing victory in the parliamentary elections for his Socialist Party. Hollande said earlier on national TV that without a working majority in parliament he would be "a conductor without an orchestra."

Out of 577 total seats in the National Assembly the Socialists won 280 with another 34 from two allied parties, giving the parliamentary bloc 314 seats and a very responsive orchestra for Mr. Hollande, considerably more than the 289 needed for an absolute majority. Sarkozy's party, Union for a Popular Movement, won 194 seats.

The parliamentary victory is important for Mr. Hollande, to pass the legislation necessary to honor the promises he made during his campaign. Those promises include promoting economic growth with regulation, creating jobs, and strengthening the euro and protecting the eurozone. Mr. Hollande's victory will showcase him as a strong newcomer at the G20 meetings in Mexico.

 
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Fiscal Pact –Tally—Updated as of June 11, 2012

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As the European Union faces the most serious crisis in its founding, NINE eurozone countries have ratified the Fiscal Pact, designed to bring stability and increased fiscal discipline to the 27-nation union.

The Pact, approved in January, by leaders of 25 of the 27 EU countries (UK and Czech Republic withheld support) requires ratification by 12 eurozone members to become effective in January 2013. As shown in the Institute of International and European Affairs chart below, nine eurozone members have ratified the pact— Demark, Greece, Ireland , Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Romania. National parliaments ratified the Pact, except in Ireland, where ratification was by nationwide referendum.

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THE FERTILITY PARADOX

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Rapid recent changes in patterns of family life and reproduction are nothing short of revolutionary.

Men’s economic role in women’s lives is decreasing. In the U.S., women now outnumber men in higher education; young, single childless women earn more than their male peers; and according to author Liza Mundy (The Richer Sex) in almost 40% of marriages, the woman earns more than the man.

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THE FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE FACTOR: REACTIONS TO FRANCE’S NEW PRESIDENT (May 14)

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By Federico Santi, editorial assistant at European Affairs

Reactions to the victory of François Hollande, the first socialist to hold the French presidency since 1985, have dominated the news for days as leaders and observers around the world assess the impact that his victory, along with the tumultuous election in Greece, will have on the way Europe will deal with the current economic crisis and the swirling debate on austerity versus stimulus for growth.

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EU AUSTERITY AND REFORM: A COUNTRY BY COUNTRY TABLE (Updated May 3)

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By Zachary Laven and Federico Santi

In response to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe the Fiscal Compact was signed in March by every EU member state except the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The fate of this Compact has been made uncertain by the elections in France and Greece, which are seen as a popular rejection of its terms and effects. Inspired by Germany and other proponents of fiscal discipline in Europe, the pact aims to prevent excessive deficits requiring bailouts like the ones needed by Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Hungary. It requires national budgets to be in balance or in surplus, the EU’s new “golden rule.” The treaty will enter into effect on January 1, 2013, if by then twelve out of the 17 members of the Eurozone will have ratified it.

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GLOBAL PRESSURES RISE AGAINST EU AIRLINE EMISSION FEES (May 2)

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By Zachary Laven, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

In the tug-of-war over new EU rules levying carbon taxes on airlines’ flights, the U.S. has signaled for the first time that failure to change or at least postpone the European plan could hold up future progress on global climate-change talks.

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STAKES ARE HIGH FOR EU DIPLOMACY IN IRANIAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (April 12)

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By Garret Martin, Editor at Large, European Affairs

As talks resume between Iran and the P5 + 1 (the informal group made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the stakes, including war or peace, are high for every one – and not least for EU. European countries have invested much political capital in engaging Iran over the last twenty years, sometimes parting ways with Washington over the issue. In recent years, especially since the last round of talks with Iran broke off 15 months ago, the EU leaders have closed ranks with the U.S., especially the so-called E-3 countries directly involved in the talks – Britain, France and now Germany. Now, with the stark backdrop of the continent’s own economic woes, the EU badly needs a foreign-policy success to keep alive its diplomatic credibility and ambitions to be an influential global actor.

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ITALY'S MONTI BOOSTED BY RIVAL'S FALL (April 9)

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European Affairs

In the most important Italian political development since the departure of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, opposition leader Umberto Bossi, head of Italy’s Northern League party, was forced to resign from his position in a scandal involving illicit handling of party funds.

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LEADING EDUCATIONAL REFORMER IN EUROPE DIES SUDDENLY; DESCOINGS DIVERSIFIED ELITE SCHOOL “SCIENCES PO” (APRIL 4)

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By European Affairs

Richard Descoings, 53, headed the Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as “Sciences Po” -- the university that has spawned many leading French politicians, businessmen, academics and media people. He was found dead in his hotel room with no apparent signs of crime in New York, where he was attending a UN conference of university heads.

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EU VOWS TO PURSUE PIRATES ON SHORE IN SOMALIA (March 30)

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By William Marmon

Escalating the fight against Somali-based maritime pirates, the EU has announced that its naval task force (EUNAVFOR) will expand operations to “include Somalia’s coastal territory and internal waters” – taking the anti-piracy campaign on land for the first time.

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NINA ERSMAN—SPOKESPERSON EXTRAORDINAIRE FOR SWEDISH EMBASSY (3/30)

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By Michael Mosettig, Foreign Editor, PBS News Hour

Considering that there are nearly 180 embassies clamoring for attention in Washington, it takes some special talent and skill for press attaches and counselors from middle and small nations to make distracted journalists and officials to pay them much mind.

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OBAMA OFFICIALS SEE EUROZONE PROGRESS AND PRAISE ECB LIQUIDITY (3/21)

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By European Affairs

Top U.S. financial officials said Wednesday that Europe has made significant progress in surmounting the eurozone crisis. In testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed cautious optomism about the eurozone outlook and praised the European Central Bank (ECB) for its efforts to inject liquidity into the banking system to maintain financial flows.

Their testimony was the first top level public statement from the Obama administration on the crisis since the EU’s most recent steps to prevent debt default, especially in Greece. According to the New York Times, Geithner said that the European situation is far less worrisome than in late 2011, but still remains a threat to global recovery and to the U.S. economic outlook.

 

By European Affairs