Russia Is Early Mover on Shipping via Widening Channels in Arctic (10/24)

Amid ongoing international discussions about the Arctic sea as it unfreezes more of the year and opens for traffic, Russian maritime companies are starting to use its widening channels as a sea route that can shorten the distance between Europe and Asia during longer and longer parts of the summer as the polar ice pack recedes. Running along Russia’s shore, this expanding new “Northern Sea Route” is the sea-going version of the “over the pole” flights that have become routine for aircraft. [Here is a New York Times map of the NSR through the Eastern Arctic]

Read more...
 

PERSPECTIVES: Bold Blueprint For Action, Now, To Solve Eurozone Crisis (10/12)

An open letter co-signed by Bertrand Collomb, chairman emeritus of the French bod.collombmultinational, Lafarge, who is a board member of the European Institute.

The letter calls on the leaders of the eurozone to move now -- to create a common treasury for the 17-nation group together with common supervision, regulation and deposit insurance. This fiscal convergence needs to be accompanied by a strategy that includes growth as the only way to surmount the debt problem, it states.

Read more...
 

ECB Transition Unlikely To Derail Hopes Of Finding Light in Euro Tunnel (10/6)

As Jean-Claude Trichet gave his final news conference before stepping down as president of the European Central Bank, speculation focused on the likely stance of his successor – Italian central banker Mario Draghi – amid the euro-turmoil.

Read more...
 

Elections in Denmark and Latvia Push Back Against Populist, Rightwing Trend in EU (10/05)

National parliamentary elections in two of the smaller EU countries — Denmark and Latvia – have broken with the trend for political gains in recent years by ultra-rightwing, nationalistic, anti-immigrant parties.

Denmark got a new prime minister – the first woman to win the post -- in Social Democrat helle1Helle Thorning-Schmidt (who happens to be the daughter-in-law of Britain’s former Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock.)  She eked out enough seats to become the leader of a new center-left coalition government. It is expected to ease up on enforcement of some recent Danish anti-immigrant provisions that have caused consternation in other EU countries.

Read more...
 

Euro! Back From the Brink – With Renewed Hope For Salvation (9/29)

If German parliamentarians had said “no” this morning, the EU plan to increase its war fund to defend Greece’s credit would have been vetoed. Governments’ collective efforts around the world to save the euro would have hit a juddering crash and crack-up, with tsunami-like ripple effects on the global economy.  That prospect seemed very alive only last weekend, driving down the euro’s value and stock prices.

Read more...
 

EU Urgency Mounts as Greece and Eurozone Near Brink (9/28)

The head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, delivered a challenging “state of the union” speech for the EU warning that the union faces the toughest challenge in its half-century history, which he said can only be met by member states agreeing to be more integrated in the way they run their finances.

Read more...
 

Euro Crisis Recognized As Challenge for Global Economy (9/23)

Fears have spread through markets and finance ministries that the debt burdens and other problems in the eurozone could help plunge the world into a global recession.

With Washington now publicly engaging with European governments on these issues, a cogent analysis of the stakes for the U.S. and the limits of leverage for the Obama administration in promoting solutions appeared on NPR, the national U.S. public radio network.

Read more...
 

Food-Safety Standards Are Investment for Health and for Consumer Confidence (9/21)

Recent outbreaks in food-borne illness in both Europe and the U.S. – such as the E.coli episode this summer in Germany (that affected some transatlantic travellers) and the U.S. scare and recall involving salmonella-infected ground turkey meat – have underscored the need for better protection and inspection of foodstuffs and other agricultural products.

But efforts to tackle the issue are encountering problems on both sides of the Atlantic. In particular, funding problems have beset Congressional-mandated reforms in the U.S.

Read more...
 

Crisis Concern Escalates in Europe; All Eyes on Germany (9/14)

Nervousness about a possible default on Greek debt visibly rippled throughout Europe last week. Calm returned, at least temporarily, after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers Friday, attended by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner – the first time a U.S. Treasury Secretary has participated in this kind of a eurozone ministerial meeting. In an interview earlier this week Geithner said, “I think they [European leaders] recognize they’re going to have to do more to earn the confidence of the world.”

Read more...
 

EU and U.S. Take Action Against Illegal Fishing (9/8)

The United States and European Union signed this week an agreement to fight illegal fishing which, according to EU estimates, costs EU fishermen 23 billion euro per year.  The agreement calls for cooperation and the free flow of information between the EU and US in combating this growing problem.

Read more...
 

European Expert Suggests "NATO for North Africa" (9/1)

A bold suggestion has emerged from the positive military outcome in Libya. Namely, Europe should be thinking long term about creating a "new NATO,” under European control  and called “North Africa Treaty Organization”--  to promote stability in the region that has recently turned so volatile. The author, Giles Merritt, a Brussels-based security expert, notes that Europe has the skills and experience (and enough military punch) to provide backbone for a regional organization on this scale. Its work could start with peacekeeping and nation-building in Libya. The idea sounds  constructive for North Africa and for Europe. But even if European leaders were able to unite on it, the initiative is bound to be a tough sell to the Arab League and the Arab governments that would be directly involved.

 

French Forces' Performance in Libyan Campaign Wins U.S. Military Respect (8/29)

The NATO-led operation in Libya has raised esteem for the French military and their capabilities among their American counterparts, according to this New York Times article reporting how French behavior in the Libyan operation has gained respect in the Pentagon.

Read more...
 

Amid the Damage, DSK Criminal Case Set to End With Unanswered Questions (8/22)

If, as expected, the New York prosecutor drops all charges Dominique Strauss Kahn, the criminal case against him on rape charges will be closed – leaving many questions about what actually happened in the Sofitel incident involving the cleaning woman, Nafissatou Diallo.

Read more...
 

Dutch Voters Share German Reluctance to Subsidize Euro Laggards (8/18)

Germans are not the only European voters who are reluctant to make bigger commitments to bailing out their more profligate neighbors on the eurozone’s periphery. Rather than rescue Greece (and other debt-stricken partners), most Dutch (54 percent) would rather see these countries leave the euro, according to a current public-opinion survey (August 14) by Maurice de Hond, a leading Dutch pollster.

Read more...
 

EU Stagnation Spurs French-German Bid for Fiscal Ties, Euro Governance (8/16)

Europe’s problems with some member states’ excessive debts is escalating into a crisis for the eurozone as a whole as economic growth drops below expectations even in the EU’s best-performing economies.
Read more...
 

In Eye of Euro Storm, Jean-Claude Trichet at the Helm of ECB (8/9)

The president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, has devoted the last three decades of his distinguished career to building a solid currency for Europe. Now, three months from his retirement, Trichet, 68, is waging what seems to be the fiercest struggle of all as he strives to prevent a collapse of his prized euro.

Read more...
 

Missile-Defense Blocking Russian Reset: A Way Forward With Moscow (8/5)

The proposed U.S. missile-defense system in Europe remains a major sticking point in relations with Russia: the recent NATO-Russia Council meeting (July 4) chose to postpone further debate, apparently until after the next NATO summit and into the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. A week after that meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a European Institute-sponsored event in Washington that the impasse on missile defense is a great “impediment” in a generally upward trend in U.S.-Russian ties.

Read more...
 

Success on Debt Still Risks Damage to U.S. International Financial Image (8/2)

The U.S. finally chalked up a success in reaching a Congressional deal to avoid default on the national debt, but considerable “damage may already have been done” to America’s image as a global pillar of financial security and adept manager of economic power.

Read more...
 

Norway Atrocities Raise Challenges About Europe's Far-Right (7/29)

Last week’s atrocities in Norway were an act of far-right violence on a scale unknown in Western Europe in the post-World War II era, and they have scalded European politics with sudden fear about the possible extreme consequences of anti-Muslim populist rhetoric.
Read more...
 

Both EU and U.S. Have Debt Crises But Their Economic Outlooks Differ (7/28)

Rhetoric about the debt threats sounds similar on both sides of the Atlantic, focusing on political leaders’ apparent inability to cope with the crises. In fact, the resemblances and comparisons are superficial, argues prominent economist Simon Johnson in a trenchant article entitled: “Who Is In Worse Shape – The United States or Europe?”

Read more...