Int'l Criminal Court Seeks Gaddafi Arrest Warrant On War-Crimes Charges (5/17)

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has formally requested arrest warrants for Moammar Gaddafi and two of his relatives for crimes against humanity.
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Battle Over New “.xxx” Internet Address for Porn Underscores EU-US Dilemma on Internet Governance (5/13)

Official uneasiness about the state of Internet governance is rising as governments on both sides of the Atlantic have come to recognize how limited their ability is to control it. The latest public symptom of this anxiety surfaced in a leaked official letter from European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes who is also the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in which she sought U.S. help in stopping the deployment of a new Internet “suffix” -- ".xxx" –- to identify pornography sites on the web. “This is a major public policy concern,” she wrote, “not only because of the unknown effects it may have in terms of internet stability, but also because of the implications such blocking may have for internet censorship and freedom of expression.”

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U.S. Goes To Arctic Ministerial Promoting Pragmatic Cooperation -- UPDATE (5/17)

--- POST-MEETING-UPDATE

At the Nuuk meeting, the Arctic Council put off the European Commission’s application for “permanent observer” status – probably for two years. The bid was strongly supported by one Arctic Council member state, Finland (which also belongs to the EU). But it was opposed by two other permanent Council members, Canada and Russia. Decisions are taken by unanimity on the Council. A decision on the EU application – based on criteria established at Nuuk – is set to be taken within two years, ie by the time of the next Council ministerial.

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EU Must "Ask More" From Athens (5/9)

Even if rumors about a Greek departure from the eurozone have been deflated, the recent flurry of speculation should not obscure the hard facts about what Athens needs to do: shrink the country’s defense spending, privatize more public-sector activity and collect more taxes from companies and wealthy citizens. These are the conditions for energizing the country’s economy and businesses.

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British Voters Enthusiastic About NOT Changing Status Quo in Voting System (5/6)

A referendum proposing a complicated tweak in Parliamentary elections was rejected by a “no” vote with a large enough margin to amount to simple repudiation.  With enough ballots counted to ensure the measure’s defeat, projections said that the outcome could approach a 70-30 defeat for the measure, which was put to voters on the same day as local elections in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Ronald D. Asmus (1958-2011) -- A Tribute (5/3)

Ron Asmus had already made his place in history – as a worthy successor to the great generation of “Atlanticists” who built and nurtured the transatlantic partnership – when he died last week at the tragically early age of 53. For more than two decades, he had been tirelessly energetic and remarkably effective in pushing his commitment to the emergence of a Europe whole and free. His influence was powerful in policy communities on both sides of the Atlantic: in Europe, he was an adviser and reassuring ally to leaders with aspirations to freedom; in the U.S., he constantly reminded Americans how much they needed that kind of Europe.

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Killing of Bin Laden May Provide Opening For Compromise In Afghan War (5/2)

Will the elimination of Osama Bin Laden help open the way to an end of the war in Afghanistan and an earlier withdrawal of more U.S. and European troops fighting there in the NATO-led offensive against the Taliban? This question is already being debated in policy circles in Washington (and in European capitals) on the day after the killing of Al Qaeda’s leader.
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Momentum Builds for Italy's Draghi as Europe's Next Central Banker (4/28)

Selection of Mario Draghi as the next president of the European Central Bank became closer, if not assured, with the signal this week that French President Nicolas Sarkozy supported the Italian for the key post. Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, who has held the ECB job for eight years, steps down in October.  European Affairs tipped Draghi for the job back in February after Germany’s front-runner Axel Weber withdrew from consideration. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Draghi has emerged as the “consensus” candidate for the job.

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EU Austerity: Country-by-Country -- UPDATED -- (4/26)

Greater budget discipline is a goal that most EU countries are pursuing, with tax increases (including VAT rates) and often-drastic cuts in government spending. A country-by-country table of these measures has been compiled by the European Institute (as an update to a previous table) and is current as of May 1.
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Better Coffin For Chernobyl In Wake Of Japanese Accident (4/21)

Amid fresh global worries about radiation after the nuclear meltdown in Japan, the U.S. and leading EU countries have decided to move ahead with a “New Safe Confinement” for the damaged reactors at Chernobyl in Ukraine involved in the deadly 1986 accident there that leaked radiation across Europe.

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Greek Debt Crisis — A Dilemma that Does Not Diminish (4/19)

There is a new twist in the disconnect between, on one hand, official denials on all sides that Greece will ever default on its sovereign debt and, on the other hand, the near-unanimity from economists and analysts that some form of restructuring is inevitable.

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Finnish Parliament's Lurch to Right Could Complicate EU Financial Bail-outs (4/18)

Finland has sustained a political tsunami in a parliamentary election that brought a spectacular breakthrough for a eurosceptic and potentially isolationist party, the True Finns. It rocketed to near-equality with the county’s two leading parties, quadrupling its votes during the past election.
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Western Aid Falls Prey To Deficit Squeeze -- When Needed In North Africa (4/14)

On both sides of the Atlantic outflows of development aid are slowing. The reasons are similar everywhere: pressures to reduce deficits by cutting government spending, especially on foreign aid – a cutback that is relatively painless for these governments because it does not affect any significant part of the electorates in EU nations or in the U.S.
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EU Leaders' Rejection Of “Multiculturalism” Aimed At Far-Right Demagogues (4/1)

  • “The multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and be happy about one another, has utterly failed.”— German Chancellor Angela Merkel in October 2010.
  •  “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have... failed to provide a vision of society to which [minorities] feel they want to belong.” — British Prime Minister David Cameron in February 2011.
  •  “Multiculturalism is a failure. The truth is that in our democracies, we cared too much about the identity of the migrant and not sufficiently about the identity of the country that welcomed him.” — French President Nicholas Sarkozy in February 2011.

This remarkable convergence in the timing and shifts in the public stances of major conservative European leaders stems from a common motive –“protecting your right flank” in a era where popular discontent with the effects Muslim migration in Germany, Britain and France has reached the boiling point, according to a well-informed article in Foreign Policy Magazine.

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EU Leaders Claim “Grand Bargain,” With Loose Ends -- Will Bond Markets Share This Confident View? (3/25)

Concluding their two-day summit meeting, EU leaders said that they had achieved consensus a set of measures to tackle the eurozone crisis – including better ways to handle any assault on the euro via the acutely beleaguered economy of Portugal.

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EU Summit Seeks "Grand Bargain" on Euro: Will New Pact Convince Markets? (3/23)

The EU summit meeting on March 24-5 has been billed for months as a crucial moment, a deadline for the European Union leaders to sign off on a long-promised grand bargain to shore up the credibility of the euro. The ambitions of the summit are twofold: to consolidate the ultimate solvency of weaker member states saddled with crushing sovereign-debt loads and also to put in place new rules aimed at preventing similar crises in future. Success depends on a central trade-off: Germany and its prosperous EU neighbors, including France, will pledge more funds for bail-out loans in exchange for eurozone-wide acceptance of measures promoting fiscal convergence and movement toward common economic governance.

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Sarkozy Played Crucial Role In Catalyzing International Action at UN On Libya (3/18)

As a U.S. Senator put it about the U.S. approach to Libya: “One test in foreign policy: at least be as bold as the French; unfortunately, we’re failing that test.” Part of a small Washington cohort of critics crying outrage about U.S. inaction, that jibe from Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, came on Wednesday. By the next day, the Obama administration had joined  France, Britain and some other EU countries,  together with the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity, in pushing for a no-fly zone. The potential resolution, when it finally materialized, included even more aggressive military measures against the Libyan regime, possibly including covert help to Libyan rebels on the ground. That emerging diplomatic front succeeded in obtaining approval from the UN Security Council, of a much stronger resolution on Libya than most diplomats even a few hours earlier believed possible.

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Libya: New Scenario Seems to Exclude Ground Intervention by EU or U.S. (3/16)

As Moammar Gaddafi threatened fierce retribution against rebels in Benghazi, the Obama administration executed a dramatic policy shift toward the Libya, swinging behind a European-led push for a Security Council resolution authorizing international action to protect Libyans against Gaddafi loyalists.

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Struggle for Control of the Internet: Is U.S. Government Seeking Increased Role? (3/9)

Dramatized most recently by the liberation movements in North Africa, the importance of a free Internet has been heavily emphasized by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Much less noticed, however, is a back stage drama, played out in part in a meeting in early March in Brussels, where governments, led by the U.S., sought to gain power over key technical Internet levers.

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Crucial EU Summits on Eurozone. Bid to Convince Markets Now and in Future. (3/9)

This month is supposed to mark a turning point for the euro.  Two EU summit meetings on bolstering the euro and the eurozone will happen in Brussels -- the first this Friday March 11 and the second, more important one on March 25. This week, fresh urgency was added to the crisis and the EU’s ability to restore confidence when the markets raised the interest rates being charged Portugal for its government bonds on March 9 to an all-time high that Lisbon admits is “unsustainable” as the price of rolling over its sovereign debt.

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