Country by Country Snapshot of Central and Eastern Europe Reeling in Recession

In the economic meltdown, the Central and Eastern European countries are among the hardest hit – as badly as Iceland and worse than most other European countries. The financial problems in the CEE region are particularly acute because these countries were already suffering from structural economic problems: inflation, an overhang of cheap loans in euros that now must be repaid in devalued national currencies; and falling demand for their exports. Now most of these countries need large loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but must comply with strict IMF criteria liable to trigger hardships for their electorates and perhaps political turmoil. Here is an overview of the region.


Black Carbon: Overlooked Warming Factor that can be Quickly Cleaned Up

By now most world leaders have realized the dangers of climate change, and many have launched initiatives to limit carbon dioxide emissions that are the main cause of greenhouse gases and global warming. Because they are so big, they are challenging to contain. Alongside them, there are other smaller but important contributing factors that are relatively easy to curb but are too often overlooked by leaders looking at the big picture.


Iceland’s Acceptance for EU Membership Is Proving Trickier than First Anticipated

Following its financial meltdown in October 2008, Iceland hoped that EU membership would protect the country from a similar economic crisis in the future, and six months later, in July 2009, Reykjavik applied to become a member state. The European Commission responded positively – in less than a week, a very rapid timeframe when compared to countries in the Balkans which have sometimes had to wait years before their applications were even considered.



U.S Votes to Extend Funds to Subsidize Rebates for Older Cars — A Plan Pioneered in France and Other EU Countries

This blog post is based on two articles that appeared in Le Monde on August 4th, 2009.

Paris is priding itself on inventing an economic incentive to revive car sales while cutting carbon emissions. This economic-stimulus plan – called “cash for clunkers” – has now been copied in other European countries and in the United States.


EU Pledges Anti-Piracy Training for Somalis


The European Union will move a step forward in its campaign to curb piracy in the Gulf of Aden by dispatching a team of advisers to train Somali security forces to protect shipping in the region, EU foreign ministers said after a council meeting in Brussels on July 27.


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