Berlin: Angela Merkel’s conservatives want to increase the use of German in Europe if they are re-elected in September, calling in their campaign programme for the language to be treated on a par with English and French in top Brussels institutions.
“German is the most frequently spoken native language and one of three working languages of the European Union,” a draft programme from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), reads.
“We will push for a further strengthening of the German language in Europe. Our goal is that it is treated in the same way as English and French in the European Parliament, the (European) Commission and (European) Council.” Continue reading
The Group of Eight (G8) summits have traditionally been seen more for their vanity than substance, and the one that opens today (June 17) in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, will not be an exception. The members of this privileged club—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy and Russia—see no particular need to overcome their differences in managing the world’s slow-burning crises, from the economic slowdown to Syria. Besides the photo-ops, the main content of these tightly scripted get-togethers is supposed to be generated in the back rooms, and the most private of those is this time reserved for the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which should have happened a year ago, had Putin not opted to skip the May 2012 G8 summit in Camp David. The key figures in the Obama administration have far outdone their Russian counterparts in preparing an agenda for this tete-a-tete but succeeded only in downplaying the criticism of Putin’s persecution of political dissent, while no breakthrough in arms control is in the making (Kommersant-FM, June 14). Expectations that Russia could show some flexibility on Syria are arrested by the long-postponed announcement in Washington on providing military aid to the rebels. And what little understanding there was on issues looming over the wider Middle East is shattered by Putin’s statement that he has “no doubt that Iran is compliant with the rules” in executing its nuclear program (Gazeta.ru, Moscow echo, June 14; Forbes.ru, June 12). Continue reading
Despite massive spending on Western weapons, the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf are “unable to secure themselves from any external threat” — meaning Iran — and are running up huge public and foreign debt, a Gulf think tank says.
Omar al-Shehabi, director of the Gulf Center for Development Policies in Kuwait, said that even though the defense expenditure of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states is the highest in the world, exceeding the combined military spending of Israel and Britain, they still have to “rely on Western countries to provide military protection and security.” Continue reading
Among the many projects of international cooperation which Italy is currently involved seems it is appropriate to dwell on what Eurogendfor, or the European Gendarmerie Force. This is an initiative that involves in addition to our other 5 EU countries: France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Romania, but subsequently acceded to this project.
The purpose of the EGF to strengthen the management capacity of the future international crises and, more importantly, contribute to the common defense and security policy and may in all respects be considered a tool integrated approach to conduct police missions in several theaters, including those destabilized, in support of the European Union, NATO, the UN or any coalitions to create PURPOSE. Continue reading
Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has a simple message for the millions young people in the eurozone who are out of work – move.
In an interview, Mrs Merkel said the high levels of youth unemployment in Europe represent a “huge crisis”, comparing the eurozone’s difficulties with post-Communist eastern Germany.
Speaking to the BBC, she said that when unemployment soared after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “many young people … only had jobs because they moved to the south.” Mrs Merkel said: “I think it’s unfair that it is the young people especially who have to pay the bill for something they didn’t do. Continue reading
The IMF report on Portugal’s implementation of an EU-brokered bailout plan aims to throw off the country’s constitutional court, says i.
Instead of including reforms in the 2014 state budget, the IMF wants to push directly into structural reforms, which assumes to be the most difficult part of the Portuguese adjustment program. Continue reading
As Germany’s presence in the Middle East continues to grow, have they emerged as the “new America” over the region?
Give Germany credit. As America unwisely abdicates its leadership role in the Middle East, Berlin is quietly and steadily positioning itself to play a decisive role in the future of this important region. Right now, German foreign policy in the Middle East isn’t controversial, dramatic or eye-catching. Especially not compared to recent events in Egypt, Gaza, Syria and Iran.
The New America
Germany’s presence there, politically, commercially and militarily, is already more significant than most people realize. Continue reading
Like other countries within the region that are yet to go into full-blown crisis, Greece failed from the beginning, and what’s more is that it was known. A second supporting link can be found here, from Spiegel Online.
The latest setback for Greece: booted the euro-zone member from its index of developed countries.
The decision, announced late Tuesday, is the first time the index provider demoted a country from its “developed” to its “emerging-market” category since the launch of its flagship emerging-markets index in 1987.
It affirms what investors have believed for years. Multiple bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, a sharp contraction in gross domestic product and a still-large debt burden mean Greece now has more in common with Hungary than France. Continue reading
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of demographic suicide. Although the consequences of such a turnout could not be more serious, the problem attracts little public attention – indeed, most people may not even be aware of it. And experts can neither explain the cause nor prescribe a reliable remedy. The story is outlined in Population and Public Policy: Essays in Honour of Paul Demeny, published by the New York-based Population Council (2013). Continue reading
BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) – The struggle between Berlin and Brussels, on the one side, and Moscow, on the other, for the predominating influence in the Ukraine is growing sharper. Since the end of 2012, the German RWE company has been systematically expanding its natural gas deliveries to this East European country. Its objective is to break Kiev’s dependence on Russian natural gas, by reversing the flow in the pipelines already in place, to deliver large quantities of the gas from the West. However, these efforts – also being supported by the German EU Energy Commissioner, Günter Oettinger – are not advancing rapidly enough. According to reports, pro-western circles in the Ukraine are complaining that Slovakia – without whose pipelines, a breakthrough would hardly be possible – is opposing the project. Brussels, therefore, should exert pressure on that country, because time is running out. The Ukrainian government signed a memorandum last week, which is considered an important step toward its integration in the Russian-dominated EurAsian Economic Community, about to be established. In Berlin, Ukrainian participation in this community is perceived as incompatible with Kiev’s integration into EU structures. This conflict, which in principle, has been going on for twenty years, is being fueled by this new accentuation. Continue reading
Following the European Commission decision to tax imports of Chinese solar panels, Beijing has decided to launch a probe on European wine imports. And if the 27 do not get the message, other retaliatory measures will follow, warns the Chinese official newspaper.
China’s decision to launch an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into wine imports from the European Union signals the country will safeguard its major economic interests – and it has ample cards in hand to do so. Continue reading
Twenty years after UK personnel first deployed to Bosnia as part of the United Nations Protection Force, some 85 soldiers from Number 1 Company (No 1 Coy), The 1st Battalion Irish Guards, travelled to the country to rehearse their potential call-up as one of the intermediate reserve units of the European Military Force (EUFOR).
Restructured in 2012 as a result of improving security in the region, EUFOR’s primary role is to build the capacity of the Bosnian armed forces. Continue reading