EA April 2012

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IF SARKOZY LOSES PRESIDENCY TO HOLLANDE, WHAT HAPPENS TO FRENCH RELATIONS WITH U.S. OR EU?

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The main challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy in the hard-fought French election contest that culminates in a few weeks is a man virtually unknown outside his own country – François Hollande. To the surprise of many people outside of France, the polling data has consistently shown the incumbent trailing his opponent, including in the widely expected situation in which election turns on a run-off between the two men. Long-time stalwart and one-time leader of the Socialist party, Hollande, 57, has had little international exposure during his decades as a French parliamentarian. So who is he? And if he is elected President, what is likely to change in U.S.-French relations or in France’s position inside the European Union?

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FRESH AIR FROM WORLD BANK ON EUROPE'S MUCH-MALIGNED ECONOMIC MODEL

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A major World Bank study, published this month, lauds the European Union as an extraordinary economic success story and concludes that the current turmoil, far from being a terminal failure, should be the trigger for reforms to improve the community’s weak points. The thorough, richly documented analysis provides a strong antidote to prevailing prescriptions of the euro’s impending doom.  Such euro-pessimism has prevailed in recent years, as the Eurozone has struggled to address bouts of mismanagement and muddled leadership within its ranks. Deep flaws within the monetary union were exposed, along with the resulting structural imbalances in the system, when the global financial storm broke over the continent nearly five years age.

 

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Perspectives: Looming Battle Over the Cloud

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has begun to study “the Cloud” as a rising digital technology, viewed by many as the next big frontier in the development of the information age.  ITU involvement could mean stormy weather for the cloud, for both Europeans and Americans. The Americans largely see the cloud as an economic engine, while the Europeans, slow at first to embrace the cloud, now wish to balance its potential with consumer privacy protections.  But the ITU is a global forum, where countries outside of Europe and the U.S. can often impact outcomes--a prospect that is worrisome on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

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BATTLES OVER DIGITAL COPYRIGHT (SOPA and ACTA) AND THE RISE OF “EXO-POLITICS”

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Controversy over legislation in the U.S., Europe and Canada to protect online copyright has mobilized a wave of new players from the user comm unity who deploy the Internet in new ways to influence the political debate.  This phenomenon -- characterized by street protests organized via social media, online petitions, viral videos and other "hacktivism" techniques -- is being called "exo-politics" (i.e. outside politics as usual). It may presage a significant change in the political power equation.

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HISTORIC SHIFT IN U.S. DEFENSE STRATEGY WILL HAVE MAJOR IMPACT ON EUROPE

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Is the Obama administration edging quietly towards an historic shift in U.S. national security strategy? Is a change in the works going far beyond the “pivot to Asia” and troop drawdown in Europe announced by the President in January as the first outcome of the Congressionally-mandated need to cut defense spending?

 

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