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U.S. Gets Oil-Spill Help from EU Nations with Special Equipment and Know-How

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Offers of help from European countries to the U.S. in dealing with the Gulf oil-spill have been welcomed and publicly acknowledged in Washington. The Obama administration has been markedly more receptive to these trans-Atlantic overtures of solidarity than the preceding Bush administration was during the Katrina hurricane disaster. Alongside U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico, two littoral nations from Europe -- Norway and the Netherlands – have already sent equipment to help with the crisis. Both have experience with offshore drilling emergencies, and they have already sent over eight skimming systems, which arrived in the U.S. in early May.

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New U.S. Space Program Promises Wider Openings for Trans-Atlantic Cooperation

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The Obama administration has unveiled a broad set of national space policies that emphasize the President’s desire for a fresh approach to international cooperation in the space community – possibly including arms control accords about space. Until now, the U.S. has been a lone hold-out against the calls for such treaties concerning space and the goal of progress on “demilitarizing” space. Read More

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G-20's Balancing Rhetoric --- A Bridge to Crucial Next G-20 Summit in November

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G-20’s Compromise Rhetoric Is Designed as Bridge to November Summit  – Meant To Be Crucial G-20 Event

The outcome of the latest G-20 summit had something for everyone – mostly in the form of delaying any drastic policy changes by any of the governments involved. No binding decisions were taken on implementing any of the changes in financial systems that were on the table ahead of the Toronto meeting. Instead, the artful main decision offered a (non-binding) pledge that governments should focus on how and when to start curbing their pro-jobs stimulus and move toward budget cutbacks as the basis for more sustainable growth.

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New Measure of Quality Urban Lifestyle: Europe Dominates List of Top-25 Cities

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Ensuring a high-quality lifestyle is no challenge for European cities at their urban cores. A recent ranking of global cities – by special and sophisticated criteria reflecting modern priorities for living conditions – Europe claims 14 of the 25 top-ranked cities. The United States only made it into two slots, none in the top 10.

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G-20 will be Sounding Board on U.S.-EU Divergences: Tightwads or Spendthrifts?

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As leaders head to Toronto for a G-20 summit meeting this weekend, the stage is set for the EU and the U.S. to air their clashing views about the right priority for national fiscal policies at this stage of the crisis.

The meeting will thus be a sounding board – and little else. Major collective decisions are scheduled for the G-20’s subsequent meeting this fall in South Korea.

But a trans-atlantic clash of views has become increasingly strident about what fiscal strategy to adopt now amid signs of global economic recovery. The Obama administration is publicly urging Europe to copy the U.S. example of continuing to pump money into the system in order to spur economic growth. But key EU leaders – notably Germany – are publicly insisting that it is time to rein in deficit spending to tackle the accumulating (and already monumental) debt.

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EU Austerity: A Country-by-Country Table

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Greater budget discipline is a goal that all EU countries are pursuing, with tax increases (including in VAT rates) and often-drastic cuts in government spending. A country-by-country table of these measures being adopted by EU member states has been compiled by the European Institute and is available here as a survey current as of July 1.

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European Publics Still Love Obama -- But Not His Foreign Policy

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A Pew Research opinion survey shows President Barack Obama maintaining his extraordinary popularity in Europe as a global leader – despite some political setbacks at home and abroad.

Ratings of America are overwhelmingly favorable in Western Europe. For example, 73% of French and 63% of Germans say they have a favorable view of the U.S. (Approval rates of America have also jumped sharply in Russia (57%), up 11 points, and in Japan (66%), up 7 points.) The new findings emerged from the latest edition of the annual Pew 22-nation survey of global attitudes. In most wealthier countries, he gets “an enthusiastic thumbs-up” for the way he has handled the world economic crisis.

The glaring exception is the U.S. itself, where as many people disapprove of his approach as approve.

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"Eurabia" Phobias are Damaging Distortion about Islam in Europe, French Author Says

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For several years, the American chattering classes have boiled with feverish discussion about the rise of Islam in Europe and the terrorist threat nurtured by extremists in ghetto-like Muslim communities in European countries. Much of the tone and substance of this discussion about an ominously emerging “Eurabia” has come from books by a handful of prominent American political analysts who charge Europeans with placating the growing Muslim minorities on their soil and thus harboring and inciting Islamic extremism.

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Hard Sell for U.S. and NATO to Join Russia on International Security for Kyrgyzstan

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American foreign-policy experts have called for NATO to seek to join in any international re-arrangements for Kirighi, "With the violence around Osh continuing and a very real possibility that the conflict could expand to engulf parts of neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, NATO and the United States must immediately engage with regional partners to help restore security", according to a New York Times piece authored by a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

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Dutch Electoral Outcome is Bellweather for Wider Trends in EU – Right and Ultra-Right Win, But Social Democrats Still Matter

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Reflecting a general trend in Europe toward economic austerity and nationalism, voters in the Netherlands swung to the right on Wednesday by electing their first liberal (i.e., conservative) presumptive prime minister in almost a century while giving huge gains to xenophobic politician Geert Wilders.

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NEW EUROPEAN AFFAIRS ISSUE: SEE THIS PAGE LOWER LEFT / ARTICLES: TURKEY, ICC, VAT, IRELAND / REVIEWS: ASMUS ON GEORGIA, BREMMER ON END OF FREE MARKET, STECK ON WAR

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NEW EUROPEAN AFFAIRS ISSUE: SEE THIS PAGE LOWER LEFT

ARTICLES: TURKEY, ICC, VAT, IRELAND

REVIEWS: ASMUS ON GEORGIA, BREMMER ON END OF FREE MARKET, STECK ON WAR

 

 
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New Debt Doubts Battering Europe -- Now Fears Hit Banks Holding Government Debt

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Bank debt is the newest bad news that threatens the already tenuous financial stability of many European countries. This new problem is an outgrowth of the crisis of government debt that erupted in Greece, now spilling over onto other European countries’ credit ratings. Hungary has now joined the ranks of countries that might have to resort to a default of national debt.

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Austerity Measures in Europe Include Raising Retirement Ages: Controversial Step Would be Major Reform in France

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Following in the footsteps of its European neighbors, France looks set to raise the national retirement age in a bid to overhaul the nation’s government-run pension system and restore its ailing public finances. The move is highly controversial in France. But high unemployment and mounting state indebtedness, coupled with populations that are living longer in retirement, are putting enormous pressure on many EU member states to change the system. The idea is to make workers stay employed longer (and contributing longer to the program) and postpone the moment when they are entitled to start claiming benefits.

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