Edit

Military Conscription to End in Germany

Email Print

(September 29)  After years of discussion and debate, Germany is moving to end military conscription—re-introduced in 1956, in an effort to break with the militaristic past and create a “citizen in uniform.” Earlier this week, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel announced agreement of the governing conservative parties to abolish the draft in accordance with a proposal by German defense minister, Karl-Theodore zu Guttenberg.

Read more...
 
Edit

Kosovo: President Resigns Upcoming Talks with Serbia May be Affected

Email Print

(September 27)  Kosovo’s President, Fatmir Sejdiu, abruptly announced his resignation today after the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled that he had violated the country’s constitution by simultaneously holding the presidency and the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Read more...
 
Edit

Swedish Anti-Immigration Party Wins Seats for First Time in Surprising Parliamentary Elections

Email Print

(Sept. 22, 2010) The world of Swedish politics was stunned by last Sunday’s elections, when the anti-immigration party (Sweden Democrats) won 20 out of the 349 parliamentary seats; a first since its’ founding in 1988 (see New York Times). Party leader Jimmie Akesson has described Muslim population growth as the biggest external threat to Sweden since World War II. The governing Center-Right coalition of Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt failed to win a parliamentary majority, falling just 3 votes shy of the necessary 175 seats. The Social Democrats, in turn, suffered their worst showing since 1914. Prime Minister Reinfeldt has pledged not to work with the far-right Sweden Democrats, and if the still uncounted ballots from Swedes living abroad do not tip the results, he may well have to seek to widen his governing coalition elsewhere.

Read more...
 
Edit

"Rumors of Europe’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

Email Print

Ever since the creation of the Euro in 1999, it has been fashionable in some quarters to prophesy the failure of Europe’s single currency. As EU Ambassador João Vale De Almeida pointedly noted, economist Milton Friedman had famously predicted that the European currency would not be able to withstand the first real “crisis.”

Read more...
 
Edit

Germany Tilting Balance Of Nuclear Power, Which is Seen As Growing Option in EU

Email Print

Germany’s decision to extend the licenses of the country’s 17 nuclear plants – and thus delay a long-planned calendar for a phase-out of nuclear-generated electricity -- reflects a wider and growing shift across Europe in favor of the nuclear option as a key component of countries’ energy mix.

Read more...
 
Edit

Froth of Oil Spill Whips up Doubts About "Special Relationship" - - If There Is One

Email Print

 

Pelicans and marsh grass were not the only victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Another casualty was in Britain among some people there who felt aggrieved that their country seemed to get no specially gentle handling from the White House in the name of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and UK. That longstanding concept of a special bilateral tie has only slowly faded in London, even under the new government. But decision-makers in Washington have been saying privately for years that it no longer exists, except in special circumstances such as the wars in the Falklands and the Gulf.
Read more...
 
Edit

Europe Nears Historic Agreement On Financial Supervision– With Plan Seen Going Farther Than U.S. Reform

Email Print

Today, European Union finance ministers reached landmark political consensus on sweeping financial supervisory reforms aimed at preventing a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis.  In the plan, hailed as a breakthrough after months of inter-European negotiations, three new watchdog bodies with binding authority will be created: a European Banking Authority; a European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and a European Securities and Markets Authority. In addition, a European Systemic Risk Board will be set up to monitor potential threats to the EU economy, to be chaired by the head of the European Central Bank. The finance ministers’ action follows last week’s provisional agreement between the European Parliament and the Belgian Presidency of the European Council, which augurs well for final passage when the Parliament formally votes on the measures September 22nd.

Read more...