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THE FERTILITY PARADOX

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Rapid recent changes in patterns of family life and reproduction are nothing short of revolutionary.

Men’s economic role in women’s lives is decreasing. In the U.S., women now outnumber men in higher education; young, single childless women earn more than their male peers; and according to author Liza Mundy (The Richer Sex) in almost 40% of marriages, the woman earns more than the man.

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THE FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE FACTOR: REACTIONS TO FRANCE’S NEW PRESIDENT (May 14)

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By Federico Santi, editorial assistant at European Affairs

Reactions to the victory of François Hollande, the first socialist to hold the French presidency since 1985, have dominated the news for days as leaders and observers around the world assess the impact that his victory, along with the tumultuous election in Greece, will have on the way Europe will deal with the current economic crisis and the swirling debate on austerity versus stimulus for growth.

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EU AUSTERITY AND REFORM: A COUNTRY BY COUNTRY TABLE (Updated May 3)

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By Zachary Laven and Federico Santi

In response to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe the Fiscal Compact was signed in March by every EU member state except the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The fate of this Compact has been made uncertain by the elections in France and Greece, which are seen as a popular rejection of its terms and effects. Inspired by Germany and other proponents of fiscal discipline in Europe, the pact aims to prevent excessive deficits requiring bailouts like the ones needed by Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Hungary. It requires national budgets to be in balance or in surplus, the EU’s new “golden rule.” The treaty will enter into effect on January 1, 2013, if by then twelve out of the 17 members of the Eurozone will have ratified it.

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GLOBAL PRESSURES RISE AGAINST EU AIRLINE EMISSION FEES (May 2)

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By Zachary Laven, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

In the tug-of-war over new EU rules levying carbon taxes on airlines’ flights, the U.S. has signaled for the first time that failure to change or at least postpone the European plan could hold up future progress on global climate-change talks.

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STAKES ARE HIGH FOR EU DIPLOMACY IN IRANIAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (April 12)

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By Garret Martin, Editor at Large, European Affairs

As talks resume between Iran and the P5 + 1 (the informal group made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the stakes, including war or peace, are high for every one – and not least for EU. European countries have invested much political capital in engaging Iran over the last twenty years, sometimes parting ways with Washington over the issue. In recent years, especially since the last round of talks with Iran broke off 15 months ago, the EU leaders have closed ranks with the U.S., especially the so-called E-3 countries directly involved in the talks – Britain, France and now Germany. Now, with the stark backdrop of the continent’s own economic woes, the EU badly needs a foreign-policy success to keep alive its diplomatic credibility and ambitions to be an influential global actor.

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ITALY'S MONTI BOOSTED BY RIVAL'S FALL (April 9)

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European Affairs

In the most important Italian political development since the departure of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, opposition leader Umberto Bossi, head of Italy’s Northern League party, was forced to resign from his position in a scandal involving illicit handling of party funds.

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LEADING EDUCATIONAL REFORMER IN EUROPE DIES SUDDENLY; DESCOINGS DIVERSIFIED ELITE SCHOOL “SCIENCES PO” (APRIL 4)

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By European Affairs

Richard Descoings, 53, headed the Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as “Sciences Po” -- the university that has spawned many leading French politicians, businessmen, academics and media people. He was found dead in his hotel room with no apparent signs of crime in New York, where he was attending a UN conference of university heads.

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EU VOWS TO PURSUE PIRATES ON SHORE IN SOMALIA (March 30)

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By William Marmon

Escalating the fight against Somali-based maritime pirates, the EU has announced that its naval task force (EUNAVFOR) will expand operations to “include Somalia’s coastal territory and internal waters” – taking the anti-piracy campaign on land for the first time.

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NINA ERSMAN—SPOKESPERSON EXTRAORDINAIRE FOR SWEDISH EMBASSY (3/30)

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By Michael Mosettig, Foreign Editor, PBS News Hour

Considering that there are nearly 180 embassies clamoring for attention in Washington, it takes some special talent and skill for press attaches and counselors from middle and small nations to make distracted journalists and officials to pay them much mind.

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OBAMA OFFICIALS SEE EUROZONE PROGRESS AND PRAISE ECB LIQUIDITY (3/21)

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By European Affairs

Top U.S. financial officials said Wednesday that Europe has made significant progress in surmounting the eurozone crisis. In testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed cautious optomism about the eurozone outlook and praised the European Central Bank (ECB) for its efforts to inject liquidity into the banking system to maintain financial flows.

Their testimony was the first top level public statement from the Obama administration on the crisis since the EU’s most recent steps to prevent debt default, especially in Greece. According to the New York Times, Geithner said that the European situation is far less worrisome than in late 2011, but still remains a threat to global recovery and to the U.S. economic outlook.

 

By European Affairs

 
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STAKES RISE IN FIGHT OVER EU AIRLINES EMISSION FEES (3/12)

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Fresh on the heels of the announcement last week that China was threatening to cancel orders for 9 billion euros worth of orders for Airbus jetliners, seven of Europe’s leading aviation companies have joined forces this week to formally oppose the European Union’s tax on airline emissions designed to combat global warming.

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IRISH REFERENDUM ON EU FISCAL PACT COULD CAUSE COMPLICATIONS (3/5)

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All but two (the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic) of the twenty seven EU member states signed the new fiscal compact on 2 March. This inter-governmental agreement, aiming to prevent  a recurrence of the serious debt woes that have plagued Europe, will come into effect once it is ratified by 12 of the 17 states of the Eurozone, as most are expected to do via their respective parliaments.

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LATVIA VOTES “NO” ON RUSSIAN AS SECOND OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (3/2)

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By Zachary Laven, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

The voting outcome was a resounding “no” – as widely predicted. So what is the background on this peculiar referendum, a reminder of the continuing tension between the Balkans and post-Soviet Russia. With more than 70% turnout, the vote against promoting Russian as the nation’s second official language was 75 percent and reflected the ethnic and linguistic divide between Latvian and Russian speakers. Said a relieved President Andris Berzins, “The vote on a second state language endangered one of the most sacred foundations of the Constitution: the state language.”

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EU FACES CONTINUED DIFFICULTY IN SECURING CASPIAN GAS (3/2)

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By Aaron Brinckerhoff, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

Europe’s quest for gas from the Caspian Sea – by-passing the near monopoly supplier Russia -- continues to be dogged by failure to secure a single provider.  The planned Nabucco pipeline, which would run 4,000 kilometers, or nearly 2,500 miles, from eastern Turkey to Austria, has long been the EU’s chief hope of securing a reliable supply of natural gas from the Caspian region--Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iraq. (The name Nabucco comes from the Verdi opera seen by the founding developers of the project.) For years, EU leaders and member states, along with successive U.S. administrations, have regarded this pipeline as crucial for Europe’s long-term security

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GREEK DEBT SUCCESS CONFIRMS EU COMMITMENT TO EURO -- DESPITE HARD ROAD AHEAD (2/23)

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BY EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

Greece is the extreme basket case of the euro’s woes, so its apparent rescue from its creditors this week brought a sense of relief to people managing the crisis. The price of the breakthrough was costly both for private bondholders (in terms of their “haircut” in written-off bonds) and to the Greek people (who will have to bear even steeper cuts in payrolls and pensions).

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“MORALIZING CLICHÉS” ABOUT GREEKS MASK THE REAL STRUCTURAL DILEMMA (2/16)

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Greece has had to bear the brunt of not only economic hardship but also relentless international criticism that the nation has a bloated public sector and an unsustainable social welfare system and is also beset by rampant systematic corruption and tax evasion.

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ON GREEK DEBT, “OWNERSHIP” OF THE ISSUES IS SPREAD TOO THIN (2/10)

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After weeks of agonizing negotiations among Greek government officials, private lenders and other international creditors, the governing coalition in Athens has finally given approval to the latest round of austerity measures in order to receive a second bail-out – in time to meet its deadline for preventing a messy and potentially contagious default on its national debt in March.

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FOR THE NEW EU SANCTIONS ON IRAN, GERMAN SUPPORT HAS BEEN CRUCIAL (2/9)

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In the stepped-up Western sanctions on Iran – now at “unprecedented levels” – a significant and enabling development has been the agreement of Germany to participate in the pan-European embargo on Iranian oil after years of reluctance in Berlin to act so strongly against Tehran.

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EU DATA-PRIVACY PLANS FOR OVERHAUL, WITH SOME POTENTIAL PROBLEMS FOR U.S. COMPANIES (1/25)

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By Zachary Laven --- European Affairs editorial assistant

The European Commission’s proposal for a sweeping overhaul of rules protecting individuals’ privacy in on-line data was unveiled Wednesday as a modernizing step that could reassure users and streamline procedures for companies in this complex new legal and technical environment.

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