Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr take a look at the week in Brussels blogging.
The EU Centre
Are there any climate change sceptics out there? If so, European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva recommends that those who are sceptic read the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. “That’s quite a mouthful, which is why the authors have shortened the title to SREX”, Georgieva writes. She goes on: “If that reminds you of the popular name for Tyrannosaurus Rex – T-Rex – then perhaps it might also realise that if we don’t wake up to what’s going on around us we may end up like the dinosaurs – extinct!”
The United Nations Environment Programme is the voice of the environment within the United Nations system at the global and regional level. Polscieu critiques the European Union’s mid-term priorities at the United Nations and its programmes as “a shopping list of diplomatic bla-bla”. He predicts that the level of bla-bla in the document will be matched by a respective level of failure. Meanwhile, EuroSearch explores the speed of decision-making in the European Union. Is it too slow to combat climate change?
At BlogActiv.eu, EU-Logos looks at MEP’s recent efforts to clarify the EU’s laws on cross border defamation, while the Fride Blog is concerned that delays in the formation of the European Endowment for Democracy show that the ambition for further democracy in Europe may be limited.
EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood
With former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in jail and on hunger strike, European leaders have threatened to politically boycott this summer’s Euro 2012 competition in Ukraine. Matiyeshyn on BlogActiv.eu wonders whether this boycott is accidental or tendentious.
The 6th Sense praises Serbia for its hospitality and helpfulness, while Croatia, the War and the Future are cynical about the UK’s involvement in Croatia’s judicial reforms. Corina Cretu looks at Romania’s representation at European summits. Meanwhile, as EU-Logos at BlogActiv.eu calls for greater EU resources to counter maritime piracy, the Fride Blog wonders what the EU should say on the topic of pooling defence resources at the upcoming NATO summit.
The Euro Crisis and Greece
Who can solve the Euro crisis, and can Greece be saved from an exit from the Euro? There is still no good news from Greece, reports Open Europe Blog. A Fistful of Euros reflects on the sheer logistics of a Greek Euro-exit, Nada es Gratis wonders if Greece could get a ‘Euro-annulment’, and Martinned proposes southern and northern versions of the Euro. Marek Siwiec MEP at BlogActiv.eu is very worried that a Greek exit from the Euro could signal the beginning of the EU’s disintegration, while Nucleus says that the UK is waking up to the problems that a Greek exit could cause for the UK. Protesilaos Stavrou has a forensic analysis of the current state of Greek politics, as well as possible scenarios for June’s fresh elections.
On Thursday, Open Europe raises the possibility that the European Central Bank might be pulling back its support for Greek banks in an attempt to encourage Greece to exit the Euro, and at week’s end they provide a survey of national newspapers’ Euro coverage, which does not look good for the single currency. The FT’s Brussels Blog says that even if a ‘run’ on Greek’s banks is imminent, a slow one has been underway already, with 30% of deposits being withdrawn in the past three years.
Meanwhile, Protesilaos Stavrou tears apart an article published by Jens Weidmann, the President of the German Bundesbank on why monetary policy is no panacea for Europe’s ills. He calls upon Weidmann “to abandon this hypocritical and polarizing palaver.”
Many commentators believe that François Hollande’s victory in France will refocus EU policies on growth and employment. Ahead of his first meeting with Angela Merkel on Tuesday, the Centre for European Reform provides an array of tips on how he should handle the German chancellor. One issue Hollande and Merkel will have to discuss is who should replace Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the Euro group. The frontrunner is Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, finds Charlemagne’s Notebook. After the meeting, Open Europe says that their discussions were unexciting (despite the earlier lighting strike on Hollande’s plane!), but also that their tone was one of compromise.
Debating Europe discusses with László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, whether a “growth compact” would have a large enough impact to create jobs. GMF Blog argues that the employment crisis in Europe is even worse than it appears. Hence, they call for a slower pace of fiscal consolidation in troubled countries such as Spain. Writing at BlogActiv.eu European Innovation calls for a real growth agenda in Europe that focuses on the economic benefits of the internet.
Estonia is an e-leader. The Baltic nation boasts one of the world’s highest broadband penetration rates and has carved out a pioneering role in promoting e-government and online freedom. About 94 per cent of tax returns last year were made online. Estonians vote on their laptops and sign legal documents on a smartphone. For all these reasons, Google’s European Public Policy Blog now takes “particular pleasure to announce the launch of our popular Google Maps Street View feature in Estonia.”
And The New Federalist critiques that many students only participate in youth politics and related activities to improve their CVs.
What has Herman been up to? This week he takes us backstage explaining – in a seventeen-minute-video – what it needs to organize a European Council meeting. And he visited the information stands during the Open Days at the European Council. He also met people born on the 9th of May in 1950.
Finnegan’s Take at BlogActiv.eu finds it odd that 3% of the Members of the European Parliamentarian say that they frequently – that’s ‘daily or weekly’– log on to MySpace.
Writing for (y)EU admits he is an expert in bad EU jokes.
Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.
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