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Feb 292008

I got a couple of useful suggestions after my previous posting on Euroblogging. Jon Worth presents a “pyramid” with four levels of Euroblogs and looks for ways of aggregating or synthesizing this mass of information.  Jon writes the following about the bottom layer of the pyramid:

At the bottom level are the mass of Individual Euroblogs written by single authors, and blogs dealing with one small part of EU politics. People read these if the blog appeals to their niche area of interest, or they happen to know the person writing the blog. These blogs can be a success in their own right, but they are unlikely to generate a mass readership

This is undoubtedly true. While in no way denying the over-riding importance of “portals” or other sites that synthesize the most important information, I am looking for ways of finding focussed and structured information on topics that I Continue reading »

Feb 272008

On Feb 5 this year we wrote about the Swedish and European Green parties and expressed our view that the former would never change their anti-EU stance:

In a time where environmental and climate issues are high on the international agenda the Swedish Greens – in contrast to their European sister parties- are rapidly marginalizing themselves into an insignificant sect

To our great astonishment we read today in Dagen Nyheter (SW) that one of the two spokespersons of the Green Party (well, they are chairpersons really but like to call themselves ‘spokespersons’) has changed her attitude: “Our reasons for being against membership are still relevant in my opinion but there are now additional arguments speaking for membership. Those reasons have to do with the climate issue and with the enlargment of EU that has taken  place in later years” (our Continue reading »

Feb 252008

EUObserver carries a comment by Peter Sain ley Berry, editor of EuropaWorld. Well worth reading. We quote:

I have still to hear a convincing reason why the status quo could not have been maintained until such time as the whole region joined the European Union.

Which might have been the case had not the Kosovars learned that the USA and its principal European allies would not only back a unilaterally declared independence but would actually throw money at it as well. At that point all hope of a negotiated outcome went out of the window.

The more time gives us a perspective on what happened in Kosovo and the reaction from EU countries, the more difficult to understand the haste. As ley Berry writes: “We Shall All Pay For Kosovo’s Independence.” The price yet to be determined.

Feb 222008

The Grand Duchy of Liechtenstein makes the headlines again. Germany has successful used its intelligence services and paid money in order to get information on a celebrity tax evader in this tax haven between Austria and Switzerland. This has understandably provoked the anger of the Crown Prince Alois who talked about an “unprovoked German attack” on a “miniature state” and told them to clean up their own tax system which, in the royal opinion, is “even worse than Haiti’s.” Ms. Merkel, cool as always, replied that “It would not be good if Liechtenstein was found to be encouraging illegal activities.” In Sweden an influential ex-minister demands that Sweden should stop the accession of Liechtenstein to the Schengen agreement.

You never quite know with Liechtenstein. When their territory was invaded by Switzerland in 2007, they were very Continue reading »

Feb 212008

We never thought that the day would come when we would find ourselves at least in partial agreement with the choleric US ex-ambassador to the UN, Mr. John Bolton. Nevertheless, in an article in The Washington Times , Mr. Bolton and co-authors voice a very sharp criticism against US and European polices towards Kosovo (which had not yet declared independence when the article was written). Not only would an acceptance of the independence be in conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 but it would create a dangerous precedence in Europe and provoke an unnecessary conflict with Russia, thereby making US-Russian cooperation on more important issues very difficult, all according to Mr. Bolton  and friends.

It feels nicer to agree with George Friedman who also stresses the Russian problem but, more importantly, the danger to the hard-won stability within Europe after WWII. The only argument for the secession of Kosovo would be that the Serbian oppression in the 90´s has led to an “idiosyncratic event” which should not give precedence to other separationist Continue reading »

Feb 202008

Mr. Blair’s apparent candidacy for the not yet created post as the first 2.5 year President of the Council continues to create commotions. The Guardian publishes today an article on the growing anti-Blair movements under the heading “Stop Blair: ambition to lead Europe hits fierce opposition”. However, the scepticism seems to be mainly pronounced among civil servants and perhaps the general public, whereas Blair could count on a “massive support” from Eastern Europe, Italy (under Berlusconi) and, of course, France. The opposition would come from Benelux and, speculates the Guardian, from Germany which obviously would be a formidable obstacle. We have earlier on this blog expressed the view that the Nordic countries are not very likely to put any spokes in the Blair wheel with Denmark likely to give enthusiastic support.

The Parliament Press Review this morning quotes the IHT:

UK prime minister Gordon Brown is seeking to boost his European credentials by paying a symbolic first visit to EU headquarters, more than seven months after taking office, says the IHT.

The paper says that chancellor Angela Merkel and president Nicolas Sarkozy made the trip within days of taking office.

The Guardian mentions the “Stop Blair Petition” but does not link: you can find it here.

Feb 192008

We continue our cannibalism on Nordic language blogs: This time it is Marianne Ekdahl who draws our attention to a very comprehensive list of Euroblogs on the EurActiv site. The list is is organized in various categories: Commission blogs, MEP blogs, General Blogs, Thematic blogs etc. As far as we can see most important Swedish Euroblogs (except this one ;-) )are listed. In addition we would like to point to the blogroll in Nosemonkey’s EUtopia which is also comprehensive and in addition has he good taste to include A Northern Perspective.

What would be needed now is some kind of aggregator that would make it possible to search all those blogs (and only those) for topical items such as for instance “Kosovo”, “Eurolex” , “Treaty of Lisbon” and so on. Any ideas?

Feb 182008

After the unilateral declaration of independence in Kosovo, countries are now rushing in to recognize the new state. As expected no common EU policy could be formulated. However in a joint declaration of the Foreign Ministers it was stressed that Kosovo was a “unique case” due to the conflicts in the 90′s and the long period of international governance. Since the independence of Kosovo does not meet all the requirements of International Law it would seem necessary to get this uniqueness confirmed and accepted in order to avoid a very dangerous precedence affecting many European countries.

Reuters wrongly states that Sweden is among countries that “joined or were joining the early recognizers.” A Swedish Continue reading »

Feb 152008

Europaportalen reports (SW) that there is disagreement between the Swedish Government and the opposition Social Democrats over the recognition of an independent Kosovo. The Foreign Policy spokesman of the Social Democrats demands an immediate recognition by Sweden at the same time as most other EU-countries. In his view Serbian and Russian attempts to create disunity within the EU would be more difficult the more countries that move  the same time as the USA (!)

The Foreign Minister maintains that the issue must be handled with “silk gloves” – countries that recognize Kosovo without a decision in the Security Council may risk being cited to the International Court.

According to Europaportalen the Council of Ministers will discuss the Kosovo issue on Monday and on Thursday a joint statement by the Commission and the Council is expected.