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Oct 082009

A stubborn old man, of course. Czech president Vaclav Klaus shows his contempt for the EU presidency by refusing to talk  (SW) to Mr Reinfeldt, presently the President of the European Council. According to Mr. Reinfeldt, however, President Klaus insists on adding a”footnote” to the Treaty as a condition for signing (even if the Czech Constitutional Court would reject the objections made by a number of Klaus supporters). Exactly what this footnote would contain is anybody’s guess but Mr. Reinfeldt says “As far as I understand it, he’s linking this to the (EU’s) Charter of Fundamental Rights and then he wants the European Council to take a decision on this footnote”. This could probably be done only in December and there is of course no guarantee that all 26 member states would agree on Mr. Klaus’ footnote.

This last ditch effort by Klaus is of course intended to  delay the ratification until the British general election. Statements today by Mr. Cameron and his shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs leave no doubt that the UK is interested in the common market and free trade and nothing else. In other words in transforming the European Union into a super-EFTA, the ill-fated free trade area where the British cynically abandoned their partners when they could get a better deal with the  EEC.

The democratic deficit of the EU institutions is a burning and important issue. But how “democratic” is it to have the whole 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 052008

In the posting “The Billygoat as gardener” a Europe wide petition against Toni Blair’s candidacy for a possible multiyear Presidency of The European Council of Ministers was referred to. The petition is now ready for signing at the European Tribune under this link.  Please sign if you share the opinions voiced in our previous posting.

(Link provided by Kosmopolit .)

Feb 032008

The Former British Premier, Mr. Toni Blair, is being touted as candidate for the first three-year Presidency of the European Council. He has at least one very strong proponent in the French President, Mr. Sarkozy. An article in the Guardian suggests that Mr. Blair is seriously considering a candidacy.

If Mr. Blair would be chosen the Council of Ministers would be headed for at last 3 years by the former leader of a country which is neither a member of the Schengen area, nor of the EMU. Mr. Blair himself is personally responsible for Britain’s opting out of important parts of the Reform Treaty (through which the Presidency post was created!), notably the European Charter on Fundamental Rights and the cooperation in the judiciary areas. (The Foreign Minister of the successor government, Mr. Milliband, strikes a belligerent tone in his defence of “the red lines” intended to protect Britain from European influence.)

The Irish statesman and previous Director General of the WTO, Mr. Peter Sutherland, har recently published an essay Continue reading »