Thursday, 4 September 2008

Blogs : 4th September

Happy talk. PO Neil, A Fistful of Euros
Lisbon opposition as political launch pad? Certain Ideas of Europe (en)
The Chinese high-speed drive and the heavy European part in it. Dodo, The European Tribune (en)
Belgique : nouvelles du front. Jean Quatremer, Les Coulisses de Bruxelles (fr)
"La crise belge n’a pas évolué d’un iota durant l’été..."
Analysing the European Council conclusions. Julien Frisch, Watching Europe (en)
"Europe’s leading human rights and security body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, accused the Georgian government of committing likely war crimes (...)According OSCE report by Spiegel there is at least four interesting facts which mainstream Western media now must swallow:
1. the article presents evidence showing how Georgia prepared military actions against South Ossetia before the event transpired,
2. it demonstrates how Georgia attacked South Ossetia before Russian tanks even entered the Roki tunnel,
3. the article includes testimonies from observers who say Tbilisi ordered an attack on South Ossetia at night while innocent civilians were sleeping,
4. Spiegel writes that reports by OSCE observers point to possible military crimes, committed by Georgian troops in South Ossetia ...."

The Arab-Israeli conflict: France's dashed hopes. Clara Marina O'Donnell, Center for European Reform (en)
“… During a trip to Israel in August, the only optimists I met were French diplomats. The reason for their upbeat mood? Ambitious plans by President Sarkozy for the EU to advance the Middle East peace process (…)Already, it looks as if the French plans are becoming victims of circumstance (…)the Georgian war has changed EU priorities, and talks on the Middle East have been seriously scaled down.
… Yet Sarkozy’s ideas are interesting. The CER has long argued that the EU should offer more security guarantees to Israel, including peacekeepers (…)
… Sarkozy’s general approach to Israel is also interesting. The EU has always found it hard to influence Israel. Two tactics have been tried, both – so far – unsuccessfully. The EU used to voice loud public criticism of Israeli actions it disapproved of, for example the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian territories. But Israel would simply ignore this, and accuse the EU of megaphone diplomacy. More recently, the EU has trodden more softly, in the hope of increasing its influence. Relations have, as a result, significantly improved – but on issues such as settlements the EU is still mostly ignored (…)
Sarkozy has adopted something of a middle ground approach – ‘tough love’ – with Israel. He presents himself as a true friend of Israel but he is also publicly critical about sensitive issues. His approach seems to have had some success ….”

A confrontation shapes up. Richard, EU Referendum (en)
“…This is Helga Schmid, director of the policy unit of the European Council, expressing her views, which included a statement that, ‘Climate change has to move to centre stage of thinking about foreign policy’ (…) The more substantive point, however, is that any move to put ‘climate change’ at the top of the foreign policy agenda – above energy security – puts the EU in direct conflict with the UK (…) The problem is that energy security does not fit easily as a subordinate to climate change. In fact, the policy requirements for each are mutually contradictory (…)
Thus, the UK government is in an impossible position. If it conforms with EU policy imperatives and keeps climate change on top of the agenda there will, within a matter of years, be an 'energy crunch'. The lights will go out (…)”

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