7 - 13 April, 2013
Powell,the bridge maker
European force in FYROM is the seed
EuropeanCommissionPresidentRomano Prodi,ontheeventoftheEU'stakingover fromNATOthepeacemissionintheFormer YugoslaviaRepublicofMacedonia,saidthatinthelongprocessofEuropeanintegrationtheUnionhastakenanotherstepforward. Butthissignificantstepmaybeovershadowed bythegravestcrisisthathasaffectedinter- European,transatlanticrelationsandtheUnitedNationssinceWorldWarII.Prodi wentontosaythe"tragiccontextmakestoday'seventseemslightincomparisontothe differencesdividingus.Butappearancescan bedeceptiveandthesignificanceofthefirst militarymissionundertakenundertheumbrellaofEuropeansecurityshouldnotbeundervalued." Inrealitythismaybeconsideredatestfora majorbreakthroughtocreatetheEU'sown armedforces,independentfromNATOand Euroarmyapparatuses.IftheEUwantsto defenditsvaluesitseemsinevitablenowto createanindependentdefenceforceinthis bravenewworldwhereuncontrollableforces seemtohavetakenovertheinternational scenery. ItisasignthatEuropeispushingaheadin spiteofeverything.TheEuropethatpeople yearnfor,bothwithintheEUandoutside, andthatisstilllacking. Prodisaid,"Isendmywarmestgreetingsand bestwishestoallEuropeanpersonnelengaged fromtodayinthismissioninFYROMtosafe- guardpeaceandstabilityintheBalkansandtorestorepeople'stranquillityandconfidenceinthefuturethere.Insodoing,thoseperson- nelarehelpingtocarryforwardtheEuropeanintegrationprocess."Thismaybeadecisivesteptowardsaninde- pendentEuropeandefenceforcebackedbyindustrywhichwillprovidenotonlythehard- wareforthisforcebutpreciousjobsfor Europe'syounggenerationofscientistsand workers.
EUFOR takes overfrom NATO
TheEuropeanUnionforce(EUFOR)haslauncheditsfirstpeacekeepingmissioninethni-callydividedFYRMacedonia,inamovewidelyseenasakeytestforEurope'sfuturein- volvementinpeacekeepingintheBalkanregionandbeyond.Theinternationalpeacekeep-ingforce,code-named"Opera-tionConcordia,"isbeingdeployedinFYROMtosup-porttheSkopjegovernmentinmaintainingfragilepeace,establishedaftertheviolentethnicconflictin2001.ThefirsteverEUpeacemission,com-posedofsome350soldiersfrom27differentcountriesunderthecommandofFrenchGeneralPierreMaral,willbestationedinFYROMforarenewablesix-monthperiod.ThenewpeacemissioninFYRMacedoniawilloperateinsmallunitsspreadacrossthecountry,withthemostserioustaskofre-establishingtheconfi-dencebetweenSlavicMacedo-niansandtheethnicAlbanianminority.EUofficialssaidearli-ertheyhopedthesuccessof "OperationConcordia"couldlendcredibilitytotheUnion'sfutureplanstotakeovermoremassivepeacekeepingmissionsinKosovoandBosnia.
US and EU try to heal rifts, disagree on post-war Iraq
Russia optimistic war in Iraq not to thwartcompanies' success
he war in Iraq has not damaged Russian oil com-panies in general. Russian Deputy Foreign Minis-ter Viktor Kalyuzhny said the oil supply to the world mar-ket is on the rise. So far the market is consuming every-thing that is being produced. All Russian companies that were doing business in Iraq "had reckoned risks in theirplans," the minister said. "So far the losses are foreseeableand planned, and they are within the budget of each oilcompany," he added.Kalyuzhny said Russian companies would not beforced to leave Iraq after the war. The reason for this isthat "American businesses own a certain share in eachRussian oil company," he said. LUKoil is doing good busi-ness in the United States. YUKOS is the only Russiandirect supplier to the American energy reserve. BritishPetroleum is an owner of Sidanco and TNK (both based inRussia), and Great Britain is the United States' ally.But if the Iraqi question is not returned to the UNSecurity Council, the US will unilaterally redistributeIraqi resources as well, he said.
Can you have a word so the guy behind me doesn’t take my job? |
AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO
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N E W E U R O P E
I S S N N u m b e r : 1 1 0 6 - 8 2 9 9
A decade ago, we were in that briefest of mo-ments, when it looked like the Iraq war had been won but peace didn’t break out in Bagh-dad or Brussels. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State was still influential, being seen as the ra-tional side of the Bush administration, but there was no real agreement as the EU, NATO andRussia fell out over the post-conflict planningfor Iraq, or indeed, the lack of any preparations.Europe was making their own preparations,for post conflict FYROM, which Commissionpresident Romano Prodi said was also intendedto help carry forward the European integrationprocess.
n e 1 0 Y e A R S A GO
Jeroen Dijsselbloem is officially annoying. According to whispersin Le Monde (unattributed, naturally) his rhetoric has becomegalling, constantly harking on about EU member states making a“series of unacceptable errors.” These being such wayward coun-tries as Cyprus or Greece, as well as Spain, Portugal and Ireland,and also Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia. The rest are fine. Es-pecially Latvia.True, the Eurogroup president does appear to have certain com-munications problems these days, and, yes, maybe, there is morethan a hint of the sanctimonious in his delivery, and possibly, hisapparent inexperience is less a media invention a more a seriousdiplomatic failings, but his attitude does indeed highlight what isperhaps the real division in the Eurozone; that the gap is not be-tween the north and the south, the right and the left or the produc-tive and the slovenly, but between the people and the politicians.The voice that assumes authority is not necessarily authoritative.The casual rhetoric of Dijsselbloem’s perception finds its apex inthe rigid authoritarian of countries like Finland, Germany and theNetherlands; a cool, aesthetic sacrifice that sees virtue in the mod-erate. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, it is certainly better than the prolonging of wastefulness, but the bugbear againsteconomies deemed to be an affront to the workings of the greatergood, is a relatively new affair, and one which has backfired; blown-up most obviously in the streets of Italy, where voters punished thetechnocratic government of Mario Monti, deemed complicit inthe apparent dominance of the EU in national affairs, but can also be observed in the rise of populism across the wider Europe. Thefracture between the politicians and the citizens has never been soacute. The remote attitudes of several EU leaders, paternal and se- vere, is not an antidote to circumstance; it lets it prevail.In a sinister way, this has led to renewed feelings of antagonism to- wards Europe’s most powerful nation, Germany; one of the found-ers of the original union that has led Europe to its modern day posi-tion, and also a nation perceived as imposing austerity on so-called wayward nations, and thus increasing its dominance across theEU. The spectre of the Third Reich is being invoked. A crude anddistasteful image, certainly, but a provocative one, and one easy to understand; and to a younger generation, removed from boththe horrors of war and from the benefits of European reconstruc-tion the EU has afforded the continent, it seems somehow fitting;the European Union as the new imperialism. The problem is thatEuropean leaders, while having the moral upper hand, instead fuelthe antagonism. They assume correctness without debate; they pronounce without communication.Dijsselbloem is no worse than some that have proceeded him, in-deed no worse than some of his contemporaries; but his lack of communications skills are suddenly apparent., and potentially in-cendiary. At what essentially amounts to a crisis situation for theEurozone, the Union’s crisis management skills have been sorely lacking to say the least; but that is perhaps the least of its worries,it is the consequences of those communications mishaps that are worrying; they fuel a political crisis. And then the treadmill goesaround again.