Week of March 6Posted: March 7, 2010
Before getting to the European news, let me tell you that this blog is now listed on BloggingPortal.eu, a portal gathering more that 500 euroblogs in several languages.
To stay in the matter of Blogs, we note that Commissionaire Kirstalina Georgieva is blogging about her work as Commissioner for International cooperation and humanitarian aid. A well written blog, which is doing more than just publishing press release. [*,*].
Still on the Internet, users of Microsoft Windows operating system now have the the choice of their web browser. [*,*,*] Also, the mobile internet providers will put a cap on the bill for internet access abroad. [*,*] Finally, the European Commission is considering getting internet access as a universal service[*].
The European Commission approved this week the culture of GM potatoes in the European Union. The member states can still use a close to ban those MGOs on their territory. We also note this decision is based only on health questions (where we hear again about the EFSA), And doesn’t take in count the environmental effects, This decision as already been widely criticized [*,*,*,*]
The un-courteous words of the MEP Nigel Farage last week about Council President Herman Von Rompuy,lead this week to sanctions : summoned by the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, Mr Farage refused to apologize (except to bank clerk). Mr Buzek decided to sanction the MEP by withdrawing 10 ten of allowance, which is about three thousands euros.[*,*,*,*]
Elsewhere in Europe, let us note a poll indicating most of European would support a ban of burka [*] ; the idea of a European carbon tax is progressing [*], And the United States are following Europe by backing the ban of blue-fin tuna trade.[*]
European news were still dominated by the economical difficulties of Greece:
The Greek government announced at the beginning of the week new austerity measures that should bring about 5 billions euros this year. Those measures has been well received by Brussels and the markets. [*,*,*]. Indeed, the obligation Greece emitted in the middle of the week had a great success, which shows that the markets are confident in the long run solvability of Greece. [*,*,*].
The German reluctance to a plan to help Greece are big, though Germany wants to keep the European currency stable[*]. But the situation between the two countries stays tense and might go to the ridiculous: mention of Nazi occupation and suggestion to sell the Acropolis… Public opinion stay highly polarized. [*,*,*] Greek Prime Minister G. Papandréou was in Germany to meet Chancellor Merkel Friday March 5, and will be in France during the weekend before going to the US to meet Barack Obama on March 9.[*,*,*]
Greece doesn’t rule out to seek help from the IMF, though the Union wish to keep the issue in its hands.[*,*] Greek expatriates have been called to help the country by contributing to a special fund [*].
Finally, on March 3, the European Commission unveiled its proposals for the Europe 2020 strategy objectives. This strategy is following the Lisbon one, which wanted to make of the union the «knowledge economy the most competitive in the world by 2010»– ambitious objective not really reached. The objectives for 2020 are to increase the employment numbers and the investments for research ; to reduce poverty and school dropping, and to respect the three 20 environmental engagements. The president of the commission also want to link those objectives to the stability pact. [*,*]. Critics has already been made regarding the lack of ambition of this project [*,*].