Tag Archives: United States

Sign of the Times

I read in the European Voice that the US and the EU member states are prepared to grant members of the European Parliament more powers of oversight if it approves an interim EU-US data-sharing deal.

This is remarkable, and a sign of the times. Little by little people realize what the Treaty of Lisbon actually means.

Obama Will Not Meet European Union

US President Barack Obama will not attend a European Union-US summit to have been held in Spain in May.

Interestingly, Mr. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, spoke instead of Mr. Obama:

“A trip to Spain for a summit was never on his agenda. He strongly values the bilateral relationship with Spain.”

Turkey Drifts from the West?

There are three pieces of analysis that tackle the obvious drift of Turkish foreign policy away from the European Union and the United States.

Dan Bilefski in the New York Times reports on a multitude of viewpoints on the new direction of Turkish foreign policy towards the East. He deals with the problem of the Turkish accession to the European Union and the cultural and economic prerequisites for the re-orientation. He says that even a partial collapse of accession talks with the European Union would have far-reaching consequences. I find interesting the quote from Cengiz Aktar that rather than worrying that Turkey is moving toward the East, the West should fear a wounded Turkey turning to Russia.

Daniel Pipes says that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu envisions reduced conflict with neighbors and Turkey emerging as a regional power, a sort-of modernized Ottoman Empire.

Philip Stephens in the Financial Times believes that Turkey still wants to be part of Europe. And on every challenge – from energy, from terrorism, drugs and migration to trade and investment – Europe has an immutable interest in nurturing a democratic, west-facing Turkey.

Negotiations with Iran – E3+3 or P5+1 or?

Joshua Keating talks about the name of the negotiations format that includes the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany. One way to call it has been P5+1 (permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany). Another way is to count E3+3 (three European countries plus the others).

Keating doesn’t like the new acronym, but he apparently misses a point here. The thing is, Mr. Javier Solana (High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union) will also attend. And, oh, he did arrange the meeting itself.

So it might not be that bad to put an emphasis on Europe, this time.

The US Will Not Build Missile Shield in Europe

The United States have decided not to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says a U.S. decision to shelve plans for a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland “is a positive step.”

This may well be true. Experts have long ago warned that missile defense is a highly political exercise with many technical challenges.

This leaves, however, the question about the US involvement in Eastern Europe open. Not long ago a group of intellectuals and former political leaders from Eastern Europe warned that Russia’s creeping intimidation and influence-peddling could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region.

We know that the US currently considers Russia an important partner, but also serious threat for US interests. We also know that there are expert calls for intensified US consultations with Russia as yet another European state.

This leaves the European Union in a precarious position of diverging interests and bilateral agreements. Yet some experts say that a focused and engaged neighbourhood policy is the most important tool for protecting EU interests. This resonates with the claim that the US will confront Moscow over its attempts to create a ‘sphere of influence’ in Eastern Europe.

Useful Tool on Financial Regulation Reform in the EU and US

A graphic tool by the Financial Times explains the existing framework and proposed changes to financial regulation in the EU, US and UK.

To my best knowledge, the UK is still an EU Member State. However, it is not part of the eurozone and London is the biggest financial centre in Europe. That explains the separate heading.

EC Imposes Historic Fine on Intel

The European Commission has imposed a fine of €1 060 000 000 on Intel Corporation for violating EC Treaty antitrust rules on the abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82) by engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units (CPUs). The Commission has also ordered Intel to cease the illegal practices immediately to the extent that they are still ongoing.

This was widely expected. However, this is a landmark case and to my best knowledge – the largest penalty for abuse of market position ever. More, the US may follow suit in persecuting Intel’s conduct.