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Analysis and Comment (51)

The anti-globalisation brigade could scupper TTIP if we’re not careful. The anti-globalisation brigade could scupper TTIP if we’re not careful. 3DDock

Attention David Cameron: time to stop the scaremongers from strangling TTIP

Friday October 3 marked the conclusion of the seventh round of negotiations in the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP), the free-trade deal being negotiated between the US and EU. The…
There has been much ado about the new EU/US trade agreement’s potential effect on the NHS. There has been much ado about the new EU/US trade agreement’s potential effect on the NHS. EPA

Make no mistake, the TTIP is a move in the wrong direction

This week has witnessed the seventh round of talks between EU and US negotiators seeking to hammer out a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). These have been mired in controversy over…
Europe’s slow recovery from the GFC has had implications for its trade partners, including Australia and the US. Europe’s slow recovery from the GFC has had implications for its trade partners, including Australia and the US. Australian Government/AAP

Why Australia still cares more about the G2 than the G20

As debate about the economic versus political role of the G20 takes hold, it’s worth looking back at how successfully member countries cooperated in promoting economic recovery after the global financial…
Built in France for Russia – the Mistral class warship. Built in France for Russia – the Mistral class warship. EPA/Franck Dubray/Ouest France

Who wants to buy a couple of warships from France to stop Russia getting them?

When it comes to politics, there is a generally held belief that when it is working, it is boring. Europe’s foreign policy politics routinely breaks this axiom because while it can rarely said to be working…
One of the attempts made by the parliament to engage young voters. Oddly, it doesn’t appear to have been a roaring success. One of the attempts made by the parliament to engage young voters. Oddly, it doesn’t appear to have been a roaring success. European Parliament

This election was to be different, but once again democracy in Europe is the big loser

“This time it’s different,” promised the European Parliament in an awareness campaign ahead of the May 2014 elections. And, judging by the headlines, it certainly has been different. Many in the media…
Manuel Valls has called on ‘all responsible leaders’ to respond. Manuel Valls has called on ‘all responsible leaders’ to respond. Parti Socialiste

Europe’s leaders must now strike out at the xenophobes

The message, it seems, is clear. European citizens are at best unimpressed with mainstream politics, at worst outright dismissive of it. The French Front National (FN) and the United Kingdom Independence…
Perhaps the Quad can do a better job. Perhaps the Quad can do a better job. streetwrk.com

How the EU could help save Ukraine at the eleventh hour

Ukraine is disintegrating before our eyes, with escalating anarchy, civil war and proxy war with Russia, and dozens killed in Odessa on Friday. Acting President Alexander Turchinov officially declared…
Assembling the Nord Stream in 2011. Assembling the Nord Stream in 2011. Bair175

Russia, Ukraine, and Europe are tied by gas dependency

The German energy giant RWE has begun to “reverse flow” supplies of gas from Europe back to Ukraine via Poland, a process first arranged in 2012, with an agreement to deliver up to 10 billion cubic metres…
Things could get messy. Brexit is risky business. Things could get messy. Brexit is risky business. Christopher_Hawkins

Blueprint for UK to leave EU shows just how hard it would be

Congratulations to Iain Mansfield for winning the “Brexit” essay competition. He is an old friend. We have a high regard for him, and even commented on an early draft of the paper. But we think his analysis…
Baroness Ashton with the foreign ministers of Sweden, Germany and Croatia. Baroness Ashton with the foreign ministers of Sweden, Germany and Croatia. EPA/Simela Pantzartzi

EU should speak with a single voice on Ukraine crisis – but that’s not going to happen

Europe’s neighbourhood is in flames. To the south, the optimism provoked by the Arab spring quickly gave way to concern about successor regimes. To the east, all eyes are on Ukraine as some 40,000 Russian…
Wheels in motion. EU seeks out sanctions in response to Ukraine crisis. Wheels in motion. EU seeks out sanctions in response to Ukraine crisis. Robert Ghement

Soak the oligarchs – a robust alternative for EU sanctions against Russia

The current stand-off between Russia and Ukraine has left the European Union looking perhaps flatfooted and ineffectual. It is an unfair reflection of reality. The EU is not a military alliance and so…
Kerry and Lavrov keep talking. Kerry and Lavrov keep talking. EPA/Martial Trezzini

Can the US and Russia talk their way out of crisis in Ukraine?

Talks between US secretary of state John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Paris, followed after a week of high-level diplomacy, including a phone call between presidents Obama and Putin…
A Romanian and a Bulgarian walked into a bar… A Romanian and a Bulgarian walked into a bar… Ian West/PA Wire

Farage and Clegg fail to land body blows in Europe debate

The LBC debate between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg is a significant moment in British politics for a number of reasons. It is worth considering two in particular. First, it was a curious spectacle for…
Planting flags. Planting flags. Olivier Hoslet/EPA

The tough road to a trade deal between the US and Europe

When the EU-US summit kicks off in Brussels this week, the prospects of a new trade deal will be jostling for attention with events in Ukraine. The long-term implications might even be more far reaching…
Too close for comfort? Narva Bridge on Estonia’s Russian border Too close for comfort? Narva Bridge on Estonia’s Russian border Hannu

The tiny Estonian town that could spell the end of NATO

The Russian invasion and rapid absorption of the Crimean peninsula might seem like the spark ready to ignite a new Cold War. In fact, given the feeble Western response so far, the more likely outcome is…
Jubiliation in Crimea - but what comes next for Ukraine? Jubiliation in Crimea - but what comes next for Ukraine?

Now Crimea’s in the bag, where next for Putin and Russia?

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has now apparently formalised the annexation by announcing two new laws that make Crimea and Sevastopol subjects of the Russian Federation and has signed a treaty to…
Youth Club? Youth Club? EPA/Andy Rain

Handle with care: Europe’s fragile jobs growth

Unemployment in the euro area finally seems to be showing signs of a timid recovery, according to the winter forecasts from the EU, but that doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. A bumpy ride lies…
There’s lots of talk, but little walk. There’s lots of talk, but little walk. neiljs

How can Ukraine, Crimea and Russia secure a stable future?

The situation in Ukraine is still highly volatile, especially in relation to Crimea and continuing uncertainty about Russia’s intentions. But there is a need to consider what a longer-term solution might…
William Hague at a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. William Hague at a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Ukraine highlights a crisis in British foreign policy created by its retreat from an EU role

Events in Ukraine mark not only the start of a momentous shift in the region, but serve to chart the disturbing erosion of Britain’s global clout. If only the UK government would take its lead from the…
Barroso is doing no favours for the Yes campaign. Barroso is doing no favours for the Yes campaign. Virginia Mayo/AP/PA

Kosovo’s EU struggle is no precedent for Scotland

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso’s comments on Scottish EU membership during his recent interview with Andrew Marr were discredited as an example of the fear-mongering pervading…
A protester plays the piano atop a burned-out bus in Kiev. A protester plays the piano atop a burned-out bus in Kiev. Ввласенко

How could the EU do more for Ukraine?

When in Kiev recently I asked many Ukrainians how they thought the raging political and now violent conflict would end. All said they had no idea, but one of them said he had eight scenarios, which included…
After destroying towns and cities, Syria’s civil war is spilling into Lebanon. After destroying towns and cities, Syria’s civil war is spilling into Lebanon. Christiaan Triebert

No end in sight as Syria misery spreads across region

The second round of the Geneva II talks on Syria have ended with no agreement and without even a decision on the date of a further meeting. The highly experienced UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, was clearly…
From orange to blue and yellow: Ukraine’s protesters fly the EU flag front and centre. From orange to blue and yellow: Ukraine’s protesters fly the EU flag front and centre. AP

Ukraine’s opposition needs help from Europe’s 89 generation

I will never forget the 12 hours I spent in the Ukrainian women’s prison in Kharkiv. Never in my life have I seen such misery or degrading treatment of prisoners, Nor will I forget my brief conversation…
Sing it loud in Brussels, listen to it all over Europe. Sing it loud in Brussels, listen to it all over Europe. Lievan SOETE

Europe’s music fans sing in harmony, so why can’t industry?

Digital technology has transformed the music industry in Europe, making both distribution and piracy easier than ever. But regulators are yet to catch up with the pace of change, leaving them unable to…
Vlad the impaled. Vlad the impaled. Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Goodbye Lenin? Ukraine has been wondering for 20 years

That late summer day, the crowds were joyful. They cheered as the flag they had come to loathe was lowered. In its place, the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine rose above parliament. As the demonstrators…
Some migrants are more equal than others. Some migrants are more equal than others. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Ignore the scare tactics – Roma integration is hard but worth it

Those who follow the situation of Europe’s Roma know that there is never a “dull” week in which we don’t hear of accusations, abuse, or even violence against them. Most events do not grab major headlines…
If not you, then who? If not you, then who? mac_ivan

Dreams of a new Europe dashed in Ukraine

Mass protests in Ukraine have come one week shy of the 22nd anniversary of the USSR being signed into obsolescence. Ukrainians are protesting against a decision made by their government that will make…
Could a new method of measuring structural deficits mean easing austerity pressures on troubled Eurozone economies? Could a new method of measuring structural deficits mean easing austerity pressures on troubled Eurozone economies? Chema Sanz via Flickr

Potentially less austerity for the troubled Eurozone

The EU Commission’s autumn economic forecasts are due tomorrow. What makes this event special this year is that there are rumours about a possible change in the Commission’s approach to calculating the…
The European food agency has decided to allow health claims for products containing fructose. The European food agency has decided to allow health claims for products containing fructose. Broken Haiku/Flickr

Fructose health claims ignores evidence of harm

The European Food and Safety Agency (EFSA) has just approved health claims for fructose-sweetened products, in a move that has astonished scientists around the world. Food and drink manufacturers can now…
Happier times: Catherine Ashton meets Mohamed Morsi after his election as Egypt’s president. Happier times: Catherine Ashton meets Mohamed Morsi after his election as Egypt’s president. European External Action Service

Mixed messages from the EU won’t help solve Egypt’s crisis

The stand-off in Egypt continues. A sit in by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has been put on notice that they will be cleared out by force if necessary. The protesters for their part have…
Companies can keep on ducking tax, despite what the OECD says. Companies can keep on ducking tax, despite what the OECD says. Yahoo! Inc

OECD tax avoidance plan is no quick fix for EU

The long awaited report on combating corporate tax avoidance by the OECD sadly has to deal with a corporate tax system which is unfit for purpose. It is a follow-up to the G8 meeting last month in Ireland…
Taking on water is the last thing a sinking vessel needs. Taking on water is the last thing a sinking vessel needs. amirjina

Bail ins are the new bail outs, but they won’t save banking

Bailing out banks is so 2008. It seems 2013 is the year of the bank “bail in”. It started with the Co-operative Bank in the UK, when the bank’s management decided to “bail in” some of its bond holders…
Big farmers win big under agricultural policy, but change is in the air. Big farmers win big under agricultural policy, but change is in the air. Chris Ison/PA

After 50 years, Eurocrats still aren’t sure what the CAP is for

Reforming the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has never been easy, and that’s hardly surprising. It’s well established that when interests are concentrated together, such as those of farmers…
Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems. Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems.

Food traffic lights are green for go but EU holds back more radical measures

Last Wednesday was a good day for those of us who have been campaigning for years for more understandable food labelling. The UK Government announced their final recommendation for front-of-pack nutrition…
Female genital mutilation is happening in the UK. Female genital mutilation is happening in the UK. London Safeguarding Children Board

UK letting down victims of female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is happening across the UK but despite being illegal for nearly 30 years, there have been no convictions. Fortunately, politicians are beginning to pick up on the issue…
What manner of repercussions could Australia anticipate from any British withdrawal from the European Union? What manner of repercussions could Australia anticipate from any British withdrawal from the European Union? EPA/Andy Rain

What a UK referendum on the EU would mean for Australia

British divisions over Europe have something of a “groundhog day” feel to them, even if the current Conservative rift seems like a particularly damaging instance. The stakes are high: the United Kingdom’s…
In the hold, but for how long? Wasting millions of tonnes of seafood is a tragedy. In the hold, but for how long? Wasting millions of tonnes of seafood is a tragedy. Maurice McDonald/PA Archive

We must stop committing valuable fish to a watery grave

In European waters controlled by the EU Common Fisheries Policy, the discarding of fish overboard has long been condemned by environmentalists and regretted by fishers. According to the UN Food and Agriculture…
There are three routes open to the Prime Minister. There are three routes open to the Prime Minister. Niccola Caranti

Explainer: renegotiating the UK’s position in the EU

With more than a hundred MPs voting to amend the Queen’s Speech this week, the UK’s role in Europe continues to confound politicians and citizens alike. Among all the chatter, it’s hard to get a sense…
Life’s a gas: Nigel Farage enjoying UKIP’s success in the local council elections. Life’s a gas: Nigel Farage enjoying UKIP’s success in the local council elections. Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The not-so-secret agenda of UKIP voters

On the surface, the recent surge in support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) suggests an urgent need to reform Britain’s relations with the European Union. But polls tell a different story. The best…
A giant statue resembling Alexander the Great has been erected in the main square of Macedonia’s capital. A giant statue resembling Alexander the Great has been erected in the main square of Macedonia’s capital. Funky Tee

A theme park in a fortress: politics and architecture in Macedonia

In recent years, urban branding has become highly popular. Shifts in global, national, and local economic bases have forced cities and nations to market themselves internationally as cultural hotspots…
Catalans marching in favour of independence. Catalans marching in favour of independence. Flickr/Rob Shenk

Catalonia: one step closer to independence?

On 25 November Catalans will go to the polls in what will be their 11th regional elections since Spain’s return to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975. This time, however, Catalans will be voting much…
Ireland is still reliant on European funding as it repairs its economy. What will happen if voters reject this treaty? Ireland is still reliant on European funding as it repairs its economy. What will happen if voters reject this treaty? EPA/Andy Rain

Fiscal stability referendum: what it means for Ireland

Later today (European time), Irish voters will be asked to vote Yes or No on the Treaty for Stability, Co-ordination and Governance. The Yes campaign, lead by Ireland’s establishment parties, claim a No…