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Analysis and Comment (51)

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. 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…
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. 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. 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…
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…
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. 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. 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. 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…
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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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…