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Less Security Please

I happen to have arrived in Lisbon at the same time as Tony Blair, Condi, and other assorted superstars attending the mideast quartet summit. (or whatever name they’re giving it these days) Of course, in now typical fashion, the city was under military occupation throughout their meeting. Highways closed, military police brandishing all manner of… » read more

In November 2007, the European Commission is due to present its first ideas on what has been called the 2008 “health check” of the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP). The phrase “health check” has been carefully chosen to prevent any fears that the Commission will start a new “review” of its most controversial policy area.… » read more

Unsustainable Vacation

I have the good fortune of getting to pop around between Central Europe’s finest cities all year round. From my home to Amsterdam, to Berlin, to Paris, to Brussels, and everything in between. One thing I notice is each city’s effort to adopt environmentally sound policies in areas like waste management, energy use, fuel, architecture,… » read more

Let’s try to cut through all the spin on the Reform Treaty which was put on the IGC rails on Saturday morning 23 June. First of all, the compromise reached is no more and no less than the draft Constitution brought in through the backdoor. In a mockery of the two no-referenda in France and… » read more

Will the European Council meeting of 21-22 June go down in history as a “new beginning” after the draft Constitution failure in France and the Netherlands? I am sure it will not. Even if, on Friday, EU leaders manage to strike a deal on a “roadmap” to a new Treaty, what the summit will be… » read more

This week’s Economist has an excellent analysis of think tanks and political debates in Brussels. Its main message: “the level and quality of public debate in the EU capital are depressingly low”. I could not agree more having attended and sometimes moderated lots of the conferences or seminars where these debates should take place. The… » read more

Do we need a new European treaty in order to save our climate? EU President Barroso certainly seems to think so. According to today’s Financial Times, the Commission President has warned future UK prime minister Gordon Brown not to block a compromise deal on a watered-down European treaty. If the UK would fail to agree… » read more

It is amazing what media attention can do. Now that all of them have seen the green light (or is it the “inconventient truth”?), politicians are trying to compete for becoming the climate champion of the year, the “EU Al Gore”. If ever the thesis about our “spectacle” democracy needed any confirmation, we can find… » read more

In a comment to the first post of this blog, Raymond van Ermen wrote the following: “The Berlin Declaration celebrating the EU’s 50th anniversary is very disappointing for two reasons : o In January 2007, President Barroso named sustainability as one of the EU’s five key values, to be enshrined in the Berlin Declaration celebrating… » read more

With more than half of the world population living in mega-cities, the miracle key to opening the door of a low-carbon Europe lies in these cities. Therefore, the C40 initiative, led by London, and supported by the Clinton Foundation, probably does more for the fight against climate change and energy insecurity than all UN climate… » read more

I attended two citizens’s debates on the EU’s constitutional crisis in the last few days and got ample confirmation that we are just whistling in the dark when confronted with what is probably one of the EU’s most serious crises. The first debate on the June 2007 roadmap (taking place in the European Parliament on… » read more

Europe is at a historical crossroads. The European Union, which has been a unique and by and large successful project, has reached its final destination and needs a fundamental visionary as well as institutional redesign if it is to find answers to the overwhelming global challenges of the 21st century. Neither the latest EU enlargement… » read more

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