Carl Bildt not wanted in Sri Lanka April 28, 2009Posted by Sverre in : World politics , add a comment
My last post covered the EUs new involvement in Sri Lanka. Today, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt reports on his blog that the Sri Lankan government har refused to receive him. As a consequence, only his British and French colleagues Millband and Kouchner will be coming on behalf of the EU. According to Bildt, UN representative John Holmes has expressed disappointment. He also says that it “will affect bilateral relations” and that Sweden will recall its Charge d’Affairs “for consultations”. Diplomat language for “we’re annoyed and don’t want to play with you for a while.”
No reason has been given for the refusal, but I can hardly see how it can be a positive sign for the Sri Lanka situation.
The EU goes in with force in Sri Lanka April 26, 2009Posted by Sverre in : World politics , 6comments
Norway’s role as peace broker in Sri Lanka seems pretty much played out after Norwegian police failed to prevent damage to the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo on the hands of Tamil protesters. The Sri Lankan government has reputedly declared Norway unwanted in the process.
But according to Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt’s blog, he is going to Sri Lanka to try and handle the humanitarian situation – together with French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and their British counterpart David Milliband. It’s a real show of force from EU to apply pressure on the parts of the conflict to refrain from further bloodshed. It may also be a sign that the EU is really serious about its role as a global peace broker with a different focus than that of the US.
Is the EU suited to handle the crisis? April 1, 2009Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , add a comment
Keeping up the recent days’ interest in the EU’s response to the financial crisis, I came across Megan McArdle’s comments on the apparent failure of EU states to apply enough stimulus to the economy, and points to a significant system failure within the EU system:
But as multiple people have blogged, this isn’t just a matter of the infamous tight-fistedness of Germany’s fiscal and monetary policy, born out of the ashes of Weimar; it’s genuinely harder for Europe to run a stimulative policy. For one thing, they can’t coordinate a broad European policy, which means that any government will see substantial amount of any stimulus “leak” abroad–and also that there is great temptation to free ride. For another, they aren’t the world reserve currency, so they can’t borrow on the same lavish, practically interest-free scale as the US Treasury.
An EU-US trade war in the making? March 31, 2009Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , 2comments
I was listening to an LSE podcast of a lecture by French Minister of State for European Affairs Bruno Le Maire, when I heard some surprising statements made. He was talking about how it was important for European nations not to resort to protectionism in the face of the current crisis when he happened to make some interesting, possibly disturbing, statements. He talks about the difference between protecting your industries and protectionism. I can’t spot the difference, can you? (from approiximate 1h10min into the speech):
[…]so I am not in favour of protectionism, as I just said, I am just in favour of European measures – measures decided at the European level – that would prove to our citizens that we are taking into account their fears and worries and that we are trying to protect our European economy, that we are trying to protect our industries. This is a very difficult balance we have to find, but this is not protectionism. Protectionism means today that the UK would take some very concrete measures just to protect one of its plants, in New Hampshire for example, or London. Or that France would take some very national measures just to protect one of its industries or one of its plants in Normandie or the south of France without taking into account the interest of the UK and Germany and Spain and Italy. That’s the difference between the two ways of protectin industries and protecting our economies[…] (more…)
EU fails to help its eastern members? March 3, 2009Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , add a comment
Eastern Europe has been hit hard by the financial crisis, and were hoping that the EU would be able to help them over the worst of it. Figures presented by Eastern European government claimed that 5 million jobs were in imminent danger of being lost, something that would seriously hit the entire EU and potentially drop a new iron curtaion over Europe. At a summit this Sunday, the EU rejected a bailout plan designed to help Eastern European nations, mostly outside the Euro area. Was it a sign that Western Europe doesn’t want to help their eastern neighbours, or was it just the rejection of a bad plan? If the former, the entire EU project might be about to fail one of its toughest tests yet. (more…)