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EU Politics

Consumer power, and a new job

The blog has been a bit quiet over the last couple of weeks – I have started a new job and it takes a bit of time to settle. It feels like a breath of fresh air with a new start though – I am now at the National School […]

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Fischer, the negotiations, and why are the British so insular?

Joschka Fischer has now announced his withdrawal from a formal role in the Green Party, signalling he will not play a role in front line politics unless the Greens stay in government as part of a traffic light or Jamaica coalition. Seems a strange decision from Fischer, but I suppose […]

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German Elections – give us a traffic light

It???s about 4 hours after the polls have closed in a remarkable election in Germany. Probably for the first time in a few decades, it looks very hard to presently predict what is going to happen. A quick summary of the results (roughly): SPD ??? 33% (down 5%) CDU ??? […]

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Kroes should just be Trouw to the European ideal

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has put her foot in it by writing in a newspaper that the Germans electing Merkel would be a good idea. This has led to a chorus of howls from Social Democrat MEPs that she has no right to say such things about national politics […]

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The fat blokes are back!

They are back. Or at least they look like they are trying a bit. The fuel protestors that did their best to bring the country to a halt in 2000 are trying to gear up once again. Seems things are staring slowly though. The population – in their infinite wisdom […]

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UK Startling Statistics

In a column in today’s Guardian by Polly Toynbee, on what would happen if a natural disaster hit the UK: Poor London victims would also have nothing more than the clothes they stood in. Nationally 27% of people have no savings, not one penny; 25% of the poorest have at […]

EU Politics

He’s probably right, but aren’t we the Presidency?

Gordon Brown has today launched a very thinly veiled attack on the European Commission’s trade deal with China on textiles in an article in the FT – summary here. His basic stance is towards those that have appealed for quotas is tough – protectionism is not going to save inefficient […]

EU Politics

What’s going on in Germany?

It’s the economy, stupid. Or this election is stupid. I can’t make up my mind. After 10 days away, I’m back in touch with the world and the level of interest in the German election, even in the UK media, seems to be growing. A stinging attack on Gerhard Schroeder […]

EU Politics

Off to Italy, blog will be quiet

I am leaving London on Wednesday, heading for my yearly late-summer visit to the island of Ventotene. This will be the 6th time I’ll be going to the island, and the last time I’ll be there with any formal JEF responsibility. But it’s always a pleasure to spend time on […]

EU Politics

Cost offsetting & climate change

A really ingenious suggestion at bowblog has made me think once more about cost-offsetting and climate change. The idea would be to put a small levy on purchases made using eBay to account for the distance that goods would have to be shipped. Read the post here. It has made […]

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The challenges to globalisation

There’s a very lucid and internally coherent column in today’s Guardian from Larry Elliott entitled Edwardian Summer, drawing parallels between today’s economic stuggles (oil prices, flexiblility, worker backlash etc.) and the period pre-1914, the first era of globalisation. You have to take what Elliott says with a pinch of salt […]