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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The British are more hostile to the EU than any other European people. But why? Charles Grant looks at the role of geography, history and economics in nurturing euroscepticism. </p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:7d32b4b3ed3ac56e972201891b1fb9dc' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">The EU summit on December 10th-11th 2008 was a success in so far as EU leaders managed to agree on all major agenda items. The fact that there was a lot of bitter wrangling and a big dose of compromise was only to be expected against the backdrop of a rapidly worsening European economy.</p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:af6ea61bdd8b559b7781710cfb64ac72' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Ireland’s parliament – the Oireachtas – recently published a lengthy report on where the country’s relationship with the EU stands after the country’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty by referendum.</p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:1046407dc66cc943422c5d3441965967' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Until the war in Georgia in August 2008, the EU had taken stability beyond its eastern border for granted. Now it will need to become more active in this volatile region, in which Ukraine is the largest and most important country. </p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:550cf9f080e4fb0259f0d517449f09b8' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Sino-Russian ties are at an historic high. But the relationship remains ambivalent and fraught with mistrust. Moscow and Beijing have different views of the world, contrasting foreign policy approaches, and often competing priorities. </p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:b4665720a903d65cd84bf4fc47970bc8' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">The debate about sovereign wealth funds will return as global growth and commodity prices recover. European governments have been right to reject new EU rules on SWFs, and instead support multilateral efforts to set voluntary standards. </p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:bc75dddc043bea1377feaf61174bfd2e' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The economic crisis offers unprecedented opportunities for reforming global rules and institutions. Furthermore, the Obama presidency - which Europeans expect to be less unilateralist than that of George W Bush - will give the EU a chance to work with the US in tackling a host of international problems. <!--break-->But the EU may prove incapable of rising to either challenge. It may not be able to agree on a convincing set of proposals on global governance. And if Obama finds the EU ineffective - for example, unable to provide more troops for Afghanistan or to speak with one voice on Russia - he will not treat it as a serious partner.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Over the past ten years, the relative shift of power from the West to Asia has been obvious. But it is less clear whether the emerging multipolar world will be multilateral, with a strong role for international institutions, or one based on the balance of power where \'might is right\'. The EU, which instinctively favours the former, has a real chance to work with the US to tilt the world towards multilateralism. The EU and the US still account for half of world GDP. Brazil, India and Russia remain regional rather than global powers. Even China - which has growing interests on all continents - is reluctant to appear as a superpower. And although the Bush presidency and the financial crisis have damaged American soft power, the Obama presidency should help to restore it.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">But how much clout does the EU have? Ten years after the birth of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and Javier Solana\'s appointment as High Representative, EU foreign and defence policy has had its successes: peace (of sorts) in the Balkans; leading the international diplomacy on Iran\'s nuclear programme; and two dozen ESDP missions that have enhanced stability in war-torn countries. But the EU has failed to fulfil expectations, except perhaps in its neighbourhood.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Many factors constrain the EU. One is dysfunctional institutions. The rotating presidency and the split between the Council of Ministers and the Commission make it hard for the EU to project a single voice in foreign policy. The Lisbon treaty promises improvements. But if it is not adopted the EU will have to find other ways of reforming the machinery.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">A more important reason for governments sometimes failing to agree is that they think their interests diverge. Thus Germany and Italy oppose a common EU energy policy towards Russia, fearing that it could undermine their important bilateral energy relationships with the EU\'s biggest supplier of gas.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The governments would stand a better chance of developing common analyses of a given problem if the EU was not so hopeless at strategic thinking. Even on a crucial subject such as Russia, ministers or top officials seldom sit around a table and thrash out the key issues and arguments. They try to avoid overt conflict and spend too much time on procedure. This weakness extends to the \'strategic partnerships\' that the EU manages with powers such as Brazil, China, India and the US. The EU\'s regular summits with these countries are driven by bureaucratic processes and almost never involve strategic discussions.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">One way forward would be for those member-states most interested in a particular issue to meet in a smaller group, informally. They could do some long-term thinking and then report back to the 27, who would take any decision required. Smaller groups have worked quite well for problems like Iran or Ukraine and the model should be used more often. Some member-states may be offended not to be included in every meeting on every part of the world, but in fact most of them do not have strong views on most issues.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The EU\'s enlargement has in most respects been a great success, but it has probably made agreement on foreign policy - which requires unanimity - more difficult. The EU presidency often finds it next to impossible to line up all 27 governments on divisive issues like Kosovo, Russia and Turkey.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The member-states are now divided over whether enlargement should ultimately extend to all European countries, or stop short of big and complicated places like Ukraine and Turkey. This strategic rift makes it hard for the EU to develop the right policies on institutions, its neighbourhood or Russia. One compromise that could unite the 27 would be an agreement to strengthen the institutions (by the Lisbon treaty or an alternative); to enforce the accession criteria more strictly; and to accept that any European country meeting the criteria should join, even if initially it stays out of some policies.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">EU foreign policy would make more impact if backed by a strong ESDP. But the Franco-British strategic culture - which includes a willingness to use force - has not percolated among the other member-states. Defence budgets are falling, military capabilities remain inadequate (the EU mission in Chad depends on Russian helicopters) and a de facto two-tier European defence has emerged. Some of those in the second tier would appear to want the EU to be a big Switzerland: secure and prosperous, caring little about distant problems. EU defence cannot achieve much with 27 countries involved. The militarily serious nations need to form their own leadership group.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">One area where the EU - given its multilateral nature - could be expected to lead the world is reform of global governance. The emerging powers need to be better represented. But the EU has been weakened by divisions among its governments (for example on who should sit on the UN Security Council) and by their reluctance to give up their overrepresentation in many international bodies.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">And the EU risks forgoing leadership on climate change by failing to back its promises with action (see next article). The Europeans should move quickly to draw up a coherent plan, which should include reducing their representation in bodies like the IMF and World Bank; bringing emerging powers into the International Energy Agency and the Financial Stability Forum; and downgrading the G8 while building up the G20. The Europeans should also get serious about better co-ordinating their policies in the bodies where they retain national seats. The arrival of Obama gives the Europeans a chance to bolster multilateralism - but only if they can learn to be more effective.</p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:e3dae63f09e2b5dae4869251b28da8f8' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The EU has entered a severe economic downturn. Not only does Europe face the deepest recession since the 1970s, but the recovery when it does arrive will be weak and patchy. <!--break-->One casualty of the economic crisis could be the EU\'s ambitious climate policy agenda. Eighteen months ago, EU governments agreed that by 2020 the Union would cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent; improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent; and draw on renewable sources for 20 per cent of its energy. The EU now needs to agree on the policies needed to meet these targets. A failure to do so will undermine the EU\'s negotiating position ahead of the UN summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, and make it much harder to secure an international climate agreement.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The EU\'s emissions reduction targets are by far the most ambitious in the world. But if Europe is to persuade the US and emerging economic powers like China and India to take similar action, it has to back up its rhetoric with action. Also, if the EU retreats from its leading position on climate policy it will surrender its first-mover advantage and with it the chance to make European firms leaders in key environmental technologies. In the furore over the costs of cutting emissions, the huge economic opportunities of a move to a low carbon economy are being ignored.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The timing of the negotiations could not be worse. The European consensus in favour of ambitious action on climate change has always been fragile. Many member-states have been wary of the costs of unilateral EU action to reduce emissions. They believe Europe should only act when (and if) there are corresponding commitments by all the major emitters of greenhouse gases. Their position has been strengthened by the dramatic deterioration in economic conditions since the targets were agreed last year, and by a growing sense that other countries will be slow to take equivalent action. A host of member-states now claim that unilateral EU action to cut emissions would endanger economic growth and jobs in the Union. The Italian government has even threatened to use its veto over the Commission\'s package.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The most contentious issue is the auctioning of permits under the EU\'s emissions trading scheme (ETS). The Commission has proposed that from 2013 there should be full auctioning of permits for energy generators and a progressive shift to full auctioning for all other industries. It has left the door open for exemptions for industries that can demonstrate that the cost of permits would force them to relocate production outside the EU. The argument for auctioning, instead of free allocation of permits, is that having to pay upfront maximises incentives to use energy more efficiently.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">National business federations, led by those from Germany, Italy and Austria, argue that it is not just highly energy-intensive industries that will move their production out of the EU if auctioning is introduced. They claim that Europe\'s manufacturing sector as a whole will cut back on investment in the EU and gradually shift production to other jurisdictions. These industry groups are demanding free allocation for manufacturers covered by the system, so long as there is no international agreement imposing similar requirements on competitors in non-EU countries. They have the support of Business Europe, the club of EU industrial associations, as well as their national governments.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The demand of many governments for a blanket exemption for the manufacturing sector, and the rejection of a case by case assessment of which sectors might be vulnerable, suggests that governments have become too close to their industrial lobbies. There is considerable evidence that auctioning could force highly energy-intensive industries such as cement or aluminium producers out of the EU, with damaging economic and environmental consequences (it would be very energy-intensive to ship cement to EU markets). But there is no evidence that auctioning would have a significant impact on the vast majority of manufacturers such as car-makers.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The new Central and East European member-states also oppose the Commission\'s plans. Their criticism centres on the proposed move to full auctioning for energy generators. A group of countries led by Poland is demanding that greater allowance be made for their disproportionate dependence on coal to generate electricity. Although they could have increased their use of gas (which emits less carbon dioxide than coal), they claim that would have meant increased reliance on Russia for their energy supplies, which they oppose on strategic grounds.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The Central and Eastern Europeans have a case, up to a point. They are relatively poor compared to most of the old EU states and they are still contending with the legacy of inefficient energy generating capacity built under communist rule. However, the Commission\'s proposals already allow for financial compensation to poorer member-states. Industries based in these countries would receive relatively more emissions permits than the same industries based in wealthier ones. And the emissions targets themselves were set with reference to existing energy mixes, topography and GDP per capita.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">There is a possibility that the EU\'s 2020 climate package will unravel, especially if agreement is not reached under the French presidency. The Czech government, which takes over from the French in January, has expressed only very lukewarm support for the Commission\'s proposals. But for all the difficulties, there is a real chance that EU governments can reach a compromise. Cautious optimism is justified. There is no evidence that Italy or any other government actually wants to be held responsible for bringing the whole package down.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The concerns of the new member-states will be addressed by additional financial compensation beyond that already envisaged. The fears of Austria, Germany and Italy will be assuaged by postponing the move to full auctioning for broader range of industries than the Commission has hitherto considered. Neither of these compromises would fundamentally dilute the package. Energy users would still have an interest in curbing emissions, because they would have to purchase additional permits if they exceeded their allowances, and because they would be free to sell any they do not use. The credibility of the EU\'s claim to environmental leadership would survive.</p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:ca13f013893c8c8a6e27fcc6b50430cf' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './cer_staging/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The financial crisis is altering political and economic fortunes everywhere. It may have yet another, unlikely, outcome: the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, rejected by Ireland in a referendum last June. <!--break-->Most member-states think the treaty is crucial for the future effectiveness of the EU and are unwilling to give up on its reforms. So the French government and others want the Irish government to hold a second referendum on the text, preferably before elections to the European Parliament next June.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Ireland\'s EU partners have long forgotten the scale of the challenge faced by the Irish government to win a second referendum on the Nice treaty in 2002, a year after voters had rejected it. One important - and overlooked - component was the general election held between the two votes. The Nice treaty issue was not prominent in the campaign. But a new government, or a renewed mandate, wipes the political slate clean and makes it easier for previous decisions to be revisited (as it did for France in 2007 after its rejection of the EU constitutional treaty).</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The chances of political change helping the Lisbon treaty have increased. Ireland is faring worse than most other countries in the current economic turmoil. Burst housing and credit bubbles have placed strains on public finances. The approval ratings of the current coalition - led by the centrist Fianna Fáil party - dropped to the lowest ever recorded after it unveiled unpopular plans to cut back public services in October. With only a small majority in the Oireachtas, Ireland\'s parliament, the current government might collapse.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">If the government falls, one likely outcome is that the parties in the parliament will form an alternative coalition, led by the largest opposition party, Fine Gael, and backed up by the Irish Labour party and others. Still, a Fine Gael-led government would have a mountain to climb to ratify the treaty. First, it would have to complete a root-and-branch reform of how EU issues are communicated to the public. This includes making clear to voters that Ireland is set to lose its automatic right to be \'represented\' in the European Commission if they stick with the Nice treaty. Second, the government would have to give more control to the Oireachtas over Ireland\'s EU policies. Third, it would need to secure revamped promises on old thorns in Ireland\'s relationship with the EU, such as abortion and defence, as well as new ones like tax harmonisation and, possibly, the Charter of Fundamental Rights.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The Oireachtas may also recommend that a clause be added to the Irish constitution stating that no Irish citizen may be conscripted into the army of a foreign power, addressing a spurious but widely believed claim from the June campaign. Lastly, the chances of success would be greater if the government negotiated with EU leaders a commitment that the slimming down of the European Commission (as foreseen in the Nice and Lisbon treaties) will not happen. There will be greater opposition to this concession from other member-states than the Irish imagine. But if the government was successful, the yes side would have a stronger hand in any new campaign in Ireland.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">If all these things happened in the right sequence, the government could hold and win a second referendum around September 2009. Whatever government was in power would still have to find compelling arguments to get Irish voters to go back on a perfectly legitimate decision. But a recent poll shows that voters are open to revisiting the Lisbon treaty question, if the guarantees already mentioned are provided.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The economic and political turmoil of 2008 should strengthen the pro-Europeans. The war in Georgia and the financial crisis have shown that the EU needs capable, coherent leadership more than ever. The move from the rotating presidency to a semi-permanent one, as forseen in the treaty, would make the political leadership of the EU more effective and stable. Second, the financial crisis has underlined the value of being a fully signed up EU member. Ireland\'s membership of the eurozone has kept it safe from the currency speculators that have plagued Denmark.</p>\n<P style=\"TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Even though the country cannot be forced to leave the EU, a second referendum would prompt unwelcome speculation over its membership at a difficult time. That could damage the prospect of economic revival. On the other hand, a yes vote would be a badly needed sign of voter confidence in Ireland\'s government and its place in Europe. That would be more likely if, before a new referendum is held, the present government sought a new mandate in a general election, or if an alternative coalition took over without one.</p>', created = 1508449736, expire = 1508536136, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '3:7226d897911488e64fcaad6f58c15f91' in /home/cer/staging/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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