The Letter n°459

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The Letter n°459
The Letter
19th October 2010 - n°459
Interdire le port du voile islamique intégral ? Les États européens répondent, en ordre dispersé, selon des logiques nationales.
Olivier Dord
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Foundation :
EUscope
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EUscope,the new iPhone and iPad tool launched by the Robert Schuman Foundation, offers you all of what's going on in Europe, analyses of the elections, studies, policy papers by the best experts, positions on European policies and decisions, the European agenda. Download it - it's free!
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Financial Crisis :
ECB
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On 16th October the chair of the European Central Bank (ECB) Jean-Claude Trichet said he believed that European opinion would not accept a repetition of the 2008 scenario that saw the pay out of billions of euros by the States to save the banking system. He therefore pleaded in support of strict rules being set for European States in the area of budgetary policy and also with regard to respecting balance - a discipline which, in his opinion, is vital for protecting the single currency.
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OECD
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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on 12th October that the unemployment rate had fallen slightly from July to August 2010 from 8.6% to 8.5%. The unemployment rate rose back to the level recorded in August 2009 and now seems stable - which is particularly visible in the EU and in the euro area. A very slight increase was however recorded in France whilst the unemployment rate declined in Germany and in Italy. The next harmonised levels will be presented by the OECD on 9th November.
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Germany
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According to the report by the main German economic institutes published on 14th October Germany is due to bring its public deficit down below the 3% mark of the GDP by 2011 and this is due fall to 2.7% next year. Economists are forecasting growth of 3.5% in Germany this year and 2% next year. Moreover the number of unemployed may drop in 2011 below the 3 million mark for the first time since 1992. "The budgetary deficit is due to be reabsorbed thanks to budetary consolidation measures in the wake of the economic stimulation programmes but also because of the economy," indicated the institutes (Ifo, KOF, IfW, ZEW, IWH, Kiel Economics, RWI, IHS) in their report. On 14th October German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the report's results and said that Germany was on the right path. The government will present its forecasts for this autumn on 21st October.
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Austria
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According to the Austrian Statistics Bureau, Statistika Austria, State spending increased sharply during the financial and economic crisis in 2009 notably in the social area in which statisticians noted a rise of around 3.4 billion euros (+6%) in comparison with 2008. Public spending with regard to housing, teaching and the protection of the environment increased whilst the State spent less on defence, transport and the manufacture of medical products.
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France
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On 14th Octber Christine Lagarde, French Economy Minister announced that the value of the State's participation in companies had declined: "dividends had diminished by 26% and public company profits had dropped from 23.6 billion to 7.4 billion euros between 2008 and 2009. The Minister pointed to public company investments in France which will increase by 14% between 2009 and 2010.
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Greece
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The Greek public deficit totalled 16.234 billion euros over the first nine months of 2010 - a decrease of 31.1% over one year according to provisional estimates published on 12th October by the Greek Finance Minister. This ministry now publishes its data on the public deficit on a monthly basis as part of the work to balance finances which is being piloted by the EU and the IMF in exchange for a 110 billion euro loan over three years.
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Italy
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The Bank of Italy announced in a press release dated 13th October that Italy's public debt rose to a new record in August totalling 1,843 billion euros ie +3 billion euros in comparison with the previous month. According to government forecasts the debt, one of the highest in the world is due to rise to 118.5% this year then to 119.2% in 2011 before decreasing to 117.5% in 2012. On 14th October the Italian government adopted a draft budget for 2011. The "stability law" for 2011-2013 should bring the public deficit to 3.9% in 2011 and 2.7% of the GDP in 2012, under the 3% mark set by the European Stability and Growth Pact. During a press conference that followed the document's approval Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti declared that economic stability and development are the "spearheads" that are guiding the Italian economic policy.
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UK
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According to a study published by the National Statistics Office on 13th October the number of unemployed receiving benefit in the UK increased slightly more than forecast last month. This rise in unemployed receiving benefit - 5,300 in one month - is the highest since January.
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Slovenia
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Following an agreement on 12th October the Central Bank of Slovenia is about to transfer a sum of 280 million euros over to the IMF. This agreement follows the EU's commitment taken in March 2009 to contribute a total of 75 billion euros to the IMF's loan capabilities that were decided upon to face the crisis. Since then the Union has committed to increasing this contribution by 50 billion euros.
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Sweden
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On 13th October the Swedish government published a draft budget entitled "From crisis to full employment". This draft focuses on three main elements: priority is given to employment, the fight to counter exclusion and public finance stability which aims to guarantee the long term existence of the social protection system. Seeing that the country's economic situation is still mediocre but planning for the future with optimism the Prime Minister announced that he intended to lay emphasis on knowledge, the environment, innovation and social inclusion. In the event that the budget recovered a positive balance long term three economic measures are being planned to boost consumption: a decrease in taxes for the less well off, which will be enabled by the addition of a new tax band, a reduction in VAT in restaurants and the implementation of obligatory unemployment insurance.
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Portugal
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The Portuguese government approved the draft budget 2011 on 14th October during the Council of Ministers - this is due to be delivered to Parliament before the vote on 29th October. This draft budget 2011 should enable the Portuguese government to reduce the public deficit from 7.3% to 4.6% of the GDP in 2011. The Portuguese government reviewed its growth forecast downwards slightly in 2011, to +0.2% instead of +0.5% as previously announced in its draft budget that includes unprecdented austerity measures to balance public finances.
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Commission :
Oil
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On 13th October Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy announced the enhancement of rules in the area of offshore oil drilling to prevent an ecological disaster like the one that happened in the Gulf of Mexico in April last from happening in Europe. The Commission's projects include standards with regard to prevention, response in the event of an accident and financial responsibility.
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Borders
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On 13th October Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs said she was concerned about the application of the Schengen border code that was signed 25 years ago. Amongst the major causes of concern she notes the problems pointed out by travellers with regard to regular or systematic checks that are said to take place on some internal border areas as well as the upkeep of major crossing-point infrastructures on roads which often go together with major speed limits.
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Audit
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In the continued effort to learn from the crisis and to reform the financial sector, Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services launched a consultation on 13th October with regard to the role played by the legal audit and the wider context in which audits are undertaken. The aim is to limit the dangers that weigh on the financial system with regard to issues notably affecting the quality of information relayed by audits, the independence of auditing practices and the response on the part of SME's. Responses to the Green Paper are expected by 8th December next.
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Roma/France
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In response to additional information asked of France on the part of the European Commission with regard to the Roma the French authorities delivered the required documents on 15th October. France also said it was ready to modify its national law as part of the transposal of the 2004/38 directive.
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Council :
GMO
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On 14th October like their colleagues in Agriculture, the 27 Environment Ministers postponed the Commission's proposal by a wide majority with regard to allowing Member States to decide whether to allow or not the cultivation of GMO plants in their territories - asking the Commission to review its paper. This decision comes as a petition rallying more than one million signatures on the part of European citizens against the cultivation of GMO's has been delivered. If this is successful as part of the citizens' initiative it may herald the end of the European Healthcare Commissioner's projects - John Dalli has indeed promised to respond to requests for clarification by Council members before the end of the year.
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Transport
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The 27 European Transport Ministers came to an agreement of principle on 15th October to allow the introduction of specific toll fees for HGVs associated with the air and noise pollution they cause. Discussions between Member States have lasted two years because of strong differences in opinion between supporters of the toll such as France and Austria and adversaries such as Italy and Spain which fear that the profession will be over taxed. The aim is to extend an existing text that governs tolls - the so-called "Eurovignette directive".
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Patent/EU
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During the Competitiveness Council on 11th October the 27 Ministers again looked at the issue of the European patent which should lead to significant reductions in costs to protect the intellectual innovations that emerge on the Old continent - but without coming to agreement however. Although the Belgian presidency hopes to reach a final agreement in November negotiations are still being held up by translation issues. Italy and Spain are still blocking recent Commission proposals that aim to establish pan-European protection in the three languages employed at the European Patents Office: English, French and German. In the event of stalemate several countries support the launch of enhanced cooperation agreements between the countries that want to work together.
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Court of Justice :
Pensions
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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered two different decisions on 12th October with regard to people, who have reaching the age of retirement, complained of discrimination. In the "Rosenbladt" case the Court said that the automatic termination of a working contract because the age of retirement had been reached was not necessarily discriminatory as stipulated in German law. However the Court believed in the "Andersen" case that the Danish state was commiting discrimination due to age, thereby depriving a worker of compensation under the pretext that he might receive his retirement pension. In this judgement the Court took into account the desire of the person to use his compensation to take up work again rather than retire as suggested by his country's administration.
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Competition
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On 14th October the Court of Justice confirmed the 12.6 million euro fine inflicted by the European Commission on German operator Deutsche Telecom in 2003 for abuse of dominant position on the landline markets in Germany. This abuse lay in the invoicing of prices for access services by competitors to the network which were higher than the retail prices invoiced for access services to Deutsche Telecom subscribers as from 1998 onwards and this in spite of the total liberalisation of the telecommunications markets in Germany two years prior to that. This tarfication obliged competitors to invoice their subscribers at higher prices than those which DT invoiced its own subscribers.
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Germany :
Romania
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On 12th October the German Chancellor travelled to Bucharest where she met Romanian President Traian Basescu as well as Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc. Ms Merkel called on the Romanian leaders to continue their reforms and to step up on legal security with regard to foreign companies' investments in their country. As far as Romania's hopes to join the Schengen Area are concerned next year Ms Merkel stressed that Romania should notably guarantee the absence of corruption and illegal acts when visas are delivered to citizens of countries that are not in the Schengen area.
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Bulgaria
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During her visit to Bulgaria on 11th October German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the progress made by the Bulgarian government with regard to the fight to counter corruption and crime. She stressed in particular the country's sound financial policy. After an interview with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov she explained that Bulgaria's membership of the Schengen Area will depend on the respect of criteria established Europe wide. "Germany will make a fair assessment of these conditions," she declared. Boiko Borissov promised to continue work notably with regard to the EU's external border security.
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Russia
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During a meeting on 12th October in Moscow with German President Christian Wulff and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev, the latter said he regretted the fragmented state of security cooperation in Europe and offered to put forward his proposal of 2008 to create a common treaty for pan-European security. In an interview on 11th October Mr Wulff said he was pleased with the friendlier relations that now existed between NATO and Russia; he also said that Russia was a major partner in Western work to stabilise Afghanistan.
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Bundesrat
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For the first time in Germany's history a woman is chairing the Upper Chamber of Parliament, the Bundesrat, after the election on 15th October of Hannelore Kraft. The leader of Nord-Rhein-Westfalen who took over the leadership of the Land in the spring was unanimously elected to succeed the present leader, mayor of City-State Bremen, Jens Böhrnsen.
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Belgium :
Future
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The leader of the Flemish secessionists Bart de Wever (N-VA) put foward a new compromise proposal on 17th October on the reform of the Belgian institutions - which looked like a last chance for the country to emerge from the crisis ongoing since the elections on 13th June. Bart de Wever delivered the 50 page text to the seven Dutch and French speaking political parties who have vainly been trying for the last four months to form a government. Belgium's future seems more uncertain than ever after the rejection of this compromise proposal considered by the Flemish as a last chance to come to agreement. The French believe the compromise goes too far in the Flemish speakers' direction.
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Cyprus :
Opening
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On the occasion of his meeting with the president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on 11th October, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias suggested turning over Varosha, an area of the town of Famagusta that lies in the Turk-occupied part of the island to the UN. Mr Christofias announced that if Turkey gave Varosha to the UN the Republic of Cyprus would allow the opening of the port of Famagusta to trade with the EU. In addition to this a new crossing point between the northern part of the island and the Republic of Cyprus that was inaugurated on 14th October - with many inhabitants in attendance who welcomed "the step towards peace". This opening is designed to open up the west of this Greek part of the island. The new crossing point is a sharply inclined 6km stretch of road that is still being worked on between the villages of Limnitis and Kato Pyrgos.
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Denmark :
Windfarm
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One of the biggest ocean windfarms in the world that compromises 90 turbines and which meets the electricity requirements of 200,000 households was inaugurated on 12th October in Denmark. The "Roedsand 2" park lies in the Baltic Sea some 10km off Lolland Island between the ports of Gedser and Roedby - 150km south east of Copenhagen.
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Finland :
France
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On 13th October Finnish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi met French President Nicolas Sarkozy was well as French Prime Minister François Fillon. Discussions notably focussed on Franco-Finnish cooperation, economic policy coordination within the EU, finance issues, employment and growth. In an interview with "Le Figaro" Ms Kiviniemi pleaded in favour of budgetary rigour in Europe and said that the euro was running too high adding that the G20 was due to discuss the monetary system.
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France :
French speaking communities
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The 'Fondation Alliance Française' organised the 'Etats Généraux' of the Alliances Françaises of Europe in Brussels from 15th to 17th October. This network includes 291 Alliances Françaises that are established in 33 countries and which receive over 88,000 students per year. This event brought together the presidents and directors of the Alliances and also personalities from the world of culture - including Bernard Pivot. The theme of the meetings was "What specific tasks in Europe are there for the Alliances Françaises?" This initiative gave managers the chance to exchange views during working seminars together with information and advice on their habits, the way of management and their perspectives for development.
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NATO
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NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen travelled to Paris on 15th October where he spoke with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister François Fillon and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. On the agenda of this meeting, the next NATO summit that will take place in Lisbon on 19th and 20th November 2010. He said he was pleased with France's return to the Alliance structures saying that this had been beneficial. President Sarkozy stressed the importance for NATO to continue to have nuclear means of dissuasion whilst recalling his support for the American anti-missile defence system under debate by NATO. EU/NATO relations, the organisation's commitment in Afghanistan, as well as the partnership with Russia - which is the subject of a summit on 18th October in Deauville between Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Dimitri Medvedev were also subjects of discussion.
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Turkey
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Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner travelled to Ankara on 11th and 12th October for a bilateral visit on the invitation of his counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. The meeting focussed on the upcoming presidency of the G20. France wants Turkey to be associated fully as a member of the G20 during its presidency that will start on 12th November next. The Ministers exchanged points of view over European issues as well as over the main crises in the region, notably the Middle East.
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Russia/Germany
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On 18th and 19th October French President Nicolas Sarkozy is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Deauville on the occasion of a tripartite meeting between France-Russia-Germany. The aim is to strengthen Russia's bonds with Europe.
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Hungary :
Nationalisation
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The Hungarian Parliament adopted 332 votes in favour, one against and 13 abstentions a law nationalising the company MAL - the owner of the aluminium factory that was the cause of the flood of toxic red mud on 4th October - the most serious ecological accident that Hungary has ever experienced. Parliament asked the President of the Republic Pal Schmitt to sign a law that enables the State to take control within the shortest possible time span of the company and to seize all of its assets.
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Italy :
Agriculture
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France and Italy advised in Rome on 14th October to maintain the CAP budget, and pleaded for a better regulation of the markets to protect farmers from price instability. French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and Italian Giancarlo Galan believed "it vital for the CAP budget to match its ambitions," in a press release that was broadcast after discussions in Rome.
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The Netherlands :
Government
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On 14th October the new Dutch government led by Mark Rütte (VVD) was sworn in before Queen Beatrix. It comprises 12 ministers including three women. It is a government coaltition between the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA). It will receive Parliamentary support from the far right party of Geert Wilders, the PVV. The new coalition accepted to toughen up legislation on immigration notably with the prohibition on wearing the Islamic veil. It committed to saving 18 billion euros in the budget to bring the public deficit to below the limits set by the EU by 2013.
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Poland :
EU/Presidency
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk hosted European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on 11th October. They discussed the subjects associated with the upcoming European Councils, particularly economic governance. Poland will preside over the EU as from July 1st 2011 after Hungary. After this meeting the two men took part in a round table that heralded the 30th anniversary of Solidarnosc. President Barroso declared that this movement of solidarity was now part of joint European heritage and that today more than ever before solidarity was under test.
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Bulgaria
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Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was host on 13th and 14th October to his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk in Euxinograd. They discussed Bulgarian-Polish cooperation with regard to energy supplies notably the gas pipeline project Nabucco. They also discussed Bulgaria's planned membership of the Schengen area as well as that of the EU's Eastern Partnership.
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UK :
Russia
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During a visit to Moscow on 13th October the head of British diplomacy, William Hague, declared to the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, that Russia should play a constructive role in Europe and accomplish its promise with regard to democracy calling for dialogue to settle differences of opinion. He invited Moscow to enhance contacts with its partners in areas such as the latent conflict in Transnistria. William Hague hoped that Russia would fully implement the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement on Georgia signed in August 2008 which includes the terms for the withdrawal of troops and the deployment of international observers. With regard to bilateral relations between the two States he recalled that Russia was a major partner for the UK. "The door is open to better relations, we shall see whether a door opens in return," he declared according to a Foreign Office press release.
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Armenia :
Cablecar
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On 16th October Armenia inaugurated the longest cablecar in the world - it stretches over 5.7km over the Vorotan Gorge to the medieval monastery of Tatev. Gathered at the foot of a mountain near the Iranian border, Armenian Presdient Serge Sarkissian and the highest dignitary of the Armenian Apostolic Church Karekine II made the first trip on board the cablecar alongside other guests.
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Georgia :
Constitution
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On 15th October Georgia amended its Constitution thereby reducing the powers of the head of State to the benefit of the Government and Parliament - a reform that is said by the authorities to be democratic progress but which the opposition interprets as a manoeuvre on the part of president Mikail Saakachvili. Amendments were adopted by 112 votes in favour, 5 against and in the Georgian Parliament, which is mostly dominated by the United National Movement of Mr Saakachvili. The assembly's leader, David Bakrade guaranteed that these changes would provide a better balance to power in the Georgian political system.
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Kosovo :
EULEX
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The new head of the European Police and Justice Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), Xavier Bout de Marnhac entered office on 15th October replacing Yves de Kermabon. Mr Bout de Marnhac who commanded NATO forces in Kosovo (KFOR) from 2007-2008 set his main goals as being the establishment of rule of law in the north of Kosovo and to fight against organised crime. EULEX comprises some 3,000 people. The European Mission aims to aid the strengthening of the rule of law in Kosovo in the areas of police, customs and justice. Kosovo proclaimed independence in February 2008 and this has been acknowledged by 70 countries to date.
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Moldova :
Justice
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On 12th October Moldova ratified the Rome Status, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court thereby becoming the 114th country to acknowledge the Court's jurisdiction said the ICC. "The Status will enter force in Moldova on 1st January 2011 which will bring the total number of States that share the Rome Status to 114," indicated the ICC in a press release. The ICC was established in the Hague in 2002 and is the first permanent international tribunal responsible for judging the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
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Switzerland :
Tunnel
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Work on the Gothard railway tunnel - the longest in the world (57km in length 2,000m below ground) were finalised on 15th October. The "tunnel of the century" as it is called in the Swiss media will enable a 2 hour 40 minute link from Zurich to Milan as of 2017.
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Ukraine :
Lithuania
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Viktor Yanukovich, President of the Ukraine was guest on 14th October in Vilnius to Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania. He confirmed his desire for Ukraine to enter the EU. In his opinion "Ukraine is determined to integrate the EU as much as Europe is determined to accept it." Ms Grybauskaite announced that Lithuania would support Ukraine in its work to integrate Europe. The two heads of State said they would step up economic cooperation between their countries.
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USA :
Balkans
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During her visit to the Balkans on 12th October American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton met Serb President Boris Tadic and members of the outgoing Bosnian collegial presidency (Haris Silajdzic, Nebojsa Radmanovic and Zeljko Komsic). On the issue of Kosovo's independence the Secretary of State asked Mr Tadic for greater cooperation with Pristina. The launch of dialogue said Ms Clinton would guarantee better relations between Serbia and its neighbours as well as with the EU and the USA. In Sarajevo Ms Clinton confirmed the USA's commitment to matters in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its wish to help both politically and economically. For their part the three members of the presidency said that accession to the EU and NATO would help Bosnia-Herzegovina's development.
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UN :
Council/Security
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On 12th October the General Assembly of the UN elected South Africa, Germany, Columbia, India and Portugal as non-permanent members of the Security Council for a two year mandate as from 1st January 2011. They will replace Austria, Japan, Mexico, Uganda and Turkey. The Security Council will therefore bring together as from 2011 five newly elected members but also Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria elected for the period 2010-2012 as well five permanent members of the Security Council which are China, USA, Russia, France and the UK.
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Russia/Georgia
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The round of reconciliation discussions between Russia and Georgia started up again on 14th October in Geneva under the guidance of the UN, the OSCE and the EU. Discussions aim to prevent further hostilities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Further discussions in this round in Geneva will take place on 16th December next.
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NATO :
Strategy
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The 28 NATO countries, which met in Brussels on 14th October, debated a new "strategic concept" put forward by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. His text speaks of growing threats: international terrorism, balistic and nuclear proliferation, blockages in the supplies of fossil fuels and IT warfare. The meeting presented an opportunity for France and Germany to show their differences with regard to strategic defence. Whilst the former defends the upkeep of its nuclear arsenal and its decision making autonomy, the latter believes that dissuasion is an outmoded idea, that airborne nuclear bombs that the Pentagon maintains in European territory should be dismantled and the implementation by NATO of an anti-missile shield in Europe may enable it to turn the page finally on the Cold War.
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Eurostat :
Industry
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According to figures published by Eurostat on 13th October industrial production (corrected according to seasonal variations) rose by 1% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU in August 2010 in comparison with the previous month. In July production increased by 0.1% in both areas. In August 2010 in comparison with August 2009 industrial production increased by 7.9% in the euro area and by 7.5% in the EU.
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Inflation
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On 15th October Eurostat published figures on inflation for September. The annual inflation rate in the euro area rose to 1.8% in September 2010 in comparison with 1.6% in August. In September 2009 it lay at -0.3%. The monthly inflation rate lay at 0.2% in September 2010. Within the EU the annual inflation rate lay at 2.2% in September 2010 in comparison with 2% in August. A year ago it lay at 0.3%. The monthly inflation rate in the EU rose to 0.2% in September 2010.
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External Trade
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According to Eurostat's first estimates for August 2010 published on 15th October the euro area recorded an external trade deficit of 4.3 billion euros with the rest of the world in comparison with -2.8 billion a year ago. In August 2010 in comparison with July 2010 exports corrected according to seasonal variations rose by 1% and imports by 1.8%. The first estimates of the extra-EU trade balance for August 2010 indicate a deficit of 17.3 billion euros in comparison with -12.4 billion in August 2009. In August 2010 in comparison with the previous month exports corrected according to seasonal variations decreased by 0.1% whilst imports increased by 1.3%.
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Eurobarometer :
Digital
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According to a Eurobarometer survey by the European Commission that was published in October in which 27,000 households were interviewed across the EU with regard to their use of the internet, telephone and TV nearly all European households have access to a telephone (98%). Household access to computers (64%) and internet at home (57%) continues to develop across Europe but access levels are far from being homogeneous from country to country. Nearly all households in the EU have access to TV (98%). In addition to this households are concerned about cost, quality and security of the service as well as on-line freedom.
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Healthcare
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A Eurobarometer survey published on 11th October shows that one European in ten suffers a mental health problem and in many Member States depression is the most widespread health issue. The survey was undertaken between 26th February and 17th March 2010 amongst 26,800 European citizens. The authors note that everywhere in Europe those with the most negative experiences are often those who face socio-economic difficulties whilst those who say they are the happiest are most in a higher social sphere or are the youngest.
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Studies/Reports :
OECD
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In a report entitled "Taxation, innovation and environment" published on 13th October the OECD defends governments' introduction of an "ecological taxation". This might encourage innovation whilst helping to discourage polluting activities and promote innovative "green technologies".
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Men/Women Equality
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According to a study by the World Economic Forum published on 12th October the countries in the North of Europe (Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden) are still the most egalitarian states in the world.
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Crisis
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The Swedish Institute for European Studies (SIEPS) has just published a report by Philip R Lane which looks into the European perspective with regard to external imbalance - "A European Perspective on External Imbalances".
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Defence
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The Thomas More Institute has just published a paper on "L'Europe de la défense un an après le Traité de Lisbonne: Etat des lieux et perspetives" - "European Defence one year after the Lisbon Treaty: a review and perspectives."
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Human/Trafficking
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The Bertelsmann Foundation has just published a study by Armando Garcia Schmidt and Christal Morehouse on the EU's fight to counter the trafficking of humans entitled "Europe's Fight Against Human Trafficking."
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France/NATO
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The French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) has published a study by Anne-Henry de Russé on France's return to NATO entitled "France's Return into NATO. French Military Culture and Strategic Identity in Question."
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Muitpolarity
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The think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published a study by Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard entitled : "The Spectre of a Multipolar Europe".
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Publication :
French speaking communities
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Just days before the 13th Francophonie Forum (French speaking communities forum) that will take place in Montreux (Switzerland) from 22nd to 24th October the review 'Géoéconomie' by the Choiseul Institute is devoting its latest edition to "La Francophonie face à la mondialisation" - The French Speaking Community and Globalisation. It looks into 'Francophonie' from an institutional, linguistic, cultural and economic point of view - an opportunity to recall that its aura does not match it original objectives.
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Culture :
Exhibition/Madrid
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The Prado Museum in Madrid is devoting an exhibition to Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) entitled "Passion for Renoir. The Sterling Collection and the Francine Clark Art Institute". A selection of 31 exceptional paintings by the French impressionist will be on show from 19th October to 6th February 2011.
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Expo/Berlin
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The Martin Gropius Bau Museum of Berlin is presenting over 70 paintings by French artist Pierre Soulages until 17th January 2011.
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Exhibition/London
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Until 16th January 2011 the "Canaletto and his Rivals" exhibition at the National Gallery of London is presenting a collection of views of Venice painted amongst others by Venitian artists Giovanni Antonio Canal, otherwise known as Canaletto (1697-1768). Around 60 of his pictures from collections around the world are on show.
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FIAC/Paris
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The 37th edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair will take place from 21st to 24th October 2010 at the Grand Palais, the Carrée du Louvre and in the Tuilerie Gardens in Paris. The fair will host 194 art galleries from 20 different countries and 3,500 artists.
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Film/Vienna
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The 2010 edition of the Viennale, the cinema festival in Vienna opens its doors in 21st October with the showing of the film "Des Hommes et des Dieux" (Of Gods and Men) by Xavier Beauvois who received the "Grand Jury Prize" at the Cannes Festival. The Viennale will take place until 3rd November.
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Festival/Cork
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The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, one of the biggest in Europe, will take place from 22nd to 25th October.
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Music/Dresden
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The 2010 edition of the Heinrich Schütz Festival (1585-1672), "the father of modern German music" will take place from 15th-24th October and its motto is "Schütz and Europe". From Italy to Denmark - life led Heinrich Schütz to many countries - his sphere of influence spread across all of Europe in the 17th century. The festival offers a programme of 25 events in three towns (Bad Köstritz, Dresden and Weißenfels): concerts, conferences, visits and musical mass.
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Theatre/Cadiz
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The Festival of the Ibero-American Theatre of Cadiz will take place from 19th to 30th October. More than 30 plays are planned during this, the 25th anniversary of the festval.
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Agenda :
18th October

Eurogroup Meeting


18th October to 21st October

Plenary Session of European Parliament in Strasbourg


19th October

"Economy Finance" Council


21st October

"Employment, Social Policy, Healthcare and Consumer" Council


21st and 22nd October

Informal Meetings of the 27 Cooperation and Development and also Sports Ministers


22nd and 23rd October

G20 Finance Ministers' Meeting


25th October

"General Affairs" and "Foreign Affairs" Councils


25th and 26th October

"Agriculture and Fisheries" Council


28th and 29th October

European Council

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