"It (the introduction of the euro) is not economic at all. It is a completely political step. The historical significance of the euro is to construct a bipolar economy in the world. The two poles are the dollar and the euro. This is the political meaning of the single European currency. It is a step beyond which there will be others. The euro is just an antipasto."
~Commission President Romano Prodi, interview on CNN, 1 January 2002 ~

Why the Irish economy is paying for its property dependency

The Irish economy is heading for a fall. While an overheated global economy, rising interest rates and a sub-prime lending crisis may cause problems in all parts of the world, to see where the biggest damage may be done you have to go to Dublin. The Celtic Tiger economy, galloping away year after year with no monetary brakes, is the one most likely to fall off a cliff. If the worst happens, its membership of the euro will bear part of the blame. Ireland is one of the far-flung corners of the eurozone, and its runaway economy represents an experiment not dissimilar to that run by the Russian operatives of the Chernobyl who ran it towards meltdown to “see what would happen.” More »
23-08-07 | 11:31 |

Open Europe publishes first comparative text of the new constitutional treaty – it's exactly the same length as the constitution

Open Europe today publishes the first comparative text of the new constitutional treaty, and a new guide to what it means. The official version of the treaty is almost unreadable as it takes the form of a series of amendments to the existing treaties, without reproducing the existing text which they will alter. In other words, the new version contains only the “active ingredients” ‘” the changes which were proposed by the original Constitution. This is intended to make it unreadable. Open Europe is now publishing a consolidated text which shows how it would change the treaties. We also reproduce the text of the original version of the original Constitution alongside this. As you can see, the new treaty alters the existing treaties to bring them into line with the rejected European Constitution. Some opponents of a referendum have argued that the “new” treaty is shorter than the old Constitution and so therefore cannot be substantively the same thing. This is a dishonest argument. Once it is turned back into a consolidated text it becomes obvious that the “new” treaty essentially edits the existing treaties in such a way as to make them almost identical to the rejected Constitution. More »
17-08-07 | 13:14 | 1 comment

EU Constitution round-up

Several of the leaders who have been closely involved throughout the process of drafting the Constitutional Treaty have produced an analysis of the “new” text, stating that “almost all the innovations” of the old text is preserved. The analysis, put together by the so-called Action Committee for European Democracy – whose members include Chris Patten, Giuliano Amato, Wim Kok and EU Commissioner Margot Wallstrom – says, “The proposed new treaty and supplementary protocols take over almost all the innovations contained in the Constitutional Treaty. They only leave aside the symbolic changes which were introduced by the Constitutional Treaty – such as the title of the treaty or the symbols of the union. More »
17-08-07 | 12:48 |

Death Spiral

This week the markets got a glimpse of how the competitive devaluation story might play out, as Europe confronted the impact of a “strong” currency. For the past few years, the European Central Bank has shown admirable restraint, raising rates in response to a surging money supply and allowing the market to set the value of the euro. This in turn has caused the euro to soar against the dollar, testing the premise that a system as fragile as Old Europe can’t tolerate an appreciating currency for long. And sure enough, France has begun lobbying for’”get this’”the right to vote on European Central Bank interest rate policies. More »
14-08-07 | 15:09 |

The European Tax Cartel and Switzerland's Role

How the European Union is increasingly becoming a high tax cartel, showing the typical aggressive behavior against outsiders, whilst having centralizing and thus desastrous effects to overall economic development and what Switzerland’s implications are therein. More »
13-08-07 | 11:56 |

"Neutral" Ireland joins other EU army representatives at Sarkozy's Bastille Day parade

The Irish Army Press Office has stated that 6 Irish armed forces personnel took part in last Saturday’s Bastille Day parade in Paris, representing the Irish army, naval service and air corps. More »
18-07-07 | 10:00 | 1 comment

EU constitution architect deplores 'cosmetic' text changes

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The architect of the rejected European constitution, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, says the recently agreed changes to the document are “cosmetic” and designed to avoid the EU’s new reform treaty looking exactly like the EU constitution. The former chairman of the European Convention – the body of over a hundred politicians which drafted the 2004 EU constitution – criticised the new-look version of the constitution on Tuesday (17 July). The reform treaty was agreed by EU leaders at a summit last month. “What was [already] difficult to understand will become utterly incomprehensible,” Mr Giscard said about the new treaty blueprint. More »
18-07-07 | 09:54 |

The EU as a form of empire … Commission President Barroso

Having now seen the headlines, Mr Barroso, the President of the European Commission, must be regretting his careless remarks about the European Union being an empire. Europe has not had an altogether happy experience with empires, whether at home or abroad and in any case the idea of empire – a centre that grows wealthy on the resources of the lands it controls – is surely the opposite of what the EU is supposed to entail. His rationale is therefore something of a mystery; more importantly it is a worrying mystery. Mr Barroso made his remarks at a press conference held to announce the Commission’s approval of the recent proposals for a new constitutional treaty. A journalist had asked him how he would characterise the EU? After explaining that the EU was unique he continued: ‘Sometimes I like to compare the EU to the organisation of an empire. We have a dimension of empire.’ More »
16-07-07 | 10:51 | 1 comment

Cynicism re the upcoming EU "Reform Treaty" on the part of Giuliano Amato, Denis MacShane and Margot Wallström

Former British Europe Minister Denis MacShane called on EU leaders to stop admitting that the new text is the same as the old text: “Could you ask President Prodi back in Rome not to say this is a Constitution; could you ask President Barroso not to say we’re creating a new form of empire, because, well, words mean something. A referendum arose in Britain not because the anti-European right wanted it? It was people like Timothy Garton-Ash, newspapers like the Guardian, the Independent, it was the Liberal Democrat party – all nominally pro-European – all insisting on a referendum. So please, as a serious bid to about the only elected person here – do not assume the IGC is a done deal, do not assume a fusion of the President with the Commission will not cause controversy? Do not assume the Dutch Labour party will not call a referendum. Do not assume that the Conservative Party in this country, with the help of the Liberal Democrats, will not insist on a referendum. The game isn’t over yet? The language is vital. The use of the word Constitution was wrong. I suggest saying it’s still a Constitution, President Prodi and other European leaders, is wrong.” More »
16-07-07 | 10:50 |

Treaty made unreadable to avoid referendums, says Amato

The new EU reform treaty text was deliberately made unreadable for citizens to avoid calls for referendum, one of the central figures in the treaty drafting process has said. Speaking at a meeting of the Centre for European Reform in London on Thursday (12 July) former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato said: “They [EU leaders] decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception”. More »
16-07-07 | 10:48 |