It looks like I’m on something of a German roll here – but maybe that’s OK, since I noticed that articles from the German press tended to get short shrift in EuroSavant recently. (For instance, click the category for Germany to the left and see what’s there for the month of July.) In any case, who could resist a headline like “Germany Must Become More American” (free registration required)? (more…)
The decisive EU summit in Brussels this weekend to work out a final text of a Constitutional Treaty failed to achieve that aim. As had been expected, the principal stumbling-block was the question of the voting regime to be used for passing measures within the Council of Ministers by a “qualified majority”; both Poland and Spain stuck firmly to their demand that the current voting system, inaugurated by the December, 2000 Nice Treaty, be retained, while other states – principally the EU’s two biggest players, Germany and France – were equally as adamant that a new “double majority” system, proposed in the new Constitution, be implemented. But there were other points that had to be left for later resolution as well, as we’ll see. (more…)
As varied as the individual details may have been, one theme clearly predominates the preceding accounts on this website, from the French, Dutch, and the Czech press, of the progress of the EU draft Constitution Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) so far. And that is, of course, that there has been virtually none – indeed, that there is even considerable dissatisfaction over the process currently being used to try to gain common agreement on an EU Constitution. (more…)
The Pope celebrated the 25th anniversary of his accession on Thursday, and I provided on these pages one evaluation of his legacy, from a Czech source. But here’s another, from the Dutch newspaper Trouw which, interestingly enough, used to be the newspaper for Dutch Catholics, although now it’s non-sectarian, as well as generally a cut above most of the rest of the pack in the intelligence of its articles, as regular EuroSavant readers probably are aware. My specific motivations for bringing you this are 1) Trouw’s excellent, straightforward, even bullet-point treatment of the contradictions that have characterized this Pope’s reign, that I thought you might like to know about, and 2) The rather-too-hagiographical treatment of John Paul II that I have run across elsewhere, such as this entry on “Fistful of Euros.” (I could leave a comment – but in the form of a €S-type article analysis? Better to put it on my own site and use the great new weblogging feature of “Trackback”!) Longevity is hardly a recommendation for someone’s performance in office per se; the Duvaliers oppressed Haiti for decades on end, just to name one example, and, to name but another, Haidar Aliev has pillaged Azerbaijan for 35 years and just recently topped it all off by installing his son to succeed him as president, via a fraudulent election.
But now to the Trouw article, The Seven Silver Swords of Karol Wojtyla. (Registration required, as usual, and in Dutch. But if you try, you can probably figure out what they want you to fill out. And if you don’t erase the “cookie,” you’ll never have to do this again at your computer!) (more…)
Yes, it’s true: Chirac wird Bundeskanzler, Chirac becomes the German Chancellor. For Friday’s session of the EU summit of heads of state/government in Brussels, neither Gerhard Schröder nor his foreign minister Joschka Fischer plan to be present. In their stead, French President Jacques Chirac will represent both French and German interests. The two German leaders feel that they’re rather more urgently needed back in Berlin in the Bundestag that day, where it seems every single SPD/Green coalition vote will be needed to pass a raft of labor-reform laws which some call “Hartz IV” (after the Hartz Commission, chaired by Peter Hartz, a Volkswagen executive, which called for such reforms).