Atlantic Update 2/17/11


Serbia’s Foreign Minister calls for an investigation into allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo, the new U.S. ambassador to Turkey is under fire for comments related to Turkey’s press freedoms, and the EU indicates it may support the International Monetary Fund’s plan to rival the U.S. dollar.


U.S. accused of meddling in France’s immigrant policies (Globe and Mail)

After two years, human rights activist Abdelaziz Dahhassi finally realized his dream of setting up a think tank to find new ways of fighting ethnic and religious discrimination in France. But backing for the venture came from an unlikely and controversial corner: the U.S. State Department.

“I’m not saying we couldn’t have done it without them but their support is very important,” he said. “The Americans have a very interesting vision which can be very enriching for France.”

By supporting Mr. Dahhassi’s project, the U.S. embassy has inflamed tensions over how to deal with France’s growing immigrant population. Critics say the United States, which many French see as arrogant and heavy-handed, is undermining cherished French values by trying to impose its own, often unsuccessful, policies on dealing with minorities and racial conflict.

US officially backs envoy; he retreats on Turkish press remarks (Hurriyet)

The new U.S. ambassador to Ankara has backtracked from his comments on press freedom following criticism from Turkish officials, who said Thursday that the media is freer in Turkey than in the United States.

 EU to back IMF-led plan to rival US dollar (EurActiv)

As central bankers grow increasingly concerned about the volatility of the US dollar, the European Union looks ready to back a plan that could help buffer countries against swings in US exchange rates.

 FM urges UN mandate for Kosovo investigation (B92)

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić called for a full and independent investigation into allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania.

Plagiarism Scandal Threatens ‘Merkel’s Minister of Scandals’ (Der Spiegel)

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has proven adept at dodging political bullets in the past. But accusations that he plagiarized large portions of his dissertation may ultimately destroy his greatest asset: credibility. German commentators aren’t sure he can escape.

 Arab revolts spark hope among Iranian activists in Germany (Deutsche Welle)

The uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia have kindled optimism among young Iranian-born activists living in Germany. Some say the revolts have breathed new life into the opposition movement in Iran. But others remain wary.

Hacking attempt shows Ottawa lacking in cyber security (Toronto Star)

An attack on federal government computer networks which has left employees in key departments without Internet access is a reflection of Ottawa’s lack of attention to cyber security, says a global security expert.


Listen to this message of hope from Europe’s Arabs – and the warning (Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian)

Spain is closer to the Arab world than any other European country, but it has no better response than the rest of the EU

Compiled with the assistance of Klee Aiken.

Image: transatlantic.jpg