The EU gears up for Friday’s summit in Brussels.
Merkel, Sarkozy to push ‘competiveness pact’ at Brussels summit (Deutsche Welle)
It could be a hard sell: German and French leaders hope to convince their counterparts at the European Union summit in Brussels of the need for a deeper harmonization of economic policies.
Key Moment Looms for Euro (WSJ Europe)
European leaders in Brussels on Friday are expected to confirm the broad outline of a strategy for solving the debt crisis, in a move that is seen as a decisive moment for the euro zone.
For more than a year, since Greece’s budget meltdown sparked a crisis of confidence in the euro zone’s financial stability, Europe has struggled to react to events driven by panicky financial markets. After weeks of lead-up, much rides on the credibility of the new strategy.
An agreement between Britain and France to cooperate on defense does not compromise either country’s sovereignty or weaken the NATO alliance, British defense minister Liam Fox said Thursday.
The Government will opt into a European Union directive aimed at taking action against cyber criminals operating overseas, junior home office minister James Brokenshire has said.
The UK has become a "safe haven" for foreign suspects, the outgoing terror laws watchdog has said.
A stronger EU mandate for dealing with gas-rich autocracies in the Caspian region, more public funding for renewable energy sources and a north-south energy corridor will be on the agenda of an EU summit on Friday (4 February). But France, Germany and eastern EU members are at odds over what to prioritise.
Belgian king makes fresh efforts to end political limbo (France24/Reuters)
King Albert II asked caretaker PM Yves Leterme Wednesday to the budget to parliament for approval. He also asked the acting Finance Minister to mediate in efforts to form a government. Belgium has been in political limbo since the election in June.
EDITORIALS AND COLUMNS:
Is Arab Democracy Good for the West — and Israel? (World Politics Review)
The uprising in Egypt has framed a dilemma in the starkest of terms: Does the West want true democracy in the Middle East, even if it brings the possibility of some rather frightening scenarios? A democratic Egypt could blossom into an open, pluralistic society, with equality for all religions and between men and women, continuing good relations with the West and enduring peace with Israel. But it could also follow a path similar to Iran’s after the overthrow of the shah, with the popular movement hijacked by a well-organized militant religious movement, leading to decades of oppression and strife — in other words, a regime that works to create a solidly anti-Western, anti-Israel Middle East.
Hanging out with the wrong crowd (European Voice)
The cosy relationships that the EU and its member states have maintained with dictators in northern Africa suddenly look like a big mistake.