Atlantic Update 4/27/11


"No Work, No Home" headlines a Dutch editorial, the "crisis" over North African immigration has led to a call for Schengen reform, while intolerance in the east erupts as far right vigilantes clash with Hungary’s Roma population. Taken together do such headlines highlight Europe’s rightward trajectory and perhaps even a "betrayal of EU values?"


‘Instead of Sealing Itself Off, Europe Should Help’ (Spiegel)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have put aside their differences to call on the European Union to reform the Schengen zone of border-free travel. German commentators dismiss the move as a populist stunt.

Is Border Despute a Betrayal of EU Values? (Speigel)

Battered by the crisis over the North African immigrants who have landed in Italy and are now entering other countries, the EU’s Schengen Agreement of open borders is being openly questioned by Paris and Rome. Sarkozy and Berlusconi say they favor changes to the treaty, but commentators in papers in Italy and France warn European freedom values are under attack.

Hungary Roma battle far-right vigilantes (BBC News)

Far-right vigilantes have clashed with Roma (Gypsies) in a village in north-east Hungary where ethnic tensions escalated last week. At least four people were hurt in the brawl in Gyongyospata, in which dozens were involved, police say. Hungarian media report that fighting erupted after Vedero ("Defensive Strength") uniformed paramilitaries hurled stones at a Roma house.

West seeks urgent action on Syria (Deutsche Welle)

As the violence in Syria against anti-government protesters continues, the West is struggling to find a common position. European countries have proposed a draft resolution strongly condemning the brutal crackdown.

Afghan pilot kills NATO trainers (Deutsche Welle)

An Afghan army pilot opened fire on his foreign trainers at a Kabul airbase, killing several NATO troops and a civilian. The shooting is the latest in a string of attacks by militants wearing Afghan army uniforms.

NATO not targeting Gaddafi ‘specifically’ (Defence Management)

Colonel Gaddafi is not a "specific" target, but his command and control assets are, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed. In a joint briefing with Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Gates said commanders of forces committing "violations of humanitarian rights" had been considered legitimate targets "all along".

Putin says ‘dumbfounded’ over NATO operation in Libya (RIA Novosti)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continued on Wednesday to criticize NATO military operations in Libya, saying that he was "dumb-founded" over how easy decisions are made to use force against countries.

Chernobyl anniversary: Medvedev seeks nuclear rules (BBC News)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for new international rules covering safety at nuclear plants. Such rules would permit the "necessary" development of nuclear energy, he said.

Turkey to build waterway to bypass Bosphorus Straits (BBC News)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continued on Wednesday to criticize NATO military operations in Libya, saying that he was "dumb-founded" over how easy decisions are made to use force against countries.


No work, no home (De Volkskrant)

Why should a country not have the right to reinforce its legislation on economic immigration? Even if it goes against European law, a columnist argues that this principle should apply in the context of the political row between the Hague and Warsaw over the fate of unemployed Polish migrants. (Full Text in Dutch)

No more royal weddings (The Economist)

The press is full of dresses and hats, but also of opinion polls saying that barely a half of the British are interested in the wedding, and only a third are certain to watch it on television. Councils report a north-south divide in applications to hold street parties—and far fewer overall than when Prince William’s parents wed in 1981.

What is going on? Most simply, experience has taught the British that to cheer a royal wedding today is to risk feeling a chump tomorrow. After decades of royal divorces and marital wars conducted by tabloid leak or tell-all book, sighing over a new princely union requires a Zsa Zsa Gabor-like leap of faith.

Germany a sceptical spectator (Financial Times Deutscheland)

The German press voices its concern over developments at the European Central Bank (ECB). The Financial Times Deutschland claims that “Rome and Paris have cut a deal on the ECB presidency,” which will likely result — against the wishes of Berlin — in the appointment of Italy’s Mario Draghi as the next custodian of the euro. As it stands, “Merkel can only hope for a consolation prize,“ notes the Hamburg daily, which expects that the Chancellor will insist on concessions elsewhere in return for her agreement. However, FTD also argues that Draghi is “the best candidate” for the job, and points out that we should be wary of assumptions about his “southern” origin and his employment history at Goldman Sachs. In fact, Draghi’s “monetary policy may be even more restrictive than the ones adopted by his predecessors. The Italian will have to prove to the rest of the Eurozone that he is not Italian [read: lax] on monetary issues.”(Full Text in German)

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