Atlantic Update 4/29/11


The newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tie the knot on the eve of Koninginnedag in the Netherlands. Russia outlines its version of European missile defense, while the Economist warns of the trouble ahead for the Schengen "project", and Turkish daily Hürriyet describes Turkey’s own project as "crazy."


Russia outlines its vision of European missile shield (RIA Novosti)

Commander of Russian Space Forces Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko outlined on Friday Russia’s proposals for the future European missile defense network. Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called Euro missile shield during the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

Portuguese will learn to live with IMF (Negocios)

"Know what will change in your life with the IMF", headlines Jornal de Negócios, in a special edition almost exclusively dedicated to the International Monetary Fund. The economic diary notes that the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission have not yet reached an agreement on the period of time Portugal should be given to reduce its public deficit, adding that a short period, as Brussels wants, will demand greater austerity. Although the measures imposed by the troika are not known yet, Jornal de Negócios guarantees that the Portuguese citizens will receive less from the state and will have to pay more taxes, receive lower pensions and unemployment benefits and face a wave of privatisations. The Lisbon daily also reveals that Germany, France, Italy, Spain and United States are the five countries that will guarantee more than half of the financial attendance to Portugal. (Full Text in Portuguese)

Eurogroup chair backs Italian banker for ECB job (EUobserver)

Ex-Goldman Sachs advisor Mario Draghi is one step closer to winning the presidency of the European Central Bank, with Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourgish prime minister and chair of the Eurogroup of states, giving his endorsement on Thursday. "I don’t see any notable differences between what the president of the republic [Sarkozy] said and what I think," Juncker told journalists after a meeting with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Across the Oder (The Economist)

This weekend a nervous Germany must let in workers from the east. Poles driving across the Oder into Germany seem less scary than Tunisians coming to Italy by sea. Yet Germans are edgy about May 1st, when their labour market opens to citizens of eight east European countries that joined the European Union in 2004. Germany (and Austria) put the day off as long as possible. Seven years ago the economy was weak and unemployment was high. Letting newcomers in would have brought benefits (it did to Britain) but Germany dared not grasp them. Now its economy is the envy of Europe and employment is near a record. The eastward opening should be less alarming.

Italy taken to task for imprisoning aliens (La Reppublica)

The "European Court of Justice rules that illegal immigration is not a crime," headlines La Repubblica. In its judgement on an appeal filed by Algerian Hassan El Dridi, the court ruled that a law introduced by the Italian government in 2009, which allows illegal immigrants to be sentenced to up to four years in prison if they refuse to leave the country, does not comply with European legislation. In particular, explains the Roman daily, it fails to respect the terms of the 2008 directive, which aims to establish “an effective removal and repatriation policy, based on common standards, for persons to be returned in a humane manner and with full respect for their fundamental rights and dignity." In response, the Italian Minister of the Interior said "there are other European countries that have made illegal immigration a crime and have not been censured for this.” He also argued that the judgement will undermine the fight against illegal immigration, which "is not just a problem for Italy, but for all of Europe." " (Full Text in Italian)

Strict Immigration Laws ‘Save Denmark Billions’ (Spiegel)

Denmark’s strict immigration laws have saved the country 6.7 billion euros, a government report has claimed. Even though Denmark already has some of the toughest immigration laws in Europe, right-wing populist politicians are now trying to make them even more restrictive.

Palestinian envoy calls on Brussels to support unity deal (Euractiv)

The Palestinian envoy to Brussels, Leila Shahid, has called on the EU to support the new ‘technocratic’ Palestinian Authority (PA), agreed between Fatah and Hamas as a step towards unity and reconciliation.

EU considers sanctions on Syria (Euractiv)

Ambassadors from the 27 EU governments are meeting in Brussels today (29 April) to discuss ways of raising the pressure on the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with Britain, France, and Germany pushing for tough measures if the violence continues.


Another project in trouble (The Economist)

First the euro, now Schengen. Europe’s grandest integration projects seem to be suffering. For most Europeans, the benefits of integration are clearest when they travel. Crossing most borders, whether for work or pleasure, no longer requires changing currencies or presenting a passport. Yet both great unification projects are under threat. The financial crash and sovereign-debt crisis endanger the euro. Now the Arab spring has brought in thousands of north African boat-people, undermining the Schengen borderless zone.

A ‘mad project’ for Istanbul (Hürriyet)

“A European island.” That’s how Hürriyet describes the project to dig a canal 150 metres wide between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara in order to unclog the Bosphorus, which has become saturated with shipping. This “crazy project”, presented on April 27 and to be completed by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic, would transform one of the European parts of Istanbul into an island. The newspaper questions the feasibility of the project, which is best viewed, it believes, in the context of the legislative elections coming up on 12 June. For its part, Taraf welcomes an initiative that indicates the dynamism of Turkey but stresses the gap between the power suggested by such an ambitious project and the weakness shown by Turkey on other issues, such as the Kurdish question. (Full Text in Turkish)

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