Atlantic Update 5/16/11


Europe reacts to the arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, France’s "first "Anglo-Saxon" sex scandal." Britain calls for widening the range of targets over Libya, while eyeing further defense cuts within, and Medvedev is irked by what is seen as sidelining Russia out of European missile defense.


No he Kahn’t (The Economist)

Everything was in place to enable Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF head, to declare next month his candidacy for the Socialist primary, ahead of French presidential elections next year. Polls consistently showed that he was the most popular Socialist candidate, and the best placed to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in a run-off. But Mr Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on May 14th in New York, for an alleged sexual assault, has thrown all those plans in the air, and looks almost certain to wreck his political future. Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested when he was already aboard an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport, just minutes before it was due to take off. New York police said he was charged with “a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and an unlawful imprisonment in connection with a sexual assault” on a chambermaid in a Manhattan hotel. Reports suggested that Mr Strauss-Kahn had left his hotel room in a hurry. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told Reuters that his client would plead not guilty.

French press on “Anglo-Saxon” sex scandal (PressEurop)

DSK OUT." Along along with the rest of the French press, Libération leads with the story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested and charged with attempted rape in a New York hotel on Sunday. The managing director of the IMF, who according to the polls was the front-running left-wing candidate in the 2012 French presidential election, is now out of the race. "The socialists have lost the only candidate that, in a range of configurations, was favorite in the polls. The one who could even have beaten Nicolas Sarkozy," complains Libération. “France is now experiencing its first “Anglo-Saxon” sex scandal, and has brutally entered a zone of public debate which, until now, because of cultural exception, “Latin” identity or democratic weakness, was hitherto confined to rumours and gossip amongst a select circle of insiders."

Arrest of IMF chief to complicate EU bailout talks (EUobserver)

The arrest on sexual assault charges of International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a supporter of eurozone bailouts, is set to complicate Greece’s bid to extend its EU-IMF loan as euro finance ministers gather in Brussels on Monday (16 May). The euro fell half a cent on the Asian markets on Monday morning amid confusion over what will happen to the Greek bailout following the sensational arrest of the French centre-left politician.

Euro Crisis Worsens as EU Leaders Play for Time (Spiegel)

Europe’s leaders are still opposing a Greek debt restructuring, and they are exacerbating the euro crisis as a result. The Greek economy is at risk of collapse and resistance to further loans for the troubled nation is mounting. The continent urgently needs a new bailout plan.

“Youth with no future” take to the streets (El Pais)

“Anger hits the streets”, leads Spain’s El País daily following demonstrations held in fifty cities that drew many thousands of people. They were mobilised by social networking sites and the Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) platform to protest economic reforms, deemed “antisocial”, that have been pushed through by a government that is “in bed with the bankers,” writes the daily. Founded in April at a university, Democracia Real Ya “has managed to rally many young people behind the slogan ‘No home, no job, no pension, no fear,’“ explains El País. The paper adds that the movement has published a manifesto expressing the “concern and indignation of citizens trying to cope with the consequences of the economic crisis and the political response to it.” El Mundo emphasises the similarities between the Spanish protest and the “Arab spring”: “The people, worried about political corruption and failure to tackle the economic and social crisis” are marching to “the cry of ‘Don’t vote for them”. “This show of vigour by civil society should force a political class, which is increasingly turned in on itself, to respond”, El Mundo concludes. (Full Text in Spanish)

Paper tariffs spark EU-China ‘trade war’(EUobserver)

China has said it will retaliate against a landmark EU decision to slap tariffs on fine-coated paper imports, heralding the start of a new ‘trade war’ between the two sides, say experts. On Saturday (15 May) Chinese commerce spokesman Yao Jian said an EU decision to impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on the same product is against World Trade Organisation rules.

Medvedev to EU, U.S.: Don’t Sideline Russia on Missile Defense (Defense News)

Systems to protect Europe from missile attack risk being ineffective and a threat to stability if they do not include Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev warned May 14.

MoD cost reviews looks to find fresh cuts (BBC News)

The Ministry of Defence is seeking to find more savings from the armed forces in the next financial year. A three-month study, reporting in July, will consider which personnel and equipment programmes could be cut.

NATO must ‘up the ante’ in Libya (Defence Management)

NATO must "up the ante" in Libya in order to force Colonel Gaddafi from power, the Chief of the Defence Staff has said. General Sir David Richards, speaking in the Sunday Telegraph, said that NATO must give "serious consideration" to widening the range of targets in the country.

Lukashenko takes opposition “hostages” (Gazeta Wyborcza )

“Lukashenko’s vengeance,” headlines Gazeta Wyborcza after a Belarusian court sentenced Andrei Sannikau, Lukashenko’s rival in the 2010 presidential elections, to five years in a penal colony for organising a street demonstration, attended by 20,000 people, on the day of the ballot (19 December). “This is the first but not the last of the dictator’s rivals who has gone to jail because they dared challenge him”, writes the Warsaw daily, noting three more of the incumbent’s counter-candidates are awaiting sentences. Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian journalist who spent time in jail several years ago and last year was deprived of Belarusian citizenship, says that President Lukashenko wants to achieve two things: exacting vengeance against his political opponents and, by imprisoning them or refusing passports, creating a group of “hostages”. These can serve as bargaining chips in talks with the West on lifting sanctions against Belarus or de-freezing aid for the country. (Full text in Polish)

Member states responsible for EU ‘single voice’ abroad, top official says (EUobserver)

The EU’s ability to speak with one voice on foreign policy is ultimately dependent on member states, with the European External Action Service (EEAS) to act as a "facilitator" a senior official has said. The comments by EEAS chief operating officer David O’Sullivan come amid intense debate over the organisation’s job description, with top official Catherine Ashton recently subject to criticism.


On Strauss-Kahn’s Arrest (EUobserver)

The blogosphere is abuzz with the news that yesterday afternoon, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund a and leading candidate for the French Presidency, was arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. What are the implications for Europe and the world?

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