Atlantic Update 5/2/11


Europe reacts with "relief" to the death of Osama bin Laden as Germany questions its anti-terror laws. Austria and Germany have opened their borders and MEPs suggest Romania and Bulgaria are technically ready to join Schengen, whilst the European Union considers reinstating border checks and Poland uncovers Dutch plans to expel EU citizens.


EU cheers reported killing of Osama bin Laden (EUobserver)

A US-ordered strike in Pakistan which reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has been met with "relief" and talk of a "safer world" by EU leaders, despite the bloc’s official stance against targeted assassinations. "The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world," said British Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement.

World leaders welcome bin Laden death but warn terror not defeated (Deutsche Welle)

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead, US President Barack Obama has confirmed. Western leaders have rejoiced at the news but warned of the risk of possible Islamist retaliation strikes.

Bin Laden’s legacy (Le Monde)

Symbolic as the death of the al-Qaeda leader is, it does not mark the end of the fight against terrorism, nor of its consequences for our way of life, writes Le Monde. As luck would have it, perhaps. The man who embodied international jihadism died just as the “Arab Spring” was dealing a blow to this totalitarian fantasy. Since the Arab peoples are rising up in the name of democracy, not Islam or any return to the Caliphate advocated by al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was already dead in the water politically. It was almost the second death of the al-Qaeda founder that was announced on Sunday night, May 1, by President Barack Obama as he revealed that U.S. special forces had killed bin Laden in Pakistan. (Full Text in French)

NATO Vows To Stay In Afghanistan (Defense News)

NATO warned Monday that its mission in Afghanistan was far from over despite the death of Osama bin Laden as war-weary Europeans pile pressure on governments to bring troops home quickly. World leaders hailed bin Laden’s killing Sunday by U.S. commandos inside Pakistan as a victory against al-Qaida, but they also warned that the battle against terrorism was far from over.

Germany, Austria finally open doors to eastern workers (EUobserver)

Germany and Austria have finally opened their doors to eastern European workers, seven years after eight former Soviet-bloc states joined the European Union in 2004. As of Sunday (1 May), individuals from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia will now be able to come and go and work freely in the last two EU states to maintain restrictions on the flow of workers from the east.

MEPs say Bulgaria, Romania ready to join Schengen (European Voice)

Vote backs view by the European Commission that both countries meet technical conditions. The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has backed Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen area of borderless travel. MEPs on the committee today (2 May) voted with 33 in favour and three against the membership bid, in a non-binding vote.

Brussels readies plans to reinstate border checks (Euractiv)

The EU executive is considering allowing member states to reinstate some border controls, its president said on Sunday (1 May), responding to demands for more national power to stem immigration.

Poland exposes Dutch plans to expel EU citizens (Euractiv)

A leading Polish MEP today (2 May) spoke out strongly against Dutch plans to expel EU citizens who make "disproportionate claims" on the social benefit system in the Netherlands, or who have committed "very serious or repeated offences".

Denmark debates the cost of immigrants (Information)

The controversy has been stirring Denmark for some days. “The economists behind the report on the cost of immigration oppose the government,” writes Information, accusing the government and its majority of exploiting the economists’ work for political ends. Drawn up at the government’s request, their report is now being used by the Danish People’s Party — the far-right party supporting the Liberal-Conservative majority in parliament — and the integration minister to call for further restrictions on immigration. Denmark is already applying the most restrictive immigration laws in Europe.(Full Text in Danish)

EU prepares Syria arms embargo (European Voice)

Further measures being considered in response to violent repression of anti-government protests. EU member states have agreed to impose an embargo on the export of arms to Syria following the violent repression of anti-government protests.


‘Limiting Anti-Terror Laws Would Make Germans Easy Prey’ (Spiegel)

The capture of three al-Qaida suspects in Düsseldorf last week has sparked a political clash over Germany’s anti-terror laws. While Germany’s interior minister aims to extend post-9/11 laws, other’s in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government are seeking to block the move. German commentators are divided on the issue.

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