Serbia EU membership bid faces range of hurdles

Tomas Valasek
08 January 2010
Voice of America
Tomas Valasek, with London's Centre for European Reform, says Serbia's membership bid comes at a difficult time. "The Serbian situation has not been helped by the reality and the fact that lots of EU member states have really got cold feet on further enlargement. Quite a few, especially the older member states, feel that the EU has already enlarged too far, too fast and that we now need a period of rest and a pause, rather than rushing into another enlargement. Having said that, the EU is committed to enlarging eventually to the western Balkans.

The next big thing in EU defence? Spare parts, faster

Clara Marina O'Donnell
07 January 2010
Defence News
But Clara O’Donnell, a researcher at the Centre for European Reform think-tank, cautions that it may take quite some time before EU members trust one another enough to ful¬fill the potential of the directive. "Some member-states, in particular the eastern European members, have less of a track record in enforcing effective export controls," O'Donnell said. ...O'Donnell said the next five or so years might bring more European competition in nonsensitive areas such as military boots, rifles and uniforms.

Charismatic outsider

Katinka Barysch
07 January 2010
European Voice
"Westerwelle does not have a lot of experience with foreign policy and his public statements on international issues so far do not add up to a coherent Weltanschauung [worldview]," says Katinka Barysch, an expert on Germany at the Centre for European Reform, a London-based think-tank. She says that the finance ministry would have been a more natural choice for Westerwelle, who has campaigned on tax reform and liberalising Germany's labour market.

Russia's new arms dealers

Tomas Valasek
06 January 2010
Foreign Policy
"There is already a concern among Eastern and Central European states that NATO is not taking them seriously enough," says Tomas Valasek, director of foreign policy and defence at the Centre for European Reform.

Kedeligt, men effektivt svensk formandskab

Clara Marina O'Donnell
01 January 2010
Det må ses som Reinfeldts største bedrift, at det lykkedes ham, at få Klaus til at sætte sin underskrift på traktaten for det spændte ben for utroligt meget, at den ikke kunne træde i kraft,« mener Clara O´Donnell, forsker ved den europæiske tænketank CER (Centre for European Reform).

Tre getingar till Reinfeldt som EU-ordförande

Clara Marina O'Donnell
29 December 2009
Sidan 4: Debatt
Statsministern och hans team var kompetenta förhandlare. Men de stora framgångarna lyste med sin frånvaro under ordförandeskapet, skriver Clara Marina O'Donnell.

Missing another EU opportunity

18 November 2009
The Guardian
When Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, made clear that he was not interested in being the European Union's new "high representative" for foreign policy, the UK lost a unique opportunity to craft the EU more in its own image.

Israel's dark view of the world

13 November 2009
The Guardian
The official explained to Bibi Netanyahu that if there was a peace settlement, extra investment would push Israel's longterm growth rate from 5% a year to 7%. The Israeli prime minister responded that if the country had 5% growth, it did not need peace.
Netanyahu was joking, according to the official...

Is Tony Blair the right man to be president of Europe?

Charles Grant, Henry Porter, commentator for The Observer
25 October 2009
The Observer
Yes, says Charles Grant. His presence would improve the global credibility of the EU. No, says Henry Porter. He co-authored the Iraq war and is not a convinced democrat.

Blair would be a good choice for Europe

07 October 2009
Financial Times
If the Lisbon treaty enters into force, which seems likely, the European Union will appoint a president to chair the European Council, which brings together the heads of government.

Look who's sclerotic

Simon Tilford
28 September 2009
International Herald Tribune
A popular Continental misconception about Britain is that it is some kind of ultra-free economy where there is limited social welfare and where the market has been introduced into every aspect of life.

Obama's missile defense change shows different targets

Tomas Valasek
21 September 2009
Yale Global Online
Washington rankled some of its European allies and delighted Moscow on September 17 when president Obama cancelled plans to build missile defense bases in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Warsaw warms to Moscow

Tomas Valasek
18 September 2009
The Guardian
Tabloids make a poor guide to understanding a country's policy. While the newspaper headlines in Poland and the Czech Republic scream of the US "betraying" eastern Europe by cancelling missile defence bases there, the official reaction in Warsaw and Prague has been muted.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: does the EU club have a future?

Simon Tilford
14 September 2009
The Telegraph
Simon Tilford from the Centre for European Reform says British Euro-sceptics like to have their cake and eat it: “In short, Britain could enjoy all the benefits of access to the single market but none of the costs. This is incoherent. A retreat would achieve nothing but impotence.” 

Missile strategy must not be seen as a retreat

Tomas Valasek
09 September 2009
Financial Times
There are mounting indications that Barack Obama will soon abandon plans to put missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. These have become one of the main bones of contention between Russia and the west.

Germany owes Afghanistan an explanation

Tomas Valasek
09 September 2009
The Guardian
Finger pointing is the defence of the concerned and the cornered. So it reflects very poorly on Nato that allies are bickering with one another over an attack that killed an unknown number of Afghan civilians last week.

Why Barroso deserves another go

09 September 2009
The Guardian
Next week the European parliament votes on whether to give José Manuel Barroso a second term as president of the European commission.

Germany will not drive a European recovery

Simon Tilford
01 September 2009
Financial Times
The European Union’s biggest member goes to the polls in less than four weeks. Yet while Germany’s economic prospects rest precariously on a recovery in foreign demand, the campaign has been free of any real debate about the country’s extraordinary export dependence. This is worrying.
A sustainable EU economic recovery requires...

Is Ukraine fit for the EU?

Tomas Valasek
24 August 2009
The Wall Street Journal
The European Union just helped put together a consortium of international banks to offer Kiev up to $3.6 billion in loans to buy Russian gas.

How to make Europe's military work

16 August 2009
Financial Times
The European Union is justly proud of its "soft power" – its prosperity, stability and commitment to multilateral institutions have won admirers the world over.