Three things that have caught my eye this morning, in ascending order of importance:
1) Following a fun article on the impact a Tory victory in the next UK general election may have on the EU in this week’s Economist, there’s an interesting round-up of Conservative European election posters from the last couple of decades over at the Open Europe blog – a perfect illustration of the fundamental shift in Tory thinking on the EEC/EU that’s taken place over the last 30 years or so.
2) As EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson issues a stark warning about the need for unity over WTO talks, I stumble across EU Trade Policy: Approaching a Crossroads – a handy (mercifully short) briefing paper from Chatham House on the continued lack of a breakthrough in EU trade negotiations as we rumble towards the end of the Cotonou agreement and squabbles with the likes of Russia and China continue. Short version: it doesn’t look promising.
3) Medvedev Criticizes West in Tough Foreign Policy Speech – the usual Russian posturing, or the start of something new? Either way, “The EU and US have been warned”, apparently. Thanks for that, Dmitry! Meanwhile, the Financial Times urges standing up to Russia over Georgia – a much-ignored new Caucasian crisis that’s hardly getting any better, and Europe’s World has an article (promising-looking, but I haven’t had a chance to read in full just yet) on The EU, Russia and the crisis of the post-Cold War European order. From what I’ve seen so far, this looks like essential reading:
“The EU today cannot be described anymore as federalist state in the making – it is something much more complex and undefined. It resembles something closer to post-colonial India, with its mixture of languages, legal regimes, traditions and sensitivities, than it does post-War Germany or France. In the powerful metaphor of Jan Zielonka the post-enlargement EU is not a kind of Westphalia federation; it is more a kind of neo-medieval empire. There is no European demos and there probably never will be – but there is kind of European public. There are no final borders but moving borders and variable geometries. And it was Count Sergei Witte, Prime Minister under Nicholas II, who said there was no such thing as Russia, but only a Russian empire.”