02 February 2007

Europe in 2007: think tanks' predictions

The European think tanks have published some interesting analyses on the big issues facing the German European Council Presidency in next half a year. Let' s have a brief look at what they have come up with.

The London-based Open Europe, which advocated the British withdrawal from the European Union, has produced The EU in 2007 report. It analyses how the French presidential election will influence the talks on the resuscitation of the European Constitution. It also focuses on the handover of power from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, timing of which may be crucial for the Treaty's fortunes in the UK. The authors also spent a couple of pages on condemning the euro, a daily exercise for the institute's researchers. Open Europe and other Tory-leaning British think tanks are the subject of a leader in The Times today: the newspaper applauds them for uniting the conservative movement in a manner not dissimilar to the US right-wing think tanks, but criticises their research as beyond the general consensus.

Another British institution, the Europhile Centre for European Reform (CER), presented a policy brief named What to Expect from German Presidency. It was written by rather good-looking Katinka Barysch, whom I had a pleasure to meet at the Turkish Embassy last year. She says that the expectations for the German Presidency are unrealistically high, not least because Germany was preceded by two small states in the function - Austria and Finland. Angela Merkel cannot even count on full support for her European agenda from her grand-coalition cabinet, especially on the environment issues. Jan Seifert dealt with the domestic issues prone to hinder Merkel's European performance here.

Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) from Madrid came up with a working paper entitled New Governments, New Directions in European Foreign Policies? It examines the prospects for change in the foreign policy direction in Italy, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I hope to add an analysis on the new course of the Czech foreign policy as soon as possible.

4 comments:

Open Europe blog team said...

Hi Tomas. Think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. Why do you think that we want Britain to leave the EU?

Tomáš Ruta said...

Apologies for not checking the facts. Ever since I first came across OpenEurope (at a conference in the Emmanuel Centre, London last year), I have thought that you would prefer Britains return to the EFTA, or a creation of a much looser, inter-governmental "Union of European States." I have obviously been wrong.

Even though I do not subscribe to your views, I however applaud your efforts to revive the debate on the European topics in the UK.

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