Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
The European Union can rarely have been more in need of a
show of unity than now, as it tries to convince financial
markets it can handle the euro zone’s debt crisis.
Hardly a day goes by without a European leader underlining
the need to act together, but hardly a day passes without signs of
differences among them that undermine the impression of unity.
This week is no exception. European Commission President
Jose Manuel Barroso said in a speech in Brussels on Tuesday:
“We can turn today’s challenges into opportunities only if we
stand together, give a collective response.”
But comments he made in an interview published hours earlier
showed the EU’s leaders are anything but united in their vision
of how to tackle the crisis.
A travel-affected European Parliament session on Tuesday turned into a forum for bashing the EU and other European authorities over the response to the crisis.
The European Commission’s agriculture department launched a public debate this week on the future reform of Europe’s common agricultural policy (CAP) from 2014. It wants everyone – not just farmers and politicians – to have their say on how the European Union should support agricultural production.
It’s odd then that the only question that’s off limits in the debate, according to EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, is the one on everybody’s lips: how much taxpayers’ money should the CAP get?
It was no great surprise that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund looked perplexed when asked during a visit to Brussels to comment on proposals to create a European monetary fund.
”I would be very happy to comment if I knew what it was,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a committee in the European Parliament.
By Sangeeta Shastry
Men are still paid more than women in Europe but the European Union is promising to narrow the gap.
The executive European Commission set out its plans to address the pay gap between men and women at a news conference to coincide with International Women’s Day, saying women were on average earning only 82 percent of male rates in the EU.
In 2000, the European Union set its sights on becoming the world’s most dynamic, knowledge-based economy by 2010. It failed. Economic recession hardly helped, but EU officials acknowledge its goals may have been a little too ambitious.
On Wednesday the European Commission, the EU executive, unveiled a new 10-year plan to boost economic growth and create jobs. The Europe 2020 strategy is intended to create a greener and more prosperous economy and will be the centrepiece of the EU’s efforts to emerge from financial crisis.
There was more a sense of relief than joy when the European Union finally got its new executive on Tuesday. These are difficult times for the EU and there is little to celebrate.
The new European Commission is taking office in a tough economic climate, with the 16-country euro zone facing its hardest test since the single currency came into being 11 years ago.