Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

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EU Grabs Korea Trade Pact That Was Ours

October 19, 2009

EU Grabs Korea Trade Pact That Was Ours

IBD: 19 Oct. 2009

Free Trade: Europe just walked off with the second-biggest trade deal in history with South Korea, bringing a fresh $26 billion to both economies and extending their clout globally. It’s a prize that could have been ours.

Welcome to the new America, the land of the left behind. As the Obama administration dithers for the eighth straight month about three pending free-trade treaties, those dust clouds you see are Europe taking off and running with the big one — South Korea.

Late Thursday, Europe completed a free-trade pact with Korea in which 99% of all tariffs will be scrapped within five years. The two blocs already do business totaling $98 billion, and this deal is expected to tack on another $26 billion.

Products affected include machine tool parts, pharmaceuticals and agricultural produce. All are goods that American companies also make, but they still shell out 56% in tariffs.

For Europe, the deal with Korea was easy. The U.S. had already negotiated a trade pact of its own that was ready to go in 2006. Details of the EU-Korea treaty are nearly identical, so it’s obvious the Europeans just Xeroxed the U.S.-Korea pact and will now walk off with the spoils.

The EU-Korea treaty is the biggest since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. South Korea is the world’s 15th-largest economy, and the 27-nation European Union is the biggest bloc.

A U.S. in the throes of recession could use that kind of market opening. And with the dollar tumbling, it would be in the middle of an export boom if the treaty went through.

The EU-Korea pact is expected to take effect next June. Media reports say Congress won’t take up U.S. free-trade agreements with Korea (or Colombia and Panama, for that matter) until 2011 at the earliest. That’s time enough for Europe to snap up our market share. No wonder the Europeans are smiling.

This isn’t the only thing they’re cooking up. EU trade pacts are also in the works with India and the Asian Tiger states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And talks with Pakistan (with a GDP ranked 48th) start Oct. 19.

Other nations are doing the same. China, Japan and South Korea are creating their own economic zone, South Korea and Colombia have begun talks for a free-trade pact, Korea is holding talks with Peru, and Australia is pushing for free trade with India.

Elsewhere, Pakistan and Turkey are about to sign off on free trade, Armenia and Azerbaijan seek to join a Turkish free-trade zone, and Canada — which is working on deals with Asia and Europe and has a trade pact with Colombia ready for Parliament action — is also seeking to join New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore as a free- trade consortium.

And the U.S., well, it recently signed basic frameworks for trade with Afghanistan — No. 118 in GDP rankings — and Sri Lanka (No. 78). Every trade agreement helps, but something’s not right when a $14 trillion economy is working on trade pacts with tiny economies working their way out of war while Europe walks off with prizes like Korea.

It all highlights a bad disconnect in the Obama administration about what global engagement is. Based on what President Obama has said and done, global engagement is all about deferring to unelected United Nations bureaucrats and saying nice words that please the Nobel Committee.

In the real world, global presence is something different: the forging of trade ties that create alliances, jobs and new influence. As the White House sits on its hands, free-trade treaties are advancing worldwide, and the U.S. is becoming less powerful, not more.

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Cartoon: Cold Shower

September 21, 2009

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Geert Wilders

January 26, 2009

Interview with Geert Wilders at The Hague

bijenkorf.wordpress.com

bijenkorf.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/geert-wilders


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Climate Change Myth – Klaus

January 6, 2009
I like this man – Vaclav Klaus – common sense, logical, courageous.  We need his style in America.  Don
EU’s new figurehead believes climate change is a myth
The Czech government is desperate to keep its head of state as far away as possible from the EU presidency
David Charter, Europe Correspondent
The European Union’s new figurehead believes that climate change is a dangerous myth and has compared the union to a Communist state.
The views of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, 67, have left the government of Mirek Topolanek, his bitter opponent, determined to keep him as far away as possible from the EU presidency, which it took over from France yesterday.
The Czech president, who caused a diplomatic incident by dining with opponents of the EU’s Lisbon treaty on a recent visit to Ireland, has a largely ceremonial role.
But there are already fears that, after the dynamic EU presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy – including his hyper-active attempts at international diplomacy over the credit crisis and Georgia as well as an historic agreement to cut greenhouse gases – the Czech effort will be mired in infighting and overshadowed by the platform it will give to Mr Klaus and his controversial views.
Czech diplomats in Brussels insist that Mr Klaus is not a big part of their plans and are trying to limit him to one speech to the European Parliament in February and chairing one international summit, either the EU-Canada or EU-Russia meeting.
They are pinning their hopes on a lunch between Mr Klaus and Mr Topolanek on January 5, which they hope will see both parties agree a truce after the President’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat his rival as Prime Minister at a party conference last month.
“What is sure is that there will be at least a little choir of voices coming from Prague that will not be singing the same song,” said Piotr Kaczynski, of the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
“It will probably not impact the way the Czechs will manage the work of the EU presidency. It will however have some negative impact on the political leverage of the Czech presidency,” he added.
Tensions recently erupted between Mr Klaus and Brussels when a private meeting with senior MEPs descended into a slanging match after they presented him with an EU flag and said that they were not interested in his Eurosceptic views.
Mr Klaus responded: “No one has spoken to me in this style and tone in my six years here. I thought these methods ended for us 18 years ago. I see I was wrong.”
This led to a counter-attack from Mr Sarkozy in the European Parliament. He told MEPs: “The president of the European Parliament should not be treated like this and Europe’s symbols should not be treated like this, whatever people’s political engagement.”
Mr Klaus returned to the row over Christmas in a Czech television interview.I dare say that these people represent the height of anti-Europeanism. They have absolutely no right to wave Europe in front of our face,” he said.
There has been further sniping, not least from the French, that the Czechs do not have the clout or the capability to lead the EU as it faces the key challenge of the financial crisis. Mr Sarkozy has threatened to convene meetings of the 16 member states of the Euro during the Czech presidency because the Czechs do not have the single currency.
Nor does Mr Sarkozy believe Prague has the ability to deal with an increasingly restive Russia, which is threatening an arms race over US plans for missile defence radar in the Czech Republic.
The Czechs are also one of just three EU states not to have passed the controversial Lisbon treaty, which has enraged Mr Sarkozy after his drive to revive the document. Mr Klaus continues to lead Czech opposition to a treaty he likens to Communist centralism.
He is undeniably popular with Czech voters, having been Prime Minister from 1992-97, overseeing the harmonious break-up with Slovakia, and president since 2003. An economist who spent much of his working life at the Czechoslovak State Bank during the Iron Curtain years, he became active in politics as a champion of free market economics after 1989 and is said to keep a photo of Lady Thatcher, who he greatly admires, on his desk.
“The fact that Klaus holds these views makes it difficult to run the presidency,” said Robin Shepherd, senior fellow for Europe at the Chatham House think-tank.
“Klaus is not the head of government…but he is the public face of the Czech Republic.”
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Last update – 22:41 03/01/2009
EU presidency: Israel ground op in Gaza ‘defensive not offensive’
By Haaretz Service and Reuters
PRAGUE – European Union president, the Czech Republic, said Saturday an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza was “defensive, not offensive” action.
“At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action,” Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik said.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is leading an EU delegation to the region Sunday, and Potuznik said the presidency will wait to see the results of that visit.
Israel sent troops into Gaza on Saturday evening, eight days after launching air strikes on the coastal strip, which came in the wake of a breakdown in a six-month truce with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Dozens of rockets have been fired at Israel’s southern communities over the past two weeks, killing four Israelis. The air strikes in Gaza have killed at least 420 Gazans, according to Palestinian reports.
U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel an act of terror and outlined his own condition for a cease-fire in Gaza, saying no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.