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  • The French Quest for NATO

    France has taken over the half-yearly presidency of the European Union (EU) Council from Slovenia on July 1. The change of guard at the helm of the EU is a routine affair. However, the French presidency of the Union seems to point to a new impetus in EU affairs, as it is the first opportunity after Nicolas Sarkozy took the reins at The Élysée Palace. At present European affairs are more or less a rerun of the summer of 2005 when the French and Dutch electorates rejected the EU Constitution. This experience is again being enacted with Irish voters rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in June.

    July 07, 2008

    Kosovo’s Independence: The “Politics” of Geography and Internal Contradictions

    Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence on February 17, 2008 is dividing the world into states that support the move and those opposed to it. It has also emboldened separatist movements across the world.

    May 14, 2008

    EC President Barroso’s Visit to China

    José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, led a high-level team of nine European Union (EU) commissioners to Beijing on April 24 and 25, 2008, and met the Chinese leadership. Notable amongst the commissioners who accompanied him were the Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

    May 01, 2008

    For EU, Trade Will Trump Tibet

    The streets of Lhasa have started to become quiet once again. It would be just a matter of weeks if not months before the Forbidden City once again invites tourists to the roof of the world to experience ‘Tibetan culture’, the preservation of which has been one of the central demands of the demonstrators. Tibet would soon show its ‘normalcy’ to the world, with the Olympic Torch passing through it.

    March 26, 2008

    Kosovo Declares Independence, East Asia Feels the Heat

    The impact of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17 is being felt on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. Apart from plunging the European Union (EU) into a crisis, Kosovo’s independence has escalated the ‘war of words’ between China and Taiwan even as the latter gears up for the March 22 presidential elections, which will also feature a referendum on the island considering membership of the United Nations under the name of 'Taiwan.'

    March 04, 2008

    Sino-German relations: Not all hunky-dory

    The Sino-German bilateral relationship has run into rough weather in the last few weeks. What has been described as a relationship based on ‘strategic partnership’ experienced a big chill when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama in Berlin on September 23. Chancellor Merkel seemed to provide at least two messages – one to her domestic constituency and the other to China.

    November 23, 2007

    Galileo in Crisis

    In October 2006, when India decided to pull out of the ambitious Galileo project, a global navigation system jointly developed by the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA), some Indian observers had expressed surprise that a long-drawn negotiation process within the ambit of the EU-India Strategic Partnership came to naught. Envisaged to be the most accurate and sophisticated navigation system thus far, the Galileo project has attracted the attention of developed and developing nations mainly because of its civilian focus and near perfect resolution.

    May 16, 2007

    The EU-India Helsinki Summit

    The Seventh EU-India Summit will be held on October 13th in Helsinki. The annual summits take place alternately in New Delhi and in the capital of the incumbent European Union presidency - at present held by Finland - under the existing framework of EU-India relationship, which was given the shape of a 'strategic partnership' at the EU-India Summit of 2004 in The Hague. The Joint Action Plan (JAP) adopted at the New Delhi Summit in 2005 was a comprehensive programme of EU-India engagement in the coming years.

    October 10, 2006

    The EU Ban on the LTTE

    The European Union finally decided to add the LTTE to its list of terrorist organisations on May 29. The Tigers would have seen the ban coming, when on May 17 the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka, in which it strongly condemned the LTTE attacks on a Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) vessel a week earlier. The decision was in fact expected for some time, given that the EU had decided to deny official receptions to LTTE delegations earlier on September 26, 2005.

    June 06, 2006

    Overfed Europe, Underpaid Russia: Beginning of a New Energy Cold War?

    Russia is on the move to become an energy superpower by spreading its influence deep into Western and Eastern energy markets. Possessing the largest reserve of natural gas in the world, Russia's domestic and foreign policies have now come to be largely determined by the energy factor. Apart from the already existing market in the West, Moscow's plan to explore Asian markets was welcomed by the major energy consuming countries such as China, Japan, and the Koreas in the East Asian region.

    May 03, 2006

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