Here’s some of the “of interest” stories of the past week as reported by European media and the blogosphere.
The Eternal Wars: The French Socialist Party considers France’s “military presence” in Afghanistan is “no longer justified”. This is one of the first times that the hollow consensus of European mainstream parties has been broken on Bush/Obama’s “good war”. Meanwhile President Nicolas Sarkozy is apparently moving towards recognizing a Palestinian State.
France remains however strongly behind the war in Libya, which now features armed and unmanned U.S. drones patrolling the skies. Glenn Greenwald pours scorn on the use of Obama’s “Nobel peace drones” in “Af-Pak”, which recently killed 23 people, including four women and five children. The New York Times reported it as a strike against “militants”..
President Schwarzenegger: Is Europe a place where anyone can dream of being President (of the European Council), including someone who hasn’t been living on the continent for half a century? Newsweek reports one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s aids saying this is possible. The FT blog covers this amusing publicity stunt/non-story in depth. (All this said, wouldn’t it be better to ruled by the Terminator than a wanna-be Yoda?)
Reactionary Hungary: While everyone worries about the new Hungarian constitution and the nationalist tendencies of the ruling Fidesz party, Roma fled a village in the country due to a planned “training weekend” by far-right militia Vedero (“Defense and Strength”). Local police apparently refused to intervene.
Chinese Colbertism: EurActiv.fr and EUobserver report that China, admired the world-over for its economic success, is pursuing a policy not of free trade but of protectionism by discriminating against European companies.
Italian metaphor: A country with an illustrious history, now plagued by openly decadent politics and a perennial mafia-related garbage crisis in the south, has found the perfect metaphor for its plight. The Independent reports the discovery of a sprawling and intricate Roman tomb under a toxic waste dump in Naples.
Close to home: The Tunisian migrants/Schengen suspension crisis continues. I never thought Nice, Menton and Ventimiglia – all near my hometown in France of Roquefort-les-Pins – would be cited in EUobserver..