Daily Archives: July 1, 2009

Say what you like about Nicolas Sarkozy, he certainly knows how to capture your attention.  At a meeting in the Elysée Palace last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it appears that the French president recommended in no uncertain terms that Avigdor Lieberman, the hardline foreign minister, should be dropped from the Israeli cabinet and replaced with Tzipi Livni, the less abrasive opposition leader.

“Grave and unacceptable!” fumed Lieberman’s spokesman – how dare the leader of one democracy interfere in the internal affairs of another? 

It’s the first of the month, meaning policy-implementation time. Among the big ones today: mobile phone data roaming is now cheaper thanks to the EU, wonky vegetables are back on supermarket shelves, the Greeks are facing a smoking ban and French diners will hope to save a few pennies on their bills now that VAT on eating out is lower.

July 1st is also Sweden day here in Brussels, as the presidency baton is finally handed over. Fredrik Reinfeldt warns of further pain in the financial sector in today’s FT, but the list of challenges facing the presidency looks daunting.