America and Europe meet midway (Clive Crook, FT)
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If there was one possible silver lining to the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Europe surely it would be the cancellation of this week’s European parliament plenary session in Strasbourg. As far as I can tell, the monthly trip is reviled by everyone save Alsatian hoteliers and those parliamentary aides who use the trip to pursue extra-marital diplomatic relations. (Strasbourg’s taxi drivers claim to over-hear some pretty colourful conversations). Read more
Herman Van Rompuy took a break from the Greek crisis this morning and the laborious task of redesigning Europe’s economic architecture to turn his attention to more personal business: the publication of his first haiku anthology.
The book – simply called Haiku – was introduced in an elegant ceremony that drew dozens of reporters and camera crews as well as the Belgian haiku elite. What they witnessed was another moment in Mr Van Rompuy’s unlikely transformation from lightly-regarded European Council President to Brussels rock star. Herman the Heartthrob. Read more
If you’ve been breathing a bit easier of late, there may be a reason: carbon dioxide emissions covered by the European Union’s cap-and-trade system fell a remarkable 11 per cent last year, according to preliminary data released by the European Commission. That is the biggest one-year fall since the emissions trading system began five years ago.
Unfortunately, the drop was not owing to the sort of forward-looking, green technology investments so frequently touted by Commission president José Manuel Barroso. Instead it was an unintended gift from the worst economic crisis since the Depression, which has slowed industrial activity. In weight loss terms, this is a bit like shedding 5 kilos through the accident of a stomach flu as opposed to the sustained virtue of diet and exercise. Read more
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