Monthly Archives: October 2012

Peter Spiegel

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, right, with France's François Hollande in Paris Monday.

And Sweden makes 11.

The letter-writing campaign over legislation due to be introduced by Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner, this year imposing a 40 per cent quota for women on corporate boards continues apace, with Stockholm becoming the latest in a series of governments to write to Reding and her boss, commission president José Manuel Barroso, announcing their opposition to the proposal.

For those keeping track, a UK-led group of nine member states got the ball rolling with a letter two weeks ago; the Danes followed up with one of their own the following week. France weighed in on Reding’s side last week, but the opponents have more than enough support to block the measure in the EU’s arcane legislative process.

The Swedish letter, which we have posted here, makes similar points to other opponents in that the two Swedish ministers who signed it – gender equality minister Nyamko Sabuni and enterprise minister Annie Loof – argue that while they support efforts to improve “gender balance”, their government “does not believe in legislation on quotas” to achieve it. Read more

Peter Spiegel

In today’s dead-tree version of the FT, we have a front-page story on an eight-page “draft guidelines for the conclusions” for this month’s EU summit, a document that includes some bold new ideas, like requiring eurozone countries to sign “individual contractual arrangements” with Brussels on their economic reform plans.

We thought we’d post the document (see it here) for Brussels Blog readers to get a fuller view. The parts we found most interesting begin on page 7. Senior officials caution the draft is being used to stimulate debate so that Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, can come up with a more concrete consensus heading into the summit about what can be achieved.

Indeed, the cover sheet of the draft calls it a “state of progress regarding the various topics on the agenda”; still, since it was cobbled together after Van Rompuy’s series of meetings with eurozone leaders over the past month, it reflects the thinking of a lot of national leaders, particularly in the bloc’s largest countries. Read more

Peter Spiegel

Romney, left, with Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski during his July trip to Warsaw.

The US presidential debates begin on Wednesday, and if the previous year of campaigning is any indication, Europe is unlikely to be much of a topic. Despite the ongoing eurozone turmoil, the crisis barely registered on the election’s radar screen, even during the contentious and debate-heavy Republican primary process.

Republican Mitt Romney’s views on Europe were largely overshadowed by the gaffes committed on a trip to Britain and Poland earlier this year. But little noticed outside Washington policy circles, the former Massachusetts governor last year appointed two co-chairs to a “Europe working group” within his foreign policy advisory team.

One is well-known to Brussels: Kristen Silverberg, who was the Bush administration’s last ambassador to the EU before leaving office in 2009. But potentially more interesting is the other co-chair: Nile Gardiner, a Briton who served as an aide to Margaret Thatcher before moving to the US, where he now works for the conservative Heritage Foundation.

If a recent article in the Washington Times is any indication, Gardiner holds some strong anti-EU sentiments that could have an impact on a future Romney administration. Read more