June 14, 2004

EU Elections, Alstom Fallout and The Bomb

Euro Weasels lose ground as populace fails to vote in EU Parliment elections

Leaders rue Euro poll 'disaster'

Senior politicians across Europe have voiced dismay at EU parliamentary election results, after low turnouts and big gains for opposition parties.
Governing parties in Germany, France and Poland suffered big losses, while many eurosceptic parties had their best result at the polls.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said the outcome was a "disaster for the existing coalition in many countries".

Turnout reached a record low, with just 45.3% of EU voters casting ballots.

European Parliament spokesman David Harley said turnout was "pathetically low" for many of the 10 new member states, which averaged a mere 26.4%.


Outgoing European Parliament President Pat Cox described the results as a "wake-up call" and warned European leaders that they had to demonstrate the EU's relevance to voters.

"Regrettably, Europe is too absent from European elections in east and west," he said. "States need to engage, particularly in central and eastern Europe, in voter education of EU institutions."

One suspects the voters of Eastern and Central Europe had their fill of "institutional" education under their former communist masters.

Has a rift developed between Schröder and Chirac?

Brussels and Paris strike job-saving deal on Alstom

BRUSSELS - The European Commission today announced that it had come to an agreement with the French government to save the troubled industrial giant Alstom from bankruptcy and potentially safeguard over 75,000 jobs.

The deal ends months of complex wrangling over whether French plans to bail out the company contravened EU competition law.

Under the terms of the agreement, the French government will be allowed to pump in around 2.5 billion euro to the company, taking a 31.5 percent stake in Alstom.

In return, Alstom will have to dispose of some businesses and will be forced to engage in "industrial partnerships" with non state-owned companies.

Announcing the plan, competition commissioner Mario Monti said that it offered "an excellent basis to safeguard Alstom's industrial future".

He added that industrial partnerships - which will have to be private, rather than state owned - were "absolutely crucial" to Alstom's future.

Open doors
The deal opens the door for Alstom's competitors to bid for sought-after parts of its business.

But Alstom slammed the door today (26 May) on its main competitor, the German industrial firm Siemens, saying that a tie-up with Siemens was "not ... in the interest of our clients, staff or shareholders".


Military simulates nuclear attack on Brussels

A simulation "war game" carried out earlier this week by staff from the European military and their US counterparts has revealed the extent of destruction that would be caused by a nuclear bomb in Brussels.

"40,000 dead on the spot, 300,000 injured. A radiation cloud spreads over Belgium, Northern France, the Netherlands and Germany, bringing terror and death. The old continent plunged into chaos", is the doomsday scenario painted by the simulation, according to French daily Le Figaro.

The simulation presupposes that terrorist group Al-Qaeda had managed to procure enriched uranium from nuclear research facilities in Eastern Europe and built a 10 kilotonne bomb.

The war game - named "black dawn" was attended by senior military personnel and the EU's high representative for foreign policy Javier Solana.

The conclusion drawn after these simulations, according to Le Figaro, is that once a group like Al-Qaeda has got hold of such materials, the military are then powerless to stop them. Preventing them acquiring nuclear products is therefore the priority.

D'OH! EuroDudes.

Posted by feste at June 14, 2004 11:11 AM | TrackBack
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