December 16, 2009

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A Shaky Start for the ENP Moving the European Neigbourhood Policy to a new portfolio has made its adaptation to post-Lisbon institutions even more difficult, hindering the new EU High Representative in unleashing its potential. To establish a brand new office and build a new, potentially long-lasting institution from a “blank sheet of paper” is an invaluable privilege. Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, however, has not started with a clean slate. Before Ashton took office, the EU member states agreed on the guidelines of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and picked who would chair the foreign ministers’ Council meetings in her absence. It will be the foreign minister of the country holding the Council presidency and not a fellow commissioner. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has not been very supportive, either, and has shifted the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) from the External Relations to the Enlargement portfolio given to Czech Commissioner-designate Štefan Füle. By doing so, Barroso has hampered Ashton in proving the advantage of the double-hatted role as High Representative and Commission Vice President with regard to the one policy that should be the prime example of combining supranational with intergovernmental instruments. Barroso’s move – cushioned by a “without prejudice” caveat – is all the more deplorable, given that the ENP is in need of a pillar-bridging makeover, as it lacks a ‘second pillar’ related institutional framework that would provide for close political association.
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Live At Copenhagen: U.N. Official Admits Copenhagen Conference “is Not a Climate Change Negotiation” As the developed and developing worlds continue to spar here in Copenhagen over the terms of a comprehensive climate change treaty, a key United Nations official let the actual truth slip out as to what this conference is really about. Janos Pasztor—the Director of U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Change Support Team—was characterizing the nature of the talks between the rich and poor nations of the world when he said the following: “This is not a climate-change negotiation … It’s about something much more fundamental. It’s about economic strength.” The nations at the negotiation, he added, “just have to slug it out.” That is a remarkable statement, and may turn out to be the most truthful comment made during this entire two-week conference. All 192 nations negotiating here in Copenhagen know Mr. Pasztor’s characterization to be true, but none say so. They speak of the United States’ “climate debt” owed to the rest of the world and that the U.S. and other developed nations owe “climate reparations” to the developing world to the tune of $100 billion a year. Mr. Pasztor is correct—what is going on in Copenhagen this fortnight is anything but a climate change negotiation. It is an international political debate over global redistribution of wealth and control of energy resources, masquerading as an environmental conference.

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