Random comments on last week’s events

June 25, 2007
  • The non-event of failure of the EU, US, India and Brazil to resolve their divergences on agricultural and industrial tariff talks in the Doha Round in Potsdam. Agricultural negotiations are like ETA terrorists in Spain and other radicalized terrorist groupings in the world – not having accepted that the world goes on without them they still manage to spoil the game quite dangerously. “Globalisation lives” despite lack of understanding on multilateral rules within the WTO system. But the already questionable fairness of those rules is in serious jeopardy without a global agreement in the Doha talks. Both Brazil and India are not doing themselves nor the poorer developing countries they say to represent any favour in blocking liberalisation of their industries. The EU and the US are not doing any good to their own agricultural sector (from ending overproduction to securing market access in new markets) nor to their industries (India and Brazil are not going to open) if they remain timid in their offers on agricultural tariffs and subsidies.
  • The agreement on the “reform treaty” in Brussels to replace the defunct “constitution”. A typical compromise text – the best you can get in current circumstances, and an impressive diplomatic achievement by Angela Merkel. Funny how a constitutional text that was meant to bring the EU closer to the heart of citizens who perceive it as aloof and technocratic is now watered down such as to maintain the EU’s same aloof and technocratic nature. It maintains many old inefficiencies, such as the lack of a proper foreign minister. The self-delusion of governments jealous of their sovereignty in an era of European decline that needs radical approaches to its engagement with the world, ranging from peacekeeping to dealing with Russia, is unbelievable. No comment on Sarkozy’s victory regarding competition – of course the issue is less sexy than human rights, but signalling that he sees the French business model as optimal worries me given the recent performance of the French economy (read two interesting editorials 1 and 2….)

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