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November 19, 2007

ICA newsletter, Week 8

This week:

• Two of the main candidates for the Democratic nomination clashed in a debate, over rumours over ‘scandalous information’ possessed by the Clinton electoral team about Barack Obama. This follows a row about planted questions in one Clinton rally in Iowa, and Clinton has been accused of not giving ‘straight answers to tough questions’ by Obama. So are the Democrats playing into the hands of the Republicans with infighting? And more generally how do we think the US electoral process is going to pan-out? – Guide to the US electoral process – Quick guide to the candidates

• President Sarkozy is facing up to the first challenge to his Presidency in the form of striking public sector workers. Sarkozy was elected on a package of reforms, but the workers are striking over pension reforms. Sarkozy may be comforted by polls showing 55-60% of French opposing the strikes, but a poll in Liberation showed 79% believed that Sarkozy had failed to deliver on his central economic pledges. So is this a key moment in the Sarkozy economic project? And can a French President successfully stand-up to strikes?

• Foreign Secretary David Miliband has suggested that the EU should expand beyond Europe, to include Russia, Middle Eastern and North African countries. He claimed that EU enlargement was ‘our most important tool’ for extending stability, seeing the EU less as a potential superpower and more as a bargaining chip in persuading countries to reform and adhere to global standards. So is an ever expanding EU feasible, given the anti-immigration feelings brewing in some sectors of many European countries? And would countries from the aforementioned regions actually wish to join the EU?

Also in the news:

• Elephant football in Thailand –
• Blondes make men act dumb –
• Ahmadinejad dismisses dollar –

October 24, 2006

EU Immigration

The government today have decided to apply restrictions on immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania when the countries join the EU in the New Year. In the plans, the immigration policies of the two countries will remain, to all intensive purposes, exactly the same as they are now. The only effective alteration will mean Romanian and Hungarian tourists will be allowed to travel without a visa.

This is in stark contrast to the last enlargement where TEN countries joined, and no restrictions were imposed. The Daily Mail et al. had a field day then showing ‘hoards’ of Poles swarming the immigration centre in Warsaw. (They didn’t mention that the place had been shut for many days before and this was simply the backlog.) Some time after this it was reported on the ‘devastating’ effect of the ‘600,000’ new immigrants had arrived. (Again, not mentioning that over half had already left to go back home.)

NEWSFLASH: EU enlargment didn’t bring the country to it’s knees, the street corners aren’t full of eastern european prostitutes.. For god’s sake, find some real news..

Sorry..went on a bit of a tangent there..Going back to the topic in hand.. It strikes me as odd that no ‘restricitons’ were placed on the last 10 countries that joined (remebering they all joined at once), and now we seem to pick on Romania and Hungary.

I want to know what position the country I live in takes. Do we support a liberal, free EU market (which must include the free movement of labour), or are we going down the line of crude nationalism and market protectionism. At the moment, we seem a bit schizophrenic, although I guess that’s politics for you.

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