Weekly News Review

11th October, 2002


This week saw the publication by the European Commission of its judgement of the suitability of the applicant countries to join the European Union. The declaration, which was approved by the European parliament after a debate on Wednesday, gives the green light to eight countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as to Malta and Cyprus. If all goes according to plan these ten should be members in time to participate in European parliament elections in 2004. Bulgaria and Romania will have to wait longer, while Turkey was once again fobbed off. Spectre will carry critical analysis of the enlargement process in the near future. If you just can't wait, go here

Know your enemy

The latest "backgrounder" as the World Trade Organisation calls its updates covers meetings up to the end of September 2002, including "modalities" negotiations on export subsidies and competition, market access and domestic support. Find it here

No alla guerra!

More than 1.5 million Italians took to the streets of dozens of  cities Saturday afternoon and evening to protest possible U.S. military action against Iraq -- a surprise show of discord that could be fervent enough for the Italian government to re-think its support of Washington.Read all about it at here

Feed the world  

"There are two paradigms in a contest for the future of food and farming. One is based on non-sustainable production on large scale industrial farms with costly hybrid/GM seed and agrichemical inputs monopolised by a handful of biotech/agrichemical giants, such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and Dupont, and globalised trade controlled by a handful of agribusiness corporations, such as Cargill, ADM and Pepsico. Corporate profits and global trade gains while millions go hungry. The other is based on small farms, ecological/organic internal inputs/systems, which are low cost and accessible to poor producers. Localisation, not globalisation, as the principle for trade and distribution and building food security upwards and outwards from the household to the community to regional, national and global levels. The industrial, large scale, globalised food system is non-sustainable and a source of economic inequality and food insecurity. It is also based on a false economy — both at the production and distribution level."  Read the rest of Vandana Shiva's wise words on sustainable agriculture here

An election that everyone lost?  

Last week we brought you the Party of Democratic Socialism's own initial analysis of its poor electoral performace in the recent Federal german elections that saw Chancellor Schröder's not-veryRed/orGreen government returned to power. This week t6ake a look at Boris Kagarlistky's take: "It looks as though everyone lost. Or almost everyone. The German elections have come and gone. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his coalition, headed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), are the formal victors. But despite the traditional optimistic announcements, there is confusion in the winning camp. And, for that matter, among the losers. What has happened?"see here