Weekly News Review

27th August 2004



Czech President vetoes bill on European arrest warrant

President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus has vetoed a bill on the European arrest warrant. Read why here

Mandelson: 'No' vote would not scupper EU constitution

Britain's incoming commissioner Peter Mandelson has said that a vote against the European Constitution would not mean that the whole project would fail. Read all about Mandelson’s contempt for the democratic process here

Buttiglione: New EU Commissioner favours 'processing' centres in Africa


Rocco Buttiglione, the new EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, has advocated the creation of a detention centre in north Africa to hold and 'process' refugees. The idea will be discussed at a meeting of EU leaders in October. Read more about the proposed Euroconcentration camps here

The Security Council, Europe and the US War in Iraq


In this excellent piece, Phyllis Bennis proposes that governments willing to stand up to the US join forces with the "second super power" (mobilised global civil society) to reclaim the central role of the United Nations and international law as the centre pieces of peaceful relations among nations. Key to this, she argues, would be the potential role of leading European governments in creating an empowered Security Council capable of recasting global power away from reliance on nuclear arsenals and corporate treasuries. Read the whole article here

Herald Tribune on the EIB

Magda Stoczkiewicz, Policy Coordinator of CEE Bankwatch Network was interviewed recently by the International Herald Tribune and writes to say that the result was a “brilliant article about the EIB”, the EU’s own investment bank..  “All dirty tricks exposed, Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth mentioned! I talked to this journalist for about and hour and emailed her a couple of times - such a pleasure to find out this research journalism still exists! It is really a great reading, enjoy, and especially see the end!” Take Magda’s advice and go here

Sightseeing with a difference

Amsterdam-based activist and research group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is organising another of its renowned guided tour through the EU quarter of Brussels (corporate lobbying capital of Europe). The two-hour tour takes place on Friday September 24th and is designed to introduce participants to the headquarters of industry lobby groups, think-tanks, public relations firms and other key players in EU-level corporate politics, all located conveniently close to the corridors of power. The tour is particularly timely because, as a spokesperson for CEO said,  “New European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has made no secret of his determination to accelerate neoliberal reforms. His team of Commissioners features pro-industry die-hards like Peter Mandelson and Neelie Kroes, to mention a few. Citizens action to prevent the EU from drifting further towards US-levels of corporate control over politics therefore seems more urgent than ever.”

During the tour, CEO will present its campaign for far tighter regulations and transparency requirements on (corporate) lobbying around the EU institutions.

The number of participants is limited to 25, so CEO asks readers to register as soon as you can, and certainly before the deadline of September 17th. Send an email with your name and contact details to: ceo@corporateeurope.org - you will then receive a confirmation message and further details on the guided tour.  For more information see here

WTO: The Dope Trick

"After a ‘truly historic’ agreement, it is now an embarrassing wake-up call for the developing countries. The big boys have done it again. This time, they have successfully managed to apply the dope trick on the developing countries – putting them in a hall of shame for letting the rich and industrialized countries not only walk away with all the trade-distorting farm subsidies but also allowing them to throw a still protective ring around agriculture." Read Devinder Sharma's take of the outcome of the latest round of WTO negotiations here

A Decade After Cairo: Women's Health in a Free Market Economy - New Corner House Briefing by Sumati Nair and Preeti Kirbat with Sarah Sexton

It is now ten years since the UN held its International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. Its Programme of Action was the first and most comprehensive

international policy document to promote the concepts of reproductive rights and reproductive health. Its major recommendation -- that population programmes should provide integrated reproductive health services rather than just family planning -- reflects the organising and lobbying of women's groups. One decade later, however, some 600,000 women die each year (95 per cent of them in sub Saharan Africa and Asia) while 18 million are left disabled or chronically ill because of largely preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth. These figures indicate that many women do not have access to essential and emergency obstetric care, let alone access to more comprehensive reproductive health services. Indeed, health services in many countries are in terminal decline. The underlying conditions that determine women's health and their ability to make decisions about their childbearing are deteriorating. Fundamentalisms opposing women's rights are on the rise. And Malthusian thinking is as ingrained as ever in many development institutions, donor agencies and government departments.

These four trends can be attributed in large measure to the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies over the past two decades, first by means of structural adjustment

programmes and more recently by international trade agreements. Such policies have helped to prevent the more progressive aspects of the Cairo Programme of Action from

being implemented. More critically, however, the Programme of Action, and the political organising that accompanied it, did not challenge this neo-liberal framework sufficiently. In fact, it endorsed it in several respects. A closer look at the ways in which neo-liberalism has impacted upon women's reproductive rights may suggest avenues for more fruitful alliances with other social movements in the future.

Corner House Briefing 31 A Decade After Cairo: Women's Health in a Free Market Economy is now on the Corner House website, www.thecornerhouse.org.uk, in html and PDF formats.

They Knew...We now know that the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak.     

In an article for In These Times entitled simply “They Knew”, David Sirota and Christy Harvey present the definitive case that the Bush administration knew it was deceiving Americans about the danger posed by Iraq. Sirota and Harvey use government reports and other information on the public record to compile the information and timeline that proves the Bush administration built a case for war by ignoring and twisting its own intelligence reports, and in the process deliberately misleading the American public and the international community.

Sirota and Harvey give an airtight case that the Bush administration knew that Iraq posed no nuclear threat, that there was no hard evidence Iraq had chemical or biological weapons, and that Saddam and bin Laden were not collaborating. Read the full text here

Lesser evil?

In mid-July, the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC organised a special forum around the US elections where the Democratic Party's election platform was analysed from various angles. Read the results here