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Winners and losers in Copenhagen: the EU, for starters

Dec 21st 2009, 19:06 by Charlemagne

THERE are many things to be said about the global climate change talks in Copenhagen. At the risk of seeming solipsistic, the thing that stands out here in Brussels is the almost-total absence of the European Union from the final, depressing bouts of deal-making.


Of the BRIC nations, Brazil is one that appeals to Europeans rather, or rather, it is the one that looks the most "herbivorous" and thus Euro-compatible, to borrow a word from the European Council on Foreign Relations (who recently declared that the EU was popular round the world because it was seen as a herbivorous power). Which means Brazil talks a good game about peace and climate change and saving the rainforests, and does not spend lots of money building up or maintaining scary nuclear-armed militaries to threaten its neighbours. The African Union, a rather weak and cash-strapped body, is rather popular in Brussels as a partner for peacekeeping missions, and in its structures is modelled on the EU: it has a council, and a rotating presidency and a commission etc etc. (I once heard somebody at a meeting with the Portuguese foreign minister suggest the AU was a very good thing simply because it was modelled on the EU).


The new world order is still shaking out. Not all meetings will be as ghastly as this one, run on the need to find consensus between all UN member states. But the G20 meetings have been grim for the EU qua EU, too, with Europe barely featuring as a political player. I take no pleasure in this: on climate change, I think the European policy is pretty sound at the macro-level. Europeans basically recognise that there is a serious risk of something catastrophic happening and the chances are it will be cheaper to try to fix it now, than to do nothing. But this is an increasingly dangerous world for herbivorous clubs, built on an internal bargain of redistribution in exchange for open borders. The winners of this new world are big and aggressive continental nations, defending national interests with great single-mindedness.

The fact that the EU was already committed to doing more before the conference than the others were even willing to contemplate talking about somehow does not come to this guy's mind.

No, it's Europeans are weak, divided and pathetic. So what else is new...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 07:08:33 AM EST
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