Right now, Europe is having serious economic and social problems. But that's no reason to challenge the award of the Nobel Peace prize to the European Union. When it comes to handing out peace prizes, you can't ask for a lot more than traditional enemies beating their swords into ploughshares. And lions lying down with lambs. This Peace Prize is truly well-deserved.
It is no secret that the idea of amalgamating into a single country, which was farthest away from the minds of the rulers of these countries, was only contemplated as a direct result of the Arab Spring which toppled several Arab dictators who were thought to be completely invincible, and left the rest of them asking "Who will be next?" Now more than ever, a union of the Arab Gulf states is possible.
The G8 Summit was oddly clarifying: With Europe riven with divisions over the euro and the sclerosis of welfare states in aging societies, the United States wrapped up in increasingly parochial domestic politics, Japan adrift and Russia backsliding into authoritarianism, Canada stood alone as a country with healthy economic prospects and a stable government.
Quebec's unruly students are no different than the Greeks. Both have enjoyed free rides for years, both are being asked to pay their share of the tab and both are refusing to do so. The Greeks are going to fall behind the Romanians in living standards in short order while the students are making a fuss over a pittance. That makes the Quebec students, in a sense, even more irresponsible.
From a political economy perspective however, the important question is how these debates play out at the policy, and political level. Do what for most detached observers seem like good ideas actually stand up to pressures from lobbying exerted by interests that want to dilute, or further delay the introduction of these regulations (formally expected to be phased in from January 2013)?
The world has reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water, five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. While that is good news, millions of people, for instance, still live without a toilet. Not a very sexy topic -- but one which is of great concern if the world is to meet goals on reducing under-five mortality.
We are facing a climate crisis, and we have a moral responsibility to take action by finding ways to move away from coal, oil, and gas, and towards a clean, safe, and renewable energy future. The European Union is trying to do just that, and the Canadian government should redirect its efforts towards cleaning up its own act, rather than trying to prevent Europe from doing the right thing.
Technology law and policy is notoriously unpredictable but 2012 promises to be a busy year. My weekly technology law column offers some guesses for the coming months. January: The Supreme Court of Canada holds a hearing on whether Internet service providers can be treated as broadcasters under the Broadcasting Act.
There already are two currencies: the "Lutheran Euro," characterized by countries that are based on Protestant work ethic, discipline and thrift. Then there is the "Latin Euro," where style is often more important than substance. The euro crisis is this: The "Lutherans" are balking at bailing out the "Latins."
What's the newest strategy of the European Commission to remove any democratic accountability from the eurozone members? They are now aiming to consolidate all eurozone members on the IMF Executive Board into a single member, represented by... the European Commission.