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Worries of EU: About Resources; R and D; And The CIA

  • June 11th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-flag-site.pngSenior figures in the Brussels leadership say they are anxious about the EU’s chances of getting enough raw materials for the future, or gearing-up their own population for the new world economy – and they don’t like the idea of CIA gaols on European soil.

NOT ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE

Businesses are failing to spend enough on research and development according to the European Commission , which says the trend is a “threat” to the knowledge-based economy – the subject of one of its greatest plans.

It has brought out a new publication on R and D effort and intensity — spending as a percentage of Gross National Product; it demonstrates a constant R and D deficit against the United States, a its main marker.

The EU’s so-called “Lisbon process” for stimulating jobs and economic growth is emphasising research and development of human resources, and a statement from the Commission (11.6.07) says a failure by industry to match state-based spending is “worrying”.

It says that “in a world where knowledge is more evenly distributed than every before”, spending that has stagnated since the mid-1990s is comparing badly with strong increases in competitor countries like China, Japan and South Korea.

NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES

The worries about keeping ahead in a world of evenly distributed resources are also present on the natural resource front, where the Enterprise and Industry Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen, has troubles over European industry getting access to raw materials.

He says access has been affected by “unprecedented demand for minerals mainly as a result of the rapid industrialisation of emerging countries such as Brazil, China and India.”

He said (5.6.07) the squeeze applied to twelve main mineral commodities, where the EU was listed as one of the first three producing regions in only two cases – for mercury and tungsten,.

Australia was listed for bauxite, iron, lead, nickel, silver and zinc.

The other products were cadmium, copper, chromium and manganese.

SECURITY WORRIES

The EU Vice President for Freedom, Security and Justice, Franco Frattini, responded (9.6.07) to a fresh Council of Europe report on “extraordinary rendition”, saying he’d become “very concerned” about the reported secret activity by US agencies in Europe.

A spokesperson said the European Commission could not make its own investigations into such cases, but it reiterated a standing position: “Anti-terrorism activities must be conducted with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

The Council of Europe is an organisation of 47 European states focused on human rights.

Its second report on “rendition” last week said that in the aftermath of the September 11 bombings in the United States, in 2001, American security forces including the CIA illegally captured several suspected terrorists, and transferred them to places in the Middle East and Europe – including secret prisons in Poland and Romania.

Those two countries subscribed to European Union policies on rights when they became EU member states in 2004 and 2007.

Reference:

European Commission, “Vice President Vergeugen: Securing raw material supply …”, Brussels, 5.6.07, IP/07/767

EC, “Low business R and D a major threat …”, Brussels, 11.6.07, IP/07/790

Council of Europe, “‘High-value’ detainees were held in secret CIA detention centres in Poland and Romania, says PACE committee”, Strasbourg, 8.6.07, 400 (2007)

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