EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Big Day In Brussels: EU/ NATO/ Money/ Gaddafi …

  • March 25th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

brussels-grand-place.jpegIn Brussels, EU heads of government were worrying again over the debt crisis, while not far away, the NATO alliance was taking over control of the no-fly patrol over Libya.


eurobook-council.jpgGovernment leaders on the first day of the European summit (24.3.11) were demanding that Portugal stick to austerity budgeting, despite the collapse of the Portugese government on that issue, last Wednesday.

The country is being represented at the gathering by Jose Socrates, the Socialist Party Prime Minister forced to resign on Wednesday, when the combined opposition voted down a plan for spending cuts he’d agreed on with European Union partners.

Those partners, notably Germany as the prime creditor in the group, are saying now they may need to intervene with a lending package from central funds.

eu-money-symbol-coins.jpgThat is a measure set up for emergency situations but likely to cause more disruption on bond markets and raise fresh fears of a contagion of worsening indebtedness within the EU.

Until knocked somewhat off course by the developments in Lisbon the summit had been expected to approve further steps to consolidate work on its planned permanent funding arrangement, to aid member countries with sovereign debt. See EUAustralia Online, “EU summit: counting up money”, 18.12.10.

Trade union organisations opposed to the remedy of tax and tight budgets being applied across the EU mobilised thousands of protestors in Brussels to make their point to the heads of the 27 EU governments.

Crowds estimated at between 12000  and 20000 got into intermittent  fights with cordons of police.


rasmussen-7311.jpgEarlier in the day the NATO alliance, at Brussels, accepted operational control of the international air patrol over Libya, making the country a “no-fly” zone for the Gaddafi government there.

“NATO Allies have now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya”, said its Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (picture).

“We are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians against the attacks by the Gaddafi regime.

“We will cooperate with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions.

“All NATO Allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the UN resolution; that is why we have decided to assume responsibility for the No Fly Zone.”

military-aircraftorg.jpegNATO has already been policing an arms embargo on Libya but it remains unclear as yet what protocols will apply to intervention  by allied air forces against Libyan government forces threatening civilian opponents.

They are operating over the country under last Friday’s (18.3.11) UN Security Council resolution 1972, authorising protective action but not the use of foreign troops on the ground in Libya.

However there is debate now over a reported French proposal for military forces to escort transports of humanitarian aid into Libya.

A United States command organised the attack on Libyan air defences during this week, mainly using US forces, but as the week ended allied countries were providing nearly half the aircraft in use, and the American government was insisting on a hand-over of control.


North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Brussels, “NATO Secretary General’s statement on Libya No Fly zone” , Press Release (2011) 035, 24.3.11.

Leigh Phillips, “Protests against ‘austerity summit’ turn violent”, Euobserver, Brussels, 24.3.11., (25.3.11).

RTE News, Dublin, Stick to targets, Portugal urged, 25.3.11., (25.3.11).

Simon Taylor, “European leaders meet in bid toi strengthen the Eurozone”, European Voice, Brussels, 24.3.11., (25.3.11).

Toby Vogel, “EU plans military-led aid mission  to North Africa”, European Voice, Brussels, 24.1.11., (25.3.11).