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UK threatens EU free-movement rights

LONDON — Although the fare at a cafe across the street from Paddington Station is resolutely British, the guy preparing pots of Earl Grey tea and plates of scones is Spanish and the waitress hails from Poland. This is how the EU is supposed to work: The right of European citizens to live and work where they like within the 28-nation bloc is enshrined as one of the union's guiding principles. In the UK and other parts of northern Europe, however, an influx from the east and south is causing a backlash. 

UK pledges law change after deporting terror suspect

UK justice ministers pledged to change the country's human rights laws, after radical cleric Abu Qatada was finally extradited to Jordan, following an eight-year deportation saga. Home Secretary Theresa May told Parliament on Monday that she wanted to "remove the many layers of appeals" available to foreign nationals at risk of deportation, with potential repercussions for cases like Qatada's. May also indicated the U.K. might leave the European Convention on Human Rights, saying that "nothing is off the table."

Germany is the 'most popular country in the world'

Europe's largest economy Germany, which has been criticized for not doing enough to help struggling euro zone countries, has topped a poll as the world's most popular country.

The Iron Lady is gone, but Thatcherism is alive and well

Commentary: Her influence lives on in the spread of austerity in UK and Europe.
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A portrait of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher hangs on the wall at the Conservative Party headquarters in Finchley in north London on April 10, 2013. British lawmakers interrupted their holidays for a special session of parliament on April 10 to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who died on April 8 at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke. (Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images)
The reason Margaret Thatcher’s death continues to divide opinions and arouse strong emotional reactions has to do more with the controversial legacy of her policies in the current economic environment, than with her personal history and individual qualities.

Up in Smoke: Europe’s tumultuous tobacco fight

LONDON — Corruption allegations, unexplained break-ins, dark conspiracy theories and Swedish snuff: Those aren’t the elements of a Hollywood film, but developments in a plot surrounding Europe’s efforts to get tough on nicotine that are infused with mysteries a chain-smoking detective would be hard-pressed to solve. At stake are billions of dollars of potential tobacco trade and the career of one of the European Union’s senior figures. Also on the line is a long-awaited piece of legislation health campaigners hope will score a major victory in a long battle to cut cigarette consumption.

At China-EU summit, Wen Jiabao demands end to arms embargo

This is Wen Jiabao's last EU-China summit before he steps down under a Chinese leadership transition to take place later this year.

Hungary's Orban takes on the EU

Hungarian Prime Minister discovers the joys of Brussels bashing
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivering his broadside against the EU yesterday in Budapest. (FERENC ISZA/AFP/Getty Images)

As I said in a post last week, the EU has already created something akin to the United States of Europe. Certainly this is true culturally. In America there is Washington-bashing.  It's equivalent in Europe is Brussels-bashing.

Yesterday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hit out at Brussels with a rhetorical sledge-hammer.


Greek debt crisis: big hurdle crossed

Most private bond holders accept their haircuts opening way for EU bail-out
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Does today's deal with its private creditors mean that Greece's economy can rise from the ruins? (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

The bond-holders represented the last obstacle to the second bail-out of Greece's debt-shattered economy. They had to agree by 8 p.m. Athens time.  80 percent have, enough for the Greek bail-out to go forward.

From the moment the crisis went from smoldering to explosive, last summer this deal has been haggled over, delayed, brought the single currency to the brink of extinction and threatened to take the world economy through a worm hole into a new dimension - a very dark one.

A three-way deal between Greece, its EU partners and the private bond-holders often seemed as if it might be impossible to reach. This last piece of the puzzle was open to question even after Greece and the EU had reached agreement on their part.


The EU was forced to withdraw this viral video after people complained it seemed pretty racist (VIDEO)

The EU decided to stop the campaign immediately and withdraw the video.

European Union or U.S. of E?

Everyone hates the capital, states demand rights over their budgets... sounds like America, right?
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Geert Wilders, head of the Dutch Freedom Party, is trying to get the Netherlands out of the euro and back to the guilder. (PHIL NIJHUIS/AFP/Getty Images)

In a different context yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, indulged in a bit cliche mongering, ""If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it?" he asked his audience at AIPAC in connection with Iran's nuclear program.

You could ask the same questions about the European Union - just substitute the phrase "United States of Europe" for duck and you'll get my point.

Less than two working days after EU leaders signed a new fiscal compact limiting annual budget deficits to 3.5 percent of GDP. Individual states are already squawking.

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