About Brussels Gonzo

Brussels Gonzo is a Brussels insider. He lives in Brussels. Expertise: The Balkans.

In Memoriam

National Gonzo Press Club Vows To Carry On Hunter S. Thompson’s Work

Even gonzo journalists who have disagreed with Thompson in the past, such as award-winning New York Times columnist Heck Murdo, count him as a freak comrade. “We did have sharp differences in opinion,” Murdo said. “He thought Richard Nixon should have had his intestines slowly unwound onto a giant cable spool. I thought he should have been lashed to an oceanside cliff near San Clemente, so that ospreys could feast on his eyes. We feuded for years, at one point conducting a bourbon- and mescaline-fueled motorized-cart demolition derby on a Lake Tahoe golf course. But we patched things up when Dubya was elected, agreeing?to our mutual horror?that Nixon far outclassed that Jesus-loving pinheaded man-child.”

From the Onion, of course.

Spring European Summit

I often marvel at the absurdities of the debate around the EU’s economic agenda.

Take, for instance, this pithy summary of Sunday’s meeting from EurActiv:

The costs of German reunification will be counted as a mitigating circumstance in the reform of the EU Stability and Growth Pact, EU finance ministers have agreed.

Because, of course, nobody knew about German reunification when the Stability and Growth Pact was first adopted. In 1997.

And the ludicrous row over the services directive leaves me wondering if the EU is at all serious about extending the four freedoms to the new member states, let alone about the dying Lisbon Agenda.

Perhaps the heads of state and government will surprise me. But I suspect the biggest effect of the summit for me personally will be the increased traffic jams when I go home tonight and tomorrow.

Report from European Parliament

I promised to report back here on the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee meeting today on Croatia. It took place immediately after the EU Foreign Ministers had announced that because of Croatia’s failure to deliver fugitive general Ante Gotovina to the war crimes tribunal in the Hague, negotiations on Croatia’s EU membership will not begin tomorrow.

To my surprise, the main speaker from the Croatian side was not their Chief Negotiator, Vladimir Drobnjak, but the Prime Minister himself, Ivo Sanader. He made an extremely good impression on MEPs. I personally was much less impressed; he told three blatant untruths in his opening remarks, which disinclines me to take particularly seriously any of his statements about how hard his government is really looking for the fugitive general.
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Venice Commission on Bosnia-Herzegovina

Teekay was looking forward to the Venice Commission’s report on Bosnia-Herzegovina last week. (The Venice Commission, for those of you who don’t lie awake at nights in excited anticipation of its next publication, is the constitutional reform advisory body of the Council of Europe, which in turn is not to be condused with the European Council.)

Well, the report’s out – not yet on their website but they’ve sent me a copy. It’s not as radical as some in Bosnia-Herzegovina might have liked, but given the Venice Commission’s normally relatively anodyne pronouncements it’s pretty strong stuff.
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Crunch for Croatia

Hi folks, I am your guest blogger for the next two weeks. I hope you’ll allow me to be a little coy about my identity; but I do work in Brussels, in the general field of international politics.

I usually forget to check the European Parliament’s calendar of next week’s events on Friday afternoon, though really I should do it as a matter of routine, to plan ahead for the coming week. (And really they should have a direct link from the front page of their website, rather than three clicks away; but there’s not much point in wasting blogspace on stating the obvious about the crap design of the EU institutions’ websites.)

Along with the usual tedium of schedules for a conference in Cairo that nobody I know will go to, and such marvels as the European Parliament’s desperate attempt to make itself relevant to the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, there is one potentially very interesting meeting on the agenda.
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