Another Day in Fran?allemagne.

In order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Franco-German friendship treaty, on January 22nd the French newspaper Liberation and the German Berliner Zeitung linguistically unified the two countries and created La Fran?allemagne. This Friday, the European Council will witness another day in this beautful country.

Both Chancellor Sch?der and Foriegn Minister Joschka Fischer have to leave the two day Brussels meeting late on Thursday because the German Bundestag is voting on a crucial reform bill this Friday. Their presence in Berlin is indeed important, and most likely not only symbolic: Someone from the SPD’s loony left might need some hand holding in order to avoid a last minute hold up of the coalition’s slim majority, and, of course, the two men need to vote themselves.

As civil servants aren’t allowed to represent their countries in the European Council, Chancellor Schr?der, according to Spiegel Online (in German) and various other news sources, asked French President Jaques Chirac last Sunday to help him out and also take care of German interests in this Friday’s (supposedly not too important) Council meeting. Chirac agreed. German civil servants will only be present just in case urgent need for consultation with the Chancellor should arise.

A French President speaking for Germany… talk about powerful Euro-symbolism.

Bermuda triangle to swallow EU savings tax directive?

Well, not quite the Bermuda triangle – but the Cayman Islands might do just that.

In what is likely going to become a case study regarding the complexities of European multilevel governance, pooled sovereignty, and the complex relations of institutional Europe and the world, it seems a legal challenge brought forth by the government of the Cayman Islands, a British dependency, and thus an EU associated territory, could at least severely delay the EU savings tax directive‘s implementation – after a mere 13 years of negotiations to come up with a common solution to taxing capital gains without tampering too much with the capital’s mobility and important privacy issues.

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