France, Germany and the UK – the so-called EU3 – are proposing a tough list of additional sanctions to be imposed against Iran in order to give the Obama administration more muscle in its expected engagement of the Islamic republic. A confidential document seen by the Financial Times and Il Riformista, an Italian newspaper, lists 34 Iranian entities and 10 individuals allegedly linked to Iran’s covert nuclear or biological weapons programmes.
By Guy Dinmore and Eleonora de Sabata in Rome
Plans by BP to start deep-sea drilling for oil and gas in Libya’s Gulf of Sirte should be brought before the Union of the Mediterranean, according to Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister.
A spokesman for Mr Frattini confirmed on Wednesday that the minister had made the proposal following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore – Published: June 17 2010
Dominque Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, on Thursday challenged European leaders to boost growth and save the eurozone from irrelevance, while expressing concern that leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies were losing momentum in fixing the international finance system.
Governance in the eurozone had proven to be weak in the global crisis and it now found itself “in the middle of a river”, the IMF chief told an audience of ministers, state bankers and EU officials attending an economic conference in Rome hosted by the Long-term Investors Club.
“The single currency cannot work without economic coordination and hopefully this crisis will convince governments that coordination is the way forwards,” he said. If not, he went on, the next decade would be dominated by “fights” between the US and China with the European Union left out of the picture. Read more…
By Tony Barber in Brussels and Guy Dinmore in Rome
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister and media tycoon, escaped condemnation by the European parliament yesterday when MEPs narrowly rejected a motion deploring a lack of media freedom in Italy.
By 338 votes to 335 with 13 abstentions, Mr Berlusconi’s Italian supporters and other centre-right MEPs threw out a proposal for a European Commission law to protect media pluralism. The vote was a setback for Mr Berlusconi’s opponents in the Strasbourg-based parliament, who embarrassed his government in 2004 by adopting a report that attacked his dominance of Italy’s media.
The latest motion drew attention to Mr Berlusconi’s decision to take or threaten legal action against various Italian and other European news organisations that have reported extensively on alleged sex scandals in his private life. The motion asserted that Rai, the Italian state broadcaster, over which Mr Berlusconi exerts influence by virtue of his role as premier, had paid scarcely any attention to these scandals. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Published on FT.com: April 20 2009
Fishing vessels fanned out across the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic this weekend as the bluefin tuna fishing season got underway with environmentalists warning that Japanese and other consumers are hunting the fish to extinction while Italian prosecutors are focused on Mafia drug running twinned with trawling.
By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Europe’s ambiguity over Tibet was on clear display on Monday when Martti Ahtisaari, former Finnish president and head of a prestigious European think-tank, declined to endorse the idea of EU contacts with the Dalai Lama, even as the Italian parliament moved to express its support for the exiled Tibetan leader. Mr Ahtisaari said his think-tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations, did not have a position on EU dialogue with the Dalai Lama. He indicated he was not enthusiastic about such contacts.
By Guy Dinmore in Rome, Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran and Alex Barker in London
Daniel Dombey, Gareth Smyth and Guy Dinmore, The Financial Times Sept 12, 2006
Europe is poised to compromise on Iran’s nuclear programme, in a step that could break the year-long stand-off over Tehran’s atomic ambitions.
A deal, floated by Tehran at a weekend meeting in Vienna, would rein in the most sensitive part of the programme as soon as formal negotiations began with the west. In response, the European Union is watering down its insistence that a suspension of enrichment activities must come before talks. But European diplomats stress that they will require Iran to allow United Nations inspectors to carry out spot-checks on its nuclear facilities to ensure that the Islamic republic has kept its side of the bargain.
By Guy Dinmore in Washington
Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, is an irresponsible radical who is digging a hole for himself, a senior US official declared on Wednesday.
Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s number three official, launched a particularly personal attack in a speech that focused on Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons, its support for “terrorist” groups, including Hamas and al-Qaeda, and its poor human rights record.
“Through his statements and actions, President Ahmadi-Nejad is digging a hole for himself and he appears determined to keep on digging,” Mr Burns told the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.
Mr Burns, who liaises with the European Union in its nuclear talks with Iran, said the Bush administration would spend more dollars on supporting the pro-democracy efforts of the Iranian people in the hope they would change their own government. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: March 16 2005
A high-level European Union delegation sent to Washington to persuade US officials of the case for lifting the EU arms embargo on China failed to convince either the Bush administration or members of Congress, who are threatening retaliatory legislation, officials on all sides said yesterday.
A senior EU official admitted the timing of the visit was unfortunate: The Europeans sought to assuage US concerns on the same day that China passed a law permitting military force against Taiwan if the island moved towards formal independence.