[A-List] EU: protectionism and "security"
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Fri Mar 15 05:18:54 MST 2002
Quite a revelation that "Basque radicals" were responsible for the mayhem in Genoa last year...
France tries to dilute Barcelona summit's reform of gas and electricity markets
By Stephen Castle in Barcelona and Elizabeth Nash
The Independent, 15 March 2002
France was mounting a last-ditch effort last night to water down EU plans to break the grip of its energy monopolies, as the Barcelona summit faced the prospect of clashes over economic reform.
EU leaders arrived in Barcelona knowing that the credibility of their ambitious programme to revitalise the European economy was on the line. Today's gathering aims to make the EU the most competitive economic bloc in the world by 2010, create 20 million new jobs and free the EUR250bn (£155bn) a year gas and electricity markets. But the key issue of the summit - energy liberalisation - remains thorny.
Last night, the French delegation was insisting the word "corporate" be included in references to energy liberalisation. That alarmed reformist nations who fear the text may be used to stop liberalisation being extended to consumers.
Meanwhile, Spanish police reinforcements along the border with France seized mallets, baseball bats, axes, home-made rocket launchers and lengths of cord filled with lead from groups seeking to join anti-globalisation protests at the summit.
In the Basque country, police launched a massive operation to prevent the expected arrival in Barcelona of hundreds of Eta sympathisers. Police said they were controlling routes out of the region to stop sympathisers of Basque separatism from entering Catalonia.
Basque radicals were blamed for some of the worst violence at the G8 summit in Genoa last July, and Spanish authorities are on maximum alert for any possible Eta terrorist attack in Barcelona.
Since passport controls were introduced this week - in a temporary special exemption of Schengen accords on a frontier-free Europe - Spanish police have turned back about 100 people they say were intent on causing trouble. Border police seized the improvised weaponry from car boots during checks, particularly in the Catalan border town of La Jonquera.
Many of those refused entry had tried to enter Spain on previous occasions, said Jose Manuel Escriche, the police chief at La Jonquera, but had been kept out by police controls. The checks were criticised yesterday by Barcelona lawyers as recalling the worst years of Franco.
But Mr Escriche said: "We have a clear conscience about the people we have prevented entering the country because we have no doubt they were heading for Barcelona to disrupt the demonstrations."
Full article at:
Mercuria Business School
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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