Stories written by David Cronin

Q&A: ‘Children Mustn’t See Fish Only in Pictures’

A casual visit to any of Europe's major supermarkets could leave a shopper with the impression that there is a boundless supply of fish in the continent's waters. The true picture is far less rosy. With about 88 percent of the European Union's fish stocks overexploited, EU vessels are travelling increasingly longer distances before bringing home their catches.

Olivier de Schutter Credit:

Produce More Food, Naturally

With the world's population predicted to reach 9 billion by mid-century, the notion that a form of agriculture aimed at producing more from less can put food in everyone's mouth may appear Utopian. Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the right to food, begs to differ. The Belgian professor is a champion of agro-ecology, a science that stresses the need to work with nature, rather than to try and conquer and replace them with technology developed in laboratories.

NATO ‘Singing Israeli Tunes’

Strategists with NATO are eager to maintain the strong bonds they have developed with Israel in recent times, even though its forces last week attacked a ship flagged in Turkey, a steadfast member of the alliance.

EUROPE: Flotilla Raid Fires Up Israel Lobby

Within three days of Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Monday, the pro-Israel lobby in Brussels was already seeking to deflect attention from the killing of nine peace activists in international waters.

Olivier Hoedeman Credit: Olivier Hoedeman

Q&A: ‘Corporate Lobbying Affects EC Credibility’

The intimate relationship between Europe's top policy-makers and major corporations has been underscored once more in recent days. Barely six months after they ceased being members of the European Commission, Germany's Günter Verheugen and Ireland's Charlie McCreevy have been handed lucrative posts with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the no-frills airline Ryanair.

EUROPE: IMF Tightening Control

One topic regularly addressed by the public relations industry is how to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Dominique Straus--Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, might offer a case study on rising to this challenge.

DEVELOPMENT: EU Playing Aid Politics With Aid Policy

The world's poor appear to have become pawns in a political battle over the European Union's (EU) new diplomatic corps.

Mahmoud Abu Rahma Credit: Mahmoud Abu Rahma

Q&A: ‘Israeli Siege Causing De-development of Gaza’

For the first time since September 2006, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, a leading figure in the Palestinian human rights group Al Mezan, has been granted permission to travel outside Gaza.

ECONOMY: Euro not for Europe’s Poor

For 329 million, people shopping with the euro is a part of everyday life. Since its notes and coins were introduced on New Year's Day 2002, this single currency has made it possible to travel across a 16-country zone stretching from Cyprus to Ireland without having to change the money in one's pocket or handbag.

Isabella Lövin  Credit: Fredrik Hjerling

Q&A: ”There’s a Limit to Fish Harvesting”

The perilous state of the world's fish stocks has received less media attention than the more visible, palpable environmental problems like air pollution. Isabella Lövin is seeking to redress that balance. Her 2007 book ‘Tyst hav' (Silent Seas) hit the best-seller list in her native Sweden, garnering her three awards, including the title of 'Journalist of the Year'.

Kenneth Roth Credit: Human Rights Watch

Q&A: ”You Could Use a Stronger European Voice on Human Rights”

Major changes are underway in the European Union (EU). For the first time in its history, the 27-country bloc will have a foreign minister once Catherine Ashton, a British Labour politician, receives parliamentary approval for her appointment later this month. She has already taken the first steps towards assembling a diplomatic service as foreseen by the EU's Lisbon treaty.

EUROPE: Cosy With Israel, Despite the Headlines

Israel's relations with the European Union were tense for most of 2009 - if newspaper headlines are to be believed. In the past week, a British court drew fierce criticism from Israeli politicians after it issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, following a complaint that she had authorised war crimes in Gaza.

European Commissioner for External Relations BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER Credit:

Q&A: EU Stepping Closer to Israel, Regardless

Israel enjoys closer relations with the European Union than almost any other foreign country - and work on deepening ties with Israel continues, even as its oppression of the Palestinian people worsens.

Q&A: EU Stepping Closer to Israel, Regardless

Israel enjoys closer relations with the European Union than almost any other foreign country - and work on deepening ties with Israel continues, even as its oppression of the Palestinian people worsens.

Norberto Rios Credit:

Q&A: EU More to the Right Than US on Colombia

Citing human rights concerns, members of the U.S. Congress have blocked approval of a free trade accord negotiated between the Bush administration and Colombia. Yet on the other side of the Atlantic, European Union officials have expressed their determination to proceed with talks aimed at striking a deal with the right-wing government.

ECONOMY: EU Divided Over Regulation

The global recession has exposed the ideological fissures at the highest level of officialdom in the European Union.

DEVELOPMENT: Africa May Face ‘Centuries’ of Poverty

Extreme poverty will continue to blight sub-Saharan Africa for another 200 years unless action to overcome it is intensified, a new report has suggested.

MIDEAST: Claiming Impartiality, Europe Leans Towards Israel

In carefully crafted official statements, diplomats have portrayed the European Union as something of an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet even though almost all of the people killed over the past fortnight have been Palestinians, some top-ranking leaders in the 27-country bloc have tacitly offered their support for Israel's bombing and invasion of Gaza.

BELGIUM: Homeless in the Heart of EU

On a wet afternoon in Brussels, a dishevelled man shelters from the elements in a side entrance to the city's main railway station. Beside his feet a green canvas bag carries all his worldly possessions. He has been homeless for a decade now; he has asked several times to be given accommodation by the Belgian authorities, but his request has never been granted. Often he sleeps rough.

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