EuroFile : Croatia offered Brussels aid carrot

Click to follow
The Independent Online
CROATIA should be given access to EU aid, according to Hans van den Broek, the European Union's Foreign Affairs Commissioner. He was reporting back to the Commission yesterday after his trip to Zagreb, where he met the Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman.

The EU has drawn an informal link between giving aid to Croatia under its Phare programme and a reversal of Mr Tudjman's decision to throw out UN peace-keepers at the end of next month. Mr van den Broek also believes that extending aid could help to give the EU more leverage over human rights in Croatia.

o o o

TACIS is the EU's aid programme for the states of the former Soviet Union. It has come under some criticism from the European parliament, the EU's Court of Auditors and member states. At its weekly meeting yesterday, the Commission adopted a new regulation for Tacis that responds to some of this criticism. It puts more stress on the environment and increases the cash available for investment. The Commission says it makes Tacis less dependent on outside consultants. But officials working on the programme say they still expect some trouble in getting the budget agreed this year.

o o o

THE latest group to come under the intense scrutiny of the European Court of Justice are French hairdressers. In another landmark ruling, the Court has decided that it is quite legal for France to impose tougher standards on its own hairdressers than on those from other countries. The European directive on hairdressing activities authorises crimpers from outside France to establish themselves without a diploma in France, even though the locals need one under the 1946 French hairdressing law.

THERE are dark mutterings among the Finnish press and diplomats about the quality of the translations into Finnish. Some journalists now tune into the English channel, because they say the Finnish one is not accurate and sometimes not in correct Finnish. The problem is mainly at the EU's council of ministers, but the Commission is affected as well, officials say. Perhaps they should complain to the man who runs the EU budget - Commissioner Erkki Likkanen, a Finn. At least there should not be any communications problems.

o o o

HAMBURG is the richest place in Europe, according to the EU's statistical branch. It is twice as rich as the EU average. Next comes Brussels, followed by Darmstadt, the Ile de France, Vienna, upper Bavaria and Bremen. Some way down the list is London, the richest British area but only about one-and-a-half times as rich as the average.

The figures confirm that Britain is the ninth poorest of 15 EU states, with only Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Spain and newly impoverished Finland worse off. There is a surprising decline in the wealth of France, mainly in the north, but the French are still quite a bit richer than us.

Poorest in Europe, though, are the former east German states and parts of Portugal and Greece. Britain's poorest region is Merseyside - poorer than Ireland, less than three-quarters the average of Europe, or about even with the Canary Islands.

o o o

THIS has been a splendid week for celebrity-watchers in Brussels. Brigitte Bardot enlivened a meeting of the farm council on Monday. Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian film director, was here yesterday to boost the European film industry. Are we witnessing the emergence of the Euro-Luvvie?