The Arab spring offered the EU a perfect opportunity to present to the world a confident new foreign policy. But it came too early for the nascent European External Action Service to exert much influence.
Poul Christoffersen, representing the Danish EU presidency
3 February 2012
The European Central Bank is one of the EU institutions where gender balance is most blatantly disregarded. The argument that there are no qualified women for these positions cannot be taken seriously. It is intolerable that an appropriate strategy has not yet been developed.
Sharon Bowles MEP, chairwoman of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee
31 January 2012
Transactions taxes are arbitrary and the burden is likely to be placed on those who have mortgages, need foreign exchange cover for business transactions and so on. In fact, the likely result of a transactions tax in France is that business will move elsewhere and economic recession will be entrenched.
Philip Booth, editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs
30 January 2012
The greatest threat to democracy would be the collapse of the euro and the chaos that would ensue. A debate should be encouraged about how traditional limitations of the EU – its lack of dynamic leadership and democratic legitimacy – might be overcome.
Anthony Giddens, member of the British House of Lords
26 January 2012
The EU is the most influential aid donor in the world. Its contribution is very impressive. It is also very good on transparency in terms of publishing on the internet how the money is spent and on which projects.
Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft
25 January 2012
The European Union should reassess its policy on Russia, with the prospect of Putin clinging to power until 2024. The presidential elections, to be held on March 4, will be another step backwards for democracy in Russia.
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group
24 January 2012
We could easily slide into a 1930s moment. A moment where trust and cooperation break down and countries turn inward - ultimately, leading to a downward spiral that could engulf the entire world.
Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund Managing Director
23 January 2012
The challenge of strengthening the fundamentals of market economies and free societies continues. History never ends – except in the minds of those who believe in the inevitably of the Mayan calendar, which predicts the end of the world in December 2012.
Otmas Issing, former member of European Central Bank executive board
20 January 2012
This crisis of confidence in politics and its institutions is also undermining faith in the European integration process. More and more people are casting a suspicious eye on our work. They are not sure whether everything we do here is necessarily for the best.
Martin Schulz, European Parliament president
17 January 2012
I am no fan of rating agencies, but it does seem clear that they are simply describing the lack of political courage and leadership required to find a solution [to the eurozone crisis]. They describe a monumental failure.
Guy Verhofstadt, president of the ALDE group in the European Parliament
15 January 2012
In Saudi Arabia, women are treated as second class citizens. They can be flogged if they're caught driving a car and they have to receive the permission of a male guardian before they can travel, start a job or get married.
Tim Hancock, UK campaigns director at Amnesty International
13 January 2012
Europeans have to accept the era of Eurocentrism is practically over. Europe must look to the east for solutions.
Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia
12 January 2012
With eurozone countries needing to borrow approximately €2tn in 2012, the sovereign credit and economic challenges the region faces this year are underlined by the fact that more than half of that debt is by governments at risk of rating downgrades
David Riley, head of Fitch's sovereign ratings
10 January 2012
The Hungarian government's actions jeopardise the very foundations of a democratic society based on the rule of law, the right to criticise the government and the ability to challenge its excesses in the courts. The removal of those checks on government power creates a serious risk of human rights abuse.
Benjamin Ward, deputy Europe director at Human Rights Watch
6 January 2012