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Meanwhile, Obama Hallowe’en masks outsell McCain

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Anna Patton


The moment of truth from the US elections, bickering Polish politicians and the return of the Euromed – weekly newsbites from Brussels

The final countdown

©hyperbolic pants/flickrAll eyes are on Washington for the grand finale of what’s been the best reality TV show we’ve seen for years. There’s no doubt about who Europe will be rooting for on 4 November (try to imagine 200, 000 Europeans turning out to hear republican candidate John McCain speak, as they did for Barack Obama in Berlin last July). 47% of Europeans believe a president Obama would improve transatlantic relations, compared to just 11% who think McCain would achieve the same. Polls have recently put the democratic president seven points in the lead – one of the more bizarre ones is one based on the sale of Halloween masks and other gimmicks. Such surveys have correctly predicted the past seven presidents: Democrats will be pleased to hear that Obama-themed merchandise is far outselling McCain’s

Battle of the egos

©World Economic Forum/ Adam Timwort/ flickrIt’s not only Americans who have presidential aspirations. French president Nicolas Sarkozy has angered the Czechs by suggesting he head the Eurogroup after he hands over the six-month EU presidency to them in December. Domination of the EU by its four big economies (UK, France, Germany, Italy) may lend a bitter taste to the informal lunch of the EU’s 27 heads of state on 7 November. The summit prepares for next week’s G20 meeting on reforming the global financial system, which will be attended only by the big four (plus France on behalf of the EU). More bruised egos are to be expected this week between Polish PM Donald Tusk and president Lech Kaczynski: at the last European Council, they caused a ruckus over who was to represent Poland

Croatia coming in?

©SBA73/flickrOn 5 November, the commission's progress report on the eight potential candidate countries will indicate that Croatia could complete accession negotiations by the end of 2009, while Serbia could become an official candidate. However, with member states including France and Germany opposed to enlargement before the Lisbon treaty is ratified, no one is taking accession for granted

Summat for everyone

©AndrewRT/wikipediaEuromed foreign ministers meet on 3-4 November in Marseilles for the first time since the Union for the Mediterranean was established in July, to adopt a work programme for 2009. Sarkozy, proud father of the initiative, will no doubt be keeping close tabs

Don’t miss

©youthweek.euYoung Europeans taking the floor during European Youth Week (2-9 November), which takes place across 31 countries. In Brussels, participants will address their views on future EU policy to the commission and the council of youth ministers

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