The Record: This Week in Review

European Parliament Rejects Budget Agreement That Promoted Austerity

The European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to demand significant changes to the E.U.’s budget.  The budget, which for the first time would cut spending, was seen as promoting austerity.  The 27 member states of the E.U. will now have to agree to another budget compromise, and include the Parliament in its decision.

American and European Officials Push for Trade Agreement

On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and E.U. Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht both expressed support for a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union.  Mr. De Gucht expressed hope that negotiations could begin by the summer.  Mr. Obama, speaking from Washington D.C. called for support from industry and labor groups.  Similar attempts at an agreement have failed in the past but industry and government officials think that this time could be different due to the European debt crisis and pressure from large, emerging economies such as China.

Shale Development Talks Between Chevron and Argentina Stall

Argentina and Chevron had been working towards forming a joint venture between the American oil giant and YPF, Argentina’s national oil company to develop Argentine shale reserves.  However, Chevron has confronted Argentina’s government after an Argentine Judge froze many of Chevron’s assets over a matter related to pollution in the Amazon.

ICC Drops Charges Against Kenyan Politician

On Monday, the prosecutor’s office announced a decision to drop the charges of humanity crimes against former Kenyan cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura after encountering various issues with evidence and witness testimony.

Pro-Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Faces Protests and Criticism

The Burmese opposition leader defended a government recommendation that the building of a Chinese-backed copper-mine should continue, despite findings that the project lacked environmental protection measures and would not provide jobs for locals. There was a violent police crackdown at the site last year and Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to back the project has led to criticism, alleging that she puts economic interests and good relations with China above human rights.

High levels of unemployment on the agenda at EU Summit

The two-day summit to occur this week focuses on unemployment levels and budget policies. 11 % of EU population is currently unemployed. There are great social challenges and consequences of the debt crisis that the EU is facing and this needs to be addressed.

UN Resolution to partially lift the arms embargo imposed on Somalia

The UN Security Council has reauthorized the mandate of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia along with a partial lift on the arms embargo. The Somali government will now be able to buy light weapons as they face the continuing challenges from Islamic Militants.

Obama administration request for increased IMF voting power rejected

U.S. lawmakers have rejected a request by the Obama administration to approve a permanent increase in U.S. funding to the International Monetary Fund. Congressional approval is necessary for such a reform as it involves shifting and making permanent a $65 billion U.S. contribution to an IMF crisis fund.