Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for July 9th, 2013

Under My Wig

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 9th July, 2013

Under My WigPalestinian flagsFew people have the opportunity to be a witness to a great sweep of history, let alone get the chance to be part of it. But Dr Jamal Nasir, who launched his autobiography “Under My Wig” (Gilgamesh. £19.95, with an foreword by myself) at Daunt’s bookshop in Holland Park Avenue this evening has had a truly outstanding life and career.  He grew up in Palestine during the British mandate before studying at the American University of Beirut during the Second World War. He then pursued legal studies in England before being called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1948 and going on to have a distinguished legal practice not only in London and Amman — having acquired Jordanian citizenship after the catastrophe of Palestinian dispossession — but also in Oman, China, Nigeria and elsewhere. He became Legal Advisor to His late Majesty King Hussein, working closely with Britain’s favourite foreign monarch for a quarter of a century. This led to his becoming Minister of Justice in Jordan, reorganising the whole legal system, and for a while he was Acting Foreign Minister. His travels as a Minister or accompanying the King meant that he had first-hand encounters with the good, the bad and the bizarre of the world’s leaders, from Germany’s Willy Brandt to China’s Chairman Mao and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi. Accounts of such meetings enliven the content of Dr Nasir’s autobiography, as does his intimate insights into the nature and workings of the Jordanian royal family. Dr Nasir is already well-known in the legal profession for important works on the Status of Women in Islam and the Islamic Law of Personal Status, but this new work will introduce him to a wider audience. This evening he gave an impassioned speech about the ongoing injustices against the Palestinians (the subject of an earlier book, “Israeli Occupation and the Law of Belligerency”) and the way that Israel’s rulers act with impunity because of US and other Western support. But he also paid tribute to Jewish figures such as Dr Judah Magnes of the Hebrew University and Dr Avi Shlaim of Oxford who understood the reality of the situation. Even one of the founders of Israel, David Ben Gurion — who the young Jamal Nasir met on the London Underground — once declared, “If I were an Arab leader I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country.”

Link: http://www.gilgamesh-publishing.co.uk

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Lithuania’s EU Presidency Hopes to Achieve

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 9th July, 2013

The Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
by H.E. Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene, Ambassador of Lithuania to the UK

EU LithuaniaAs the European Union moves towards recovery, closer cooperation between member states is needed more than ever in order to ensure growth, job creation and better competitiveness. The EU must demonstrate to its people and the world that it pursues credible financial and economic policies, is committed to growth through joint initiatives that increase competitiveness, and aims at security for its citizens and openness with its partners. The EU has already demonstrated its ability to respond to challenges, agreeing on reforms that will enhance its economic performance, strengthen its banks and ensure sound fiscal policies. In the run-up to the next EU political cycle, it is vital to maintain the momentum and implement political agreements that reflect the interests of all member states and EU citizens.

The Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will seek to steer the decision making process as an honest broker, and ensure its continuity and the inclusion of all relevant partners. It will build on the cooperation with its Trio partners, thorough preparation and the consistent support of Lithuanian society for EU membership. As one of the most successful countries to overcome the economic and financial crisis and return to sustained recovery and growth, Lithuania will seek to organize the Presidency in an equally efficient and result-oriented manner. Above all, the Lithuanian Presidency will focus on the three goals of a credible, growing and open Europe.

Credible Europe

The Lithuanian Presidency will strive to make progress towards sounder public finances in the EU and to strengthen the ground for financial stability, which is required to fully restore the EU’s economic credibility. The Presidency’s efforts will be directed at further developing the Banking Union framework, and making progress on other legislative proposals in the field of financial market reforms. Its key task will be the implementation and enhancement of agreed reforms including economic governance, and the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Growing Europe

VilniusThe Lithuanian Presidency will build on the Europe 2020 agenda and the European Semester, reinforced by stronger Single Market policy, as well as the effective implementation of the Compact for Growth and Jobs. It will focus on further deepening and integrating the Single Market as the main driving force for economic growth and better employment opportunities. The Presidency will work to complete the initiatives of the Single Market Act I, advance the new initiatives under Single Market Act II, as well as facilitate the Single Market Governance. It will prioritize initiatives that will enhance confidence in the EU economy and result in a dynamic Digital Single Market. The Presidency will pay due attention to research and innovation issues. It will pursue the EU’s commitments to complete the internal energy market by 2014, and ensure that no Member State remains isolated from the European energy networks after 2015.

Open Europe

The Lithuanian Presidency will make steps to strengthen the EU as a global model of openness and security. The Presidency will focus on the closer integration of the EU and its Eastern Partners, hosting the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013. It will pursue the continuation of the enlargement process, smarter control of the EU’s external borders, and better coordination in the external dimension of EU energy policy. The Presidency will promote free trade with strategic partners such as the USA, Japan, Canada and others. It will also seek to boost the Common Security and Defence Policy through stronger cooperation with partners, as well as better responses to new security challenges.

The months ahead will be full of challenges and opportunities for the EU and we look forward to our 6 months on the helm of the EU Council.

(This article first appeared on the European Movement UK’s euroblog)

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »