DUBLIN — The party once led by the current European Union ambassador to Washington is claiming that the U.S. is actively opposing European integration, posing a potential embarrassment as Prime Minister Bertie Ahern prepares to address a joint session of Congress today. Lucinda Creighton, a spokeswoman for Ireland’s largest opposition party, Fine Gael, said in a web posting that “U.S. foreign policy has traditionally been opposed to EU integration.” “The U.S. supports the EU as an economic bloc but nothing more. The idea of a politically strong EU, acting as a check or counterbalance on the U.S. does not sit well with our trans-Atlantic friends,” said Creighton, a member of Ireland’s parliament.
DUBLIN — Before his recent resignation, outgoing Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern prefaced the annual St. Patrick”s Day pilgrimage to the White House by predicting “a hard year” ahead for the Irish economy. The banking crisis and credit crunch in the United States, as well as the falling dollar, worry Irish policy-makers. Ireland has 25 percent of its trade in dollars and has bet much of its recent economic boom on a 12 percent corporate tax rate — an enormous incentive for U.S. multinationals such as Intel and Microsoft to run pan-European operations out of Ireland. Google has the headquarters of its European and Middle East operations in Dublin. “The company is very pleased with how the Dublin operation continues to develop,” a Google spokesman said.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — A torched embassy building in Belgrade was the latest target of Serbian anger yesterday, as the United States faced growing consequences of its support for Kosovo’s independence. Despite billions of dollars spent on security upgrades in the decade since al Qaeda bombed two embassies in Africa — including $1 billion budgeted for 2008 — rioters managed to break into an outer embassy building in Belgrade and set it ablaze, to cheers from rioting mobs outside. Embassies have been either rebuilt or reinforced with multiple security barriers whenever possible.