Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Euro crisis: “Welcome to Europe’s endless debt saga.”

Thu 12 July 2012, 4:39pm
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Tweet I haven’t posted an update on the euro crisis for a while, and this European Diary piece by Arthur Beesley in the Irish Times might help explain why. Welcome to Europe’s endless debt saga. Sunshine is a rare enough commodity in cloudy Brussels – and a downpour follows any glorious spell. The hunch must be, however, […] more »

Euro crisis: “It’s politics without policy choice…”

Tue 19 June 2012, 2:55pm
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Tweet The pressure is definitely beginning to tell on the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the G20 summit in Mexico.   No news yet from Greece, and the markets are still betting against Spain.  He may, as he claims, have a “vision of where we need to go“, or he may, as Michael White says, […] more »

“all participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity…”

Mon 18 June 2012, 6:41pm

Tweet As the Irish Times noted at the weekend, the Irish Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has been providing written answers to the Dáil about his trip to Chantilly, and his attendance at the 2012 Bilderberg Meeting.  Here’s his 13 June written answer on “Official Travel” Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan):   I attended the Bilderberg […] more »

“The JHA Council’s approach of 7 June represents a slap in the face of parliamentary democracy”

Thu 14 June 2012, 6:42pm
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Tweet If the euro crisis wasn’t enough of a concern for supporters of the European Project, the attempted reform of Schengen is causing another headache.  The European Parliament has now suspended co-operation with the European Council on five draft bills connected to border security “until a satisfactory outcome is achieved on Schengen governance.” The Conference of Presidents also decided […] more »

Euro crisis: “I am not sure whether the urgency of this is fully understood in all the capitals”

Wed 13 June 2012, 3:59pm
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Tweet It would be fair to say that there remains a difference in opinion of the correct response to the euro crisis.   The BBC quotes European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. European governments need to agree urgently on steps to forge a closer union because of the eurozone’s “systemic problem”, the head of the European […] more »

Euro crisis: “These are empty, senseless phrases, an abuse of language”

Tue 12 June 2012, 12:32pm
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Tweet In the Irish Times, Paddy Woodworth notes an all-too-familiar tale of political chutzpah in Europe [Nevermind closer to home! - Ed].  This time it’s the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his spin on that ‘magic bullet’.  From the Irish Times report The total reversal of his oft-stated conviction that no EU money was needed […] more »

Euro crisis: “A fiat currency backed by heterogeneous sovereigns is irremediably fragile…”

Wed 6 June 2012, 10:05pm
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Tweet The Financial Times’ chief economics commentator Martin Wolf was at the Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly this year too.  And on his return, as spotted by the Guardian’s eurozone crisis live-blog today, he has had this to say. How much pain can the countries under stress endure? Nobody knows. What would happen if a country left the eurozone? […] more »

Euro crisis: “Europe’s common currency is its formative element.”

Mon 4 June 2012, 5:32pm
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Tweet The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has a plan.  Or, at least, a timetable. Herman Van Rompuy told a news conference in St Petersburg, Russia that, by the next summit of EU leaders at the end of June, he and three other EU officials would present “the main building blocks for this deepened […] more »

Bilderberg 2012: “Like a corporate cross between Santa Claus and a big friendly squid.”

Fri 1 June 2012, 9:44pm

Tweet It’s just as well that Ireland said ‘Yes’ to the Fiscal Treaty.  I can only imagine the embarrassed silences Irish Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, would have experienced this weekend if the result had gone the other way.  Where is Michael?  He’s in the US.  Virginia, since you ask.  In Chantilly.  At the 60th annual […] more »

Spoilt Vote of the Day

Fri 1 June 2012, 2:29pm

Tweet As spotted by the Guardian Eurozone crisis live blog. John McGuirk @john_mcguirk Spoilt vote of the day. Let’s see if the embed works. more »

Bilderberg 2012: “Are you here for the brunch?”

Wed 30 May 2012, 6:01pm

Tweet The Guardian’s Charlie Skelton is in Chantilly, Virginia, ahead of the, whisper it, annual Bilderberg conference - “a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced”.  As he says at the Big G’s US News blog Everything’s set. The hotel is being primped and hoovered, the security […] more »

Fiscal Treaty Referendum: “the outcome is still in the hands of undecided voters”

Sun 27 May 2012, 12:36pm

Tweet Worth noting the result of the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll of voting intentions in Ireland’s European fiscal treaty referendum on Thursday.  From the Irish Times report Asked how they were likely to vote on the treaty, 39 per cent of voters said Yes, 30 per cent said No, 22 per cent said they did not know, […] more »

Euro crisis: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and it didn’t fall in a day either…”

Fri 25 May 2012, 3:21pm
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Tweet The eurozone crisis rumbles on, its democratic deficit intact, and Ireland’s Fiscal Treaty referendum approaches.  Time, then, for historian Michael Wood to go looking for some historical references… The British historian Gildas (c 500-570) in his diatribe against contemporary rulers in the early 500s, looking back over the story of the Fall of Roman […] more »

Euro crisis: “With that we buried the Maastricht Treaty, the legal basis for currency union”

Tue 22 May 2012, 3:32pm
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Tweet A couple of interesting reports in the Irish Times with relevance to the ongoing euro crisis.  First, from Derek Scally in Berlin …Mr Asmussen, a member of the ECB governing council, said growth measures – agreed without reopening the fiscal treaty – could help drive European integration. “The benefits of a currency union are […] more »

Euro crisis: “the quadriga is a perfect symbol of how confused and contested that project has become”

Sun 20 May 2012, 10:11pm
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Tweet Tim Garton Ash asked, “Who wishes to address the assembly?“.  Will Self has a point of view on the euro crisis and the European Project’s democratic deficit.  You can listen to his Radio 4 Point of View here.  From the accompanying BBC Magazine article That these same politicians were afflicted by a strange sort […] more »

Euro crisis: “Tis agoreuein bouletai?”

Thu 17 May 2012, 8:02pm
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Tweet At the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Tim Garton Ash is still a believer in the European Project but, probably, not an optimistic one.  As well as mentioning a familiar quote from Luxembourg’s Prime Minister he makes an important point, as Greece faces a democratic choice, again, that applies to the wider euro crisis.  From the Comment is Free article Greece’s […] more »

Greece: “good luck for the next restructuring…”

Tue 15 May 2012, 3:33pm

Tweet As the euro crisis rumbles on, confirmation, if any were needed, that Greece is, indeed, heading back to the polls.  You can follow further developments on the Guardian’s live-blog.  Meanwhile, having cajoled the vast majority of their private sector creditors into taking part in a bond swap deal in March, the Greek government [who? […] more »

Euro crisis: “Hold your sides and laugh out loud, otherwise you’ll have to cry.”

Fri 11 May 2012, 4:33pm
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Tweet Despite some optimistic noises overnight, it still seems more likely than not that Limbo Greece will face new elections.  As the Guardian live-blog noted earlier today The Democratic left party in Greece has said it will not back a pro-bailout government. That almost certainly means that Venizelos’s attempts to form a government coalition around agreement on the […] more »

Euro crisis: “Europe will be lucky if it ends up in stagnation like Japan for the next ten years”

Wed 9 May 2012, 8:38pm

Tweet Back in Limbo Greece, stage 2 in the 4-stage attempt to form a government with a parliamentary majority ends without agreement – as the BBC notes Mr Tsipras said he had failed to reach agreement with mainstream parties because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF as part of […] more »

Euro crisis: “Hollande is man of the moment, but Europe’s gaze is firmly fixed on Athens”

Tue 8 May 2012, 4:49pm
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Tweet As the Irish Times’ Arthur Beesley notes All of this puts Hollande’s push to renegotiate the treaty in the shade. German chancellor Angela Merkel was quick to rebut her new French partner yesterday, but that can be read as the opening gambit. Her staunch ally Nicolas Sarkozy has been deposed. She has no choice […] more »

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