Tag Archives | Europe

“For those who can’t read Greekdebtspeak, well, you’re on your own”

Greek Referendum Question 5 July 2015

With European leaders, including Syriza’s erstwhile ally the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning Greek voters that they will be, effectively, deciding whether or not they want to stay in the eurozone, the BBC takes a side-ways look at the wording of the controversial 5 July referendum the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras suddenly announced at more…

More Greek gamesmanship…

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With the Greek Parliament, and Greece’s creditors in Europe and elsewhere, discussing the latest sudden manoeuvre by the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, via the Guardian’s live-blog, here’s a reminder of Alexis Tspiras’ criticism of ex-PM George Papandreou’s, failed, attempt to hold a similar referendum in 2011. @graemewearden A transcript of @atsipras‘s scathing more…

Cartoon – “Sinn Fexit”?

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Talk is of Grexit and the latest from Tsipras is, “wife will leave if I surrender to Europe.” The Greek leader isn’t the only one at the centre of an impasse exercise his spouse’s bidding.

IMF to Tsipras: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

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After more of the familiar lies and misdirection yesterday, there were some optimistic noises from Brussels last night as the leaders of Germany, France and Greece met on the side-lines of the EU-Latin America summit.  They were short-lived. Having tried to play the International Monetary Fund, and its managing director, Christine Lagarde, last week, the game more…

“Greece is joining a fairly exclusive club…”

Which ‘club’, exactly, remains to be seen…  If you’ve been having trouble following the twists and turns and lies and misdirection of the on-going Greek financial crisis [Join the club! – Ed] *ahem*  Perhaps some notes on Greece’s Syriza-led Government’s latest reverse-ferret decision to delay Friday’s €300m (£216m) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund, and more…

In case you missed the eclipse…

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Or, like me, cloud cover obscured the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015.  Here’s probably the best view of this morning’s event, from ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 mini-satellite.  [Image credit: ESA/ROB] And via ESA on YouTube. As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside more…

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Belfast UK 2015 Mar 20

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be more…

Jean-Claude Juncker: “[Tsipras] must explain that some of the promises upon which he was elected will not be honoured…”

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As Mick has noted, at the weekend the under-pressure new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took undiplomatic aim at the governments of Spain and Portugal [But not Ireland! – Ed] in an attempt to explain the outcome of European negotiations to his Syriza party coalition. The European Commission has been quick to step in to act as a “mediator” more…

“…complex issues cannot always be addressed via online petitions.”

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Sinn Féin, and others, agitating on behalf of “the Syriza experiment” following the recent elections in Greece, has more to do with positioning to blame the current Irish Government for the likely outcome [added link] than any professed desire for a resolution in Ireland’s favour. But there are a few things to note about the rise more…

“Sunday’s election could be a significant day for Europe…”

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The campaign may have resembled a “political circus”, but Sunday’s general election in Greece could see the leftist Syriza, led by former communist Alexis Tsipras, emerge as the leading party – but in search of a partner-in-government [We’ve been there before! – Ed].  Indeed.  Although, they could still achieve a majority… In the meantime, the Irish Times highlights a more…

“The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too”

The Guardian’s editorial on the Stormont House Agreement has some pertinent things to note about Northern Ireland’s latest deal.  Although, if, as they claim, “the glass is half-full” it is also, by definition, half-empty.  From the Guardian editorial The talks came very close, after 11 weeks of discussion, to falling apart, as earlier efforts under the more…

Cameron’s EU defeat: maybe De Gaulle was right all along

David Cameron’s failure to defeat the candidature of Jean-Claude Juncker has been variously described as a humiliation, a catastrophe for Britain, and an example of Cameron’s principle and European leaders cowardice. The Guardian’s Toby Helm has possibly the best analysis of what actually happened, why and how. It seems relatively few EU leaders were keen more…

D Day and Europe’s Long Peace

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of D Day. I am always humbled to hear the stories of those men who went ashore that day. They speak of the horror, not of any glory of war, but what that generation was forced to achieve and did so was truly heroic. The first big commemoration I remember more…

Irish and English election results so different, so much the same

Similar trends and outcomes are apparent when the British and Irish elections results are compared. They are of course part of a common European picture. But the immediate effect on the coalition governments  at Westminster and in Leinster House differs. The Irish coalition is rocking. The Irish Times is even speculating that pressure from Labour may more…

Unelected EU Commissioner says 75% of our laws are made in Brussels

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Further to my piece about the European Free Alliance (SNP / Plaid) claiming 70% of our daily lives are governed by rules from the EU a video on Vimeo has European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding claiming 75% of laws originate from the EU.   Elected MEPs cannot initiate legislation, propose legislation or even repeal legislation. All more…

“What has changed is that it is a clear message to the people of Northern Ireland that NI21 is a cross-community party…”

According to a BBC report, the NI21 party executive has announced a policy change on the eve of the party’s first foray into an actual election.  From the BBC report NI21 has announced it will change its designation at the Northern Ireland Assembly from unionist to ‘other’. The party’s executive took the decision ahead of more…

“this month you will see a kind of victory for the Eurosceptics…”

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Ahead of the EU-wide parliamentary elections, a much needed overview from BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt of the state of the European Project and its extant political trilemma.  From Gavin Hewitt’s article Unless the polls are very wrong, sometime next weekend Europe will learn that at least a quarter of the seats in the next more…