“creating consistency between each of the devolved institutions across the United Kingdom”

While the bullshit distraction that is the DUP/Sinn Féin “Building a United Community” paper [pdf file] was being paraded across the airwaves last week – Think of it as a revamped Contested Space Programme [Don’t tell the International Fund for Ireland – Ed], pre-empting consultation on area-based planning, and Girdwood times 10.  [And another non-working working group? – Ed]  With 3 representatives from the DUP, 3 from Sinn Féin and 2 each from the other 3 Executive parties… ANYhoo…  The NI …

Read more…

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

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, be sticking his head in the sand.  In any case, at Crooked Timber Niamh Hardiman has been looking more closely at the end-game for the political trilemma. …

Read more…

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

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 to remove from the July plenary session agenda the Carlos Coelho report on a proposal for a Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism and the Renate Weber …

Read more…

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

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 Commission says. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for a “vision of where we need to go”. “I am not sure whether the urgency of this …

Read more…

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

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 by the Spanish banks became the vindication of his strategic abilities. Flying in the face of well-documented alternative accounts of events, he insisted that it was …

Read more…

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

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 economic and monetary union” and “a working method to achieve this objective”. “In those building blocks, banking integration is an important chapter… I will deal at …

Read more…

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

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 Britain, lists the military failures, but behind them he speaks bitterly of a loss of nerve and direction, a failure of “group feeling”. Gildas talks about …

Read more…

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

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 so outstanding that they should be stabilised by deepening, which means a fiscal union and banking union as well as a democratic legitimised political union,” said …

Read more…

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

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 of doublethink – both aspiring towards unity, and desperate for their own nationalistic electorates to preserve the substance of their sovereignties – was and is the …

Read more…