After Greece – where now for Cameron’s negotiating?

Donald Tusk has improved his English lately, which may have something to do with his employing of an Ulster-born speech-writer. The former Prime Minister of Poland took-over from Herman “damp-rag” Van Rompuy as the President of the Council of the EU last year, this was the job once sought by Tony Blair, but no British candidate had been in the picture this time around. Tusk made an executive decision in the early hours of last Sunday morning to cancel the … Read more

Greek deal: This Is NOT a Coup

Whether the Syriza-led government of Greece survives its own domestic democratic pressures remains to be seen following the deal struck at the Eurozone summit yesterday – in the end the 28 EU leaders didn’t have to meet…  The Guardian live-blog on the Greek crisis notes one possible scenario Analysts at Eurasia Group suspect Greece could soon head towards a national unity government, if many government MPs refuse to back the bailout deal on Wednesday night. If Tsipras loses his majority and potentially even … Read more

European Council President on Greek Crisis: “the final deadline ends this week”

Following what the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is reported to have described as a “very long, intensive”, “very clear and candid discussion” at the emergency summit of Eurozone leaders in Brussels tonight, some details are emerging of the next steps in the continuing Greek crisis.  From the Guardian’s live blog. Europe has given Athens one last chance to produce a credible economic reform plan that could underpin a new bailout.  It has also threatened that Greece will leave the Eurozone … Read more

Greek Referendum: “a chunk of undecided voters to fight over.”

Via the Guardian’s Greece crisis blog.   Another wrinkle for the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, and those agitating on their behalf, to contemplate ahead of the controversial, and confused, on/off/on 5 July referendum in Greece. GPO poll Yes 47.1% No 43.2% Undecided 6.3% (via @euro2day_gr) #Greferendum #Greece #politics — MacroPolis (@MacroPolis_gr) July 1, 2015 Pete Baker

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

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 the weekend.  From the BBC article Voters go to the polls for the Greek referendum. — Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) June 29, 2015 Here’s the … Read more

More Greek gamesmanship…

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 criticism of the 2011 proposed referendum, with compliments. — Finisterre67 (@Finisterre67) June 27, 2015 With the new manoeuvre almost certainly designed to short-circuit the … Read more

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

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” after receiving complaints from the Spanish and Portuguese authorities, but not before those governments had responded in kind. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hit back … Read more

Is Eurozone membership slowly strangling the Greek economy?

In these digital days it is far easier to foment a revolution than it is to find the means to sustain one. That may or may not been the the Greek Syriza party has to learn in the coming weeks. Hanging hard against German based technocrats may yet pull off some important concessions, but without cash (or rather the means to raise sufficient cash) the Greeks face a hard road to stay inside the Eurozone. Cormac Lucey, returning to the basic problem … Read more

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

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 of the various Eurosceptic and anti-establishment parties across Europe [Who “will ultimately chose financial and macroeconomic stability over revolution? – Ed].  Perhaps… Firstly, domestic democratic pressures … Read more

Cyprus: So what happens next?

The Guardian’s still live-blogging, for now, in the aftermath of Cyprus’ parliament’s rejection of an, albeit amended, EU/IMF cunning plan bail-out which included the public seizure levying of €5.8billion from private depositors in Cypriot banks – 36 votes against, 19 abstentions, none in favour.  The paper’s economics editor, Larry Elliot, answers the title question …there are really only two plausible scenarios: somebody – be it Europe or the IMF – gives Cyprus more money, in which case there is a chance that the crisis … Read more

Italy: “Unless of course all polls and projections so far turn out to be wrong …”

They’re still counting the votes in Italy…  But the early projections are contradicting exit polls predicting, as the Guardian reported, “strong support for alliance led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic party and bloody nose for Mario Monti”.  Not contradicting the bloody nose for the Borg Mario Monti, that is.  But Silvio Berlusoni’s centre-right alliance seems to be edging ahead in the Senate, at least… The Guardian is live-blogging the actual results as they come in.  Here’s their latest post to date Before … Read more

Italy: “History risks repeating itself…”

The BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt has been looking to Italy ahead of a general election brought 2 months early after Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew support for Mario Monti’s technocratic government – voting begins on Sunday.  The FT notes that Strong, stable government will be needed to continue the reform process put in place by Mr Monti’s technocrats, and to argue in Brussels for more growth-oriented policies and a possible relaxation of fiscal deficit targets. However, the worst-case scenario emerging from … Read more

Nobel Peace Prize 2012: “What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy…”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has done it again…  This time they have decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU).  *shakes head* As a sceptical Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes at the Telegraph blog The EU’s high priests draw on a caricature version of history that must be challenged. The post-war national democracies – nurtured by the Marshall Plan, Nato, and benign American influence, nota bene – are not the problem, they are the … Read more

Euro crisis: “This time it’s really, really serious…”

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is off to Greece for “a regular meeting” with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.  His first visit to Athens since June 2009.  Meanwhile, the rising cost of Spanish and Italian Government borrowing has prompted a declaration of intent from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. “To the extent that the size of these sovereign premia hamper the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channel, they come within our mandate,” Mr Draghi said in a speech at the Global … Read more

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

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, that Vitamin D levels are at an all-time low in the euro trouble crowd. After all, the general routine these days involves hundreds if not thousands … Read more

A well performing adjustment programme?

As Mick has noted, the news coming from the latest in a long line of EU economic crisis summits appears to be good for the Irish government. The rather terse statement issued at 4 am this morning is being pored over by economists as if it were some Joycean text, but it is pretty light on detail. Despite the limited information available, RTE are taking the throaty enthusiasm of An Taoiseach at face value and are fairly happy that the state … 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

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

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 meeting in Westfield Marriot, Chantilly, Virginia, USA, from 1 to 3 June 2012. I, like a number of my European colleagues (both Ministers and EU Commissioners), … 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