Wolfgang Münchau :”those in Ireland in favour of EU membership should give some thought to what could go wrong”

Possibly related to my previous post…  The Irish Times republishes an interesting article by Wolfgang Münchau in the FT.  He starts with Brexit, and a necessary new direction of travel for the UK economy… There is a risk that Brexit and the associated change in model business will go wrong. Brexit is not necessarily a bad decision. But it requires the right kind of policies to work. The British prime minister is right to balance a hard Brexit with a shift … Read more

The Irish can show the English how to handle nationalism better in post-Brexit Europe

The temptation is strong to go apocalyptic over Brexit. A slightly poorer UK with the threat of fragmentation hanging over it is not the ideal backdrop for stability on Northern Ireland. But here’s a thought. Why not set good example? After all, our experience of instability is unrivalled in modern western Europe. We know the score. Let’s pick our way  through Stephen Collins’ prophetic piece in the Irish Times . There is  some irony in the fact that on the … Read more

Portugal – Redux: “I’m less heartened by the way in which individuals misinterpret other countries’ politics to prove particular political points.”

Make that individuals and political parties… Like David, Sinn Féin had another go at framing the narrative over recent events in Portugal. Unlike David, they didn’t reverse ferret totally change their perspective after reading a random blog post… The initial charge (24 Oct) from the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, TD, was that “Events in Portugal expose anti-democratic nature of EU” …in Portugal we are witnessing the makings of a genuine coup with the unwillingness of the establishment there to … Read more

“in which case, may I be the first to say well done Gerry.”

Aided and abetted by the right-wing nationalists of the Independent Greeks, Alexis Tsipras has been returned to power in Greece at the head of a New Syriza “experiment” to implement the EU bail-out, and associated austerity measures, that the Old Syriza experiment was once elected to oppose.  Given the contortions Tsipras has put his party, and his country, through it was interesting to see the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, quick off the mark to congratulate Tsipras [on his chutzpah? – … Read more

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 lose lose for Europe

I have always tried to avoid making predictions as unlike Mr. Ashdown, I have few hats and no desire to devour any of them. It does seem, however, as though the Greek population have rejected the terms of the latest bailout. The saga of the Greek Eurozone experiment and its travails seems to have gone on rather longer than the Trojan War. How one analyses the blame depends to a large extent on one’s views on economics and the whole … Read more

“Greece today is angry and fearful, divided and conflicted, and will still be after Sunday’s vote.”

With Sunday’s controversial, and confused, Greek referendum clearing its constitutional test in the courts, the Guardian Data Blog rounds-up the polls – as of 12.34pm Friday.  The then-live-blog added An Ipsos poll just released shows the referendum on a knife-edge. It has yes on 44% and no one point behind on 43%, with 12% still undecided. The number of undecided respondents underscores the significant potential for volatility, Ipsos said, describing the referendum as “too close to call”. The poll is the fifth … 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 pic.twitter.com/xJRr3K2uAC — MacroPolis (@MacroPolis_gr) July 1, 2015 Pete Baker

“In both camps the eurozone crisis is met with a hint of relish…”

Rafael Behr in the Guardian is worth reading on so many levels… There is blame enough for everyone. Alexis Tsipras’s promise to the Greek people of euro membership without austerity was dishonest. Other European leaders were constrained by their own democratic obligations. There are citizens from Ireland to Latvia who have already swallowed bitter reforming medicine and paid taxes that fund bailouts. They resent Athens threatening to destabilise their economies with demands for special treatment. This is not to say … Read more

Is the Greek crisis running an important political counterfactual on Ireland’s ‘nightmare bailout’?

I have to say that I take a rather different view from Paul on Ireland and the current phase of the Eurocrisis. Like all wicked problems, it is one replete with all sorts of layers and the Grexit issue is only one in a long line of thorny issues that will have to be dealt with. If there is a value in the comparison with Thatcher it might be between Tspiras and Arthur Scargill. You cannot fail to sympathise with the … Read more

“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. pic.twitter.com/xpp3OWEvgX — 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. pic.twitter.com/TIqQ10ZAdp — Finisterre67 (@Finisterre67) June 27, 2015 With the new manoeuvre almost certainly designed to short-circuit the … Read more

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

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 theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government are being treated to a practical lesson in hard-ball negotiations by the IMF.  As the Guardian’s Larry Elliott … Read 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 bundle all four of its June payments together in one easy €1.5billion payment by 30 June might help.  30 June, according to the BBC report, is the … Read more

In the teeth of an election is Germany finally relenting on domestic austerity?

So, having finally balanced its own budget in 2014, Schaeuble finally seems ready to start re-investing in Germany’s ‘crumbling’ infrastructure: German federal government said on Tuesday that it would spend an additional 5 billion euros (about 5.59 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to help local communities improve infrastructure and boost investment. The additional spending on top of a 10-billion-euro investment plan announced by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble last year would not affect Germany’s strict fiscal principle, … 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

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between euro zone finance ministers, the euro group said that the proposal was “sufficiently comprehensive” to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of … 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