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

Another view on Portugal

Some blog posts you read can totally change your perspetive on an issue and make you see things from a totally different angle and this is from Jon Worth is one of them and I wanted to bring it to your attention. “Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal’s anti-euro Left banned from power” screamed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Daily Telegraph on Friday last week. The Telegraph even followed up with a piece about why Portugal’s situation was a threat to everyone … Read more

Portugal’s Constitutional Crisis: Is the EU now politically bankrupt?

Portugal has been in the news over the past few days as there has been a growing constitutional crisis over the President’s refusal to appoint a left wing coalition in place of the current Social Democratic (Conservatives) government. Speaking about the crisis the current President, Anibal Cavaco Silva said; In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal … 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

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

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 report from Standard & Poor, “European Sovereign Creditworthiness Might Diminish If Eurosceptics Take Power”.  From the Irish Times report In a report assessing the rise … Read more

The Corporation Tax cut experiment – lessons learned from The Azores

The rocky outcrop of The Azores has been talked about more than is usual in Northern Ireland in recent months and years.  This isn’t due to its sudden explosion in popularity as a holiday destination for the good burghers of Ulster, but because of a 2006 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.  This decision concerned Portugal allowing its autonomous regions to reduce the rate of personal and corporate taxes by 30%, which the territory of The … Read more

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

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 bailout terms are dashed and that the country will face fresh elections In the meantime, there are still a few days left to catch eurosceptic Michael Portillo’s … Read more

Euro crisis: April is the cruellest month…

Apart from all the others…  And it doesn’t matter how big your umbrella is.  BBC Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, on springtime in Europe What is being exposed is a major flaw with Mrs Merkel’s fiscal pact. It is undemocratic. It ties the hands of future governments – and that, of course, was its intention but it doesn’t stop voters opposing further cuts. In the eurozone, deficits are being reduced. But debt – in many cases – is still growing. Growth … Read more

Euro crisis: “It is nice to have a big umbrella…”

The Guardian’s Economics blog starts with an interesting observation Those who watched Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund a year ago say he played a blinder. Although he was to leave Washington under a cloud shortly afterwards, DSK impressed with his no-nonsense approach to his fellow Europeans. The IMF‘s managing director asked Jean-Claude Trichet, then president of the European Central Bank (ECB), and Christine Lagarde, at the time France’s finance minister, who they thought they … Read more

Euro crisis: “Barroso absolutely confident that Spain can meet its economic challenges.”

With Spain probably in recession, again, and the cost of its government borrowing topping 6%, again, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso is being ridiculed for his optimistic futuring.  As the Guardian’s Eurozone crisis live-blog notes European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has just been quizzed about the eurozone crisis, at a summit on sustainable energy. Barroso attempted to calm fears, telling his audience that he is “absolutely confident that Spain can meet its econonic challenges”. Alas, Barroso didn’t explain … Read more

Euro crisis: “The worst, I fear, still lies ahead.”

In a recent column in the FT, Wolfgang Münchau asked an interesting question [free reg req] The markets have concluded that the eurozone crisis has ended. Several politicians said that they, too, believed that the worst was over. Complacency is back. I recall similar utterances in the past. Whenever there is some technical progress – an umbrella, a liquidity injection, a successful debt swap – optimism returns. If you think the European Central Bank’s policies have “bought time”, you should … Read more

Euro crisis: “by the fifth instalment producers have to ramp up the violence and special effects.”

There have been some choice quotes flying around as the Greek government neared the 8pm deadline for securing sufficient private sector creditor involvement in their bond swap deal [and convincing Frau Bundeskanzlerin – Ed].  Like this quote from the Guardian live-blog at 6.59pm “if it closes at more than 90% its a triumph,” one well-briefed government official said. “If it’s above 75% its relatively good, if it’s lower than that we’re fucked,” he added saying the effects on market psychology would … Read more

Euro crisis: “Anyone who claims to know what is about to happen to Europe is a fool.”

In the Guardian, Simon Jenkins identifies a key point missing from most analysis of the aftermath of the EU crisis summit.  From the Guardian article Anyone who claims to know what is about to happen to Europe is a fool. An unprecedented collapse in world credit has hit against years of reckless state borrowing to produce economic meltdown. Where there is economic meltdown, there is always a danger of political meltdown. While all other sciences have advanced over the ages, … Read more

Euro crisis: “it is time to send for the Borg…”

You can follow the latest developments in the eurozone crisis at the Guardian’s live-Business blog as pressure mounts on Italian Prime Minister designate, Mario Monti – who was nominated to replace Silvio Berlusconi three days after the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano, appointed Monti a Lifetime Senator.  From his Wikipedia entry In 2007, Monti was one of the first supporters of the first European civic forum, Etats Généraux de l’Europe, initiated by European think tank EuropaNova and European Movement. In December 2009, he … Read more

Sarkozy: “We will fight to defend Europe and the euro”

With apologies to Moochin, here’s the real POTD [of the week? – Ed] when the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, had his card marked at Cannes by Frau Bundeskanzlerin.  Via Daniel Hannan at the Telegraph blog. Italy have called in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but no money has changed hands, according to Berlusconi… Answering questions at a press conference in Cannes this afternoon, Mr Berlusconi said he had no intention of resigning and did not believe his time in government was coming … Read more

Euro crisis: “It is easy sometimes to exaggerate the impact of street protests.”

With the G20 finance ministers meeting in Paris to ponder the eurozone debt crisis, time for a quick look at how the PIIGS are doing…  Now that Slovakia has, finally, acquiesced to the inadequate European financial stability facility…  At the cost to the Slovakian government of a general election in March 2012… In Portugal the government is seeking to tighten the austerity belt further, and the international rating agencies cut Spain’s credit rating.  The Guardian’s Jon Henley is on a “Europe on the breadline” … Read more

Jean-Claude Juncker: “The Eurogroup is working on a proposal, which I hope all eurozone member states will be happy with”

A quick update from Brussels on the crisis in the euro-zone where Finland’s demand for collateral in return for financial aid to Greece is, as the New York Times reported, threatening the “fragile consensus”.  [Offer them an island or two! – Ed]  I don’t think that would cover it… The BBC reports that European Central Bank (ECB) president, Jean-Claude Trichet, wants European governments to get back to work quickly. “The full and timely implementation of the July 21 agreement between heads … Read more

Euro crisis: Back from the brink?

Well, perhaps…  Eurozone leaders emerged from their emergency summit yesterday offering a new €109billion bail-out for Greece with twice as long to pay it back [30 years] at a lower interest rate than before.  It’s a “restricted default event”, according to ratings agency Fitch.  The draft agreement in full is here [pdf file]. Ireland and Portugal get an interest rate cut too – Karl Whelan’s busy at Irish Economy calculating what it means for Ireland.  But the private sector involvement in Greece … Read more

Barroso: “Nobody should be under any illusion: the situation is very serious”

Everyone’s got something to say ahead of tomorrow’s emergency EU summit on the existential European debt crisis.  Whether you believe any of them is another matter entirely… Taoiseach Enda Kenny is echoing Frau Bundeskanzlerin. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is also hopeful that Ireland will be on the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting. However, in a statement issued today, Mr Kenny said he did not believe the meeting would solve all of the euro zone’s problems. “The crisis in the euro area … Read more

Euro crisis: “everything those leaders have done, after large amounts of dithering, has ended up making the situation worse.”

That’s the BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders quoted above, by the way.  Which brings me back to Thursday’s emergency summit called by European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy “Our agenda will be the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and the future financing of the Greek programme,” said Mr Van Rompuy in a brief statement last night. [Friday 15th July] Perhaps…  But Frau Bundeskanzlerin, who reportedly wasn’t as keen on the summit being called, has been playing down expectations … Read more