Posts Tagged ‘EU’

To ask ..or not to ask..

June 6, 2012

Questions among -not only- Greeks these days:

  • Will a stable government stem from the elections on June 17th?
  • Are the Greeks ready for making an alternative (radical left) choice?
  • Is the above choice a rational one?
  • Is there really an alternative choice in Greece? …….Greece?…..Which Greece?
  • Could a disorderly Greek exit cause a contagion and destabilisation in EU? ………EU? …….Which EU?

 

 

When Democracy, Sovereignty and ‘well-being’ collide

June 1, 2012

Daniel Gros at Project Syndicate raises the point of the ‘sovereign debt’ vs. the ‘sovereignty of the people’.

 

The broader message from the Greek and French elections is that the attempt to impose a benevolent creditors’ dictatorship is now being met by a debtors’ revolt. Financial markets have reacted as strongly as they have because investors recognize that the “sovereign” in sovereign debt is an electorate that can simply decide not to pay.

This is already the case in Greece, but the fate of the euro will be decided in the larger, systemically important countries like Italy and Spain. Only determined action by their governments, supported by their citizens, will show that they merit unreserved support from the rest of the eurozone. At this point, nothing less can save the common currency.

Far Right in Europe

June 1, 2012

An interesting discussion debate yesterday evening at BISC. Me and two colleagues tried to define the reasons behind the rise of the Far Right in Europe today and to identify common principles among the European far right movements/parties/groups.

Interesting questions that were raised (not necessarily followed by answers though). I have to further think about the following and more…

 

  • Can we compare the inter-war conditions (social/economic/political) with the ones in Europe today?
  • Is the economic/social/political crisis in Europe also a crisis of representation?
  • Has the rise of Far Right in Europe –and particularly its expression through electoral results -become the triumph of Pluralism- central principle of democratic politics-?
  • Does Fascism express the very pathogenesis of democratic politics?
  • Is demagogic populism the product of a failed liberalism?
  • What does the constant effort of the Far Right movements/parties to label themselves as non-fascist suggest for their epistemological categorization?

….and many others……and last but not least

Is the present European crisis providing the greatest devices for the development of the Far Right’s tactics and strategies?

Our discussion goes on…

Much ado about Nothing

February 16, 2012

During the last months I am contemplating -me and the rest of the Greeks alike – the default of the Greek economy as a pragmatic scenario. And, instantly I become more European, thus even more sceptical about the whole European project, I realise its fragile character and its only certain dimension: its uncertainty.

Martin Wolf in today’s FT

..’The Eurozone is in a form of limbo: it is neither so deeply integrated that break-up is unconceivable, nor so lightly integrated that break-up is tolerable’…

En attendant…….?

November 5, 2011

George Papandreou’s risky gamble re referrendum has backfired. Although he was still able to get a vote of confidence yesterday, the political landscape in Greece will soon change under the new government of national unity soon to be formed.

lessons?

  • when we are called to take action, i.e. to choose and directly express our support or opposition, we are hesitant and step back. Choice demands action, and action demands responsibility…
  • Mr Samaras, New Democracy’s leader, has been constantly opposed the EU-IMF reform programme. He now expects the call of elections as if he is ready to oppose all the programmes, the implementation of which is necessary if we do not wish the default scenario to come true. He did not even attend the (possibly last one under his current position) Papandreou’s speech in the Parliament yesterday.  Neither did the rest of New Democracy parliamentarians, continuing to demonstrate a well-known behaviour driven by personal or party’s interests. Is Roubini right in his suggestions about the opposition party?
  • The Greek leftist parties continue to reject facing the reality and making viable propositions about what to be done.
  • Greece’s credibility has been traumatised, although there are voices around celebrating Papadreou’s decision to let people decide. But he has already infuriated his partners in and outside Greece.
  • EU’s credibility is also at stake. Big questions on the very nature of the state, sovereignty and democracy still remain open. And when the European weakest link is able to put the world markets in turbulence for 24 hours, it is obvious that the cloud of uncertainty does not only surround Greece…

‘B’ for Beijing but not …for Brussels

September 22, 2011

Nouriel Roubini in yesterday’s FT argued that Greece should both default and exit the eurozone.

Martin Wolf today in the same paper states that ‘..once the taboo is broken, the possibility of exit must be examined‘.

Greece is not the only passenger on the Eurozone’s boat…and the boat is sinking. I am not sure if the boat lacks a good captain but certainly something is going wrong with its compass…the orientation system does not seem to have worked so far.

And for those ones who wonder whether China can provide the much needed compass I am just providing Yao Yang‘s words in today’s FT:

As seen from Beijing, the euro is a European affair. And the Europeans will have to correct their own mistakes.

 

Europe, History and (Ir)responsibility

March 29, 2011

Since the very start, Europe has been on the wrong side of the Arab uprisings.

Prospect Magazine raises the following question. Europe: on the wrong side of history?

My points:

  • Is Europe well prepared to restore order in Libya?
  • Is the EU well prepared to stabilise the unstable?
  • Is UK making a serious effort to lead the way proving that it still matters in the international scene?
  • Is France making an effort to prove that EU is not just a Franco-German diktat?
  • Is the British and French collective action in Libya a sign that EU is about rising ‘groups’ within the ‘Group’?
  • Does Europe has a solid history understanding (and memory)? (It is said that when you do not remember history, you tend to repeat the mistakes of the past…..)

R2P but how?

March 1, 2011
According to the Economist (latest issue February 26-March 4 2011) Europe must do more to support the Arab democracy, or, the struggle for Arab democracy. Should Europe, now, just now, express any kind of responsibility to protect and help the Arab struggles for freedom and democracy?
History repeats itself. R2P or the Responsibility to Protect raises so many questions about the How, Who, When to help and  how exactly to restore the order.
I don’t know if Europe can take such a responsibility now, it would be though a good chance for Lady Ashton to make her name more memorable.
But I think I am going to agree with Gideon Rachman in the FT today. The external assistance may help in short term. But in long term stability and peace  in the region should be chosen, determined and protected by ordinary citizens and not by outside powers.

Hungary and democracy

January 30, 2011

Since 1st January 2011 Hungary holds the presidency of the European Union for 6 months. Hungary is supposed to be the model member state and promote the image of the EU as a whole. In December 2010 the government passed a new media legislation that places print, broadcast and online media under the supervision of a new authority powerful to impose fines for violating ‘public interest, public morals or order’ .

Is the freedom of speech likely to become a victim? Let’s hope that the new implementations will be watched closely by Brussels and that we will not talk about traumatized liberal values in an EU country that is supposed to lead the way for six months….

 

Ireland: echo of the Greek story?

November 20, 2010

Talks between the Dublin, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF are continuing regarding a bail-out that will help the Irish government to deal with public finances and stabilise economy. Another sovereign crisis in EU? Another trauma for the Union? Let’s hope that this is all about lessons to be learnt so that the Union gradually emerges stronger than ever…