Posts Tagged ‘EU’

Slight Optimism and Strong Scepticism

September 13, 2010

Today in FT Wolfgang Muenchau claims that ‘A Eurozone banking crisis left unresolved’. (FT, Monday September 13, 2010). He concludes: ‘Two years after Lehman’s collapse, the fragility of the European banking sector is still an issue. I would bet we are still talking about it in five years. That, in turn, means the financial crisis will go on and on, at least in the eurozone’.

That doesn’t sound very promising for Greece at a time when George Papakonstantinou -the finance minister- is arranging a delegation with officials from EU, IMF and ECB to meet investors in Paris, London and Frankfurt. Greece needs to convince potential investors that confidence in the country should be revived. The bail-out package ends in 2013 and there is not enough time. Although the fiscal adjustment programme is going well perhaps further structural programmes are still needed. Just one week ago the Greek PM, George Papandreou, reshuffled his cabinet. Old Emperor with new Clothes? I do not know. But, it seems, not only to me, that he is still determined to try hard. Time will tell….

Need to rescue the Euro-dream?

May 19, 2010

If Europe is meant to survive and develop, it is not only Europe itself but Japan and US as well that are about to celebrate. To celebrate what? The continuation of a dream, the maintenance of a hope that internationalism, international legal order and co-operation between nations can survive. Is that true? For Gideon Rachman (FT, 18th May 2010) both Japan and US (under Obama’s administration)  are (or were?) keen supporters of the ‘European Idea’. Is this belief to the ‘new world order’ as inspired by Europe to pass away due to recent economic crisis? Definitely saving the Eurozone is of first priority but to do so the restructure of the European governance is essential. It is not any rescue package (or bail-out if we prefer) that can provide a long-term solution to the problem. Before (or even after…)  we rescue the economies we need to rescue the dream, the European dream….

Bail-out for Greece but still no hope?

April 14, 2010

I am just repeating what Wolfgang Muenchau writes in FT this week: ‘…..(Greece) has a weak fiscal infrastructure; a low consensus in society in favour of deep reforms; and a fragile financial system’. His scepticism insists and  is spead over his view about an effective European resolution regime.  I do not want to deal with economics but only with the point on the ‘low consensus’. The absolute lack of an effective Greek civil society is the main obstacle, I think, what makes the consensus impossible, what drives the hope backwards. No hope, no sense of purpose…….

Some reading today

March 30, 2010

– From the Economist (latest issue): ‘Forget core against periphery in Europe: the true divide is north against south’.  And it goes on: ‘…no economy, north or south, can be considered peripheral’. My question: Is probably the term ‘semi-peripheral EU’, more applicable and/or more pragmatic?

– Wolfgang Muenchau in FT today (29/03) seems to be very sceptical over the ’emergency funding agreement’ of Greece. He stresses the existing lack of an effective EU mechanism -powerful enough to resolve the problems deriving from the eurozone’s imbalances. My comment: Too late for optimism, too early for pessimism…Hmmm What I would like to think about is whether such ‘agreements’ can have a positive impact upon the minds of the people. Being European is not only about ‘think European  but also about ‘feel European’. Can such agreements boost the European feeling? Only time can tell.

Greece’s ‘death’ and EU’s ‘rebirth’

March 27, 2010


Following the news on Greece’s current crisis I am wondering what kind of lesson can be learnt. Is Greece becoming the driving force for deeper European integration? After all:                                                                                                                  

 1. the suggestion about the initiation of the European Monetary Fund -no matter how realistic – seems to attract some interest ( and opposition of course)

2. Van Rompuy is offered the chance for an enhanced status and reputation (so….does the Lisbon Treaty matter?)

3. antieuropean voices get the chance to be justified (oh yes, they have a good case study now)

4. proeuropean voices get the chance to raise the old arguments on ‘common destiny’ (EMU  ‘was far more than a monetary arrangement….was a community that shares a common destiny’ Mr Trichet said on Thursday night)

5. Germany and France redirect their roles (or stabilise them) in the continent (and not only?)

6. limits in EU are openly recognised (but recognition is about autognosis and therefore the beginning point of systematic re-orientation of aims etc) 

7. defense mechanisms for saving the traumatised economies, designing common strategies and  taking collective action are studied on daily basis. The question ‘to be or not to be European?’ is a real one and so challenging

8. Finally the weakest of all Piigs states (Greece) has an unmissable opportunity (quite late of course): to open a deep dialogue with itself and answer the long awaiting questions such as: ‘where to?, ‘why?, ‘How did we get here?’.