François Hollande launched a three-pronged attack on Britain saying that Europe would survive without the UK, while claiming David Cameron risked splintering the EU and that his austerity policies were failing.
In a marathon press conference just shy of three hours, the embattled Socialist President promised to “go on the offensive” in year two of his five-year mandate with France sinking into recession and enduring record unemployment levels. Continue reading
(ANSAmed) – Rome, May 15 – Italy’s foreign minister Emma Bonino has called for a ‘United States of Europe’.
“I am a confirmed federalist and so is this government,” Bonino said on Wednesday.
“Our objective remains the United States of Europe” and “a system that guarantees major results and also savings in the area of defence, research, major infrastructure and obviously foreign policy”. Continue reading
Experts and analysts always say China, but it’s the one you never see coming that hits the hardest. They likely do not account for the fact that China, although ‘rising’, is not trusted throughout the world and will likely have a limited role instead of a leading one on the world stage because of this.
On the other hand, Germany’s stranglehold on and ever-growing control of the EU (the world’s largest economy) is also not accounted for. Couple that with the misguided appearance of being 100% pacifist since the second World War, yet it’s the third largest arms exporter in the world, you can give the upper hand to Germany. It’s a highly overlooked and dismissed fact.
BERLIN (Own report) – The EU crisis is causing a serious weakening of the EU’s foreign policy, concluded a recent study published by the Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. Not only are the member states’ financial outlays for foreign and military activities clearly diminishing, due to leeway shrinkage caused by budget cuts, but “conflicts between member states have grown” around how to handle the crisis, according to the SWP. This has stifled “joint foreign policy initiatives.” The think tank points out that the enduring crisis and the hard-line German austerity dictate have damaged the prestige of the EU and, therefore, also severely tarnished its global “soft power.” Particularly damaging are the cuts in the military sector, even ranging up to 30 percent reductions in defense spending of the smaller and medium sized EU countries, jeopardizing their long term capability of participation in EU wars. The option of instrumentalizing a common EU foreign and military policy, to reinforce German clout and eventually promote it to world power status, had always been an important motive in Berlin for the buildup and development of the EU. Continue reading
NAYPYIDAW/BERLIN (Own report) – The German Foreign Ministry is strengthening Berlin’s anti-China position in Southeast Asia, through a new training program for employees of several of Myanmar’s ministries. If one seeks to “roll back” the influence of the People’s Republic of China, Myanmar is “a very interesting partner,” affirmed a specialist on Southeast Asia at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. The German government is expanding cooperation with that country accordingly, and in addition to broadening cooperation on political projects, seeks particularly to enhance its economic influence. The EU recently lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar due also to German pressure. The German Ministry of the Economy is supporting new business deals. Critics’ indications that the economic opening of the country serves western enterprises and the local elite in the entourage of its military rulers, have as little effect as the human rights organizations’ protests, accusing the government in Naypyidaw of tolerating pogroms against the Muslim minority. They have been demanding – to no avail – that the EU take appropriate measures. Continue reading
Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called
for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning
that the current course is “leading to disaster”.
“The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt,” he said.
“The Germans have not yet realised that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later,” he said, blaming much of the crisis on Germany’s wage squeeze to gain export share. Continue reading
Cyprus is absolutely the template for Europe now. It is just that the template is far worse than what is narrowly imagined.
It is not the small nation of Cyprus nor is it that the specifics of the criminality that was transacted in Cyprus which is any sort of template. This is not the center of the issue. It is what Cyprus means and the horrible implications of what took place.
I cannot issue a stern enough warning here. No words that I write will adequately embrace the transgression that has taken place in Cyprus. Any thought that you have that the Cyprus experience is a lone and isolated event that will not be repeated, in some form in the future, is going to be proven wrong. Continue reading
The European Union no longer exists, at least not as we know it. And the question is not what will be the form of the new Union, but rather why this Europe, which was the focus of so many of our dreams no longer exists. The answer is simple: today, all of the pillars that served to build and justify the existence of the European Union have collapsed.
Chief among these was the memory of the Second World War. A survey of German secondary school students in the 14-16 age bracket, which was published a little over a year ago, showed that a third of these young people did not know who Hitler was, and 40 per cent were convinced that human rights had been respected to an equal degree by every German government since 1933. This in no way implies that there is a nostalgia for fascism in Germany. No, it simply means that we now have to contend with a generation that has nothing to do with this history. Today the conviction that the EU continues to derive legitimacy from its roots in the war is in an illusion. Continue reading
FRANKFURT — When Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister and war horse of European politics, celebrated his 70th birthday at a theater in Berlin last September, two of the most powerful women in the world offered warm words in his honor.
Ms. Lagarde’s presence reflected her close, longtime friendship with Mr. Schäuble. But it also was a confirmation of the enormous stature that Ms. Lagarde and the I.M.F. have acquired in Europe as a result of the euro crisis.
The I.M.F. has more say over crisis management than many euro zone members, and Ms. Lagarde has become a quasi head of state, whose views carry more weight than those of many elected leaders. Indeed, without the I.M.F.’s money and advice, the euro zone might have fallen apart by now. Continue reading
It has come to this: Swiss banks, under pressure from countries such as the United States, France and Germany, have been giving up their secrets, in some cases handing foreign tax authorities the names of their account holders. To avoid being blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swiss government has agreed to share more information with foreign authorities hunting tax cheats.
The foreign assault has opened up a huge rift inside the fiercely independent Alpine nation.
Some bankers, as well as many academics and centrist and left-leaning politicians, think the country should bow to the inevitable and abandon strict secrecy. The pragmatists include big banks like UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, which argue that to survive they have no choice but to surrender more information about their customers and close the accounts of those who won’t come clean. Continue reading
Union rejection of €1bn in spending cuts means the Irish government find itself forced to slash public sector pay by 7%
Cyprus was just an hors d’oeuvre. Portugal is readying itself for a convulsive moment when the government attempts to bypass a constitutional court ruling that bans many of its most caustic austerity measures. The situation worsens daily in Greece. And then there is Ireland. Continue reading
“What Cyprus makes clear is the realization that there is not enough money in the world to bail out the banks. So to keep the political experiment called the European Union alive, the oligarchs in Brussels have now resorted to stealing depositor money.
The important point here is if they can steal it in Cyprus, they can do the same in Spain, Italy or any other country where the banks are insolvent, and the reality is that most of the global banking system is insolvent. But sometimes it takes a while for a lesson to sink in. Some people began recognizing the counterparty risk that comes with bank deposits when Northern Rock collapsed in 2007, and the point was driven home again in 2008 with the Lehman debacle.
More details about the Cyrus bank collapse are starting to emerge, Eric, and it is not a pretty picture. Depositors in those banks are going to lose a lot of money. At Laiki Bank, which was the second biggest in Cyprus, the confiscation of depositor money went from 9.95% to what officials are now saying will be 80%. Continue reading
“Germany has created an accidental empire,” German sociologist Ulrich Beck said on March 25. In an interview with EUROPP editors Stuart Brown and Chris Gilson, the professor at both Munich University and the London School of Economics invoked the memory of the last “accidental empire,” Great Britain. But he stopped short of calling Germany a military power—which Britain was. Germany’s de facto empire has an economic power base, not a military one, he proposed.
In the turbulence of the ongoing European financial crisis, one nation has emerged from the storm as the clear leader of the Continent. For the third time in a century, Germany has set itself apart as the top dog in European economics and politics. The Berlin-led bailout of Cyprus proved that point in a tangible way.
That’s just the way it happened to turn out, some may argue. But is this true? Continue reading