Taking time out of the Greek crisis, Chancellor Merkel set off on a tour of the Western Balkans (8-9 July), reassuring the nations of Albania, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina of her support for their eventual joining the European Union. The three Balkan countries have long been campaigning to be part of the 28-nation bloc and see their candidature jeopardized by the EU’s preoccupation with what is happening with Greece.
The fight about Greece’s bailout deal that is taking place within the Eurozone and the EU is not just about the sums of money that Greece may or may not get, and the reforms that it may or may not implement in return. There is a deeper fight about the nature of the European project and even the soul of Europe that cannot be ignored.
“It’s Europe Day!” my wife called out when I showed her the invitation flier to Kriek & Frites party on May 8-9 at Place Jourdan in Brussels. Neither the flier nor its typically Belgian offer implied any connection with the EU. Given my early school days were spent in the Soviet Union, I associated the dates rather with the end of World War II. So what’s this Europe Day anyway? I distantly remembered that it had something to do with the day on which France and Germany decided to unite their coal and steel industries, hoping that this would prevent them if not from ever again piling up tanks and cannons…
By Christos Mouzeviris
Ever since the victory of Syriza and the formation of the current Greek government, the country found itself on the spotlight of the European and global media. Speculations on a potential Grexit, combined with scathing attacks against Syriza’s policies and leadership became common. But is solely Greece, all which is wrong in Europe and the euro-zone? Perhaps the reality is very different if we examine some facts.
On his first official trip to Europe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France and Germany from 10 to 14 April. His charm offensive had a central economic rationale, promoting India as an attractive investment and technology transfer destination through his “Make in India” campaign. Interesting to note that Mr. Modi’s European purchases, especially of the Rafele jet fighters, means that developing and poor India is supporting developed France with an injection of hard-earned cash
By Georgios X. Protopapas
The negotiations between the Greek government and Greece’s European creditors have become unpredictable, while the Greek economy remains stagnant and the state desperately needs cash to avoid default. Athens has two choices: to make compromises in order to receive bailout funds or to decide a rupture with Brussels. In addition, the government in Athens is playing the “card” of Russia as an alternative to European pressures and as part of a new, multi-level foreign policy.
Talks between the “six powers” (US, Russia, China, UK, France, Germany plus the EU) and Iran successfully concluded in Lausanne, Switzerland with agreement on key parameters to draft a of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be drafted by 30 June 2015. Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad…
On 16 March 2015 the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was in Brussels for talks with High Representative Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. This was part of the six-power talks (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) with Iran on the latter’s uranium enrichment programme. 16 March was also the day of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (EU Foreign Ministers) in Brussels, chaired by Ms. Mogherini.
Starting from the recent Tsipras – Rajoy war of words, on who sabotages whom at the Eurogroup and in electoral politics, I attempt to put together evidence that shows a major shift in European politics. Building also on an increasing number of satirical videos about European politics, and from my personal experience, I reach an anecdotal, not so scientific but most probably correct conclusion: We are getting a European demos, in which we all feel comfortable enough and are knowledgeable enough about each other to be able to make jokes, break the ice, get on each other’s nerves occasionally, but basically express what we increasingly realize that we are: a diverse, noisy, funny, stubborn, intrusive and generous section of humanity that one could call “the Europeans”.
The leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia have forged out an agreement for a ceasefire that will end weeks of intense fighting in eastern Ukraine. Following their all-night talks on Wednesday, 11 February in Minsk, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President informed the press that the representatives of Ukraine and separatist rebels had signed a package of measures to implement the failed ceasefire agreement reached last September.