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.
The paradox inherent in the planned Greek referendum is that a “no” vote directed at the EU might be a “yes” for a better Europe. The same Europeans, whom the EU is now trying to force-feed a false “salvation”, might end up saving the true European Idea, even if it’s at the price of renouncing the current institutional attempts to implement it.
“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…
Meeting between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece in Moscow, 8 April 2015 Mr Putin and Mr Tsipras discussed a broad range of bilateral cooperation matters, especially in the trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian fields. The two leaders exchanged views on the international agenda. Following the talks, Mr…
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.
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”.
An agreement on the Greek bailout programme was initially supposed to be reached at the Eurogroup meeting of 11 February. As the finance ministers gathered it became clear that arriving at decisions would not be a matter that would be resolved in a day. Greece and its creditors could not even agree to a common press release
After a week of non-stop meetings by the Greek Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, Messrs Tsipras and Varoufakis, an apparent rift exists between Greece and Germany. With the ECB’s action to cut off the Greek banks from the ESM and instead use the ELA mechanism for liquidity, and Jeroen Dijselbloem’s outright rejection of a ‘bridge loan’, the situation is now at a standstill. While Greece sees the first demonstrations in support of its government, the current bailout programme ends on 28 February and Grexit re-enters the public discourse.