After the back and forth with Brussels, a positive credit rating helped Portugal overcome its state of budgetary limbo, yet Lisbon was “verbally downgraded” by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
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.