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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

June 19, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

The eurocrisis: Politics without policy choice

This piece on Crooked Timber really is superb. A few highlights – but do read it in full: “the fuzzy compromise between supposedly depoliticized trans-national rules (run by the ECB), and national-level responsibility for compliance, is now increasingly problematic. Countries … Continue reading

June 12, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Excellent teacherly putdown in this post from thinktank Bruegel’s blog:

“Europe has already expressed its intention to focus [the upcoming G20 summit] on growth and jobs; the deliverable should foreseeably be yet another ‘plan’ without specific deadlines or commitments, along the lines of previous summit discussions. Growth and jobs are obviously fine in principle, but adopting such broad focus is likely to divert attention from the immediate challenges and even more from the actions to be undertaken. It is a pity, because Europe, while being ultimately responsible for its own actions, badly needs to explain itself and convince the global community that it is doing its best to resolve its problems.”

Reads like many a school report*: “It is a pity… Must try harder… We wouldn’t mind if it were only himself this behaviour was affecting, but he’s disrupting the whole class…” (etc. etc. etc.)

* Not one of mine, obviously… *ahem*

June 11, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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A terrifying but promising sign

Oh, sure, it sounds terrifying at first: “European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro” … Continue reading

June 11, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

How can the EU win the people’s trust?

Former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio raises some important points: “few official pronouncements, let alone policies, are addressing Europe’s deficit of trust and credibility. The current crisis has exposed the original lacunae and widening cracks in the compact between Europe’s … Continue reading

June 8, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Cameron’s confusing approach to the eurocrisis

Good points raised by the eurosceptic organisation Open Europe’s blog today about the British government’s rather bizarre, contradictory attitude(s?) towards the eurocrisis: “A German-led superstate still seems years off – if it ever will be agreed (no matter how much … Continue reading

June 8, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Yeah – sounds like a piece of piss…

“Jörg Asmussen, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board and a former official at the German ministry of finance, outlined what Europe needs to do.

“‘It’s very simple,’ Mr. Asmussen said. ‘We need a more integrated monetary union, because the monetary area that we have now is incomplete. And we have to complement it in a way to make it more stable. One point is a fiscal union. The second one is a financial market union with three key elements: a resolution regime; second element, a deposit guarantee insurance; and third, we need a centralized supervision for the large 25 banks in Europe.”

“‘We need a democratically legitimized political union,’ he added. ‘We need to start this speedily.'”

Well that’s alright, then. Should be doable by the end of next week, I’d say.

June 5, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami makes a good case that the slow advance of the European democratic will is starting to have an impact (hurrah, etc.): “Europe’s experience has shown that the subordination of society to economic theories is politically untenable… Merkel’s now legendary obstinacy eventually might have to succumb to the imperatives of politics. It is one thing to ignore European Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s call for a more flexible economic policy, and quite another to dismiss out of hand the powerful message coming from French and Greek voters.”

He also makes a sound warning of the dangers: ” Social vulnerability and frustration at the political system’s failure to provide solutions are the grounds upon which radical movements have always emerged to offer facile solutions.”

June 5, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

New EU recovery plan, eh? It’s about bloody time, though some areas are likely to scare the usual suspects (emphasis mine)… “The proposals… are said to be focused on 4 main areas so far: structural reforms, a banking union, a fiscal union, and a political union. To gain a sufficient traction for these actions, they will be sold under a growth friendly umbrella rather than as austerity related measures”

June 3, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

On the source of the EU’s democratic deficit and the need for action

A telling paragraph in Der Spiegel which fits in neatly with my onging “blame the European Council” approach when it comes to pretty much everything that’s wrong with the way the EU works. (Emphasis mine): “European Central Bank head Mario … Continue reading

May 29, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Germany’s economic ideology

Long, catchily-titled briefing paper from the European Council on Foreign Relations looks to be well worth a read in full as we start heading towards next year’s German federal elections amidst ever-increasing frustration with Merkel’s apparent lack of flexibility on … Continue reading

May 28, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

The Grexit, fairness, and the English Poor Laws

The New Yorker highlights the primary point that advocates of the “being able to devalue their currency would have saved Greece” / “they should just return to the drachma” / “let’s abolish the eurozone” crowd have yet – that I’ve … Continue reading