EU’s rich north benefits from the Eurocrisis

Various studies confirm that public and even official debate about “bailouts” has been badly mis-framed as a question of whether the better-off northern member states are willing to contribute their taxpayers’ money to aid their struggling Eurozone partners. In fact, as reported today by Reuters, the richer countries have benefitted massively from the huge decline inContinue reading “EU’s rich north benefits from the Eurocrisis”

European migration policy and the Greek crisis it is provoking

Greece is at the hard end of another European policy problem, related to austerity, but this time to do with immigration, and it’s turning into a serious human rights and humanitarian crisis. According to Europe’s border control agency Frontex, 93% of migrants to Europe came through eastern and central Mediterranean routes in 2011. With the tighteningContinue reading “European migration policy and the Greek crisis it is provoking”

Austerity in the Eurozone periphery

The latest issue of the online journal Intereconomics features articles about Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Aidan Regan and I wrote the article on Ireland. As we know well here in Ireland, they’re an oddly-sorted bunch, because each faces a rather different set of domestic policy challenges. Each also has problems that need to be addressed inContinue reading “Austerity in the Eurozone periphery”

Home truths about the Euro crisis

Jean-Claude Juncker said some remarkably candid things to the European parliament yesterday. His role as the chair of the Eurozone group of countries has given him limited scope to speak freely to date. Indeed he’s someone who is quoted as saying ‘I’m for secret, dark debates‘. Now that he’s about to step down, he’s madeContinue reading “Home truths about the Euro crisis”

Another look at ‘Europe’s New Fascists’

This recent story from The New York Times offers several chilling illustrations of the growing threat that extremist groups pose to democracy and human rights in Europe. As I have written in earlier posts, the protracted nature of the current economic crisis inevitably broadens and deepens public support for extremist agendas. The answer is notContinue reading “Another look at ‘Europe’s New Fascists’”

The real spectre haunting Europe

How safe is democracy in Europe? Observers of extremist political movements have sometimes described them as “self-disqualifying” — that is, the louder they shout, the less they are heard (or at least listened to) by mainstream voters and parties. If this were true, and established democracies really have such a built-in circuit breaker, we wouldContinue reading “The real spectre haunting Europe”

It’s time to stop digging

If Europe wants to get out of its current hole, it must first stop digging. Over the past four years, economic crisis management in Europe has been dominated by a narrow obsession with fiscal discipline. The narrowness of this approach reflects in large part the German political elite’s misinterpretation of Europe’s current crisis as aContinue reading “It’s time to stop digging”

Merkel Hysteria

If a case study was needed on how NOT to conduct EU negotiations, the October EU summit provides it. It has long been the bane of EU politics that the carefully crafted, finely balanced and nuanced written conclusions of an EU summit can be blown out of the water by a President or Prime MinisterContinue reading “Merkel Hysteria”

What did the EU really agree on sovereign and bank debts last summer?

There has been great furor recently over what exactly EU leaders agreed in the June 2012 summit. Some of that furor concerns the issue of separating member states’ liability for sovereign debt, which nobody contests, from their liability for bank debt, which is widely contested. Here in Ireland, where the country’s economic prospects are seriouslyContinue reading “What did the EU really agree on sovereign and bank debts last summer?”