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  • How to Govern Disorder at Europe’s Borders

    24 August 2015  20:48, by Iwantout

    I wonder sometimes whether the realities of situations are actually considered by those with soaring visions of a federal Europe.

    “With its own army, Europe could react more credibly to the threat to peace in a member state or in a neighbouring states”. Six countries in the EU are formally neutral. Are we to suppose that any decision to use / threaten military force is to be on a QMV basis and the voices of those who have democratically decided not to belong to a military part are to be ignored? And in what circumstances would the EU see fit to deploy EU military resources to an EU member state?

    “The measures for the stabilization of the euro have proved unquestionably successful”. Perhaps the transformation of Greece into an EU protectorate and the undermining of the democratic process in the Netherlands and Finland to achieve the necessary votes for the third bail out are just characteristics of success in this context. By the way has anyone heard whether the IMF has agreed yet to participate in the bail out? Last I read they were refusing unless there is significant debt write off which of course was unacceptable to a number of EZ countries. Only a minor problem I am sure.

    Then the mention of “political unification”, anyone seen any evidence at all that a majority of people in any EU state is prepared to move in this direction? Certainly I see evidence of many states backing away from any mention of this. An enforced unification without a clear mandate is not likely to be stable or sustainable. I wonder at anyone who could suggest that the UK could be engaged in this, and as the second biggest economy in the Union its removal would fundamentally alter the balance of the Union itself.

    The question of refugees and migrants is clearly urgent and difficult. Without doubt genuine refugees should be helped. This would include equitable distribution between countries with safeguards to all member states of by removing the ability of refugees to move freely within the EU. (Failure to do so after all renders any distribution mechanism meaningless.)

    But economic migrants fleeing from poverty towards better opportunities, however understandably, are a different matter entirely. Given the growth of public hostility (not least in Sweden and Germany) it seems probably that the overwhelming majority of such individuals will have to be returned promptly to their originating countries if support for genuine refugees is to be maintained. It is a hard and unpleasant truth, but it is not a supportable proposition that everyone who wishes to enter the EU can be allowed to do so.

  • Europa and the bull: The significance of the myth in modern Europe

    21 August 2015  10:59, by Dustin

    Id say it has a connection with Lillith, Adams first wife before Eve. She would be more plausable here riding Satan.. As she was the one who flew out of the garden to be away from Adam.

  • Migration at the Channel Crossing

    2 August 2015  14:18, by Iwantout

    Let us assume that all the countries of the EU agreed a united policy of migrant “burden sharing”. Once the migrants have been allocated to ‘Country A’ what is to stop them deciding to use the freedom of travel to transfer immediately to any other country? Or is it being suggested that these migrants will be detained forever in the country the EU has assigned them to? Your solution is not any solution at all in a Union with freedom of travel.

    The situation of the migrants is of course wretched, but many (most?) seem to be economic migrants rather than genuine asylum seekers / refugees. At no point do you mention returning these individuals to their home countries promptly to address one aspect of the crisis and potentially reducing the pull effect we currently see.

    Nevertheless with the demographic issues facing much of the EU many migrants should still be welcomed and given the opportunity to settle. But the question really is how many new arrivals can be accommodated? Who decides that figure and what happens to the numbers who arrive in excess of that? Your item examines none of these critical points. Really what you seem to be advocating is the removal of all form of control which I suspect would be unacceptable to most people.

    Sorry to see you are having technical problems with your web site, hope you can fix them soon.

  • Europe at the point of no return

    19 July 2015  22:15, by Iwantout

    This article was clearly originally written before the result of the Greek referendum and the subsequent EZ treatment of Greece which has been widely recognised as vindictive and humiliating.

    Obviously the NO vote won despite the interventions of Chancellor Merkel and President Juncker which tells you something about how they might be perceived by the Greek public. There then followed what was described by one EU official as “mental waterboarding” of Tsipras to force him to acquiesce regardless of the voice of the public.

    The fact that Germany was actively suggesting ‘temporary’ exit of Greece from the EZ illustrates that despite claims to the contrary, the euro is not irreversible and is merely a fixed exchange rate system. A position reinforced by the many EZ comments that they had plans in place for a Greek exit from the euro.

    The IMF was engaged in the Greek crisis because the EU institutions and many major states wanted it. The overwhelming majority of Greek debt is to the ECB and EZ governments. It is the refusal of the EZ to tell its tax payers that tens (hundreds?) billions euros have been lost supporting Greece that is at the core of this problem. Austerity alone can never resolve the problem nor recover the money. Until this is addressed the Greek crisis has not been solved, just momentarily paused.

    The IMF, who are the global expert on national insolvency, has described the new ‘third bail out’ deal as unrealistic without “debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far.” Indeed they have indicated that without such debt relief they are not willing to be involved in this bail out. But Germany (and others) entirely reject such debt relief as distinct to possibly extending time scales yet still want IMF involvement.

    As a final aspect of the ongoing crisis, the decision of the EU to use the EFSM funds for the emergency bridging loan to Greece despite solemn promises to non EZ states in 2010 that this would never happen is destructive of the trust that is supposed to exist between members of the EU, even allowing for the security guarantees for non EZ states.

    As you say, The EU (which is entirely distinct from Europe) reached the point of no return and stepped beyond it. Certainly reviewing the media across the EU suggests deep unhappiness about the actions of the EU Institutions and certain states, together with shock that a member state could be treated the way Greece has. I think we can all agree that the EU abandoned the pretence of “principles of solidarity and humanity” on the 13/07/15.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    15 July 2015  18:35, by Giuseppe Marrosu

    There is a problem of democracy: Greece said “no” to the compromise that was offered; our representatives at government level in the other 18 Euro countries were not ready to give anything better than that. Today the greek parliament could contradict the referendum result by accepting what the people rejected. That could save Greece, but it would be a black day for democracy.

    There is also a problem of equality: for Greece, but also for the UK, it is about living by the rules that apply to everybody else. Some of my taxes go to the EU. I don’t see why someone with the same economic status as me should pay less, only because he lives in the UK, as long as the UK is a member of the EU.

    Look, I am for an inclusive EU. Every free territory that meets the requirements, wants to join and accepts the rules MUST join, even if it is a Muslim Country in Sub-Saharan Africa. But those who join must stick to the rules or leave, even if they’re the craddle of our civilization, or one of the top net contributors.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    8 July 2015 19:05, by Chris Powers

    Indeed you should make sacrifices for the things you love, and therefore the creditor countries should sacrifice a little now, to make sure all countries remain in an ever closer union, as per the Treaty of Rome. The Greek opposition to austerity and support for a fiscal union shows they are more in favour (and in need) of Europe than most. I certainly don’t agree with or endorse everything Syriza is doing and saying, but I disagree with austerity even more.

    I suppose there is an ideological difference here between a smaller and faster integration process and a much slower but more inclusive European project with the same ambition as those charged with rebuilding Europe from the ashes of WW2.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    8 July 2015  18:54, by giuseppe marrosu

    I’m sorry Chris but if you say you love something you should also be ready for all sacrifices its defence requires. The greek are not willing to do that anymore.

    Austerity was necessary for a Country living above its means like Greece and it was beginning to work, too. But even if you think it was wrong, I say Greece could have chosen a better strategy to convince its partners to put it aside: fight privileges, extend sacrifices for a few months, until a new agreement was reached, avoid insulting, provocking and blackmailing your partners and flirting with rivals like Putin, cutting spendings on arms, agreeing to proposals to give Bruxelles control over the budget (they could have counter-proposed to generalize that to all EMU Countries, they turned down the idea as an attack to their independence)...

    There is still hope but time and margins for a deal are running out.

    Also, a smaller group of countries willing to respect the rules might make a better Union than a larger but unruly federation.

    I say if the rebels - Greece, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark and off course (sorry) the British Islands left the EU or accepted all the rules that apply to Portugal, Italy or Estonia, we would be much stronger and better set for more integration.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    6 July 2015 00:36, by Chris Powers

    Giuseppe don’t be so pessimistic. The Greeks have rejected austerity, not the EU, or even the Euro. Greek people love both, they want to remain with both.

    Hopefully this will force people to reevaluate why we are embracing an old ideology that has never worked, and will never work if you want a federal Europe.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    6 July 2015  00:32, by giuseppe marrosu

    Now it’s 8-7 (Referenda score of Anti-europeist forces vs. Europeist forces in the EU since 1992), Iwantout. Congratulations to you and all Anti-europeists (so-called Eurosceptics) out there. We lost Greece. We might lose the UK.

    But we won’t give up.


    6 July 2015  00:18, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Mr. Andreou, now that the people spoke, I hope you’re happy: Greece will soon be out of the Euro and the EU (time to concede candidate status to Macedonia, oops sorry FYROM).

    Maybe one day you’ll admit that you only have yourselves to blame for your problems and you’ll recognize how much we did to try and save you.

    Or you’ll just find some other foreign power to blame for the sufferings of all the Magdas of Greece (which is next. Russia? China?).

    When we come again to your rescue we’ll better have Athens give up to Bruxelles all major decisions on your budget. Maybe they’ll sell a couple of your warplanes so they can heat up Magda’s home at the expenses of your oversized armed forces.

    Goodnight, Mr. Andreou, goodnight Greece, goodnight Europe.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    4 July 2015  18:06, by giuseppe marrosu

    To Iwantout 2/2 “other euro countries are not prepared to suffer the loss, no fellow feeling there. (Germany is owed 68.2bn euros, France 43.8bn, Italy 38.4bn, etc)” over 150bn euro “no fellow feeling”? Are you joking? How much did the UK give? We will take Greece’s debt on ourselves when we have more control on how Greece spends its money, just like the USA has on Lousiana or Detroit, or Germany on Berlin. But Greece has so far refused that. So if it fails they will be to blame, not us.

    “I am at a loss to understand why you feel it is dishonourable to cancel a treaty using the legal means that are available if you no longer believe the treaty is in your best interests” Not all that is legal is honourable. But go ahead and do it if that’s what you want. Off course we might also cancel some of the treaties benefiting you if we conclude they are no longer “in our best interests”. Maybe you will find that’s honourable, too. “You hope that the requirement for ‘Ever Closer Union’ will not change...” yes I do “...and that we will be forced” Nooooo! I don’t want to “force you” to do something you do not want! I NEVER said that! Please stop painting me as an antidemocratic!

    “Paragraph 27 of the EU Summit Communique 27/06/14” I am dismayed. But I can see the language is very generic and I could give the following interpretation: we respect the will of some countries who do not want to go ahead: but they’ll have to be suspended or leave the EU. You’ll note that the principle of “ever closer union” is not questioned. “You say we want special conditions” you have special conditions: the EU-UK rebate, no Euro, no Schengen. “we just want a trade relationship plain and simple” it might surprise you but I would be ready to accept that, if that’s really what you want. But in that case, no UK EMP, no UK officials in EU institutions, and so on. And we’ll go ahead and build a European State, if we can find the popular support.

    Best regards from the Eurozone.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    4 July 2015  18:04, by giuseppe marrosu

    1. Dear Iwantout, english seems such a difficult language... “Your lack of faith in the public and unwillingness to allow them to control their future really does not surprise me”. I think the people should have the control over their future. I never said the opposite. BUT I just say that the majority is not always right. And sometimes is dead wrong. Call me a Demosceptic. You try to hold your point to technicalities like Hitler or Mussolini not having being elected directly or their use of violence, but you certainly do not ignore their huge popularity in their respective countries even before overtaking power really made them the most obvious “people’s choice”. Chavez and Tsipras had/have the wrong agenda for their countries. It’s not me telling it, it’s economics. Both earned their seat through the polls, was that a wise choice?

    EU referenda: I don’t understand (or I understand all too well) why you want to start from ’92, but in that period I counted 7 “No” and 7 “Yes”. The score becomes 9-16 if we also count EU accession referenda and the Swiss referendum on foreign workers (you excluded referenda on the EU held outside of it). Of the 6 “No”, 3 were unfortunatelly followed by renegotiations with the two small countries that held them (instead of simply excluding them from further integration) and by 3 reruns with an easy victory, 2 were totally accepted contrary to your claim (so there is no Euro in Denmark or Sweden despite Maastricht treaty requiring the latter to adopt it) and in only 2 cases the EU “ran around them” even if it respected them formally (France and the Nederland said “NO” to the Euroconstitution... not a tragic loss... Spain and Luxembourg said “YES”, though, so a compromise was eventually found).

    “With regards to the election of Eurosceptic to the EP, in every election since 1999 in the UK the winning party has been Eurosceptic [antieuropeist]...” I do not doubt it, but I just checked the 2014 European elections results for the UK: what you call the “winning party” got less than 30% of the vote. While it made it to No. 1, the No. 2 and 3, the truly Eurosceptic, not outright Anti-europeist, Conservative and Labour almost got 50%. You cannot pull the UK out of the EU with 30% of the UK vote! That’s what I meant.

    On Greece again, I have been sympathetic with them until Tsipras won. Austerity has certainly be harder than needed and all of us will have to respond to history for our mistakes. But, despite that, Greece’s trouble are not the fault of the rest of the world. We in the Eurozone in particular helped them more than anyone else, we made sacrifices. But Greece’s case is so bad we could not bring back the prosperity they enjoyed. In part because it was a fake one based on debt.


    3 July 2015  22:40, by Iwantout

    The story of Magda is all too human and heartrending. To put numbers to her situation, a typical Greek pensioner has seen their monthly pension drop from 1,350 euro in 2009 to 833 today.

    President Juncker (29/06/15) made a big play of the ‘fact’ that the last deal offered to Greece did not reduce pensioner’s income further. Yet he seems to have forgotten the Troika requirement to increase the tax pensioners must pay for health care and the elimination of additional payments to the poorest pensioners. Both will of course reduce pensioner’s income further, particularly the most vulnerable. Maybe just another case of “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”, one of his quotes from an earlier stage of this crisis.

    Either way Mr Andreou when you are in the polling booth trying to decide which way to vote it may be worth considering that the IMF has today (03/07/15) stated that Greece needs a 30% debt forgiveness programme and an additional 51.9bn euro for the next 3 years. These were simply not in the offer the Troika side presented 25th June 2015.

    Regardless of the result of the referendum, those of us outside Greece can only wish you the very best of luck.

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    3 July 2015  18:56, by Ashton Easter

    Well said Author. Ignore the very clearly biased, not very well informed Tory detractors.


    3 July 2015  15:43, by Peter Oomsels

    One of the most profound and recognisable accounts of the European/Greek crisis I have ever read.


    1 July 2015  23:54, by duodecim stellae

    The Euro from the start was and still is a brilliant idea. It forces the nations of the Eurozone to work together and makes it impossible to disintegrate the European Union without a complete economic catastrophy. As a Paneuropean Federalist I think that is very good, because there still are too many nostalgic nationalists who would wish to turn back time in all countries of the EU. And these people are really a threat to the European citizens, because Europe will only be able to protect itself in the future if it is united. What we seeing right now is unfortunately the triumph of these nationalistic spirits on both sides. As as a German Citizen I must say that I am ashamed by the policy that is done by our politicians, but Tsipras is actually no better. I think the only trustworthy person in this tragedy is President Jean-Claude Juncker and I really think that he wanted to have a program with less social cuts, but had not enough power with Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, the Baltic States, Slovakia and the IMF pushing for harder reforms.

    It is obvious, that we need to make a common economic policy for the whole Euro-area, to not get a long term desintegration, but I never would have thought, that neoliberal or Thatcher or Reagan kind of anglo-saxon market capitalism would be the commen consensus in continental Europe. We should establish a Social Market Economy like in good old West Germany instead. There is no such thing as poor people in Social Market Economy. But I think poverty and feudalistic superrichness is the new chique.

    Despite that I don’t like the policy, I hope that the Greek citizens will say yes in the referendum, because everything else, will be a catastrophy for Europe and will lead to a real humanitarian crisis in Greece. Sad but true. The ECB will have no right to further finance the Greek banks in case of a “no”, and it won’t dare to ignore the rules in that matter. The Greek state will fall appart on Monday in case of a No and there will be total anarchy. No matter what Tsipras says this is a Grexit referendum.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    30 June 2015  23:37, by Iwantout

    —2— You talk about the EU winning referenda, since 1992, there have been 12 votes held in the EU, the EU lost 6, but in each and every case there was either a rerun or the result was ignored. Strangely where the EU won the vote was allowed to stand.

    With regards to the election of Eurosceptic to the EP, in every election since 1999 in the UK the winning party has been Eurosceptic. But of course that is irrelevant because understandably we return only a fraction of the MEPs. However proportionate representation of eurosceptics in the commission and as committee chairs is prevented in clear breach of the D’Hondt system.

    I am at a loss to understand why you feel it is dishonourable to cancel a treaty using the legal means that are available if you no longer believe the treaty is in your best interests. We would just be using the EU law. We have arrived at a point where the UK elite can no longer ignore the wishes of the people. I suggest you look at all the Party manifestos for 2015, you would consider them all highly Eurosceptic. As I said before, even a Yes will not see us more closely linked with you.

    The migrants come to the UK for work, I agree. The point I was making was that while we have social problems as you mentioned, they are not so bad as to make people stay away. Indeed I would argue that actually we are more welcoming than most other countries. We certainly have better racial integration than many EU states, and it is something that we are rightly proud of.

    You hope that the requirement for ‘Ever Closer Union’ will not change and that we will be forced . I suggest to read , enjoy read Paragraph 27 of the EU Summit Communique 27/06/14, it specifically acknowledges the freedom of states not to deepen integration. It has changed already, and the UK is specifically the country that the EU acknowledges does not have to integrate further. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/143478.pdf David Cameron is trying to have this placed in EU Law, but it seems that the principle has been conceded.

    You say we want special conditions. We don’t, we just want a trade relationship plain and simple. You want more, that is why we have had this debate. We will obviously not persuade each other.


  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    30 June 2015  23:36, by Iwantout

    Giuseppe Marrosu, You raise many issues in your posts and I cannot respond to them all within the limits of this site. So for the first and only time I will use two response to deal with your claims.

    Your lack of faith in the public and unwillingness to allow them to control their future really does not surprise me. But your examples are flawed. While Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez and Tsipras are leaders who did what they ‘thought was right’, what you say you want, Hitler and Mussolini were not democrats. Hitler used violence and the Enabling Act to seize power, Mussolini was appointed by the King without election. Chavez was a democrat. He won 4 elections from 1998, whatever you (and I) might think of him, people living in Venezuela liked what they got and asked for it repeatedly.

    Tsipras was elected on a clear platform, just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it invalid. You then talk about the Greek referendum. Under the control of the Troika Greece has been the only state in history to move from developed status to developing. The IMF says that the policies of the ECB and Commission towards Greece were wrong (http://www.euractiv.com/euro-finance/imf-sorry-greek-crisis-handling-news-528355 ). Der Spiegel says the same thing today (30/06/15). http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/spiegel-editorial-on-the-greek-referendum-shock-a-1041236.html

    All the polls show the Greeks want to stay in the euro. A Yes vote will provide this for a short while but at the cost of more austerity and pain. The vital debt write down is not available, so inevitably then the crisis will occur again. The reason write offs have been too small is because the other euro countries are not prepared to suffer the loss, no fellow feeling there. (Germany is owed 68.2bn euros, France 43.8bn, Italy 38.4bn, etc) But all economists agree write down is vital.

    If they vote No, they are still in the euro because your leaders forgot to have a mechanism to eject a member who was in breach of the rules. But in reality they will likely leave the euro formally or run a parallel currency (leaving informally), they will then probably default. (Talk of the Greeks being forced to leave the EU is strange, there is no mechanism to force a country out, they would have to apply via Article 50 TFEU.) The currency will then devalue, after further pain the economy will recover competitiveness by this devaluation. France, Italy and many other countries did this right up until the launch of the euro, it is the usual IMF advice.

    This position was created by leaders who did not understand economics but did what they ‘thought was right’, these are the leaders you want to follow??? Andre Szasz (Netherlands Central Banker at time of launch of the euro) summed it up “Not one of the politicians who agreed the Maastricht Treaty understood what they were doing.” Even the EU chief economist, Bernard Connolly warned them, he was sacked.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    29 June 2015  20:05, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Andrea Iwantout, “I am not sure who would campaign for the EU here”: I am not sure about not being sure... but anyway, that’s your problem. You want to be special? I say “stay out”. I am for free choice and against privileges. “why do you constantly reject open trade that benefits ordinary people?” I never spoke against open trade benefiting ordinary people. You are twisting my words. I am against free trade with some unfair competitors. India, for example, is another thing. India is almost fine with me. CAP: I agree with you. “The UK is simply not going to get any closer than it is already”: then I want it to leave the EU. Remember that “ever closer integration” applies to you, too. I hope this will not change, it would set a dangerous record. “why if it is so bad are almost 300,000 EU citizens a year coming here, as well as migrants jumping on lorries in Calais?” I never said it was “so bad” in the UK. I just wanted to point out that having or not having the Euro is not the only predictor of the wealth of a Nation. Germany has the Euro, Bulgaria does not. The UK has the Euro, Greece does. People’s net flow is from countries which fare bad and have more unemployed people from countries which fare best and have less unemployed people. From the UK to Australia for example ;). But do not cite Calais before looking at the map: Africans and Syrians are on this side of the English Channel, so how could they be going the opposite way? “could you please produce a single piece of evidence from any member state showing that a majority of the population would vote to join a US of E ?” No I can’t and here’s a quote: “The only poll that matters is the referendum vote. Opinion polls are often inaccurate... We will all have to wait” (Andrea Iwantout, 2015). And I don’t have to, either. Remember, I’m a dreamer, I’m not making predictions, I just make statements. But we might have a test on July the 5th when the Greek are going to choose between the EU and “independence”. Because that’s what the next referendum is about. If the “Yes” side wins it will be another nail in the coffin of nationalism, another step towards the US of E, another referendum won by Europe. And not the only one, look at how many there were, one even in the UK. “I keep saying, progress to your federal state by all means, but first ask the people if that is what they want”: Well you can stop telling me. I AGREE 100%. “Remember, the UK is not the only Eurosceptic country, just the most visible”. I wish they ALL were cancelled from the EU. And it is not “Skepticism”. It is hostility.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    29 June 2015  19:28, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Iwantout, may I call you Andrea? This may be a girl’s or a boy’s name, so it’s perfect for a person that is not disclosing his/her identity. Dear Andrea, I wrote much because I care much, even if I do not have much time. I am surprised by your faith in the public, remember people like Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez or Tsipras came to power because of an overwhelming public support. Now, unless you think all these gentlemen had the right agenda for their people, you have to admit that more sane leaders and sensible projects were discarded by the demos for some bizarre or outright criminal people and ideas. I find the notion of an anaware public riding a train headed towards “ever closer integration” is in deep contrast both with this faith in the public of yours (they know better than their leaders, but do not even know where they’ve been going for decades now?) and with reality. What were you guys thinking all the times we voted in the European Elections? What purpose is a democratically elected parliament supposed to serve in a simple economical union? And if you are against it, all you have to do is vote a majority of EMP opposing the EU (which you never did). Why can’t you just admit the UK wants to cancel a commitment it gave knowingly and freely? It is dishonourable, but you can do it. After all you are a souvereign Nation. Your contradiction is obvious: “it is not possible to claim that the direction the EU / EZ is taking is a sudden surprise”, you say! That’s also true for the public, and their electoral choices. But if they keep voting for people who would not pull the country out of the EU, then your claim just two letters down: “any country passing new powers to the EU /EZ without a mandate is acting undemocratically” is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL. Andrea, are you really a Euroenthusiast, posing as an Antieuropeist to show how incosistent their ideas are?

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