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Posted in EU, Europe, Russia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My German colleagues were certain: Germany was going to kick Greece out of the euro: but which one? I considered it unprecedented luck being in Berlin on the day of the Greece v. Germany football match for the semis of the Euro 2012 championships, during my participation at the EPSA annual conference. Walking alongside the former East and West Cold War borders, fans had been gathering by the Brandenburg Gate early on to watch the game on the big screens. I was surrounded by thousands of Germans in full attire of flags, face paint and other team paraphernalia and had to remain under the radar about my national identity. The outcome of the game was humbling but the excuse was that a small team like Greece was taking up one of the strongest teams in the world. Nonetheless, the message on the posters on Karl-Marx Allee was clear the following day: Ouzo and Out! (Yet still in the Eurozone.)

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Posted in EU, Europe, Eurozone, Football, Germany, Greece | Leave a comment

On June 19th, a Russian cargo ship, the Alaed, allegedly carrying military equipment to Syria, was forced to turn back after its London-based insurers, the Standard Club, withdrew cover. The move was received with approval in the UK, where diplomatic efforts to bring Russia round to their way of thinking on Syria have so far failed. It seems self-evident that in the absence of (more) Russian helicopters and missiles, the number of civilian deaths in Syria will be reduced. Cause and effect is notoriously difficult to establish. Not so here. Standard Club withdraws insurance cover. The Alaed is forced to turn back because without insurance, it cannot refuel, nor unload its cargo in any port. The lives of innocent people are saved.

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Dear Chancellor Merkel,

 

I am writing to ask you to rethink your insistence upon extreme austerity as the cure for the Euro-zone’s economic problems. If you do not change your mind, and if you do not work to make such a shift politically possible in your country, you risk deepening the crisis to such an extent that it will engulf the global economy.

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, EU, Europe, Eurozone, Germany, UK | Leave a comment

It’s that time in the academic calendar when we get to congratulate all of our students on their hard work over the past three or four years.  This year in Politics we had an exceptional number of good degrees, so our current graduating cohort should feel very pleased with themselves indeed.  Looking at the marks of those students who ended up right at the top of the pile – awarded First Class Honours – two things strike me as worth noting for our current first and second year students respectively.

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As those of you who have taken my modules will know, unlike my colleagues, I’m not really one for European Politics. It’s all bratwursts and talking and complicated voting and irrelevant bodies and banana straightening and the French. For me, it lacks the, y’know, global relevance of American foreign policy or the immediacy of British politics. I do, however, indulge in a bit of Australian foreign policy. Best to keep that one quiet, I suspect. Anyway, following the heady-heights of Eurovision, our continental neighbours have once again been launched into combat with the start of Euro 2012. [Ed – what’s this? Running and now football? Thought you were an academic?!]

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Posted in EU, Europe, Football, International Political Economy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
The results of last Sunday’s elections in Greece reveal not only the deep fragmentation of the political system in Greece but also a polarized electoral environment within Greek society. Clearly the outcome of the elections signals the willingness of the Greeks to remain within the Eurozone and within the European Union structures, but also sends a stronger message domestically to the political establishment that the period of single-party governments is long gone. The electorate desires cooperation at different levels not only to overcome the crisis but also to build a safer future within the European architecture. At the same time there is a strong momentum against the austerity measures that cannot be overlooked by the forthcoming government and this will pose a considerable threat to the reforms and the implementation of the required measures by the bailout agreement. This means that the new government will face strong opposition (even on the streets) and will have to seek a more general consensus but also, push forward an agenda of renegotiation of the memorandum with the Troika.
 
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Posted in Elections, Europe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Yesterday’s elections in Greece and France might be seen as a vindication of what little strategy European leaders have presented to date:  the former’s confirmation of New Democracy suggesting a desire to engage with the bailout agenda; the latter opening up the way for a new growth agenda.  No more big challenges until the German federal elections in late 2013 and the job’ll sort itself out.

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Posted in Elections, EU, Europe, France, Greece | Leave a comment

In the fortnight since I last wrote a piece for this blog, things appear to have shifted in the EU.  The Irish ‘yes’ to the Fiscal Pact (by a clear margin, if less than enthusiastic) and the pressure on Greek and Spanish banks seem to have pushed member states towards a ‘more Europe’ type solution.  With Angela Merkel calling today for just this, we might consider that we are moving into the next phase of the eurozone crisis.

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