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

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

During a roundtable discussion on elections last night here at Surrey, I was asked what the impact would be of Hollande’s election on the existing European-level agreements on austerity.  After some metaphorical beating around the bush, I replied that I thought the impact would be marginal, akin to a child who gets some crayons and is allowed to draw a pretty picture while the grown-ups get on with the real business.

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

Perhaps it’s been the two weeks of unrelenting rain here, but it’s been hard to be too optimistic about the EU of late.  David Cameron’s remarks at the weekend about being less than halfway through the Eurozone crisis have only been reinforced by the poor economic figures, tetchy ECOFIN meetings, potentially deeply problematic elections in France and Greece, not to mention the fall of another government (this time in Romania).

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Posted in David Cameron, EU, Europe, France, Germany, Greece | Leave a comment

 

It’s never been entirely clear why Brits seem to come out in hives whenever the EU is discussed.  Any notion of fair and considered debate – something that we like to think is part of our pragmatic nature – very often gets thrown out of the window and we end up with the rehashing of stereotypes and the recycling of basic factual errors.  The EU/ECHR confusion I’ve discussed before is symptomatic, and not just with the traditional sceptic sources.

 

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

As part of my module on Negotiating Politics, we had a discussion yesterday about last week’s European Council in Brussels, as a real-world example of what they study in the classroom.  In all the discussion about the UK and its role (about which my colleague Alex Warleigh-Lack has written here), it is worthwhile spending some time considering the meeting in more general terms.

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

Professor Alex Warleigh-Lack

At the European Council summit this evening and tomorrow, David Cameron must face up to a dilemma that has plagued all his predecessors since John Major: can Britain really be at the heart of the European Union while choosing to stay out of many key EU activities?

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, EU, Europe, Eurozone, France, Germany | 1 Comment