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Distrust rife between Greece and its lenders
Friday (9 September), a sort of south alliance gathers at the behest of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens. What do Greece and the other southern Europeans want from the rest of the EU? There are three matters to address. First, Greece wants to restructure its debt and hopes for support from other southern Europeans. Secondly, Athens wants to really question the austerity policy of the eurozone and reduce the primary balance target of 3.5% of GDP. The last point on the agenda is the failure of the EU’s refugee distribution plan. Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain want to work out a common strategy.
Rift brewing between Putin and Merkel over UN nomination
An international standoff is brewing over alleged attempts by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to impose European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva as candidate for the post of UN Secretary General. Russia issued (11 September) a stern warning that it finds “unacceptable” the attempts by Merkel to influence Bulgaria and replace Irina Bokova, its candidate for the top job, by her compatriot Georgieva. The controversy is based on different interpretations of discussions held during the G20 summit held in Hangzhou, China, on 4-5 September, when Merkel reportedly tried to obtain the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin for Georgieva.
As elections near, French politicians renew assaults on EU budget rules
Nobody yet knows the winner of France’s presidential election next year, but the smart money is on one loser: the 3% cap on government deficits enshrined in eurozone rules. A bedrock of euro stability for some, the requirement to keep government deficits to below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) is seen by many as an insufferable straight-jacket on governments wanting to spend their way out of economic sluggishness. The EU’s Stability Pact is meant to ensure public finances remain sound and has underpinned the austerity policies of many nations since the global economic crisis.
Seven critical questions for review of ‘European Consensus on Development’
There are many changes impacting the future of European development cooperation: a serious existential crisis in the European Union in the wake of Brexit, a newly agreed 2030 global sustainable development and climate change agenda, and major geopolitical shifts, writes Andrew Sherriff. Crises on Europe’s borders and the resulting influx of migrants and refugees are the dominant issues on the international agenda of European policy makers. The current focus is on a new European external investment plan and an increasing use of development resources for security sector reform.
Restoring a Europe built on values for its youth
The Brexit vote has highlighted the need to restore the values that founded Europe in order to combat the rise of nationalism, populism and anti-European sentiment, writes Jacques Delors.