Low blood pressure? One remedy is reading news from Europe:
- Poul Thomesen, in charge of the Greek / IMF program: “no amount of pension reforms will make Greece’s debt sustainable without debt relief, and no amount of debt relief will make Greece’s pension system sustainable without pension reforms. Both need to come about. There is no doubt that both Greece and its European partners will face politically difficult decisions in the coming months to arrive at a program that is viable—one that adds up.”
- FT: Portugal Needs to Prepare to Tighten Budget, Dijsselbloem Says
- Bloomberg Business: Renzi Says EU Can Dodge Titanic Disaster Following Italy's Lead
- FT: European banks face array of challenges
- Bloomberg Business: Dijsselbloem Says Euro Problems Stem From Bad National Decisions: "Euro-area nations still hold “the real responsibility” for budgets, social measures and other economic policies, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a European Parliament panel, as he called on countries to follow and to encourage public support for the bloc’s budget rules."
- FT: Brussels to turn up heat on Greece over migrant crisis
- Germany should keep its hands off the ECB - FT.com: central banks must stand firm. Their job has become harder and more experimental in response to the challenges of post-crisis economies. The sectional interests of political lobbies must not be allowed to stop them acting as they see fit.
- Greece resists IMF demands for more pension cuts, boasts better 2015 performance | Reuters
- IMF's Lagarde tells Greece debt leak is 'nonsense' - BBC News
- In Europe, states challenge austerity but lack cash to spend - Yahoo News: "Italy is challenging Germany's focus on debt reduction head on, arguing that spending more would help the economy. "Europe has taken the wrong road, austerity alone is not enough," Premier Matteo Renzi wrote in an open letter last month. Italy's economy slowed in the fourth quarter of last year and government debt is the highest in the eurozone after Greece at 135 percent of GDP."
- Global slowdown spreads to the eurozone | Gavyn Davies
- German 'bail-in' plan for government bonds risks blowing up the euro - Telegraph
- Ukraine to stay in program with IMF
- Lo and Rogoff: Secular stagnation, debt overhang and other rationales for sluggish growth, six years on
- Luigi Zingales: Without some fiscal redistribution, the eurozone is headed for divorce
## Populism across the continent
- Germany blames Mario Draghi for rise of rightwing AfD party
- Reuters: Founding members say European Union is in bad shape
- Djankov and Zilinsky | RealTime Economic Issues Watch: "Slovakia reaps large monetary benefits from its membership in the European Union, yet anti-Brussels rhetoric proved effective throughout the electoral campaign. Several parties courted voters with anti-EU messages. Nearly seven in ten Slovaks trusted the European Commission in 2010, but only 46 percent held a favorable opinion of the Commission when surveyed in 2015."
- President Andrej Kiska at Globsec Conference: "Extremism and nationalism have grown stronger in the recent years. And so has mistrust in governments. These trends can be as dangerous to our security as any outside threat. The disinformation campaign uses these trends. It supports cynicism by telling lies about Ukraine, about the EU policy, and about the NATO. It has one clear goal: to destroy unity in the EU. It aims to paralyze decision-making by importing confusion."
- Shlomo Ben-Ami: "This represents a sea change from the last several years, during which Poland emerged as the poster child for the EU’s eastern expansion. If Poland leads an axis of wayward member states, the EU’s capacity to protect civil liberties within its borders, much less sway other countries, such as Russia – will be severely diminished. And, given the lack of binding instruments to stop member states from moving toward authoritarianism, avoiding such an outcome will not be easy.
- Poland’s ‘rule of law in danger’ – POLITICO
- The Lilli-Putins of the EU by Nina L. Khrushcheva: "For the EU, handling Russia, which has lately positioned itself as the West’s nemesis, would be hard enough. Now it has to address the anti-democratic Putin emulators within its own ranks, at a time when European unity is being undermined at every turn."
- Washington Post: "“There are fault lines emerging that we thought we had overcome,” said Peter Wittig, Germany’s ambassador to the United States, who described the situation as an existential threat to Europe."
- Bloomberg: Hungarian Ballot Blocked as Opposition Sees Democracy Undermined : "While a referendum to reverse a ban on Sunday store closures may seem mundane, in Hungary plebiscites have often had an outsized impact on politics. In a 2008 referendum, organized by Orban, voters rejected a symbolic 300 forint ($1) co-payment for doctor’s visits, triggering the fall of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and opened the way for Orban to win a landslide two-thirds parliamentary majority in 2010."
- Is Hungary’s Leader Giving Up on Europe? | Foreign Policy: So does all this mean that Orban really is maneuvering for an exit? Probably not. Taking Hungary out of the EU altogether would almost certainly prove hugely unpopular among voters. What Orban does seem to want is more space between Budapest and Brussels. He is clearly keen to resist greater political and economic integration among the EU’s current members.
Simeon Djankov, Financial Times: Europe was slow to assist the front-line countries that received the first waves of immigrants & Orban is exploiting Europe’s weak response to the crisis.
FT op-ed: The demagogues destroying Europe’s ideals
FT letter, Péter Szabadhegy, Ambassador of Hungary to the UK: Hungary is ready and willing to address the migration crisis
Sir, Is Hungary the saviour of Europe, as one British citizen wrote to me in his email last week? Perhaps not, but my embassy has been inundated with letters from the British public, with a continuously increasing ratio coming from those who support Hungary’s handling of the migration crisis.
I must emphasise that Hungary is not closing its borders: those migrants who wish to enter Hungary may lawfully do so at official border crossing stations. The observance of the Schengen Agreement and the protection of EU’s external borders is not a matter of consideration; it is a legal obligation for every member state. If we fail to follow the rules, the whole of the European Union will sink into a state of chaos.
Dalibor Rohac: A borderless Europe under siege
In short, the ideal of a borderless Europe, long taken for granted, now seems very fragile. There is only one solution: to recognize, just like in the United States, that the Schengen border and the EU's asylum policies are the EU's common problem, an EU-wide “public good,” to use economic parlance.
Britain in Europe
- The process for withdrawing from the European Union - The Cabinet Office - GOV.UK
- Wang Jianlin, China's richest businessman: Don't listen to politicians; it is easier to exit than to re-enter again. L'homme le plus riche de Chine investit en Europe: "N'écoutez pas les politiciens. Il est facile de sortir, mais beaucoup plus difficile d'entrer à nouveau"
- Brexit would mean ‘decade of uncertainty': UK government – POLITICO
- The real danger of Brexit | The Economist: Leaving the EU would hurt Britain—and would also deal a terrible blow to the West
- 'Brexit' Uncertainty Unsettles Markets - Bloomberg
- Radek Sikorski: Britain still has an important role to play in Europe
- Brexit’s Questions for Europe by Javier Solana - Project Syndicate: "The reality is that the British public debate on sovereignty will not end when the votes are counted. After all, even if the majority says “yes” to the EU, a share of the population – a substantial one, according to the polls – will remain convinced that Brexit would have been much better for the UK."
- Is Europe Worth the Effort? by Jean Pisani-Ferry - Project Syndicate
- UK EU exit would be global economy 'shock' - G20 leaders - BBC News
- The G20 must start practising what it preaches | Prospect Magazine: "No one is queuing up to give little old Britain economic and trade deals and benefits anything like those which we would lose if we left the EU. This much, the G20 at least recognised."
- Italy’s Padoan warns Brexit is ‘major threat to Europe’ - FT.com
- What has the EU done for the UK? - FT.com: "Many Eurosceptics rage against the UK’s annual £18bn transfer to the EU. Nigel Farage, leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence party, has claimed that being in the bloc costs Britain £55m a day — which adds up to more than £20bn a year. But the UK’s net transfer to the EU falls far short of such claims. A rebate secured by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 emphatically reduced the bill from the headline figure. London sent £13bn to Brussels last year. Against that, the UK received £4.5bn from the EU in regional aid and agricultural subsidies, and the private sector received a further £1.4bn direct from the EU budget. That takes the net cost of membership to about £7bn, less than half a per cent of national income — about £260 a year for each British household."