Over the last weeks and months almost every day has brought a new headline. Hundreds drown in the Mediterranean, 70 suffocate to death inside a truck, Thousands stranded at Budapest train station. The media and the continent have woken up to the fact that Europe faces its largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, with thousands of people a day trying to claim asylum. This shouldn’t be a cause for panic though. Instead, European leaders need to take a look at the opportunities this crisis offers, and what can be achieved by accepting the refugees heading towards the EU. Continue reading
After a truly marathon negotiating session, a deal has finally been reached between the Eurozone leaders and Greece. The deal includes:
– More austerity, mainly in the form of tax rises and pension reform
– The repeal of Syriza’s anti-austerity laws
– Freeing up some of Greece’s ‘closed professions’
– Privatisation of state assets (like the ports and electricity grid)
– These assets will be transferred to a 50 billion euro fund managed by Greece but supervised by the creditors. The funds will be used to support the banks and Greece itself Continue reading
Twenty years on, the pain felt by the survivors and relatives of those killed in the Srebrenica massacre has not dulled a bit. The Serbian Prime Minister was forced to flee the 20 year commemoration of the massacre as he was pelted with stones by a crowd of Bosnian Muslims. Carrying a banner with PM Aleksandar Vucic’s words from days after the massacre 20 years ago – “If you kill one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims” – they made it very clear that the Serbians have not been forgiven. So what happened in Srebrenica in 1995? Continue reading
On Sunday Greece will vote in one of the most unusual referendums to be held in Europe in a long time. With only a week’s notice the country has been asked to vote on an extremely vague question, which in essence boils down to whether or not to accept an offer by the Eurogroup (Greece’s creditors) for a new series of bailouts and reforms. The only problem is that the Eurogroup has made clear that this offer is off the table, making the actual question essentially meaningless. Continue reading
The news has just broken that the European Central Bank will agree later today to end emergency assistance to Greek banks. This, together with yesterday’s news that the EU will not extend the bailout until Greece can hold a referendum on further austerity, means that it looks very likely that Greece is about to crash out of the Euro. Let’s quickly catch up on how the negotiations fell apart, before looking at what the events of today mean, and what could follow.
The situation is still changing fast, and on the evening of the 28th of June the ECB had indeed decided to end additional assistance to Greek banks, and capital controls have been imposed. The description below of what could happen is still relevant., but actual actions taken by the ECB and government may change.
The clock is ticking down to yet another deadline in the eternal negotiations between Greece and its creditors on debt and bailouts. The deadline this time is the 30th of June, when the country owes 1.5 billion euros in debt repayments to the IMF. If they don’t pay, they will have defaulted on a loan, and that could start them on the path to economic collapse and an exit from the Euro and European Union. Continue reading
The dust has settled and all the seats are decided, but the analysts are still recovering from their shock. Instead of the neck-and-neck result everyone (including me) had predicted, the UK ended up voting in a Conservative majority. David Cameron has already formed his cabinet, and will be able to lead without any help at from his former coalition partners. So who are this election’s winners and losers? It’s not just the parties themselves… Continue reading