Athens will go ahead and request a loan extension in the debt conflict between Greece and the EU, a Greek government spokesperson said today, Wednesday. First the government must explain how it plans to service the loans, some commentators say. For others the onus is on Berlin to liberate Europe from enforced austerity.

A war of words between Greece and EU paymaster Germany escalated on Tuesday (17 February) with Athens’ new leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras rejecting what he called “blackmail” to extend an international bailout and vowing to rush through laws to reverse labour reforms.

 

Euro-European politics over #Greece

This is old news now, but it’s a good example of a theme we should be watching in the Greek negotiations – as it were, Euro-European tensions. Conflict in the EU, whether between nations, parties, lobbies, or individuals, tends to be expressed as conflict between the institutions.

The English Defence League and the new far-right

A street demo against “Islamisation” shows the potential for the English far-right to regain lost momentum.

Britain’s political far-right is in its weakest position for twenty years, according to a report by the campaigning anti-racism movement Hope Not Hate. That may seems obvious to anyone looking at the condition of two recently high-profile far-right groups, the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL). The former suffered an electoral wipe-out in the European elections of May 2014, the latter splintered and weakened after its leader Tommy Robinson’s departure in autumn 2013. But against these trends, there are now worrying signs of resumed momentum on the far-right.

 

The HSBC scandal: if HMRC is underfunded tax cheats will continue to win

Lots of information doing the rounds has been known about for years. The real problem is that HMRC have had their budget slashed, and they have adopted an extremely soft stance toward tax cheats.

Spain’s “Good” Deflation?

Spain’s domestic economy is booming, or so the story goes, and in no small part this boom comes thanks to the arrival of what is being termed the “good kind of deflation”, the sort everyone would like to have, a world where prices fall, real incomes rise, jobs are created, and everyone gets to live happily ever after. Let’s not worry that in the process the boom is steadily transforming an export lead recovery into a domestic consumption – or import driven – one.

 

Ahead of the crucial negotiations in Brussels today the new Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has published an opinion article in the New York Times responding to commentators who alleged that he plays a game in the negotiations given his background as a game theory scholar. We published thecolumn by Anatole Kaletsky that made this point.

Italy has called for a UN military mission to Libya after a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts by the IS terrorist militia surfaced on the Internet on Sunday. There is no alternative to intervention now that the IS has moved so close to Europe, journalists comment, warning at the same time that Libya must also receive help in constructing state structures.

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