It’s fairly apparent that even the experts haven’t had the first clue what they were doing over the last few years (”yeah, let’s lend money to someone who’s got no hope of paying us back – that’s a good idea!”), and the last few weeks have only gone to show that all predictions of where this is all going have so far been wrong. As such, my opinion about where the current financial situation is heading is probably just as valid as the CEO of some FTSE-listed financial institution or some economic genius sitting in a plush office in Wall Street or Whitehall.
The world financial crisis will either leave European financial integration in tatters or quicken the development of European fiscal capacity. European integration is a historical process that routinely stumbles upon crises that threaten to destroy it, only to find that the crisis has served to deepen it.
“We do not have a federal budget, so the idea that we could do the same as what is done on the other side of the Atlantic doesn’t fit with the political structure of Europe,”
Jean-Claude Trichet, commenting last week on the Eupean “summit” in Paris last Saturday
The ongoing pan-European financial crisis is having surprising results at a national level. Political enemies are being forced to take joint action. Struggling political parties are experiencing an upswing in popularity. But a glance at the press shows that no country in Europe stands alone with its problems.
The heads of state and government from Germany, France, the UK and Italy met on the weekend and rejected a common rescue plan for European banks. While governments are to strengthen their cooperation, each EU country is now to decide for itself what assistance it will provide its banks with. The European press voices dissatisfaction at the outcome of the Paris summit.
Trust among financial institutions is disappearing and there is a risk that fear will spread more widely, argue a group of prominent professors and directors, all of whom have signed a Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) petition calling on national governments to provide a Europe-wide solution to the banking crisis.
European ministers in charge of information technology gathered in southern France yesterday (6 October) to debate privacy and security challenges related to the transition to a ‘Web of Things’ whereby consumer goods were able to ‘talk’ to one another.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso welcomed the arrival of Baroness Ashton, who was nominated on Friday (3 October) to replace Peter Mandelson at the trade portfolio.
Battle for identity in the divided heart of Europe
The EU’s attempt to lead the world on climate change will crumble unless its current policy crisis is resolved, a study warns.
National interests trump EU unity over bank crisis
The Shape of Things to Come – EU Future Group
This analysis looks at the ideology in the Future group report, Freedom, Security and Privacy – the area of European Home Affairs. The EU is currently developing a new five year strategy for justice and home affairs and security policy for 2009-2014. The proposals set out by the shadowy ‘Future Group” include a range of extremely controversial measures including techniques and technologies of surveillance and enhanced cooperation with the United States.
Gordon Brown nominated Baroness Ashton to be European Commissioner after Peter Mandelson returned to UK government. The reason is clear enough – Brown did not want a by-election that Labour might loose after the Crewe and Glasgow East debacles. After the first reaction (who is Baroness Ashton), thoughts turned to the porfolio she would be allocated. It has now however been confirmed that Barroso will not reshuffle the Commission (as he did when Antonio Tajani replaced Franco Frattini a few months back; Ashton will get the Trade portfolio).