A massive Eurosphere roundup… After Greek elections and more…

MAIN FOCUS: Greece poised to form government | 19/06/2012

from euro|topics
Following the parliamentary elections in Greece the conservative Nea Dimokratia party and the socialist Pasok plan to form a government today, Tuesday. Both support the country’s austerity programme. The result of the election may have bought Europe some time but the country’s bankruptcy is far from averted, commentators write.



from Ideas on Europe by PoliticsatSurrey
by Dr Theofanis Exadaktylos
The results of last Sunday?s elections in Greece reveal not only the deep fragmentation of the political system in Greece but also a polarized electoral environment within Greek society. Clearly the outcome of the elections signals the willingness of the Greeks to remain within the Eurozone and within the European Union structures, but also sends a stronger message domestically to the political establishment that the period of single-party governments is long gone. The electorate desires cooperation at different levels not only to overcome the crisis but also to build a safer future within the European architecture. At the same time there is a strong momentum against the austerity measures that cannot be overlooked by the forthcoming government and this will pose a considerable threat to the reforms and the implementation of the required measures by the bailout agreement. This means that the new government will face strong opposition (even on the streets) and will have to seek a more general consensus but also, push forward an agenda of renegotiation of the memorandum with the Troika.

Do the election results mark a turning point for Greece? Think again…

by Open Europe blog team
Over on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog, we argue,
Things in Greece could have been worse after the election, but that fact can?t be hailed as a ?turning point?. Assuming that Greek political leaders form a coalition and push ahead with EU-mandated reforms, which is a very likely outcome given that Greece may only have enough cash in its coffers to soldier on for another month, any such government will inevitably include parties that completely disagree on how to resolve the crisis. The only glue would be the fear of economic catastrophe.


Morning Brief: Greece’s victorious pro-bailout party launches coalition talks

from FP Passport by Uri Friedman

What next for Greece?

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team
We have today published a Q&A on Greece’s future in the eurozone in light of the results of yesterday’s elections. Here we go:

MAIN FOCUS: Greeks vote for Europe | 18/06/2012

from euro|topics
In Greece’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, the conservative Nea Dimokratia emerged as the strongest party, slightly ahead of the left-wing alliance Syriza. The result, eagerly awaited across Europe, means that the supporters of the austerity programme have prevailed. Commentators view this as a clear vote by the Greeks to remain in the Eurozone, noting that others will however have the final say.

After the Greek election, Vassilis K. Fouskas

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Vassilis K. Fouskas
Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Syriza will further increase its voting power.
After an unprecedented campaign of scaremongering, blackmail and threats against Syriza by German, European and IMF officials, the pro-bailout party of New Democracy (ND, Centre-Right) won the electoral contest by a whisker and is poised to form a government with its brother in corruption, PASOK (Centre-Left). Will such a government last? I doubt it.


Greek election result: an assessment, Yanis Varoufakis

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Yanis Varoufakis
The New Democracy party will lead the government even though it is utterly clear that at least one in three of the voters who backed it think very little of the party but felt they had no other option. This is as inauspicious a beginning for a new government with a mountain range of challenges as one could have imagined.


Greek populist parties and the disoriented mainstream, Aristotle Kallis

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Aristotle Kallis
The results of the May 2012 Greek elections may derive from the degree of public anger at the EU-IMF rescue package. Nevertheless, immigration was featured very prominently in party programs and public discourses as the main security concern ? a trend not limited to the radical right.


Grammars of enmity: a Golden Dawn of contemporary Greek democracy?, Salomi Boukala

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Salomi Boukala
Far right groups like Golden Dawn are not a new phenomenon in Greek society, nor do they derive from the consequences of today?s financial crisis. The roots of fascist groups are to be found in an old tendency to rely on the vilification of a political enemy to rule.


Mapping Greece’s forthcoming elections, Takis S. Pappas

by Takis S. Pappas
As Greek electoral law awards the party that comes first 50 bonus seats in the country?s 300-seat parliament, whether that party is ND or Syriza will be crucial. In either case, with so many Montagues and Capulets arrayed on the Greek public square, forming a government will not be easy.

Euro 2012: the threat of hooliganism

by hkeet
For the first time in its history, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) has decided to entrust the planning of the Euro 2012 competition to two Eastern European countries ? Poland and Ukraine-in line with FIFA?s policies seeking to conquer ?new territories.? But apart from the tough issues surrounding the competition (few accommodations, prostitution, lack of transparency), another problem remains, and it’s a big one: hooliganism.

Is Italy next in line?

by Open Europe blog team
As Spain teeters on the edge of the abyss, Italy now also finds itself back in the crosshairs of the market and eurozone leaders.

Dear Merkel, beware Greeks bearing geopolitics, Vassilis K. Fouskas

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Vassilis K. Fouskas
It is time to stop the chorus of blackmail assailing Syriza, the radical Greek left party poised to win the Sunday election, from all sort of pundits, international officials and, above all, Merkel – along the lines that if their anti-bailout platform wins the June 17 contest then Greece would be pushed out of the Euro. For, the real issue now is not about economics but about the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean

Dear Merkel, beware Greeks bearing geopolitics, Vassilis K. Fouskas

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Vassilis K. Fouskas
It is time to stop the chorus of blackmail assailing Syriza, the radical Greek left party poised to win the Sunday election, from all sort of pundits, international officials and, above all, Merkel – along the lines that if their anti-bailout platform wins the June 17 contest then Greece would be pushed out of the Euro. For, the real issue now is not about economics but about the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean


Wind of fair change in France?, Mallika Kaur

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Mallika Kaur

While immediate economic reforms are crucial in the current climate, any new captain also cannot avoid the social reforms required for long-term stability.

MAIN FOCUS: Debate over Merkel’s crisis strategy | 15/06/2012

from euro|topics

In a government declaration on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her support for the austerity policy in crisis countries and rejected the idea of additional aid. With her strategy Merkel risks a collapse of the Eurozone, some commentators fear, while others feel that as Europe’s economic motor Germany has the right to call the shots.

MAIN FOCUS: Financial markets distrust Spain | 06/06/2012

from euro|topics
Spain admitted for the first time on Tuesday that it is having difficulties raising money on the financial markets. The possibility of making use of the euro bailout fund in a bid to solve the country’s bank crisis is increasingly being discussed. For some commentators the step would be a nightmare, while others believe that unlike Greece, Spain can be rescued in this way.


MAIN FOCUS: Spain accepts help for its banks | 11/06/2012

from euro|topics

The Spanish government announced on Saturday that it will apply for help from the euro bailout fund to save its banking sector. The Eurozone plans to make 100 billion euros available to this end. According to commentators this won’t resolve Spain’s and the EU’s fundamental problems, but it will buy them valuable time.

MAIN FOCUS: Scepticism over Spanish bailout | 12/06/2012

from euro|topics

The approval of a multi-billion euro rescue package for Spain caused markets to rise on Monday, albeit only temporarily. Commentators warn of the high costs of short-term bailout operations and complain that the same standards do not apply for all crisis countries.

Ukraine’s Euro 2012? We?ll do it our way!, Yuriy Andrukhovych

by Yuriy Andrukhovych

Recent press coverage of Ukraine has been extremely negative. Now, as the European Football Championships get under way, a Ukrainian writer gives a bird’s eye view of the state of affairs across the country. Not a pretty picture, thinks Yuriy Andrukhovych

Eurozone crisis challenges UK role in Europe

by fhbrussels
Britain is buzzing with talk of a referendum on ?Europe?. In May Peter Mandelson was advocating a national vote some time after 2016, when a new Europe of fiscal union will have been defined. He sees it as a way of resolving divisions within Britain?s political parties.

How the Parliament boosts its Facebook audience (News)

The European Parliament?s popularity in social media has rocketed in recent years despite a drop in citizens? confidence in political parties and a decreasing turnout at European elections. A number of tricks to attract fans on Facebook and Twitter help explain this contradiction.


ACTA falters in Europe

from Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
Three EU committees rejected ACTA this week; good news for a bad treaty. Previously


ACTA: Unredacted Docs Show European Commission Negotiation Failures

from TorrentFreak by enigmax

This week and next there will be several key votes in European Parliament Committees on ACTA, the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

The European Emperor has no clothes, Darian Meacham

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Darian Meacham
Severe austerity measures cause malnutrition, homelessness and suicides across southern Europe. European institutions that apparently fail to protect their citizens from harm lose their legitimacy. The pro-European left should defend the values, not the institutions, of Europe and the quality of life of all its inhabitants


Europe’s soul is distinctly parliamentary

by Eurocentric
The European Council has stumbled from summit to summit over the course of this crisis, and the European Parliament, despite being the most democratically legitimate EU institution, has not been the site of the central debates about how to fix the Eurozone. Nosemonkey has just written a great article on the need for more democratic legitimacy in the EU, and the ability to finally make a decision. However, I disagree with him – and the German Christian Democrats – that a directly elected president is the answer. I don’t think a presidency could work in practice because Europe’s soul is distinctly parliamentary.

Worth a read: Soros on the euro and EU

by nosemonkey

Three months until the euro?s past saving, eh? I?ve heard that one before? Still, very much well worth readingGeorge Soros? recent eurocrisis speech in full ? an interesting take with much to be said for it. After recent posts here, where I?ve called for an EU Reformation, one passage in particular leapt out (emphasis mine):

On the source of the EU?s democratic deficit and the need for action

by nosemonkey
A telling paragraph in Der Spiegel which fits in neatly with my onging ?blame the European Council? approach when it comes to pretty much everything that?s wrong with the way the EU works. (Emphasis mine):
?European Central Bank head Mario Draghi provided what was perhaps the most urgent appeal

On ?i?ek, Eliot, and the need for an EU Reformation

by nosemonkey
Slavoj ?i?ek often seems to exist to be controversial, and I certainly don?t agree with many of the details ofhis latest piece for the London Review of Books on the Greece crisis (short version, as ever with old Slavoj: the usual consensus is wrong, and the far-left has all the best ideas). However, elements of one passage did stand out as worthy of futher consideration, as it tallies neatly with the way my thinking?s been going of late:

Germany?s economic ideology

by nosemonkey
Long, catchily-titled briefing paper from the European Council on Foreign Relations looks to be well worth a read in full as we start heading towards next year?s German federal elections amidst ever-increasing frustration with Merkel?s apparent lack of flexibility on austerity. PDF download here ? it provides what looks to be a very handy overview of the political/economic positions of the various Germany parties vis a vis the EU and eurozone.

The death of the indignados movement, Marina Prentoulis and Lasse Thomassen

by Marina Prentoulis and Lasse Thomassen
The indignados movement is dead and Spain is back to the traditional political management of demands and interests. The language of protest needs another restructuring.

Greece and the eurozone: managing the crisis, Simon Tilford

by Simon Tilford
A Greek exit from the European single currency would not bring the catharsis that some expect. Rather, it will create new challenges that can only be met with major institutional reforms – to which Germany is central, says Simon Tilford.


MAIN FOCUS: EU puts off solving the crisis | 24/05/2012

from euro|topics
The EU special summit on Wednesday failed to reach definitive results, and the debate over euro bonds was put off until the end of June. The common EU bonds are the perfect complement to Europe’s austerity policies, some commentators maintain, while others stress that crisis countries must above all focus on becoming competitive once more.

MAIN FOCUS: Speculation about Athens’ euro exit | 25/05/2012

from euro|topics
The EU heads of state and government are apparently set on keeping Greece in the Eurozone, provided it adheres to the austerity policy. But exiting the euro makes more sense in the long term than following the troika’s austerity dictates, some commentators maintain. Others fear an exit will be the end of the European dream.


Multiculturalism in Europe

by The Editors
After the rise of multicultural policies in the 1980s and 1990s, the winds have shifted in Europe. Terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Norway, and, most recently, in Toulouse, have furthered the securitization of Islam across Europe, while increasing immigration (predominantly from Muslim countries) has caused societal tensions. As a result, existing ideas concerning multiculturalism, religious pluralism, and national authenticity are being challenged.


Pop and politics collide at Europe’s awesomely trashy song contest

from Boing Boing by Leigh Alexander

Loreen of Sweden performs her song, “Euphoria”, after winning the Eurovision song contest in Baku. Photo: David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

Occupy Frankfurt in front of ECB. Photo shared by Roarmag.org (copyleft).

Germany: #Blockupy Protests Against Pan-European Austerity

from Global Voices Online by Sara Moreira
This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis
?Blockupy? protests against ?the widespread impoverishment and denial of democratic rights occurring in the Eurozone as part of a global systemic crisis? shook the financial epicenter of Europe – Frankfurt – last week.

Serbia?s new nationalist president backs EU path

from Hurriyet Daily News
Nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic won the Serbian presidency on May 20, a result that adds to the country?s political turmoil and could decelerate its attempts to join the European Union..


Party politics in the Greek pandemonium (full analysis)

from Ideas on Europe by Protesilaos Stavrou


Image credit: Skai.gr

After nine days of negotiations the Greek parties that were elected in the last parliament failed to form a government. National elections will take place again in mid-June. Given the overall situation, political instability only exacerbates the already chilling effects of the economic depression. The formation of a government ?any government? is essential in the immediate future, otherwise Greece runs the great risk of being plunged into chaos and anarchy, as the bailout programme will be brought to an abrupt end, cutting off the financing of the state?s primary deficits such as wages, pensions and other essential expenses; Greece will be forced out of the eurozone by means of severing it from the TARGET2 payment mechanism (also see the Financial Times article on Greek banks); while the extremist elements from both sides of the political spectrum will only find more fertile ground for their propaganda.

What do a British Conservative PM and a French Socialist President have in common?

by Open Europe blog team

Over on the Telegraph blog, we note:
David Cameron will have his first face-to-face meeting with newly elected French President Francois Hollande today, at a G8 summit in the US. There has been some fuss about Cameron and Hollande not getting along. Cameron snubbed Hollande during a visit to London. And, most importantly, one is a French Socialist, the other a British Conservative. They must be each other?s diametrical opposite, surely?
Well, judging from some of their remarks and actions over the last year, if one didn?t know any better one would think they actually have quite a bit in common:

Saving Greece and/or the EU?

from Today’s Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news :: Columnists by DOĞU ERGİL
Since the military government (1974), two parties have alternately ruled Greece, namely the center left Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and New Democracy. This virtually created a two-party system.


Hollande: the kid with a crayon?

from Ideas on Europe by PoliticsatSurrey

Dr Simon Usherwood

During a roundtable discussion on elections last night here at Surrey, I was asked what the impact would be of Hollande?s election on the existing European-level agreements on austerity. After some metaphorical beating around the bush, I replied that I thought the impact would be marginal, akin to a child who gets some crayons and is allowed to draw a pretty picture while the grown-ups get on with the real business.

Another European political plagiarism scandal

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

First it was German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who was forced to resign in March, 2011, when it was found that he had plagiarized part of his doctoral thesis. Then Silvana Koch-Mehrin, vice president of the European Parliament, regisigned the following month due to accusations about her university thesis. Hungarian President Pal Schmitt resigned this year because of accusations — that he still denies — about his doctoral thesis. The latest victim is newly appointed Romanian education minister Ioan Mang:

Football & politics: the legacy of Euro 2012 in Ukraine, ?ukasz Jasina and Janek Lasocki

from open Democracy News Analysis – by ?ukasz Jasina and Janek Lasocki

Ahead of the Euro 2012 football championships, media attention on political scandal and excessive profiteering has undermined Ukrainian attempts to raise prestige in the eyes of the world. Janek Lasocki and ?ukasz Jasina wonder if the hosts will eventually be able to defy critics and secure a positive legacy from the tournament.

Rebalancing the Eurozone

from Project Syndicate by Kemal Derviş

As long as the eurozone’s internal divergence in unit labor costs persists, the euro crisis cannot be fully resolved, because current-account deficits and/or slow growth will continue to stalk the ?south,? perpetuating worries about sovereign debt and commercial banks. But the burden of adjustment cannot rest solely on the south.

brief history of Syriza; (Coalition of the Radical Left) and its programe, if it becomes the next government of Greece.

by Organized Rage

Beware the Tides of Greek Political Extremism

from WhirledView by Patricia H. Kushlis

By Patricia H. Kushlis

Maybe Greece never should have become a member of the EURO-zone.  But it did.  Or maybe the EURO-zone should have been structured far differently so that it could deal with problematic states and regions such as Greece through transfers not loans. But this didn?t happen.

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