The newly-elected government in Athens has always been suspicious of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and will use its Parliament majority to sink the EU-US trade pact, claims a former Syriza MEP now turned minister. EurActiv Greece reports.
Greece’s leftist government began its drive to persuade a sceptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement on Sunday (1 February) while it starts to roll back on austerity measures imposed under its existing bailout agreement.
Italian lawmakers elected Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and veteran center-left politician, as president on Saturday, handing a welcome political victory to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Thirteen government soldiers, and at least as many civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine’s separatist conflict after the collapse of peace talks, Kyiv authorities said.
The founder of the upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD) strengthened his control of the far right party that has been stealing votes from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives with a withering attack on his co-leaders.
EU and US negotiators are meeting this week in Brussels for a new round of talks, and promise concrete steps will be taken to advance the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.
By Lois Woestman, Guest Contributor
Dr. Lois Woestman, both a Greek and US citizen, currently works as EU-Liaison Officer at a German university. She previously worked as Lecturer and as EU-Liaison Officer for two universities in Greece, as well as as a research/policy advice consultant (including for UNWOMEN, Europe-based WIDE+ Network, and the global Association for Women in Development – AWID).
After a somewhat euphoric long weekend in Athens when I, along with many other Greeks, voted for and celebrated a Syriza win in the polls, my return to the German heartland has been a hard landing.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered his Annual Report, referring to 2014 as a ‘black year’ for European security, and announcing a number of measure that are to make the Alliance more secure.
One of these included the creation of NATO Command Centres in the Baltic and Central Eastern Europe. These are a result of a compromise between NATO members, particularly between those most concerned about Russia’s actions and those seeking dialogue with Moscow rather than further confrontation. Poland, for example, months ago called for a full NATO military base on the ‘eastern front’, although this was rejected by Germany and some other states.
Today, the German Handelsblatt reports “exclusively” based on “sources inside the Commission” that Juncker wants to replace the troika. Belgian newspaper La Libre quotes this article to report the same.
Less than a week after SYRIZA’s (Coalition of the Radical Left) electoral victory, uncertainty regarding the newly formed Greek government’s economic policy has increased. In a statement emailed to Bloomberg News, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: ‘we need time to breathe and create our own medium-term recovery programme’. Mr. Tsipras’ statement followed his Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ interview with BBC’s Newsnight, during which he criticised the two Economic Adjustment Programmes (the so-called ‘bailout programmes’) that Greece had previously negotiated with its creditors. He referred to them as ‘unenforceable’ programmes, which for five years have been ‘steadfastly refusing to produce any tangible benefits’.
So, if we were to make a little leap of faith, how could SYRIZA and the troika, or eurogroup, or shall we just say the Euros, come to an agreement?
The first issue, I think, is that any agreement needs to pass two tests. It needs to be both acceptable, or it wouldn’t be agreement, and it needs to be effective, or it would be pointless. The red-lines on both sides are pretty clear. SYRIZA went to the polls demanding some measure of debt relief. I take that to mean a reduction in the face value of the outstanding stock of debt to the Eurozone, plus the ECB, plus the IMF. Angela Merkel has stated that no further “haircut” is acceptable. Everyone assumes she is the ultimate veto actor on the Euros’ side.
Today’s show of mass support and the clear affection people in the crowd have for him will undoubtedly give Iglesias a much needed boost.
The European Central Bank’s decision to embark on quantitative easing has triggered an avalanche of indictments, largely reflecting northern European (and especially German) concerns. Though the main charges against QE are unfounded, they must be confronted head-on, lest they undermine the ECB’s credibility and effectiveness.
In much of the gushing coverage of Brittan’s legacy little mention is made of his role in breaking open the EU to business demands – TTIP is the latest stage of that project.
Several thousand people demonstrated outside Hungary’s parliament on Sunday, telling the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to respect its Western ties a day before a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on Thursday (29 January) voted on a draft motion for a resolution on the EU’s alcohol strategy.