The first meeting between Greece’s iconoclastic new finance minister from the Marxist left and his 72-year-old conservative German nemesis was never going to be easy. It turned out even worse than expected.
The Greek and German finance ministers could “not even agree to disagree” at their meeting on Thursday (5 January) about the new government in Athens’ plans to renegotiate Greece’s debt and halt austerity measures prescribed by Berlin, the Greek minister said.
The traumatic attacks in Paris provoked agonised public debate. But to be productive this needs to range more deeply through France’s colonial history and modern society.
France has had long experience of responding to political convulsions with a bout of self-examination. In 1815, in the wake of Napoleon’s final defeat, it began to search its soul about its loss of dominance in Europe. But it remained proud of its culture and society, and though constrained by the Treaty of Vienna it decided, in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, to look beyond Europe to project its “grandeur”; hence its conquest of Algeria in 1830.
The following is an edited version of an essay written as part of the External Relations of the EU programme. Copyright: Ross McQueen 2015.
Through its neighbourhood institutions, the EU has since the mid-1990s been taking a regionalist approach to the states of the Middle East and North Africa (Jones, 2006, p.416). The EU’s southern or Mediterranean neighbourhood comprises a number of predominantly Arab North African and Middle Eastern states, and Israel. The Middle East Peace Process therefore looms large in any consideration of this region: it is impossible to deal with the MENA region as a whole without touching on the MEPP. However, the EU is a multilateralist actor (Saleh, 2007, p.75).
Once again, Europe seems to have reached a fork in the road, either about to slide into oblivion or to demonstrate its ability to weather the strongest storms. The future will ultimately be determined by Europeans themselves, but they would be wise to consider how they are viewed from abroad.
Ukraine is a victim of Russian military aggression, and, like it or not, its fate will essentially determine that of Europe’s, because the current crisis will define the rules and principles that Europeans live by in the twenty-first century. That is why Europe must support Ukraine’s embattled government with urgently needed money.
LONDON — An “anti-Islamisation” group which has staged rallies across Germany and in Austria has said it’s planning to hold a march in Newcastle on Feb. 28.