Eurosphere agenda: Greek debt talks fail, BUT next meeting on Monday… Tension in Minsk…
No agreement in Greek eurozone talks
Greece’s new leftist government and its international creditors failed to agree on a way forward for the country’s unpopular bailout programme, and will try again on 16 February, with time running out for a financing deal.
The Greek Finance Minister and his colleagues were unable to agree on an extension of the bailout programme for Athens on Wednesday night at the Euro Group meeting. Greece must finally show willingness to make compromises, some commentators argue. Others call on the EU to develop an alternative to Greece having to leave the Eurozone if the negotiations fail.
The Paris attacks of January 2015 gave rise to an emotion shared by millions of Europeans, while fueling some doubts on their ability to combat terrorist threats within the “Schengen Area”, write Yves Bertoncini and António Vitorino.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on Wednesday to talk peace, although the day was not without its awkward moments
Developing countries in Africa have been hit by the full force of the recent Swiss Leaks scandal. The Swiss branch of HSBC bank cost Tanzania, Senegal and the Ivory Coast over 30% of their national health budgets. EurActiv France reports.
Varoufakis (right) and Schäuble shake hands ahead of Wednesday night’s eurogroup meeting
Jewish associations are criticising the composition of a new anti-Semitism commission in Germany’s Internal Affairs Ministry, made up entirely of non-Jews. But the Ministry responded it is “quite confident” it will be able to make the group more inclusive. EurActiv Germany reports.
Spain’s Alternative Political Parties Are Fluent in Internet
Greece’s newly elected prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, advocates debt relief and the abandonment of austerity. But, given that Tsipras and his Syriza party have made common cause with Europe’s most reactionary forces, both at home and abroad, it is a mystery why so many on the European left are rejoicing.
If Europe is to remain an environmental leader and a center of innovation and competitiveness, it will have to abandon its ideological rigidness and embrace realistic, pragmatic solutions that can deliver environmental benefits without sacrificing economic development. Essential among these solutions is carbon capture and storage.
The victory of the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece’s general election has raised fears of a return to the uncertainty of 2012, when many thought that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone were imminent. But this time really is different.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras comfortably won a confidence vote on his plan to cancel a deeply unpopular bailout programme and challenge European leaders ,as both sides prepare for a showdown at meetings in Brussels this week.
The European Union’s minority languages, such as Welsh, Frisian or Basque, should be accorded equal status with the official languages, according to a linguistic diversity road map presented in Brussels last week. EurActiv Spain reports.
The number of violent attacks on refugee centres in Germany increased in 2014 compared to the previous year, with analysts indicating connections to the anti-Muslim Pegida movement, and beyond. EurActiv Germany reports.
Juncker’s three steps to improve the Commission’s standing in the EU
Since rising intolerance in Europe is not confined to anti-Semitism, Europe’s response also needs to be broader.
Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France. Zaer Belkali/Demotix. All rights reserved.One month after the worst terrorist attack in Europe since Anders Breivik’s murder of 77 people in Norway, the contours of the response are becoming clear.
Most Europeans, at both elite and mass level, have a grossly inflated idea of the extent of freedom of speech in Europe, a direct consequence of the uncritical and self-congratulatory discourse on the topic.
French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala on trial, January 28, 2015. Aurelien Morissard/Demotix. All rigths reserved.
The European Parliament’s refusal to launch a committee of inquiry on tax evasion has been a hard pill to swallow for many MEPs, who have been left questioning the role of their institution alongside the new Commission. EurActiv France reports.
Yanis Varoufakis, the economics professor and new Greek finance minister, used a press conference with Wolfgang Schäuble last week in Berlin to issue an emotional appeal to Germans for solidarity; they, after all, knew from their experiences of the 1930s how bad the political consequences of an economic depression could be.
Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France will meet in Minsk today to discuss a solution to the Ukraine conflict. However the contact group was unable to agree on key points on the night before the summit. In any case Moscow will lose out in the negotiations, some commentators contend. For others, concessions to the pro-Russian separatists would be a betrayal of European values.
MAIN FOCUS: Swiss HSBC aided tax evasion | 10/02/2015
The Swiss arm of the British HSBC bank reportedly concealed more than 75 billion euros of undeclared funds belonging to foreign clients. The revelations were published on Sunday by an international investigative consortium. Time for the EU to finally put a halt to tax evasion, some commentators say. For others the outrage over Swiss tax practices is pure hypocrisy.
Central and Southeastern European countries, largely dependent on Russian gas supplies, are starting work on a plan to build gas infrastructure, and should count on having at least three different sources of gas, the EU’s energy chief said on Monday (9 February).
Europe’s future now depends on something that seems impossible: Greece and Germany must strike a deal. But the two sides’ principled opposition – Greece demands debt forgiveness, while Germany has insisted that not a single euro can be written off – is not the main obstacle.
British Chambers of Commerce urges early EU referendum
Greek PM refuses to change course ahead of crucial week of meetings with Eurozone partners
In his first major speech to the Greek parliament yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to end “cruel” austerity and said that it is an “irrevocable decision” to implement the promises his party made in its election campaign. Tsipras reiterated his plan to increase the minimum wage, halt privatisations, reopen closed public broadcaster ERT and tackle tax evasion
The renewed outburst of large-scale violence in Ukraine has propelled the conflict to the headlines once again. These events should come as no surprise. Even before the recent flaring up of hostilities, the Minsk ceasefire was extremely precarious, with over 1,300 deadly victims between September and January. Yet as late as 10 January, Merkel refused to hold any new peace summitbefore ‘progress’ had been made. One would almost get a sense that European leaders are reluctant to truly commit to ending the bloodshed.
Opposition is building to TTIP and with anti-austerity parties on the rise in Europe, the controversial deal looks increasingly endangered. See more of our TTIP coverage here.
I will focus on the effects of EU law. That is what happens when the EU does act, when the EU does use its competences? However, before we can take a closer look at the actual mechanisms that give effect to EU law, I want to make sure that we’re on the same page about what EU law even is. EU law can be viewed as something distinct from national law.
Thirteen years ago, Argentina was in dire straits, with a currency pegged to unrealistic levels, high debt, and an unsustainable bailout program. Today, with Greece facing many of the same challenges, it is worth considering what the country’s leaders and creditors can learn from Argentina’s policy response.
Global calls to probe HSBC tax plans
Here’s what 5 world leaders think about arming Ukraine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama met in Washington on Monday to discuss the escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels, as Western world leaders debated whether to arm the Ukrainian military.