Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious plan for EU reform seems to rest on economics. Macron is betting that a successful domestic reform programme will buy him enough goodwill in Germany to make French-favoured changes in European economic governance, like the establishment of the post of a European finance minister managing a eurozone budget, politically viable.
But this is risky. Economic reforms can be slow in producing results, and Macron’s popularity may prove fickle in the face of mobilization against his reforms. His party won a majority in the legislature but with a record low turnout that indicates unusual reticence to a new president.… Seguir leyendo »
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision this week to call a snap general election on 8 June has added another electoral contest to the busy political calendar of Europe. Already the direction of European politics depended on the outcome of the French presidential poll and the German election in the autumn. Earlier in the year the Turkish and Dutch governments entered into a bitter public feud as their electoral campaigns spilled over into each other’s territory. And 2016 was punctuated by the election victories of anti-establishment forces in the US and the UK.
All this points to a stark new reality: elections are now the key formative events, and national electorates the key actors, of world politics.… Seguir leyendo »
This time around, the push for resolution comes from inside Cyprus.
For the first time since the Turkish invasion of 1974, the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities both have moderate pro-resolution leaders. With assistance from the UN, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have spent two years discussing the complex web of issues dividing the two communities: the land area each will occupy, the constitutional setup of the reunified Cypriot state, the return of Greek refugees to areas occupied by Turkey, and the compensation for loss of property. In the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland there were still disagreements, but it seems both sides are willing to find a compromise.… Seguir leyendo »
While covering the Greek soccer team in the 2008 European championships, a Greek sports columnist came to a restaurant in a picturesque Swiss mountain village and got to talking to the owner.
The championship games in Switzerland, the columnist suggested, would be great for the restaurant’s business. To the journalist’s surprise, the notion of thousands of fans crashing the orderly village gave the owner a panic attack.
It was good if the games brought a few stray tourists like the Greek columnist to the village, and some attention to Switzerland, the owner was saying. But if the soccer championships actually started interfering with everyday life, then no thanks.… Seguir leyendo »