Clive Crook

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In the friendliest possible way, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear this week that she and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron have essentially incompatible views about the future of the European Union. This wasn't much of a surprise: After all, the same goes for the country's respective electorates. The question is whether these incompatibilities can be tolerated, or whether they'll force a divorce.

Cameron has promised a referendum in 2017 on the U.K.'s membership in the EU -- membership on new terms, he hopes, to be negotiated if he wins re-election next year. He has said he wants fundamental reforms that would move some of the powers previously granted to Brussels back to national governments.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anger in Europe over executive pay is finding its way into legislation. The European Parliament, backed by almost all of the European Union’s finance ministers, plans to cap bankers’ bonuses, and 68 percent of Swiss voters endorsed a referendum initiative to ban “golden parachutes” and put other curbs on bosses’ pay.

Agitated voters, grandstanding politicians and intelligent policy rarely go together, and this is a case in point.

Let’s agree that people are right to be disgusted. In the last decade top bankers led the world into the deepest economic slump since the 1930s, and their firms had to be rescued by taxpayers, yet the culprits aren’t exactly suffering.…  Seguir leyendo »