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It’s no surprise that the “disciplinary” elements of this week’s Greek bail-out deal have been badly received by many in Greece. Strengthening of the Commission Task Force in Athens to provide an “enhanced and permanent presence” to oversee Greek government measures, and deposit of quarterly debt repayment funds in an escrow account to ensure their… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Devaluation was invariably the path to survival for weaker European economies in the days before the euro. But when devaluation is no longer an option, there is evidently no choice for failing economies but to squeeze public spending and slash labour costs in the hope of paying off debt and restoring competitiveness. A striking aspect… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

The European institutions have rarely faced a sterner test than in their dealings with Hungary. As defender of the European treaties the Commission must do all in its power to protect the fundamental principles that underpin liberal democracy in the EU, yet any decision to block an EU-IMF aid package until Hungary’s authoritarian measures have… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

It’s curious how centre-right governments have come to dominate the political scene as Europe faces its biggest economic crisis for a generation. Given the fierce pressures on public spending, the battle by public sector workers to protect their jobs and pensions, whittling down of welfare programmes and high levels of unemployment, especially among young people,… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Since the eurozone crisis first erupted three years ago it has largely been seen as Europe’s problem. It has now become a global emergency. This crisis is “scaring the world” says President Obama, whose Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner visited Europe twice in a week to meet European finance ministers and who has demanded speedy action… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

People may have questioned Chancellor Angela Merkel’s commitment to the European Union over recent years, but there is no denying the pivotal role which she is playing in defence of the euro. What a desperate battle she has to fight! The trouble is that her own battalions are deeply sceptical of her campaign. The misgivings… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

A game-changer: that’s how Christine Lagarde, new boss of the IMF, described last week’s eurozone crisis summit, which agreed revised bail-out terms for Greece and far-reaching new capabilities for EU financial institutions, virtually creating a European Monetary Fund. There is no doubt that the decisions taken in Brussels on July 23 2011 opened a new… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt

Greece must choose the road of change or the road of catastrophe: that was how Greek prime minister George Papandreou described the two options facing the Greek people before Wednesday’s austerity vote in the Athens parliament. Parliament’s approval, by 155 votes to 138 with five abstentions, marked a first step. More must follow as implementing… » read more

Posted by Michael Berendt