From Gideon Rachman’s blog
When the euro was launched in 1999, the British were constantly being warned that if they refused to join the European single currency, they would eventually find themselves marginalised within the European Union. The Brits scoffed at this notion. But it seems to be true. A desperate deal to extricate the euro-zone from the Greek crisis is currently being hammered out, a few floors above where I’m sitting, here in the gloomy Justus Lipsius building in Brussels. But the British are essentially irrelevant to the negotiations. And happy to be.
Greetings Brussels blog fans. As you may have guessed, Tony Barber is away this week, and so I will attempt to step into his shoes for a few days. Think of me as a younger, fresher version of our Brussels bureau chief. Which is to say, while Tony has lived and reported from every corner of Europe over the last 20-plus years – covering Balkan wars and Berlin walls – I am a New Yorker who first set foot in Brussels 18 months ago. Believe it or not, before I came to Brussels I barely knew my GAERC from my GYMNICH and I still get lost in the European Parliament building.
Angela Merkel arrives at the European Council
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that today’s is the most gloomy European Council meeting I’ve ever been associated with. This was supposed to be the time when a post-Lisbon treaty Europe was confidently striding on the world stage. Instead, Europe is still suffering the hangover from December’s Copenhagen climate summit, when it was rudely elbowed aside by China and the US. (A Copenhagen post-mortem will be the main Council exercise on Friday morning. Fun.)