“Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.”
Penned more than three decades ago, Jean Monnet’s insight on the European Union, which the French statesman was so instrumental in founding, has certainly stood the test of time. Read more
In Europe’s capitals they still talk of the evening when George Papandreou, Greek prime minister, confessed to his fellow leaders that his nation was corrupt. “He was very impressive and very honest. He basically said: ‘My country is a corrupt country from A to Z,’” recalls one European Union policymaker present at the dinner in Brussels on December 10 2009 where Mr Papandreou bared Athens’ economic soul.
On a spring evening, a group of the world’s most powerful policymakers sat down to dinner at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue. The building, in the heart of the US government district, is a blend of modernist and neo-classical styles termed playful by some architecture critics. But the subject under discussion was deadly earnest: how to save Europe’s monetary union.
It has long been apparent that presidents of the European Commission secretly aspire to being treated like presidents of the US. I remember being present in the Commission press room, when Romano Prodi – the Commission president who preceded José Manuel Barroso – came to speak to the journalists. Prodi’s press secretary, presumably acting under instructions, announced loudly – “Ladies and Gentlemen, the president.” I was sitting in the front row and burst out laughing, and got a dirty look for my pains. I really wasn’t trying to be rude. It was just a genuinely ludicrous moment. Read more
The Brussels blog is taking a break over the holiday season and will return in the European autumn.
Thanks for your comments and for your readership.
As the EU prepares for its summit at the end of the week, the FT’s senior foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman chairs a debate with Mats Persson of Open Europe and Charles Grant of the Centre for European Economic Reform. They discuss the tensions between France and Germany over the southern European members’ debt crisis, and the call for greater budget scrutiny, which the UK is questioning.
FT economics editor Chris Giles analyses the joint EU and IMF intervention to restore confidence to European banks and investors, at www.ft.com/eurescue
In this FT video, Victor Mallet, Madrid bureau chief, follows the migrant trail from Tangiers, north Morocco, to an immigration camp in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and across the mouth of the Mediterranean to southern Spain.
He sees how the regions’ economic ties and the financial crisis have shaped the lives of millions of migrants. Read more
From Gideon Rachman’s blog
At European summits, it is easy to get the mistaken impression that the arguments are all about finding the correct policies or defending national interests. I suppose, sometimes, that is the case. But more often that not, it seems to come down to personality politics. I was struggling earlier today to understand why the French had been so reluctant to involve the IMF in the putative rescue of Greece. In my innocence, I thought it might have something to do with a French preference for a “European solution”. But then a French colleague explained to me. It’s simply that Nicolas Sarkozy sees Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF, as a potential rival in the next French presidential election. So he doesn’t want to agree to anything that might make Strauss-Kahn look good. Read more
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. Read more
Greek shipping has enjoyed a surprisingly good year. But there are difficult times ahead for an industry that faces increased competition and dangerous levels of overcapacity.
Solving Greece’s current debt crisis is just the start of fixing the economy.
Hugh Williamson, the FT’s Europe news editor, reports from Athens. Read more
The Crann nanotechnology research centre in Dublin is an example of the EU’s Lisbon agenda, which 10 years ago set out to make Europe the world’s most dynamic knowledge-based economy. But how well have those ambitions been met? Can Europe compete with the US? And how realistic are the EU’s R&D targets? John Murray Brown reports from Dublin. Read more
From central Ukraine and capital Kiev, a leading oligarch, a bar owner, a foreign investor and ordinary hard-hit people discuss what the new president needs to do to mend Ukraine’s broken economy. Read more
Here is the latest video from the FT’s View from Europe series:
The Brussels blog is taking a break and will return during the week of January 4.
By Stefan Wagstyl, eastern Europe editor
Small European countries generally make international news only when they get into trouble, as crisis-hit Latvia has found to its cost. Read more
Watch this video by Quentin Peel, the FT’s international affairs editor, on the Tories and Europe Read more
The FT’s Brussels blog is taking a break and will return soon.