Europe

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Flexibility is a prized trait for leaders in a world of uncertainty, constant change, and unpredictable competition. So it is hardly surprising that leaders should seek the same flexibility from their own staff.

Administering such a system of shorter-term or temporary contractors is ostensibly easy, using shift-management software that matches hours required to hours on offer. The economic advantages look attractive.

But if companies treat temporary workers as factors in an equation rather than as individuals, they will undermine the benefits of a less rigid labour system. It is training that will make the difference between a flexible but durable approach, which is of mutual benefit to employer and employee, and one that eventually disadvantages both company and worker.

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Behind Turkey’s volte-face on Isis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fishing for nationalist votes by tarring as terrorists the pro-Kurdish coalition, argues David Gardner

Something is rotten with the eurozone’s hideous restrictions on sovereignty, writes former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, in response to allegations he planned to hack Greece’s tax system Read more

Once again, it was an agonisingly long piece of Greek parliamentary theatre. But once again, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Alexis Tsipras came out on top.

For the second time in a week, the prime minister survived a mini-rebellion in his radical leftist Syriza party and, with the help of opposition parties, passed a set of reforms required to secure a new, €86bn financial rescue from Greece’s international creditors. Read more

When German chancellor Angela Merkel took time off from the Greece crisis this week, she must have thought she was on safe ground visiting a school in the port of Rostock.

But an encounter with a 13-year-old Palestinian refugee girl turned the trip into a PR debacle. The chancellor’s apparent inability to sympathise with the teenager triggered a storm of social media criticism about her behaviour – and German immigration policy.

A lot of it was very unfair. Yet the episode highlights a weakness in Ms Merkel’s engagement with her public: while she is very good in judging the mood of Germans as a whole, she can be uncomfortable in individual confrontations. Read more

Who loses most from the Greek rescue deal?
On Monday Athens was given a long list of economic reforms it needed to implement in return for another EU bailout. Was it a humiliation for the Greeks or a capitulation by the Germans? Gideon Rachman and Wolfgang Munchau discuss who was the biggest loser.

  • Amid the political noise, the historic nuclear deal between Iran and international powers is a victory for pragmatism in Tehran, writes Roula Khalaf
  • Greece’s creditors have destroyed the eurozone as we know it and demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union, argues Wolfgang Münchau
  • Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump offers a megaphone to the noisy minority of Americans who believe they are losing the battle with modernity, writes Ed Luce
  • Europe’s creditor-in-chief has trampled over values like democracy and national sovereignty, and left a vassal state in its wake. Which country will be next? asks Philippe LeGrain (Foreign Policy)
  • We apologise to Marxists worldwide for Greece refusing to commit ritual suicide to further the cause. We elected a good, honest and brave man, who fought like a lion, writes Alex Andreou (Byline)

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  • Scott Walker, the “regular Joe” governor of Wisconsin and Republican presidential hopeful, needs to shrug off concerns that he is a foreign policy lightweight in his run for the White House
  • Young people are shunning cocoa farming in Ghana, leading to fears that production and productivity could be harmed in the world’s second-biggest grower of the soft commodity
  • Mexico’s most wanted drug lord, known as “Shorty”, has pulled off his second sensational jailbreak in 15 years – dealing a blow to the government which had taken pride in capturing top crime kingpins
  • A full transcript of the first interview with Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, since his resignation (New Statesman)
  • A nationalist militia in Ukraine engaged in a standoff with soldiers and police following a gun and grenade attack after its fighters confronted supporters of a local MP critical of the group (The Telegraph)

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Late on Thursday night Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras submitted a new plan for his country’s economic overhaul to bailout monitors. The clock is now ticking. Will it be accepted, or, come Sunday, will Greece topple into bankruptcy?

 

Europe’s moment of decision on Greece
Is this week finally the one when Greece defaults on its debts and crashes out of the euro? Gideon Rachman is joined by Henry Foy and Ferdinando Giugliano to discuss an apparent hardening of opinion among Europe’s politicians towards Greek appeals for debt relief.

With the clock ticking towards Sunday and an emergency summit of all 28 EU members, Greece has only days to reach an agreement with its creditors or face bankruptcy.

All eyes on Wednesday were on Alexis Tsipras as he addressed the European Parliament and submitted a fresh bail-out application, even as European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said preparations were in place for humanitarian aid for Greece in the event of “Grexit”.

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, had insisted that Athens come up with a full range of reforms that could cover a multi-year rescue programme.

 

By Gideon Rachman
Greece’s No vote was greeted with euphoria in Athens’s Syntagma Square: the fountains were bathed in red light, the flags waved, the crowds sang patriotic songs. Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, had said the vote was about national pride and his message had struck home. One young woman, a freelance journalist, confided: “I actually voted Yes. But part of me is glad Greece said No. We are a small country, but we have a big history. This is about our dignity.”

  • July 2015 will go down in history as a continuation of hell for Greece, whose leftwing government has brought catastrophe to the nation, argues Tony Barber
  • The beginning of the end for Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister who has just stepped down, began not in Athens, or even Brussels or Berlin, but in the small Baltic capital of Riga
  • Though Ivory Coast has staged a successful comeback since its civil war, some say the focus on the economy at the expense of reconciliation could come back to haunt the country
  • Mexico’s government wants to tame the disruptive teachers’ union which has seized public plazas, burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gas supply (Washington Post)
  • “Germany has never repaid”: In a forceful interview, French economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt (Medium, orginally published by Die Zeit)

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  • Angela Merkel is taking her revenge on Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras by insisting there can be no more talks on the country’s debt crisis until after its referendum on the bailout on Sunday
  • After China’s main stock index fell by 5 per cent yesterday, investors are blaming the share collapse on the securities regulator and the shadowy world of margin lending
  • An Egyptian soap opera set in a neighbourhood in old Cairo circa 1948 offers an empthatic portrayal of the Jewish community – and casts Islamists as the bad guys
  • Yes? No? Greek Voters Are Perplexed by a Momentous Referendum (New York Times)
  • In Ramadi, the Islamic State settles in, fixing roads and restoring electricity (Washington Post)

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By Gideon Rachman
The shuttered banks of Greece represent a profound failure for the EU. The current crisis is not just a reflection of the failings of the modern Greek state, it is also about the failure of a European dream of unity, peace and prosperity.

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Nato renews its commitment to collective defence
Defence ministers from the Atlantic Alliance’s 28 members are meeting in Brussels to discuss the reinvigoration of the alliance in the face of Russian aggression. The US is to make the biggest reinforcement of its forces in eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union. Ben Hall discusses the development with Geoff Dyer and Sam Jones.

By Gideon Rachman
As EU leaders head into this week’s emergency talks , they face a choice of three hazardous routes out of the Greek crisis. Route one involves making concessions to Greece. Route two involves standing firm and allowing Greece to leave the euro. Route three involves Athens largely accepting the demands of its creditors.

What happens if Greece defaults?
Is Greece about to default on its debts and if so, what happens next? Gideon Rachman and his guests Tony Barber and Martin Sandbu discuss what has gone wrong between Greece and its eurozone creditors and whether the political rifts can be repaired.

David Cameron says that Britain’s relationship with the rest of the European Union is deeply unsatisfactory and must change. He is pressing ahead with his plans to demand reforms in Europe and to put the results to an “in-out” referendum in Britain – probably next year. But if you look at current events in Europe, Britain’s deal does not look at all bad – in fact, it is strikingly good. There are two major crises currently underway – involving Greece’s debts and refugees arriving in Italy. And yet because of opt-outs negotiated by previous British governments, the UK has been able largely to avoid the painful choices facing the other Europeans. Read more