By Gideon Rachman
At the beginning of this year, Angela Merkel had a good claim to be the most successful politician in the world. The German chancellor had won three successive election victories. She was the dominant political figure in Europe and hugely popular at home.
Europe’s fraying union
Mark Vandevelde, executive comment editor, joins Gideon Rachman, Tony Barber and Peter Spiegel to discuss how the dual euro and refugee crises are putting strain on the EU, what role the Schengen agreement may or not have played in the latter, and whether or not the union can weather the storm.
I was at the Greek archaeological site of Delphi last weekend, attending a conference on Europe’s future, when the news arrived that Jeremy Corbyn, a 66-year-old leftwinger, had been elected as leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party. I climbed up the hill and asked the Oracle for some predictions.
TB: Oh, Oracle, will the world see Corbyn’s triumph as irrelevant? After all, Labour’s never going to win a general election under him, so he will never be prime minister.
ORACLE: Not irrelevant, my friend, but illustrative. The world will see Corbyn’s success as one more that Britain, like a snail, is retreating from the international stage and withdrawing into itself. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
There is a comforting cliché in Brussels that the EU needs crises in order to progress. But the current cocktail of problems facing Europe — refugees, the euro and the danger that Britain might leave the union — look far more likely to overwhelm the EU than to strengthen it.
By Gideon Rachman
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is right that the current refugee crisis is forcing Europe to consider whether it can live up to its own, self-proclaimed values. Unfortunately, the answer is likely to be “No”.
Europe’s borders under strain
Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with Germany assuming the greatest burden for absorbing the asylum seekers. Gideon Rachman talks to Jeevan Vasagar, FT correspondent in Berlin, and Tony Barber, FT Europe editor, about the political strains caused by the crisis.
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.
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.
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.”