After years of travelling to the US only to hear that Europe really doesn't matter any longer (or at all) for America, I can tell - coming back from the States this week where I did the roll out of my book in different academic and foreign policy circles - that it does matter again, and more so. Germany especially is a hip country once again when it comes to foreign policy analysis on the other side of the Atlantic. The reasons for this, however, are rather worrisome.
It’s hard to detect what matters more: German behavior over Libya or its course in the management of the Euro-crisis, but, in short, most US analysts believe that Germany got both wrong. On Libya, the US seems happy to welcome a ‘normal’ Germany, as long as normal would still mean signing up with the US on matters of international security. The US is puzzled about the loss of a strategic compass in Germany, which
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The Wall Street camp-out brings the indignation movement all the way from Greece to the US. At first sight, there is little resemblance between the two cases. While Papandreu’s Greece is in crisis due to a grossly inefficient, clientelist state whose indebtedness grew unsustainable, Obama’s United States is the victim of imploding financial markets. Failure of the state on the one hand, of the markets on the other, we might say in simplification.
However, Greece and the US are like each other in unsuspected ways. Architecture offers a clue. The fact that Washington’s public buildings so faithfully reproduce the Greek ideal is no accident. Athens and Washington are both cradles of democracy — direct and representative, respectively.
This ideal, expressed in two amazingly similar texts, Pericles’ Funeral Oration and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is now being questioned. First came
Last night, Slovakia's parliament failed to approve the bill that would expand the powers of the Eurozone's bail-out fund (EFSF). Having linked the vote to a confidence motion before, the governing coalition has been toppled. Slovakia was the last Eurozone member country to vote on these measures - but the first one to vote them down. I explained the reasons that had caused that have brought about the government crisis in a blog post yesterday - the question which everyone asks at the moment is what happens next.
The collapse of the centre-right government has a number of domestic consequences (this has been one of the shortest-lived coalitions in Slovakia's recent history) and the implications for the rest of the Eurozone will not be catastrophic. Although the government has technically resigned, it will continue in a caretaker role until there is a reshuffle or early
More than one hundred prominent Europeans - including many ECFR Council Members acting in a personal capacity - have signed an open letter to the leaders of the 17 Eurozone countries, calling for an urgent and pan-European solution to the escalating Eurozone crisis. The letter has appeared in prominent newspapers across the entire Eurozone and beyond.
The signatories call for a common Eurozone treasury, the reinforcement of common financial rules and a strategy aimed at both growth and economic convergence. To deal with the immediate crisis the signatories call for the EFSF and ECB to be empowered to safeguard the banking system and allow the refinancing of sovereign debt.
Signatories include Martti Ahtisaari, Emma Bonino, Bertrand Collomb, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Hans Eichel, Joschka Fischer, Alfred Gusenbauer, Bernard Kouchner, Emma Marcegaglia, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Ana Palacio,
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For many, the Slovak government that emerged in the last year’s election was the dream team the country had long waited for. Consisting of the four centre-right parties and staffed by many of the reformers who turned Slovakia from the central European laggard of the 1990s into one of the fastest growing new EU member states, the hopes were high last year that the country would become continue on its stellar path.
But twelve months down the line, the government is on the brink of collapse. The main reason is the Slovak parliament’s vote on the extension of the EU bail-out fund. The country is the last out of the Eurozone members to decide whether to agree with the expansion of the Fund’s resources. In more than a year in government, the ruling parties managed to find consensus on the reform of the justice system and social security system. They even agreed on drastic austerity
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