It really looks like we are not learning from our mistakes. This whole situation between Greece and its international creditors is becoming ridiculous.
Here, the two points that are striking to me:
We have learnt nothing from economics. How come that current negotiations keep on discussing and putting forward economic provisions that proved to be wrong? (and by wrong here I mean that had pro-cyclical effects, i.e. contributed to recession rather than to growth and prosperity)
We have learnt nothing from politics. How come that we haven’t realized yet how bad it is to continue with externally imposed measures on a country and its population? (and by bad here I mean that it reinforces, gives arguments and vigor to those extremist or Eurosceptic forces which are threatening European integration and are growing in several countries)
I will discuss these two points in more detail and then move on to see whether it is possible to find some points on which there is agreement and propose the establishment of a table on investment for Greece. Continue reading →
As the markets are becoming increasingly convinced that Greece will soon default, here is a bold prediction: Greece will not intentionally default. The word “intentionally” is a hedge against accidental default.
Why do I even entertain the idea that I know better that the markets? The reason is simple. Until three days ago most economists had not considered how a judgment of the Court of Justice would have changed the trade-off between repayment of loans and default. Before I explain the significance of that judgment, we need first to understand the options which are open to a sovereign which contemplates defaulting on its obligations. Continue reading →
The international community failed to reach agreement on the state of play of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT) at its five-yearly review conference that concluded at the end of May. Four weeks of negotiations yielded no consensus outcome.
Did the EU’s role at the conference live up to its ambitions? The Union is often regarded as a “civilian power”, and should be well positioned to pursue goals such as nonproliferation and disarmament. It is structurally less prone to impose its will than unified nation-states, and less likely to use military force than most of the ‘big powers’ in today’s multipolar world. It therefore enjoys a higher degree of credibility when championing human rights, conflict resolution, and disarmament.
The EEAS has been highly successful at complementing Member States’ diplomatic services. In spite of the requirement of unanimity on foreign policy issues, in multilateral forums such as the United Nations the EU does find agreement on the vast majority of files. Compared to the rest of the world, EU members do share the same values and interests, and where they do not, the file may not be important enough for any single member to withhold their acquiescent consent. But the contentious topics are the ones grabbing the headlines, often making the EU appear as a divided bunch, e.g. on military action, Middle East politics and Russia sanctions.
And nowhere is the EU as divided as on nuclear weapons. In spite of its inherent ease with multilateral negotiations and multi-level bargaining, the EU dramatically failed in its ambition to play a constructive role at the 2015 NPT conference.