The long saga on Greece is apparently over – European institutions have given Athens a third bailout of 86 billion euros which, combined with the previous two, makes a grand total of 240 billion euros.
With little fanfare, the German IFO Institute for Economic Research recently published a report on population projections for Germany which states simply that the country’s population is shrinking fast.
The “surprise” re-election of incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Mar. 17 elections has been met with a flood of media comment on the implications for the region and the rest of the world.
When I am asked whether Europe is still a relevant “protagonist” in the modern world, I always answer that there is no doubt about it. For a long time now, the continent has been shaken by financial crises, internal security strategy crises – including wars – and instability within its borders, which definitely make it a protagonist in world affairs.
Every day we receive striking data on major issues which should create tumult and action, but life goes on as if those data had nothing to do with people’s lives.
After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.
Plans by the Greek government to sell companies that handle the key resources of energy and water face serious obstacles and its policy to offer investors exceptional privileges in an effort to boost interest in privatisation is coming under strong pressure.
The recent agreement for the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo has confirmed that the European Union (EU) is still acting as a “magnet”, attracting its external neighbours and transforming and integrating them. Thanks to its prospects for EU membership, the whole Balkan area has become more stable and secure. Unfortunately, this virtuous magnetism no longer exerts the same force of attraction on our own citizens.
Political leaders in Cyprus are working on an alternative proposal to stave off bankruptcy after parliament overwhelmingly rejected an international bailout plan.
Poverty in Portugal has risen to levels that were unimaginable a year ago despite the bleak outlook forecasted by the harsh measures imposed by the troika of creditors in exchange for the country's financial bailout.
Ignoring the thousands of protestors gathered outside the Greek parliament on Wednesday, the government voted in public spending cuts amounting to 17 billion dollars in an economy already on its knees from a lacerated budget.
For anyone who might not have realised it yet, the current crisis is demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that the financial markets are the lead players in the current economic situation in Europe. Power has passed from the politicians to speculators and crooked bankers. This is a fundamental change.