The case against Europe: MEP Daniel Hannan reveals the disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU By Daniel Hannan Published: 22:04 GMT, 14 August 2012 | Updated: 09:08 GMT, 17 August 2012 Over 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan has witnessed first hand how Brussels works. Now he has written a forensic analysis of why it’s rotten to the core. There is a popular joke in Brussels that if the European Union were a country applying to join itself, it would be rejected on the grounds of being undemocratic. It’s absolutely true - and, believe me, it isn’t funny. Democracy is not simply a periodic right to mark a cross on a ballot paper. A protester places a EU flag on a bonfire during a riot outside the European Council hall in Gothenburg Sweden It also depends upon a relationship between government and governed, on a sense of common affinity and allegiance. It requires what the political philosophers of Ancient Greece called a ‘demos’, a unit with which we the people can identify. Lacking any natural loyalty, they have to buy the support of their electorates. Got that?
Draghi's new plan to save the euro: 'Goooood morning, Vietnam!' This is an edited version of my Eurowatch column in Friday's Irish Daily Mail -- Here, in just one line, is Mario Draghi’s latest plan to save the euro, as announced yesterday in Frankfurt: the ECB will buy lots of Spanish and Italian bonds once their governments promise to embrace eurozone-approved austerity. There were some garnishes added, but that was about it. If you are thinking the plan sounds familiar, you are right. In May 2010 and in August 2011 the ECB also started bond-buying programmes, meant to do exactly what this new plan is meant to do: let the markets know the euro is irreversible, let investors know that the ECB will not let the cost of Spanish and Italian sovereign debt rise to impossible levels, and tell the markets to back off. The plan didn’t work in May 1010. It didn’t work in August 2011. But Mr Draghi thinks it will work this time, because this time it’s going to be different. But let’s say the justices at the court say the ESM can go ahead. Start with Spain.
Van Rompuy: 'his charisma makes Hillary Clinton look like Mata Hari' This is too good not to pass on. Here are some lines from the brilliant Theodore Dalrymple, in his review of Daniel Hannan's book, A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe. The review appears in the current edition of the City Journal. You can find the full review online at www.city-journal.org -- '...Like all people with bad habits, politicians and bureaucrats are infinitely inventive when it comes to rationalizing the European Project, though they’re inventive in nothing else.' 'Without the Union, they say, there would be no peace; when it’s pointed out that the Union is the consequence of peace, not its cause, they say that no small country can survive on its own.' 'When it is pointed out that Singapore, Switzerland, and Norway seem to have no difficulties in that regard, they say that pan-European regulations create economies of scale that promote productive efficiency.' 'If it is then noted that long-term unemployment rates in Europe are higher than elsewhere, another apology follows.'
Cyprus set to become FIFTH eurozone country to receive an emergency bailout By Rachel Rickard Straus Published: 15:52 GMT, 23 November 2012 | Updated: 15:52 GMT, 23 November 2012 Cyprus is set to become the fifth eurozone country to receive an emergency bailout, as it finalises a package with international lenders. It could be given as much as 17.5 billion euros – equivalent to its entire annual economic output – as the country’s economy is battered by its exposure to the crisis in Greece. The tiny Mediterranean country will follow Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain into the arms of the emergency rescue funds set up for the 17-member euro currency zone. Shoring up: Cyprus is finalising a deal that could see it bailed out as much as 17.5 billion euros In exchange the country will have to comply with a series of ‘unpleasant measures’, a government spokesperson said. The talks between Cyprus and the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund come as EU leaders battle over the Brussels budget.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov Resigns Following Violent Protests Bulgaria's government bowed to political pressure Wednesday morning, stepping down after violent demonstrations in the capital Sofia over low living standards and government corruption. For nearly two weeks thousands of protestors have taken to the streets across the country, first demonstrating against rising electricity prices. In recent days the protests spiraled into general anti-government demonstrations. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had tried to assuage protesters by firing his finance minister and asking the country's energy regulator to cut power prices by 8 percent starting March 1. But those measures weren't enough to quell unrest in Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest country. "I did everything in my power to meet the people's demands yesterday," Borisov told parliament as he announced his resignation on Wednesday four months ahead of scheduled elections. Keep track of the news Stay informed with our free news services: All news from SPIEGEL International
Austerity in Europe: what does it mean for ordinary people? | Business Austerity has been the main prescription across Europe for dealing with the continent's nearly three-year-old debt crisis, brought on by too much government spending. But what does it mean for the average European? Imagine paying sales tax of 23% or more. Or having your wages cut by 15%. Or, if you're in Ireland, both. Austerity comes in many forms: higher taxes, fewer state benefits, more job cuts, working longer until retirement, you name it. Here's a look at some of Europe's austerity pain: Greece Greece, one of three eurozone nations to need an international bailout, has cut spending on just about everything it can – public sector salaries, pensions, education, health care and defence. Portugal Portugal is paying its bills only because of an international rescue loan. Ireland Ireland, the third European nation on rescue loans, has already seen five austerity budgets since 2008. Spain France Italy Britain
Why the worst eurozone recession ever? The clue is in the word 'euro' Here is my op-ed piece from Thursday's Irish Daily Mail -- The eurozone economy: yes, it’s still shrinking. Official figures out yesterday show that it shrank again in the last financial quarter. But then, it shrank in the quarter before that. And the quarter before that. If this goes on long enough, the eurozone economy will be small enough to wash down the plughole. It is not just the bail-out countries that are unable to grow, although ‘unable to grow’ is an understatement for a bail-out country such as Greece, in its sixth year of recession. Even the Dutch economy shrank. This is the longest, deepest recession in the history of the eurozone. And the response from Brussels? No evidence Olli Rehn tells us that as long as the eurozone follows the policy, there will be growth. Yesterday the analysts at Capital Economics said: ‘We doubt that the region is about to embark on a sustained recovery any time soon. Of course it will. Young Greek workers Disrepute Damage Decouple And why not?
EU demands £3.5 billion to keep governments afloat Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski insists huge amount is needed to keep Europe afloatHe said: ‘We need additional funds to meet our legal obligations.’Tories urge Prime Minister David Cameron to refuse to pay upRequest for more cash comes six months after EU was granted £6.4 billion By Jason Groves, Chief Political Correspondent Published: 01:09 GMT, 27 September 2013 | Updated: 01:09 GMT, 27 September 2013 The European Union last night demanded a £3.5 billion bailout from national governments, amid warnings it will run out of cash within months. In a blunt admission the EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said: ‘We need additional funds to meet our legal obligations.’ Britain’s share will be about £450 million. European Union Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said $3.5 billion is needed to keep governments afloat - including a £450 million pay out from Britain The demand comes just six months after the EU was granted an extra £6.4 billion to keep it afloat.