Greek crisis deepens amid EU tensions

  • 19 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
A man walks next to graffiti depicting a clown with a euro sign popping from his eye, in Athens 19 February 2015
If there is no deal soon Greece could run out of money

After hours of fast-moving developments, a deal to settle the Greek bailout crisis hangs in the balance.

This morning Greece confirmed that it was sending a letter to the head of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. It was a formal request to extend the loan agreement by six months.

The Greeks were offering significant concessions. They said they would refrain from taking any unilateral action that would undermine fiscal targets. They agreed that officials from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - formerly called the troika - would supervise compliance with the deal.

This was a significant step. Although the Greek prime minister has announced the troika as dead, officials from those institutions would still very much be active.

Greece also pledged to meet its financial obligations to all creditors.

Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said eurozone finance ministers would discuss Athens' request

Read full article Greek crisis deepens amid EU tensions

Greek bailout talks: The Dangerous Game

  • 17 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomes Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem (not pictured) during their meeting in Athens on 30 January 2015
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will need greater eurozone support if he is to secure a better bailout deal

Neither Athens nor its European partners want Greece to leave the eurozone, but the risk of a miscalculation is growing.

On both sides there is suspicion and a degree of resentment.

Read full article Greek bailout talks: The Dangerous Game

Greece bailout plans: Talks in a tangle

  • 12 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends an emergency Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council in Brussels on February 11, 2015.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has insisted Greece must stick to the existing terms of its bailout

Brussels is the capital of late night compromises. But this time it was different.

The post-midnight faces of three European officials and the head of the IMF looked weary.

Read full article Greece bailout plans: Talks in a tangle

Greece: The dangerous game

  • 1 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
Tsipras
Greece's new prime minister has until the end of the month to reach a deal on the country's debt

European officials and governments are much more anxious about the Greek drama than they are admitting publicly. They fear a miscalculation in the weeks ahead could precipitate a full-blown crisis.

The past week has witnessed the opening tense and abrasive rounds. Nerves have been left frayed. The new radical-left Greek government said it would no longer negotiate with the troika: officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Read full article Greece: The dangerous game

Greek elections: Europe waits on voters' verdict

  • 23 January 2015
  • From the section Europe

When Greeks vote on Sunday they will not just be choosing a new government, they will be delivering a verdict on Europe and its leaders.

If the polls are accurate, Greece is on the verge of electing the first anti-austerity party in the eurozone. If that happens, Greece's future will once again be uncertain.

Read full article Greek elections: Europe waits on voters' verdict

Europe: Central Bank rides in

  • 21 January 2015
  • From the section Europe
Mario Draghi (file pic Dec 2014)
Mario Draghi vowed to do whatever it took to prevent countries defaulting in 2012

Once again the European Central Bank (ECB) is set to demonstrate it is the most powerful institution in Europe.

Once again the bank is set to ride to the rescue of the eurozone.

Read full article Europe: Central Bank rides in

The 2015 Greek euro drama

  • 5 January 2015
  • From the section Europe
Alexis Tsipras, 3 Jan 15
On 3 January the Syriza leader addressed a party congress where election candidates were chosen

It did not take long. The game is very much in play. Greek voters are being bombarded with warnings about what is at stake when they go to the polls on 25 January.

There is little that is coded in these messages. When a country has been bailed out to the tune of €240bn (£187bn; $286bn) there is no such thing as non-interference in Greece's internal politics.

Read full article The 2015 Greek euro drama

Europe in 2015: A year of insecurity

  • 29 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
Euro bank notes and coins
As in previous years, Europe enters 2015 with worries about its economy

For Europe, 2015 will witness another attempt to reach a place of safety. For the past two years European officials and leaders have declared the economic crisis over. In the past six months a sense of foreboding has returned.

The dangers are not the same as 2012. There is no danger of countries being unable to fund their debts. The threat now is of stagnation and deflation.

Read full article Europe in 2015: A year of insecurity

Europe in 2014: Ghosts return

  • 15 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
Nato Norwegian F-16 jet/Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber - file pic
Cold War echo: A Norwegian fighter tracks a Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber

For Europe this has been the year when ghosts - long thought buried - returned.

For nearly 70 years Europe had held to a core principle: that borders could not be changed by force. In Crimea - and in eastern Ukraine - Russian President Vladimir Putin dusted down and revived older, more dangerous doctrines.

Read full article Europe in 2014: Ghosts return

Cameron, migration and the Germans

  • 28 November 2014
  • From the section Europe
UK Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech at JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, central England 28 November 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he hoped to get net migration below 100,000 before the election in 2015

David Cameron was speaking to different audiences today. Of course there was the British electorate and his own restive backbenchers but he was also addressing the Europeans and in particular the Germans.

Berlin had been genuinely shocked when David Cameron and senior Conservatives had spoken of imposing "emergency brakes", "caps" or quotas on the numbers of EU migrants moving to Britain.

Read full article Cameron, migration and the Germans