European Council on Foreign Relations

ECFR this week: 19th October

At this week’s European Council EU leaders agreed to establish a single eurozone banking supervisor which is considered to be a key element for the development of a banking union. In the run-up to the EU summit ECFR staff members from Paris, Berlin, Rome, Warsaw, Madrid and London published another “view from the capitals” previewing the summit from across Europe.

But there is a real danger that the proposed banking union and a deeper integration of the eurozone could lead to an exit of the UK. ‘Europe at the crossroads’ is a new ECFR project that aims at analysing the impact of the euro crisis on the UK. Click here for a collection of recent publications and podcasts that examine the EU debate in the UK.

This week’s EU summit was also a reminder that a compromise between Germany and France is still central for the European project. However, when it comes to the big questions

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Invisible Europe

A rejection of capitalism; confrontation of rising xenophobia as an element in new social movements, a challenge to take local democracy back to the town square to re-find a meaningful political identity – these themes were all tackled at this week’s ECFR’s Black Coffee discussion with Professor Mary Kaldor of LSE and Mike Richmond, from the Occupied Times of London, on the recently published report ‘The “Bubbling up” of Subterranean Politics in Europe’.

The only thing missing was Europe. While the grassroots activists (from Germany, Hungary, Spain and UK,) from the six social movements that were interviewed for ‘Bubbling up’ reported international solidarity with other protest movements around the world, and took the EU as a neo-liberal institution for granted, there was in no sense a belief that Europe could be part of a solution to their concerns about the mismatch between

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The European Council: defining EMU


This week's European Council will have another go at trying to agree on a definition of a 'genuine' Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In June the leaders refused to accept the first paper from their President Herman Van Rompuy on the matter, and asked for more work to be done. Now they have in front of them an interim report (12 October) from Van Rompuy which indeed advances the argument for more European integration but which still ducks the vital question of how this more united Europe might best be governed.

The European Council is committed to taking some firm decisions on Van Rompuy's final report in December. Whatever happens this week, there's a long way still to go, especially on the fourth of the building blocks which is euphemistically entitled 'democratic legitimacy and accountability'. While the role of the European and national parliaments at their respective

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Madrid view: Europe, year 5

We are now in year 5 of the crisis. Unemployment in the euro zone stands at 18.1 million. The economies of southern Europe are still in the dumps, with no prospect of improvement. The gloomy outlook in the debtor countries of the south is not balanced by good news from the creditors of the north. The German “locomotive” is idling, with feeble growth (0.9 percent). Things are not much better among the crew that accompany the Germans in their insistence on austerity and rigor: Austria, Finland and the Netherlands. Nor are the countries outside the euro zone, Scandinavia included, free of the contagion.

The magnitude of the economic crisis is inevitably eroding the image of the European Union. Parallel to the deterioration of growth and employment indicators, disaffection with EU institutions is growing. And not just in bailed-out countries or those subjugated by the debt markets, but

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The Dutch elections and the EU

Following their contribution to ECFR's National Papers series, Jan Marinus Wiersma and Adriaan Schout examine the implications of the recent Dutch election for the European Union. 

Click here to read Jan and Adriaan's National Paper - 'Reinventing Europe: the Dutch paradox'

Elections and instability

Business and governments from all over the world need stability in the eurozone. Elections in EU member states are a major – but of course unavoidable - source of instability. Elections in Greece threatened the euro with discussions about a euro-referendum and prospects of wanting to rewrite the austerity agreements; the change from Sarkozy to Hollande in France worried many and Hollande threatened to renegotiate the fiscal compact, etc. Yet, despite the many elections that took place over the past 3 years, the euro still exists.

Although all countries have very specific problems

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