Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown take a look at the week in Brussels blogging

The EU Centre and the Crisis

Craig Willy ponders whether or not ‘euro-elites’ will face up to their own failures and take responsibility for the economic crisis. The FT’s Brussels blog looks at a spat between economist Paul Krugman and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn over the effects of austerity. Meanwhile, Open Europe looks at whether or not the UK would have to contribute to any bailout of Cyprus.

Credit: Avij (CC BY 2.0)

Credit: Avij (CC BY 2.0)

Elsewhere, the FT’s Brussels blog looks at claims that Ireland is a poster-child for austerity, with upbeat bond-markets and increased job creation. This week also sees a referendum in Switzerland which votes to limit executive pay. Lost in EUrope calls the vote ‘sensational’.

Spotlight on Geopolitics at looks at whether or not the coming referendum on Scottish independence from the UK would create a second Norway in the the EU. Meanwhile, Rhein on Energy and Climate suggests that Latvia is likely to join the euro in the next few years due to the county’s relatively favourable economic conditions. Real Time Brussels looks at the furore that erupted this week over a leaked European Commission email that gave security tips to staff visiting Athens, while Charlemagne discusses the rising ambitions of Greece’s Golden Dawn party.

Across Europe

Sean Hanley at Dr Sean’s Diary writes on Vaclav Klaus, whose ten year period as President of the Czech Republic ended on Thursday. In Italy, Open Europe reacts to Beppe Grillo’s decision to rule out a coalition with the Italian centre-left. InsightEU also wonders whether Italy is governable under the present circumstances.

Kiels Prat in Europe looks at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy u-turns and changing political directions; while Daniel Gros, writing at Project Syndicate, assesses Germany’s journey from the ‘sick man of Europe’ at the start of the 2000s, to the dominant European economy.

French Politics looks at the difficulties of French President Francois Hollande in rolling back his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s policies on overtime and the retirement age, and the OFCE blog says that it would be right for the country to abandon its 3 per cent deficit target by year’s end, saying that adding a new layer of austerity to reach the target would take the country straight into recession.

Nada es Gratis examines how productivity might be improved in Spain. Croatia, the war and the future looks at Croatia’s demographic challenges, with many young people leaving to seek their fortunes in Europe and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Au Cafe de l’Europe writes on Bulgaria’s gloomy economic and social position after the recent resignation of its Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The GMF blog attributes Bulgaria’s turmoil to high electricity prices from companies that are under the full control of Russian oligarchs.

Romanian MEP Monica Macovei critiques Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his ally, President of the Senate Crin Antonescu, for their recent comments that the country is no longer interested in joining the EU’s Schengen area. New Eastern Europe looks at Romania’s role in the recent horsemeat scandal, saying that it does not justify the common generalisations that the rest of Europe often makes about the country.

The Verfassungsblog writes on the ongoing conflict between the Hungarian government and the country’s Constitutional Court. The government has recently issued an amendment reversing most of the concessions it had made to the Court a year ago.

EU Foreign Policy and the European Neighbourhood

New Eastern Europe discusses a recent visit to Moldova by the Foreign Ministers of the UK, Poland and Sweden, saying that it has been seen by many as a positive step in supporting reform in the country and closer relations with the EU. Looking further afield, the FRIDE blog asks whether the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez might alter the EU’s relationship with Latin American countries.


Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling writes on the principle of capping bonuses in the banking industry. His take: “There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with bonuses. The problem with banks is that the institutional and cultural framework in which they made sense has disappeared.”

Meanwhile Simon Wren-Lewis at Mainly Macro asks why politicians continue to pursue austerity policies against the recommendations of economists. On a completely different subject, AEGEE at examines whether or not the state matters in the age of globalisation.

To mark International Women’s Day, Europe mon beau souci looks at the history of feminism and gender equality issues across Europe. As Lost in EUrope, note, International Women’s Day takes place against the background of Angela Merkel’s continued opposition towards quotas for women on company boards.

And finally…

What has President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy been up to this week? This week he met with the President of Myanmar, Thein Sein, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, and the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.


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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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