Chris Gilson takes a look at the week in Brussels blogging. 

The EU centre and the crisis 

This week saw Cyprus’ banking crisis rumble on. On Saturday, Some of it was true… looked over the previous week’s developments, commenting of the Cyprus bail-in that, ‘the operation was a success, but a shame the patient died’. Open Europe ponders whether or not Cyprus could leave the eurozone, but remain in the EU. A new agreement was reached early on Monday morning (Dimitris Rapidis has a good roundup of the measures and capital controls involved); Lost in EUrope decried the Troika’s ‘arbitrary’ decisionmaking over Cyprus, while Charlemagne said that the ‘painful’ agreement will keep Cyprus in the eurozone, but will mean the closure of the country’s second largest bank. Meanwhile, Debating Europe asked, “were the Cyprus bailout conditions too tough?”. Financial Guy, writing at Blogactiv.eu, wrote that the Cyprus bail-in shows that the eurocrisis is back with full force. 

Later on Monday, the head of the eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, made a statement that the Cyprus bail-in model was an approach that could well be used in other eurozone countries. While the statement was later retracted, it set off a wave of turmoil in Europe’s financial markets, according to Open Europe. Some of it was true… bemoaned the poor decisions behind the the Cyprus debacle, and also says that the European banking system cannot be remade piecemeal, while Lost in EUrope said that Luxembourg this week has warned against the re-nationalization of the European banking market. When Cyprus’ banks finally reopened after a ten-day closure on Thursday, Open Europe noted the lack of a bank run. 

Credit: Ken Teegardin (Creative Commons BY SA)

Credit: Ken Teegardin (Creative Commons BY SA)

Lost in EUrope discusses the apparent dominance of the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble in the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers. The Corner says that with rising manufacturing and business indexes, Germany is likely to sustain Europe’s recovery. Coulisses des Bruxelles comments on Germany’s power in the eurozone, saying that it is a problem that Berlin has not been able to manage that power properly, imposing its own solutions across the continent. Meanwhile, German politicians came out swinging against accusations that the country is Europe’s ‘neighbourhood bully’, according to Open Europe. 

Meanwhile, the New Federalist writes on the disagreement between the UK and the EU over caps for bankers bonuses, which threatens the wider agreement on the reform of prudential banking rules. According to Real Time Brussels, Germany has also moved to block compromise on the EU’s proposed Single Supervisory Mechanism for banks. 

Across Europe

Dan Luca, writing at Blogactiv.eu looks at the potential benefits to Romania of a new EU Treaty. He says that it would be a chance to develop further ‘domestic Europeanisation’ in Romania. 

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech outlining new measures to reduce immigration into the UK, including renegotiating some immigration rules at an EU-level. Open Europe says that the UK is likely to find allies in Germany and the Netherlands for such renegotiations. The Centre for European Reform disagrees in part, saying that Germany is unlikely to support Cameron in the types of Treaty changes that he desires.

Coulisses des Bruxelles looks at the ever increasing radicalisation and verbal brutality of the discourse of French far left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Meanwhile, French Politics looks at the possibility that French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault may be replaced by current Interior Minister Manuel Valls. Charlemagne has an update on the ongoing investigation into former President Nicolas Sarkozy for alleged illegal campaign financing. As the week draws to a close, Lost in EUrope reports French President François Hollande’s comments that continued austerity in Europe may lead to an ‘explosion’ of populism, such as has occurred in Greece with the rise of the neo-Nazi golden dawn party.

A Fistful of Euros has an in-depth analysis of how mass emigration of Spain’s young talent might affect the country’s health and pensions systems. Meanwhile, Eurostat has uncovered evidence of creative accounting in Spain to artificially lower the country’s deficit figures, according to Open Europe.

On Tuesday, Open Europe looks at the latest maneuverings in Italy by centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani to form a new government. Beppe Grillo is refusing to support Bersani, so he may have to go to Silvio Berlusconi and his party for enough support to govern. 

Croatia, the war and the future looks at the recent publication of an interview with Danijel Srb, President of the eurosceptic Croatian Party of Rights in the Huffington Post, saying that though the interview took place in October, it has been published now as the country prepares to elect MEPs for when the country joins the EU in July.

EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood 

French Politics writes that France is now likely to call for the arming of Syria’s rebels to counter Russia’s supply of weapons for the Assad regime. EU Hemicycle at Blogactiv.eu says that the ongoing civil war in Syria is a good indication of the lack of effectiveness of the EU’s Commons Foreign and Security Policies. 

German Joys writes that inequality is on the rise in both the USA and Germany. 

Contentious Politics Russia looks at the spring protest plans of Russia’s opposition parties.

Kader Sevinc, writing at Blogactiv.eu looks at recent calls by the Turkish opposition party for the Prime Minister to show respect for Turkish women’s privacy and sexuality. EU Logos looks at statistics for asylum applications across the EU; there were over 330,000 applications in 2012, an increase of 30,000 on the previous year.

And finally…  

Some of it was true… has overheard an interesting conversation in a Brussels bar.

New Eastern Europe looks at traditional Easter folklore and rituals in Lesser Poland.

Rhein on Energy and Climate wonders whether the weather across Europe has been unseasonably cold as a result of cold warming.

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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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