Grumpy Old European

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In a departure from my usual obsessions, I took a step back from the headlines about the situation in Ukraine at an intellectual discussion about its underlying causes. Video links brought together academics and political scientists in Kiev, Moscow and, somewhat  incongruously, Braine L’Alleud to debate the Context and Prospects of Settlement of the Conflict in… » read more

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According to the partial results of the latest ECB survey, the median wealth of Spanish households stands at €178,300 while that of their German counterparts languishes at €51,400. This is largely due to contrasting approaches to bricks and mortar: nearly 50% of Germans rent their accommodation and only 25% own it outright, whereas less than… » read more

A morality tale for EU

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As the eurozone debt crises has spun out of control over the past months I have often recalled my own personal crisis in which I was the creditor and took a severe haircut. Apologies for the long post: the best bit is in the final paragraph. When I moved to Brussels in 2004, I rented… » read more

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There’s an old joke about a dinner party being rudely interrupted by a masked gunman demanding the surrender of money and valuables. One chap surreptitiously hands his neighbour 50 euros, whispering “Here’s what I owed you.” In essence, this is what’s happening across Europe as the markets call in the debt. This graphic nicked from the FT… » read more

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Mathew’s great post about Mediacafé – Europe: no medium, no message?, picks up on the phrase (Mathew’s emphasis) “The production of qualitative EU coverage should be incorporated in the charters of public broadcasters and it should be supervised as well.” As Mathew sums up: “State-coerced, force-fed media should not be what Europe is about.” An appeal for… » read more