Monday, July 2, 2012

And the winner of last week's EUCO is ....

I have been silent (in terms of blog posts, not in terms of tweets) for the last 2+ weeks, watching developments in the EU and the Eurozone, observing, thinking, pondering, on the road to last Thursday's and Friday's session of the European Council (EUCO).

Those included ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings, comments from many of the capitals of the member states of the EU and the Eurozone (btw CDU MPs do need to learn how to make much more proper comments re other member states etc), the Rome meeting of Merkel, Rajoy, Hollande and Monti, the football externalities of EU and Eurozone affairs etc.

Some claim Europe won, because Merkel bowed (they think) to pressure from Italy and Spain (Hollande adopted a middle ground approach for which I hear that he was criticised at home (France, see also the drop in his approval ratings). She is said to have been criticised at home for giving up too much at the EUCO. She passed the Fiscal Compact in the first vote but CDU and FDP MPs broke ranks. And the ESM vote.

Some even claim that she "won" at the EUCO.

Some claim that "Europe" won, because Merkel bowed to other leaders' views "for once", and the decisions are a step forward for Europe.

In my opinion, Spain and Italy may have won, but maybe not as convincingly as it appears. Merkel did back a bit, but that is compared to her initial negotiating stance.

So, I insist. The last EUCO may have been a victory for Spain+Italy but not for the whole EU or the anti-Merkel/anti-austerity camp as a whole.

For Europe (EU), the gain was better than nothing but maybe too little compared to the task, late if not too late. A leap forward or sideways maybe be necessary soon. How soon? In EU years, not soon enough.

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