Europe and its long crisis

 

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports on the winners and losers in the deal

On 22 occasions Europe's leaders have tried to fix their debt crisis at summits.

They have come a long way, but it remains a painstaking endeavour. Compromising and fudging is the way business often gets done in Brussels. And so it proved once again in the long hours of Thursday night.

The leaders of the eurozone have taken an important step towards setting up a banking union but it is unclear when this will be fully operational. They have agreed to set up a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro.

The Commission, ambitiously, had hoped the supervisor would be in place by January 2013. That will not happen.

At best, the legal framework will have been agreed. It is unclear when the supervisor will be fully operational. The President of the Council, Herman Van Rompuy said it would probably be during the course of 2013.

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The one certainty is that much wrangling lies ahead”

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This deal represents an uneasy compromise between the French and the Germans. Paris wanted to fast-track the banking supervisor.

Berlin wanted to put the brakes on. Angela Merkel remains, as always, cautious. She still thinks the timetable is ambitious. "Our goal," she said, "is to have a banking supervision that deserves its name."

The timing matters because only when a banking supervisor is in place can the zone's rescue fund inject cash directly into ailing banks. That is vital for countries like Spain that are desperate to see their banks helped - but not by increasing government debt.

Cheerleader for optimists

The one certainty is that much wrangling lies ahead.

French President Francois Hollande has become the cheerleader for the optimists. He declared in Brussels "the worst is over".

Greek protesters in Thessaloniki on Thursday, 18 October. Greeks have been protesting against austerity measures

Whatever the reality of the Greek economy and its debt, Greece must stay in the euro, he says. If Spain needs a bailout, then the French president sees no reason for extra austerity to be imposed.

And that is the fundamental and growing divide between Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel.

He believes that austerity first is dangerously wrong. Only this week he said "you can't inflict perpetual punishment on countries that have already made considerable effort".

That is how the French president sees made-in-Berlin austerity - as punishment.

Contrast that to the German chancellor's sober analysis of Greece. A lot is happening in Greece too slowly, she told the Bundestag and "measures which should have been implemented long ago are still being worked on".

A postscript about Britain: A view is taking root that the UK is turning its back on the EU.

The Finnish Europe Minister Alex Stubb said: "I think Britain is right now, voluntarily, by its own will, putting itself in the margins… it's almost as if the boat is sailing away and one of our best friends is somehow saying, 'Bye bye' and there's really not much we can do about it."

The French president is of the view that the British "for the moment want to be in retreat".

Whatever British officials may say, they are increasingly regarded as outsiders.

 
Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor Article written by Gavin Hewitt Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 80.

    QOT: "Switzerland has accumulated massive wealth by its citizens for not going to wars."




    But merely by hiding, laudering and re-investing money of Nazi mass murderes and of their Jewish victims.

    [the latter ones' for many decades]

    Not that they don't hide&launder mafia, German tax-evadors ill-gotten money as we speak.


    [cf. data discs obtained by Angela Merkel's government]

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 79.

    Britain is not in the Euro so it is going to be on the margins.

    Why comment on the bleedin' obvious?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 78.

    #73 pmk

    " And who dared to help Solidarity Union after 1982. [not EU]"

    --true --it wasn´t yet born.

    --still have German ´Solidarnosc (?)´ button.

    -- but not from the Capitalists.


    # 77 liarbbc

    --"Not all UK banks were bailed out were they!!"

    -- true -- but few had a different ´paint job´.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 77.

    69.quietoaktree
    -- the cuts taking place are the first step --´no regulations´ is welcoming more of the same.
    --or can you prove otherwise ?

    The bank of England has been given back it's responsibility of monitoring the banks....taken away be Gordon Brown.

    Revenues from bankrupts who brought the UK to its knees and has offered only more of the same

    Not all UK banks were bailed out were they!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 76.

    #73 PMK

    "And who dared to help Solidarity Union after 1982. [not EU]"

    Solidarity peaked in 1981, and martial law was declared by Jaruzelski on December 13, 1981. The EU was founded in 1992. The US support for Solidarity was slow in coming. The Polish pope was much quicker.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 75.

    #71 PMK

    Reagan said it in 1962 (nineteen sixty two), see e.g. http://www.john-ross.net/congress.php

    He debated Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Walter Mondale in 1984. SDI was in 1983, I think, and we discussed already what I did then (reading newspapers). Are you now supplying Stingers to the anti-Assad forces in Syria, and responsible for increasing the US deficit in order to bankrupt the EU?

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 73.

    QOT: moral of the story ?

    --never trust a UK government ?

    --only Polish or American governments ?
    +++

    Not sure what that means, but I do now the present Polish government puts much more trust in U$A as a guarantor of its independence than in countries like France (I won't mention Germany) remebering well what happened in 1939. And who dared to help Solidarity Union after 1982. [not EU]

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 72.

    #68 nautonier

    "Yes - Norway and Switzerland are the best comparators here & for many reasons as including their geography" ????

    Noway has a ´fund´ its citizens --and Switzerland has accumulated massive wealth by its citizens for not going to wars.

    -- Geography ?

    --please explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 71.

    #61 PMK

    Reagan said this in 1962, not in 2000.

    Yes he did, during a debate with Jimmy Carter, and repeated that during a debate with Walter Mondale 4 years later.

    I know, for I was there.

    [as during initiating SDI, supplying Stingers to mujaheddins or increasing US deficit to bankrupt&collapse USSR ]


    Now, where were YOU, and what did YOU contribute during that time?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 70.

    The main difference is that France and the Latins expect someone else to pay for their easy life, while the Germany and the other AAAs have been brow-beaten into accepting this.

    And yes, the UK will be better off outside of the growingly powerful, neo- tyrannical, un-Holy Roman Empire :)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    #65 liarbbc

    -- the cuts taking place are the first step --´no regulations´ is welcoming more of the same.

    --or can you prove otherwise ?

    -- more jobs and money ´for the boys´-- is hardly an improvement

    --but as with kane --who am I to destroy dreams ?

    --based on ´IF´ ?

    -- Revenues from bankrupts --who brought the UK to its knees --and has offered only more of the same ?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 68.

    59.quietoaktree
    1 Hour ago
    #57 nautonier

    -Why use ´rich´ countries as examples for UK´s fate --any reason ?

    +
    Yes - Norway and Switzerland are the best comparators here & for many reasons as including their geography

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 66.

    #61 PMK

    Reagan said this in 1962, not in 2000. The UK voted to enter the EEC in 1975, i.e. 13 years after Reagan said his one-liner.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    64.quietoaktree

    You still aint answered the question, how do you propose to replace the revenue from the city
    We know the dishonesty that has gone on but that does not justify madness commiting financial suicide by cutting your revenue

    Osbourne secured London as the Trading hub for the Yuan earlier in the year. The government will make a killing from it
    So how would you replace the revenue?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 64.

    #62 liarbbc

    "So how do you plan to replace the annual £60 billion from the city......11.2% of total government receipts....close schools, privatise the NHS......tell me, i'm interested??"

    -- Cut all those --as is occurring !

    -- because of the ´City´ --and its obvious dishonesty.

    -- ´Greece´ is everywhere --also in the ´City´

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 63.

    #61 pmk

    "Britons voted for European Common Market - long gone."

    --moral of the story ?

    --never trust a UK government ?

    --only Polish or American governments ?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 62.

    60.quietoaktree
    -- The City of London brought you to your knees -- Mecca (I believe) is in another direction --and with higher ideals.

    So how do you plan to replace the annual £60 billion from the city......11.2% of total government receipts....close schools, privatise the NHS......tell me, i'm interested??

    Love them or hate them they are at present an important part of the UK's revenue income

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 61.

    GHL "A view is taking root that the UK is turning its back on the EU."
    +++



    When during a 2000 presidential debate sb pointed out to Reagan he was once a Democrat and left the party, Ronnie replied:

    "I haven't left the Democratic Party; Democratic Party left me!


    Britons voted for European Common Market - long gone.

    And got stuck with EU they'd never vote for having a free choice.

 

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