Can Europe survive? Greece, Ukraine and the refugee crisis

Published on Herald Scotland, by Trevor Royle, Dec 27, 2015.

WHO says that Germans lack a sense of humour? Certainly not Westphalian entrepreneur Uwe Dahlhoff, who used the year-long Greek economic crisis to launch a new vodka-based cocktail called “Grexit” – the term used to describe a possible Greek withdrawal from the European Union. The bottle’s label said it all – a crude depiction of Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and finance minister Yanis Varoufakis drinking a toast below an EU flag with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grim visage surrounded by a wreath of stars. The slogan, “sauer macht lustig”, roughly means “even sour is good fun” and it plays on the bittersweet relationship between Greece and Germany as well as underscoring the use of lemon in the cocktail … //

… Adding to the sense of doom was the fact that the Grexit upheaval was taking place at a time when Europe was facing a refugee crisis, which threatened – and still threatens – to overwhelm it … //

… There is a possibility that the UK might also decide to quit Europe (the so-called Brexit), which will be decided by referendum at a date still to be decided. On returning to power in May, Prime Minister David Cameron promised that an in/out vote would take place before the end of 2017 but he could bring the date forward to as early as this coming summer if he feels that his negotiations for reform are gaining traction amongst fellow European leaders … //

… As if to reinforce the notion that the EU has been a power for good in that Europe has been relatively peaceful during the past seven decades, the peace was disturbed when ancient enmities resurfaced along its eastern borders. The spark was provided by the situation in Ukraine where fighting between government forces and Russian-backed proxy militias has been going on for two years and has cost around 10,000 lives … //

… Like it or not, Europe will have to take note. Not only does Ukraine have ambitions to join the EU and Nato but there will be no reforms of the country’s economy without investment from European capitals, thought to have reached £5 billion this year. And Russia too will have to take note as one of the main restraints on Putin is the EU sanctions regime, which shows no sign of being eased.

By preventing war from spreading in February, France and Germany proved that the EU still had teeth. However, as the year comes to an end, it is clear that the diplomacy came with a hefty price tag.

(full text).

(My comment: the question is not if the actual, not democratic structure of Europe will survive, but if we are able to make of it more and more a tool bringing development to all of us. Or maybe we will finish in a middle age like feudalism? What begins in Greece, Detroit, what had never ended in shantytowns, this will soon become a reality all over the world. The existing financial feudalism urges us to save humans first, worldwide, before it is too late – Heidi).


Locked out ATI workers in US left isolated by United Steelworkers union, on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Samuel Davidson, Dec 28, 2015: the decision of the United Steelworkers to announce that the NLRB has decided to issue an unfair labor practice complaint against Allegheny Technologies Inc. over the lockout of 2,200 steelworkers is a stunt aimed at justifying the continued isolation of the locked out steelworkers, now in their fifth month off the job;

Spain Says “No” to Austerity, on ZNet (first on Dispatches from the Edge), by Conn Hallinan, Dec 26, 2015;

Hope and fear in the endless Greek crisis, on Financial Times, by Martin Wolf, Dec 22, 2015:

US Gov is ready to change tactics in Syria but keeps the main goal, Assad must go, 27.18 min, uploaded by X22Report, Dec 21, 2015;

Putin: Russia ready to work with Pres. Assad & US, 1.58 min, uploaded by PressTV News Videos, Dec 20, 2015;

Hedge funds vs Greece: lobbyists want “cheap ticket” to speculation, on, by Corporate Europe Observatory, Dec 18, 2015;

Greece: an alternative economic project, a proposal for meaningful policy change, on Global, by Eric Toussaint, Dec 26, 2015 (first on Comittee for the Abolition of Third World Debt) … the present paper includes large chunks of the proposals I drafted in July 2015 (see Greece: Alternatives to the Capitulation, July 16, 2015) …;

Global Capitalism, July 2015 Monthly Update, 96.42 min, uploaded by Richard D Wolff;
… stuctural mecanism at 29.47 min,
… greek crisis at 46.45 min, later: why, in the crunching between rich and poor, Mr. Tsipras caved in;
… about MittRomney-isms (for Mitt’s message divide and rule) at 75.45 min;
… how to stop some of these stupidities at 81.18 min;

Roots of Greek Crisis, Debt Relief and Rise of Anti-Capitalism in Europe, 17.54 min, uploaded by Democracy Now! July 7, 2015 … with Economist Richard Wolff: as Greek voters reject further budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a rescue package from European creditors, who is to blame for the debt crisis embroiling Greece? Is Germany trying to crush Greece to set an example? Will Greece leave the eurozone? What does this mean for the global economy? We speak to Richard Wolff, emeritus professor of economics at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and visiting professor at New School University. He’s the author of several books, including, most recently, “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.” Still with us in Athens, Greece, is Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News;


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