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Gloomy and rainy days in Brussels

brussels bureau

Gloomy and rainy days in Brussels


It is a crucial week for the EU and the euro. The Eurogroup decided to postpone their decision on how to avoid a disaster for Greece and the Eurozone. There is an Eurogroup/ Ecofin and a Foreign Affairs Council today in Luxembourg, a diplomatic marathon covered by our colleague Margherita Sforza.

All this comes ahead of the EU Council to be held on Thursday and Friday where heads of state and government will be eager to discover what their Greek colleague George Papandreou will unveil about his painful set of reforms.

A scene at Berlaymont, the EU Commission’s building on Friday provided yet another example of the concern over Greece. Commission President José Manuel Barroso was giving a joint press conference with Croatia’s President, Ivo Josipovic.

They were talking right after the EU Executive had approved Croatia’s accession process. Now it is up to EU member States to decide Croatia’s European future, and to consider their own public opinion, often reluctant, towards a new EU enlargement. Other Western Balkans countries hope to follow in the footsteps of Croatia.

Both Barroso and Josipovic were all smiles until a journalist asked the President of the EU Commission about Greece: what does the President of the Commission have to say about Greek’s political situation? (there was no Government in Athens at the time).

The smiles quickly faded and Barroso answered curtly that the future Greek government (now in office) had to keep its commitments on austerity measures as the first step to a solution; only after that the EU partners will respond.

Fridays in Brussels are also the time for the weekly demonstration of a group of Syrians. Asked why they demonstrate in that particular location, they answered “because here is the European Parliament”. Well, actually they were demonstrating between the EU Commission and the EU Council buildings, but we understand what they mean.

Listening to analysts about the situation for the euro, and being in Brussels at this moment in time just few metres from the EU institutions, feels like sailing past the Titanic in the moments after it hit that infamous iceberg.

Let’s hope the euro’s fate is not the same and that it can stay afloat.

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