Europe

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

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An oft told tale at the start of international economic law modules is the failure of the Havana Charter of 1946 to establish the International Trade Organisation (ITO). Unlike its sister the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, the ITO failed to launch. This failure was largely down to the US’s reluctance to…

The TTIP: Back to the future?

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In 1954 the ordo-​liberal economist1 W. Roepke was invited in the Hague to deliver a paper on the relation between (neoliberal) economics and international law. In this instructive speech entitled ‘Economic Order and International Law’2 Roepke observed that the 19th century being par excellence the time of economic liberalism lacked international legal documents on free trade,…

Putin’s Dissertation and the Revenge of RuNet

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The spectre of academic plagiarism by high-​ranking officials is affecting much of Europe. Germany especially has been in the news: on 9 February 2013, the German Education Minister, Annette Schavan, resigned her position after the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf voted the previous week to remove her doctorate following a review. The University decided to look into…

Regulatory exceptionalism: the EU short selling ban

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A much remarked upon feature of the Global Financial Crisis (‘GFC’) has been the recourse of governments to permanent states of exception, purportedly justified by the need to protect financial stability. We have seen everything from prime ministers being helicoptered in (Romano Prodi), to monetarist central banks buying up bonds and even gilts, to the decision…

A Generation Gaining its Voice

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I ended 2013 listening to Glen Greenwald’s keynote address at the Chaos Computer Club’s 30c3 conference in Hamburg. Though Greenwald was convinced that change is possible, he was certain it would not arise through political debate or democratic processes. Instead his optimism is vested in the skills of his peers, and in encryption technologies such…

Sovereignty Regained? Ireland Exits the EU-​IMF Bailout

Ireland

The bailout will soon be over. No longer will Ireland have to be subjected to the interference of external powers in its affairs. No more humiliating conditionalities imposed by mild-​mannered Troika functionaries with a stern economic vision. Instead, thanks to the credit facilities supplied by KfW Entwicklungsbank, which is mostly owned by the German federal government, Ireland will…

Euro Stability Mechanism proposes transfer of Greek assets to Luxembourg

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The European Commission has been forced to rebuff a proposal by the Eurozone’s new bailout fund, the ESM, that Greek assets be transferred to a new Luxembourg-​based special purpose vehicle as a part of a wider privatisation scheme. The proposal, mooted by Finland in 2011, and on the radar of the IMF, was aimed at cutting through “Greek bureaucracy”…

Immigration Manhunts and British Post-​Colonial Identity

No I will not show you my papers

Last week the British government’s Border Agency (UKBA) pushed its new and controversial “go home” campaign into full effect along with an accompanying, and highly criticized immigration stop and search at several London tube stations. The vast majority of the criticism to UKBA’s campaign has been largely focused on the basic premises that the Tories are…

The Dark Shores of Europe

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This was August 2008 at Koraka’s Cape beach in Lesvos. A local farmer told me that he saw a prosthetic leg on the beach. He said that the leg belonged to a boy, around 13 years old, who arrived on a rubber boat with his family. The coastguard were just behind the boat as it was approaching the beach.…

Cypriots Discover the Debt Jubilee

ATM Out of Service

Come again? Cypriots discover the debt jubilee? Well yes actually, that is basically how depositors at Cypriot banks have been treated by the Troika, even if the decision to grab up to 9.9% of cash deposits to finance a bail out of the finance sector is being presented as a tax or levy. To understand this we…

An Ungovernable Italy: Interview with Bifo

Bifo

Amador Fernández-​Savater: What is the context in which the Italian elections have taken place? Bifo: The political disintegration of Europe. Europe was born as a project of peace and social solidarity, taking up the legacy of the socialist and internationalist culture that opposed fascism. In the 90s, finance capital’s major centres of power decided to destroy the European…

Blockupy Frankfurt 2013 — appeal for action this spring

Blockupy 2013

“Resistance in the heart of Europe’s crisis regime” — under this slogan the Blockupy Alliance is planning renewed international protests in Frankfurt this spring. In a nationwide meeting on Sunday in Frankfurt’s DGB-​200 Active House it was agreed to push on with preparations for the days of action and issue a written joint appeal. We will carry our protest,…

Greece and the Future of Europe

Direct Democracy, Syntagma Square

Delivered at The Southern Europe Crisis and Resistances, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, 25 November 2012. Listen to the free podcast. In the summer of 1918, Constantin Cavafy met E. M. Forster in Alexandria. Cavafy compared the Greeks with the English. The two peoples are alike, quick-​witted, resourceful, adventurous. ‘But there is one unfortunate difference.…

#14N: European General Strike

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Last month, Portugal’s largest trade union CGTP called a general strike for November 14 against the “exploitation and impoverishment” of the Portuguese population. The union stressed the need to change government policies “for the sake of a better future” and urged all to join in the protest against the government and its recently announced austerity measures for next…

Interview with leader of the Greek Syriza Party: ‘The Euro is a Powder Keg that is Going to Explode!’

Alexis Tsipras

Euro or no euro. That was the grand dilemma in which Greece, and in par­tic­u­lar, the Syr­iza move­ment that you lead, was framed. How do you ana­lyse the period of crisis that Europe is cur­rently under­go­ing, and which seems to put in ques­tion much more than the sac­rosanct sta­bil­ity of the euro?

I believe the European model has to be rebuilt from below. We can’t be sat­is­fied with what today is called Europe. The cur­rent crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mech­an­isms to con­front it or con­trol the world­wide fin­an­cial attack against its peoples. Hence why Europe became a con­tin­ent where the attack of the global fin­an­cial sys­tem was fero­cious. We have no defences.

A European State of Prolonged Emergency

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If we look at the post-​2008 history of European and Member States’ legislation, we can clearly perceive the emergence and consolidation of a discourse of crisis and necessity, which has been used to abandon existing legal constraints and to dismantle the boundaries provided by the structure of the EU. Fortified by a narrative of apocalypse, illegality has been transformed into lawfulness.

Considering the famous 2009 judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Germany, we can affirm that according to the fundamental Treaties:

‘the European Union must comply with democratic principles as regards its nature and extent and also as regards to its own organisational and procedural elaboration. This means firstly that European integration may not result in the system of democratic rule [in Member States] being undermined. […]