Lowering Expectations and Rising Tensions: the Informal EU Summit

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Brussels The verdict from the markets on the May 23 informal summit in Brussels is already clear. The euro slumped to a 22 month low against the dollar, investors flooded into the safe haven of German bunds, and fevered speculation continued about a Greek exit from the euro. Before the meeting officials did their best not to raise expectations. This was after all an informal meeting and normally no big decisions are taken. …

What can the EU summit deliver?

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Brussels EU officials are playing down expectations of any major decisions at the Informal Summit in Brussels, but there is plenty of scope for an unprecedented clash on the kinds of solutions the eurozone needs. The big ideas involve the ECB, eurobonds and the new permanent rescue fund the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). What makes this summit fraught with expectation is that for the first time Germany and France will be at loggerheads …

Ratko Mladic called to account at The Hague

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent, in The Hague Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic arrived into the chamber today with a look of defiance. He may face 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but he gave a thumbs-up sign to the public gallery and clapped his hands. Dressed in a blue suit and shirt with a green tie, he donned his glasses and studied documents.

Restarting the Franco-German Motor

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Berlin What kind of bond will Angela Merkel and François Hollande forge? Until recently the chemistry between French and German leaders provided plenty of chin-stroking for European policy wonks and academics. But these days the unemployed, struggling businessmen, mortgage-holders and families from Cork to Corfu have an anxious interest in how these two get on and what they decide is best for Europe’s economy.

The Search for Eurozone Growth

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Brussels Now everyone is singing from the growth hymn sheet, but not everyone is singing the same tune. At one end of the pew are those that say austerity should be tossed away as soon as possible, at the other those who insist growth will only come AFTER sound public finances have been restored. Bunched in the middle are the majority, including Chancellor Merkel and the Irish government, who say growth and fiscal …

France: The Morning After Optimism

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, in Paris And so another European leader has fallen into the eurozone debt crisis vortex. Gone is Nicolas Sarkozy, only the second ever incumbent to be kicked out by the French after one term. In his place is Francois Hollande, a politician who, despite his storied affability and modesty, is presenting himself as the man to turn Europe – perhaps even the world – away from the path of austerity.

Fear and Loathing: Understanding the extreme right vote in France

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor In the village of Dugny, to the north east of Paris, a small group of political activists have gathered in the home of Gil Clavel, a local ski instructor. Monsieur Clavel, who drives a peugeot that has seen better days, is serving home made buns and coffee to two portly and polite middle-aged ladies, and a young man named Charles, in his small, white painted terraced home. The excited chatter and the rattle of coffee …