Analysis > Tony Connelly

Norway braced for mass killer verdict

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Oslo On a tiny island with 600 people there aren’t too many places to hide. Vegard Groslie Wennesland, a 28-year-old member of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing was lucky enough to find sanctuary in a cabin with around 40 others when Anders Breivik started his murderous assault on scores of teenagers, the youngest victim just 14 years old. “I saw him kill several people,” he recalls just over one year on. “We …

The EU Summit: Turning Point or Tipping Point?

By Tony Connelly, RTÉ Europe Editor, Brussels Once again an EU summit is pregnant with a sense of impending disaster, with expectations being lowered all week that a breakthrough can be delivered which will reverse, or even just slow down, the escalating debt crisis. In the immediate term Spain and Italy’s borrowing costs are threatening to tip both countries – Spain followed by Italy – into a wholesale sovereign rescue that the two bailout funds cannot afford. In the medium …

Greece: Sleepwalking to Calamity?

By Tony Connelly, RTE News Europe Editor, Athens Will Greek voters sleepwalk into a potentially calamitous exit from the euro? Around the world central banks, investors, governments and economists are holding their breath. But in Greece a surreal fatalism infects the body politic. “Euro? Drachma? If you have no money then it doesn’t matter if Greece has the euro or the drachma,” one voter told me in Athens. Because it is an election the normal process of promise and seduction …

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 …

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 …

What next for Promissory Notes?

Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, in Copenhagen The government is putting the best gloss it can on the Anglo promissory notes deal, but opinion is divided as to how much has been achieved. The exchequer doesn’t have to find €3.06 billion immediately, and it can potentially ease the state’s return to the bond markets in early 2014. On the other hand the deal will still cost the state €90m in costs, and it will have to be revisited in one year’s time. …