EA August 2012

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Hollande-Merkel: An Ideological Battle About Europe

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The German Chancellor has a neoliberal and federalist view. The French President is dirigist on the economy and a statist on politics. 

What does François Hollande propose to save the eurozone: greater financial solidarity among member states and a collective economic revival.

On the financial front he proposes what he relentlessly calls “Eurobonds,” while the overwhelming majority of French journalists speak of “euro-obligations.” The joint release of debt titles on the markets by the 17 member nations of the Eurozone would certainly allow the weaker member states of the EU to finance more debt at a less expensive rate. Overall, the French President emphasizes the necessity to encourage growth.

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EUROPE’S NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE—A STUBBORN CHASM

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garretmartinDivisions are an unfortunate reality of Europe’s DNA. For much of its history, the continent’s aspirations for peace and unity have fallen prey to disputes and wars over religion, politics, or ideology to name a few. The European Union’s current woes are the latest example, with the ongoing Eurozone crisis undermining the ideal of integration as ancient centrifugal forces emerge anew. On the surface, the current divide reflects contrasting economic fortunes, with the Southern European states (particularly Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal) disproportionately impacted by the Eurozone debt crisis, and forced to rely on substantial economic relief from the wealthier Northern European states. According to Indermit Gill, chief economist for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, the EU economy can be viewed as three lanes of traffic, a slow-speed lane in Western Europe, a high-speed lane in formerly Communist Eastern Europe and a third lane, the South – “where cars are going in reverse.”

 

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"The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power" By James Mann

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theobamiansPoliticians and officials from parliamentary democracies never cease to be amazed how every four or eight years, U.S. presidential elections  cough up a group of young campaign aides who vault from near obscurity to positions of considerable power in the White House. Until 2008, most of these young men, and lately more women, ended up with authority over domestic policy. But the election of Barack Obama brought into the most inner circle of foreign policy advisors a clutch of aides who had not gone through the traditional training grounds of academia, the international conference circuit and authorship of learned journal articles that would make them familiar to European and other international counterparts.

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