Nina Trentmann, UK Business Correspondent at Die Welt, takes a look at the recent appointment of Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary and the reactions of politicians in Germany to this news, particularly in the context of future negotiation tactis between the UK and the EU.
It was a shock. German politicians, their French counterparts, EU representatives – they all shook their head in disbelief when it became known that the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, would become the UK’s new foreign minister. German TV commentators were reportedly confounded by the appointment. Others, such as the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, described the Prime Minister’s choice as a sign of the political crisis in the UK, and branded Johnson a ‘liar’ for his behaviour during the referendum campaign. Continue reading
Nina Trentmann, UK Business Correspondent at Die Welt, takes a look at the EU and the Eurozone in the wake of the most recent Greek bailout. With key German political figures in disagreement about in which direction to move, what might this mean for David Cameron’s chances of successfully negotiating EU reform?
During the last couple of months, I have been asked quite frequently: what does Germany think? About Greece, about another bailout, about the Euro? I found that funny at times, given that Germany is a country of more then 80 million people who often have contrasting views, especially on topics which have been debated as hotly as the Greek debt crisis.
Although there is now some sort of agreement between Greece and its international creditors – the country remains in the Eurozone, there will be more emergency funds from the European partners, the ECB is continuing to support Greek banks – it has become quite obvious that this is only a solution for a short period of time. This has been amplified in the rift between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble who, despite coming from the same party, the Christian Democratic Union, are now openly disagreeing on how to proceed in general with the Euro and with Greece in particular.
Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni, research assistant in European Studies, analyses the differences in views expressed by Syriza towards Europe, and in particular Germany, during its winning electoral campaign, and the views now portrayed in Syriza’s party newspaper since coming to power in January 2015. What implications may this have for the future of Greek negotiations with creditor institutions, and what is actually the mandate of the Greek government?
Over the last three years, I have been closely following the coverage by Syriza’s party newspaper Avgi of the Greek debt crisis, as part of a collaborative research project on the coverage of the Eurozone crisis by the Greek and German print media. The ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the creditor institutions, as well as the prospect of a Greek government ‘rupture’ with Europe and exit from the Eurozone, today acutely raise the question of what the Greek people want. Can Avgi’s coverage of the crisis during last winter’s election campaign tell us something about the will of the Greek people that it could not explicitly express in the national elections held on 25 January 2015?