We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

October 05, 2016

Snap elections in the air

Another poll shows New Democracy even more in the lead this time, with 36% ahead of Syriza with only 14%. The intriguing aspect of this poll is that the survey was published in the newspaper Avgi, a strong supporter of Alexis Tsipras and his government. This immediately sparked speculation that some parts of the party are trying to signal to Tsipras ahead of the party congress later this month that he needs to consider snap elections to hand over power to New Democracy and take Syriza out of the fire line. Officials at the conservative party, on the other hand, suspect that the poll may be an attempt to rally Syriza members before the congress. A third explanation put forward by Macropolis is simply be that the polling institution Public Issue has a contract with Avgi obliging the newspaper to publish all the monthly surveys it conducts on its behalf. In this case, not publishing the latest poll would have been more damaging for Syriza than publishing it, so the article.

One interesting aspect of the poll is that it shows a growing proportion of Greeks are in favour of the idea of snap elections. The survey finds that 51% think that early elections are “probably necessary” versus 46% who feel they are not. This is the highest figure Public Issue has seen during the Greek crisis and flagged this as an important trend to follow. Greeks are also realistic about what an alternative government could achieve. 52.5% of respondents do not believe that New Democracy has more to offer than the current government.

The government finds it easy to dismiss polls, though, on the grounds that they have been so wrong in the past. The prime minister’s office published the predictions for the 2015 elections and for the referendum, and compared them with the actual outcomes. We are also very sceptical about polls. But this time it seems different to us. Alexis Tsipras' political capital is much more depleted, so that he may find it much harder to project himself as a titan of a politician. Also, last year, the New Democracy party was de facto defunct, while this time its new leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is playing hardball with the government. True, by emphasising debt relief, Tsipras keeps the option open to blame others for non-delivery. But there are many open fronts. And positive news, like the turnaround the IMF predicts for this year, might not be enough to make up for the people’s disillusionment (remember Antonio Samaras lost out against Tsipras despite signs of a recovery). A rumoured cabinet reshuffle, to symbolise a new start, might not do the trick either, writes To Vima.

And there is more burden to come. The public faces yet another rise in direct and indirect taxes worth €2.5bn in the 2017 budget tabled in parliament yesterday. Higher pensions for freelancers and the self-employed will kick in next year and those labour reforms are far from agreed with the institutions. It did not help that former governor of the Bank of Greece Giorgos Provopoulos told a parliamentary committee that the third recapitalisation of banks in November 2015 “was not necessary.” 

Manos Giakoumis and Yiannis Mouzakis show how financially disastrous the management of the government was in the past. They write that the Greek financial stabilisation fund HFSF has lost most of the €44bn it injected into the banking system. The market value of the €25bn used to recapitalise the four major banks is now under €1.3bn, and of the just under €13.5bn used to support the resolution of a dozen smaller banks the estimated recovery is just above €2.5bn with €516m already recovered. The HFSF still holds over €4bn in CoCos, and has received €355m from the exercise of warrants. Given that the amount spent supporting the banks is about one quarter of GDP, they call this the largest investment ever made by the Greek state. The Greek political elite, they write, had an incentive to preserve this investment but squandered it, and nobody seems bothered by the huge bill.

The mismanagement Giakoumis and Mouzakis describe is not at the banks or the HFSF, but in the general direction of the country in the two years since Antonis Samaras started rolling back reforms in Greece in response to the local and European elections of 2014. The banks' stock fell by just under 34% in the last quarter of 2014, and over 46% in the whole year, as Samaras failed to close the fifth review of the second programme. In the first half of 2015, under Syriza's confrontational first cabinet, shares fell by another 32%, and by 91% in the second half of the year under the capital controls. Just the third bank recapitalisation in November 2015 caused the share prices to fall 77%.

Show Comments Write a Comment

October 05, 2016

We need to talk about Northern Ireland

The Brexit debate has become a lot shriller again since Theresa May's party conference speech on the weekend. One of the most complicated issues will be the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and the Republic. Much of what is written about the subject, as Kevin O'Rourke points out, is not based on informed judgement, but on a misunderstanding of what it means for Britain to leave the single market and the customs union. The exit evoked by May in her speech will require the erection of customs posts within Ireland, which will have negative political and economic consequences.

O'Rourke points out that, if the UK were to leave the customs union without an agreement, the EU and Britain would have to impose tariffs on each other under WTO rules. There is no way to avoid that. An option worth exploring is to give Northern Ireland a special status. The problem is the customs border will have to be somewhere - either between Britain and Northern Ireland, or between the North and the Republic. 

O'Rourke also points to a good article by Peter Donaghy, who goes into the detailed intra-Irish trade relations. The impact of a hard Brexit would be particularly severe for Northern Ireland. A third of its exports go to the Republic, while only 1.6% of the Republic's exports flow in the other direction. Especially problematic is the stipulation by the WTO that dairy and other agricultural produce are the items with the highest tariffs. Food and live animals constitute over 16% of Northern Ireland's exports - most of which goes to Ireland. The tariffs can be as high as 42% under WTO rules. The agricultural border regions of Northern Ireland are most likely to lose out as a result of Brexit. Its interests must be represented during the Brexit negotiations.

Show Comments Write a Comment

October 05, 2016

Rodrick on globalisation

Dani Rodrick is one of our favourite commentators on globalisation. His triangle of globalisation, national sovereignty and democracy as an inconsistent set mirrors a similar construction used in the early debate on European monetary union - on the incompatibility of monetary sovereignty, free capital movements, and fixed exchange rates. Rodrik has been arguing for some time that the current model of globalisation is deeply flawed and in need of rebooting. He writes in the FT that we should expect a period of anti-globalisation pressure that might be to the detriment of large companies. What happened in the last few decades will not be repeated. But, no, this will not be like the 1930s. 

"A comprehensive unravelling of the open, global economy we have today is extremely unlikely. Instead the risk is that mainstream politicians will cling to an unsustainable model of hyper-globalisation and fail to seize the moment. The result will be inadequate, ad hoc responses that make it more likely that nativist politicians will gain ground, to the detriment of our economies and our democracies." 

He cites investor protection - as negotiated in the TTIP agreement - as an example. There can be no argument in favour of investors being able to bypass domestic legal systems.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 15, 2017
  • Amendment 9 conundrum
  • The negligible GDP impact of the single market
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 01, 2017
  • Unemployment insurance for all - nice idea, but does it work?
  • Hard border paradox
  • Could Jeremy Corbyn be the politician to defeat the banks?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 17, 2017
  • Germany's climate change hypocrisy
  • Canada minus the plus
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 02, 2017
  • The Impact of Brexit
  • German court of auditors questions diesel tax break
  • On trade and violence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 18, 2017
  • Veneto and Lombardy to vote on autonomy
  • Portugal's president calls on government over fires
  • Radical ideas for radical times: how to pay off public debt
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 03, 2017
  • A short note about UK politics
  • The impact of the German elections on the euro debate
  • The decline and fall of Martin Schulz and the SPD
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 01, 2017
  • Rutte deflates Dutch labour party like a hot air balloon
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 28, 2017
  • German government bans Porsche Cayenne
  • More troubles for the AfD
  • Of course there will be a soft transitional period for the UK
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 21, 2017
  • Why has the SPD deflated?
  • Berlusconi’s strategy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 01, 2017
  • On how to fix the eurozone
  • What happens if there is no Article 50 agreement?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 27, 2018
  • Irish transport prepares for Brexit scenarios
  • One last Dutch referendum
  • Is the CDU a conservative party?
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 08, 2018
  • Getting real on Brexit
  • Macron in China
  • March 02, 2017
  • Juncker's scenarios for Europe
  • EU minimum wages are rising
  • No, the Lords didn’t stop Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 15, 2017
  • A Christmas bonus for poor Greeks
  • Dim prospects of negotiated de-escalation on Catalonia
  • Macron's favourite to succeed Juncker - first round
  • On sovereignty
  • Gli Azzurri
  • February 03, 2017
  • The Schulz effect is getting huge
  • The post-Brexit boom goes on and on and on
  • A correction on Catalonia
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • December 01, 2016
  • Will Italian expats swing the referendum result?
  • Why we keep on misreading the polls
  • Si vis pactum, para bellum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 20, 2018
  • Macron at home
  • EU has rejected all UK proposals on Northern Irish border
  • Could there be a Five Star-Forza Italia government?
  • October 19, 2017
  • Germany is softening up over Brexit
  • The French budget and the wealthy
  • Will Borut Pahor win re-election as Slovenian president?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • October 21, 2016
  • Wallonia says No for the third time
  • Do you remember that Dutch referendum on Ukraine?
  • How narratives are destroying the EU
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 11, 2018
  • The end of the G7 - good riddance
  • Macron needs allies for his European agenda
  • Who is going to be the next director-general of the Italian treasury?
  • January 30, 2018
  • Will Puigdemont be Catalan premier today?
  • Some thoughts about the German car industry
  • A short note on Italian coalition maths
  • September 22, 2017
  • The last German polls
  • May 15, 2017
  • SPD and CDU disagree on how to respond to Macron
  • Was Rajoy blackmailed?
  • The rise of the re-leavers
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 21, 2018
  • Another snap election in the UK? Tories are preparing
  • Merkel and Putin - the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
  • April 17, 2018
  • CDU's executive committees reaffirms eurosceptic position
  • Macron in Strasburg
  • March 16, 2018
  • Pellegrini to succeed Fico
  • Slovenia may go to early elections in late May
  • The case for crypto-currencies
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • January 10, 2018
  • Yes, the choice is between Canada and Norway
  • Who is resisting Macron and his government?
  • Greece and Macedonia to solve name dispute
  • December 11, 2017
  • A new era for the French right
  • Growing scepticism of a grand coalition
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • September 19, 2017
  • German populist vote - as seen from the outside
  • May's total Brexit power grab
  • August 25, 2017
  • Whatever happened to red-red-green?
  • Reshuffle - Greek edition
  • Is the Norway option really dead?
  • July 31, 2017
  • Russia sanctions bill becomes US law
  • Spain's Guardia Civil in the eye of the Catalan storm
  • A grand bargain between France and Germany
  • July 07, 2017
  • Is Emmanuel Macron just another Matteo Renzi?
  • The real obstacles to a Brexit deal
  • Why Nordstream 2 should be delayed
  • On why the G20 won’t solve the main problem
  • June 14, 2017
  • Minority governments can be stronger and more stable than you think
  • The anti-Corbyn
  • Watch out for Berlusconi
  • May 23, 2017
  • When events intrude
  • On Italy's obsession with voting systems
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • March 23, 2017
  • Slow-motion train crash in Catalonia
  • Plan B for the Republicans?
  • March 05, 2017
  • Poland vs Tusk
  • Juppé - a recovered candidate?
  • Will Italy leave the euro?
  • February 17, 2017
  • Watch out for instability of the Balkans
  • The economic consequences of Trump for Europe
  • On muddled thinking in Ireland
  • February 02, 2017
  • Will it come to the use of force in Catalonia?
  • The day Brexit became irreversible
  • Can Trump and May succeed?
  • January 19, 2017
  • Something not quite right about the transitional deal
  • Why Trump was right on Europe
  • Can the internet predict better than polls?
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • December 19, 2016
  • Inside the customs union, outside the single market
  • Back to the future in Italy
  • The lessons from Fillon's first gaffe
  • Montebourg - a bit of everything
  • The Maastricht error
  • If Paul Romer is right...
  • December 05, 2016
  • Tu felix Austria
  • All eyes on Valls
  • Discrimination is the issue, not deportation
  • What do these men have in common?
  • November 25, 2016
  • Unstoppable Fillon
  • To disengage or not from Turkey
  • Spain's opposition scores minimum wage victory in parliament
  • Can Tony Blair succeed to undo Brexit?
  • November 16, 2016
  • Signal-to-noise ratio - Brexit edition
  • Rodrick on the duplicity of his profession
  • November 07, 2016
  • Why UK elections are becoming more likely
  • The EU's moral bankruptcy on Turkey
  • Merkel's presidential mess
  • The case for a No vote in Italy
  • October 31, 2016
  • Will the quake help Renzi?
  • Is Montebourg an alternative to Hollande?
  • The trials of Geert Wilders
  • October 24, 2016
  • Ceta - the next deadline
  • Who will lead Germany?
  • Peasant party upsets Lithuanian election
  • Ségolène Royal, seriously?
  • October 18, 2016
  • The self-destruction of Francois Hollande
  • Brexit psychotherapy
  • At least three candidates for the PvdA leadership
  • The unbelievable hypocrisy of Mario Monti
  • October 14, 2016
  • Tusk's awkward choice
  • Seven candidates, three debates
  • October 10, 2016
  • Waking up to the hardness of Brexit
  • October 07, 2016
  • Merkel and Hollande agree on hard Brexit
  • The cost of the PSOE's abstention
  • Citizens - the new gadget for election speeches
  • October 06, 2016
  • May-ism
  • Steinbrück takes the revolving door
  • Mobilising the left for Republican primaries?
  • October 05, 2016
  • Snap elections in the air
  • We need to talk about Northern Ireland
  • Rodrick on globalisation