Clay Bennett by Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett

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  1. jkshaw

    jkshaw said, about 5 years ago

    I feel sorry for Greece, the Greek people, in fact the entire Eurozone.

  2. omQ R

    omQ R said, about 5 years ago


    Best way to show solidarity with the Greeks is to…go on holiday there!

  3. Tue Elung-Jensen

    Tue Elung-Jensen said, about 5 years ago

    Greece getting mooned by that country in front I guess.

  4. omQ R

    omQ R said, about 5 years ago

    As you know from my previous postings here, I’m for a closer union. Then again, I am a “foreigner”, an African in Europe. Being for a federated EU, I’m also a rarity in the UK. I was already used to a lukewarm reception to all things from continental Europe from my fellow residents. I’m surrounded by Euro-sceptics at work, even from other European immigrants, believe it or not. But lately it is darn right chilly. Here the remarks against the eastern Europeans aren’t hushed. I’ve even read recriminations north-south in the Portuguese media with the Finns. I’m married to an Austrian and hear about the Austrians complaining about paying for the lazier Southern Europeans. A year or two ago I mentioned on this forum the fact that the acronym PIIGS had been deemed derogatory as far back as 11 years ago and hardly anyone amongst the better publications used it. Now it is bandied about in the press all the time. There is an astonishing arrogance from Sarkozy who doesn’t shy away from using derogatory remarks for people in France, never-mind other Europeans. I do not know what the French themselves say but the Germans aren’t entirely happy. While I do sometimes read of “solidarity” with the weaker economies, for the greater good of the union, stating that this is why a union exists, these voices are few and far between. Merkel, for all her flaws, is doing an admirable job in trying to sell this idea to the Germans. She isn’t helped by leaders like Sarkozy or Berlusconi. The tabloid press in Germany, Austria & U.K are strident in their attacks of anything from the stricken economies. The press I read in Portugal are irritated, defensive and retaliate at the attacks (although there is also an admission of things were done badly, a mea culpa of sorts).
    There is a definitive rise in xenophobia. The north-south divide is glaringly obvious again. The Euro-sceptics are stronger now.
    Gloomy, eh? That said, the proposed closer fiscal union will hopefully make it stronger. Paradoxically, I was for a closer union but I’d prefer a gentler approach, not bringing it in kicking & screaming. Not very democratic. That brings along resentment which is a poison for the union.
    If the “forced solidarity” works, then I’ll say the union will come out of this stronger, with lessons learnt. That resentment will hopefully dissipate as folks see how rallying round when the going gets tough is the way to go. The whole purpose of this union, after the treaty of Lisbon, was not just economic, it was meant to state it as far more and lay the legal framework for it. While the going was good, the grumblings of the Euro-sceptics were ignored (imho, unjustly as they did have reasons to object in many matters) and the imperfections of the weaker states glossed over. Now that things are tough, these voices are getting louder and are not being countered effectively.
    One of our main helpdesks is in Barcelona, staffed by Germans, Dutch, Spaniards, italians, Portuguese, French…I would love to know their opinion. The reason why is that I’m surrounded by Euro-sceptic folks in a Euro-sceptic nation. My colleagues in Barcelona might have an entirely different opinion. Perhaps they see the union is holding. This crisis is a severe test to it but also an ‘opportunity’ to show everyone how it should work. If there are failings, right them and learn from them. Right now I’m a little pessimistic. Ask me again in 6 months. ;-)

  5. motivemagus

    motivemagus said, about 5 years ago

    @omQ R

    Thanks for your posting. I think the Eurozone is a good idea; I have had the feeling (hardly an expert judgment) that they might have moved too fast.

  6. omQ R

    omQ R said, about 5 years ago


    I agree with you, there has been a rush to get the EU ideal up and running. It had been a slower process in the past. I arrived in Portugal in 1987, a year after it had joined the EU (EEC back then). Spain & Portugal were the 11th & 12th countries; there are now 27, with the 28th next year. There was the idea to build up the weaker countries that had joined with structural funding (a solidarity fund if you like, some -a lot – of it squandered by Portugal in my opinion) in order the EU members should all be on the same level for mutual benefit. This rush to establish the Eurozone before these weaker economies had achieved this, and you can argue that Portugal & Greece have taken too long to get there (and still aren’t there!), allowing them to enter the Euro without proper oversight and not enforcing the regulations to manage the differing (two-speed) economies, all that has contributed to this crisis. Too much, too fast. And also undemocratic. I get the feeling much of the EU ideals have been steamrolled over the European peoples’ wishes…
    They may be my ideals but I’m well aware these ideals are not shared by all Europeans. Remember, I am, in effect, an outsider. Perhaps it was easier for me to adopt these ideas than the native-born Europeans themselves. Those Eurocrats must really get over themselves and humbly convince their compatriots of what the EU could be.

  7. Rymlianin

    Rymlianin said, about 5 years ago

    Answer to the Greek Financial crisis : the Argentine two-step.

  8. motivemagus

    motivemagus said, about 5 years ago

    @omQ R

    Indeed. I think they got overexcited by the promise of the Eurozone, which some were saying could shortly rival or surpass the US in scope and economic power. I suspect they got caught up in the rising tide of a booming economy, and didn’t plan ahead far enough. Had they grown incrementally, they wouldn’t be in this mess.
    It’s also hard to balance the desire to have pan-European law and influence with individual country law and influence. I mean, we had to have a war to settle that here in the US, and we still have idiots promoting states’ rights as a tool for racism! I think hard times in Europe are raising the spectre of the same kind of hard-right racism there, too, from what I’ve seen.
    A lot of problems, all derived from one or two key sources…

  9. lonecat

    lonecat said, about 5 years ago

    What a good discussion. Thanks, everyone.

  10. grayhares01

    grayhares01 said, about 5 years ago


    I don’t. They are reapnig what they have sown.


    They wanted a socialized society, they wanted govt retirement at 58. They wanted entitlement programs?


    Well they got em. And everything that comes with it. Hell even after they collapsed, those, douchenozzles still thought they were entitled to all those things..

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