Daniel Korski

Egypt may have voted, but don’t celebrate just yet

Many thought the day would never come. Even as recently as yesterday, some doubted it would happen. But today Egyptians went to the polls in the country’s first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s fall, hoping to take a first step toward democracy. Under a complex electoral system, voters picked both party lists and individual candidates.

The reasons for Angela Merkel’s popularity

The British government is becoming ever more gloomy about the prospects for the euro, believing that Angela Merkel will not do what she has to if the single currency is to survive: namely, let the ECB intervene massively in the markets. Whether it’s because of Germany’s inflation-scarred history, or the hope that market pressure will

Tobin tactics

The biggest bone of contention between the UK and its EU allies these days is the ‘Tobin tax’, the idea of levying a tax on financial transactions. To the UK this is folly. Unless it is levied globally, a tax will force business to move elsewhere. And there is a greater chance of Silvio Berlusconi

What kind of Europe?

A couple of weeks ago I tried to lay out what the future of Europe could look like, given that some member states want to create an ever-closer Union while others prefer to remain in a looser kind of club. I wrote that the EU might end up evolving into a much more asymmetric arrangement,

Paying for justice

To British ministers, the role that the International Criminal Court played over Libya was key – it made clear that Colonel Gaddafi’s actions were unacceptable and would be subject to international law. Tory MP Dominic Raab even wrote a piece in The Times about the need for Libyans to rely on the ICC in The

Opening Europe

It is an article of British faith that further liberalisation of Europe’s market is a worthwhile goal. But few people realise the boost the UK economy would actually get from the finalisation of the EU’s internal market – especially implementation of the Services Directive, creating an integrated market for energy, modernising public procurement rules and

Mubarakism after Mubarak

The future of Egypt has been hanging in the balance since Hosni Mubarak was toppled. Now there is real cause for concern, as scores of protesters clash with state security forces. The problem, above all, is military overreach. Stuck in a 1960s view of itself, and keen to preserve their money, status and power, the

Are the Lib Dems pro-EU?

This might seem a very odd question. A pro-EU position is part of the party’s internationalist DNA. Listen to any EU-related speech by the likes of Nick Clegg or Paddy Ashdown and heartfelt support for the European project is apparent. The Liberal Democrats have also made a virtue of reining in Tory euroscepticism, for example

In defence of technocrats

Is Mario Monti’s administration in Italy democratic? Is Greece’s new government? To some, especially in the blogosphere, it is the exact opposite: a technocratic and undemocratic government foisted upon Italy and Greece by (circle as appropriate) Angela Merkel/Nicolas Sarkozy, the Bilderberg Group/EUSSR, etc. But nobody forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign. Nobody sacked him. Under pressure

Renegotiation reality

Governing is about choices. That goes for Europe too. The government says it can get everything it wants – that’s politics – but the reality is different. It actually faces a number of trade-offs, the biggest being a choice between staying in an EU that reforms but not as quickly or as dramatically as parts

How do you leave the euro?

A few weeks ago, Lord Wolfson announced a £250,000 prize for the person who could figure out how a country could leave the eurozone. Given what is happening to the euro, it seemed an awful lot of money to spend on a sub-section of the real question: namely, how Europe can maintain monetary stability and

Can Italy rebound?

I’m in Italy watching the bonfire of Silvio Berlusconi’s vanities first hand. From the ashes, most Italians hope a stronger nation will emerge. And for this reason, faith in former EU Commissioner Mario Monti, who gave his first statement to the nation last night, seems high. Italy is not a nation on its knees, and

The spectre of populism

Across Europe, the bien pensant are worried. They fear that the Eurocrisis could lead to the rise of populism — whatever that means — and even extremism. The spectre of the 1930s stalks a lot of discussions, as the FT’s Gideon Rachman found out at a lunch with a hedge fund manager who thought the

Who speaks for the euro?

That’s a more relevant question that you might think. Despite European leaders talking for ages about the nonsensical notion of the EU ‘speaking with one voice’ after the Lisbon Treaty, the situation is much more confused today ever. No fewer than six people purport to speak officially for the Euro, while people actually tend to

Britain: a European pariah?

The British government has worked hard to counteract any perception that it is being marginalised in Europe. Before the election, the Tory party went around to different capitals to assuage any fears that may have existed. The message: despite the Conservative departure from the EPP, and their anti-Lisbon Treaty remonstrations, they would not be a

The new German Question

The Eurocrisis has put Germany in a twofold position that it abhors. First, it has forced Germany into a much closer relationship with France than is comfortable. For German policymakers, the great thing about the post-enlargement EU, of 27 countries, was that they and France could not rule supreme — they needed to bring other

Going soft

One of the greatest threats to British security is not whether the government opts for Tornadoes over Harriers, but whether we have credible, militarily-capable allies. So the fact that so many European countries have lost the will to fight — cutting defence budgets while the popular backing for ‘hard,’ as opposed to ‘soft,’ power declines

After the EU

If the EU comes crashing down as a result of the Euro crisis, one thing is certain: the UK will be at the forefront of re-creating the bloc. Not exactly the way it is now, but not a totally different entity either. The reasons for this are three-fold, simple and are about Britain’s interests. First,

Crisis a la Milanese

If Italy’s a country on the brink, it doesn’t show it. At least not in Milan. Along the city’s rainswept streets, thousand of designer-clad people hit the shops this weekend, unperturbed at the prospect of the government’s likely collapse and the risk of a financial meltdown. At a small deli called Pack overpriced but delicious