Wall Street melts down in 2008. Greece announces financial troubles and borrows €110 billion in 2010. It isn't enough, so a second bailout package brings the total loan to €246 billion by 2016. In early 2015, Alexis Tsipras of the radical left Syriza party is sworn in as the new prime minister with a plan to refuse any more loans. On June 28, the Greek government announces bank closures. Two days later, they miss an IMF payment and default on their debt.
On Monday the renminbi (RMB -- Chinese currency) will step into Canada with the inauguration of the only RMB hub in the Americas. We know in Canada it will be greeted with fanfare, but what is less certain is whether or not Canadian exporters and international investors will take action once the celebration ends. Should they?
A weaker Canadian dollar poses a threat to imported inputs to Canada's production machine, and to future Canadian investments abroad. But the soaring U.S. dollar isn't the only currency in play. Movements in other currencies are less dramatic. Perhaps this is an opportunity to scan the globe both for inputs to our production process and for direct investment undertakings in less-traditional markets.
If no longer -- thank goodness -- the geo-political cockpit of Europe (caught between rival ideologies in the civil war era), Spain cannot be dismissed as a periphery or marginal country out of step with the European project. Spain has all the features of a highly efficient and accountable country, from its ability to produce majority governments from both the respectable left and right, its elaborate system of federalism, and its increased multicultural identity.
A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a video of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament. I hit "play" expecting the general "as polls show..." but before Farage was half-way through his speech, my sides were splitting. It was the greatest and most eloquent utterance on the topic of the EU I have heard from any British public figure since Sir Jimmy Goldsmith spoke at a conference in 1996.
Greeks will watch the Euro 2012 soccer match between their country and Russia before going to the polls on June 17. If the Greeks lose, the country will vote to stay in the Eurozone. If they win, all bets are off. But, like football, forecasting is impossible (unless the games are rigged) which means that anything can happen. Here are three possible scenarios.
Amsterdam is a city of almost 800,000 inhabitants, and 600,000 bicycles. They're everywhere. But as a North American traveling to Amsterdam, I was simultaneously impressed by their pedal power while surprised to discover that not one single cyclist owned an essential piece of biking equipment from our part of the world: the bike helmet.
What's the newest strategy of the European Commission to remove any democratic accountability from the eurozone members? They are now aiming to consolidate all eurozone members on the IMF Executive Board into a single member, represented by... the European Commission.