Norway: Anders Breivik Declared Insane

Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old citizen of Norway responsible for the merciless killing of more than 70 people in Norway, has been declared mentally insane by court-appointed doctors.

Anders Behring Breivik Declared Legally Insane

Believing that the killings were gruesome but necessary, Breivik contended that he was waging a Christian Crusade against multiculturalism as the new Knights Templar. Breivik is responsible for a car bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting in a youth labor party meeting on Utoeya island, stating his efforts to save Norway and Western Europe from cultural Marxism and Islam by inducing the greatest amount of loss to the Labour Party to prevent their mass importation of Muslims in Norway.  Breivik has planned on a 60-year or longer struggle against multiculturalism until the Knights Templar would take over Europe.  The incredulous actions of Breivik have resulted in one of the most horrific and deadliest events in recent Norwegian history and have marked a return of jingoism and European backlash against immigration (read more at: “Jingoism in Norway and European Backlash Against Immigration“).  Evidently, the insanity of this single individual is illustrated by his writings, including a 1,500 page manifesto known as “2083: A European Deceleration of Independence“, and his explanation for why needed to slaughter 77 of his countrymen.

“Cultural Marxism/multiculturalism especially in combination with Islam, will defeat itself.  The justification for this claim is that the cultural Marxist and Islamic alliance will not last.  When the window of opportunity comes, we must be ready to seize the political and military control of all funds.  When the time comes, we must not hesitate.  We must risk everything for the chance to get our freedom and secure freedom for our relatives.  I have prepared myself mentally for a very long time, and I would like to sacrifice my life for the benefit of my European brothers and sisters.” – Anders Behring Breivik, Confessed Killer

The psychiatric evaluation of the self-confessed murderer has found that he was insane during his coming and shooting attacks in Norway.  If the court agrees with the assessment, Breivik will not get a prison sentence but will be subjected to compulsory psychiatric care.  According to Norwegian law,  a psychotic state of mind at the time of the crime can mitigate criminal responsibility.  The statement by Norway’s Forensic Board of Medicine has concluded that Breivik was suffering from such paranoid delusions of a psychotic nature, which constitute legal insanity.  Breivik was scheduled to stand trial for his crimes in April, but if the recommendation is upheld, the courts will only rule his criminal insanity and length of commitment to a psychiatric institution.  Nevertheless, a finding of legal insanity will not allow Breivik to escape from justice; rather, Breivik will still spend life locked away in a state psychiatric facility.

“If the cultural Marxists, against all odds, gave up on multiculturalism, if they stopped all Muslim immigration and started the deportation of all Muslims, I would forgive them for their past crimes.  If they refuse to surrender until 2020, there will be turning back.  We will eventually wipe out every single one of them.” – Anders Behring Breivik, Confessed Killer

In retrospect, the far-right has been vindicated and martyred by the actions committed by Breivik, illustrating the strength and destructiveness of such ideological fervor.  Breivik’s infatuation will the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), commonly known as the Nazi Party, demonstrates the altered sense of reality in which Breivik lives in.  Not only do his actions mimic, to a much lesser extent of course, Hitler’s initial purge of social liberals and then the extermination of minorities; but Breivik’s manifesto exemplifies his dedication to radicalism and demonstrates the parallel between “2082: A European Deceleration of Independence” and Mein Kampf.  So saying, Hitler’s insanity is a subject of much research and history and the subsequent death penalties for many of his generals and aides during the Nuremberg Trials illustrates the unforgiving nature that should be directed to such acts of brutality and cruelty.  Naturally, the European continent is praised for its commitment to human rights, liberal democracy, and peace; but the acts of slaughter by Breivik are unforgivable and mirror bestial attitude, worries over dehumanizing  critiques and punishment should be negligible

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EU: Integration or Disintegration

Moody’s Credit Rating Agency has set the stage for the coming weeks, warning that crisis has escalated in recent weeks and has resulted in a negative scenario in which several countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) could default and collapse out of the single currency union.

To Be Supranational, Or Not To Be?

In two ominous reports released on Monday, the credit rating agency noted the risk of a series of EU Member State defaults is no longer negligible. Coupled with the warning form the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), contagion risk among the sovereign nations and the looming fear of a credit crunch has a very real possibility of derailing the fragile global recovery that has been depicted by the 7 week trough in global stocks.  The OECD, a Paris-based thinktank, slashed its forecast for growth among its 34 members from 2.3% half a year ago to 1.6%, with Europe drastically downgraded from 2% to .2%.  The escalation of fiscal hysteria comes as media assets have illustrated the collapse of the Euro as having the ability to send the world’s advanced economies into a severe recession, dragging emerging markets with them into the slippery slope.  Consequently, with Italy’s debt nearing 1.9 trillion Euros and its 10-year bonds dropping to 7.18% from its previous high of 7.44%, the devastating critiques of the Eurozone are far from dramatizations and mark a clear realization that the 17 Eurozone countries are even wider apart on the measures required to staunch the exit of global investors and prevent an even worse scale of depressed economic forecast.  Evidently, the trepidation and precipice of fiscal ruin is demonstrating by the desperation of debt auctions being held not only by Italy, Spain and Belgium, but also by two of the largest economies in the EU, France and Britain.

“The Euro Area is approaching a junction, leading either to a closer integration or great fragmentation.  While limited by ineffective fiscal controls and a consensus-driven approach to crisis management, the Euro Area possesses tremendous collective economic and financial strength  We believe that an effective resolution of the crisis, accompanied by closer economic and financial integration, would help preserve the current ratings.” – Alastair Wilson and Bart Oosterveld, Moody’s Investors Service

Furthermore, fears are only being fueled by reports of a prolonged, deepened recession in which recession unemployment would soar and marked declines in activity.  According to an OECD report, the Eurozone is predicted to expand by a disturbingly low 0.2% in 2012, yet a worst-case scenario prediction has illustrated the Eurozone economy shrinking by 2.1% in 2012 and a further 3.7% in 2013.  Most alarmingly are warning that the crisis has the potential to tip the global economy into another recession.  The dangers of the crisis have been apparent in the volatility of the stock markets and the credit rating agency downgrades.  Nevertheless, the demonstration and violent protests orchestrated throughout Greece, Spain, Italy and Britain are the most influential evidence of the decaying stability and anarchic situation culminated by a prolonged fiscal crisis.  The UK has undergone public spending cuts, falling household consumption and weak exports, all of which have weakened the UK economy.  Reports predict a shrink of 0.1% in the last 3 months of this year and then 0.6% in the first 3 months of 2012.  This is complimented by a rise to 9.1% in unemployment by 2013, up from 8.3% today, leading to an increase in social problems and homelessness.  With the UK on the brink of a double-dip recession, the contagion is clearly spreading from the weaker periphery of the Eurozone to the once-stable core.

“This call for rapid, credible and substantial increases in the capacity of the EFSF together with, or including, greater use of the ECB balance sheet.  Such foreful policy action, complemented by appropriate governance reform to offset moral hazard could result in a significant boost to growth in the Euro Area and the global economy.” – Pier Carlo Padoan, OECD Chief Economist

Despite the trust and hope placed in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), the strength and efficiency of these entities depends on foreign interest in the agenda and progression models.  On Tuesday, the finance ministers of the Eurozone are to attend a meeting of the Council of ministers, seeking to agree on details leveraging the EFSF bailout fund so it can help Italy and Spain, should they need aid.  The guidelines for the  EFSF illustrate the rules for EFSF intervention on the primary and secondary bond markets, for extending precautionary credit lines to governments, leveraging its firepower and investment and funding strategies.  The objective of the ministers’ meeting is an attempt to boost the EFSF’s impact to 1 trillion Euros but those hopes are sinking due to spiralling bond yields, investor flight from Eurozone debt, and failure to entice investor governments in the far east to commit to the plan.  The meeting is likely to also approve the next tranche of emergency loans for Greece and Ireland.

“Policy making in Europe seems to be moving in the direction of further integration, which is positive, bu uncertainty remains about getting there in time to save the Euro.  A breakup of the Eurzone can be avoided, but bold measures are needed soon.” – Jose wynne, Analyst at Barclays Capital

In retrospect, the fiscal disunion of the supranational entity has illustrated the consequences of inadequate supervision and regulation; yet, the prolonged crisis due to delayed response has brought political integration and enlargement among the EU members.  Despite the exclusivity of the Frankfurt Group and the sideline actions of France and Germany, the dedication for resolution and rigid regulation exhibits the reformation of the supranational entity into a regulate and efficient union.  Moreover, the controversy of UK interference in fiscal matters and the ignored call for referendum illustrate the perseverance of the country to staying in the EU, as well as its resolve in its commitment to the EU.  So saying, the sacrifices by the individual members has cost many members their credibility, Selectorate support, political stability and countless harrowing challenged.  Nonetheless, it has also demonstrated the dedication of Member States to aspire beyond the complexity of intergovernmentalism and towards the even more complex and challenging elements of supranationalism.

Syria: Arab League Sanctions

The Arab League has approved economic sanctions against Syria after months of violent suppression of anti-government protests, marking an unprecedented and escalated step against the former Arab Member State.

Bashar al-Assad Stands as the Grim Reaper of the Anarchic Syria

With Syria on the brink of civil war, the tension and conflict within the region has exponentially intensified, as the Free Army heads its insurgents from its headquarters in Homs, using the border of Lebanon as a trade route for support and medical assistance.  Fueled by demand in Syria, the price for a black market Kalashnikov has gone up to $1,200 in Lebanon, evidently illustrating the significance and external influences the conflict is now causing in the Arab world. With the bloodshed of 8 months of conflict resulting in an estimated 3,500 casualties, the resistance movement against Bashar al-Assad has only deepened.  Syria’s government has maintained, almost since the start of the mass protests, that it was facing armed groups.  Coincidentally, after months of peaceful demonstrators being killed in the streets, the myth has become reality.

The Free Army, responsible for the armed resistance against security forces and army unites still loyal to al-Assad, has said that its objective is to protect civilians – especially the street protesters they believe will bring down the regime.  Despite widespread defections from loyalist forces, a whole unit has yet to change sides, depicting the element of brinkmanship that exists in the country.  The Free Amy leadership says that they need outside help from the West to bring that about.  Many are hoping for a no fly-zone, similar to those imposed by NATO on Libya, stating that such actions would be enough to decay the remaining pillars of support for the authoritarian regime.

“70% of the army are ready to defect.  Whole brigades with their officers; even the Special Forces.  But no battalion dares to move even 10 meters because they fear the Syria air force will attack.” – Walled al Abdullah, Lieutenant of the Free Army in Homs

Nevertheless, the cried for direct intervention by NATO or any Western power will go unanswered, as foreign powers are unwilling to risk casualties, the certain escalation of international tension and domestic resentment.  Rather, the European Union and the United States have involved themselves through economic sanctions.  Coupled with the newly approved sanctions by the Arab League, the sanctions have led to a travel ban against Syrian officials and politicians, a halt to all dealing with the Syria central bank and cessation of Arab-financed projects, all of which will be another tough blow to the already struggling Syrian economy.

In conjunction, the recent intensification of Arab League intervention has come after decades of irrelevance, reflecting the ossified politics of most of its members.  In early November 2011, the Syrian government accepted a plan brokered by the League to halt its violent suppression of demonstrators and convene talks with the opposition.  Nonetheless, the al-Assad regime launched a bloody assault to retake Homs.  Since this supposed period of detente, that only serve to exacerbate the conflict, Human Rights Watch has approximated an additional 104 casualties in the Homs area alone.  In response, on November 12th, the League voted to supposed Syria’s membership, targeting al-Assad’s clear breach of the agreement to stop the violent repression of demonstrators, the League further promised political and economic sanctions if al-Assad did not comply.  The moved served more so a symbolic purpose, as the Syria regime has long prided itself on bring an axis of Arab politics and a proponent of Arab unity.  Lastly, the approved sanction, effective immediately, have come after Syria’s refusal to admit international monitors in Syria to determine whether it was abiding by the league-brokered peace plan.

“The position of the people, and the Arab position, is that we must end this situation urgently.  It has almost been a year that the Syria people have been killed.” – Hamad bin Jassem, Qatari Foreign Minister

The Arab League resolution, also calls to the United Nations Security Council to adopt similar measures.  Consequently, the UNSC will remain ineffective due to the power of China and Russia.  As seen in the past blog (Syria: Failure of the UNSC), the trade routes between these countries mark a profit margin that neither would relinquish willingly.  Moreover, the move by Russia to have 3 of its warships enter Syria territorial waters to prevent US military interference mark the Russian intentions to ensure its interests are protected in Syria.  There are over 100,000 Russia citizens in Syria and Russia has used this presence to explain the supposedly obligatory measures to protect its citizens in Syria from any sort of military aggression by the US.

Furthermore, the power keg that is Syria will be an area of large international tension and conflict as the Obama presidency has taken a concentrated focus on the issues of the Middle East, escalating sanctions against Syria and Iran, both trade partner of Russia, as well as having intervened directly in Libya.  In the region there already exists the US nuclear aircraft carrier HW Bush, as well as a compliment of supporting ships, part of a carrier battle group, that includes support ships and frigates that provide unmatched fire power and force projection capabilities.  It is unclear what will happen if the US decides to start bombing targets in Syria but with intensified relations between the US and Russia, it could be seen as an attack against Russian citizens living in that country.

In retrospect, the movement within and without of Syria does not mark the trend seen in Libya, in which progressive actions were taken to institute a final objective of reform.  Instead, the violence and weak infrastructure that continues to be undermined by sanctions will result in anarchistic destruction, rather than reform.  Moreover, the international tension that is beginning to surmount because of the geopolitical situation, the destruction could also result a shift in the balance of power in which Russia and Iran will see Syria’s demise as a result of Western interference, vindicating some sort of counter offensive of political, fiscal and military means.

 

Egypt: Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

As the Egyptian police forces clash for a fifth day with protesters demanding the military junta relinquish power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has accepted the resignation of Egypt’s Cabinet.

Demonstrators Target the Prolonged Rule of Mohamed Tantawi

Since the protests began on Saturday, 37 civilians have died, illustrating the claims that the supposed transitional military council that replaced President Hosni Mubarak in February, has now become the enemy of the revolution in Egypt.  The military, under Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, had originally pledged to return to barracks within 6 months of Mubarak’s removal, but its apparent reluctance to relinquish power and privileges has fueled frustration among Egyptians.  The clashes have gained international coverage and many human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have targeted Egypt’s military junta for the use of excessive force that has sometimes exceeded the brutality of Mubarak.  Protesters have vowed not to leave Cairo’s Tahrir Square until the military council steps down, apparently giving Tantawi an ultimatum to which no amount of inflated rhetoric of false promises will get him out of.

“I urge Egyptian authorities to end the clearly excessive use of force against protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, including the apparent improper use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.” – Navi Pillay, UN human Rights Chief

The resignation of the civilian Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, has been among the political consequences resulting from the escalating street violence throughout Egypt.  The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has been targeted by domestic forces  and international media, as startling images come back of the brutal beating of already subdued protesters sparking memories of the cruelty that the Egyptian had fought against initially, under Hosni Mubarak.  In response, the military council has attempted to appease protesters through concession.  Mohamed Tantawi vowed in a public address Tuesday to hold presidential elections by July 2012.  The promise reminded many protesters of the hallow speeches of the former dictator, further infuriating protesters of the apparent authoritarian regime that has taken control of their country.  Aggravation has only to continued to intensify as Tantawi suggested holding a referendum on whether military rule should end earlier, which many viewed as a ploy to appeal to many Egyptians who fear further upheaval.  With the vacancy left by the resignation of Essam Sharaf’s Cabinet, Parliamentary elections are set to begin on Monday and Tantawi has pledged that polls would go forward as promised.

“There are many viruses in the system.  It needs to be cleaned out entirely.  We need to change the regime lie they did in Tunisia and Libya.” – Abdullah Galah, Computer Sales Manager and Tahrir Square Demonstrator

The next legislature has opened windows for many competing groups to begin pushing for power, illustrating the division of Egyptian society, as well as the instability that will remain for a longer period of time then is being offered by protesters.  The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest and best organized group is not taking part in the ongoing protest, attempting to demonstrate its desire not to do anything that could derail the election, which it hopes to win along with its allies.  60 years after it was banned, the Brotherhood has found itself empowered in the wake of the February 11th usurpation of Mubarak.  Forming the Freedom and Justice party, the notorious opportunists hope to win enough seats in the new legislature to push through a new constitution with an Islamic slant and bring this mainly Muslim nation of close to 85 million people, close to an Islamic state.  Consequently, the expected win for the Muslim Brotherhood have stirred fears in Israel and its bilateral ties and the future of the country’s peace treaty.

In retrospect, the cries of joy and peace from the crowds that vindicated years of struggle against Hosni Mubarak have now turned into rocks and fists as the military junta dictates and suppresses their futures and their aspirations.  Similar to the French Revolution in 1789, which ended with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte  and his military rule, the Egyptians have awoken to the reality of the instability and the terror that has come with a power vacancy being occupied by a military junta.  So saying, with an uneasy truce being held together by a “human shield” of clerics between police forces and demonstrators, the obstacles to democratic transition and the challenges to Egypt’s future are now only accumulating.

Libya: Saif-al Islam Captured

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the now deceased Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, has been captured by revolutionary fighters in a firefight in the Libyan desert.

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of Moammar Qaddafi

After 15 days of pursuit in the area between southwestern oasis town of Obari and southern town of Sabha, military commanders were able to capture on of the most-wanted elements of the former Qaddafi regime.  Saif al-Islam, infamous for his vigilance and perseverance in supporting military suppression and the brutality of Qaddafi, had sworn to die fighting. Nevertheless, Saif al-Islam was taken without firing a shot.  Surprisingly, Saif al-Islam was not killed in the firefight, especially considering the extenuating circumstances concerning the death of Moammar Qaddafi and one of his sons during the raid that resulted in his death over a month ago.

“That is very important because we consider him – the judges consider him – the principal, with his father Moammar, of the crimes committed in Libya after February 13.  He’s arrested, he’s alive and now he will face justice and that is the most important news.” – Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands has confirmed the arrest.  The court wants Saif-alIslam Qaddafi for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, committed during the uprising.  Moreno-Ocampo will travel to Libya next week to bring Saif al-Islam to justice.  The next steps, though, will be the most trying for the new transcriptional government in Libya that is to be set up on Tuesday.  The Zintan fighters, who make up one of the most powerful militia factions holding ultimate power in a country still without a government, plan to keep Saif al-Islam in Zintan, until they could hand him over to the authorities.  Prime minister-designate, Adburrahim El-Keib is scheduled to form a government by Tuesday, and the fate of Saif al-Islam will be an early test of its authority.  Libyans want to try Said al-Islam at home before considering the possibility of handing him over to the ICC.  The European Union has urged Libyan authorities to ensure Saif al-Islam was brought to justice in cooperation with the ICC.  The statements come after the suspicious death of Moammar Qaddafi under Operation Unified Protector.  Moammar Qaddafi’s beating, abuse and ultimate death in custody of former rebel fighters was an embarrassment to the previous transitional government.  Officials in Tripoli said they were determined to hand his son’s case with more order.

“I think the Libyan people can finally actually breathe a big sigh, finally relax to some extent, because he has been threatening to come back with revenge for some time now.  So, it’s a close for many, many people.” – Abdelraham Busin, National Transitional Council military liaison

In retrospect, the capture of Saif al-Islam has come as welcomed relief to many Libyans, ending months of insecurity and fear.   The capture of Saif al-Islam marks the suppression of opposition but it also marks the new democratic era of Libya, which has begun with a more than questionable start.  Many officials highly doubt that Saif al-Islam will be handed over to the ICC; rather, officials believe that the son of Moammar Qaddafi will be executed in Libya beforehand.  This does not mark bode well for the start of the formation of the new government and with militia groups holding power on the country side, with large stockpiles of weapons,t he centralization of power will be problematic.

 

Veterans Day

First proclaimed as Armistice Day on November 11th, Veterans Day is an annual Holiday in the USA honoring military veterans.

All Give Some and Some Give All

Veterans Day coincides with Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, a Holiday celebrated internationally, marking the anniversary signing of the armistice that ended World War I.  The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11day of the 11 month of 1918.  Nevertheless, the connotation of such a day cannot be forgotten, with such global consequences and destruction that had from battle such as Stalingrad, the bombing of London and the bombing of Dresden. With countries such as Russia that witnessed 2 million of their people die in World War II, repelling the Nazi forces under Operation Barbarossa, the tragedy and destructiveness of war is apparent.  Though significantly less than the casualties stemming from World War II in Russia, the total war-zone mortality count of US soldiers from 1775 to today’s current count of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan is approximately 887,625.  The memories of these soldiers that fought against the oppression of British tyranny, that fought to secure American liberty and freedom, to maintain US unity and to ensure the spread of Democracy globally, are what marks Veterans Day as truly significant.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in heroism of those who died in the country’s service and gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” – Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States of America

As America reflects upon the sacrifices, heroism and pride of all those who died and served in the country’s service, the country must also see the power of the individual that reinforced the military unit and the soldier.  Despite wide-spread sentiment of thanks and gratitude, this blog argues a different perspective which illustrates the challenges of corruption and exploitation such places of power have put upon many young and experienced soldiers. Rather then reflecting upon an endless period of persistent warfare from the Revolutionary War beginning in 1775 until today’s prolonged conflict in Afghanistan, the blog’s argument concentrates on modern warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.  With soldiers marching into foreign lands, fighting for freedom and democracy through their blood, sweat and tears, it is difficult for these soldiers to remain immune to brutality, corruption and exploitation of their power among the people they have sworn to protect.  Sadly, memories of Abu Ghraib are evidence enough of these consequences.

American Brutality within the Prison Compound of Abu Ghraib (Lynndie England)

Without a third party supervisor immune to such immoral actions, clearly distinguishing right from wrong, such actions are sadly rather common in the warfront.  For instance, just yesterday (11.10.11),  Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs was sentenced to life for the murder of Afghan citizens.  The Staff Sergeant was considered the ringleader of a rogue US army unit responsible for the murder of 3 innocent Afghan civilians, with the Staff Sergeant convicted of a total of 15 counts of murder in all.  The rogue unit was suspected of murdering Afghan villagers, planting weapons on them and cutting off body parts to keep as grisly war trophies.  Along with these 5, another 7 soldiers were convicted of other lesser crimes.

Moreover, with charges concerning bribery and corruption widespread through the American military service, the ability for a majority of soldiers to remain stoic and righteous, illustrates the power of the individual and the power behind the American spirit.  Facing psychological trauma, persistent threats of death, corruption among fellow soldiers and with domestic division over the righteousness of the war to begin with, it is clear the harrowing challenges that these soldiers face on a daily basis.  Finally, let the Americans never forget those that have returned but have been forgotten, the veterans of Vietnam that have been left on street corners, begging for spare change.

EU: Papandreou Resignation and the Frankfurt Group

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has announced his impending resignation after the makeup of the nation’s new coalition government is decided.

Prime Minister George Papandreou Resigns

The announcement follows a period of economic, political and social turmoil in Greece, following the call for a referendum on the 130 billion Euro bailout deal and the vote of confidence on Friday.  The Greek Prime Minister will be meeting with the head of Greece’s leading opposition party, Atonis Samaras, on Monday to discuss the future Prime Minister of Greece.  Candidates for the job include Petros Moliviatis, Loukas Papaimos and the current Finance Minister.  The new government is intended to have  a life of four months, in which it will disperse following elections held in early Spring.  The news brings a semblance of solidarity and security to the EU after periods of intensified aggravation and incredulity among Euro Area leaders, such as French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel.  The decisions appears to conclude a chapter in Greece’s harrowing political and economic crisis, as Papandreou had made himself and Greece a symbol of criticism from the animosity of Euroskeptics to the leader of countries exposed to its sovereign debt.

“We have called for national unity government and remain persuaded that it is the convincing way of restoring confidence and meeting the commitments.” – Olli Rehn, European Economic and monetary Affairs Comissioner

The EU has made it clear it wants coalition government in Greece to ensure consensus support for reform and restore confidence after a week that saw Papandreou first call for a referendum and then backtrack under international pressure.  Following the onslaught of domestic division and international criticism, Prime Minister Papandreou narrowly won a confidence vote on Friday night, but has continued to be under pressure to resign amid chaos over the prolonged debt crisis.  The Prime Minister had been trying to build a national unity government but opposition leader, Samaras, of the New Democracy party, had been refusing to negotiate unless his rival resigned first.  The two men also disagreed sharply on the timing of new elections, with Papandreou seeking a delay of several months while Samaras wanted them immediately.

The political game of brinkmanship intensified the volatility  of markets, sensationalist media and the fury aimed at Papandreou.  Among the uncertainty, the political wrangling has led to speculation that the new coalition government will be headed by Finance Minsiter Evangelos Vanizelos.  The Finance Minsiter has already faced international pressure considering his prominence in the efforts to undertake the needed austerity cuts and reforms demanded by the Eurogroup.  His ability to compensate with transition from fiscal to political leadership will be severely tested.  Among his many challenges comes the meeting of the Council of Finance Ministers in Brussels on Monday, in which he must convince the Eurogroup members of  Greece’s ability to utilize the bailout package to effectively reform their economic system.  Vanizelos faces international criticism, domestic anger at the already a large number of implemented austerity measures and will also face the possibility of Greece leaving the Euro, which has been raised by EU leaders if Greece fails to resolve its political and financial problems.

“It is all very fragile and the markets are requiring stronger leadership from within these countries as well as from the ECB.” – Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Much of the increased pressure has come from what many have terms a new informal leadership directorate, a new politburo, known as the Frankfurt Group.  The inner circle compromises the leaders of Germany and France, the President of the executive European Commission and of the European Council of EU leaders, the heads of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the chairman of the Euro Area Finance Minister and the European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs.  The group has grabbed the helm of the 17-nation currency area, illustrating their prominence and dedication by meeting 4 times on the sidelines of last week’s Group of 20 Summit in Cannes.  The group was responsible for the ultimatum to Greece that clearly stated that if Greece were to not meet European regulations, it would not receive another tranche of bailout funds.  The group has also escalated supervision on Italy by demanding it carry out the long-delayed economic reforms and to also let the IMF monitor their progress.

Ultimately, the Frankfurt Group aims to bridge the ideological gulf between northern and southern European, and between supporters of the orthodox German focus on fiscal discipline and an independent central bank with the sole task of fighting inflation, and advocates of a more integrated and expansive economic and monetary union.

“There is always a trade-off between legitimacy and efficacy.  The Euro Area institutions were not designed for crisis management so we need innovative solutions.  In an emergency like this, we have to have a structure that works.” – Frankfurt Group official

As stated in a previous blog (EU: Supranational Entity, Supranational Problems) the needs for strict German leadership is clear considering the growth of the country, its experiences historically, its resilience and its persistent calls for reform and supranational regulation and supervision demonstrate its determination to ensure the stability and security for the Euro Area.  It is for these reasons that the Frankfurt Group clearly illustrates the progress towards fiscal responsibility and reform for the Euro Area members.  The Frankfurt Group has already had an impact in the Euro Area crisis management but due to its informality and exclusivity, it has begun to stir resentment among those who are excluded.  North European creditor countries such as the Netherlands, Slovakia and Finland, where public hostility to further bailout packages is fierce, are already voicing opposition to decisions being taken behind their backs.  In Greece and Italy, there has been strong criticism of the perceived arrogance of “Merkozy”, as the Franco-German duumvirate have become known, in summoning their Prime Ministers to receive ultimatums.  Nevertheless, German and French officials shrug off such complains as inevitable, noting that EU partners are even more unhappy when France and Germany do not agree, as such disruption lead to European paralyses.

In retrospect, the series of events have illustrated a new era in EU politics that may present an evolution of the supranational entity into a new era for progress and integration.  With both Papandreou and Berlusconi on the verge of leaving office, reform in the two highly indebted nations is on the precipice.  In addition, the creation of the Frankfurt Group has solidified talks among the institutions and leaders that have the responsibility and power to shape the future of the EU.  With the inclusion and prominence of Germany, it may be reasonable to argue that the heavy-handedness of Germany’s worth ethic will be essential in the coming months.