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Greece: EU unity at breaking point?

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 02:16

French president, Francois Hollande's call for a new euro zone government to give extra drive to European unity is doing little to mask a growing sense of a continent fracturing on the Greek crisis. David Pollard reports.

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The Paris Air Show in June. A bumper order book means French military aviation is doing OK. It's European unity that needs a lift, says its president. On Sunday, Francois Hollande made the case for a euro zone government with a budget - and a parliament. Not something we'll see in our lifetimes, says BGC's Mike Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST AT BGC, SAYING: ''The problem with the euro's been a common monetary policy but no common fiscal policy ... The euro was effectively designed back to front, with political integration likely to be the last thing to happen and only of course, as Germany would say, after all the bills have been paid.'' Rifts between France and Germany became all too apparent during fraught bailout talks for Greece. Hollande and his ministers at odds with a German hardline stance that embraced a possible Grexit. The wheel came off a policy of the two doing things in tandem, says Ingram. The crisis revealing a democratic deficit in Brussels, and worse for Athens. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST AT BGC, SAYING: ''What has happened in Greece has largely seen to be a political coup, and indeed, it seems highly likely that there will be elections in the Autumn, the results of which, well, quite frankly, who knows at this particular point in time.'' Here in Germany, ALFA is the latest to join the ranks of Europe's eurosceptic groupings. Party leader Bernd Lucke claims over 5,000 people joined within hours of its launch. The rifts over Greece run deep - and through Angela Merkel's coalition too. Over a fifth of her own conservatives voting against her in Friday's Bundestag vote on the Greek bailout. And the Grexit scenario favoured by her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, reported to be a source of ''huge conflict'' between them. It also raises questions over a decade of crisis management since she took office. Says Raoul Ruparel of the Open Europe think tank. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RAOUL RUPAREL, CO-DIRECTOR, OPEN EUROPE, SAYING: ''It's not much of an achievement for a Chancellor who's had such a long term in office and I think if there was a Grexit it would be quite a defining point of her tenure.'' Across Europe, the split separates Germans, Finns, Dutch, Balts and Slovaks from those happy for more taxpayers' money to go to Greece. The French, Italians - and the Greeks themselves - who see a Europe that lacks solidarity and economic stimulus. Against that backdrop, a euro zone government does appear to be a very distant prospect.

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Greece: EU unity at breaking point?

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 02:16