You know the world is going to the dogs when the first sentence on the descriptive label on a bottle of wine contains the phrases “committed to our environmental responsibilities”; “commitment to carbon reduction”: and “ultra efficient glass”. It’s enough to drive one to drink.
Well, one would have to be insane to essay a firm prediction of where the EU project is going from here. But there can be little doubt we’ve just witnessed not just a traditional Brussels fudge but also a major hike in German power at the expense of that of France. Nor do you have to be Einstein to appreciate that one of the more worried national governments right now must be that in Madrid. As the writer of this article says:- “The Greek deal sends a terrible message to other euro countries that might run into financing problems.”
For another commentator, “Europe has a new leader: ‘Merkel the Mean’. While our Ambrose feels that Greece has been left to swing in the wind. And that the obvious question is “Who’s next?” Who knows? But one thing’s for sure – the days of the EU being run primarily in the interests of France are well and truly over.
As for Spain, this is an interesting Opinion piece from the editor of Typically Spanish, echoing my recent comment to the effect that the Spanish seem rather unaware of what’s about to hit them. But that was last week and there’s evidence this week that both the penny and the government's ratings are finally beginning to drop. And El País reports today that there’s serious concern – and even signs of incipient ‘disloyalty’ – in the Zapatero administration. Two years ahead of the next general elections, the times are about to get rather more interesting. Palace coup, anyone?
Finally . . . BankInter is no longer, I’m told, a subsidiary of Banco Santander and has been an independent company for some years. But it’s still Spanish. Which may or may not explain why the UK subsidiary of its Direct Line insurance company no longer appears in price comparison web pages. As for Santander phone numbers in the UK . . . There seem to be a range of these, including some of the more expensive ones. Perhaps they’re phasing these in.