What can one say about Greece? Well, the first thing is that it was interesting (and revealing) to hear that Greece entered the EU on the basis of false numbers with the connivance of France and Germany. Back then, of course, both of these countries were important and influential, whereas now only one of them is.
The second thing to say is that what's really at stake here is not Greece's identity but Europe's. All eyes are fixed on Athens, but the way out of the crisis requires a choice about what kind of Europe we want. The one we have now, with its deep structural inequalities and its rigid adherence to a failed economic ideology, protects neither democracy nor human rights. Stiff-necked and punitive, it prefers to eat its children. This is from an article by Maria Margaronis and you can read it here.
Thirdly - The opinion of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:- If you think, as I do, that Greece did indeed commit a host of sins but is also the first of several victims of a mad ideological experiment that shackled together economies with different growth rates, wage bargaining systems, productivity patterns, sensitivity to interest rates, and inflation proclivities - without fiscal transfers or sufficient labour mobility to cushion the effects - and that this disaster was compounded by Germany’s wage squeeze, and compounded yet further by sharp monetary and fiscal contraction at the wrong moment in the states most at risk, then you will expect the crisis to grind on whatever happens in Greece. More here.
In Spain, one of the three cases against judge Baltasar Garzón has been dropped. Which must have brought him very cold comfort, as his career on the Bench was wrecked by the eleven year disbarment pronounced in one of the other two cases last week. The third trial - dealing with his investigation of the killing of 114,000 people under Franco - has yet to begin.
Which is as good a lead in as I'll ever have to a citation of the latest book by the celebrated historian of Spain, Paul Preston. This is The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain. This is just out in the UK and is said to be as harrowing as the title suggests.
Finally . . . At 313,637 home sales in 2011 in Spain were even lower than in 2010, making it the worst year since the property bubble burst in 2007. More stats here.