Dominika Pszczolkowska is a Polish journalist. Since 2007 she has been the Brussels correspondent for Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest Polish quality daily.
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Who is out to get the eurozone (or maybe Central Europe)?
Reading the European and world press after last Sunday's EU summit is an enlightening exercise. Continental papers think it was a show of unity, or at least a cover up of divisions in Europe. Not so the Brits and Americans.
The French "Le Figaro" said:
"the summit allowed the 27, destabilized by the economic crisis, to close ranks. A month before the G20 summit in London this was essential".
I wrote in "Gazeta Wyborcza" that "the crisis did not divide the EU" and that the Polish prime minister came back reassured that the EU says "no to eurobonds, no to protectionism and treating Central Europe as a worse partner".
On the opposite end of the spectrum was "The Times":
"it should have been the moment when the whole of Europe pulled in the same direction to rebuild the world’s financial system. Instead, a gathering of EU leaders yesterday before next month’s G20 summit was marked by suspicion and self-interest, with the economic crisis exposing deep faultlines on how best to respond to the downturn".
The "New York Times" seconded it, saying:
"The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels in an emergency summit meeting that seemed to highlight the very worries it was designed to calm: that the world economic crisis has unleashed forces threatening to split Europe into rival camps".
The British and American press is often more critical of the EU, particularly summits. They don't seem to buy the line that the French, Germans or Poles often do that when EU leaders gather words are deeds. But this time the differences are particularly big.
Also before the summit the Anglo-Saxon press hit particularly alarming tones writing about the state of the economies of Central and Easter Europe, calling the region a "black hole" etc.
This has led some in Brussels to ask if there is not a conspiracy here. Perhaps some in London or Washington are trying to destabilize the eurozone? Hitting it where it is weakest, that is in those countries who are just aspiring to join, but are closely linked for example through the banking sector? Some in the European Commission seem to believe this.
I am not into conspiracy theories, but they do have a point on one issue: in these times of uncertainty reports of "black holes" and the like are a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.
At least after the summit media all around Europe have stopped talking about the problems of Eastern Europe, and started differentiating between countries, which really are in very different situations.
PS. (added on Thursday March 5) I noticed that my colleague and friend Charlemagne of ”The Economist” (not sure if I am allowed to reveal his name) has read this post and followed up with much more detailed and enlightening comments on his blog here so take a look.
wtorek, 03 marca 2009, dominique