I'll be leaving town tomorrow for a few days of R&R, but here's a couple thoughts as we sail into yet another critical euro zone finance minister meeting:
1) Do the Europeans really want a deal with Greece? Depends on who you ask. The southern block...Italy, Portugal, Spain...most assuredly.
The biggest obstacle to a deal may be the northern European block..the Finns, the Dutch, and the Germans.
First it was more cuts in the Greek budget (325 million euros), then it was a demand for ironclad letters from the two major political Greek parties that they would support the austerity bill, now suggestions that even the minority left and right parties sign letters...this northern European block is moving the goalpost as often as the Greeks are, and that is fueling the resentment in Athens.
The big risk is that once again the Greeks will show up in Brussels for the euroz one finance minister meeting on Monday, only to be met with another set of demands that will prove almost impossible for them to meet.
2) What's happening to Europe? Tearing apart the myth of European "unity." Some say it's long overdue, this bursting of the bubble of a united Europe. Even in Greece, the majority still support staying in the euro, but that majority is not assured and has been eroding, in Greece and elsewhere.
This concept of a united Europe has staying power, but it is not assured, and the centrists had better make a stand, pronto.
Enter Mario Monti, the Italian Prime Minister, who gave an eloquent speech this week on exactly this topic at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"The euro zone crisis has given rise to too many resentments and re-created too many stereotypes, it has divided Europe into central countries and peripheral ones; all these categories must be decisively rejected," he said.
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