19 Oct

‘It’s up to us’: how Merkel and Macron revived EU solidarity

Until then, Merkel had opposed a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron for a Recovery Fund that would, for the first time, bind all 27 member states to raise debt jointly.”Initially they were on quite different positions,” said one senior diplomat. “They reviewed the risk of a split in the EU. But then the Constitutional Court decision came and Merkel … said: ‘It’s up to us, the governments’.”A series of video calls between Merkel and Macron led to a plan for the European Commission, the EU executive, to borrow 500 billion euros ($550 billion) as common debt and transfer it to the regions and industries hit hardest.It would be a top-up to the EU’s 2021-2027 budget, already close to 1 trillion euros. It took a courtroom of scarlet-robed judges to spur Angela Merkel to make one of her boldest moves in 15 years as German chancellor: propose huge cash handouts to the European Union’s weaker economies.Merkel was already worried about the future of the Union after the coronavirus pandemic struck Europe in February, triggering a wave of deaths and crippling lockdowns.But it was Germany’s own Constitutional Court that tipped her hand, sources said. Its bombshell ruling on May 5 challenged the EU’s reliance on European Central Bank (ECB) money-printing to keep its weaker members’ economies afloat – and the EU’s governance. Diplomats in Brussels, Paris and Berlin familiar with the discussions said Merkel had dropped Germany’s long-held opposition to mutualizing debt to fund other member states – when it became clear the EU itself was in peril.The court ruling in effect put the onus on EU governments themselves to fund any fiscal response.European leaders agree that, if they fail to rescue economies now in freefall, they risk something worse than the debt crisis 10 years ago – which exposed faultiness, fanned euroskepticism and almost blew up the eurozone.Union in name only?The pandemic has derailed the recovery of the EU’s most indebted countries. Italy’s debt is shooting towards 170% of national output, Greece is losing gains wrung from years of belt-tightening and, across the south, a collapse in tourism threatens millions of jobs.Surely the moment for the Union to live up to its name.But members’ initial slowness to share medical equipment, and readiness to close their borders, seemed to demonstrate Brussels’ irrelevance when national interests are at stake.Divisions erupted at an all-night videoconference of EU leaders on March 27 as fiscally conservative northern countries resisted pressure from a “Club Med” group to raise a splurge of mutual EU debt to tackle the effects of the pandemic.Finance ministers agreed on April 9 to an EU-wide rescue plan worth half a trillion euros, but it was too little to fund long-term recovery, and the feud festered on. Berlin insisted any recovery plan must consist of short-term, repayable loans.Then Merkel and Macron began talking.”Merkel became increasingly aware that it was making Europe look really bad,” said an EU official familiar with Macron and Merkel’s consultations with the Commission.Just when it seemed that this latest in a series of traumas, from sovereign debt crisis to a chaotic wave of migration to Brexit, could finally tear the bloc apart, the deal hints that the two founder members can still provide the EU’s steady core.It may also boost Macron’s standing and his vision of more integration as Merkel ends her long tenure.The Commission, which presents its own proposal on May 27, warmly welcomed the initiative, but the deal is not yet done.To pass, it needs backing from all 27 capitals, and Austria’s leader has already said that he, along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, will offer only loans, not grants. Topics : read more

17 Sep

No. 2 Syracuse fails to combat No. 6 Boston College’s slow pace in 10-9 home loss

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 28, 2015 at 5:55 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Boston College head coach Acacia Walker turned around, walked away and put both hands on her head. BC midfielder Mikaela Rix bobbled the ball and had nearly lost it. In the midst of a four-minute possession, it was crucial that BC kept holding the ball. Rix came down with the pass, though. The Eagles had stalled and Syracuse tried to pressure BC, but SU goalie Kelsey Richardson vacated the crease to guard an open player and the Eagles’ Caroline Margolis scored to make the game 10-8 with 1 minute and 28 seconds left. “When the team’s trying to stall and spread out the field and pass it around, that’s probably the hardest to play.” SU defender Mallory Vehar said. “You know last minute you know you need the ball back and busting your butt. Yeah, definitely frustrating.”BC’s possessions stretched minutes at a time throughout the game, and No. 2 SU (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) was unable to get the ball away from the Eagles in the final minutes. For the first time since March 30, 2013, Syracuse lost to a team other than Maryland, as No. 6 BC (4-0, 1-0) held on for the 10-9 win. 

Vehar said SU’s game plan was to allow BC to hold the ball and pack in the defense, and the Eagles obliged.“The game plan was to be really smart with our possessions and to try to lengthen the possession time, so we could wait for the right opportunity,” Walker said, “… if you get into a shootout with Syracuse, you’re going to lose every time.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith five minutes left in the game, SU head coach Gary Gait tried to get the ball back, so he deployed Syracuse’s backer defense, a zone defense designed to pressure ball-handlers. When that didn’t work, the Orange ran a matchup defense with defender Brenna Rainone face-guarding Rix. SU defender Kathy Rudkin also played one-on-one against Rix. “We practice a lot with Mikaela being shut off,” Walker said, “so we just told her to use her power and strength to not allow her to get shut out of the game.” Gait said he had thought about running a pressure defense earlier, but the game was tied, so SU only needed one stop. After Margolis’ goal, Syracuse did get a goal back. Riley Donahue took a shot on the right side of the crease and the ball trickled on the left side of the goalie and into the net. As she scored, it looked as if she had been pushed into the goalie, who fell on her side.Gait stormed down the side of the field, pointing and yelling at the referees, furious that there was no push called as Donahue was shooting. “They said it was a held flag,” Gait said. “I thought she got fouled on the shot, which would give you possession.” Despite the goal, SU lost the final draw and BC once again held the ball. Orange attack Kayla Treanor nearly got the ball back when she checked the ball out of Boston College defender Molly Erdle’s stick, but a referee deemed the check a dangerous check with 18 seconds left and BC kept the ball.Margolis held the ball until the final seconds when she overthrew a pass that rolled out of bounds in the corner with no time left on the clock. Boston College players spilled onto the field, running to goalie Zoe Ochoa and a celebratory mosh formed on the field. BC’s players eventually lined up facing the stands and ran from the far hash toward fans that had shown up for the game. “I think we had a good game plan, and it worked,” Vehar said, pausing. “For the most part,” she said, pausing again. “Until we lost.” Commentslast_img read more