Welcome to the Global Report: our weekly column of the most important issues happening across the planet. From politics to war, monarchies to dictatorships, and everything in-between, we’ve got it covered. It’s world news, Playboy.com style.
As the United States Republican primaries continue, this past week saw front-runner Mitt Romney take Arizona and his home state of Michigan (albeit by a minuscule 3.2% margin) heading into next week’s Super Tuesday (check back for our in-depth coverage).
Down in Latin America, the Syrian campaign (more on that below) is being propped up, energy-wise, by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in yet another display to disgruntle the United States' efforts. This comes as a clear sign from his government that Chavez is indeed still in control despite undergoing surgery in Cuba earlier this week.
Also in the region, Argentina is fighting a second Falklands War against Britain by depriving citizens of their tea and cookies in a somewhat humorous boycott engineered to reopen negotiations regarding the disputed ownership of the offshore islands.
In a follow-up to the massive second Greek debt rescue package we spoke about last week, Eurozone ministers passed the deal which delivered Greece another 109B euro to save it from defaulting. The latest news comes as ministers mull a proposal to combine the bailout rescue fund (the European Financial Stability Fund or EFSF), with the permanent stabilization fund (the European Stability Mechanism or ESM).
This change, which would increase the total available ”firewall” funds to 750B euro, hinges on the foremost financial backer of the funds, German-leader Angela Merkel and her CDU party. While this proposal is definitely a way to plan long-term in case of another major default, when will this ongoing game of European allowance stop? It’s almost as if Germany is the parent in this situation and the Eurozone nations are its fiscally irresponsible children who spend cash like its burning through their pockets.
While the European grand plan of an integrated monetary union was ideal, it was also ambitious. Though a larger fund is warranted, could it possibly handle a default of Spain or Italy? And what if both defaulted? There are too many variables that could end in financial ruin for the federalist EU and perhaps instead of pouring in money, it should focus on how it can resolve the discrepancy issues that continually separate the union into two-parts: the more self-restricted economies such as Germany and Sweden and the grossly mismanaged economies such as Greece.
With that in mind, yesterday’s news of Serbia being granted official candidate status pinpoints yet another reason the EU needs to reform. Enlargement, especially with much smaller economies such as Serbia, soon-to-be ascending Croatia, and the rest of the Balkans in-wait should not happen without the removal of the clause stating new members must adopt the euro. With eight current EU members obliged to join, and the prospect of several others should they ascend, the heart of the EU financial problem lies with restraining not only money, but ambitious goals that could end in turmoil should they be achieved.
Next up, Middle East, Africa, Asia, & Oceania.