It seems that Michael D and Enda wanted to clear their desks on 24th December so that they’d have a clean run in their holidays over the Christmas-New Year period, and both issued their videos with seasonal greetings last week. From many perspectives though, it is the New Year message from German chancellor, Angela Merkel which will be broadcast this evening which is more relevant to our future; the speech is directed in part at a German audience but undoubtedly is, in parts, directed at others including ourselves. There is no specific policy initiative but general tepid reassurances about the future of the euro but there are suggestions that the economic crisis will remain challenging, and possibly more challenging in the short term than. Here’s an unmodified still from the broadcast – Angela might have her glad rags on and might look a tad tipsy but the message is sober – Europe needs intensify integration as a solution to economic challenges.
The next Eurogroup meeting is scheduled for 23rd January and the next EU summit is scheduled for 30th January 2012 where the planned focus will be on employment; but with €72bn of Italian debt and interest repayments due by end March 2012 and Italian 10-year bonds finishing yesterday at 7.11%, you might think there would be earlier summits. There is a big Italian bond auction scheduled for Friday 13th January 2012.
This evening on New Year’s Eve, many Germans will sit down and watch an old black-and-white 18-minute British comedy called “Dinner for One” in which an increasingly drunken butler will help the lady of the house celebrate New Year amongst the ghosts of departed friends. It’s a wryly funny reminder of mortality, and its tone is a little too reflective for this time of day, so here’s a bastardisation of the sketch with Angela and Nicolas Sarkozy’s heads superimposed on the characters. The video, produced by German state broadcaster ARD, is funny enough, though sadly it is in German – if an English transcript becomes available, it will be posted. The gist is that on the occasion of the 90th EU summit, the French and Germans remember departed leaders, Greece’s Papandreou and Spain’s Zapatero, there’s a dig at Britain’s Cameron, a gibe at France’s shaky credit rating and in the end Sarkozy helps Merkel up the stairs promising her his “Triple A” – a promise the ratings agencies might deliver in the next couple of months.
UPDATE: 1st January, 2012. The video of the broadcast is now available, here’s the ZDF broadcast via Youtube with some humorous subtitles to lift the tone.