Stories by Jeff Cimbalo

Jeff Cimbalo is a Virginia lawyer. He worked on books and articles on American politics, democratization, and the "clash of civilizations" with former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman and Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington. He himself has written for Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications, mostly on European affairs. He graduated from Georgetown, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of List E of the Brussels Bar and can be reached at info@cimbalofirm.com

Why Cameron’s EU Veto Made Sense

December 16th, 2011 at 1:32 pm 4 Comments

Last week in Brussels, the United Kingdom for the first time in a long time refused to be dictated to by continental elites. David Cameron, under enormous pressure from the Commission, other “core” Union members, and the (then) sotto voce pro-Europe disposition of his LibDem coalition members, refused to agree to the “fiscal compact” to include all 27 member states. By doing so, he has shaped the battlefield over all financial regulation in the Union, which remains very much in play, and very important to the British financial industry.

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A Permanent EU “Crisis”?

December 8th, 2011 at 4:44 pm 4 Comments

On December 7th, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented a letter to the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy with their proposals for how to solve the current EU crisis. Except their letter was not really a proposal, in that it did not consist of a draft treaty amendment but only broad principles.

But it is clear that the plan they have in mind is creating a state of perpetual “crisis” — and permanent powers to deal with it — inside the eurozone and any other non-euro countries that would be bafflingly inclined to join it.

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The EU’s New Budget Motto: “Mother May I?”

December 7th, 2011 at 4:00 pm 2 Comments

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has just floated a proposal to subject all EU members – not just eurozone members – to more rigorous budget scrutiny by Union organs. The proposal is so contrary to the Union treaties and its scope so overreaching to the current eurozone debt crisis that it is doomed to fail.

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One Continent, Under France and Germany

December 7th, 2011 at 12:00 am 7 Comments

Looks like the EU has found an alternative to German domination of everybody else. It’s French-German domination of everybody else.

The grand “deal” announced earlier this week has something for both France and Germany. For the Germans, France will temporarily stop talking about eurobonds and will agree to automatic sanctions for violation of new budget rules. For the French, those automatic sanctions can be cancelled by a supermajority vote of unknown quantum, but very likely guaranteeing that France will never be sanctioned for its serial ambivalence toward budget rules, whether their own or anyone else’s.

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The EU’s Plan: Raise Taxes With Bailouts

December 1st, 2011 at 1:44 am 20 Comments

The past two weeks have seen a dizzying array of proposals from virtually every organ of the EU claiming that they can make the eurozone more efficient, durable, and solvent. If you noticed that no one is saying that they will make the eurozone more democratic, you’re not the only one. The most anti-democratic organ which is being set up is a permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (EMS).

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The Newest Plan to Control Euro Members

November 22nd, 2011 at 12:27 am 3 Comments

What’s the newest strategy of the European Commission to remove any democratic accountability from the eurozone members? They are now aiming to consolidate all eurozone members on the IMF Executive Board into a single member, represented by… the European Commission.

The move would make the Commission less reliant on the pronouncements of European Council and the interests of the Union’s member states.

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Why the Euro Can’t Afford to Lose Italy

November 20th, 2011 at 1:16 am 11 Comments

No relationship in Europe is more complex or dangerous than the relationship between the EU and the Eurozone.

The EU contains 27 countries. Only 17 of them use the Euro.

The economic impact of the Euro on non-Euro countries is obvious. Now consider the political effect.

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Shrinking the Zone to Save the Euro

November 16th, 2011 at 8:34 am 10 Comments

The Merkel-Sarkozy strategy for changing which countries are able to use the euro is taking shape. Their next efforts will likely include an attempt to change the treaties that govern how to exit the euro and how the countries more deeply integrate.

Additional treaty powers to decide who can be in the euro will be sought at the Brussels summit on December 9. But comprehensive treaty changes allowing deeper integration of the eurozone are unnecessary, the authority to do so already exists.

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Merkel’s Plan to End the Euro

November 14th, 2011 at 12:18 pm 12 Comments

Whatever political settlement the Lisbon Treaty created to allow for the permanence of the euro is about to change. Chancellor Merkel will propose a significant change in the existing treaties, which will finally allow Greece and perhaps others to leave the euro but not the EU, and likely bestow on the eurozone effective authority to negotiate those exits without a vote of the entire EU.

(Update: Merkel’s party, the CDU, has voted to allow member states to voluntarily leave the euro.)

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The Euro May Die, But Europe Will Live

November 10th, 2011 at 1:18 pm 31 Comments

A few hours after the prediction on this blog of a multi-track euro, the Germans and French went public with their desire to oust certain countries from the euro and build a new eurozone with much deeper policy integration and a much more selective membership.

Such a move gives the lie to several persistant and powerful myths of the European Union, but may well prove to be a very optimistic development for democracy in the new eurozone.

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