The morning we went to press we awoke to the news that David Cameron has almost negotiated an “emergency brake” deal. In other words, the British Prime Minister is working to control the number of migrants entering the country and the amount of benefits the state should have to pay them. Early indications suggest that Cameron will be able to pull the “emergency brake” for up to four years if the UK can prove Britain’s social and welfare system is under “excessive strain” from immigration. However, all this obscures the wider political debate that is going on within British politics and the conservative party itself. And it belies the fact that parties of all colours are positioning themselves politically ahead of the UK referendum on whether or not to remain a member of the European Union.
The Greek people just voted “no” in their recent referendum on whether to accept bail-out terms that would have meant tougher austerity measures for the domestic economy. At the time of going to press, the consensus is that this move will be interpreted as a no to the euro and it has prompted much speculation that Greece will be forced to leave the eurozone, return to the drachma, create a new currency and/or some combination of the above. Of course, any economic change of this scale is bound to have an impact on the way business is done across European boundaries. But as well as the direct practical implications, a number of key features of the saga provoke wider comparisons.