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TALKING EUROPE

Politicians, activists and researchers debate the issues facing the EU and a 'guest of the week' offers their insight in a long-format interview that gets to the heart of the matter. Saturday at 12.10 pm.

Latest update : 2016-09-12

EU economy: Is the north punishing the south?

The EU is sleepwalking towards a cliff - words of warning from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who says austerity rules are creating inequalities across the bloc. Greek national debt is set to reach over 180% of GDP and this week Tsipras rallied leaders of six southern EU countries to join him in a bid to form a united group: a front to fight for debt restructuring and act as a counterweight to the pressure of austerity measures prescribed by countries in the north.

Eight years after the start of the country's financial crisis, unemployment in Greece is still the highest in the EU and Athens is facing another standoff with creditors as complaints grow that it has implemented only two of 15 reforms required by its bailout deal.

But Greece is not alone in its economic woes: Italy's banks are close to breaking. Meanwhile, Germany recorded a larger than expected budget surplus and looks set to record its third year in the black in a row. Brussels is trying to push Berlin to spend more in order to stimulate the EU-wide economy.

So are northern EU states being too harsh on the south? And what might an "alliance of the south" achieve?

By Eve IRVINE

Our guests

Stelios KOULOGLOU

Greek MEP, European United Left

Brando BENIFEI

Italian MEP, Alliance of Socialists and Democrats

Michael GAHLER

German MEP, European People's Party

Archives

2018-02-17 Cyprus

Greek Cypriot negotiator: 'We stand a chance' of reunifying Cyprus

Forty-four years on from the Turkish military invasion that left Cyprus split in two, and two weeks after the election that could relaunch peace talks, we meet the chief...

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2018-02-17 NATO

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2018-02-03 agriculture

A fair deal for farmers: How to make agriculture pay in 2018 & beyond? (part 1)

Rolling green fields, happy animals and rosy-cheeked fruit-pickers: that's the classic storybook image of farming that many of us grow up with, but the reality is often far from...

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2017-11-26 European Union

Europeans and their food: World-beaters in tradition and traceability?

This month, Talking Europe takes a closer look at just what goes into European food – and asks whether Europe’s tight regulations are working, given the Fipronil egg scandal, as...

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2018-02-10 Slovakia

Slovakia's Europe minister on Bratislava's place in the EU and migrant quotas

This year marks 25 years since one of the countries right at the heart of Europe split in two. This was no civil war, but an event dubbed "The Velvet Revolution", which separated...

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