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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

2017-10-14 tax evasion

Internet giants: Too big to be taxed?

In Europe, Internet giants are taking advantage of the patchwork of different tax arrangements that exist to pocket large sums of money for themselves - leaving the taxman...

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2017-10-14 Europe

EU’s Karl-Heinz Lambertz: ‘Empowering regions and cities very important for Europe’s future’

The head of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions defends the idea of strengthening the bloc’s regions and cities, and denies that its regional policy and funding have...

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2017-07-10 Brexit

What next on Brexit? EU parliament says progress 'not sufficient'

It's the biggest earthquake to shake the European Union and progress on the UK's exit from the bloc is not up to scratch. That was the message sent by MEPs who recently backed a...

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2017-10-07 Catalonia

Spain's FM says Catalan claims of violence exaggerated

Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis has spoken to FRANCE 24 as the ongoing crisis over Catalonia's push for independence shows little sign of abating.

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2017-09-20 referendum

'The door is open for dialogue with Madrid,' says Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont is president of Spain’s Catalonia region. As national authorities crack down on the region’s preparations for an October 1 independence referendum that Madrid...

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