Just because EU issues have not been making mainstream news headlines does not mean that all is well in the so-called European Union. Germany's Angela Merkel is concentrating on winning her country's national election to be held on September 22 so perhaps that is why she is less visible and vocal than of late. However in Spain and Portugal all is not well.
Spanish protests and government corruption
This week people have been on the streets of Spain protesting against corruption. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Spanish protesters brought out chorizos, Spanish sausages which share a slang name for thief, as they hit the streets to demand an end to the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and ruling Popular Party officials. Suffice to say their name, the Popular Party, is no longer ringing true.
It is not that long ago, 2011, that Spaniards were welcoming in this right-wing leader blaming many of the countries financial ills on the previous failing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) government. The change from left to right politics has not resolved Spain's economic woes and now there are charges of corruption. The allegations as reported by CSM include:
Spanish media has been trickling information for months about an alleged PP slush fund, filled primarily with kickbacks from construction companies in exchange for public contracts. But this week saw new testimony and documents provided in court by former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas, turning up the heat beneath Rajoy and the PP.
Currently top-ranking members of the PP insist that Rajoy is going nowhere but as corruption details are made public, and assuming the Spanish people's discontent with their government grows, that could be the only sensible option. A vote of no confidence is likely in parliament this coming week but as PP have a staggering majority it will be easily defeated. Time however does appear to be running out for Rajoy.
Portugal's political crisis
Spain's closest country, logistically, Portugal has also experienced a challenging week. Portugal is waiting for its next EU bailout but political instability threatens its payment. As the BBC reports:
It [the crisis] began nearly three weeks ago with the resignation of the finance and foreign ministers. Foreign Minister Paulo Portas was unhappy with the extent of the austerity measures needed to comply with the conditions set in the 78bn euros ($102bn; £67bn) bailout received in May 2011.
The sticking point for politicians of different parties is austerity measures. With the tough approach of President Anibal Cavaco Silva being rejected by coalition partners, and many of the opposition, agreement looks like a tiny dot on a distant horizon, which could be just a mirage.
When it looked as if a deal was possible Friday Portuguese investments were on the up. However as politicians announced that there was little point in negotiating for negotiating sake, if no agreement was possible, they look set to tumble when the new financial week begins Monday.
Greece of course is still a country with an unsettled future also and the EU remains a nightmare rather than fulfilling the dream it once promised.