While there is a “clear risk” potential for both the eurozone and the Arab world during the next six weeks, vacations are taking precedent in the area. This means that, as August approaches and everyone gets ready for fun, the EU institutions will drop their staff by 80%.
Smooth Sailing for August?
Certainly, these EU officials are hoping for smooth sailing as they go off to enjoy themselves. Michael Emerson, who is part of a Brussels-based think-tank has another opinion. As he said, “The financial markets are not going on holiday … so I hope EU officials have not bought non-returnable flight tickets.”
Greece and Italy
Many political events in both Greece and Italy are also looming over the EU. Public sector workers in Greece are planning a general strike in August. An argument at the moment between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his finance minister Giulio Tremonti is also being closely watched. Should it intensify, many are worried that it will damage the confidence that people have in Rome’s ability to manage their debt.
There are also possible security crises looming in the EU area, including in Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Crisis Management in Place
While people are nervous about having most of the EU officials on vacation, there actually are a number of crisis-monitoring measures in place for August. Four major centers will be working 24-7, including the largest one which is the Joint Situation Centre. They keep about half of their staff in place during the holiday season. As one senior official said, “Things have changed over the past 10 years. We’re more flexible. It’s no longer like a car factory shutdown.”