•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences
An estimated 5-minute read


 Email  Facebook  Tweet  Linked-in
Poland's new national stadium provides for a symbol of optimism over the general gloom that lingers over Europe, much of it due to the ongoing recession.
The New stadium is part of Poland's endeavors as co-hosts of the 2012 Euro Cup along with neighboring Ukraine. Ironically the stadium is built at the site of the erstwhile 10th anniversary stadium (which served Polish football appetite for 3 decades), an indicator of the gargantuan changes that Europe has embraced, by choice and compulsion.
The tournament in it's 6th day is turning out to be an exquisite feast for football fans and a pleasant distraction for European citizens fed up with Austerity, unemployment (which they blame immigration for) and growing uncertainty of their economic future.
The growing mistrust among the European nations may have well translated into the tournament, which has so far seen a flurry of close matches and the occasional rioting by loyal fans. The focus on European football rivalries misses the larger and perhaps the more fundamental question of whether Europe, given it's rather turbulent history (Read: wars) is meant for integration? It is certainly too late to answer the question as the Maastricht treaty turns 20 next year.

The tournament kicked off with Greece taking on Poland in the group A opener in Warsaw.
Greece, which is being run by a care-taker government headed by a Judge of Council of state (Greece's supreme court) added a failed election to it's list of miseries which seem to be growing by the day. However Greece is not faring well with it's other list as well which is the to-do list - restructuring €206 billion sovereign debt which is at top. Deposits with Greek banks have declined consistently as more and more Greeks feel nostalgic of the drachma and apprehension about the euro.
The Greeks did well to comeback from a single goal deficit to equalize with a brilliant goal from Salpingidis although Greek fans would feel the sting of a missed penalty by their veteran captain, they still ended up with a respectable draw before a bitter and disappointing loss to Czech Republic.
Poland is one of the few bright spots in Europe (in strictly economic terms). Poland boasts the fastest growth in EU, Ironically the prerogative was previously held by Greece but unlike it's Greek counterpart the Polish government has balanced its deficit rather well.
Polish fans won't be too happy with their team drawing in both their matches (so far) but after everything's said and done in the Euro Cup they can still get back to happy workplaces while the rest of Europe smarts under the whiplash of Austerity.
In no way is the Polish economy bulletproof either, Investors which were earlier courted by the low production cost the Poles had to offer, are pulling out to explore other options in Europe. Inflation is well above the 3.5% benchmark set by the Polish Central Bank.
The relations between Poland and Russia were stretched to a new level after bloody clashes broke out between their fans ahead of their match at Warsaw. Russia's opener against Czech Republic was nothing short of clinical as they executed perfectly to win 4-1. They were cold, indifferent and ruthless something which is epitomized by their leader (well at least the former if not the latter) who braces for or rather embraces a controversial 3rd term as Russia's president.
Russia's economy has weathered the European storm as its vast resources comprising of Oil, Gas etc coupled with the retail boom have ensured but all sorts of problems hover over the Motherland.
For starters the controversial re-election of Vladimir Putin led to public outcry and allegations of ballot rigging, culminated into protests by 200 odd citizens at Moscow square back in May. Mr.Putin has more questions to answer now and to a larger audience as thousands of protestors march through Moscow everyday.
Russian Badasses
Moving over to the other side of Europe, all eyes converge on Spain and Germany and its not just the football fanatics, its the economists as well. Spain, reigning World Champions and European Champions started their title defense with a disappointing 1-1 draw with a bruised and battered Italy.
Although the team showed their true masterclass with a thumping 4-0 victory over Ireland, they finished the game with an astounding 800+ passes and a completion rate of above 80%, after all passing is bread and butter for the Spanish midfield. Spanish football team looks formidable, it's economy not.
Bankia the country's largest bank and its 4th largest lender has been struggling ever since it's botched nationalization. Investor nerves are fraying, as Bankia shares yo-yo wildy on the Madrid Stock Exchange. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman predicted this as a result of bursting of the property bubble. what he did not predict is the staggering 24% unemployment rate that is plaguing the country.
Spain, a divided country in it's own, will need at least €100 Billion to recapitalize its banks and save the country from the Greek path. that is of course the pessimistic view. The optimists are still banking on their Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy to ride the challenge through fiscal adjustments that he seems to be committed to making.
Spain will face its biggest challenge in the face of Germany. If it has to pursue urgent reforms it has to go to Brussels via Berlin. If it wants to reinforce their status as world champions It is likely they will have to prove their mettle against the German team at some point of the competition.
For the time being it seems that the German eagle is soaring higher than it's European competitors. Germany grew at a robust 0.5% in Q1 2012 while the rest of Europe shrank. Germany's employment record is the envy of Europe. German supporters thunder in unison across Poland and Ukraine as they make quick work of Portugal and Netherlands.
Unlike many Europeans Germans are not paying more taxes than they are used to, pensions remain the same and that ensures they have the highest attendance at stadiums to back their players.
Voters have confidence in Mrs Merkel and she has given them more reasons than they could hope for. It is no secret that who calls the shots in Brussels, but after the split of 'Merkozy' all that could change. Not.
Francois Hollande has not been shy about expressing disagreement with Mrs.Merkel, unlike his predecessor who would pretend to be in accord with the powerful European Taskmistress, but his vociferous opposition to austerity and all that his predecessor stood for seems shallow almost edging on shenanigans.
The French President and the football team have tough tests ahead in the form of Legislative elections and the Euro cup.

Whether it's Economics or Football, both seem to be tilted heavily towards the German side. It remains to be seen if the euro Crisis has any reflection on their football. What can be firmly established is that uncertainty lingers over their economic future and regional dominance in Football.
Click to show 2 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.