It makes no sense to vote on a budget for the next seven years when the context is likely to have changed dramatically. Even the Soviet Union only planned five years ahead. Rather than being tied down to a seven year austerity budget, there should be a binding review around 2015 which would allow the next democratically elected European Parliament to have its say.
Ireland still has a way to go to ensure the sustainability of its public debt. Without a return to solid economic growth, reducing the government debt stock of almost 120% of GDP will be an arduous task.
The risk of a Cypriot default has fallen with the decisive victory of the centre-right candidate, Nicos Anastasiades, in the presidential election on 24 February. However, the risk has not entirely gone away and tough bail-out negotiations lie ahead for the new president.
The US and EU accounts for almost half of global GDP and is worth a combined £393 billion a year, it's not a surprise the benefits of a trade deal are being realised and the feeling of optimism around the talks is palpable on both sides of the pond.
Even though Fellini was not around to direct them, the recent general elections certainly look like they are following his scripts.
Greece's impressive external rebalancing has culminated in the current-account deficit narrowing to 2.9% of GDP in 2012 from almost 15% in 2008. However, this process has mainly relied on a collapse in imports as a result of an ongoing sharp contraction in domestic demand, driven by fiscal austerity.
The European Parliament started as a democratic fig-leaf and has steadily gained power. To placate French pride, it sits in two places, Strasbourg and Brussels, at considerable cost and inconvenience.
What happens when the mood of a whole nation can be characterised by hopelessness and despair? In Greece, where people have been on the receiving end of severe austerity measures and lived through six years of recession, it's a question that politics, as we know it, seems incapable of addressing.
Modern politics is all about framing. Due to decades of public skepticism towards politicians, party leaders no longer wish to be seen as dogmatic ideologues, they would much rather be thought of as pragmatic managers of public life.
It is the same old budget as before, nothing new or modern about it. Farming and structural funds are the name of the game. It is like the EU's leaders have lazily gone to the fridge, rummaged around for the same old budget they've been serving up for the last 50 years, warmed it up a bit and whacked it on a plate. Bon appétit, Europe.
Under the blitz of current Orwell stuff in the media there's a recurring theme: what would the great man have made of the present day, and how right was he about the modern world? Recent chit-chat in my office was broadly positive about his "predictive" powers. Recent chit-chat in my office was broadly positive about his "predictive" powers: Doublespeak (modern political/managerial jargon?), Telescreens (TV, especially those tuned to the Big Brother house on Channel 5!), Napoleon, the revolutionary-turned-authoritarian pig from Animal Farm.
Referenda are neither for the faint-hearted nor for the inexperienced. Like most EU issues, this debate will be contentious and emotionally charged. There will be charges and counter-charges, fear tactics, negative messages, conspiracy theories, misleading polls, half truths and full lies.
You may think the title of this article is ridiculous, but sadly it is not. One of the problems seen so frequently in the EU and Eurozone in particular is the difficulty of collecting correct or even reasonably accurate data.
Romanians are used to coming bottom of the European pile. I know, I'm married to one. He lives in Britain, and is often told he 'sounds English' - lucky chap.
The multi-annual financial framework is not just a budget, but rather a political act, an expression of Europe's ambitions by which we commit to financing common policies and projects that are of mutual benefit. This is more, not less, relevant in times of hardship and economic crisis.
Ukip believes in merging income tax and national insurance into a flat rate income tax to greatly simplify our tax code, which currently stands at over 11,000 pages.