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The Anger Of Alexis Tsipras Could Tear Europe Apart

A German take on new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who looks ready to peddle his sense of alienation beyond Greece's borders? If so, Europe itself is at risk.

Tsipras after the election.
Tsipras after the election.
Stefan Kornelius


MUNICH — It's understandable that Alexis Tsipras wants to savor the revolutionary frenzy a little while longer after his impressive electoral victory in Greece.

But in his exuberance, the new prime minister seems to want to pull not only his own country into a subversive undertow, but carry all of Europe with it. His tone can be seen as alienating, brazen. But the real cause for worry is the way Tsipras seems to envision the political future of the European Union.

It has become clear in just three days that the new Greek government sees the EU as a hand-to-hand combatant in a fight in which there are only winners and losers with nobody prepared to compromise. There are no prisoners taken, and the enemy is always the other. National resentments are aired openly during interviews. The favored style is the public snub, while rhetoric is belted out in which victim and perpetrator roles are clearly defined.

It is a pattern that looks to be fixed for the near future. Tsipras doesn't see the EU as a highly complex system for balancing interests. The EU and its members, instead, are his opponents. And because Tsipras also awakens and encourages populist feelings in other EU countries, he is contributing to an erosion of reason and common sense across the continent. Should this style start to make significant inroads outside Greece, then the deeper problem isn't Athens' debt, but Tsipras' anger.

The Russian case

He's just offered proof of this in aligning with Russia on the subject of EU sanctions against Moscow for its incursion in Ukraine. Along with Greece, other EU countries have been looking at the situation disintegrating in Ukraine, and wondered if the current sanctions aren't tough enough. Some even support sending weapons to Ukraine. An open debate has ensued, but in the end, there was a joint EU policy, which is ultimately an example of the strength of the European Union. If this unity is destroyed, then Tsipras is giving the Kremlin and others much-longed-for proof of Europe's weakness.

With his incendiary words, Tsipras and his squad of populists have the power to undermine the EU. There are easily excitable populations in other countries. Not without reason do the placating words of the European Commission or German federal government always carry a warning to Tsipras: Don't overdo it.

The European Union is a rule-of-law community that exists with an acknowledged agreement that no partner burdens another with unacceptable conditions. Tsipras owes his success to the feeling of many Greeks that just such an unacceptable situation has been imposed on them. The majority in the EU don't see it that way.

So this leaves the new prime minister with a choice: Either he creates a bridge between the two worlds — or he prepares for a perilous showdown.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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