1

Mr. Schäuble stressed that he was not pushing the Greeks to take any particular course and that in any case he was only talking about a temporary exit from the euro. But coming a day before German lawmakers are to give the go-ahead to negotiate the details of the bailout package for Athens, his remarks were evidence of a continuing deep ambivalence among conservatives in Germany about the costs of keeping Greece in the currency zone and a greater willingness to question whether the goal of “ever-closer union” in Europe should be reassessed.

My first question has to do with are to. Does it mean are going to or something else? Is it a grammatical matter?

I think go-ahead is a noun and ever-closer is an adjective but I have no idea what they really mean.

  • Sometimes you'll see green light as a synonym for the noun go-ahead: German lawmakers are to give the green light to negotiate the details of the bailout – J.R. Jul 17 '15 at 20:54
4

But coming a day before German lawmakers are to give the go-ahead to negotiate the details of the bailout package for Athens, his remarks were evidence of a continuing deep ambivalence among conservatives in Germany about the costs of keeping Greece in the currency zone and a greater willingness to question whether the goal of “ever-closer union” in Europe should be reassessed.

"Are to" - are scheduled to, are expected to. Germany's lawmakers are due to meet in a day's time and take a decision on whether to allow to start negotiations regarding a bailout package for Athens.

"Go-ahead" - if upon their meeting Germany's lawmakers decide to allow the negotiations to begin, this would mean they have given the go-ahead to this process.

"Ever-closer union" - a union in which countries have more and more ties as time passes. A union which becomes closer and closer in its nature with the passage of time.

Borrowing a definition from Macmillan,

ever: used before a comparative adjective or adverb for showing that something is growing or developing all the time
The tax laws grow ever more complex.
Our aim is an ever closer union of nation states.

2

The way it is written, the phrase are to is used to use the verb be to talk about the future. Essentially, it is the same as expected to. Are to is used for official matters (i.e verdicts are to determine his sentence).

For the words go-ahead and ever-closer:

go-ahead, n.

Permission to proceed

Ever closer is just a hyphenation between the two words "ever" and "closer." It is an adjective that means closer than it has been before.

1

You can read it this way:

But coming a day before German lawmakers are expected to give the go-ahead to negotiate the details of the bailout package for Athens, ...

It is an expectation, but we don't know that it will actually happen.

Your last sentence is correct.

  • Thank you a thousand times. What about the meaning of go-ahead and ever-closer in this context thank you in advance. – user5036 Jul 17 '15 at 18:48
  • 3
    @user5036 That can be answered with a dictionary :) oxforddictionaries.com – Blubberguy22 Jul 17 '15 at 18:50
  • @user5036 Although I updated my answer just in case that doesn't work. – Blubberguy22 Jul 17 '15 at 19:02

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