Showing posts with label economie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economie. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Despite the evidence that migrants from the Middle East and Africa are continuing to flee war and poverty in their home countries and will strike out to Europe again in huge numbers this year, European leaders have taken no major new steps to curb the flow. Nor have they agreed on a comprehensive border policy or prepared for another influx that could rival last year’s, when more than a million asylum seekers reached the Continent, many of them headed to Germany.  Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France issued a stark warning in an interview broadcast on Friday about the future of a unified Europe, saying the very idea was under threat unless the Continent could protect its borders.  Speaking to the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Valls said the Continent could not accommodate the enormous numbers of migrants and warned that they could destabilize European societies. “If Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders, it’s the very idea of Europe that will be questioned,” he said. “Europe has forgotten that borders are required.”  The Schengen zone, which permits largely unchecked movement across most of the Continent and was described by Mr. Valls as “one of the great European projects,” has been under severe strain as countries have introduced border controls aimed at stemming the flow of migrants.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A friend of mine died of cancer last week. He was in his fifties. Borrow as much as you can and spend it.

This is sound advice, because the worst is yet to come . . . by far.  If cash is to be held, it should be in dollars, because the United States is likely to fare better than other countries.   See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.... ("The World’s Next Credit Crunch Could Make 2008 Look Like A Hiccup")   Almost anything could trigger a crisis in today’s environment globally.   However, one of the greatest risks that has been perceived in Washington for many years is that a run would begin on the funds, which the central banks would be helpless to quell, leading to a liquidity crisis of unfathomable proportions.  The Depression-era tools and “safety nets” would prove useless, and panics would ensue.  Unlike American bank deposits that are insured by the FDIC, the funds are not insured at all.There are new laws in America to prevent us from withdrawing too much money from our own bank accounts. If we go beyond the federal limits, the federal government begins to investigate us.  They've been confiscating cash from depositors for years without court order or reasonable cause, just because businesses like the local diner had lots of cash receipts during the day and wanted to deposit it each day after the lunch crowd left. Too many large cash deposits in one week and the feds swoop in, confiscate it, and you have to sue to get it back. Welcome to the New America ... Of course the things are about to crash hard. Wall Street has been flooded with cash from the Fed and this has over inflated stocks (an that's inflation)  which caused a BOOM on Wall Street while their was a very slow recovery in the economy. NOW THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST. It will get ugly!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A fortnight ago, about 130 business leaders, who between them employ 50,000 people in Scotland, wrote an open letter in the Scotsman newspaper saying No Thanks to separation. The group, led by the chief executive of engineering giant Weir, Keith Cochrane, said the “business case” for Scottish independence had not been made.

Kingfisher boss Cheshire does not believe Scotland will be able to keep the pound, which would mean repricing 35,00 products, with the cost being passed on to customers. He called on other business leaders to come out and make similar points, saying “It’s now or never.”
Jean-Bernard Levy, the head of France’s Thales – Britain’s second-largest defence contractor – said a yes vote would force the company to reconsider its facilities on both sides of the border.
BP boss Bob Dudley, said he does not want to see Scotland “drifting away” from the UK, because independence would almost certainly mean higher costs for his business.
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint has warned that uncertainty over Scotland’s currency could prompt capital flight from the country and leave it in a “parlous” financial state.
Weir, one of Scotland’s biggest companies, said independence will “guarantee” higher costs for business but produce few and uncertain benefits, after commissioning a report on the economics.
Standard Life, one of the main pillars of Scotland’s finance industry, has set up English subsidiaries as a part of “contingency” planning that could see it quit Scotland.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Scotland’s biggest bank, has tried not to raise the temperature despite harbouring concerns over the risks to its credit rating and business.
Lloyds Banking Group has warned of a “material impact” on its costs and borrowing, implying a knock-on impact for businesses and customers for the owner of Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.
Alliance Trust, a pensions and savings firm based in Dundee, has been registering companies in England.
Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, was accused of scaremongering by the Scottish National party when he warned that independence could mean higher food prices north of the border. Asda and Morrisons have also warned consumers would face higher prices, reflecting the higher transport costs for some remote areas.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Agreement among the WTO’s 159 member economies

Ministers meeting in Bali sealed agreement among the WTO’s 159 member economies for the pact, which eases barriers to trade by simplifying customs procedures, limiting agricultural subsidies, and promoting trade with least-developed nations. 
The deal could boost global trade by $1 trillion and create 20 million new jobs, keeps alive the WTO’s broader 12-year marathon Doha Round of trade negotiations designed to reduce international tariff barriers, well ...I've just found out that governments from the United States to Australia and from Canada to the EU are secretly negotiating trade deals that will give global corporations the right to sue our governments and overturn our laws.
Details have leaked out on what is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) that will massively expand the power of corporations to sue our governments.
Thousands of corporate lobbyists are helping to write these secret pacts -- but we're not allowed to see them. Governments know that we won't like these corporate power grabs, so they're hoping to keep them under the radar until it's too late to stop them. But if we can raise our voices now, we can expose these corporate charters and kill the deals forever.
Two secret new global pacts- the TTIP and TPP -could massively increase the power of corporations to sue our governments when they pass laws to protect our environment or our health. Unsurprised, its just four companies talking to each other - 8 largest U.S. financial companies (JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley) are 100% controlled by 10 shareholders and we have 4 companies always present i...n all decisions: BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity - who control the Federal Reserve. The same “big four” control the vast majority of European companies counted on the stock exchange. These same people run the IMF, the European Central Bank & the World Bank. The 10 largest US financial institutions hold 54% of US total financial assets. 90% of US media is owned by 6 corporations. We will tell you what the news is - the news is what we say it is - it turns out it is not illegal to falsify the news. 37 banks have merged to become just four since 1990. We are speaking of 6, 8 or maybe 12 families who truly dominate the world (perhaps Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Loebs Kuh and Lehmans in New York, the Rothschilds of Paris and London, the Warburgs of Hamburg, Paris and Lazards Israel Moses Seifs Rome). With Google accounting for over 65% of all web searches in the US and over 70% market share in most other countries, the top 10 owners of Google’s stock are Fidelity, BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard Group, Capital Research, T. Rowe Price, Capital World, Alliancebernstein, Marsico Capital. This is the world we live in.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The European Union wasted almost £6 billion last year on fraudulent, illegal or ineligible spending projects, official auditors have found.
At a time of unprecedented European-wide austerity, the EU mis-spent almost 5 per cent of its budget in 2012 on projects that should never have received any of its money.
This so-called ‘error rate’ in Brussels spending was up from 3.9 per cent the previous year, according to the auditors. It meant that for the 19th year in a row, they refused to give the EU’s accounts a clean bill of health.
EU bureaucrats were accused of “shambolic” mismanagement yesterday in the wake of the report, with Conservative MEPs suggesting it appeared as though Brussels simply had a licence to Carry on Squandering’.
The European Court Auditors (ECA) found that 4.8 per cent of the EU’s £117 billion budget in 2012 - £5.7 billion - was spent in “error”, on projects that were either tainted by fraud or ineligible for grants under Brussels’ rules. This meant British taxpayers saw up to £832 million of their contributions to the EU wasted at a time of deep public spending cuts domestically. The EU spending watchdog found that supervision and control of Brussels spending was only “partially effective in ensuring the legality and regularity of payments underlying the accounts”. 
“All policy groups covering operational expenditure are materially affected by error,” the auditors concluded.
“For these reasons it is the ECA’s opinion that payments underlying the accounts are materially affected by error.”
A British Government spokesman yesterday described the findings as “unacceptable and undermining the credibility of EU spending”.
“When countries across Europe are taking difficult decisions to tackle their deficits, Europe’s taxpayers need to have confidence that every effort is being made to improve the way EU spending is managed,” she said.
Included among the “errors” discovered by the auditors was a Polish landowner paid almost £80,000 a year to maintain 350 acres of grassland to help preserve uncut grassland for the protection of endangered bird species. In fact, the farmer had only met the agreed funding requirements for 14 per cent of the land and the payments.
“Similar cases of non-compliance with agri-environment requirements were detected in the Czech Republic, Germany , Greece, France and the United Kingdom,” found the auditors.
The EU’s regional policy spending had an error rate of 6.8 per cent, or £2.4 billion, of the £34 billionn spent in 2012. Most ineligible funding followed a failure to follow EU laws on public procurement and issuing of contracts.
The error rate in “external relations, aid and enlargement” spending overseen by Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign minister, totalled 3.3 per cent, or £169 million of £5 billion in spending.
In one case, the European Commission paid £14 million for a programme to support female teachers in rural Bangladesh but over half the money was given with “no documentation”.
Philip Bradbourn MEP, the Conservative spokesman on EU budgetary control, described the latest audit as “another year, another story of lax monitoring and shambolic control”.
“If you found misappropriation and misspending on this scale in a commercial business — or in a properly-accountable public administration — there would be sackings all round. In Brussels, it’s ’Carry on Squandering’,” he said.
Vitor Caldeira, the president of the EU auditors, warned that poor financial planning by the European Commission for “will put added pressure on EU cash flows and may increase the risk of error over the next few years”.
“Europe’s citizens have a right to know what their money is being spent on and whether it is being used properly,” he said.
Meanwhile, EU funds worth £418 million intended to help rebuild the Italian city of L’Aquila and the Abruzzo region after an 2009 earthquake have been mired in suspected corruption, a separate European Parliament report has found.
Serious allegations have surfaced that part of the money spent on building new accommodation for the earthquake’s victims was paid to companies with “direct or indirect ties” to organised crime because it was paid in breach of public procurement rules.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The following information focuses on earthquakes because seismic activity poses a significant risk for Romania. However, Romania is at risk for other natural and manmade hazards. While much of the information below specifically addresses earthquakes, it is applicable to multiple hazards, and we encourage you to think broadly about the possible risks you and your family may face and to be prepared for any kind of emergency that may arise.
Romania is situated in a seismically active region and has a history of devastating and deadly earthquakes. The Bucharest area has experienced a number of tremors of varying intensities, and the probability that a severe and damaging earthquake will occur is high. The consequences of such a disaster will vary greatly depending upon the circumstances surrounding the quake, and no one can predict with any certainty what conditions will exist immediately following an intensive shock.
It is prudent that everyone be prepared to care for themselves in the immediate aftermath of a major earthquake. Every family and company should develop its own emergency plan, stock its own emergency survival kit, and ensure that its personnel and their family members familiarize themselves with emergency procedures and take precautions to protect their personal safety.

The Role of the Embassy

The Romanian Government is responsible for assisting foreigners in the event of a disaster, but authorities may be stretched beyond their capacity to respond in the immediate aftermath of a major earthquake. Telephone services will be severely overloaded, if they are functioning at all, and the Romanian Government will likely restrict phone use to priority users. Nonetheless, the Embassy will quickly want to ascertain the welfare and whereabouts of American citizens.
To aid in this process, American citizens should cooperate with Romanian authorities at evacuation sites and clearly identify themselves as Americans. Those connected with larger organizations such as companies, schools, or church groups should try to let these organizations know of their welfare and whereabouts if this is practical. If possible, American citizens should try to contact their American Citizen Services wardens and/or the Embassy.

The Embassy will be in touch with the Romanian Government and with larger umbrella organizations to attempt to identify as many American citizens as possible and determine their welfare. In the likely event that it is impossible to communicate by telephone or use motor vehicles, Embassy consular assistance teams may be deployed to major evacuation sites, international schools, hotels etc. to collect information from and about American citizens.

The Embassy will help provide information about the situation and communicate with Romanian government officials, if necessary, in order to obtain proper food, shelter and medical attention. However, a significant earthquake will likely overwhelm the Romanian government’s resources and individuals should be prepared to provide for their own emergency needs.
We will pass as much information as possible about the welfare of individual U.S. citizens back to the Department of State in Washington, D.C. so that this information may be shared with families, friends and employers.

The Role of the Romanian Government

The Romanian Civil Protection Command is part of the Romanian Defense System and is responsible for protecting the population, assets, national heritage and geographical environment in case of a natural disaster. The command’s activities include disaster intervention, search & rescue, warning and notification, sheltering, evacuation, etc. A central committee for evacuations is set up under authority of the Government if evacuation is required. In the event of a disaster, the location of the centers is determined depending on the area affected and the type of disaster that occurred. The Civil Protection Command coordinates with the local authorities in order to notify the population regarding evacuation or taking shelter.


Evacuations will likely occur after an earthquake. City authorities will issue evacuation advice. Americans, as well as others affected by the disaster, may seek assistance from the Romanian authorities, but you should be prepared to take care of your own emergency needs for the first several days of any disaster.

Earthquake Preparedness/Survival Information

FEMA produces a comprehensive Disaster Preparedness Guide called Are You Ready?, which can be easily downloaded by section or in its entirety. This indepth guide provides a step-by-step approach to citizen preparedness by walking the reader through how to learn more about local emergency plans, how to identify hazards that affect their local area, and how to develop and maintain an emergency communications plan and disaster supplies kit. Other topics covered include evacuation, emergency public shelters, animals in disaster, and information specific to people with disabilities. However, it is designed primarily for residents of the United States, and not all of the information will be relevant to disaster preparedness in Romania. Regardless, it can be a useful resource and a good starting place when preparing for a disaster.

Additional resources are also available online. Please visit the following websites for additional information about preparing for a disaster:

Emergency Supply Kit

Essential Supplies (Store enough for three-five days)
  • Water (four liters or one gallon per person per day. Change water every three to five months)
  • Food (canned or pre-cooked, requiring no heat or water. Consider special dietary needs for infants, the elderly, pets, etc.). Can opener.
  • Flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs
  • Radio (battery operated with spare batteries)
  • Large plastic trash bags (for trash, waste, water protection, ground cloth, temporary blanket)
  • Hand soap and/or disinfecting hand cleaner gel that does not require water
  • Feminine hygiene supplies, infant supplies, toilet paper
  • Essential medications as required; glasses if you normally wear contacts
  • Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, cooking foil and plastic wrap and paper towels
  • First Aid kit with instructions
  • Lei, euros, and/or dollars in small bills (ATMs may not work after a disaster), with coins and phone cards for public phones. Credit cards.
  • Sturdy, closed-toed shoes and work gloves
Place emergency supplies in a sturdy tub where you can quickly and easily access your kit.

Essential Home Preparations Before a Disaster
  • Secure water heaters, refrigerators and tall and heavy furniture to the walls to prevent falling.
  • Move heavy items to lower shelves, and install latches or other locking devices on cabinets.
  • Install flexible connections on gas appliances.
  • Remove or isolate flammable materials.
  • Move beds and children's play areas away from heavy objects which may fall in an earthquake.
  • Register at Embassy or Consulate serving your area. You can do so online at or contact the U.S. Embassy to register.
Essential Planning Before a Disaster
  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit windows and doors, utility cut off points, emergency supplies, food, tools, etc. Share it with housekeeper, babysitters, neighbors, and guests.
  • Establish family meeting points with alternate sites inside and outside of your home for all members to gather in the event of an evacuation.
  • Establish reunion sites with alternate sites for when the family is not at home, e.g., local shelter, neighbor's house, park, school.
  • Designate a person outside of your immediate area for separated family members to call to report their location and condition if separated.
  • Learn or establish disaster policy/planning at your children's school.
  • Know your neighbors and make them aware of the number of people and pets living in your home.
  • Learn where the nearest designated shelter for your neighborhood is.
  • Photocopy passports and other important documents. Store copies away from home (for example, at work). Scan important information and keep a thumb drive with critical documents in a safe, easy-to-access place or save it in email that you can access from anywhere.
  • Learn how to contact the police, fire and rescue services in Romanian. Be able to provide your address in Romanian.
Essential Steps Immediately After a Disaster
  • Check your immediate surroundings for fire, gas leaks, broken glass, and other hazards.
  • Check your home for significant damage. Do not remain in your home if you believe there has been structural damage.
  • Open doors and/or windows to avoid being locked in if there are after-shocks.
  • Contact one friend or relative in the U.S., and ask them to inform other parties of your situation.
  • Monitor local TV and radio for evacuation information. Contact your American Citizen Warden or the Embassy, if possible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

FRANKFURT--The European Central Bank will force the euro zone's largest banks to set aside 8% of their risk-adjusted assets as a capital buffer, which will form one plank of the ECB's assessment of bank balance sheets next year, according to a person familiar with the matter. Euro-zone banks, which will be supervised by the ECB starting at the end of next year, will be required to hold a 7% capital buffer. The region's most significant banks will have to hold an additional percentage point, the person said. The buffers protect banks against losses they may take on loans and other assets. An ECB spokesman declined to comment.
The target of 7% is in line with what a bank has to achieve under the new "Basel III" rules on capital in order to pay its dividends and bonuses without restrictions. However, it's lower than the 9% required by the capital exercise that the European Banking Authority carried out over 2011-2012. Theoretically, the new Basel standards don't come into force until 2018, but pressure from both regulators and financial markets has led most banks to report under the new standards already. The one percentage point surcharge for 'significant' banks echoes the Financial Stability Board's intention to impose a capital surcharge of up to 3.5 percentage points for Systemically Important Financial Institutions--also known as banks that are 'too big to fail.' The FSB will phase in these surcharges between 2016-2019. According to its latest assessments, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK.XE) would be liable to a surcharge of 2.5 percentage points, with a dozen other EU banks being subject to surcharges of between one and two percentage points. However, it isn't clear how the ECB will define its list of significant banks.
The ECB will release additional details on how it will handle its asset quality review at a press conference Wednesday. Europe's central bank will conduct the review in the first half of next year, before it takes on the role of bank supervisor. Currently, banks across the 17-member currency bloc are overseen by national regulators. The review is seen by most analysts as a critical part of efforts by European officials to address capital needs of banks, particularly in southern Europe, and to spur new lending to the private sector.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Huge storm do to hit England on monday

Forecasters warned on Thursday that the most powerful storm in several years would batter the south coast on Monday, but have now expanded the alert as far north as the east and West Midlands.
Winds are expected to reach up to 80mph in mainland areas, while in Cornwall and along the south coast they could at times be even stronger.
The Met Office have issued this prediction for the storm (MET OFFICE)
Forecasters have claimed the storm, which is still forming over the Atlantic, could be of similar strength to the great storm of 1987 and the Burns Day Storm in 1990. Met Office senior forecaster Helen Chivers warned that winds could get up to 90mph and said the storm could be exceptional: "This is not a storm you see every winter. 
"The storm of 1987 is one, and the Burns day storm in January 1990 is another."
Some gusts are likely to top 12 on the Beaufort Scale, a level of force which is equivalent to a hurricane, but winds will not stay consistently at this speed as they would in a real tropical storm.
The "amber alert" issued by the Met Office says the weather system is expected to arrive in the early hours of Monday and last until up to 9pm, with heavy rain also expected in western and central areas.
Angela Merkel's domestic policy in her third term will likely be confined to higher spending. But she has grand plans for Europe. SPIEGEL has learned she wants Brussels to have far more power over national budgets. It's a risky move that EU partners and the Social Democrats are likely to oppose.
In the end, the atmosphere became downright festive in the Berlin Hall of the Parliamentary Society, a building next to the Reichstag. Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) had met there three times in the last three weeks to sound out whether they could form a coalition government. The decision was still up in the air.
Merkel gave SDP Chairman Sigmar Gabriel a questioning look, and said: "Would you like to say something?" But Gabriel beckoned to her to speak. "I have my delegation's support for what we discussed," she said. "So do I," Gabriel replied.
The grand coalition took shape shortly before 3 p.m. last Thursday. For the third time in postwar German history, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, together with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the SPD are preparing to form a coalition government. The talks are expected to begin this Wednesday. The chancellor is in a hurry because she wants to have a new government by Christmas at the latest. "Christmas will be here sooner than you think," she told fellow members of the CDU executive board on Friday afternoon.  At the beginning of her third term, Merkel has more power in Germany and Europe than any chancellor before her. There hasn't been such a strong majority behind a government in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, since the first grand coalition half a century ago. In the midst of the European crisis, Germany has become the undisputed dominant power in Europe.
The grand coalition will hand Merkel a majority she could use to shape Germany and Europe and address major issues, including constitutional reforms in Germany and the reform of European Union institutions.
Merkel, unlike SPD Chairman Gabriel, has been unchallenged in her own party since her election victory. Little is left of the accusations that critics had leveled at Merkel, except one: That she is a chancellor without an agenda, plan or vision; that her style of government is reactive rather than proactive; and that she doesn't know where she wants to take her government and Germany.
Big Plans for Europe - In the past, Merkel has treated governing primarily as repair work. The major issues of her first two terms in office, the financial crisis and the fight to save the euro, were suitable for that approach. Will that change, now that she has the necessary power and means? Hardly at all, when it comes to Germany. There are no major reforms in the works at government ministries, and the grand coalition will focus on increasing spending to fulfil some of the parties' campaign promises.
In contrast, officials at the Chancellery are forging plans for Europe that are practically visionary for someone like Merkel. If she prevails, they will fundamentally change the European Union. The goal is to achieve extensive, communal control of national budgets, of public borrowing in the 28 EU capitals and of national plans to boost competitiveness and implement social reforms. The hope is that these measures will ensure the long-term stability of the euro and steer member states onto a common economic and fiscal path. This would be the oft-invoked and ambitious political completion of Europe's monetary union -- a huge achievement.
It isn't a new goal, but what is new is the thumbscrews Brussels will be allowed to apply if Merkel has her way, including sooner and sharper controls and veto rights, as well as contractually binding agreements and requirements. In short, this would amount to a true reconstruction of the euro zone and a major step in the direction of an "economic government" of the sort the SPD too would like to see put in place.
Germany's current economic strength helps to explain these visions for Europe, since stricter budget controls wouldn't pose a threat to Berlin at the moment. Jobless levels are so low that the country has almost reached full employment, and the budget is in good shape, at least at the national government level. In fact, public coffers are so full that the government can afford to boost domestic spending.
More Money to Spend - And that's precisely what the members of that coalition intend to do. The first item on their agenda is to hand out benefits and spend money. Thanks to the strong economy, this won't even require raising taxes. In his financial planning for the medium term, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble anticipates growing national budget surpluses from the year after next: €200 million ($274 million) in 2015, €5.2 billion in 2016 and €9.6 billion in 2017.
In other words, the government will have an additional €15 billion at its disposal in the coming years. This gives Merkel and Schäuble the necessary leeway to fulfill the desires of the CDU/CSU and the SPD for more investment in infrastructure and education without having to raise taxes. There is talk of an €11 billion fund for infrastructure alone.
Prior to the election, Merkel and Schäuble had announced their intention to use the surpluses to pay off old debts. That won't happen now, and yet the conservatives are not plagued by a guilty conscience, noting that despite the additional spending plans, the country will still remain within its debt limit requirements.
The reorganization of the financial relationships between the national and regional state governments, which is on the agenda in this term, will likely be costly for the national government. Many states would have to cut billions from their budgets so that they can make do without new borrowing starting in 2020. Many state governors complain that it's a burden their states can't handle without national government assistance. They are hell-bent on demanding financial support from Berlin in return for agreeing to a reform of the system of transfer payments from richer to poorer German states.
The states' ability to block legislation in the Bundesrat, the legislative body that represents the states, will likely become costly for the new administration long before that. Merkel is worried at the way in which preliminary coaltion talks in recent weeks turned into haggling over money between the national and state governments. "We just had a national parliamentary election, not 16 state parliamentary elections," an irritated Merkel recently told the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.
There may also be a major restructuring in the way transport projects are funded, due to the states' lack of money. The CSU's pet project, the automobile toll, stands a good chance of being approved, since it would generate new revenues.
More Powers For European Commission - During the negotiations, CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer presented a plan for how the toll could become a reality. It calls for drivers to pay an "infrastructure fee" in the future. Germans would be able claim the fee as a credit against the motor vehicle tax, so that the cost could ultimately be imposed on foreign drivers. According to the document, prepared by Transportation Minister Peter Ramsauer, this would be possible under European law. The new coalition won't face serious resistance to its spending policies, not even from the opposition. With the elimination of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) from the Bundestag, the voice of moderation in budget policy has disappeared. Only the economic wing of the CDU/CSU is likely to put up weak resistance. So Seehofer will get his toll, the states will be kept happy with financial gifts and the social security offices will hand out benefits. This doesn't exactly sound like an ambitious program for Merkel's second coalition government with the Social Democrats. Instead, it feels like more of the same, or a program of minor improvements, at least on the home front. But regarding Europe, Merkel is heading for strategic decisions and is likely to show more courage to take political risks than usual.
Schäuble, the last dyed-in-the-wool European among Germany's top policymakers, can be pleased. Merkel wants tangible amendments to the European Union treaties: more power for Brussels, and even more power for the much-criticized European Commission. "Unfortunately, there is no other option," say government officials.
Carrot-And-Stick Approach - Last Thursday, after the final round of exploratory talks with the SPD, Merkel brought European Council President Herman Van Rompuy into the loop in a private conversation at the Chancellery. It was a back-door initiative of the kind so typical in EU policymaking. Documents are already being put together at the German Finance Ministry over how "Protocol 14" of the EU Treaty could be beefed up. It currently contains a few general statements on cooperation in and control of the euro zone. But now, if Berlin is able to implement its carrot-and-stick approach, tangible powers for the European Commission will be added to the protocol.
For instance, the Commission could be given the right to conclude, with each euro country, an agreement of sorts to improve competitiveness, investments and budgetary discipline. Such "contractual arrangements" would be riddled with figures and deadlines, so that they could be monitored and possibly even contested at any time. In return, a new, long-discussed Brussels budget will become available to individual countries, an additional euro-zone budget with sums in the double-digit billions for obedient member states. Protocol 14 could also be used to install the full-time head of the Euro Group. The influential job is now held by one the member states' finance ministers, currently Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Devoted Europeans like Schäuble have long dreamed of installing a "euro finance minister."
Resistance Against Merkel's European Plans - If Chancellor Merkel is focusing on an amendment of this central part of the EU treaties, it is a remarkable about-face. Still, the new course is risky, and it has many detractors and an uncertain outcome. None of this is to the chancellor's taste, at least not the chancellor we know. But Merkel has already deployed her key European strategist. The relevant department head in the Chancellery, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, outlined the German plan at a Brussels meeting in early October. It didn't go down very well. Opponents of the common currency are rapidly gaining popularity in almost all euro countries. Every change in the balance of power in Europe and every upgrading of the European Commission make governments more vulnerable to domestic political attacks. More power for "Brussels?" No way. There are even growing doubts in the European Parliament, albeit for completely different reasons. Both leftists and conservatives fear that anyone who opens the door to amending the treaties "won't be able to close it again that quickly," says a top Christian Democrat. Especially the British government, driven by the radical, anti-European UK Independence Party (UKIP), could use the opportunity to retrieve powers from Brussels, essentially renationalizing the European Union.
The SPD could raise objections. "The SPD won't support any arrangements if Merkel conducts parallel negotiations with Britain's David Cameron to transfer EU powers back to member states," Axel Schäfer, deputy leader of the SPD's parliamentary group, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He added that the SPD won't accept any treaty changes that relate to referendums in individual EU states.
The president of the European Parliament, German Social Democrat Martin Schulz, has already warned Merkel privately that he won't back any change in EU treaties. He wants national governments to make the euro zone resilient to future crises by using the instruments created step-by-step over the last three years -- without treaty changes. Schulz fears that a treaty change would take too long and that referendums necessary in some countries couldn't be won given current poor public sentiment regarding the EU. "We will check all the chancellor's proposals to see whether they can be implemented in all EU states," says Schulz, who will be part of the SPD's negotiating team in the coalition talks, responsible for all issues pertaining to Europe.
But Merkel seems undaunted by these obstacles. And she already has a timetable. First she wants to wait and see what happens in the May 2014 European parliamentary election. Then the new president of the European Commission will have to be chosen once the second term of the current incumbent, José Manuel Barroso, ends in 2014. Merkel got him the job and ensured he got a second term. But these days, she doesn't even bother disguising her contempt for Barroso.
Once the new European Commission is in office, the political window for Merkel's European vision is expected to open. It doesn't seem to bother her that she will be in a clear minority when she embarks on her reform plans. She is familiar with this position from the first days of the euro debt crisis, when she wanted to include the International Monetary Fund as a key authority in distributing aid packages, and almost all other euro countries were against the idea. At the time, she said privately: "I'm pretty much alone here. But I don't care. I'm right."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

THE "ISLANDERS" - The Prime Minister was warned by Jose Manuel Barroso that his attempts to negotiate a new relationship with the EU would be vetoed by other member states.
As a war of words raged, Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister will go ahead with his plans to get a better deal.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister made clear in January, he will negotiate a new deal in the EU and then put the choice of staying in or leaving the EU to the British people in a referendum by the end of 2017.”
Mr Barroso, an unelected Portuguese politician who comes to the end of his presidency next year, had dismissed claims by Mr Cameron that there is wider European support for his agenda to “repatriate” powers on social, employment and environmental legislation back to Westminster....
He said in an interview “there will be others, many, who oppose” Mr Cameron’s call for treaty changes which must be agreed unanimously by all 28 member states.
He said: “Britain wants to again consider the option of opting out. Fine, let’s discuss it. What is difficult, or even impossible, is if we go for the exercise of repatriation of competences because that means revising the treaties and revision means unanimity. I don’t believe it will work.”
He added: “I am for a stronger EU not a weaker EU.”
The row will add to calls for Britain to quit the EU, as championed by the Daily Express.
Last night Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: “Barroso describes Cameron’s plans as ‘doomed to failure’. So they are. It is about time the pro- European establishment of this country was honest with us. There will be no change in our relationship with the EU before, during or after Cameron’s futile renegotiations.
“The EU knows this, Cameron knows this and the people of this country need to know this, too. This country needs a choice now.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

Horst Reichenbach is the "german governor of Greece" ..."troika" is BS...dust in our eyes..

Almost four years into the debt crisis – and with bailout loans due to end next May – creditors have become increasingly impatient with the slow pace of progress in streamlining the 800,000 strong public sector. Almost all the approximately 130,000 Greeks who have left the service have been retirees – in sharp contrast to the private sector where job losses have soared.
In a move adding to pressure on the governing coalition, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, will visit the country on Thursday. Greece has received €240bn in emergency rescue funds, the biggest bailout in history, since the eruption of the crisis in late 2009. By the end of the year its debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to reach 180%. Last week, after a round of frequently fraught negotiations between the country and visiting Troika chiefs, eurozone finance ministers agreed to disburse an additional €8.1bn vital to paying salaries and pensions. But the conditions attached have raised fears that the crisis-hit nation is being pushed too far. Last month the conservative-dominated administration almost collapsed after Samaras attempted to cut the public payroll by shutting down the state broadcaster, ERT, overnight.
In the upheaval that followed the small Democratic Left party abruptly withdrew its support leaving the coalition with 155 seats in the 300-seat house. Commentators questioned the wisdom of inflicting further austerity on a nation where more than 1.3 million are out of work, salaries have been cut by an average 25%, and poverty has been imposed on more than a third of the entire population. "I can understand, in principle, where the Troika is coming from and the pressure the government is under but the timing is very unfortunate," said Dr Thanos Dokos, director general of Eliamep, Greece's leading thinktank. "If they had done this two years ago it might have been acceptable but not now."
Under the scheme some 25,000 public employees will be placed on reduced wages in a so-called "mobility pool" by the end of the year. They will then have eight months to find work in another department or lose their jobs altogether. A further 15,000 dismissals will be made in 2014. Critics argue that entire institutions – including the municipal police who patrol the streets of an increasingly crime-ridden capital – will be abolished in the process.  "Instead of only looking at the numbers, both the Troika and the government should also look at the social and political consequences of laying off so many," Dokos added. "There's a time to pick battles and it's definitely not now."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Much more dangerous is the €-exposure that France, answering the exposure question in France that the ECB demanded, reduced it, and kept investor confidence, by transferring exposure to French banks outside France whilst strictly speaking answering the ECB honestly.
SocGen - St. Pierre et Miquelon and Débit Agricole Genève are 2 examples... In any case the big European lenders felt unease with the initial Bernake’s comments about restrictive monetary policy. The European financial system is currently oiled well with plenty of American dollars. If they are to be withdrawn there has to be a replacement. So Eurozone’s lenders asked and the ECB quickly responded with a completely new policy principle, the main characteristic of which will be plenty and zero cost euros for the ‘guys’.----- This decision was taken unanimously in ECB’s Governing Council last week with Germany not hesitating this time to support such a generous policy.----- The key to this Teutonic alignment with the rest of Eurozone member states is that the German banks are the first to need this ECB money bonanza. Many lenders in this country are dangerously undercapitalized and need badly this zero cost liquidity from the ECB.  All in all, either way western banks are now reassured that nothing will be done without their consent. The American Fed will continue to replenish their coffers with $85bn a month, and if the time comes for a change in the American generosity to banks, ---- the ECB is ready to take over.--"
There is a cultural problem in Portugal that makes this crisis worse. It has nothing to do with "laziness", "sunbathing culture" or other silly stereotypes often posted in these forum. The problem is a deep immersion in what I would call a "leftist cultural mindset" in a broad sense. Most people are not exactly communist, but they don't think good on entrepreneurs, they do not trust capitalists. In a conflict between a landlord and the home occupier they take position against the former, as if to be a landlord was a sinister capitalist exploitation. This makes any reforms towards a more market-driven economy much more difficult, specially so because even Constitutional Court justices fall into this leftist mindset.  Most people misunderstand this austerity measures. They blame the government, they blame the troika, they blame sometimes the Germans, and so on, as if this austerity was not necessary, as if it was a mischievous act. It's a silly thing, but unfortunately most Portuguese, not only low class, but even the middle class, feel a deep sense of entitlement and for them a wage cut or worse a job dismissal, is morally akin to a evil act. This explains the political manifestations against the troika and against austerity. Because of ignorance, people feels this austerity is an evil act designed to increase capitalist exploitation, and to line the pockets of the rich (how silly!). Then, their protest is self-righteous. Mind you, they are NOT exactly just defending selfishly their interests. They are more idealistic than that. They feel they occupy a moral highground and that the architects of austerity are wrong or even evil. Unfortunately, some writings by Ambrose suggest that he blames austerity almost as intensely, thus joining forces with the ignorant Greek and Portuguese masses, which criticize austerity without understanding the gravity of this situation.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spain's banking crisis wiped out billions of euros of family savings on Tuesday as small investors who bought shares in the nationalized giant Bankia were finally able to trade them – but at only a fifth of their original price. The wipeout on Madrid's stock exchange means that Bankia, which was created by the fusion of seven savings banks, has now lost 99% of its stock exchange value since it was listed 22 months ago.  Preference share owners had been given the tradable shares, which came with a hefty haircut, as part of a cash injection worth billions of euros into the bank that wreaked most damage on Spain's financial system after suffering huge losses on toxic loans to real estate developers.  Bankia's 11bn new shares, part of a €15.5bn (£13.3bn) recapitalization, tumbled as soon as they started trading on Tuesday morning. By the end of the day they were worth half their €1 book value. Trading in the new shares was meant to have marked a new start for the country's fourth-largest bank by market capitalization. Last year it needed a €24bn bailout as part of a wider European rescue of Spain's financial system.
"They're cheating us again, like they did before," Maricarmen Olivares, whose parents lost €600,000 in life savings made from selling her father's car workshop, told Reuters. "Everything is a swindle, the share listing, the compensation package, the value of the stock now."
Spain took €42bn of the €100bn offered to help it clean up banks that were drowning in a sea of bad real estate loans left behind by the country's burst housing bubble. Bankia was the biggest of four nationalized banks that needed funds, along with NCG Banco, Catalunya Banc and Banco de Valencia.
Questions are already being raised about whether banks will have to find yet more capital, amid worries that they have not owned up to all their bad property loans and as the country's economy continues to deteriorate. Reports suggest they may need €10bn more, though Spain can now easily raise any additional funds the state may have to provide on the markets.  Bankia may raise several billion euros from the sale of stakes in the British Airways owner International Airlines Group, electricity company Iberdrola and insurer Mapfre. It agreed last week to sell City National Bank of Florida to the Chilean bank BCI for $883m. NCG Banco said on Tuesday it would sell its 80-branch EVO network as part of the restructuring plan negotiated with the EU after the injection of €10bn of public money into the lender.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The European Union - in the longest recession ever

The eurozone has slumped into its longest recession ever, after economic activity across the region fell for the sixth quarter in a row.  Economic output across the single currency area fell by 0.2% in the first three months of 2013, statistics body Eurostat reported on Wednesday. France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands all saw their economies shrink as the economic crisis in the eurozone continued to hit its largest economies. Eurostat's figures showed that the eurozone economy has contracted by 1% over the last year, putting further pressure on leaders as unemployment climbs to new record highs. The 0.2% contraction in the first quarter was an improvement on the 0.6% drop recorded between October and December, but analysts warned that the eurozone's economic outlook is darkening.  "What seems incontrovertible, on this evidence, is that the member-states of the euro zone are on the wrong track," commented Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities. "The costs of the zone's one-size-fits-all strategy are becoming brutally apparent."
France was dragged back into recession by a 0.2% drop in GDP, announced on the first anniversary of François Hollande being sworn in as president. Pierre Moscovici, French finance minister, denied Paris's forecast of 0.1% growth this year was too optimistic. "I'm sticking to the figures," Moscovici told reporters, adding that the EU must prioritise growth over tackling budget deficits.
There was also disappointment that Germany eked out growth of just 0.1%, worse than economists had expected. The Dutch economy shrank by 0.1%. "The bottom line is that both the German and French economies, which together account for half of the eurozone's output, are in the doldrums," said Nick Spiro of Spiro Sovereign Strategy. "Add in the persistent recession in the Netherlands, which accounts for a further 6.5% of eurozone GDP, and the core and semi-core of the eurozone are in significantly worse shape than a year ago."
Italy's new prime minister, Enrico Letta, was given an early reminder of the challenge he faces with the news that Italian GDP fell by 0.5%. Italy's economy has been shrinking for the last seven quarters, its longest recession since at least 1970.
Beyond the eurozone, the Czech Republic suffered a 0.8% decline in GDP during the quarter. The data came a day after the Washington-based Pew Research Centre reported that public support for the European Union had fallen over the last year, from 60% to 45%. Pew warned that the ongoing financial crisis means the European project was "in disrepute" in some countries, with many Europeans losing faith in closer integration. "These results spell trouble ahead for the EU," said Lewis."They are likely to be taken seriously in Washington."
Eurostat's figures also showed that the European Union shrank by 0.1% during the last quarter, despite the UK growing by 0.3%.
Figures released last week showed that Spain's economy contracted by 0.5%.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The number of unemployed people in France rose to a fresh high last month, official data shows. There are now some 3.2 million people seeking work in France, 11.5% more than a year ago and 1.2% more than in February, the labor ministry said.   The number of job seekers is the highest since records began in January 1996.  The ministry does not express the job seeker figure as a percentage of the work force, as done by the International Labor Organization.   Speaking earlier during a state visit to China, French President Francois Hollande said the government's priority was tackling France's rising unemployment.  "Everything the government does, in every ministry, must be to continue to strengthen the battle for jobs," he told a news conference.  "I want all the French people to unite behind this one national priority."  He has promised to reverse the rise in unemployment before the end of the year.  The figures underlie the grave economic problems still haunting eurozone economies, after Spain earlier reported record unemployment amid its continuing recession. Speculation is again rife that Greece may soon leave the eurozone.
Greece's parliament is voting on painful budget cuts and labor market reforms that must be passed in order for Greece to receive its latest round of bailout money. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has warned that if the vote fails, the government will run out of money by 15 November and be forced out of the single currency. Even if the vote passes, the government still needs to implement the reforms - something the previous Greek government noticeably failed to do. Tax rates were raised, but the taxes were not collected. Promised privatizations were not carried out. Civil servants were suspended but not dismissed.  If Greece once again fails to deliver, and if it were forced out of the euro, what is the worst that could happen? Click on the graphic to find out.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stocks are up big to start 2013 but Marc Faber, Editor & Publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, says it ends in tears.
"Either the market is going to correct more meaningfully now or we have a shallow correction and a continuously rising market until July or August," Faber told me via phone from Thailand. If stocks don't pullback soon, he says we risk a repeat of 1987 when stocks rallied 40% into summer only to collapse 41% in 2 months.
"In March of 2009 everything looked horrible, now nobody can find a reason why stocks could go down," Faber claims. "We ask that you should buy stocks when everything looks horrible, you shouldn't rush to buy them when everything looks perfect."
The problem is that it's hard to find anyone claiming the environment is perfect. Even the theme running under the reports of "the masses" buying stocks is that it's a cue to sell, not buy.
Analysts are looking for almost no corporate earnings growth in the current quarter and not much better than that for the balance of the year. The idea that Fed money printing is supporting assets may be true, but the FOMC has given clear guidelines on when the printing will stop. When inflation (as measured) rises past 2% or unemployment falls below 6.5% the Fed will raise rates.
Even if you think the Fed is wrong, there's no basis for calling them liars. A surprise end to Quantitative Easing isn't on the table. It's hard to make much of a case for ebullience beyond the fact of stocks much-hyped journey toward all-time highs.
So what's an investor to do? Faber says it's a matter of allocation and perspective. Stocks have gone very far in a relatively short amount of time. If you caught the rally, he says it's time to trim but not bail out entirely. If you're a Johnny-come-lately to stocks, you're too late as he sees it.
"If you have 100% of your money in equities and you just bought them now, maybe you should reassess your position," says Faber.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Heil ....

Germany has asked a panel of top advisers to examine France's economic problems.
Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (pictured, below) has asked its panel of economic advisers, known as the "wise men", to look into France's reform proposals, amid concerns that weaknesses could spread to Germany and the rest of Europe, according to Reuters. More from the newswire:  Schaeuble's request denotes growing concern in Berlin and among private economists over the health of the French economy, which is set to miss a European Union goal for reducing its public deficit next year.
"Concerns are growing given the lack of action of the French government in labour market reforms," Lars Feld, an economist who sits on the panel, told Reuters.
Although Schaeuble raised the prospect of a report on France with members of the council this week, Feld and the finance ministry made clear that the government had not submitted a formal request. The ministry declined comment on the minister's "unofficial discussions" in general.

Monday, September 10, 2012

...the decision to unleash the new action...

The president of the ECB said the decision to unleash the new action, which will be called Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), had not been unanimous. He refused to confirm that the “one dissenter” on the ECB’s Governing Council was Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank, but repeatedly told reporters that both he and the bank were “independent”. “I am who I am,” he said. As I understand it the ECB will only buy on the secondary market therefore it won't be taking part in national bond auctions. It will also only buy the bonds of countries which have been bailed out. So currently this only applies to Greece, it doesn't solve the problem for Spain or Italy unless they ask for a bailout and get one. It is of course unclear where the money would come from for a Spanish or Italian bail out. So I really can't see how this would help Spain get away its bond auctions, the ECB can't buy at the auction ( someone else would have to buy first) and they can't buy unless a bailout is requested. Also Greece as far as I know doesn't issue new debt, it relies on bailout funding and no newly bailed out country would issue new debt either. So I can't quite see how getting involved in the secondary market will help those countries. Finally of course this doesn't do anything to either write off debts or deficits. Countries are going to have to keep cutting , cutting , cutting, their economies will continue to shrink and their debts ( via bailout funds) will continue to grow...... unless a solution is found to the deficit problem we won't find a solution to the debt problem. I'm afraid I really can't see this helping much at all in a practical sense although obviously the announcement has news value and therefore excites the market. Putting something in place that allows debt ridden nations in deficit to potentially get further into debt and further behind the funding curve is hardly something to get excited about. 'Unleashed' was it? You can't unleash something you leaked the day before. The EU propaganda machinery is in overdrive at the moment - leaking one minute and then unleashing the next. I can't wait to see Draghi doing a 'Putin' beating his beared chest to emphasise the ferocity of the whimpering mouse he has set upon the financial markets. Draghi is Merkel's puppy. He was her nominee and when she barks he whimpers. If they ever have a real conflict he would not last a second. "I am who I am" "I Am that I Am is a common English translation of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name." It's also a gay anthem. he's off his trolley, probably because he must find a new anthem and something else to unleash next week.,,,I wait in bemused anticipation.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Finland and Holland move to block bond-buying plans, casting the first doubts on last week's summit deal, as figures show a slide in Spain, Greece and Italy's manufacturing activity and a rise in unemployment across the eurozone....A little more detail on this German court hearing. Germany's parliament last week approved the ESM, but President Joachim Gauck said he will not sign it into law until the powerful constitutional court has given its go-ahead. Several critics have already filed complaints against the ESM with the court, who will hear these complaints on Tuesday 10 July - one day after the fund is supposed to take effect. Over in Greece, ministers are deep in talks over how to ease the punishing terms of its bailout before a review by the country's lenders. Antonis Samaras, the country's prime minister, wants more time to meet targets and to dilute austerity measures. Reuters reports that ministers from the conservative-led coalition were huddled in talks on Monday to work out the plan before "troika" inspectors from the EU, ECB and IMF begin their review of Greece's faltering progress in fiscal adjustment and reforms.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was asked about this today. She said we must accept decisions of other states and there is no need to make decisions now... Confusion still reigns, it would appear, over whether direct overcapitalization of banks by the eurozone's permanent rescue fund would require a treaty change. Yesterday, the European Commission said no legislative changes were needed in the treaty governing the European Stability Mechanism. But the Dutch government said today it was uncertain if a direct overcapitalization of banks by the euro zone's permanent rescue fund would require a treaty change. For now, however, it was assuming that no treaty change would be needed and, when appropriate, the cabinet would propose that parliament approve the addition to the ESM's mandate.
France's finance minister has said that the country's revised budget, due to go before the cabinet on Wednesday, will rein the government's deficit to a targeted 4.5pc of GDP. ...
Reuters reports that Pierre Moscovici said that without budget amendments the deficit would hit 5.0pc of GDP this year - implying the government needed some €10bn in new deficit cutting measures. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

At the summit of the Group of 20 leading economies in Los Cabos, Mexico, Mr. Rajoy told his counterparts that it was necessary to "break the link between risk in the banking sector and the sovereign risk," a Spanish official said. Officials in Brussels cautioned the momentum hasn't moved in favor of making such far-reaching changes to the Spanish bank-aid plan. But they said at least one issue is back on the table: putting bank rescue loans on equal footing with government bonds held by private investors. Germany has insisted that official loans should have a preferred status, meaning they shouldn't suffer losses even if private bondholders are forced into a restructuring.
Some analysts have blamed this prospective subordination of private creditors as contributing to the retreat of Spanish bond markets since the bank-bailout plan was announced 10 days ago. Others argue investors should assume official lenders will have preferred status anyway....putting the ESM on equal footing with regular bondholders would only resolve part of the problem—assuming that investors would actually believe a statement to that effect by euro-zone leaders, said Guntram B. Wolff, deputy director of Brussels-based think tank Bruegel.
The much bigger issue remains the country's growing debt load, he added, for which no institution has offered a credible solution so far. Spain's demand for direct capital injections for its banks rather than lending the money first to the government is being supported by the European Commission, the EU's executive, and some other EU governments, but is still being resisted vehemently by Germany, officials said. One EU official, however, said that "it is still early days" and that the exact structure of the aid hadn't been decided yet.