Relatives of the 12 people killed in December when a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin have expressed their dismay at the negligent way they say they have been treated by German authorities. About 50 people who lost loved ones in the Islamic State-claimed terrorist attack reportedly told a private meeting called by Germany’s outgoing president, Joachim Gauck, and the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, they felt abandoned at a deeply upsetting time. Relatives said the first official communication they had with authorities was a bill sent to them by the coroner’s office. The letter reportedly included a warning that if the bill was not paid within a certain timeframe, the recipients would face legal action. One relative told Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt newspapers that when she received the letter she had thought at the very least it would be a letter of condolence from Berlin’s mayor. Those who were certain that their family members were among the dead said they were prevented by security personnel from entering the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church on Breitscheidplatz for a religious service held the day after the attack on 19 December. The reason they were given was that high-ranking German politicians – including Gauck – were among the guests. According to the papers, which reported on the four-hour meeting at Gauck’s Bellevue Palace, the president told the relatives he was distressed to hear they had been unable to enter the church and that he had not known about it at the time.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Thursday, January 14, 2016
“The markets have drawn comfort” from the Fed, said Mr Lewis after officials at the central bank said they believed economic developments would “warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate”. However, Mr Lewis said further rises presented “a major uncertainty” hanging over both the Fed and markets. “All territory is now uncharted”, he argued, as the US central bank attempts to raise rates from historically low levels, while the banking system is flush with cash.
He added: “The Fed and other major central banks have maintained emergency policy-settings for so long that the global economy cannot be presumed to react in standard fashion to a rise in interest rates, however small that might be.” The central bank, led by chairman Janet Yellen, plans to keep increasing rates by quarter-point increments after raising rates by a quarter of a percentage point from their 0pc to 0.25pc range last month. Stephen Lewis, chief economist at ADM ISI, said that Fed policymakers would regard “the mildness of the response to their action as a tribute to their success”. While the main US index, the S&P 500, closed lower in 2015 as a whole – its first annual loss since the financial crisis – economists have not attributed this to the Fed’s move. Annual wage growth is expected to have picked up from 2.3pc to 2.8pc in December, generating inflationary pressures. Central bank watchers will also pay close attention to the minutes of the Fed’s December meeting, being released on Wednesday. These will show how confident policymakers are in returning inflation to target. The Fed has a mandate to promote full employment and to steer inflation towards 2pc. The inflation measure tracked by US policymakers stood at just 0.4pc in the year to November. Analysts at Barclays said that they expected to see “disparate views on the current state of inflation” and they would “be attentive” to how this impacts on “different views on the most likely path of monetary policy in 2016”.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
The Eurozone has no fire-power to strengthen. QE has failed because they are already mired deep in a Japanese style deflation trap to which there is no easy escape. Draghi's peashooter has allowed them to standstill for a few months and nothing more. The only thing to be done now is to forcibly devalue the currency and drive it through dollar parity as policy. This is what is necessary to re-establish inflation and growth on the continent. This would be European style economics but may be the only way to save the euro. It must be done now though. The alternative is a slow death and definitely lose the euro. My bet is that the Europhiles cannot face up to what they have done and will therefore opt to do nothing. So it will be the slow death then...the Central Banks are in trouble...and relying on Draghi's monthly or quarterly QE payroll. It's as simple as that. Deflation will hit their books hard. Notice the pressure on Banks to impose charges, more now than ever before. As for Deutsche Bank; it's all their satellites that will feel the pinch....something that Merkel has overlooked at her peril....There is no money. Nobody can buy anything so nobody can sell anything so there is no growth and all kinds of social bills still to be paid through more borrowing along with all the previous debt service costs. Reciprocal debt forgiveness: for some nations temporary retreat from an utterly inappropriate €conomic instrument used as a political weapon that has failed on both battlefields: sustainable, as equable as possible, benefit reduction and an opening of the democracy door to all of the peoples with the same voting weight at all levels are the only answers now. But I think the burden is too great and it is too late, especially with the utterly divisive irritant of the imperial court's decrees on immigration to add to the stew....The ECB printing up more trillions of fiat currency to lavish on their .1% cronies in the financial sector "to combat deflation" (and buy up the distressed assets of the increasingly pauperized middle and working classes at fire sale prices) - my, how groundbreaking. Remind me again of the clinical definition of insanity.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
"DRAGHI SAYS EU BUDGET RULES ARE THERE TO BE RESPECTED" - Draghi also realises that big countries will ignore them with impugnity - just like they did the first time around. France is already in violation and knows full well that the EU and the ECB are utterly importent in the face of that. Just as they were when Germany - yes, Germany - lead the way in breaking the rules shortly after the euro came into being. All countries remember this, espescially the ones on the receiving end of imperious Germanic lectures about "doing their homework". Germany has made the classic mistake of doing well when others around it are doing badly, presuming this state of affairs will persist eternally and feeling it has a free hand to treat it's neighbours as it pleases. The moment German needs demand it, the Fiscal Pact will be out of the window; Anegla Merkel would be out of office within weeks if her government were to attempt the sort of austerity it has, in essence, forced upon Greece. The Netherlands were, if anything, even more hawkish than the Germans regarding "lazy Southerners" and wanted things like automatic fines. Then their own economy began to suffer the same problems and they also breached the rules - you don't hear much from them these days. Our Scottish friends may wish to ponder the huge difference in the treatment meted out to small countries as opposed to large ones in the EU. Of course, none of this should be greeted with any Satisfaction in the UK. A recession in the eurozone is bad for us too. Though thankfuly we have at least managed to dodge the madness of dropping a hand-grenade into the economy via a Scottish separation. Now, a worsening recession means there will be less taxable income for governments to fund ever growing entitlements. Add that to a huge pile of moldering away bad debts. What I see is not a solvable problem the way the world works today.
Neither Draghi or any of the bankers even bother to talk about the real problem of not enough regional income and too much government spending. Draghi’s only solution is some form of money printing. Printing money to pay bills might work over the short term. But long term, it cannot. If money printing works in the real world why not print and give every one a billion dollars, euros or yen?
The most Draghi can do is have the ECB print money to service existing bad debts made by banks and governments. But printing money to pay interest and principle on loans is not debt service. That is called money printing, debasing the currency whatever. Yes, governments want to do whatever possible to avoid bad times for its citizens. But, as someone else once said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Word on the Street is Germany will allow PIIGS to deficit spend in order to prop up German economy for a couple of years, before the EZ is finally broken up.
They want to squeeze every last dime out of the suckers' pockets before ditching them...You know I could swear that somebody once said "the worst of the eurocrisis is behind us". Now who was it again ? Oh yes, Draghi, arch Eurolooney at the ECB. Maybe his crystal ball wasn't a CE approved model so he can blame that on his duff statement. The EZ should be referred to more accurately as GZ, the German Zone. Within the GZ there are areas being sacrificed on the alter of German economic superiority. The utter economic chaos in Spain, among the other broken economies of the GZ, has no chance whatsoever of recovering. Germans failed with Tiger tanks, but they have conquered with economic weapons that have secured their growth over the last several years, whilst others languish in decline. Germany is still the European menace, and there is a growing realisation that they have masterminded a piece of economic trickery, and continue to do so. The nations who fell for German economic idealism have themselves to blame, but how this utter financial mess will develop over time has many speaking of rebellion and revolution. Frankly, whatever happens there is only deeper chaos ahead...Spot on in € being a D-Mark and look what happened when locked in trading bands with that, In effect you must have your economic needs exactly the same otherwise you fail. People signed up to €, and in Spain, and maybe Portugal, Greece, they will stick with it as it's their defence against dictatorship. Franco was in charge till when, Greece abolished became a republic when, ditto Portugal. € membership gives them a seat at the 'top table p art of Worlds no.2 currency' for that they keep willing to pay what seems a crazy price...
While the great and good of the EU financial wizards make their plans and predictions regarding the Euro and banks and stability et al, they are ignorant, deliberately or otherwise, of a simple and economically uncomplicated set of facts.
While, Prima Face, the Europe Central Bank has not indulged in quantitative easing, the reality is that the individual banks and industrial companies have done. They have achieved this by the banks extending loans to businesses which in normal times would be unable to raise finance. Those businesses though add a multiplier effect.
Where in the UK, an SME business would normally work with one bank or two where there is a specific reason, in Europe, a company will work with ten, fifteen or twenty banks or more.
The problem in Europe lies in invoice/sales order/purchase order backed finance, especially related to export sales. It is not unusual to find a company raising finance against a customer order, then raising finance to purchase goods/material to fulfill that order with a separate bank and then, when shipped, to discount the invoice with another bank and then discount it again with another or even another still. The outcome is one order/sale boosting the money supply maybe two, three, four or five times the value of the order. And they are all at it because the culture within Clubmed is that it's all OK. The banks must be aware but are turning a blind eye.
Compound this further with a general move of banking facilities from long term to short term, replacing existing borrowings with more expensive new ones and the associated transactional costs paid for by the borrowing businesses; then the whole system is awash with short term debt that is based on collateral many times less than the money borrowed, so it doesn't take a genuis to work out what will happen when the merry-go-round finally, inevitably, grinds to a halt.
All the economists will be wrong footed by this and when the crash comes it will be epic. Nobody has asked the simple question; why has it been so easy for businesses in the Eurozone to access cash when the rest of the west has been at the opposite end of the scale and why have no European banks needed rescuing? The answer is that they are simply kicking the can down the street in a dwam of general stupidity. The nettle hasn't been grasped, the bullet is unbitten and the chickens are coming home to roost.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Six of the world's leading central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, say they will provide each other with ready supplies of their currencies on a standing basis, extending arrangements set up to steady the global financial system during post-2007 turbulence.
The decision, announced on Thursday, extends currency swap arrangements that until now had been considered temporary measures.
The central banks are: the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada and the Swiss National Bank.
The so-called swap lines enable those central banks to make sure banks in their home countries can always borrow ready cash from them in any of the currencies involved, should they need it.
The ECB said the arrangements "have helped to ease strains in financial markets" and "will continue to serve as a prudent liquidity backstop".
The Fed and the ECB started their first dollar-euro swap arrangement in December 2007 as the losses on mortgage-backed bonds began to shake the banking system. Subsequent bilateral deals between the different banks were added during the financial turbulence that followed, which included the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, sudden extreme falls on stock markets, the subsequent recession and Europe's crisis over too much government debt in several countries.
Central banks serve as custodians of their countries' currencies and play an important role in supporting the stability of banks so companies can do business and the economy can function properly.
They typically provide liquidity – ready cash to meet the demands of everyday business – to their banks, even when banks may be having trouble borrowing elsewhere due to market trouble. With the new currency arrangements, they can do this in currencies other than their own.
For example, the European Central Bank holds credit offerings in US dollars for periods of seven days and three months, offering as much in dollars as European banks may want in return for collateral such as bonds or other securities.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
It's becoming clear how hard is going to be for Frau Merkel to form a new government. The SPD wants the Finance Ministry and will ballot its members on any deal. In the end, though, they're likely to reach an agreement, say media commentators.
The election may have been held eight days ago, but Germany is no closer to forming a government. It could take until December or January, the general secretary of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), Andrea Nahles, warned on Monday. The SPD, in a canny move to drive up its price for joining a coalition and to secure grass-roots support for a deal, decided at a party conference on Friday that it will ballot its 470,000 members on any agreement. That means they can say in talks, "we can't give in on that point because our members won't back it. That's bad news for Chancellor Angela Merkel, because it will make the talks to form a so-called grand coalition of the two main parties all the more difficult. As if that weren't enough, Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, an important conservative ally of hers, on Sunday narrowed her negotiating position with some undiplomatic rhetoric before preliminary talks had even begun.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Ending the summit, Mr Putin said that world opinion was firmly against US-led intervention, and warned that Russia would take the Syrian side in the event of conflict.
“Will we help Syria? We will,” he said. “We are already helping, we send arms.”
He added: “We cooperate in the economics sphere, we hope to expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, which includes sending humanitarian aid to support those people - the civilians - who have found themselves in a very dire situation in this country.”
Russia has been a long-time supplier of weapons to Syria, including a state-of-the-art air-defense system that would threaten even US warplanes attempting to attack. The Russian president said his country would stand with the Assad regime in Syria if the US launches airstrikes.The apparent threat came as the G20 summit ended with a public split, 11 of its members issuing a statement hinting at the need for US action against the Assad regime of its alleged use of chemical weapons. Russia already supplies military aid to Syria, but the hint of more Russian backing in the event of a confrontation with the US sent jitters through financial markets worldwide.
Mr Putin also mocked Western leaders like US President Barack Obama considering intervening in Syria, suggesting that the majority of their electorates opposed any military action - including Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to persuade the Commons to back British involvement.
Mr Obama, meanwhile, compared the Syrian crisis to World War II, likening his country’s debate over intervention to the eventual American decision to support Britain against Nazi Germany.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Europeans have lost the sense of clear and present danger. Once again, European leaders believe that they are out of the woods. Well, miracles happen. But it's my impression that the formula is being applied that promises the least amount of success in the longer term and is the least painful -- a little reform here, a little tinkering there, and a dose of business as usual. Europe will not be buried by ashes, like Pompeii or Herculaneum, but Europe is in decline for sure. It's certainly horrifying to consider its helplessness in the face of the approaching storms. After being the center of world politics for so long, the old continent now runs the risk of becoming a pawn.
Freedom, human rights, social justice are all wonderful, and I don't want to minimize the achievements of European societies. But a role model? Europe is much too weak to play a civilizing or moral role in world politics. Nice speeches and well-intentioned admonitions carry little weight when made from a position of weakness. In fact, all they do is aggravate China and Russia. Such reproofs are presumptuous, insincere and, unfortunately, often ridiculous. Under the current circumstances, Europe would be well advised to keep a lower profile. I believe that Europe has largely squandered its moral credit. It shies away from imposing sanctions; it has a very hard time intervening in crises outside Europe; and it has even demonstrated its general impotence in wars in its own backyard. Most European governments, not least the German government, don't even have the guts to admit that they are playing a double game.
Friday, July 19, 2013
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."
Monday, July 15, 2013
France's fiscal problems were pressing "owing to the uncertain growth outlook and the ongoing eurozone crisis, even assuming no wavering in commitment to fiscal consolidation", Fitch said.
Since Socialist Francois Hollande became president in 2012, his government has raised taxes and implemented targeted reforms and spending cuts to try to whittle down the country's huge debt load.
But with the eurozone crisis still alive, and the currency bloc still mired in recession, the measures have proven ineffective and unemployment soared to a 15-year high of 10.9pc in May.
"The weaker economic outlook is the primary factor behind increases in the budget deficit and France" needing more time to meet EU rules on government spending, it said.
Fitch forecasts that the French economy will contract by 0.3pc in 2013 and then return to slight growth of 0.7pc in 2014.
This is more pessimistic than the government's outlook of 0.1pc growth this year and 1.2pc in 2014.
French Finance Minster Pierre Moscovici brushed off the downgrade, maintaining that "French debt is among the safest and most liquid in the eurozone". With the confidence of investors strong, French borrowing prices were low and "this confidence reinforces the government's conviction that its strategy is the right one", he said.... Fitch, which is part French-owned, had warned in its previous appraisal that France had reached the very limit of being able to hold on to its top grade grail. But with Fitch now expecting public debt to peak next year at 96pc of gross domestic product, the agency said it had no choice but to lower the mark, though with a stable outlook. "The agency commented at the time of its previous rating review that this was the limit of the level of indebtedness consistent with France retaining its AAA status assuming debt was firmly placed on a downward path from 2014."
France's debt ratio, the agency added, was "significantly higher" than the AAA median of 49%.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
The FTSE fell 74 points, or 1.2%, while the German Dax and French CAC tumbled 1.5% as markets digested rumors that the resignation of Portugal's finance minister and foreign minister could be followed by more colleagues. Market unease over the health of the world economy was exacerbated by the political drama unfolding in Egypt and a weakening in China's growth.
The Portuguese ministers quit the coalition government this week in a row over the ruling party's handling of the country's economic plight, amid fears that they will be followed by two ministerial colleagues who are members of the junior coalition partner. If that happened, observers fear that they could take down the centre-right government. However, the junior coalition party, CDS-PP, said this evening that there would be no more ministerial resignations.
European commission president José Manuel Barroso, a former Portuguese premier, said the indebted nation risked damaging its hard-earned financial credibility after two years of closely following its €78bn (£66.4bn) bailout programme, coordinated by the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank.
"This delicate situation requires a great sense of responsibility from all political forces and leaders," he said.
The government's future hung in the balance after president Aníbal Cavaco Silva's office said he would meet the leader of the main opposition Socialists and other parties to discuss the deepening schism in the coalition. Under the constitution, he has the power to dissolve parliament and can invite opposition parties to form a government.
Speaking in Berlin, where he was attending the EU summit on youth unemployment, prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho reiterated that he had no plans to resign. He said: "I am confident that we will be able to surpass this difficulty … I hope this internal crisis can be overcome very quickly."
With no solution imminent, the euro fell and the interest rate on Portuguese government debt soared past the 7% level – where debts are considered unsustainable – to hit 8.1% at on point, before settling back at 7.5%. The PSI 20 stock index in Lisbon fell by 5%, led by sharp losses of over 10% in bank shares
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I have been running business's for other people and myself since 1983. Running an economy may indeed be unlike running a household, but it is EXACTLY like running a business. Some of the most famous business's in the world went bust because they could not finance their debts, or were the victim of bad debts where their customers could not finance theirs. You need cash flow, you need working capital, you need a stable exchange rate, you need to keep an eye on all the important ratio's one of which is liquidity and you need to make a profit both as a business and a country. Which is where we could get too deep on financing long term deficits on the balance of payments. Cliches are cliches because they are right.
One cliche is "cash is king" If you have money, then you can buy assets, invest in assets and make some good deals. The world will beaty a path to your door. If you are skint, like Cyprus the world does not beat a path to your door, it bashes your door in.
One cliche is "cash is king" If you have money, then you can buy assets, invest in assets and make some good deals. The world will beaty a path to your door. If you are skint, like Cyprus the world does not beat a path to your door, it bashes your door in.
Here's another cliche: If you owe the bank $50,000 you have a problem. If you owe the bank $50,000,000 the BANK has a problem....The Fallacy of Composition argument that national economies and indeed the global economy as a whole are like a household or business economy and should be run as such was laid to rest thirty seven years ago!. In summary there are three vital economic ideas politicians and the electorate need to understand to fight recessions and achieve economic growth these are Fallacy of Composition, Sectoral Balances Accounting and Sovereign Currency Creation of Money.... And so the debate trundles on. Austerity or more money printing. I suppose the only way to find out is to suck it and see. Well in fact we are getting a hybrid policy which has elements of both approaches: loose monetary and tight fiscal policy. The upshot, stagflation. Was there ever a more egregious policy mismatch. Anyway we (central banks around the world that is) seemed to have produced a stock market rally and the beginnings of a rally in the housing market. News papers are full of 'soaring' equity prices as a sign that the 'recovery' is firmly in place. Recovery for whom I wonder? All that QE money had to go somewhere and it hasn't gone into productive investment, but hey, the headlines are good. Unfortunately the whole thing looks like Global Bubble MKII and we can safely predict it will end in the same catastrophic manner as the 2007 debacle notwithstanding all of the media hype.. If it walks like a bubble etc., ... Is this the famed Keynesian stimulus at work I wonder? If so it isn't quite running to plan. This depression has a long way to run. Like the 1929 slump it began with loose credit and excess demand in the US stock market followed by the failure of the Vienna Bank Credit Anstalt and ran right up to WW2, albeit with a partial recovery. But even as late as 1938 US unemployment was running at 20% and world trade was being stifled by a tariff war which added a further twist to the slump. Sovereign nations with their own currencies were engaged in a currency and trade war against each other to gain competitive advantages in the diminished world export markets. All eerily similar to today's situation. Here's a prediction, an inflationary upturn with any number of asset price bubbles as the corollary - this is not an accident it is policy - then the inevitable pop and back in the **** only this time even deeper. That is what is on offer from the Treasury and central bank mandarins.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Eurozone is in recession and going into a deflationary spiral, France is a basket case the UK will escape the EU....As far as I can see Greece, Italy, Spain, Romania, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Hungary and Slovenia have had their economies totally shafted by the Euro. Now even the big guns of France and Holland are going down. Even the mighty Germany is shrinking and heading for deflation. Please forgive me if I say do the opposite to whatever is happening in the Eurozone, avoid these policies, prod with bargepole etc. ... They're a bunch of raving lunatics FFS. The EU wouldn't exist if not for the British Commonwealth, United States and Russia. Plus we formed a successful single currency area several hundred years ago that will outlast the eurozone. The arrogance appears to lie with the bumbling continentals who wouldn't listen to those who said that there was a need for political union before currency union. So we have every right to lecture the rest of the EU.... The Commission forecast says euro-area growth will shrink by 0.4% this year, down from 0.3% forecast in February. France will go into recession this year with negative growth of 0.1% and unemployment rising to 10.9% in 2014 from 10.6% this year. On Thursday, the European Central Bank cut interest rates on growth worries. "Grappling with the aftermath of a profound financial and economic crisis, the EU economy is set to pick up speed only very slowly in the course of this year," the report said. It predicted that France's deficit would rise sharply from 3.9% of GDP this year to 4.2% in 2014. That prompted the EU's commissioner for economic affairs, Olli Rehn, on Friday to say it would be "reasonable" to give France two extra years to meet the EU deficit target of 3%. However, Reuters reported a French finance ministry official as saying that, despite Mr Rehn's comments, the country would stick to its aim of meeting the 3% target in 2014.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
"José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, said on Tuesday this week the European "dream" was under threat from a "resurgence of populism and nationalism" across the EU."
José Manuel Barroso, the UNELECTED president of the UNELECTED European commission, said on Tuesday this week the European "dream" was under threat from a "resurgence of populism and nationalism" across the EU.
Remember "citizen": democracy is nationalism and politicians who serve the people who elected them are "populist".
Orwell and Kafka must be turning in their graves.Public confidence in the European Union has fallen to historically low levels in the six biggest EU countries, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the union's worst ever crisis, new data shows.After financial, currency and debt crises, wrenching budget and spending cuts, rich nations' bailouts of the poor, and surrenders of sovereign powers over policymaking to international technocrats, Euroscepticism is soaring to a degree that is likely to feed populist anti-EU politics and frustrate European leaders' efforts to arrest the collapse in support for their project.
Figures from Eurobarometer, the EU's polling organization, analyzed by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a think-tank, show a vertiginous decline in trust in the EU in countries such as Spain, Germany and Italy that are historically very pro-European.
The six countries surveyed – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Poland – are the EU's biggest, jointly making up more than two out of three EU citizens or around 350 million of the EU's 500 million population. The findings, published exclusively in the Guardian in Britain and in collaboration with other leading newspapers in the other five countries, represent a nightmare for Europe's leaders, whether in the wealthy north or in the bailout-battered south, suggesting a much bigger crisis of political and democratic legitimacy.
The most dramatic fall in faith in the EU has occurred in Spain, where the banking and housing market collapse, eurozone bailout and runaway unemployment have combined to produce 72% "tending not to trust" the EU, with only 20% "tending to trust".
The data compares trust and mistrust in the EU at the end of last year with levels in 2007, before the financial crisis, to reveal a precipitate fall in support for the EU of the kind that is common in Britain but is much more rarely seen on the continent.
In Spain, trust in the EU fell from 65% to 20% over the five-year period while mistrust soared to 72% from 23%. The EU could and should have been so much more than it currently is. Trouble with the EU we have is the lack of democracy. Votes against expansions are ignored or re-run (think of the EU Constitution that became the Lisbon Treaty instead). Only Poland is still positive - just how many billions of Euros have been transferred to Poland for them to be positive?
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Eurozone is in recession because it is an exporting bloc and its' key markets (not least countries like Britain) are just not buying. You would hardly know it from reading the British press but the Eurozone as a whole still has a TRADE SURPLUS with the rest of the world. When was the last time that Britain ran a trade surplus? The 1980's? Yet this article (and hundreds like it) paint a picture of a frustrated UK economy, raring to go, just waiting for an enfeebled Eurozone to buck its ideas up. It’s back-to-front new-speak garbage - the Eurozone will be out of recession the moment its customer countries (like Britain) start buying again.
You can’t suddenly decide to have an export-led economy when a crisis hits and it’s clear that your financial and services sectors are a parasitic dud or that running an economy based on bumping house prices and buying from each other is a daft Ponzi scheme. Manufacturing reputations take decades to establish and Britain comprehensively trashed its reputation in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with crap products and poor leadership.
The entire world economy is in trouble right now and every country is hoping that ‘exporting’ will dig it out of a hole. That’s why Japan has just pledged to rubbish the value of its currency and invite inflation in through the front door. Britain trashed the value of the pound against the Euro as soon as the crisis hit, but as a net importer, it has only served to stoke the deficit.
There is a bigger picture here which has a lot to do with global energy availability (don't believe the recent 'revolutionary' shale hype, it's yet more PR garbage), landfill consumerism and environmental awareness. We can see that with even a relatively modest drop in demand, the world economy comes crashing to a halt. Yet for the sake of the environment, demand for all kinds of useless, pointless consumer crap needs to collapse still further…much, much further.
The ‘return to growth’ mantra is getting boring and showing up humanity as an uncreative, unimaginative race of lemmings. Actually, on second thoughts, I credit lemmings with more sense...Dixon at Commerzbank says politicians will have to give up on the idea of a quick fix: "There's been a realization among policymakers that we're not going to get the typical V-shaped recovery, and the sooner we all get used to that, the better. You get seven fat years and then you get seven lean years, as the Bible says: it's not a new phenomenon."
Is that the Gideon's Bible?
Thursday, March 7, 2013
ROME — A brief sampling of politicians’ remarks made on Monday underline how far Italy is from forming a government after last week’s surprisingly inconclusive general election.
“No solution can be reached without the Democratic Party,” Massimo D’Alema, a former prime minister, said in Rome. His party is the lead member of the center-left coalition that won the most votes in the election, which translates into 340 seats in the 615-member Chamber of Deputies, making its support of any prospective government truly indispensable.
Meanwhile, in Palermo, Angelino Alfano said Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party and the center-right coalition “have emerged as the winners.” In fact, his party came in third and his coalition second, and will have only 20% of the lower-house seats. But Mr. Alfano sought to make the point that his coalition was surging in polls and saw itself as on course to win the next election.
Ultimately, the next election is what all today’s maneuvering is about. That’s even more true of the Five-Star Movement, a protest movement led by Beppe Grillo that won more than a quarter of votes and enough seats to make it a potential kingmaker. Mr. Grillo strongly believes he can emerge the outright winner if Italy’s establishment politicians remain true to form and try to govern through an unwieldy coalition. That’s one reason why he is tempted to hope that happens. On Monday, he caustically suggested his rivals opt for a cabinet led by Corrado Passera, a former bank chief executive who served as Mario Monti’s industry minister in the technocratic government that is widely blamed for halfhearted reform efforts that, along with austerity measures required by Europe, led Italy into a prolonged recession.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Doing more with less money. This is what the European Council believes with the adoption of the conclusions of the MFF, the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. For the first time in history, the EU budget has been reduced. As a first reaction, the leaders of the biggest political groups in the European Parliament underlined in a joint statement that they cannot accept the deal reached by the European Council. MEPs debated the EU's long-term budget with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso here in the European Parliament. Watch this Event of the week ...The 'Event of the Week' is a weekly programme highlighting a key event in the European Parliament. This video will soon be available in German, French, Spanish and Italian on our website. ...For free broadcast-standard video, please visit http://epp.synapticdigital.com/ . If you are a first-time user, please take a moment to register. In case you have any questions, please email email@example.com. Please note that all our videos can be found on our YouTube Channel and Facebook page. For any comments and reactions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Producer :email@example.com
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
In a statement released this morning, leaders promised that their fiscal and monetary policies would “not target exchange rates.”
“We, the G7 Ministers and Governors, reaffirm our longstanding commitment to market-determined exchange rates and to consult closely in regard to actions in foreign exchange markets,” said the statement.
“We reaffirm that our fiscal and monetary policies have been and will remain oriented towards meeting our respective domestic objectives using domestic instruments, and that we will not target exchange rates.”
Spelling out the fears that have been raised, particularly by Francois Hollande, the French president, the statement added: “We are agreed that excessive volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will continue to consult closely on exchange markets and cooperate as appropriate.”
Fears of so-called “currency wars” were sparked when Japan's new prime minister Shinzo Abe ordered the country's central bank to be more expansionary. Mr Abe is determined to force down the value of the yen in a bid to boost exports and in turn Japan's sluggish economy.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Fresh data from the Bundesbank show that Anglo-German trade in goods and services soared to €153bn in the first nine months of 2012, with both exports and imports booming at double-digit rates.
It is one of the fastest growing trade relationships in the developed world. France lagged behind at €150bn as trade stagnated, with the US at €149bn and China at €115bn.
David Marsh from the financial group OMFIF said the trade swing underlines a “sobering truth” that Germany’s fundamental interests are shifting away from the eurozone core as Berlin embraces the wider world. The EMU share of German trade has fallen from 46pc to 37pc since the launch of the euro, displaced by Asia, as well as Eastern Europe and the Anglo-sphere.
British goods exports to Germany rose 20pc over the first three quarters compared to a year earlier, despite the economic downturn. The surge was led by medical equipment, drugs, car components, and petroleum goods. The deficit with Germany narrowed slighty to €17bn, a sign that trade is becoming better-balanced. Although rarely acclaimed, British suppliers and manufacturers are deeply integrated into the German industrial machine and enjoy the follow-through benefits of German exports to the rest of the world....Now...Does anyone believe British conmpanies have won this business based on EU membership or on the timely and safe delivery of quality products at a competitive price? The UK and Germany are the two major players and net contributors in the EU. France talks it large and is extremely well represented in positions, but without the massive EU funding it receives it would struggle. The real danger here is not the UK leaving the EU and sinking, it is that we will leave and surge ahead. Weakening the EU and strengthening our own position. Add to this the repeated polls in Germany where the majority do not want to be run by the EU and also wish to leave the Euro, and the real danger is clear. The UK leaving the doomed EU project will hasten its demise and open Europe up to trade and competition with the World. The very last thing Socialist leaders want.
A thriving UK outside of the EU would prove an irrisistable pull to other net contributors to leave. This is what keeps the EU commission up at night, not wondering what Pro-EU Cameron will mumble in his speech this week.