Showing posts with label parlament. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parlament. Show all posts

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The successor of Traian Băsescu in the presidential seat has nominated Dacian Cioloş, as the former president had repeatedly announced over the last few days.  That can mean several things: first of all, that Traian Băsescu and Klaus Iohannis think alike (at least in that regard); the second, that Traian Băsescu continues to be very well informed, and third, that president Klaus Iohannis obeys Traian Băsescu.  You can pick any option you want or you can combine all three.  "Tim Budget", like the press nicknamed Liviu Voinea, has been saved from being sacrificed. Meaning that, instead of having the ephemeral glory of serving as prime-minister for two months, he has stayed to share his wisdom with the National Bank of Romania, as deputy governor.   Dacian Cioloş was a European Commissioner for Agriculture between 2010 and 2014, achieving the first reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.  Dacian Cioloş was the minister of Agriculture in Romania between October 2007 and December 2008, in the Tăriceanu government, and has maintained a technocrat reputation. Between 2005 and 2007, Cioloş was an advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, while also representing Romania on the special commission of the Council of the European Union on the issue of agriculture. Previously, between 2002 and 2003, Dacian Cioloş worked for the Delegation of the European Commission in Romania, preparing the SAPARD implementation in Romania. At the time of his appointment as prime-minister of Romania, Dacian Cioloş was one of the personal advisors of the president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, a position which he was awarded this year. Juncker is considered a grey eminence of the Euro currency system. THE PROPOSED  ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT IS : (note : please  use the translation button on the right side of this page)
 Premierul desemnat Dacian Cioloş a anunţat, astăzi, echipa de miniştri, într-o conferință de presă, la Camera Deputaților.
     Astfel, lista membrilor Guvernului propusă de Dacian Cioloş este:
     Vicepremier şi Ministrul Economiei: Costin Grigore Borc
     Vicepremier şi Ministrul Dezvoltării: Vasile Dâncu
     Ministrul Afacerilor Externe: Lazăr Comănescu
     Ministrul Afacerilor Interne: Petre Tobă
     Ministrul Agriculturii: Achim Irimescu
     Ministrul Apărării Naţionale: Mihnea Motoc
     Ministrul Culturii: Vlad Alexandrescu
     Ministrul Energiei: Victor Vlad Grigorescu
     Ministrul Educaţiei: Adrian Curaj
     Ministrul Finanţelor Publice: Anca Paliu Dragu
     Ministrul Fondurilor Europene: Aura Carmen Răducu
     Ministrul Justiţiei: Cristina Guseth
     Ministrul Mediului, Apelor și Pădurilor: Cristiana Paşca Palmer
     Ministrul Muncii: Claudia Anca Moarcăş
     Ministrul pentru Societatea Informaţională: Marius Raul Bostan
     Ministrul Sănătăţii: Andrei Baciu
     Ministrul Tineretului și Sportului: Elisabeta Lipă
     Ministrul Transporturilor: Marian Costescu
     Ministrul pentru Dialog Social: Violeta Alexandru
     Şeful Cancelariei Primului Ministru: Ioan Dragoş Tudorache
     Ministrul delegat pentru Relaţiile cu Românii de Preturindeni: Dan Stoenescu
     Ministrul delegat pentru Relaţia cu Parlamentul şi Societatea Civilă: Cristian Ciprian Bucur.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FOCUS ON  PORTUGAL - The imbalance of the Euro between rich and poor countries has acerbated and wrecked the Portugese industries of tourism, and of clothes and shoes from cheap Chinese imports into Europe. The debt is unsustainable and to add any more austerity simply makes it worse. It will, along with Greece, need a massive debt forgiveness to solve its problems, and this will happen as sure as night follows day, and Merkel and Germany will have to swallow it whole.  I should mention the accelerating decline in the population, and particularly the working age population who actually pay most of the taxes (when they can find jobs that is). Since population size is a significant indicator of GDP ( eg less people equals less demand for all sorts of goods and services from food to haircuts, housing and furniture to put in it etc) this is going to be perhaps the major long term issue for Portugal.  This is driven by two factors. The first is that birthrate has been barely half that required to maintain a steady population level for the whole of this century and the second is substantial emigration, especially of graduate level young people who also happen to be just in the age range that provides the majority of children. For a short while the increasing longevity the large number born born from the 1940's to the 1970's is masking what is already certain to happen. But we already know the number of people aged 0-20 years old is barely half that of a generation ago and its thus inevitable that there will be a totally unavoidable drop in the working population for at least the next generation and also because there will be far fewer 20-40 year olds in this period there will also be yet again even fewer children born to them. When you add in the high level of immigration to this the numbers are truly frightening- well they should be if any politician cared to take notice!  Demographics is a much ignored and yet very hard to reverse adverse trend that is going to have an unavoidable impact on many European countries. Portugal is probably the most critical but Italy, Germany and to a lesser extent Spain are all going to have a chronic problem emanating from this for decades to come...THE FACT that the IMF is still working with Portugal is a good sign. I just wonder if Portugal could get the same interest rates and terms that Greece is being offered if its debt situation would be so dire. For example, the Portugese government could, much as China is trying to do, consolidate debt and rationalize industry through debt exchanges with the Central government offering low cost loans to solid Portugese companies to take over the zombie firms or refinancing consumer and business loans.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

European Commission will use €7bn from an EU bail-out fund for Greece, as Tsipras says banks might not reopen for months



What is legal basis to use EFSM? The treaties establishing the new rescue fund ruled out the use of the previous EFSM to rescue a eurozone member. Mr Dombrovskis is asked on what the legal basis is for using the moribund fund. "Given the very difficult situation, and given the urgency, and given the way we are addressing the real concern, I think it is still possible," he says. "There are technical interpretations of this decision. There is a political problem that needs to be addressed. At the end of the day, the decision is to be made by the Council. Currently, we don't have better solutions on the table." He adds that by just helping one eurozone country, and not the bloc as a whole, the Commission can get round its own prohibition.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Europe faces the risk of a second revolt by Left-wing forces in the South after Spain's, Portugal’s Socialist Party vowed to defy austerity demands from the country’s creditors and block any further sackings of public officials. "We will carry out a reverse policy,” said Antonio Costa, the Socialist leader.  Mr Costa said a clear majority of his party wants to halt the “obsession with austerity”. Speaking to journalists in Lisbon as his country prepares for elections - expected in October - he insisted that. Portugal must start rebuilding key parts of the public sector following the drastic cuts under the previous EU-IMF Troika regime. The Socialists hold a narrow lead over the ruling conservative coalition in the opinion polls and may team up with far-Left parties, possibly even with the old Communist Party.  “There must be an alternative that allows us to turn the page on austerity, revive the economy, create jobs, and – while complying with euro area rules – restore hope to this county,” he said. The plan would appear entirely incompatible with the EU’s Fiscal Compact, which requires Portugal to run massive primary surpluses to cut its public debt from 130pc to 60pc of GDP over 20 years under pain of sanctions. The increasingly fierce attacks on austerity in Lisbon are likely to heighten fears in Berlin that fiscal and reform discipline will break down altogether in southern Europe if Greece’s rebels win concessions. Worry about political "moral hazard" is vastly complicating the search for a solution in Greece. “Greece is the testing ground and everybody is watching very carefully. That is why the Spanish and Portuguese prime ministers have been so hawkish,” said Vincenzo Scarpetta, from Open Europe.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bucharest, Romania — Outside the National Anticorruption Directorate in downtown Bucharest, more than a dozen reporters and cameramen stand around chatting. It’s a weekday afternoon, and they know it’s only a matter of time before the next high-profile Romanian shows up to face charges of corruption.  Even a few years ago, Romania's powerful and well-connected were able to line their own pockets with impunity, earning the country deserved notoriety as one of Europe's most graft-ridden nations.  But today, in a perfect storm of external pressure from the European Union and internal public anger, Romania's crackdown on corruption is almost routine. With an independent and tenacious special prosecutor's office driving the effort, the country is making dramatic strides in holding elites just as accountable as the common man.   Yet as part of the country’s ascension into the EU, which they joined in 2007 along with neighboring Bulgaria, Romania – where graft reaches to all levels of society – was required to clean up its act.  “It started because we had the right mix of external pressure from the European Commission and internal pressure from the population,” says Laura Stefan, an anticorruption expert and a former director in the Romanian Ministry of Justice.  Yet, she adds: “When this started, there was no trust in the state. A lot of people were skeptical, and it took a long time and a lot of strong cases to convince people.”  In 2003, the country established the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), a specialized prosecutor's office tasked with fighting corruption and graft. Initially the DNA targeted lower-level figures, but within a few years it was aiming far higher, and the number of people convicted of high-level graft of more than 10,000 euros ($11,300) has risen accordingly.  Last year 1,138 individuals, including politicians, businessmen, judges, and prosecutors, were convicted of corruption in Romania, up from 155 in 2006. This included 24 mayors, five members of parliament, two ex-ministers, and a former prime minister, not to mention seven judges and 13 prosecutors. Those convicted include politicians of all stripes, irrespective of party lines.    This year the headlines have continued to pile up. Last week Monica Iacob Ridzi, a former sports and youth minister, was sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of power and corruption. A few days earlier, a former transportation minister was also jailed, sentenced to two years for taking bribes while in office, including getting a house built for his mother free of charge.  These days Romanian news channels are fixated on the rapid fall from grace of Elena Udrea, a glamorous MP, former tourism minister, and recent presidential candidate (she finished fourth) who was arrested in mid-February on charges of money laundering, influence peddling, and taking bribes. Pundits had a field day when Ms. Udrea asked for permission to refurbish and decorate the cell she was being held in under preventive arrest.  Some 7 percent of politicians elected in 2012 have been convicted or are currently under investigation for corruption, according to estimates. The DNA’s conviction success rate is over 90 percent.  The DNA’s biggest conviction to date has been that of former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase (2000-2004), who was sentenced to four years behind bars in January 2014 for bribery and blackmail.  “Right now it is ugly, but it is a sign of progress, it shows willingness,” says Cristian Ghinea, director of the Romanian Center for European Policies, a Bucharest-based think tank.    Last November, just days after an anticorruption candidate won Romania’s latest presidential election, lawmakers were once again called to vote on a controversial amnesty bill. This one would have opened the way to releasing any inmate serving up to six years in prison for non-violent crimes – which would have included most of those serving time for corruption.  This time the vote was almost unanimously against the bill.   If there were clear-cut signs that no one is now safe from investigation, it has been in recent weeks, as first Udrea, the former presidential candidate, was arrested, and then Iulian Hertanu, the brother-in-law of Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta, was detained. Mr. Hertanu was allegedly involved in embezzling funds worth around 1.75 million euros.  “The area of untouchables has gotten smaller and smaller with time,” says Ms. Stefan, the anticorruption expert.  “People are seeing for the first time, if you steal you go to jail, no matter who you are. This is the way it should be, but we need to keep the momentum.” (source  CS Monitor)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The US economy has shrunken at its fastest rate since the depths of the recession five years ago as it emerged that the harsh winter took a far bigger toll on activity than previously estimated.
Official data released in Washington showed that output as measured by gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of 2014. Originally, the Department of Commerce had said output rose by 0.1% at an annual rate in the quarter ending March before adjusting this to a 1% decline. The gap between the second and the third estimates was the largest on record. Wall Street was taken unawares by the size of the downward revision to growth in the world's biggest economy, with the consensus believing that growth would be down by 1.7% at an annual rate. But it expressed confidence that the US would quickly bounce back from a weather-affected start to 2014 by posting strong growth in the second quarter. Nancy Curtin, the chief investment officer of Close Brothers Asset Management said: "The US economy didn't just grind to a halt in the first quarter – it hit reverse as the polar vortex took its toll. But we can't judge current growth by looking in the rear-view mirror, and we are unlikely to see investors react strongly to what is now quite a long way behind us.
"More recent data have pointed to the economy picking up speed. Manufacturing is at a four year high, while the housing market is looking positive once more. It's clear that growth has gone up through the gears in Q2, and we'll see this reflected in the next GDP reading." Officials at the commerce department said the downward revision to growth had been the result of lower consumer spending on health care and a weaker than previously estimated contribution from exports.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Source EU Observer - BRUSSELS - The setting could not be less spectacular – one of the more nondescript rooms in the European Parliament's glass towers overlooking Place Luxembourg in Brussels, where a handful of officials gather with armfuls of papers.  At intervals, members of the Parliament's catering staff silently walk round the room offering tea and coffee. Unless you were involved, you wouldn't know that the meeting – one of around 1,000 so-called 'trialogue' meetings to take place in 2013 – was actually happening.  At this particular gathering to discuss plans to re-write the EU's accounting directive in March 2013, MEPs from the Parliament's legal affairs committee – Klaus Lehne, Arlene McCarthy, Eva Lichtenberger, Alexandra Thein and Saj Karim – made a breakthrough.  They secured rules that will shine a light on the payments made to governments by companies working in the controversial extractive industries – rules that should help prevent corruption and dodgy dealing between companies and governments.  An Irish government official, whose country has been tasked with leading the talks (because Ireland held the rotating EU presidency at the time), agreed that, without exception, all payments over €100,000 must be publicly disclosed. This will apply to every individual project or contract undertaken by a company.  The new reporting requirements will mark a sea-change in how the industry is regulated yet the trialogue meeting where it happened remains a closed process.  Search for any mention of trialogues in the EU treaties and you will draw a blank.  This is because despite being an accepted part of the lawmaking landscape, in legal terms trialogues don't exist.  All trialogue meetings are informal and the timing of the meetings are not known to most MEPs, let alone the ordinary public. There are no formal minutes taken. Some are over within a few minutes. Others can go on all day and well into the night.   The last trialogue on the single resolution mechanism (SRM), the final, and arguably most controversial piece of banking union legislation, lasted 16 hours through the night on 19 March as lawmakers sought (successfully) to close a deal in time for the end of the parliamentary term.  Despite the sense of intrigue that should surround a lawmaking process that few people are aware is happening, attending the average trialogue meeting would be a perfect cure for insomniacs, as civil servants and politicians drone through a bill line by line, article by article.  But they matter. If the EU's bi-monthly leaders' summits are the glamorous (in the loosest sense of the word) side of the EU, the trialogue meetings are the main engine driving the sausage factory that churns out EU laws in Brussels.
The triumph of the trialogue - In terms of numbers, the volume of legislation does not appear to have changed much in the past two legislatures. MEPs and ministers adopted a total of 447 laws in the 2004-9 parliament. By November 2013, politicians had signed off on 395 files and, even with a wild flurry of activity as they seek to conclude as much legislation as possible before May's elections, the total number of files is likely to be around 500.  But what has changed is the way the laws are agreed.
The formal structure for breaking the impasse between the institutions mentioned in the treaties is the conciliation committee.

Friday, December 6, 2013

BRUSSELS - The Greek economy will stay in recession in 2014 for the seventh consecutive year, according to the OECD.  The Paris-based Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) think-tank forecasts a further 0.4 percent economic slowdown next year in its economic survey of Greece published Wednesday (27 November), lower than the 0.6 percent growth currently projected by the Greek government and its creditors.   It also says that Greece will struggle to bring its debt burden below a massive 160 percent of GDP by the end of the decade, nearly 40 percent higher than the 124 percent expected by the European Commission.  The OECD states that a sharp fall in prices could also force Greece to seek more time and money from its creditors. Greece is currently three years into a €240 billion emergency loan programme.  "If negative inflation risks materialise, assistance from Greece's euro area partners may need to be considered," the OECD said.  Speaking in Athens on Wednesday, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said that it was "imperative that both the costs and the benefits of adjustment are shared fairly” if the country's reform programme was to work.  However, Gurria was full of praise for Athens' progress in reforming its economy and particularly a “spectacular reversal in the balance of payments”.      Greece has lost more than 25 percent of its economic output since 2007 and seen its unemployment rate climb to 27 percent, the highest in the EU. Its debt pile is expected to peak at around 180 percent this year, nearly double the average across the rest of the eurozone.  The OECD report calls on the Greek government to scrap 555 regulations hindering businesses ranging from retailers to building materials sector and tourism, arguing that slashing red-tape would lead to an extra €5.2 billion in economic activity.  "A more rapid return of confidence and foreign capital, attracted by low asset prices, and privatisation, could support domestic demand through both investment and consumption," it argued.  For his part, Kostis Hatzidakis, Greece's minister for competitiveness agreed that the government would continue its programme of market liberalisation. "It is true that our economy has been plagued by bureaucracy, protectionism and market distortions for a long time," he said.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BBC News reports...

The former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has relaunched Forza Italia, the center-right party that brought him two power two decades ago.
Silvio Berlusconi holding a Forza Italia logoA leaders' meeting voted to suspend the People of Freedom Party (PDL) and restore the name used until 2007. Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano and other PDL figures were absent from the vote, hinting at party divisions. Earlier this month party moderates refused to support Mr Berlusconi's attempt to bring down the government. The national council of the PDL will meet on 8 December to ratify the decision of its leaders.
"With today's decision we returned fully to the status of Forza Italy that gives the president the right and duty to delegate responsibilities and functions," said Mr Berlusconi in a press conference after the meeting.
He said the move had been voted for "unanimously" by those present at the meeting, which was not attended by Mr Alfano, who is the PDL secretary, and four other government ministers.
Turbulent period
"The five members who have decided not to attend tonight agreed that it was better to have a unanimous decision and therefore, with my consent, have not participated," Mr Berlusconi said.
But he insisted that the party was still united.
Silvio Berlusconi: "We have decided, not without internal travail, to express a vote of confidence in this government"
"We continue to focus on the desire for unity, which is something we all believe in, regardless of any points on which we are divided," he said.
But political observers say a party split is very likely, with Mr Berlusconi's relaunch of Forza Italia indicating that he is attempting to transfer influence towards more conservative elements in the party.
It has been a turbulent period for Silvio Berlusconi.
Four weeks ago Mr Berlusconi promised to topple the government by withdrawing the PDL's support for the cross-party government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta- a move which prompted a vote of confidence by the Senate.
But he was forced into a humiliating climbdown when it became clear that several of his senators would back the government.
In August he was convicted of fraud and tax evasion. The Italian Senate will soon vote on whether to expel him, a move which would open up the risk of arrest over other criminal cases.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A European Parliament report seen by SPIEGEL estimates that 3,600 international organized crime organizations operate within the EU. The damage done to European economies by organized crime totals hundreds of billions of euros according to a European Parliament special committee investigating crime, money laundering and corruption. The CRIM committee estimates that around 880,000 slave laborers live in the EU, of whom 270,000 are victims of sexual exploitation. Human trafficking alone generates profits of around €25 billion while the illegal trade in human organs and wild animals makes for a further estimated profit of between €18 and €26 billion annually. Meanwhile, cybercrime causes an estimated €290 billion of damage. The report calls rampant corruption 'a serious threat' with 20 million cases worth a total of €120 billion registered in the public sector alone. The European Commission has called for intensified cross-border cooperation between police forces and judiciaries in member states. Proposals include the elimination of tax havens and the criminalisation of vote-buying throughout the EU. The committee further advocates that individuals convicted of money laundering or corruption are excluded from involvement in government procurement for a period of five years. Whistleblowers who expose malpractice in either business or government are to be provided with Europe-wide legal protection and freedom from criminal prosecution. The European Parliament will vote on the CRIM report on October 23.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Another global economic crash?

"Was jittery Thursday a foretaste of another global economic crash?
The sharp slide in share prices was either a blip in the road to recovery or a sign that the unwinding of quantitative easing will lead to disaster. Our writers argue it out" - the Telegraph on Sunday. The banking system, sovereign debt, equity markets are all FUBAR and bare no relation to the underlining fundamentals from where price discovery should come from. That is the problem and much of it has to do with ZIRP/QE, Draghi mouthing off, which although stops any immediate crash it is still just blowing bubbles and 'can kicking' where at any point to try to unwind from that position still leaves a gap between there and real growth coming back to stop the shortfall when ZIRP/QE Draghi on a buying spree taper away from their positions. Five years on from the WFC they are no nearer to fixing the problem, or the disaster of the euro. My guess is that eventually in the coming years governments will choose from the inflation poison chalice, rather than the default poison chalice, they nearly always do. Fiat money will become very devalued, and to my mind they have already set off on this path with orchestrated currency wars, and the printing presses a rolling If another big financial crash occurs I wonder what all those experts in the astrology like subject known has economics will be citing has the cause, let alone the required solutions. Not that the accountants, politicians, top business people, and goodness knows who else have demonstrated any more competence, except to ensure that the people that are made to pay for the disaster are those least responsible for it, and least able to afford to pay. Am I the only one who is coming to the conclusion that much of the human world is being run by self serving ego maniacs?
But more importantly the facts behind Thursdays ''market blip'' relates to leverage and debt. After the 2008 crash we have failed to de-leverage, the losses have been largely hidden by accounting tricks or taken over by the taxpayer. Instead of de-leveraging and re-capitalizing the banks QE and ZIRP have resulted in a massive leveraged derivative bubble now waiting to burst.
Thursdays blip might be the realization that.
1. That despite 5 years of recession endless money printing we are still seeing no real growth, outside of that provided via stimulus then it may be that these policies of QE and ZIRP are in fact failed policies, when the markets realize this investors will start to control interest rates not Bernanke and other central bankers.
2. Despite Abe's shock and awe policies Japanese rates doubled on Wednesday, Thursday. If markets suspect (and I think they do) that Japanese monetary policies are failing as indicated by rising rates, then we maybe witnessing the beginning of the end for Japan and the rest of the world! why?
3. When investors realize QE and ZIRP have failed we will see the 1.5 quadrillion dollar derivative market melt down and it wont be an ordinary unwinding. Chaos is not a word that will describe the result as counter parties evaporate and the world banking system collapses....
Funny how words change their meaning. I remember watching a Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers film on Channel 4 one Saturday afternoon called 'The Gay Divorce'. Of course the word 'Gay' has changed completely since the 1930s and it was all very comic.
In contemporary mainstream economics the word 'recovery' seems also to have undergone a transmutation. Once upon a time it meant falling unemployment, increasing investment, rising wages and prices, all based upon official statistics you could actually believe.
Today recovery means asset price bubbles, wage repression, pension repression, grinding down the poor the sick and the old, stubborn levels of unemployment/underemployment, a massive liquidity trap, counterfeit statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Office Of National Statistics - but hey, stock markets are booming, companies are sitting on piles of cash, share buybacks are all the rage, the financial elite is raking it in again, the tax avoidance industry has never been healthier or more ubiquitous. Yes this is some Central Bank engineered 'recovery'.
What really amazes me is the degree to which financial commentators are taken in by such blatantly crude propaganda. Which reminds me of the old saying: ‘You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do un-bribed, there's no occasion to.'Of course there are exceptions, but the majority of commentators and opinion formers seem satisfied to simply spew out the 'official' Pollyanna rubbish. The reason for this is that they actually believe it themselves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I quoted  Spiegel and refer to the ECB study claiming that the average Germans pay for the rich Greeks in this crisis, but to me this is all coordinated pro-Troika propaganda aimed at perpetuating the current status quo in Europe.
a) The Spiegel speaks about the euro-bailouts as if they were gifts - i.e. free transfers - while in fact they are loans
b) The research which supposedly shows that Southern Europeans are wealthier than Germans is dubious to say the least.
- It counts houses and property, i.e. assets the value of which was hugely inflated at the time of research (for Spain data is from 2008 and for most other countries 2010). These values have since collapsed and can go further down since the research has been done. Since 2008 house prices in Spain decreased by 50% . 2010 was the year that the Eurocrisis has started, Since then the GDP of Greece has dropped by 20%+, labor cost in Greece has dropped by 40% and houses have lost substantial value. Do you believe that the average Greek is as wealthy as in 2010?  Even if we assume that the methodology of the research was correct (it is certain not), are the findings of this research still valid? Obviously not.
- The ECB does not count transfers by the state, i.e. provision of good education, health, help with childcare, tax credits, housing and other benefits. These add to an individual's wealth and are much higher in Germany than Greece for example. The research should have measured the average income in each country. State transfers boost low incomes and contribute to raising the average. So the results hide some of the average German wealth.
- To my understanding, this research measures the wealth of households - not individual wealth, and the research admits that in Germany households are smaller than in Southern Europe on average. If you have more people in the household, the wealth is less per individual. But the emphasis was deliberately placed on household income because this makes Southern Europe look richer. Importantly, there is a fundamental question here: how countries like Spain and Greece with consistently lower GDP per capita since time immemorial people can be richer than Germany on average?. Shall I suggest that Germans, instead of saving to buy a house, they squander their money sailing on the frozen lakes of Finland or doing archaeology in Mongolia? Talking about GDPs, the per capita GDP of Greece (PPP - what one can buy) in 2011 was lower than that of the Czech republic's and Slovenia's. Now, thanks to all the beneficial effect of austerity it might approaching that of Zimbabwe.
To me, this research and article seem a very convenient way of telling Southern Europeans at the right time: don't complain to the Troika about the destruction of your economies and societies with these anti-economic austerity policies, don't complain about the medieval labor laws imposed on you, the halving of your wages and the asset stripping.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Capital Economics: eurozone crisis wil flare up again this year -
Here's some analysis from Julian Jessop of Capital Economics on today's minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting last month. Among other points, he predicts more alarm in the eurozone this year.The revelation (although hardly new) in the latest FOMC minutes that some members would favour at least a tapering of QE by the end of the year has refocused attention on the role that Fed buying has been playing in keeping Treasury yields low. (See US section below.)The conventional wisdom appears to be that 10-year Treasury yields are only likely to remain below 2% if the US central bank maintains its current pace of buying. In fact, the launches of successive bouts of quantitative easing have seen yields rise, rather than fall. Instead, the prospects for Treasuries depend mainly on the outlooks for short-term interest rates, inflation expectations, safe haven demand and other overseas buying, which together should keep yields low for at least another year.At first sight, it might seem obvious that the Fed’s purchases of government bonds under QE3 have been a key factor keeping their yields low, and hence that any scaling back of these purchases would inevitably see yields surge. But the reality is more complicated. Indeed, Treasury yields actually rose during most of the period when the Fed was buying government bonds during QE1 and QE2, and are higher now than when the Fed launched QE3.There are several ways in which large-scale central bank purchases of government bonds can put upward pressure on their yields. One is by raising long-term expectations for inflation. Another is by improving the prospects for the real economy and increasing the appetite for risk, thus encouraging investors to buy assets such as equities or industrial commodities rather than safe-haven government bonds. (Correspondingly, these riskier assets might be the major casualties if the Fed stops buying Treasuries, rather than Treasuries themselves.) To the extent that QE succeeds in restoring confidence, it might lead investors to revise up their expectations for the average level of short-term interest rates over the life of the bond too. The upshot is that we would not necessarily expect a sustained rise in Treasury yields even if the Fed, perhaps mindful of the implications for its balance sheet and eventual exit strategy, does scale back its purchases later in the year. These concerns may matter less for “conventional” monetary policy and high unemployment would still be likely to keep official interest rates on hold near zero. There is also now more room for inflation expectations to drop again, especially if commodity prices continue to fall.Finally, other investors might simply step up to take the Fed’s place. In particular, we expect a renewed escalation of the euro-zone crisis in the second half of the year to boost safe haven demand for Treasuries. And at the margin, the fact that the Bank of Japan will now be buying a lot more JGBs may encourage (or even force) some Japanese institutions to increase their purchases of Treasuries instead.

Monday, April 8, 2013

WoWWWW....I can't believe this ...

Largest German bank’s Singapore unit helped birth companies and trusts in tax havens. Germany’s largest financial institution, Deutsche Bank, helped its customers maintain more than 300 secretive offshore companies and trusts through its Singapore branch, an investigation by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, German public broadcaster NDR and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found. More than 100 customer consultants at Deutsche Bank Singapore helped create or manage 309 offshore entities for its customers in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens, according to secret records obtained by the news organizations. Besides Deutsche Bank, the article on the same topic at the Sueddeutsche also mentions UBS and JP Morgan and "virtually all big banks" as being implicated in the offshore scandal.  I know it's kind of stating the obvious, but these offshore money bunkers are only possible with the help of a) the big banks and b) the big four accounting firms - as clearly stated in "the tax free tour", an excellent dutch documentary on this subject. The biggest part of it is in english. The outrage I see by politicians is kind of funny - as if we only find this out now. Because of course, this entire system has been allowed by our leaders - and us. In other news, there now seem to be 400 Belgians on the list as opposed to a hundred yesterday. BUt we have already been assured that there are no politicians or leaders of BEL20 companies involved, and neither are the very wealthy families in there. Hmmmm...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bernanke: RELAX!! With $85 Billion being pumped into EU Stocks and Bundesbank...All is WELL!

Eurozone unemployment hits new high

Eurozone unemployment data is in and makes predictably grim reading.
Joblessness in the currency bloc hit an all-time high of 12% in February, compared with an original estimate of 11.9% for January, which has since been revised up to 12%.
That is a big jump from this time last year, when the unemployment rate was 10.9%.
As usual, there were huge discrepancies between the member states, with the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria at 4.8% and Germany at 5.4%. The highest rate was in Greece, which recorded a rate of 26.4% (although figures are from December 2012), and Spain, where the rate is 26.3%.
Unemployment in the European Union
Unemployment in the European Union Source: Eurostat

Codes as follows... Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), France (FR), Italy (IT), Cyprus (CY), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), Malta (MT), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK), Finland (FI), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nigel Farage tonight-Get your money out of europe-BANK RUN, NOW !!!!

Nigel Farage tonight-Get your money out of europe-BANK RUN

“I must say the thing I find the shabbiest about it is there insisting that it doesn’t need to be subjected to a vote in the Cypriot Parliament. I very much hope that the members of the Cypriot Parliament say, ‘To hell with that, we demand another vote.’
It’s funny isn’t it, the Germans are going to have a vote on it in their Parliament, but the Cypriots are being told that they shouldn’t have a vote on it. If that’s not moving into a German dominated Europe, I don’t know what is.
I said last week that I felt any savers who had money in other eurozone banks, particularly in the Southern eurozone countries, really ought to think seriously about getting their money out. Well, this afternoon something far more serious has happened. The Dutch Finance Minister, about an hour and a half ago, said that he saw the Cyprus eurozone bailout as now being a template of how they intend to act in the future. So the burden of all of this will now fall on the private sector, and not on the public sector.
Frankly, what that now says is that anybody that has money, or anybody that has big money sitting in a Spanish or an Italian bank, and particularly if you happen to be a financial officer for a company, it would be criminally negligent of you to now leave your money or a company’s money in a Spanish or an Italian bank.
I think what they’ve done today is to spark a major run on those banks. I see that some of the banks stocks have fallen 6% this afternoon, and I think in their desperation to keep the eurozone propped-up, I really believe that long-term they have made an absolutely fatal error. They have now crossed the bounds into one of complete criminality, and from this their reputations will never, ever recover.”


Sunday, February 17, 2013

New revelations about the extent of the tensions between the EU and the IMF.  Speaking on Greek news channels, the economist Iannis Varoufakis said that officials at the IMF told him that in order to justify their participation in the bailout programme they used the wrong fiscal multiplier on purpose when calculating the terms of the Greek MoU. He suggested that powerful countries contributing to the fund have been putting pressure on the IMF to admit the mistake because it is now so blatantly obvious that the affects of the crippling austerity measures in Greece are in no-one’s interest.
 The EU on the other hand are determined not to rock the boat before the German elections by admitting to a faulty policy that will inevitably lead to a huge debt write down (this time it will actually affect the ECB and large bond holders). Hence Oli Rehn’s statement yesterday that they don’t care what ‘mistakes’ have been made – the Greeks have to abide by the terms of the MoU.
 Question: where does this leave the Greek people? How long can they carry on making such huge sacrifices to honour their commitments to a faulty fiscal programme which is ruining the lives of millions and driving the Greek economy into a depression of surreal proportions?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

France is another PIG. In fact, France is the "F in PIG". It's just a matter of time until the Euro does to France what it has done for Italy.
Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande battling to undo the potential reputational damage.
“There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”
The comments came as President Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by €60bn (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by €20bn.
Data from Banque de France showed earlier this month that a flight of capital has already left the country amid concerns that France’s Socialist leader intends to soak the rich and businesses. The actor Gérard Depardieu has renounced his French citizenship and decamped to Russia in protest, while David Cameron said Britain will “roll out the red carpet” to attract wealthy individuals.
Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, said the comments by Mr Sapin were “inappropriate”. France has declared war on business.
This country has been told for decades it could ignore globalisation, and that the Brits and Americans are more-or-less contemptible.Their businesses close and capital leaves as fast as it can.They described Sarkozy as Mr Bling because he had one expensive inauguration dinner.They have been lied to about reality and there are vast numbers of unreconstructed communists and super-socialists, with a bureaucracy that defies belief. For Germany, France now is THE problem - not Britain, which is similar to Germany in many ways.Hollande is loathed by many in France and now feared by most for the insanity and naivety of what he is doing.There is no budget correction here, just rapid decline, illusion and mounting irrelevance.This place is becoming very frightening...
Well ....There is a common theme here...Someone has nicked all the money, from virtually every country in the world. And we are all sat here twiddling our thumbs worrying about all the debt.   ...  Now think about debt.... How can nearly all the countries in the world, legitimately be in debt?..Who is the debt owed to?...  Whoever these people are, must live in some of these countries, and I am almost certain, that they have - or they think they have - complete power and control over what is going on in these countries...
They are not as some people try and make out - the likes of pensions and insurance companies - otherwise pensioners wouldn't themselves be in the process of being totally screwed. All these problems should be resolvable. Money, no matter what it is based on, does not simply evaporate into thin air and completely disappear.
So the people of all the countries in the world must take this one step at a time, and identify whose hands are actually on the levers of power.  What are the fat controllers planning to do with all their power, if we do not take back control from them?..They are going to try and kill us all. That is what always happens with such enormous power. Ask any old German or Russian who actually survived and witnessed it...We helped come to their rescue. No one's going to come to ours except ourselves.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

And the dollar falllsss, and the markets rrrriseee...?? abslute madness...?

LONDON—Euro-zone industrial output declined the most in three years in November, pulled lower by countries in the region's south facing recession as they attempt to cut debt and deficits through austerity policies. The decline is a further indication that the wider economy could contract for a third consecutive quarter in the final three months of 2012 as fiscally frail countries struggle with still-high borrowing costs and demand for goods suffers amid continuing job cuts. Output dropped 3.7% from a year earlier, the biggest decrease since November 2009, when output slumped 7%, Eurostat, the official European statistical office said Monday. Industrial output fell 0.3% in November compared with October, the third consecutive slide on a month-to-month basis. The yearly decline was due to weakness across the board with production of intermediate and capital goods falling at the steepest pace since 2009. In October, industrial output retreated 3.3% on the year and 1.0% on the month, Eurostat said. The October data were revised after previously being reported as falling 1.4% on the month and 3.6% on the year. The November figures were weaker than expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires last week projected the data to show industrial output rose 0.2% on the month and fell 3.2% on the year. The data provide further evidence that the economy of the 17-nation currency bloc contracted for a third straight quarter in the final three months of 2012. "November's euro-zone industrial production data provided further strong signs that the recession in the region as a whole intensified in the final quarter of last year," said Ben May, European economist for Capital Economics. Ireland, Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal all saw production decline in November compared with October. Italy also published its full industrial production release Monday. Output fell 1.0% on the month and by 7.6% on the year in November last year, a bigger fall than expected. Output has declined for six straight months in monthly terms, and 15 consecutive months on an annual basis. Italy's national statistics agency Istat said the decline was mainly due to a fall in investment and energy output. Eurostat also reported that Germany saw a meager 0.1% monthly increase in November, while in France, output grew 0.5% over the same period.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Americans, or at least a good number of Americans, seem to have a great problem in keeping their noses out of other peoples affairs. This time it is the turn of us, "the Brits", to come under the spotlight and to receive the guidance, advice, or perhaps more accurately the "warning" instructions, from the great American busybody to dismiss any thoughts or suggestions of having a referendum on the question of European membership, and to remain within the European Union. Now personally, I believe that continued membership of Europe would be more and more disastrous over time and that we should determine our continued relationship with those across the Channel by the means of a referendum. I would argue that point of view with anyone in this country be they politician, public, press or in fact anyone else that may have a point of view different to mine. However, the thought of "outsiders", particularly Americans, (who's record of offering "advice" to all and sundry outside their own shores is, at best, unfortunate) offering the instruction that not only should we remain in the European Union, but we should also forget expressing a view on membership, is particularly galling. The American people have recently had an election to choose the person who they want to be their President for the next four years. During that time of electioneering, right up to the date of polling, I nor many others in this country, have had the temerity to instruct the American people who they should or should not, vote for as their President. Apart perhaps from a few private comments to friends or others about the candidates public remarks or attitudes , it would be quite wrong of those outside to try to influence the outcome. Many American politicians and State department sycophants, evidently do not share this attitude and consider it their duty as the self appointed "guardians of the world" to throw in their opinions and platitudes on any matter. History is littered with the results of American "advice" and the consequences of their interventionist policies. It may be a vain hope, but the State department, the President for the time being and the countless other interfering American meddlers, really should keep their grubby little fingers out of other peoples pies and their noses out of others people business.