Showing posts with label prezidentiale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prezidentiale. Show all posts

Friday, July 14, 2017

PARIS - President Donald  Trump acknowledged that France and the US had “occasional disagreements” but said that would not disrupt a friendship that dates back to the American Revolution. Macron acknowledged sharp differences with Trump over climate change. But he said he and the US president were able to discuss how best to combat “a global threat with enemies who are trying to destabilise us”, with a focus on counter-terrorism. President Trump said that his recent meeting with Putin had led to a ceasefire in a part of southern Syria, and said that he was working on “a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria”. He suggested that other parties would become involved in the deal, saying “and all of a sudden you will have no bullets fired in Syria”.  As Trump began his 24-hour tour of Paris, the two leaders’ body language was under close scrutiny. Macron chose to move on from the aggressive handshake he offered the US leader at their initial meeting in May, instead styling himself as Trump’s new “straight-talking” best friend on the international stage. the invitation to the US president to attend this year’s Bastille Day celebrations was in the pipeline long before both Macron and Trump’s election because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry by the US into the first world war.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The agreement signed between Greece and the EU after three weeks of lively negotiations is a compromise reached under economic duress. Its only merit for Greece is that it has kept the Syriza government alive and able to fight another day. That day is not far off. Greece will have to negotiate a long-term financing agreement in June, and has substantial debt repayments to make in July and August. In the coming four months the government will have to get its act together to negotiate those hurdles and implement its radical programme. The European left has a stake in Greek success, if it is to beat back the forces of austerity that are currently strangling the continent.   In February the Greek negotiating team fell into a trap of two parts. The first was the reliance of Greek banks on the European Central Bank for liquidity, without which they would stop functioning. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, ratcheted up the pressure by tightening the terms of liquidity provision. Worried by developments, depositors withdrew funds; towards the end of negotiations Greek banks were losing The second was the Greek state’s need for finance to service debts and pay wages. As negotiations proceeded, funds became tighter. The EU, led by Germany, cynically waited until the pressure on Greek banks had reached fever pitch. By the evening of Friday 20 February the Syriza government had to accept a deal or face chaotic financial conditions the following week, for which it was not prepared at all.  The resulting deal has extended the loan agreement, giving Greece four months of guaranteed finance, subject to regular review by the “institutions”, ie the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF. The country was forced to declare that it will meet all obligations to its creditors “fully and timely”.   Furthermore, it will aim to achieve “appropriate” primary surpluses; desist from unilateral actions that would “negatively impact fiscal targets”; and undertake “reforms” that run counter to Syriza pledges to lower taxes, raise the minimum wage, reverse privatisations, and relieve the humanitarian crisis.   In short, the Syriza government has paid a high price to remain alive. Things will be made even harder by the parlous state of the Greek economy. Growth in 2014 was a measly 0.7%, while GDP actually contracted during the last quarter. Industrial output fell by a further 3.8% in December, and even retail sales declined by 3.7%, despite Christmas. The most worrying indication, however, is the fall in prices by 2.8% in January. This is an economy in a deflationary spiral with little or no drive left to it. Against this background, insisting on austerity and primary balances is vindictive madness.  The coming four months will be a period of constant struggle for Syriza. There is little doubt that the government will face major difficulties in passing the April review conducted by the “institutions” to secure the release of much-needed funds. Indeed, so grave is the fiscal situation that events might unravel even faster. Tax income is collapsing, partly because the economy is frozen and partly because people are withholding payment in the expectation of relief from the extraordinary tax burden imposed over the last few years. The public purse will come under considerable strain already in March, when there are sizeable debt repayments to be made.  But even assuming that the government successfully navigates these straits, in June Greece will have to re-enter negotiations with the EU for a long-term financing agreement. The February trap is still very much there, and ready to be sprung again.  What should we as Syriza do and how could the left across Europe help? The most vital step is to realise that the strategy of hoping to achieve radical change within the institutional framework of the common currency has come to an end. The strategy has given us electoral success by promising to release the Greek people from austerity without having to endure a major falling-out with the eurozone. Unfortunately, events have shown beyond doubt that this is impossible, and it is time that we acknowledged reality.   For Syriza to avoid collapse or total surrender, we must be truly radical. Our strength lies exclusively in the tremendous popular support we still enjoy. The government should rapidly implement measures relieving working people from the tremendous pressures of the last few years: forbid house foreclosures, write off domestic debt, reconnect families to the electricity network, raise the minimum wage, stop privatisations. This is the programme we were elected on. Fiscal targets and monitoring by the “institutions” should take a back seat in our calculations, if we are to maintain our popular support. At the same time, our government must approach the looming June negotiations with a very different frame of mind from February. The eurozone cannot be reformed and it will not become a “friendly” monetary union that supports working people. Greece must bring a full array of options to the table, and it must be prepared for extraordinary liquidity measures in the knowledge that all eventualities could be managed, if its people were ready. After all, the EU has already wrought disaster on the country.   Syriza could gain succour from the European left, but only if the left shakes off its own illusions and begins to propose sensible policies that might at last rid Europe of the absurdity that the common currency has become. There might then be a chance of properly lifting austerity across the continent. Time is indeed very short for all of us. ( source : The Guardian)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

No one in Brussels or other EU capitals is surprised to learn that Jean-Claude Juncker’s Luxembourg was, and is, a tax haven. And no one doubts that the new president of the European commission, a crafty survivor whose political longevity is peerless in Europe, knew enough about the vast tax avoidance schemes practised there, even if he did not bother to master all the fine print.
The question is whether Juncker, a little more than a month into a five-year term as head of the EU executive, can weather the storm and credibly perform a poacher-turned-gamekeeper role of setting up an EU regime to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.  There are few leaders in Europe who understand the workings of the EU as well as the former prime minister of Luxembourg. With the exception of Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, Juncker is the only leader left who took part in the negotiation of the Maastricht treaty more than 20 years ago which dealt with the impact on the EU of German reunification and the process to create the euro.  He has been attending EU summits uninterruptedly for 20 years. No one at the summit table can boast that record. He knows everyone. He has friends everywhere. A fixer, a mediator between France and Germany (needed right now as much as ever); the consummate EU insider, he also knows where the EU’s skeletons are buried.  Asked about the impact of the Luxleaks on Juncker’s credibility and the authority of the new commission, the commission vice-president, Jyrki Katainen, squirmed and left the room. “I trust him,” he told the Guardian. “I’m not in a position to give any advice … We have to focus on what the president has done by himself and not done.”  Last March, the EU’s centre-right leaders, including the paramount leader, Angela Merkel of Germany, met in Dublin and backed Juncker to become the next commission chief after he was unseated last year as Luxembourg’s prime minister.  They will not make life difficult for him now. For them, mayhem at the top of the commission would seriously destabilise an EU desperately trying to come up with policies to drag Europe out of years of crisis, while anti-EU populists give the leaders a hard time across the continent. The consensus on not rocking the Juncker boat was evident in the European parliament last month. The far-right populists, led by Nigel Farage of Britain’s Ukip, Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National and the Five Star movement mavericks of Italy’s Beppe Grillo, tabled a vote of no confidence in Juncker.  Everyone else held their noses. Even Juncker critics on the left refused to back the motion, while the mainstream Christian and social democrats, and liberals all solidly supported the president.  Juncker took the entire 28-strong commission to the parliament, defended himself after the first round of Luxembourg leaks, and walked away unharmed. Besides, in the endless turf wars waged between rival EU institutions in Brussels, the parliament views Juncker as “its” commission chief – it played a key role in getting him the job in the first place – and will not challenge him too severely.  If there is pressure on Juncker, it will come not from the EU political elite, but from the media in the form of further revelations. Officials and diplomats say his fate will hinge on how compelling the evidence against him is. But the competition department of the commission he heads is also investigating Luxembourg on the grounds that some of the “comfort letters”, tax rulings, and avoidance strategies agreed by his then administration amounted to state aid in breach of EU competition rules. The cases of Fiat and Amazon are being investigated, while Skype may have to be added to what seems certain to become a long, and lengthening list.
Juncker insists his position at the head of the commission will not impair the credibility and impartiality of its investigation.  Rather than jeopardise his position, the political elites in Germany and France and elsewhere will exploit the Juncker scandal to push an agenda bringing more transparency to tax arrangements to counter “tax-dumping” between EU governments.
Juncker claims to be a champion of such moves, suggesting either a Damascene conversion to the cause or a calculation that his political future depends on being seen to be a born-again proponent of fair taxation.  For the moment at least, Juncker looks tarnished by the disclosures, but not really in fear for his job. Although he is free to resign, he cannot be removed as an individual. The entire European commission would have to go, felled by a vote of no confidence in the European parliament. This is a remote prospect at the moment. And for this to happen, national leaders, chief among them Merkel, would have to signal that Juncker’s time is up and then press their allies in the parliament into organising the commission’s collapse. No one in Brussels at present is talking in such terms.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

As much as I admire Germany and its impressive manufacturing industry, the almost total reliance on exports as a way to achieve growth means that Germany cannot be the engine of growth that the Eurozone needs it to be.  The economic policies of China and Germany were just as much responsible for the financial crash as those of the debtor nations who have to exist for the policies of those two countries to work. German and Chinese surpluses were never returned and spent in their domestic markets but were recycled in the debtor states so that they could continue to buy German and Chinese goods to support the export growth that these two countries are so reliant on, of course this Ponzi scheme could not continue indefinitely hence the crash. Much of Europe is still in denial about some of the causes of the financial crash so it is hardly surprising that they cannot find a cure if they misdiagnose the illness. Anglo-saxon style casino banking was a convenient scapegoat which allowed others just as culpable to get away scot free. It explains the constant attacks on the city of London while ignoring their own zombie banks which are loaded up with sovereign debt which may turn out to be worthless. How many stress tests have they conducted on banks which have turned out to be nothing but meaningless shams that convinced no one.
It is worth remembering that at the introduction of the Euro the most vocal critics were British and what they predicted then subsequently happened. There is a lot to admire about Germany but do not have all the answers...
Germany's de facto leadership of the EU has been terrible. Most especially on the economic front. Certainly Germany itself benefitted from the hard currency policy it imposed on the other eurozone countries, as the industries of those countries folded one by one and their markets were taken over by German ones. But it was a disaster for the rest of us, and ultimately even Germany will be hurt as we become more and more unable to buy its goods. The only way soft-currency countries could have continued to compete with hard-currency ones like Germany was if the latter had allowed some domestic wage inflation. But they didn't, instead asking troubled countries to impose wage deflation - which they well knew was impossible, because wages are determined by contract and cannot be lowered easily any more than pensions.
For soft-currency countries, and even medium-hard currency ones like France, the euro has been a trap. You can't leave it without creating devaluation fears which will drive interest rates into the stratosphere, and if you stay in it your industry erodes year by year until you become a third-world vassal of Germany. The teutonic refusal to restore the competitivity of its southern neighbors by increasing its own wages has been selfish and destructive.
The new German assertiveness in foreign policy matters hasn't been much better. Merkel's dominant and belligerent stance during the Crimea crisis did more harm than good and is one reason why Russia and the EU are hardly talking any more, let alone working together to defuse the Ukrainian crisis. In any case if Germany wants to continue to call the foreign policy shots for all of Europe, it might start by doing its share of defense spending instead of relying on the French/British security umbrella.
Power comes with responsibility and Germany under Merkel hasn't shown much of it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

EU spending will total €135.5bn next year under a deal reached by EU negotiators overnight, which included extra funds to fight soaring youth unemployment in the 28-nation bloc.  The deal, which cuts EU spending by about 6pc from this year, is the first to reflect the new terms for EU budgets from 2014-20 agreed by the bloc’s leaders in February and had little room to manoevre on the overall figures involved. “I’m glad that we could reach an agreement with the European Parliament on the financing of priority areas such as growth, employment, innovation and humanitarian aid,” said Algimantas Rimkunas, deputy finance minister for Lithuania, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.  The deal reached after more than 16 hours of negotiations includes up to €3.9bn to support job creation, training and apprenticeships for the estimated 19 million young Europeans currently out of work.  Critics say the extra cash is a drop in the ocean, working out at about €200 for every unemployed young person in the region.   The vast majority of EU spending - around two thirds of the total - will be spent on subsidies for European farmers and investment projects such as road construction in the bloc’s poorer central and eastern European member states.  The agreement must now be rubber-stamped by EU ministers and the full parliament before it can enter force.  The European Commission had originally proposed a budget of €136bn for next year, which the parliament had sought to increase to €136.4bn.  As part of the earlier deal on the EU’s long-term budget, funds earmarked but not spent in a particular budget year can be carried over to the next year’s budget, subject to approval by EU governments.  The European Union budget is equivalent to about 1pc of the bloc’s annual gross domestic product - a small fraction of total EU government spending of almost 50pc of GDP in 2012. Reuters

I have been warning about the ever increasing powers of the EU for some time now, could this be the straw that finally breaks the camels back? What sovereign Govt. will tolerate such interference in it's financial affairs? If this measure is allowed to happen it signals the end of Democracy in Europe, is that a price worth paying? As I see it we now have no choice but to vote UKIP to remove ourselves from this wholly dictatorial club before we lose our sovereignty forever.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The deal is expected to set members’ total payments to the EU for 2014-20 at Euro 908.4 billion or £770 billion. For the last seven-year spending round, payments were set at £800 billion, and the new agreement marks the first time the EU’s multi-year budget has fallen. The agreement was sealed shortly after 4pm in Brussels, after more than 24-hours of non-stop talks, including an all-night negotiation during which Mr Cameron drank numerous espressos and chewed sugary gum sweets. The deal was announced on Twitter by Herman van Rumpoy, the EU president. He wrote: “Deal done! #euco has agreed on #MFF for the rest of the decade. Worth waiting for.” Euco is a reference to the European Council. MFF refers the Multi-annual Financial Framework.  The £30 billion of cuts include a £1.7 billion reduction in the size of the EU's administrative budget, which will cut the pay and perks of the 55,000 European civil servants.
The summit was the first since Mr Cameron committed to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership and put the result to an in/out referendum by 2017.
That promise had drawn warnings that Britain will lose influence in Europe, and some EU leaders used it to challenge Mr Cameron over the budget. “Why should we listen to a country that might not be in the EU in 2017,” asked a French source. However, Mr Cameron has, for now, won the crucial support of Angela Merkel of Germany, the biggest contributor to the EU budget. Her backing for deeper cuts in the budget secured Mr Cameron’s victory, and left Mr Hollande looking weakened and isolated.
Despite the historic reduction in the overall size of the EU budget the British government could still end up have to pay more in contributions into Brussels budgets. Officials have calculated that Britain's payments could rise by £500 million as share of the budget going to newer member countries, such as Poland and Romania that joined the EU after 2004, increases. British sources said that because the UK gets no rebate on spending in the new member states, a deal signed by Tony Blair in 2005, the UK's net contribution is expected to drift upwards. The budget deal must still be approved by the European Parliament, which has vowed to reject it. Martin Shulz, the German president of the parliament, is organising a secret ballot among MEPs in March where they could seek the veto the budget without being identified by voters or their home governments. "Those MEPs who have asked for a secret ballot have their reasons,” Mr Schulz said. “There is a lot of pressure on members to vote in a certain direction.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eurozone leaders met for the umpteenth time in October in their latest attempt to shore up the faltering economies of Europe and restore confidence in the euro.
Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, there has been an almost constant string of meetings among top policymakers in a concerted effort to resolve the debt crisis that has decimated the Greek economy and dragged the eurozone to the brink of its second recession in three years.
These include meetings of the Eurogroup, Economic and Financial Affairs Council (known as Ecofin) and European Council, as well as full-blown European Union summits.
And yet still the crisis rumbles on, with Spain looking increasingly likely to follow Greece, the Republic of Ireland and Portugal in seeking a bailout as it struggles to bring its debts under control.
So what have all these meetings, talks, lengthy negotiations and summits been in aid of? What have they actually achieved?
Bankers have long pilloried policymakers for their inability to get to grips with the crisis and implement effective reforms to solve it. But do they have a point?
Decide for yourselves with our handy summary of the major eurozone meetings held since Athens first called on its neighbours for help.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Two of the leading Petrom top managers, who were in the company's management team ever since the privatisation of the oil and gas producer in 2004, have this year left to carry out the reorganisation of OMV's latest acquisition: Petrol Ofisi."I won't be talking about Petrom today because it is already going in the right direction, of integration. Let's talk about Turkey." This was one of the opening messages conveyed by Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, CEO of OMV in London, at the latest media summit organised by the Austrian oil group, Petrom's majority shareholder.
In mid-October, OMV finalised the acquisition of Turkey's biggest petrol station chain, Petrol Ofisi, for which it paid one billion euros, securing a significant share of a market credited with the biggest chances of growth in the next period.Reinhard Pichler, 49, former CFO of Petrom, left his position last week, being replaced by Daniel Turnheim, a member of the OMV group since back in 2002. Pichler is not leaving the group, however, but will go to Turkey, where he will fill the same position he has occupied in Petrom since 2004.At the beginning of this year Tamas Mayer, who used to be in charge of Petrom's marketing operations, i.e. of the nearly 550 distribution stations, left the position to become Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Petrol Ofisi. According to some sources, Mayer will be running marketing operations within Petrol Ofisi, as well.Agerpres, Mediafax, Romanian Vancouver Sun,Global News, Financial Times,Tribune, ,Wall Street Journal,The Washington Times,Athens News,The New York Times,USA Today,Le Monde

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IMF to relax deficit targets for the co-funding of more EU projects

The IMF should relax budgetary gap targets for Romania so that more EU projects could be co-funded, states Andreas Treichl, a CEO with Erste Group, which controls BCR. "Romania is in a situation of conflicting objectives: its strong advantage are the funds available from the EU, but governmental funding is also necessary for these funds to be used. If money from the budget is allotted, deficit targets agreed on with the IMF are overshot and a conflict of 'interests' emerges. The IMF could relax the targets for the European funds to be used. This will be a very interesting exercise in the following months," Treichl stated.Banks have a direct interest in the success of such a move, considering many entrepreneurs and public authorities need loans to be able to co-fund the European funds they try to get. It remains to be seen whether the banking lobby in this respect will be as strong as in the case of modifications requested for Ordinance 50 regarding retail loan contracts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Romania's international foreign currency reserves

Romania's international foreign currency reserves do not necessarily need to grow as they stand at a comfortable level, according to the governor of Romania's Central Bank (BNR), Mugur Isarescu.
He mentioned we have to give up the idea that it is a good thing if the international reserve is growing, NewsIn states.
As to the gold reserves of the neighbor countries, he said the central lender of Bulgaria has a reserve of 39.8 tons, that from Latvia 7.8 tons, that from Lithuania 5.9 tons, that from Poland 103 tons and that from Slovakia 31.7 tons. Romania's gold reserve stands at 103.7 tons.
The governor also talked about the gain from administering the international reserves, which dropped dramatically from 2008 and 2009 and even more in 2010.
The price of gold rose 2.5 times in the past five years.
Romania's foreign currency reserves lowered by 1.13 percent in June from the previous month, to 31.62 billion euros, according to a release issued by the central lender BNR.
Romania's international reserves – foreign currency and gold – eased 0.7 percent at the end of June to 34.99 billion euros, from 35.25 billion euros at the end of May.
The gold reserve maintained at 103.7 tons, but the evolution of international prices increased its value by 3.37 percent to 3.37 billion euros, from 3.26 billion euros in the previous month.