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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

Old 3rd Jul 2013, 14:55
  #3361 (permalink)  
 
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A simple explanation of the EU, its rules, its vagaries, and its total effing idiocy.

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Old 5th Jul 2013, 03:40
  #3362 (permalink)  
KAG
 
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Alpine: In France the few top students study German, the "average" ones choose English, and Spanish. Spanish is very famous in France, and very appreciated.
There is a huge number of students going to language class abroad for summer holidays, I went to Barcelona a few times as a kid with my class (in Russia too).
If a French cannot speak English, it doesn't mean automatically he/she doesn't speak a foreign language. German offers more opportunities as they are many French-German companies in which French people work.

I can speak 5 languages, and English is not my second one. In France I am not an exception and met many person in my case, also keep in mind I am "not educated", as I went directly to the real life a bit early when younger. However I have never met an English speaking person who can speak 5 languages, but met many of them bashing French people and their supposed inability to speak foreign languages. When I speak to a Chinese boss, I speak to him/her in Chinese, not in English, and believe me that's much better like that. Also where I fly more than 90% of the ATC/Control communication are done in Chinese, and the ones able to speak English only are missing a great deal of situational awarness, not to mention their inability to speak to the passengers.

Not so long time ago the world elite had to speak French, even in Russia, and now the world enjoys its language revange against French, I understand that, but please give us a break as the ones bashing us on this matter are the ones, most of the time, doing very poorly with foreign languages.

Probes: I am not an economist or anything close, but the whole idea of "sharing" work DOESN'T WORK, it has been proved many times by reality. The super idea of sharing work by working less (35 hours) or retire early (52 years for some French) makes the country poorer, increase taxes, in return decrease the whole activity. You cannot share work, you have to create it in a snowball effect by working MORE. I am not entering an argue with you Probes, I much appreciate your contributions here as I already told you. But on that point I desagree. Obviously we have to help the weaks, but we shouldn't encourage to work less. Meanwhile the speaculators and finance have to be regulated to be fair to the basic hard workers.
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Old 7th Jul 2013, 19:05
  #3363 (permalink)  
 
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Greek close to getting latest bailout payout The IMF has urged Greek authorities to deliver on their pledges quickly


Greece's government has said it is close to agreeing a deal to gain the latest payment of bailout money from its international lenders.
Eurozone finance ministers meet on Monday to decide whether to release the next instalment of rescue funds worth 6.3bn euros ($8.1bn; £5.4bn).
On Sunday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said: "I am optimistic that tomorrow we will have an agreement."
Talks have centred around 4,000 civil service jobs that are due to be cut.
Greece must pay off 6.6bn euros of debt by mid-August.
Here we go.

Statement 1 : Greece owes 6.6bn Euros which it must pay by mid-August.
Statement 2 : Eurozone finance ministers ........ to decide whether to release the next instalment of rescue funds worth 6.3bn euros.

Please someone tell me I'm missing something, because this sounds like Alice in Wonderland stuff to me.
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Old 7th Jul 2013, 20:57
  #3364 (permalink)  
 
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You (we) must be seriously deficient in the mental capacity department.

Not only can we not make sense of it, someone has decided the euro still has some value compared to other currencies.
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Old 7th Jul 2013, 21:31
  #3365 (permalink)  
Hardly Never Not Unwilling
 
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Not so long time ago the world elite had to speak French
That's true. France was the world's leading nation in the early 19th century. The remnants of its elegance are still there, and France is still a magnificent country, but it failed to keep up at the top of the heap and today plays a secondary, but still significant, role in geopolitics.

To get to the top and stay there you have to have the best educational system, a laissez-faire free enterprise economy, and a strong work ethic among the populace as key characteristics. The US and Western Civilization has let much of this go. Asian societies possess it and it is beginning to show.

The Islamic states will be blighted until years after they can shake off the grip.
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Old 8th Jul 2013, 10:27
  #3366 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that vid Cape - clear as mud now.

It was clear as lead before.
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Old 8th Jul 2013, 14:41
  #3367 (permalink)  
 
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KAG

Alpine: In France the few top students study German, the "average" ones choose English
Any German company recruiting a German-speaking French person who does not also speak English, is not going to be recruiting them for any kind of leading role.
German offers more opportunities as they are many French-German companies in which French people work.
Theoretically only KAG, Few weeks ago was watching a programme on TF1 where they compared unemployment in Karlsruhe area ( 4% ) with French communes 20-30 km away (15%). German companies were shown making efforts to go to France to recruit employees because next-to-no French made the effort in the other direction.

Don't know how successful they were, however I do not think this programme was taking a situation out of context.
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Old 8th Jul 2013, 15:31
  #3368 (permalink)  
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Interestingly, after lunch today with two Germans, a Pole, and a Pole/German in a French restaurant, with all, including myself, having lived are worked in various European countries, I started a discussion about where each of us would like to live. One German said Catalunia and he'd never go back, his German wife said she'd like to spend more time in Germany, the Pole/German said he's off to Moscow, his Polish wife said Warsaw, and I said London.

When we asked the French restaurant owner (and chef) if he'd like to return to work in France, he burst out laughing and walked away shaking his head at the stupid ideas foreigners have.

Which I think, if you'll forgive me, sums up this thread quite neatly.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 10:40
  #3369 (permalink)  
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The wheels are coming off the whole of southern Europe

None of Euroland’s key actors seems willing to admit that the current strategy is untenable. They hope to paper over the cracks until the German elections in September, as if that is going to make any difference.

A leaked report from the European Commission confirms that Greece will miss its austerity targets yet again by a wide margin. It alleges that Greece lacks the “willingness and capacity” to collect taxes. In fact, Athens is missing targets because the economy is still in freefall and that is because of austerity overkill. The Greek think-tank IOBE expects GDP to fall 5pc this year. It has told journalists privately that the final figure may be -7pc. The Greek stabilisation is a mirage.

Italy’s slow crisis is again flaring up. Its debt trajectory has punched through the danger line over the past two years. The country’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt – 129pc of GDP – may already be beyond the point of no return for a country without its own currency.

Standard & Poor’s did not say this outright when it downgraded the country to near-junk BBB on Tuesday. But if you read between the lines, it is close to saying the game is up for Italy. Its point is that if “nominal GDP” remains near zero, Rome will have to run a primary surplus of 5pc of GDP each year to stabilise the debt ratio. “Risks to achieving such an outturn appear to be increasing,” it said. Indeed. The International Monetary Fund has just slashed its growth forecast for Italy this year to -1.8pc. The accumulated fall in Italian output since 2007 will reach 10pc. This is a depression. Yet how is the country supposed to get out of this trap with its currency overvalued by 20pc to 30pc within EMU?

Spain’s crisis has a new twist. The ruling Partido Popular is caught in a slush-fund scandal of such gravity that it cannot plausibly brazen out the allegations any longer, let alone rally the nation behind another year of scorched-earth cuts. El Mundo says a “pre-revolutionary” mood is taking hold.

A magistrate has obtained the original “smoking gun” alleging that Premier Mariano Rajoy accepted illegal payments as a minister. The Left is calling for his head but so are members of the Consejo General del Poder Judicial, the justice watchdog. “Citizens cannot tolerate a situation where the prime minister has received undeclared payments,” said José Manuel Gómez, a Consejo member. Much of the ruling party appears tainted by a network of covert funding. If proved, said Mr Gomez, it poses a “very grave” threat to Spanish democracy.

Portugal is slipping away. Professor João Ferreira do Amaral’s book - Why We Should Leave The Euro – has been a bestseller for months. He accuses Brussels of serving as an enforcer for Germany and the creditor powers. Like Greece before it, Portugal is chasing its tail in a downward spiral. Economic contraction of 3pc a year is eroding the tax base, causing Lisbon to miss deficit targets. A new working paper by the Bank of Portugal explains why it has gone wrong. The fiscal multiplier is “twice as large as normal”, or 2.0, in small open economies during crisis times.

What is new is that Vitor Gaspar, the high priest of Portugal’s shock therapy, has thrown in the towel. He blames the fainthearted for refusing to slash with greater vigour. Needless to say, he still refuses to accept that a strategy of wage cuts and deflation in a country with total debt of 370pc of GDP was always likely to fail. If Portugal does pull off an “internal devaluation” within EMU it will shrink the economic base. Yet the debt burden remains. This is the dreaded denominator effect. Public debt has jumped from 93pc to 123pc since 2010 alone.

The Gaspar exit has closed a chapter. The junior coalition partners are demanding a change of course. I write before knowing whether President Anibal Cavaco Silva will call a snap election, opening the way for a Left-leaning anti-austerity government. The Portuguese press is already reporting that the European Commission is working secretly on a second bail-out, an admission that the wheels are coming off the original €78bn EU-IMF troika rescue. This is a political minefield.

Any fresh rescue would require a vote in the German Bundestag, certain to demand ferocious conditions if this occurs before the elections. Europe’s leaders have given a solemn pledge that they will never repeat the error made in Greece of forcing an EMU state into default, with haircuts for banks and pension funds. If Portugal needs debt relief, these leaders will face an ugly choice. Do they violate this pledge, and shatter market confidence? Or do they admit for the first time that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for holding EMU together? All rescue packages have been loans so far. German, Dutch, Finnish and other creditor parliaments have never yet had to crystallize a single euro in losses.

All this is happening just as tapering talk by the Fed sends shockwaves through credit markets, pushing up borrowing costs by 70 basis points across Europe. Spanish 10-year yields are back to 4.8pc. These are higher than they look, since Spain is already in deflation once tax distortions are stripped out. Real interest rates are soaring. By doing nothing to offset this, the ECB is allowing “passive tightening” to occur. Mario Draghi’s attempt to talk down yields with his new policy of forward guidance is spitting in the wind. The ECB needs to turn on the monetary spigot full blast – like the Bank of Japan – to head off a slide into deflation trap and enveloping disaster by next year. This is not going to happen. Der Spiegel reports that the German-led bloc fought vehemently against a rate cut at the last ECB meeting, even though Germany itself has slowed to a crawl as China and the BRICS come off the rails.

Markets have reacted insouciantly so far to these gestating crises across Club Med. They remain entranced by the “Draghi Put”, the ECB’s slowly fraying pledge to backstop Italian and Spanish debt, forgetting that the ECB can only act under strict conditions, triggered first by a vote in the Bundestag. These conditions can no longer be fulfilled. The politics have curdled everywhere.

Sooner or later, this immense bluff must surely be called.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 10:54
  #3370 (permalink)  
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A brilliant post, ORAC. My only critcism is that it paints too optimistic a view of the future.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 10:54
  #3371 (permalink)  
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Blurring the euro and EU single market is a good recipe for Brexit

What is Europe’s core? Is it the eurozone where the action is taking place (albeit for all the wrong reasons), or is it the single market, Europe’s largest trading club? While the question may sound academic, the answer could actually determine whether the UK will stay in the EU. The more the line between the eurozone and the single market is blurred, the more likely the UK is to leave. To save the single currency, some argue, the eurozone is on path to becoming a single state, so tightly knit that it’ll dominate the EU as a whole, writing the rules for all member states. Britain and other euro outs would become mere spectators, and face a choice between joining the euro - or leaving the EU.

This is exaggerated. Anyone watching eurozone leaders in action cannot possibly believe that they’ll manage to create a perfect political union any time soon. And the electorates in these countries wouldn’t support it. But even with some more euro integration, there’s still a clear risk, perfectly manifested in yesterday’s European Commission proposal for a joint banking resolution fund. The proposal is meant to deal with bank failure in a strongly interconnected single currency area – an absolutely key issue. The problem is that the Commission sees this as a single market matter – not a eurozone one, opening up a world of complicated questions. The legal justification for the proposal is pretty mind-boggling. The proposal would give the Commission substantial new powers, including to wind down and/or restructure any banks within the eurozone, and yet the Commission is using a legal article explicitly designed for the “functioning of the internal market.”

The Commission’s Q&A on the issue (the actual proposal hasn’t been published yet), says this is fine as the proposal, “eliminate(s) the competitive disadvantage that banks in the participating Member States in the [EU bank supervision] have compared to the non-participating Member States because of the lack of a centralised system to deal with banks in distress.”

Say what? So those countries which decided to enter into a banking union (to solve the crisis) have actually disadvantaged themselves since they either unable to borrow or print their own currency to backstop their financial system. Well, even if this is the case, surely this is just a fundamental flaw in the eurozone architecture (the lack of a lender of last resort), not a single market concern.

There are two major issues here.

It’s an obvious legal stretch, akin to the Working Time Directive being introduced on health & safety grounds or a €60bn bail-out fund established on a provision for natural disaster relief. Per definition, the single resolution fund (and banking union in general) involves a differentiated structure, as not all EU countries take part, so it cannot be single market.

Most importantly, it’s sets terrible legal precedent. If the EU can create a joint backstop for eurozone banks on single market grounds, what else can it do? This is particularly true as this proposal is decided by Qualified Majority Vote, meaning the eurozone can soon outvote non-euro countries through an inbuilt majority. It’s hard to see how this wouldn’t be a step towards the EU becoming the same as the eurozone.

Now, the Germans aren’t happy at all and – as predicted – claim that these proposals require EU treaty change. Chances are this will be watered down.

Regardless, Brussels should be wary of what forces it sets in motion by confusing the eurozone and the single market.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 11:42
  #3372 (permalink)  
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To the ones who predicted that euro would have lost one member by now at best, or simply exploded (like the Telegraph did predict, The Telegraph you quoted above speaking once more about Portugal, Spain, Italy):
BRUSSELS—Latvia crossed its final hurdle Tuesday and is set to become the 18th member of the euro zone on Jan. 1 2014
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 12:09
  #3373 (permalink)  
 
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Few weeks ago was watching a programme on TF1 where they compared unemployment in Karlsruhe area ( 4% ) with French communes 20-30 km away (15%). German companies were shown making efforts to go to France to recruit employees because next-to-no French made the effort in the other direction.
why would they ? If it's not French it must be merde.. like the economy under Hollande.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 12:30
  #3374 (permalink)  
 
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KAG

You are correct in that whoever said that has been proved wrong in fact ( I don't know if I did, but certainly believed it would happen when Greek crisis at its worst ) but I still believe the Eurozone is in a terrible situation with the incredible unemployment rates in Greece/Spain/Portugal/Italy/Cyprus and I don't know how they can recover.

I also do not know how many more unconventional or illegal manoeuvers Draghi can work at the ECB to keep the whole fragile mess together. Since national politicians are undoubtedly hiding various dirty financial secrets from everybody, what I really fear is that one of these could suddenly be exposed and the resulting panic would cause everything to spin out of control, creating political and financial havoc.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 12:36
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The point is that the Eurozone SHOULD have ditched members, and any sane financial policy would have ensured that this had happened. What is happening is that they are trying to hang onto every member to reinforce their power base, and bolster their egos.

This is papering over the cracks at its worst.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 12:45
  #3376 (permalink)  
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We were wrong in anticipating certain Member States would leave the Eurozone.

But we were not wrong in stating the Euro would ruin certain Member States.

To those of us actually living in one of those States (and not preaching from afar) what is happening is obvious. I could take photographs of all the local businesses closed and shuttered - and I live in a prosperus region.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 12:48
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We were wrong because we assumed that someone in Brussels would have been intelligent enough to do the necessary.

We were wrong in crediting them with that modicum of intelligence.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 13:18
  #3378 (permalink)  
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Alpine, yes that's true however it seems the whole world has little dirty secrets when it comes to economy/finance.

Now I am thinking about something, if Eurozone is not exploding, then one day it will get back on track right? It will happen one day or an other am I wrong? If it survives it's hard to beleive there won't be better times than now right? So at that moment what you all guys will do then? You won't have your little daily bashing time, you'll miss it right?
Enjoy your bashing while you still can
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 14:12
  #3379 (permalink)  
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if Eurozone is not exploding, then one day it will get back on track right?

Why ? Does the one thing automatically follow another ?

So at that moment what you all guys will do then?

If I did, I'd be the first to cheer. But optimism does not overrule the facts, dear KAG.
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Old 11th Jul 2013, 14:28
  #3380 (permalink)  
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But optimism
I was only speaking about basic physics and universe rules: if it doesn't explode but survives, then it will get better at one point, because it cannot be equal for ever or go down for ever which give way to the only option possible (and that's not a prediction): improvement.
Ok OFSO, I look forward to cheer together on that matter here on JB
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