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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

Old 9th Mar 2015, 06:07
  #3661 (permalink)  
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So, I take it we can expect the collapse of the euro at any moment then?
Europe is being torn apart – but the torture will be slow
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 06:42
  #3662 (permalink)  
 
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Gadzooks, the Telegraph, the Guardian and ORAC are in agreement.

That's it for Europe then.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 10:46
  #3663 (permalink)  
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And Forbes - A European Argentina
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 11:03
  #3664 (permalink)  
 
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God help us the feckwits in Brussels want a army now.
Imagine that baldy headed four eyed skinny little tosser Rumple Stiltskin as commander in Chief.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 19:26
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God help us the feckwits in Brussels want a army now.
Imagine that baldy headed four eyed skinny little tosser Rumple Stiltskin as commander in Chief.
You may think so but I'll bet BAE are even now mobilising their PR machine in support of, shall we say, 'a common military equipment policy for Europe'.

We can expect editorials in the Telegraph suggesting something of the sort quite soon.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 19:38
  #3666 (permalink)  
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You may think so but I'll bet BAE are even now mobilising their PR machine in support of, shall we say, 'a common military equipment policy for Europe'.

We can expect editorials in the Telegraph suggesting something of the sort quite soon.
I doubt it - because we already have one, and have had for several years. I'm currently reading a paper on how the EU Commission used the judicial activism of the the ECJ to twist the arms of the Council to force it through.

EU Defence procurement
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 06:37
  #3667 (permalink)  
 
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I doubt it - because we already have one, and have had for several years. I'm currently reading a paper on how the EU Commission used the judicial activism of the the ECJ to twist the arms of the Council to force it through.
Interesting, one might have thought that the opportunity to expand their customer base beyond the wind swept wastes of Linconshire into Europe would have suited BAE. But the deal cuts both ways and no doubt they find the current monopolistic arrangement to their advantage - which makes it worth while briefing against a change to a wider market.

In the mean time BAE's export efforts are focussed on our 'loyal allies' the Saudis. And some might argue that the more Saudi money soaked up by defence contractors, the less is available to their world wide program of financial support of mosque building. And less too, to trickle down to the terrorist groups who's financing is ultimately petro-dollar backed.
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Old 15th Mar 2015, 14:06
  #3668 (permalink)  
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Currency wars threaten Lehman-style crisis

........What we’re seeing, then, is the West’s very own version of “currency wars”. For almost half a decade, the big emerging markets have complained bitterly – and often publicly–- about mass money-printing by the world’s “leading economies”. The likes of Brazil and China have highlighted, rightly, that Western QE has lowered the relative value of their carefully accumulated dollar and sterling reserves (and debts) against local, emergent currencies such as the yuan and the real.

Now, with eurozone leaders engaging in fully blown QE, and rejoicing at the euro’s fall against the dollar, currency wars are taking place not just between the developed world and the emerging markets but between the developed nations themselves. Japan, of course, is also part of this intra-G7 currency conflict, having lately launched an astonishingly extreme QE programme designed to pump up the Bank of Japan’s balance sheet from just over 20pc to no less than 75pc of annual output within three years.

As such, the world’s leading economies have reduced themselves to blatantly competing less on the quality of what they produce, than on the speed with which they can depreciate their currencies against one another. The lessons of history are that such situations are prone to escalate into rancour and, ultimately, conflict. That’s the unfortunate truth.

We are, then, a very long way from normal. Consider that the ECB is launching its QE programme at a time when real interest rates are already negative. As such, historically ultra-loose monetary policy is now being made even looser. Myopic politicians like QE – because, by rigging sovereign bond markets, it allows them to keep borrowing and spending. Mismanaged banks also like QE – because it means they sell their burnt-out, under-performing investments to the state and pretend they’re solvent, which avoids the discomfort of going bust.

Meanwhile, respectable people are increasingly alarmed, raising concerns about “extraordinary measures” that some of us have been voicing for years.

The head of the Dutch central bank, having not previously complained publicly, last week admitted that euro-QE, by propping up spendthrift governments, would shield the likes of France and Italy from “market discipline”, postponing vital reforms. A senior Goldman Sachs banker added that negative interest rates are “freaking him out”.

And no wonder. For the longer profligate eurozone governments are able to ramp up borrowing, the more likely monetary union is dramatically to implode. And the further share prices are pumped up by QE and other monetary mutations, the more vulnerable global stock markets are to crash.

For now, as the euro weakens, the pound looks strong. While that’s bad news for UK exporters, it does make your holiday pounds go further. Consider, though, that while sterling is soaring now, we’re facing in May the most uncertain general election for decades. A minority Labour government, propped up by an increasingly Left-wing Scottish National Party – a distinct possibility, even if the Tories win the most votes and even the most seats – could see sterling plunge.

In the end, you see, whatever the actions of politicised central bankers, the fundamentals win.
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Old 15th Mar 2015, 15:43
  #3669 (permalink)  
 
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Why ORAC, I thought you'd composed an original 500 word essay describing the imminent demise of the euro (again).

Then I followed your link and saw you'd copy pasted it entirely from the Telegraph.
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Old 15th Mar 2015, 19:00
  #3670 (permalink)  
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According to a certain Wolfgang Schäuble, Greece is nearing a disorderly exit from the eurozone, as Greece is obliged to repay loans of €2.7 billion by the end of March, including €1.2 billion to the IMF by Friday this week.

There is no money, the larder is bare, public pension funds have been raided and government workers are not being paid, but there still isn't enough: the Centre for Economist and Busines Research says Greece has a cash shortfall of €10 billion this month..

Greece is "desperate" to receive a cash injection of €7.2 billion from the international bailout this month or next, and the ECB is now "reviewing" the country's liquidity every seven days.

Just wait for the value of the euro (against the pound) to rocket up if Greece leaves the eurozone. Remember, you read it here.
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Old 20th Mar 2015, 16:21
  #3671 (permalink)  
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From yesterday's FT letters page.....

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Old 21st Oct 2015, 22:47
  #3672 (permalink)  
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Bless, as if Europe didn't have enough problems.....

Defiant Portugal shatters the eurozone's political complacency

The delayed fuse on the eurozone's debt-deflation policies has finally detonated in a second country. Portugal has joined the revolt against austerity.

The rickety scaffolding of fiscal discipline and economic surveillance imposed on southern Europe by Germany is falling apart on its most vulnerable front. Antonio Costa, Portugal's Socialist leader and son of a Goan poet, has refused to go along with further pay cuts for public workers, or to submit tamely to a Right-wing coalition under the thumb of the now-departed EU-IMF 'Troika'. Against all assumptions, he has suspended his party's historic feud with Portugal's Communists and combined in a triple alliance with the Left Bloc. The trio have demanded the right to govern the country, and together they have an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament.

The verdict from the markets has been swift. "We would be very reluctant to invest in Portuguese debt," said Rabobank, describing the turn of events as a political shock.

The country's president has the constitutional power to reappoint the old guard - and may in fact do so over coming days - but this would leave the country ungovernable and would be a dangerous demarche in a young Democracy, with memories of the Salazar dictatorship still relatively fresh. "The majority of the Portuguese people did not vote for the incumbent coalition. They want a change," said Miriam Costa from Lisbon University.

Joseph Daul, head of conservative bloc in the European Parliament, warned that Portugal now faces six months of chaos, and risks going the way of Greece.

Mr Costa's hard-Left allies both favour a return to the escudo. Each concluded that Greece's tortured acrobatics under Alexis Tspiras show beyond doubt that it is impossible to run a sovereign economic policy within the constraints of the single currency.

The Communist leader, Jeronimo de Sousa, has called for a "dissolution of monetary union" for the good of everybody before it does any more damage to the productive base of the European economy. His party is demanding a 50pc write-off of Portugal's public debt and a 75pc cut in interest payments, and aims to tear up the EU's Lisbon Treaty and the Fiscal Compact. It wants to nationalize the banks, reverse the privatisation of the transport system, energy, and telephones, and take over the "commanding heights of the economy".

Catarina Martins, the Left Bloc's chief, is more nuanced but says that if the Portuguese people have to choose between "dignity and the euro", then dignity should prevail. "Any government that refuses to obey Wolfgang Schauble must be prepared to see the European Central Bank close down its banks," she said. She is surely right about that. The lesson of the Greek drama is that the ECB is the political enforcer of monetary union, willing to bring rebels to their knees by pulling the plug on a nation's banking system.

These two parties have for now submited to eurozone pieties, agreeing vaguely to abide by EMU fiscal rules. Such lip-service is meaningless. The EU Fiscal Compact requires Portugal to cut its public debt from 127pc to 60pc of GDP over twenty years, under pain of sanctions, with parallel cuts in Italy, Spain, France, and Belgium that feed on each other and are likely to trap monetary union in a contractionary vortex for another generation. For Portugal it entails a primary budget surplus on such a scale that it cannot possibly be compatible with the economic agenda of the Left.

Mr Costa's own proposals - scarcely more moderate - put him on a collision course with the European Commission. He has vowed to "turn the page on austerity", reverse Troika cuts, roll back labour reform, review the privatisation of public transport and the water works, and launch a 55-point reflation package led by spending on health care and education.

The upset in Portugal has caught Europe's elites off guard. The eurozone is enjoying a cyclical rebound of sorts, driven by the happy trifecta of cheap energy, a cheap euro, and cheap credit. The ECB's quantitative easing has flushed the system with liquidity though Europe still has one foot in deflation. Europe's leaders thought the crisis was over and believed their own propaganda that Portugal has successfully clawed its way back to safety by adhering strictly to Troika terms. This was always wishful thinking.

William Buiter, Citigroup’s chief economist, says Portugal has many of the same economic ‘pathologies’ as Greece, with debt ratios already beyond the point of no return, and a fresh solvency crisis almost inevitable in the next downturn......

The anti-austerity revolt in Portugal is a foretaste of what may happen in a string of EMU states when the global economic expansion rolls over, as it may well do within a couple of years on historical patterns.

The social and political damage caused by the eurozone's self-inflicted slump from 2008-2014 is still fermenting, a combustible atmosphere if the region is soon hit by fresh downturn. The currency bloc is in worse shape on almost every metric than it was before the Lehman crisis. Debt levels are 35 percentage points of GDP higher. EMU-wide unemployment is stuck at 11pc. The credibility of eurozone leadership is in tatters.

Powerful populist forces are waiting in the wings in Spain, Italy, and France. The events in Portugal have shown that every election in Southern Europe is a now an "event risk". Political chickens are coming home to roost, and economic time is running out.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 22:41
  #3673 (permalink)  
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Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power

Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.

Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika. He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.

Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.
“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO,” said Mr Cavaco Silva. “This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy. After we carried out an onerous programme of financial assistance, entailing heavy sacrifices, it is my duty, within my constitutional powers, to do everything possible to prevent false signals being sent to financial institutions, investors and markets,” he said.
Mr Cavaco Silva argued that the great majority of the Portuguese people did not vote for parties that want a return to the escudo or that advocate a traumatic showdown with Brussels. This is true, but he skipped over the other core message from the elections held three weeks ago: that they also voted for an end to wage cuts and Troika austerity. The combined parties of the Left won 50.7pc of the vote. Led by the Socialists, they control the Assemble. The conservative premier, Pedro Passos Coelho, came first and therefore gets first shot at forming a government, but his Right-wing coalition as a whole secured just 38.5pc of the vote. It lost 28 seats.

The Socialist leader, Antonio Costa, has reacted with fury, damning the president’s action as a “grave mistake” that threatens to engulf the country in a political firestorm. “It is unacceptable to usurp the exclusive powers of parliament. The Socialists will not take lessons from professor Cavaco Silva on the defence of our democracy,” he said. Mr Costa vowed to press ahead with his plans to form a triple-Left coalition, and warned that the Right-wing rump government will face an immediate vote of no confidence.

There can be no fresh elections until the second half of next year under Portugal’s constitution, risking almost a year of paralysis that puts the country on a collision course with Brussels and ultimately threatens to reignite the country’s debt crisis......
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 14:39
  #3674 (permalink)  
 
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Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.


Wonder how the [political] euro centrists on here will take that statement?

With open arms probably.

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Old 28th Nov 2015, 12:09
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Another Reminder That Free Speech is not a ‘European Value’
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Old 30th Nov 2015, 10:15
  #3676 (permalink)  
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Europe split over refugee deal as Germany leads breakaway coalition

Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries willing to take large numbers after meeting resistance to mandatory sharing scheme

Europe’s walls are going back up – it’s like 1989 in reverse

Once they tumbled down. Now barriers are being rebuilt literally, psychologically and metaphorically. And not just because of Paris and the refugee crisis

Schengen: going, going… gone

An optimistic experiment comes to a sad end. What next?
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Old 30th Nov 2015, 12:06
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Turkey rips off EU for 3 Billion Euros

EU seeks to buy Turkish help with migrants at controversial summit | World news | The Guardian

“The amount of money we’re offering is ludicrous,” said an ambassador from one of the bigger countries in the EU. “We’re on our knees begging the Turks to close their border.”
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 07:26
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Note that the main proponents, Germany and France, are neither peripheral nations in regard to the latest waves of migration........

Brussels plans to strip Schengen nations of authority over borders
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 10:07
  #3679 (permalink)  
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EU’s passport fraud ‘epidemic’

"ROME — Europe’s trade in forged and stolen passports is so out of control that the U.S. has given five EU countries until next week to act or risk losing visa-free travel rights.

The threat comes in response to growing alarm over the rising number of lost and stolen documents in the EU, which has doubled in five years. The number of forged passports in the Middle East is also a rising concern. Interpol has data on 250,000 stolen or lost Syrian and Iraqi passports, including blank documents.

American and European security officials speak of an “epidemic” created by a spike in demand from asylum-seekers — and from terrorists like those who carried out the Paris attacks last November, two of whom were carrying counterfeit documents.

In the aftermath of Paris, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security became so worried about the implications for screening travelers to America that it gave France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Greece a February 1 deadline to fix “crucial loopholes” or lose access to the U.S. visa waiver program. The program allows about 20 million people per year from 38 countries, most of them in Europe, to enter the United States for business or pleasure without a visa.

Next week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will report to President Barack Obama on how these countries have progressed.

On the issue of fraudulent passports, U.S. officials see a particular problem with two of the five: Greece and Italy................

European governments are aware of the problem. When EU justice and interior ministers met in Amsterdam on Monday, France’s Bernard Cazeneuve called for the creation of a task force to tackle a “real industry of false documents in Iraq, Syria and Libya,” which he said was run by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. Cazeneuve said fraudulent passports are “very hard to detect” because they are often genuine documents seized from pubic offices overrun by ISIL or taken from dead soldiers or civilians. The French minister said that combating this trade was crucial to avoiding “further atrocities in future.”..........

Greece and Italy are especially important in efforts to combat the traffic in illegal documents because of their position as front-line states in Europe’s refugee crisis — and by extension, in the fight against ISIL. One Greek intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that “between five and seven percent of all Greek passports stem from fake ID cards or birth certificates,” which he acknowledged were “fairly easy” to procure.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brought up this problem with Greek officials when he visited Athens in early December, sources said. Ten days later, the Greek ministry of public order and the police set up a joint task force which has until the end of February to come up with a plan to replace existing national ID cards with electronic versions with a computer chip.

In Italy, pubic prosecutors are due in two weeks to release the findings of an investigation into the theft of hundreds of faulty passports from a batch of thousands on their way to be pulped 18 months ago. Police were only alerted to the theft a few months later when a traveler attempted to use a passport at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, with a serial number that records showed had supposedly been destroyed.

It is not just Greece and Italy that have a problem.

“There are certain countries, like Sweden, where you can lose your passports four to six times in a year and get four to six new passports. To date I believe there are at least 20,000 duplicates out there,” said one EU security official with knowledge of the issue, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fake and fraudulent European passports are more expensive than Middle Eastern ones because they come under less scrutiny at the border. According to police from several European countries, prices on the black market for stolen, lost or forged EU documents range from €2,000 to €7,000................
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:04
  #3680 (permalink)  
 
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And on top of that you have the 'legal scams' such as the one currently in demand in India.

Portuguese passports are being handed out to anyone who claims they have Portuguese connections in areas of that countries former colony.

Tens of thousands have already enabled Indians to move straight to UK and onto benefits without even stopping in Portugal.

There are others in areas of Eastern Europe that have ethnic communities elsewhere and are now giving them EU passports.

This will continue unless Governments start to toughen up.
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