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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

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EU Politics - Hamsterwheel

Old 16th May 2012, 20:59
  #1241 (permalink)  
 
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On the contrary, we do know what the percentages of part ownership are. At least those of us who bother to read the Journal Officiel know. Daily Mail journalists have a professional duty to research such things, one hopes, but for those here for whom there is no such obligation, I will assist. It is 70% for his Dad's place, and 30% for his brother's. Given that you did not know the percentages which are published in the JO, I am fascinated that you do know exactly the nature of his "Assurance Vie", the details of which are not required for the solemn declaration. It could be a "temporary life assurance", a "whole life assurance", or an "endowment assurance", all of which are commonplace in both Gallic and Anglo-Saxon cultures. "Assurance Vie" translates perfectly well into "Life Insurance" in the Anglo-Saxon sense. All types of contract are to be found in both cultures.
Of course, knowing what YOU are talking about regarding "Assurance Vie" would help so let me assist you.

Assurance Vie - An expatriate

To understand the success of this product, we need to look no further than the tax concessions that it offers. Neither French capital gains tax nor income tax applies while the funds remain inside the policy and no withdrawals are made. Even where an amount is withdrawn, only the growth element is then subject to income tax. So, for example, if your portfolio of assets held within the policy has grown by 50% only this percentage of the withdrawal would be taxable; the remaining 50% would be tax-free. Income tax on the gain is charged on a sliding scale, depending on how long the policy has been in force. Nominally the tax rate is 35% for a policy less than 4 years old, 15% for policies between 4 and 8 years old, and 7.5% for all policies over 8 years old. While this may seem punitive for the first four years, you can elect to have the gain added to your taxable income and declared via your annual tax return, making it subject to tax at your prevailing rate.As an extra incentive to let your funds grow for at least eight years, there is an annual tax-free allowance of EUR 4,600 (single person) or EUR 9,200 (married couple). This allowance relates strictly to capital gain within the policy so, depending on the growth enjoyed during the investment period, relatively large withdrawals can be made completely free of income tax.

A quirk of the French tax system can work greatly to the investor's advantage with an Assurance Vie policy. The eight year qualifying period for the most beneficial tax regime is governed by what is known as the tax clock. This starts ticking at the instigation of the policy, even if the initial investment is a relatively small amount. It may not be wise to test this system to its limits, but if say EUR 100,000 were invested on day one, and a further EUR 200,000 a year later, the entire fund would still be subject to the lowest tax rates eight years later.

The benefits of Assurance Vie policies are not just restricted to income tax or Capital Gains Tax. In France, succession tax is directly comparable to British inheritance tax, but it works in a slightly different way. In the UK, inheritance tax is levied on the estate of the deceased whereas, in France, succession tax is levied on the beneficiary(ies) of the estate where any tax due is then deducted by the notaire from the proceeds of the will. But with an Assurance Vie policy, the proceeds largely override succession law/tax, which can include overriding children from a previous marriage in favour of the existing spouse if the right steps are taken. Any number of beneficiaries may receive up to EUR 152,500 completely free of tax and pay only 20% on any further amounts received. While changes to the tax regime regarding spouses and children have reduced the impact of this, it still has its advantages for them. And there are also still huge tax savings to be made when bequeathing legacies to unrelated beneficiaries such as friends or step-children, who would normally pay tax at 60%. There are restrictions to this tax largesse however; the policy must be set up and funded before the policyholder reaches the age of 70. After this age, the tax advantage is restricted to a total of EUR 30,500 for all beneficiaries combined.


So, in other words, Hollande is involved in a scheme to minimise the taxes he pays whilst wishing to squeeze the rich until they squeak. Where I come from, it means he's a hypocrite.
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Old 16th May 2012, 21:31
  #1242 (permalink)  
 
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nice post HB.

So, in other words, Hollande is involved in a scheme to minimise the taxes he pays whilst wishing to squeeze the rich until they squeak. Where I come from, it means he's a hypocrite.
'socialists' generally are. ref: union leaders, labour party, tony blair, prescott, mandleson, miliprat(s), balls... etc. etc. ad nauseum.
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Old 16th May 2012, 21:43
  #1243 (permalink)  
 
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Hellsbrink and tableview.
First, tableview, the form of assurance vie you allude to is very akin to an endowment policy in Anglo-Saxon terms.

Next, hellsbrink.

I am so glad of your assistance:
Of course, knowing what YOU are talking about regarding "Assurance Vie" would help so let me assist you.
You will be aware no doubt that there are differences in the fiscal treatment of life insurances in France and the UK. You might recall for example that there was in the distant past a premium tax relief for income tax purposes on life insurances, and that many people chose to use endowment or minimum cost endowment policies to fund their mortgages.
Many other changes have been made regarding the fiscal treatment of assurances in the UK over the years. So the regimes in both cultures are not fiscally identical, I concur.
But what is your point?
Hollande uses a mechanism used by millions of his co-citizens to invest some of his funds.
Can either of you claim that you do not have a life insurance policy?

Two final thoughts:

1) My working career was spent in this area, across both cultures, so I might just have half a clue of that about which I speak.

2) Does either of you know the Surrender Value (Valeur de Rachat) of his grotesque hypocritical fiscal evasion con trick?

I do, it is in the JO. It is €3,550.
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Old 16th May 2012, 21:51
  #1244 (permalink)  
 
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WF : Please don't misquote or twist things to suit your aims.

I didn't say it was a grotesque hypocritical fiscal evasion con trick? I said he's a hypocrite to pretend to be a socialist and to want to re-distribute wealth - which of course is an oxymoron - when he has 'substantial' personal wealth of his own and is using legal tax avoidance - not evasion - schemes to keep hold of it. I would do the same, but I don't pretend to be a socialist.
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Old 16th May 2012, 21:56
  #1245 (permalink)  
 
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I did not quote you or anybody else.

Any answers to my other points?
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Old 16th May 2012, 22:02
  #1246 (permalink)  
 
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If you're not quoting anyone else, I take it that these words grotesque hypocritical fiscal evasion con trick reflect your view then? Would that be a fair assessment?

2) Does either of you know the Surrender Value (Valeur de Rachat) of his grotesque hypocritical fiscal evasion con trick?
No, and I don't care, but thanks for the information.

Can either of you claim that you do not have a life insurance policy?
Yes, I have. So what? I'm not a public figure and I don't claim, as I've said before, to be a socialist. Also, as HB has shown by quoting from an article on the subject, an Assurance Vie in French fiscal terms is not the same as the Anglo-Saxon Life Insurance Policy. It is first and foremost a tax avoidance instrument.

Obviously, since you say
My working career was spent in this area, across both cultures, so I might just have half a clue of that about which I speak.
you are fully aware of the distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Last edited by Tableview; 16th May 2012 at 22:05.
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Old 18th May 2012, 08:07
  #1247 (permalink)  
 
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From a mate's email -

Dieter arrived home late from a long day at the office.

He set his briefcase down on the marble tile floor in the entryway of his home. He untied his wingtip shoes, slipped them off his feet, and set them perpendicular to his briefcase. He removed his overcoat, brushed the wrinkles off the back of it with his hand, and hooked it on the coat rack near the front door.

Dieter started to turn left toward the bedroom. But he was distracted by a warm, lovely smell coming from the kitchen. So he turned right instead.

"Strudel?" Dieter thought to himself. "It has been years since Agnes baked me a strudel." Dieter feared he had forgotten an important date. So he flipped through his mental rolodex. "Was it someone's birthday?" he wondered. "An anniversary? Graduation?"

Nope. None of the above. There was nothing important about May 17.

Dieter smiled as he entered the kitchen. He smiled partly because of the relief he felt for not having forgotten an important date… but mostly because Agnes was making him a strudel for no special reason whatsoever.

Agnes was standing by the stove, stirring a warming pot of blackberries, brown sugar, and just a splash of port wine.

"Mmmmm. Blackberry jam for the strudel," Dieter thought to himself as he approached his wife from behind and slipped his arms around her waist. "Thank you, my little lederhosen," he said. "You know how much I love strudel."

Agnes turned, draped her arms around her husband's neck, kissed him softly on the cheek, and said, "You're welcome, sweetheart. But I'm afraid the strudel isn't for you. It's for the Papadopolous family down the street. We're throwing a party for them."

"What?" Dieter exclaimed as he backed up and bumped into the granite island in the center of the kitchen. "Why would you give my strudel to those Greek deadbeats?"

"Don't call them deadbeats," Agnes retorted. "They just paid back some of the money they owed to the Homeowners' Association."

"Wait a minute," Dieter protested. "The Association loaned money to the Greeks last year. Then the Association wrote off 96% of the loan. Then the Association loaned them more money. Now you're saying the Papadopolouses paid everything back?"

"Well… no… not exactly," Agnes said. "The Greeks took some of the money from the new loan and used it to pay back a small portion of the old loan that wasn't written off."

"And for that, we're throwing them a party?"

"Of course not, silly," Agnes replied. "We're throwing them a party to convince them to stay in the neighborhood."

Dieter was speechless. He needed to sit down. But all the chairs had been moved out of the kitchen to make space for the party. So Dieter crouched on the cold marble floor at the base of the granite island in the center of the kitchen. He pulled his knees up toward his chest, wrapped his arms around them, and bowed his head.

"Look," Agnes explained. "There's a rumor the Papadopolouses have hired a realtor to sell their house so they can leave the neighborhood. We all know that if they leave, property values will drop and the whole Association may fall apart. So we're throwing a party for the Greeks to show them how much we appreciate them and how much we want to keep them in the neighborhood. I'm just hoping my strudel will do the trick."

"Well," Dieter said as he raised his head and looked at his wife's face, "you do make a wonderful strudel."

Agnes blushed.

"But let me ask you this," Dieter continued. "What's in that other pan?" He pointed to the steam escaping from a covered skillet at the back of the stove.

"That's paella for the Rodriquez family," Agnes replied. "We're having a party for the Spaniards next week."
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Old 18th May 2012, 08:26
  #1248 (permalink)  
 
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In a little piece of satire which I wrote 20 years ago, I said the following :

The final death blow to United Europe resulted from the attempt to regulate public holidays. The Bungling Bureaucrats of Brussels decreed that as part of the process of creating a United Europe, public holidays would have to be standardized. Whether this was seen as an overall loss of freedom, or as an imposition of the customs of one nation onto another is unimportant. What counts is that no nation or ethnic minority could be deprived of any of its traditional holidays, and that nobody in United Europe be working when his fellows were on holiday. By the time ethnic minorities' holidays were included, this meant that out of a potential total of some 263 working days per year, 262 were gazetted as holidays. On the one remaining day, which happened to be the 29th. of February, the European Parliament met, and although there were insufficient Euro-MP's present to form a quorum, a special emergency resolution was passed decreeing that the concept of a United Europe was, to paraphrase the 759 page document, 'unworkable and undesirable', as it was clear that an Economic Community which could only work on one day every 4 years was actually an extremely uneconomic community.

It looks as if the common currency will be the death of the monster, and not the holidays, but who knows. The chapters have not yet been written.
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Old 18th May 2012, 10:13
  #1249 (permalink)  
 
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the EUrocrats were more than happy with the vampire squid's work with getting Greece into the grand EU plan... so, to make sure everyone's a winner, apart from the taxpayer:

Spanish government 'hires Goldman Sachs to value Bankia' - Telegraph

Spanish newspaper Expansion said on Friday that the US bank will review Bankia's and its parent company BFA's books and determine within a month how much the state should inject to refloat the lender, which had to be rescued after its auditor, Deloitte, identified several gaps in last year's accounts.

Expansion said without citing sources that Bankia's financial hole may reach €8bn euros on top of the €10bn it needs to set aside to cover potential losses

Last edited by stuckgear; 18th May 2012 at 10:15.
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Old 19th May 2012, 18:24
  #1250 (permalink)  
 
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G7.5 summit

G8 Summit: World leaders push for Greece to stay in the eurozone - Telegraph
G8 Summit: France leads call to keep Greece in the euro

France led calls for a push to keep Greece in the eurozone as world leaders met for the G8 summit in Camp David after a torrid week for the crisis-ridden region.
Mr Hollande and Mr Obama are both pushing for pro-growth measures at the G8 summit, which flies in the face of Germany's insistence that troubled nations including Greece and Spain must not deviate from austerity.
so Hollande is keen to spend other people's money (Germany's) with Obama, preaching from his pulpit, and Germany is keen to see spending reined in.

no small wonder as posted in the Greek poll thread...

Appetiser cost of Greek exit is


'Eric Dor's team at the IESEG School of Management in Lille has put together a table on the direct costs to Germany and France if Greece is pushed out of the euro.'

These assume that relations between Europe and Greece break down in acrimony, with a full-fledged "stuff-you" default on euro liabilities. It assumes a drachma devaluation of 50pc

They conclude:
The total losses could reach €66.4bn for France and €89.8bn for Germany. These are upper bounds, but even in the case of a partial default, the losses would be huge.

Assuming that the new national currency would depreciate by 50 per cent against the euro, which is realistic, the losses for French banks would reach €19.8bn. They would reach €4.5bn for German banks.
Something's going to give !

Last edited by stuckgear; 19th May 2012 at 18:27.
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Old 20th May 2012, 15:05
  #1251 (permalink)  
 
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Europe finally awakes from its utopian dream - Telegraph

is the socialist dream dead, killed off by the ahem! socialists!

The “full employment” of the Warsaw Pact countries which was created by central committee fiat, along with the currency to pay for it, is now regarded as one of the more obviously risible facts of Eastern bloc life. But how different from that would it be to create euros to pay for the pensions of the Greeks (or of the French, whose retirement age of 60 François Hollande has promised to restore)?

In fact, when will we confront the most fundamental dilemma of this European crisis: that in order to offer the comprehensive entitlement programme that is promised by European “social solidarity”, the EU would not only have to churn out endless mountains of progressively more meaningless currency, but would also be forced to institute forms of economic control that Eastern Europe might have recognised?

As I write, Greece is experiencing what is now called a “bank jog” – a fairly slow “run”. By the time you read this, it may have become a sprint. How long before the (unelected) Greek government imposes a freeze on all bank accounts? Or exchange controls to prevent anyone taking or sending more than very small amounts of money out of the country? When will we start to see prosecutions for “economic crimes” in which the survival of the political project takes precedence over the right to access and make free use of your own funds?

Not to mention tanks in the streets to control social unrest.

The West may have won the Cold War but its own brand of utopian solution – the great economic and political union that would put an end to war and social instability – is toying dangerously with mechanisms that are certainly anti-democratic and come close to being totalitarian.

This is not just a story of bureaucratic grandiosity, or of German insistence on domination. Certainly it is true that there is an irreconcilable cultural clash between the more puritanical North and the, shall we say, more indulgent South.

It turns out that Marx was wrong about economic conditions determining political behaviour: a nation’s religion and geography are much more likely to affect its economic attitudes than the other way round. But it is not the dream of European co-operation that was doomed from the start: given the ancient hatreds and unforgivable sins of the past, that was difficult, but it was not impossible.

What has made the project unworkable is the insistence that the EU be a vehicle for democratic socialism: the impossible dream was not European unity but universal “social solidarity” stretching across a continent, for which the single market was simply a milch cow to produce the funds.

Unfeasibly enormous social security and entitlement promises were made on the basis that the free market would always provide. Nobody bothered to ask what would happen when the market faltered or fluctuated (as genuinely free markets do) or when the sense of entitlement outgrew the wealth that could be created. The problem is not unique to Europe. They are facing the same question in the US, where benefits programmes – particularly social security (the US federal pensions system) and Medicare – have become as untouchable, and as financially unsustainable, as they are here.

How long will freedom survive in the face of mass rage at the loss of the economic security that has come to be seen as a basic human right?

People were told that they could have lifelong protection from want without any restrictions on their liberty or their economic self-determination. So now the cake has been well and truly eaten and had. The EU is going to have to admit sooner or later that this fantasy has run its course.
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Old 20th May 2012, 16:37
  #1252 (permalink)  
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a fairly slow “run” on the banks...

I've decided to keep a few euros in cash deep in OFSO Towers just in case something nasty happens here in Spain. I went and took the first tranche out of my a/c this morning - careful to go at a time when few people were about, because I didn't want to be the one who started the Run On The Spanish Banks. That's the problem you see. When we Pillars of Society are seen removing cash from Banco What's-it, well, who knows what will happen ?

Don't see any run, fast or slow, yet here in Spain, at least among the working classes, but I'm sure the cash from Madrid and Barcelona has long disappeared over the (completely unguarded) borders.

Funny that.

The evil of the EU has created the disasterous financial situation, and the evil of the EU has also removed all border controls which might put a stop to al fresco currency exports (which are, over a certain amount, illegal-without-a-good-reason in Spain).

Last edited by OFSO; 20th May 2012 at 16:37.
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Old 20th May 2012, 21:19
  #1253 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
 
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This crisis that proves nothing is more certain than uncertainty

A faith in the euro that was more theology than economics made its potential collapse impossible to foresee.

.............. In a secular age, “Europe” is one of the ideas that has taken the place of divine providence. Instead of revealed destiny, we have a grand supranational plan designed to homogenise a continent of multifarious nations, to enforce the obviously preposterous idea that there can be a single interest rate from Ljubljana to Lisbon, from Dublin to Dresden. Again, this is theology, not economics.

All politicians are prone to this delusion. The European centre-Left has used the EU to fill the “Marx-shaped hole” left by the death of socialism. But the Right is not immune to flights of teleological fancy, imagining that small-state, low-tax, free-market societies are somehow the inevitable terminus of human development and that all else is a crime against the natural order. Margaret Thatcher was a persuader, not an evangelist. Some of her followers have forgotten the difference.

Who would risk a prophecy at such a juncture? It is enough to say that, for all politicians, the euro crisis is Ozymandias in digital form: bleak proof that their great schemes have no permanence or cosmic warrant, and that “lone and level sands” stretch all around their plans. It is the uncertainty principle writ large, a reminder that nothing in the practice of politics is inevitable other than impermanence, unintended consequences, and mortality.
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Old 21st May 2012, 09:01
  #1254 (permalink)  
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Excellent article by Boris. The sooner he becomes leader of the Tory party instead of that PR waster DC the better.

Europe is driving full-tilt, foot on the pedal, into a brick wall

It’s unbelievable that we should be urging our neighbours to adopt a tighter fiscal union, argues Boris Johnson.
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Old 21st May 2012, 09:45
  #1255 (permalink)  
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The front page of the Catalan newspaper "El Punt" today is entirely taken up with a silhouette image of Spain, cut into pieces, and the headline reads "Shattered Spain".

Inside there are pages dedicated to corruption in Madrid, failed or uncoordinated national projects, banks and failures (past or expected), impositions by Madrid on autonomous areas such as Galacia and Catalunia, yesterday's blockage of the Catalan motorway network in protest at Catalunia having motorway tolls (and Madrid not), Madrid's refusal to allow the civil war crimes to be investigated....and of course on top of it all those are the words we have come to love, "The Euro Crisis", "Austerity" and "Merkel".

I've always said I expect the military to take over Greece again - well, it is a possibility - now I'm wondering about Spain.

Someone please tell me I am over-reacting !

Last edited by OFSO; 21st May 2012 at 09:46.
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Old 21st May 2012, 10:59
  #1256 (permalink)  
 
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Someone please tell me I am over-reacting !
Sorry OFSO but I'm not sure you are, certainly about Greece anyway.
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Old 21st May 2012, 12:55
  #1257 (permalink)  
 
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Will you be expecting the Spanish Inquisition ?
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Old 21st May 2012, 14:26
  #1258 (permalink)  
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The Commentator: Europe's Other Crisis: Energy

The EU’s ideologically-driven Energy Road Map prioritized ‘green’ renewable energy, diverting away from Russian natural gas dependency and harmonizing energy and environmental needs
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Old 21st May 2012, 16:28
  #1259 (permalink)  
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For a few dollars (euros) more...

Much as the original film (filmed on location in Spain apparently) where modern infrastructure such as it was back then, was scrupulously effaced from the movie, I wonder how much governments (and not mere film-makers) are able to efface what they want today from the general public view...?!


Worst of all, whilst ordinary Greeks, Spaniards, Italians and others' lives literally crumble under the austerity measures imposed by the EU and especially Germany, we no longer have Ennio Morricone's music to emphasise or accompany the problems in 2012...

I get the impression that our governments today would righteously be in the sights of yesterday's Clint Eastwood or a Lee Van Cleef. And that the small chimes emanating from the timepiece suggest the imminent demise of the EU, the Eurozone etc. Unless of course, they (the current outlaws masquerading as something else) have suitably evolved and have something else to offer their citizens, instead of the usual "strong v. the weak" strategies and recompensing their rich supporters (whether on the left or right)...

Where is the disillusion? The Euro is as good as any currency that existed before it. The USA and the UK should get used to it, instead of using all their best efforts in attempting to destroy the Euro over the past few years.

In a more or less futile attempt to preserve their own currencies...

Last edited by airship; 21st May 2012 at 17:09.
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Old 21st May 2012, 16:59
  #1260 (permalink)  
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whilst ordinary Greeks, Spaniards, Italians and others' lives literally crumble

A bit early for that, old bean. I was at a birthday party last week (as I may have mentioned in another place) and the assembled Germans, Spanish and other nationalities agreed with me life's still pretty good here - in fact the dozen Germans present all said they'd rather be living in Spain than Germany.

Yes, you may say, just you wait, and you may be right. But not just at the moment...
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