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EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Wed 4 Jan - 22:05

fuzeta wrote:
Panda wrote:
Badboy wrote:I READ SOMEWHERE THAT THE CENTRAL BANK OF GREECE NO LONGER ACCEPTS DRACHMA,MAKING A RETURN TO THR DRACHMA A PROBLEM.

No, it wouldn"t Badboy, but if Greece defaults the currency would be the Drachma. There is a rumour that Germany has a stock of Deutchemarks ready
if the Euro fails and that a new alliance will be formed of all the Northern Countries, Finland, Norway, Iceland Sweden etc. with the Deutchemark the
currency for all.


Hello Panda I have doubts that Norway, Iceland and Sweden who have their own currency would switch to the deutschmark when they did not take on the Euro. I think they will stick to their own it seems to serve them well so far

Hi fuzeta,

I think if this crisis leads to the dissolution of the Euro no Country would want a single currency ever again. All the analysts said it was a big mistake and
was driven by Germany. I"ll have a bet that Sarkozy will not win the Election in France due in three nonths I think, neither will Merkel, especially since
she was so keen to promote the Presisent who is now in trouble ....see earlier post.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Wed 4 Jan - 22:36

Looking Ahead



2012 cannot be worse than 2011




3 January 2012

Gazeta Wyborcza

Warsaw






Ruben L. Oppenheimer








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2011 was such a bad year for Europe that 2012 can only
be an improvement. However, Gazeta Wyborcza columnist Jacek Pawlicki
points out that the European Union is now threatened by social tensions
prompted by measures that enabled it to survive an unprecedented crisis.



Jacek Pawlicki




The year just passed ended with the most major crisis in the
history of the Union and with the deliberate retreat into isolation of
one of its members, the United Kingdom, which opposed changes to EU
treaties needed for the reinforcement of discipline budgetary
discipline.

For the first time in November 2011, political leaders and experts
openly alluded to the possibility that a country might exit the
Eurozone: Greece, whose bailout has swallowed up billions of euros, and
virtually all of the EU’s energy. And that is not to mention the
quarrels with Italy, which were fortunately resolved by a happy ending,
with the departure of Silvio Berlusconi, who has been replaced as prime
minister by the technician Mario Monti.

In the region occupied by our southern neighbours, Arab revolutions
overturned dictatorial regimes without, at least for the present,
delivering much in terms of more democracy in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisie.
Although the predicted wave of refugees, which it was feared would
swamp the EU, largely failed to materialise, immigration has remained an
ongoing problem in a Europe that has very little to offer these
emerging democracies.

Similarly, it is back to the drawing board for the association
agreement between the EU and Ukraine, which was supposed to signed at
December’s EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev, but has now been suspended
following the imprisonment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. As
for Belarus, the Union exerts hardly any influence on President
Alexander Lukashenko, who regularly jails his political opponents.

Regarding these two countries, the Union and Poland, which is
particularly attached to the goal of rapprochement with its Eastern
neighbours, have clearly failed. Europe lacks the necessary vision to
break the deadlock, while Russia, which is busy rebuilding its empire,
is unwilling to waste time on such issues.

A large Schengen and a small Union


In the spring, the likelihood is that we will see a further extension
of the Schengen Area. Just before Christmas, the Netherlands withdrew
its veto on the enlargement of the visa-free zone to include Bulgaria
and Romania. Both countries will be joining, but on condition that two
forthcoming European Commission reports on their judicial systems and
their reforms in the field of internal policy draw positive conclusions.
Sofia and Bucharest, which have been members of the EU since 2007, will
therefore have to make greater efforts.

As for the Eurozone, the currency bloc has now reached a point where
it is oriented towards a tighter fiscal union, but although political
leaders have consistently ruled out the possibility that Europe might
break up, anything could happen.

Doubtless, the first months of the new year will be devoted to the
quest to obtain money to feed the European Financial Stability Facility
(EFSF) and negotiations on a new intergovernmental agreement. The
working group responsible for drafting the terms of the fiscal pact
includes representatives of both Poland (which remains outside the euro,
but wants to participate) and the United Kingdom (which boycotted the
accord). The vision of all of these people sitting down at the same
table is one to inspire optimism.

There is also good news from Croatia, which, on 22 January, is
organising a referendum on its accession to the Union. In spite of
ongoing concerns about the economic situation, a majority of Croats
will vote yes to Europe and, in July 2013, Croatia will become the 28th
country to join the EU. So we can count on the Union gaining a new
member from the Balkans (the center of a political blackhole that
continues to haunt Europe).

How much do we stand to pocket?


The fight to benefit from the Cohesion Fund will be played out inthe
course of budgetary negotiations, which, in the wake of a warm-up period
under the Polish EU Presidency, are now about to begin. It may happen
that as early as the beginning of the year, net contributors to the
community budget, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden,
Finland, the Netherlands and perhaps other member states, will demand
substantial reductions in the amount they have to pay.

Given this context, we should be thankful that budgetary negotiations
will be in the hands of the Danes, who took over the EU Presidency in
January. The first half of 2012 will be the seventh Danish Presidency,
and it follows on from a previous mandate in 2002, during which the
Danes finalised accession negotiations between the EU and ten Central
and Eastern European countries. The country has no lack of good will or
experience, and as an added bonus, it benefits from a well-recognised
Scandinavian pragmatism in its approach to politics.

Unfortunately, Danish pragmatism may come a cropper on France’s
approach to budgetary negotiation: especially in the context of French
presidential elections in April and May, in which Nicolas Sarkozy will
be eager to convince his increasingly eurosceptic compatriots that he is
doing his utmost to defend French interests in the EU.

What can we expect to happen?


We are likely to encounter a lot of events that cannot be foreseen
today; just as at the end of 2010, no one in the wildest dreams would
have predicted that, in August 2011, hordes of British citizens would
spend several days looting shops in London.

As it stands, increasing social tension and the frustration of the
young generation now poses the greatest threat to the internal stability
of Europe. And this combined with the growth of political populism that
is now evident in countries as diverse as France, the Netherlands,
Finland and Hungary creates an explosive political mixture of social
frustration and political cynicism, which is also nourished by the
weakness of Europe.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Thu 5 Jan - 7:37

France is selling E 8 billion Bonds today in 10 , 12, 24 and 30 yr tranches. It is possible that it will lose it"s AAA rating and a General Election in April
is not helping.


Papademos has warned the Greek people they must accept the measures he proposes or risk default in March.....this has spooked the Market.
Analysts say another haircut is inevitable which will deter Investors. Current Bond yield is 35%...impossible to repay.

Spain has a deficit of 8% of GDP and over 21% unemployment and is also facing harsher measures. Major Spanish Banks face downgrade.
Needs industrial strategy .

IMF aid to Hungary is unlikely .

EFSF is holding a Bond Sale of E3 billion in 3 , 5, and 10 yr denomination.

Euro approaches 7 yr low against the Yen

A Professor of Economics says the EU must forget the Fiscal Policy for now , growth is the most important issue. Wages are too high in Italy and
must be cut, an example, Teachers are paid E1,200 a month. Also, there is not much appetite for European Bonds when there could be a 75% writedown
and the ECB must guarantee these Bonds or Investors will not buy.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Thu 5 Jan - 12:11

European Stocks and the U.K. fell on concern for the EURO and sale of French Bonds

Euro weakens against the $ to 1.28 the lowest for 11 months.

The sale of Bonds this morning realised the following rates.

Portugal 12%

France 3.39%

Greece 34.05%

Germany 1.90%

The French bonds did not sell as well as expected and the increase in yields raises the threat of France losing it"s AAA rating.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Thu 5 Jan - 17:24

Eurozone crisis



Will the EU end up like Yugoslavia?




5 January 2012

Politika

Belgrade






Ruben L. Oppenheimer







Seen from Belgrade, Zagreb or Sarajevo, the economic
and institutional crisis that has struck the European Union has a
certain air of déjà-vu. Serbian daily Politika remarks on the
similarities with the years preceding the break-up of the federation
founded by Tito. Excerpts.


Momcilo Pantelic




Relatively speaking, the European Union (EU) is beginning in
many ways to resemble Tito’s Yugoslavia. As it stands, there is no lack
of reasons to compare the incomparable. For example, at a time when
the EU is attempting to reinforce centralised control of its periphery,
its foundations are being threatened by excessive nationalism and
accumulated incompatibilities between member states. This is a
situation that is strongly reminiscent of the golden age of Yugoslavia
(1981-1986), a period when it came close to joining the European
Economic Community (EEC).

And that is not the only parallel. Much like Belgrade and Zagreb,
Berlin and Paris have become pillars of the Union in spite of the
differences between them. At the same time, we have seen a flare-up
between financially responsible and spendthrift countries and between
the more developed and less developed members of the EU. All of this
has a lot in common with the process that led to the break-up of
Yugoslavia.

The concept of a two-speed or multi-speed Europe recalls the idea of
transforming the Yugoslav Federation into an “asymetric
confederation,” just as the slogan “Brotherhood and unity of Yugoslav
peoples” is similar to the position currently defended by Brussels:
that common interest should prevail over enmity and differences.

The democratic deficit suggests yet another parallel: in the
one-party system in Yugoslavia, leaders were not elected by universal
suffrage, just like the highly placed civil servants that manage
today’s EU – in spite of the fact that all of the members of the Union
have multi-party systems. In both cases, the fear that the more
populous states would have too much influence has prevented the
introduction of the principle of “one citizen, one vote.”

EU is working to avoid a Balkan style scenario


We should also bear in mind that both the EU and Yugoslavia were
built on ideas that no one, notwithstanding divergent interests, could
contest: cooperation is more important than confrontation, friendship
can overcome enmity, forgiveness is a prerequisite for common progress,
and the mingling of cultures – although contested by the theory of the
clash of civilisations – is inevitable.

However, both systems have encountered difficulties for the same
reasons. Recourse to the principle of unanimity and consensus has
prompted a crisis in the decision making process which has affected the
efficiency of the EU, in the same way that it undermined Yugoslavia.
Neither entity has succeeded in finding the right compromise between
the centre and the periphery, nationalism and internationalism,
internal and common policy, and between indebtedness and growth.

The collapse of Yugoslavia was largely due to such imbalances. Today
the EU is working to avoid a Balkan style scenario. That is not to say
that it could share the same fate as Yugoslavia, because there is no
possiblity of war in Europe. But that is not the only reason. Even
those who hope that the European project will fail want to benefit from
its achievements, notably a certain equilibrium between the laws of
the market and the social contract which has never before been
attained. And finally, for our part in Serbia, we also aspire to join
the EU, in spite of the slowness of the accession process.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Thu 5 Jan - 18:41

5 January 2012
Last updated at 16:56











Euro drops to 16-month low over bank concerns











Weaker demand for benchmark French 10-year bonds weighed on bank shares


Continue reading the main story













Global Economy








  • What caused the eurozone crisis?

  • How will the euro crisis end?

  • Crisis jargon buster

  • Europe's four big dilemmas











The euro has dropped to its lowest rate against the dollar in 16 months as concerns continue over the health of Europe's banks.

The euro fell as low as $1.2780 against the dollar and was at an 11-year low versus the yen.

Markets were unsettled after France's cost of borrowing rose
and a Spanish minister suggested its banks may face a higher bad loan
bill.

Bank stocks dropped, with shares in Italy's UniCredit at a 19-year low.

Luis de Guindos, Spain's economy minister, told the Financial Times that its banks may face up to 50bn euros ($64.2bn, £41.3bn) in new bad loans - higher than previous public estimates by the government.

On Thursday, Spain also unveiled more austerity measures -
after outlining 8.9bn euros in new spending cuts and tax rises last
week.

Spain said its social security deficit was worse than
expected in 2011 and aims to recover 8.2bn euros that has been lost to
tax fraud this year.

This is the latest in a wave of austerity measures, with a total of 16.5bn euros to be cut in 2012.

French bank stocks closed lower, with Societe Generale down 5.4% and BNP Paribas down 5.3%.

Germany's Deutsche Bank fell almost 6%, with Commerzbank down 4.5%.

Spain's Santander dropped 4.5%. Italy's UniCredit fell 17% before its shares were suspended for the second day in a row.

Italy and Spain - both passing painful spending cuts - will have to sell billions of debt in the coming months.

French debt sale
France sold 8bn euros of bonds at an auction, paying an
interest rate of 3.29% to borrow for 10 years, up from 3.18% at the last
sale in December.

Many investors fear that France is poised to lose its top credit rating, making it more expensive to borrow.

In December, France saw its AAA credit rating placed on negative outlook by rating agency Fitch.

Fitch said the change in outlook was prompted by the
heightened risk of government liabilities arising from the eurozone's
debt crisis.

At Thursday's sale, demand from investors for the benchmark 10-year bonds had fallen.

The bid-to-cover ratio was 1.64, almost half of the 3.05 it was in the December auction.

France introduced a 65bn-euro austerity plan in November.

The gap, or spread, on French bonds compared to comparable
debt from Germany - Europe's largest economy - hit record highs last
year.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Fri 6 Jan - 7:37

European Union

Hungary is our business too

4 January 2012
Le Monde
Paris


Otto / The Economist


The EU should not remain indifferent to PM Viktor Orbán’s drift towards authoritarian nationalism. As a community based on democratic as well as economic values, it ought to exert pressure on Budapest to keep the Hungarian government on the right path, argues Le Monde.
As though they were emerging from a terrible nightmare, Hungarians are finally beginning to wake up. The spectacle of ten of thousands of citizens in the streets of Budapest on Monday 2 January to protest against the coming into force of a new constitution they judge to be anti-democratic amounts to a serious warning shot for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Until Monday 2 January, the opposition had never succeeded in uniting sufficiently to be heard. Now it cannot overlooked.
In another notable initiative, 13 former Hungarian dissidents, some of whom, along with Mr Orbán, were in the vanguard of the fight against the communist regime, have signed an appeal to be submitted to European institutions on 7 January in which they point out that "Hungarian society is not only the victim of the current economic crisis, but also the victim of its own government."
According to writer György Konrád, former anti-communist dissident László Rajk, and former mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky and the other signatories, this government "has snatched the democratic political tools from the hands of those who could use these tools to ameliorate their predicament."
The European Union (EU) finds itself in a delicate situation with regard to an enfant terrible which joined the community just seven years ago. However, it cannot remain indifferent to the practices of the Orbán government, which has undermined the plurality of voices in the media, and threatened the independence of the country’s justice system.
Austria remains a bad memory in Brussels

In the wake of vigourous protests in 2010, at the end of December European Commission President José Manuel Barroso addressed a letter to Mr Orbán – the second in two weeks – to warn him of the risks inherent in his policies. However, this warning has apparently had no effect, nor has another letter in the same vein from Hillary Clinton.
The EU still has the option of invoking article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states that member states which violate the the rules of democracy may be deprived of their voting rights. That said, any attempt to punish a democratically elected government will necessarily be fraught with difficulty – a fact highlighted by the campaign against Austria more than a decade ago, which remains a bad memory in Brussels.
In 2000, Europe reacted strongly to the inclusion of an extreme right party in the ruling coalition in Vienna, but ultimately took no action, having observed that its protests had no impact. The ground swell of support for the Hungarian opposition, civil society groups and intellectuals opposed to the government is important, because it will increase pressure on the EU, which wants to remain a community that is first and foremost united by democratic values.
Nor should Brussels compromise on the issue of the Hungarian government’s economic policy. Citing a curious nationalist credo, Mr Orbán appears to have decided that his country, which has been hit hard by the crisis, will be able to overcome its difficulties alone, and has refused to comply with conditions for EU and IMF aid. Both of these institutions have now suspended talks with Budapest. And rightly so: Europe should not offer funds to a country that makes a mockery of its rules.
Translated from the French by Mark McGovern


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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Fri 6 Jan - 8:13

It is looking increasingly certain that France will lose it"s AAA rating .......leaving Germany the only Country in the EURO to hold it"s AAA
status.

The French Budget Minister is saying she will introduce Financial Tax even if Germany does not .

A French Analyst says the French population is fed up with all the austerity measures yet nothing is resolved and the situation is getting
worse.

Euro falls to 15 month low against the U.S. $.

The Yen has best foreign asset position and the Euro/Yen down again.

Japan has been selling Euro debt.

Chief Economist at Merrill Lynch says fiscal integration is necessary for the Euro to succeed.

Sale of Bonds have increased the yield, Italy E.7.14% ,,,,,above the 7% danger level . Spain E5.66% France E3.38%

European Banks need to raise money by June and all this uncertainty has consequences for the ESFS.

Italy ranks last among Libya"s friends when it comes to Oil consessions.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Fri 6 Jan - 9:15

Hungary, not a Member of the Euro, has promised the IMF to compromise to hasten the loan after the Forint Rout.
Because Hungary is a Member of the EU there is concern about the Political turmoil in the Country.

Irish Bond market tempts buyers after banking bail-out.

Death defying Metal theives set soaring price for Copper.

Sandander Bank considered vulnerable........how come it was made so easy just a few years ago to open up in the U.K. and then buy Halifax Building Society.?he incompetent FSA again not doing their job. What happens if this Bank collapses like RBS.?

French Budget Minister says if French triple AAA rating drops it is more important to stimulate growth , increase exports . Monti and Sarkozy to meet today to discuss what happening and Italy is the epicentre of the financial crisis. It is hoped that Germany and all the
Euro Countries will agree to the taxation of Investment Purchases , if not, France will go it alone in the face of British objection.

Unicredit share price continues to fall to 3.42% afer the suspension of it"s rights issue.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Fri 6 Jan - 12:16

Panda wrote:Hungary, not a Member of the Euro, has promised the IMF to compromise to hasten the loan after the Forint Rout.
Because Hungary is a Member of the EU there is concern about the Political turmoil in the Country.

Irish Bond market tempts buyers after banking bail-out.

Death defying Metal theives set soaring price for Copper.

Sandander Bank considered vulnerable........how come it was made so easy just a few years ago to open up in the U.K. and then buy Halifax Building Society.?he incompetent FSA again not doing their job. What happens if this Bank collapses like RBS.?

French Budget Minister says if French triple AAA rating drops it is more important to stimulate growth , increase exports . Monti and Sarkozy to meet today to discuss what happening and Italy is the epicentre of the financial crisis. It is hoped that Germany and all the
Euro Countries will agree to the taxation of Investment Purchases , if not, France will go it alone in the face of British objection.
Unicredit share price continues to fall to 3.42% afer the suspension of it"s rights issue.

WHAT THIS ABOUT SANTANDER BANK?


Last edited by Badboy on Fri 6 Jan - 17:15; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : PUT WORDS IN WRONG PLACE)

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Fri 6 Jan - 16:23

RETAIL SALES THROUGHOUT EU FELL LAST YEAR BY ABOUT 0.6?

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Fri 6 Jan - 16:48

Badboy wrote:RETAIL SALES THROUGHOUT EU FELL LAST YEAR BY ABOUT 0.6?

Hi Badboy,

Yes, Europe is officially in recession and confidence in the EURO is at a 2 year low as German orders decrease. US jobless total has fallen
but this may be because extra staff were taken on for the Christmas period. EU Stocks are ending the week lower, but the U.K. traded
a bit higher.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Sat 7 Jan - 9:30

Morning Badboy,

Santander I think is a Spanish Bank, opened in the U.K,. about 3 or 4 years ago, was allowed to purchase Halifax Building Society and
now, like all European Banks, is in trouble .

As far as I remember when an Icelandic Bank went Bankrupt Gordon Brown was PM and sequestered it"s U.K Assets much to the anger
of the Icelandic Government. Many U.K. Depositors lost thousands of £"s.

I would imagine there will be a rush of Depositors taking their money out of Santander"s Bank at this News.

Unicredit, an Italian Bank is also vulnerable.

The latest news frtom Italy is 2.5 million small Companies have had to close down because of Banks needing to retain cash.

The Italian Government is considering taxing the Vatican whose profits can be anything from E100 million to E10 Billion

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Sat 7 Jan - 11:35

THANKS FOR THAT INFO ABOUT SANTANDER BANK,ONLY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING OVER MY RBS BRANCH,WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN ABOUT THAT IF SANTANDER BANK IS IN TROUBLE.
ISN'T THE VATICAN A SOVEREIGN STATE,SO HOW CAN THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT TAX THEM?

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Sat 7 Jan - 12:09

Badboy wrote:THANKS FOR THAT INFO ABOUT SANTANDER BANK,ONLY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING OVER MY RBS BRANCH,WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN ABOUT THAT IF SANTANDER BANK IS IN TROUBLE.
ISN'T THE VATICAN A SOVEREIGN STATE,SO HOW CAN THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT TAX THEM?

I would be very surprised if the Government allows this. RBS is indebted to the Government for about £70 million , how could Santander
pay that amount!!!

Circumstances change Badboy and with the whole population of Italy undergoing severe austerity measures, why should the Vatican, one of the richest cities in the World be immune. All their wealth is from passing round the plate at Church Services and accepting donations
and legacies from Catholice. The Vatican is big business, has it"s own investment department .

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Paying with pesetas in Salvaterra de Mino

Post  Panda on Sat 7 Jan - 14:00

Spain

Paying with pesetas in Salvaterra de Miño

6 January 2012
Le Monde
Paris


In Fina Rodríguez's shop, Spain's former currency is welcome
Nelson d'Aires / Kameraphoto for Le Monde





In response to the crisis, shopkeepers in Salvaterra de Miño have decided to once again accept the former national currency. And the customers, attracted by prices at the same exchange rate that applied at the launch of the euro in 2002, are flocking to the Galician village.
Claire Gatinois
Only the day before, Ana Perez, a beautician in the municipality of Salvaterra de Miño in Galicia, northwestern Spain, had another customer with pockets full of pesetas. "She had 30,000, the equivalent of 180 euros. She spent 20,000 here to buy three bottles of perfume, one for herself and two give as presents," explains the delighted young woman.
On Tuesday 27 December, business was relatively slow but ever since the launch of “Operation Peseta" on 1st October, which enables people to buy virtually everything in Salvaterra with the former Spanish currency, Mrs Perez has seen customers arrive from near and far afield. She has even had visits from a few collectors. Would she happen to have some old banknotes dating from 1949?
Like Mrs Perez, local optician Sandra Ameijeira Rivas, kitchen equipment shopowner Fina Rodriguez, and formerly unemployed hairdresser Montse Ledo who now co-manages a local bar restaurant, the 50 traders participating in the scheme in Salvaterra, which is organised by the Unes association, have something to smile about.
“Operation Peseta" has brought a ray of sunshine to Salvaterra de Miño. The village, perched in the Galician mist on the banks of the River Miño, has had difficulty coping with competition from rival businesses in the pretty Portuguese town of Monçào, which is only a few hundred metres away. You only have to cross a bridge to shop in the Continente supermarket in Portugal.
A harvest of one million pesetas

For Mrs Perez, whose fiancé has been unemployed for a year, the operation which has enabled her to bring in 300,000 pesetas, has been a breath of fresh air. The salon, which she opened in June 2008, has been struggling. Formerly employed as a beautician in Vigo, the region’s large town which is some 20 kilometres away, she wanted to become her own boss, and Salvaterra de Miño seemed like an ideal place to set up shop. At least, so she thought.
The area was booming. There was talk of building a vast business park, the "industrial pentagon," which was supposed to attract companies like Mitsubishi, and PSA Peugeot Citroën from overpopulated Vigo. Buildings to house the thousands of potential workers had already begun to sprout up. After 30 years in office, Mayor Arturo Grandal Vaqueiro was convinced his dreams of grandeur would finally be realised...
But by the end of 2008, Anna noticed there was a slowdown. The crisis had begun to gnaw at Spain. The “pentagon”never evolved beyond an architect’s model on show at the mayor’s office, and there are five uncompleted buildings in the municipality. Everything has ground to halt.
Thanks to “Operation Peseta," the village has become the flavour of the month for journalists. "It has been a surprising success," explains Pablo Pino, President of the Unes association. The initiative, which was supposed to last for only a month, has already been renewed twice, and now there are plans to prolong it until 31 January.
Peseta notes and coins minted after 1940 can be exchanged for coffee or perfume, or even televisions... at the same rate of exchange that applied in 2002: one euro for 166.38 pesetas. Traders have been equipped with a software package enabling them to immediately recalculate their prices and to give change in euros.
To date Salvaterra has harvested one million pesetas – a sum that the traders explain is an additional windfall. The peseta shoppers are not regular customers: they come from Vigo or even further afield to convert notes and coins that had remained in country homes, safes, and grands-parents’piggy banks. Sometimes they were kept as souvenirs, but, as Mr Pino explains, people cannot afford to be nostalgic in the current crisis.
70% believe euro has not improved their lives

It was Miss Ameijeira Rivas, the optician, who came up with the idea for the scheme, when she remembered that the Spanish central bank had calculated that more than 1.7 billion euros worth of pesetas remain in circulation.
In Spain where no time limit was imposed when the euro was launched, it is still possible to convert old coins and notes. But the Spanish are often unaware of this fact, or they are reluctant to travel several kilometres to exchange the affectionately nicknamed "blondes" (gold-coloured peseta coins) for euros.
Against the backdrop of the crisis in the monetary union and fears that the euro will be abandoned, the initiative in Salvaterra does appear somewhat strange. According to a survey the Real Instituto Elcano and quoted by El Pais, close to 70% of Spanish citizens believe that the euro has done little or nothing to improve their lives. This leads one to wonder: does the initiative aim to draw attention to the surge in prices prompted by the introduction of the euro, which was not accompanied by an increase in salaries?
Like the other Unes traders, Miss Ameijeira Rivas is adamant that there was no malicious intention: "Our goal was to boost sales, not to have people believe that going back to the peseta would be easy or desirable." Even if, month after month, the operation has been prolonged, No one believes it will last forever. "The pesetas are not recycled, once they are returned to the Bank of Spain," points out Mr Pino.
Translated from the French by Mark McGovern

On the web


  • Original article in Le Monde fr









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Bailouts.....Agaiinst all the rules

Post  Panda on Sat 7 Jan - 14:16

Bailouts

Against all the rules

6 January 2012
Die Zeit
Hamburg


Arend van Dam








He who makes mistakes must pay the price. Ever since the crisis erupted five years ago, this key law of the market economy has been trampled on. Politicians must now decide between prosperity and morality, writes Die Zeit. Excerpts.
Mark Schieritz
Anyone who takes the trouble these days to trawl through internet forums on the economic crisis will make an interesting discovery. It is not the incredible amounts being pumped into the market or made available through various bailout funds that are provoking the greatest resentment, but the people that the money is going to: the bankers, who have been on the gravy train a long time and are now sliding into bankruptcy; the states that have lived beyond their means and are no longer getting fresh funding; the homeowners who have taken on too much credit and can no longer pay off their debts.
Misbehaviour is being rewarded instead of punished. This is essentially what Western societies have been witnessing for the last five years. In order to understand the increasing irritation with continual bailouts one must take into account not just the financial dimension of this crisis, but also the moral one.
One can better understand this with a psychological concept – the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance, which denotes the contradiction between the way we imagine the world and the way the world actually works. Something similar happens in the fable of the hungry fox and the grapes growing on a vine high up a wall.
Again and again the fox leaps, snapping at the grapes, but they remain out of reach. Accustomed to getting what he wants, the fox gradually becomes annoyed by the contradiction with his self-image. What the industrialised nations are going through is not much different.
Carrot and stick of a free economic system

At the core of all individualistic Western notions of justice lies the principle of personal responsibility, which is deeply rooted in Western thought. Each person is responsible for the consequences of his own actions: that awareness not only disciplines, but motivates. The correlation between risk and liability is the very foundation of capitalism and is what allows the market to transform the individual pursuit of profit into the common good.
“Investments are made ​​more carefully the more liable the person responsible for these investments is. Only when liability is absent do we see excess and indulgence,” wrote the Freiburg economist Walter Eucken, one of the architects of Germany's social market economy in the 1940s. Most political economists today would still put it the same way.
The principle of personal responsibility is the carrot and stick of a free economic system. Total solidarity on the other hand destroys the incentive systems of capitalism – and thus capitalism itself.
It is because this market economy imperative and a prevailing sense of social justice go together so well that the call for increased personal responsibility has been the signature tune accompanying the reforms of economic liberalism since the 1980s. Everyone can make it – but everyone can lose, too.
As is often the case, this has been pushed to its extreme by the Americans. In a recent televised debate, presenter Wolf Blitzer asked Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul how society should deal with a young man who didn’t think it necessary to take out health insurance and is now lying in a coma. The man must take responsibility for himself, Ron Paul answered. Blitzer asked if this meant that society should let the young man die. “Yes,” roared the audience.
Undermining the moral foundations of the market economy

Positions like these are repellently radical to continental Europeans. But matters of life and death apply here too. Those who bring on their own destitution can only count on limited help from the community. Against this backdrop, rescuing governments or banks must be taken as gross violations of the rules.
To the increasingly desperate cry for justice, those who supports bailouts respond with arguments about “efficiency”: If a bank falls, everyone will go down with it, and small savers in turn will lose their money too. If a state totters, everyone totters with it, and law and order will break down. It's the poorest who will suffer most. In short, bailout is cheaper than bankruptcy.
But help is also not without risk. When the European Central Bank (ECB) pumps half a trillion euros into the banks, the risk of inflation is real if financial authorities fail to recover the money in due time. What is even more crucial is that if the operation is to succeed it must not cost the taxpayers a single penny, while it must ward off the great calamity at the same time. Central banks were founded for precisely this purpose.
If it emerges that the bailouts succeed but also undermine the moral foundations of the market economy and perhaps even of society itself, then the West will find itself in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between prosperity and justice. In other words, either we are prepared to accept the risk of meltdow or we accept that, looking at the big picture, small injustices can be allowed during crises.
It's a tough call. In the Great Depression of the 1930s, states placed morality above all else. By refusing to step in, they ruined the economy. Today states place the economy above all else, and so may destroy morality. In the end, perhaps there remains only the path that the fox in the fable chooses. Realising that the grapes are out of reach, he grumbles, “They're much too sour for me anyway,” and walks off. To resolve the contradiction, that gap between his imagined and his real abilities, he lies to himself.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jan - 0:58

Debt crisis

Does doom await in 2012?

2 January 2012
El País
Madrid


Beppe Giacobbe


In the wake of a terrible year in 2011, the worst may be yet to come warns political analyst José Ignacio Torreblanca. The crisis could force EU member states to choose between Greece and Great Britain. And once again, everything will be decided in Germany.
José Ignacio Torreblanca
2011 will be remembered as the year in which, for the first time, the European Union gazed into the abyss and named the unnamable. To the surprise of friends and strangers, inside and outside Europe, just when after a decade of introspection and divisions Europe set out to make up for lost time with its eagerness to become a global player at last, a financial and economic crisis that spanned the globe hit the continent with full force and destabilised its main and most successful achievement: the monetary union.
"If the euro falls, Europe falls," Chancellor Angela Merkel announced to the members of her party meeting in Leipzig in November, describing the situation as “the most difficult since the Second World War." And she was right: the consequences of a breakdown of the euro would be so profound that it would be hard to restrict them merely to the currency: they would hit the internal market and the principal common policies, including foreign policy, full on, sweeping away decades of painstaking European integration.
The “Empty Chair Crisis" in the sixties, the "Eurosclerosis" of the seventies, the shadow of Europe’s economic and technological decline vis-à-vis the U.S. and Japan in the eighties, the return of concentration camps and ethnic cleansing in the nineties, and the failed constitutional referenda in France and the Netherlands in the last decade: the European Union has been in crisis before, but none have had an existential character in the literal sense of the word.
"Too little, too late"

What have the consequences of the euro crisis been? The most visible and immediate has the devastation in terms of employment and prosperity, which has provoked widespread wariness about the future of the welfare state. The crisis has also brought into question the democratic self-respect of our societies, subject to market forces over which they detect a lack of control. And although it is too early to outline the psychological impact, history tells us that societies that are afraid and that feel insecure tend to turn in on themselves, become wary of their surroundings, open the door to populism and sacrifice freedom for the sake of greater security.
The weaknesses revealed by the crisis have been equally significant. The monetary union, which aspired to be as sturdy as all those imposing buildings that are depicted in the Euro banknotes but that (a premonition?) in reality do not actually exist, has proved itself incapable of overcoming bad weather, as if it were designed to set sail only under untroubled skies.
And at the same time, the fine but indispensable fabric of the ‘identity’ that holds European integration together has also been torn: solidarity and the community project, anchored as much in a vision of the past as in a vision of a common future, have been undermined and even replaced by the worst prejudices and cultural stereotypes between North and South, East and West, Catholic and Protestant that we thought had been overcome. The management of the crisis that has grown out of all this has been marked by "too little, too late”, which has kept the euro dangling over the edge of the abyss and kept the citizenry on the verge of a heart attack for most of the year.
Institutions sidelined

From the institutional point of view, the integration of Europe has also been singularly affected, now that Germany and France have opted for a straightforward and ruthless intergovernmentalism and brushed aside the European institutions (particularly the Commission and Parliament) as well as the so-called “Community method", which traditionally has been the only guarantee of a balance between big and small, rich and poor, North and South.
In extremis, as the year came to a close, the European Central Bank saved the European economy from collapse by flooding the banking market with liquidity. This has proved right all those who claimed that the pressures on sovereign debt were not the cause but the consequence of a financial crisis that, due to errors in design and operation of the euro zone, nearly engulfed the EU itself. The bell of the ECB has saved the EU, at least for the moment. It has not, however, resolved the underlying problems, which are still there and which 2012 will have to tackle.
These include the inability to build a firewall between the euro and the EU that would shield the failure of one from the collapse of the other. For that reason, when the Greeks and the British return to the negotiating table in 2012 the EU will be precisely where it was in 2011: between the rock of a Greek exit from the euro, the consequences of which would be devastating, and the hard place of an irreversible rupture with the United Kingdom, which would threaten the unity of the internal market and weaken the EU’s global standing.
All eyes will be on Germany

Nonetheless, the future of Europe will be decided not at the Greco-British periphery, but, naturally, at its core. The German government stubbornly persists in a reading of the crisis that makes resolving it impossible because, as has been shown, the crisis demands a change in the rules governing the euro zone and, most particularly, a new role for the ECB and the issuing of Eurobonds.
In Berlin, Chancellor Merkel has consciously lashed herself not to one but to two masts: the mast of a public opinion highly reluctant to get more involved in monetary union, and to a Constitutional Court that is hostile to European integration. But that legal and public opinion behind which Merkel is hiding is not the cause of her actions, but something that she herself and her party have encouraged, instilling in the Germans the belief, against all empirical evidence, that the euro has not only been a bad deal for Germany but, as the Constitutional Court seems to believe, a threat to German democracy itself.
And so, once the ECB has changed course and resolved on saving the financial system, all eyes will be on Germany, trying to figure out how Berlin will continue to lead Europe on the basis of its doubts, misgivings and fears – or on a constructive and long-term vision of the future of the continent. Forget the Mayan calendar: it is in Berlin where Cassandra will be vindicated or refuted.

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Panic - hottest all-time business model

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jan - 7:05

Eurozone crisis



Panic – hottest all-time business model




30 November 2011

Berliner Zeitung

Berlin





Contemplating the European debt crisis. A still from Airplane 2


© Paramount Pictures 1982











Fear, alarm, apocalypse: moods rather than facts steer
mankind, writes futurologist Matthias Horx. This holds true for the
eurozone crisis as well.


Matthias Horx




In his new thriller, historian and bestselling author Robert
Harris describes how a man can get filthy rich off pure fear. The plot
goes like this: Brilliant physicist Dr. Hoffmann (a nod to Edgar Allan
Poe), former worker at the Large Hadron Collider, develops a hedge-fund
computer.

VIXAL-4 scans the worldwide web at millisecond-speed for signs of
panic, hunting for words such as “terror”, “alarm”, “horror”, “end”,
“downfall”, “crisis”, “bankruptcy”, “danger”, “abyss”, “anxiety”, and
“core meltdown”. When the fear spikes, Hoffman can swiftly place bets in
falling markets – raking in billions in mere seconds. Annually, the
hedge fund brings in a return of more than 80 percent.

Naturally, things get messy. The machine starts to speculate on its
own initiative and sparks an epidemic of fear. Hoffmann’s marriage,
house and psyche hit the rocks, along with the entire world economy.

Escalating headlines


Imagine for a moment that this work of fiction has long been a
reality. The cause of the euro crisis would simply be a result of a
collective generation of fear. Oscillating fear. Copied fear. Marauding
fear that leaps from mind to mind. Mass contagion. One wouldn’t even
need a central computer bank in the style of Big Brother or HAL to feed
into this entire system. The “crisis” would only be a crisis because
everyone believed it was a crisis.

Hold on just a minute. I can hear the pundits on the crisis asking:
And what about the plain facts? Haven’t the banks, for instance,
triggered the housing crisis? Haven’t they driven the European states
into debt? Or – the other version – haven’t irresponsible European
politicians always taken an adversarial approach towards the markets
and merrily squandered taxpayers’ money at the expense of future
generations?

Perhaps it hasn’t mattered for a long time now. The futurist John
Casti, a maths genius, shows in his new book “Mood Matters: From Rising
Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers” how the moods of a
society govern its history. Casti’s argument is a radical one: it’s not
events in the real world that shape the future, but solely collective
expectations. As Epictetus said over two thousand years ago, “What
upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the
things.”

Not just wicked speculators are betting against the euro. A
fear-and-anxiety industry among the media, which depend above all on
escalating headlines, has been with us a long time.

Fearconomy


The Euro Apocalypse, the Twilight of Money, the End of Prosperity.
Angry professors come on talk shows to grandstand with their
I’ve-known-it-all-along gestures. In every debate the organ notes piping
out doom and gloom have to be cranked an octave higher.

Has this “Fearconomy” not already been the true economy a long time,
a much stronger economy than one that relies on change, improvement
and renewal? Is “Terror, alarm, horror, end, downfall, crisis,
bankruptcy, danger, abyss, anxiety, core meltdown” not the hottest
business model of all time, because human beings, at their deepest
level, are simply creatures of panic?

“Our most profound conviction,” says Dr. Hoffman in the novel by
Robert Harris, “is that digitisation itself, universal connectivity,
will provoke a global panic wave. And that’s how we’ll make money – a
hell of a lot of money!”

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hUNGARY........oRBAN INCREASINGLY ISOLATED

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jan - 12:30

Member States

Hungary

Orbán increasingly isolated

6 January 2012
Presseurop


Shooty


The reinforcement of the executive branch of government and the weakening of checks and balances has been criticised by newspapers in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe at a moment when the country has been struck by a financial crisis that is steadily worsening as investors lose confidence in Budapest.
For left-wing 168 óra, “Orbán should peacefully resign while he still has time” so as ”to avoid an economic catastrophe”. According to Heti Világgazdaság, it is time to roll the credits on the Republic of Hungary. Heti Világgazdaság reports on the letter it has received from the office of European Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights, Viviane Reding. The letter points out that the Commission can initiate “a procedure for violation of EU law” against Hungary. It also says:
...the Commission can make use of all of the available tools to guarantee fundamental rights and European values in Hungary. As a matter of principle, we do not comment on the constitutions of member states, but legislation in all countries [that are members of the EU] must comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the Commission will use every means to ensure that the values of the charter apply in Hungary.
Criticism of the new constitution is even starting to become awkward for pro-government newspapers in the country. Conservative daily Magyar Nemzet notes that the government is now caught in “crossfire” from European institutions and partners, and also from the United States and the International Monetary Fund:
We have reached a point where this is no longer a joke or a mere international plot, and it is no time for “sulking”. Even if the criticism voiced by European politicians and the European media is at times unfair, and at times completely ridiculous, we no longer have a choice. It no longer makes sense to cite the results that have been achieved by the government, because the situation is much more serious. We cannot avoid engaging in a process of far reaching self-criticism, because we urgently need to escape from this crossfire.
The gravity of the situation is such that Budapest’s attitude to foreign criticism appears to have changed, remarks HVG, which claims that “the government is not insisting on any pre-conditions and is ready to hold talks with the IMF and the European Commission.” Time is running out, all the more because the financial crisis that has struck Hungary has begun to spread to neighbouring countries. România libera notes that “Viktor Orbán’s blackmail could destablise Eastern Europe.” And if Hungary is allowed to go bankrupt, “shock waves will spread”. In Prague for example, Hospodářské noviny points out that the Czech crown, which has declined by 8% againt the euro over the past year, is being “dragged down by the [Hungarian] forint.”

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Sun 8 Jan - 15:02

GREECE AND ITALY COULD REDUCE PART OF THEIR SPENDING IF THEY COULD WEED OUT THE BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS ETC

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jan - 15:11

Badboy wrote:GREECE AND ITALY COULD REDUCE PART OF THEIR SPENDING IF THEY COULD WEED OUT THE BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS ETC

Greece in particular has never been noted for collecting taxes and there have been several properties in Central London sold to Greeks recently.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Sun 8 Jan - 15:17

Panda wrote:
Badboy wrote:GREECE AND ITALY COULD REDUCE PART OF THEIR SPENDING IF THEY COULD WEED OUT THE BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS ETC

Greece in particular has never been noted for collecting taxes and there have been several properties in Central London sold to Greeks recently.
I PUT SOME INFO ON THREAD ABOUT BENEFIT FRAUD ON UK NEWS?

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jan - 15:21

Badboy wrote:
Panda wrote:
Badboy wrote:GREECE AND ITALY COULD REDUCE PART OF THEIR SPENDING IF THEY COULD WEED OUT THE BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS ETC

Greece in particular has never been noted for collecting taxes and there have been several properties in Central London sold to Greeks recently.
I PUT SOME INFO ON THREAD ABOUT BENEFIT FRAUD ON UK NEWS?

O.K. I"ll check it out.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

Post  Badboy on Sun 8 Jan - 15:41

LETS PUT THOSE BENEFIT FRAUD STATISTICS HERE BECAUSE THEY ARE APPLICABLE TO THE GREECE/ITALY BUDGET PROBLEMS.
IN GREECE,1500 POSSIBLY MORE PEOPLE ARE RECEIVING PENSIONS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE DEAD.
OVER 1% OF PEOPLE ON ZAKYNTHOS ARE SUPPOSEDLY BLIND.
400 PEOPLE ON KALYMOS ARE SUPPOSEDLY DEPRESSED.
A DISPORITATE(SP?) OF PEOPLE IN THESSALONIKA SEEM TO BE SEVERABLY DISABLED.
THERE A SIMILIAR PROBLEM IN ITALY.
IN THEORY,THEY COULD WIPE OUT A LOT OF THE DEFICIT IN BOTH COUNTRY IF THEY SORT OUT THE BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS.

ALSO TACKLE TAX EVASION AS WELL.

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Re: EC PRESIDENT CALLS URGENT MEETING FOR TOMORROW #2

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