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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Thu 2 Aug - 23:52




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ECB-Politicians’ Anti-Crisis Bargain Emerges After 2 1/2 Years

By James G. Neuger - Aug 2, 2012 11:00 PM GMT+0100
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After 2 1/2 years of incremental crisis management and false starts, a bargain is beginning to emerge between Europe’s politicians and central bankers over how to calm bond markets and end the debt tumult that threatens the euro’s survival.

The European Central Bank sketched out its side of the deal yesterday, offering to buy Italy’s and Spain’s bonds on the market as long as the euro governments’ bailout fund makes purchases directly from the two countries’ treasuries and ties them to tough conditions.

ECB President Mario Draghi offered only a glimpse of the new strategy, with the actual interventions weeks or months away and a host of obstacles standing in the way before Europe can claim to be on a path out of the crisis that emerged in Greece in late 2009. Investors looking for a quicker fix pushed down the euro, European stocks and bonds of at-risk countries.

“All of the announcements, if transferred into actual activity, would be close to the big bazooka approach that the markets are looking for,” said Charles Diebel, head of market strategy at Lloyds Banking Group Plc in London. “Market disappointment is hardly surprising in this context but we may well find this lays the groundwork for the grand plan in coming weeks.”

Draghi’s ‘Guidance’

The euro jumped as high as $1.2405 on the initial ECB announcement, falling back as Draghi’s caution that “it was not a decision, it was guidance” sank in. The 17-nation currency bought $1.2164 at 8 p.m. Frankfurt time. Italy’s 10-year borrowing costs compared to German levels rose by 54 basis points to 510 basis points and Spain’s rose by 58 basis points to 594 basis points.

In the trading rooms, skeptics recalled the failure of European authorities to deliver on prior crisis-fighting pledges, whether by restricting the use of the original 440 billion-euro ($535 billion) rescue fund or forcing through a restructuring of Greece’s debt after promising not to.

“The big bazooka is Draghi’s implied promises, which have not been delivered upon,” said Marc Ostwald, a strategist at Monument Securities Ltd. in London. “Markets are saying this is all talk, there’s nothing concrete.”

What is different now is that the two countries with their backs against the wall, Italy and Spain, represent 28 percent of the $12 trillion economy and have new leaders that have forced through deficit-slashing measures over mounting domestic opposition.

Merkel, Hollande

“The ECB’s decision is important,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters in Paris. “It allows the ECB to intervene when it’s necessary.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on vacation, didn’t air any immediate qualms; on July 27, she and Hollande made a joint pledge “to do everything to safeguard” the euro.

Draghi’s offer to join forces with governments contrasted with the maneuvering in August 2011 by his predecessor, Jean- Claude Trichet. With Europe’s rescue fund not yet empowered to intervene on bond markets, Trichet ended up going solo in starting the purchases of Italian and Spanish debt.

Italy’s then-government, led by Silvio Berlusconi, chafed at the ECB’s insistence on budget cuts, and the central bank had no way of enforcing its writ. Opposition from the two Germans on the ECB’s policy council limited the size of the bond purchases and led to their suspension six months later.

Political Constellation

Draghi is operating in a different political constellation. Berlusconi is gone, replaced by the non-partisan Mario Monti, now in the midst of enacting 26 billion euros of spending cuts. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has delivered three rounds of austerity since taking office last December.

Moreover, Europe’s political establishment has courted the ECB by giving Draghi a lead role in fixing the birth defects of the monetary union that go back to the 1991 Maastricht Treaty. Along with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Barroso and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the central banker is co-drafting proposals for a closer fiscal union and more integrated banking system.

Neither the Italian nor Spanish leader took up the ECB’s conditions yesterday. At a press conference in Madrid two hours after Draghi’s announcement, Monti and Rajoy shrugged off questions whether they would ask for a primary market bond- purchasing program by the rescue funds.

“I don’t know if the Italian government will ask for activation of this instrument,” Monti said. Rajoy declined to answer the question.

Outside Monitoring

A bond-buying program would require Italy and Spain to make austerity and economic-reform commitments -- or potentially only restate the ones they’ve already made -- and submit to international monitoring. Spain has already gotten over the stigma of relying on outside help by tapping a 100 billion-euro program to shore up its banks.

Draghi’s pledge took the ECB further away from its roots as a politically autonomous central bank, modelled on Germany’s Bundesbank, with prime responsibility for containing inflation and only a lesser focus on the broader economy and the stability of the banking system.

The Bundesbank’s leader, Jens Weidmann, was alone on the ECB’s 23-member policy council in expressing “reservations,” Draghi told the press. For now, Weidmann stayed silent, contrasting with the objections to the ECB’s original bond- purchasing program that were immediately voiced by his predecessor, Axel Weber, in May 2010.

Court Challenge

One reason Draghi had to buy time is that European governments won’t be able to act until at least mid-September, the earliest possible startup date for the planned 500 billion- euro permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism. It faces a German supreme court ruling on Sept. 12.

Until then, Europe’s only rescue vehicle is the European Financial Stability Facility, with as little as 148 billion euros left over after last month’s approval of Spanish bank aid.

“Whatever the short-term gut reaction of markets, the ECB announcement constitutes serious progress,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London. “The chances have risen substantially that the worst of the current wave of euro crisis could soon be over.”



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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Fri 3 Aug - 0:23


AFP


One in every five young Europeans is out of a job, and even one in two in some countries. Numbers like these were enough to have the young generation rebel against governments in the Arab world, remarks a Polish columnist. What will happen if our social model deprives young people of all hope?

Wawrzyniec Smoczyński


Greece may opt to leave the eurozone in September, Spain is planning on requesting a bailout from Europe, while the European Central Bank is preparing to buy more Italian bonds.

From the island paradises where they spend their holidays, our leaders are as usual pledging to prevent the breakup of the Eurozone. Mario Monti appears to be the only one with an honest word to say: “We will have to wait a few years before we can address a message of hope to the young generation”. The Italian Prime Minister is put out by the a 36% rate of unemployment faced by today’s 20-year-olds, and the fact that he can only offer “damage limitation” measures which will not prevent them from becoming “a lost generation.”

Regardless of what they do this week, even if they decide to pool their budgets and print billions of euros, Europe’s leaders will not be able to assuage the harm that has been wrought by this crisis.

Young generation should march on Brussels

The rate of youth unemployment in Europe now stands at 20%, and has ballooned to 52% in Spain and Greece. In countries like the UK where work is available, the jobs that are on offer are invariably short-term contracts. Precarious work is now the only option for a generation threatened by unemployment and poverty. In the Middle East, a 26% youth unemployment rate was sufficient to trigger the Arab revolutions. In Europe, we may have no dictators to depose, but Monti’s remarks are an indirect admission of the capitulation of democracy in response to the crisis.

Worsening conditions for young people have to some extent been offset by the European social model, and in particular the substantial pensions that enable parents to take charge of the financial burden on children who have no hope of finding steady work. But what will happen when these parents pass away, or when the Greek, Spanish and Italian governments decide to cut pension payments?

Instead of demonstrating against capitalism in their home countries, the young generation should march on Brussels to express its commitment to Europe. Italian and Spanish young people should ensure that their politicians rapidly push through measures to include them in the economy, while their German peers should campaign for a solidarity in marked contrast to the indifference espoused by their parents. And all of this must be done before the young generation becomes a lost generation, not only in terms of prosperity but also in terms of democracy.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Fri 3 Aug - 17:02

Spain has a collapsing economy, an imploding property market, banks nursing colossal losses, and 10-year bond yields at 7.5%. It’s time to stop pretending that there won’t be a bailout, writes The Guardian’s economics editor.

Larry Elliott


Policy in Europe is all about playing for time. The big picture ideas for saving the single currency will take years, not months, to come to fruition – but the threat of collapse is immediate.

So the short-term mindset is all about survival: think the football team that parks the bus in order to defend a 0-0 scoreline or the batsmen whose sole aim is to occupy the crease when their team is facing an innings defeat on the last day of a Test match.

For a while last week, there was the real prospect that Europe's backs to the wall effort had succeeded. Last month's summit had more substance than the previous content-free affairs, and the rally in European financial markets last week reflected the belief that enough had been done to keep things calm through August. That, though, was until the Spanish region of Valencia announced that it needed financial help from Madrid, providing the trigger for a big sell-off in the markets that continued on Monday.

The response from the Spanish government was to swear blind one minute that there was not the remotest possibility of a full-blown rescue involving the International Monetary Fund and to impose a ban on the short selling of shares the next. The markets were suitably unimpressed by this display of ineptitude.

Meanwhile, Greece was once again coming under the spotlight as Athens awaited the arrival of officials from the Troika (the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union) on Tuesday. Greece is gripped by a 1930s-style depression and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is having trouble sticking to the austerity programme imposed as part of its bailout. It appears that the troika will threaten to cut off Greece's financial lifeline unless the coalition government agrees to an extra €2bn of cuts.

There are three conclusions to be drawn from these events. The first is that Spain is heading inexorably towards a bailout, probably quite soon. It was always a case of smoke and mirrors to imagine that the promised €100bn (£78bn) package of support for Spanish banks would be enough and so it has proved.

This is a country with a collapsing economy, an imploding property market, banks nursing colossal losses, and 10-year bond yields at 7.5%. The question is not whether there will be a bailout, but how big it will be. At least €300bn in all probability.

The second conclusion is that the trapdoor is opening up under Greece. German patience with Athens has run out, and the IMF was forced to deny reports on Monday it was preparing to cut off financial support. The Greek government is now faced with the choice of agreeing to a new range of demand-reducing measures it knows will be both counter-productive and politically toxic in order to be able to pay its bills inside the euro zone, or to devalue and default outside monetary union. A voluntary Greek exit would be ideal for Angela Merkel.

What links Greece and Spain is that the failed approach that has brought the smaller of the two countries to the point of no return is now being tried with the bigger and more strategically important member of the club.

The lesson from Greece is absolutely clear: slashing spending and increasing taxes when an economy is in free fall leads to higher, not lower, levels of debt. Spain is following Greece down the vicious spiral that starts with weak growth and rising unemployment and ends with expensive bail outs that do more harm than good.

For Greece in August 2011 read Spain in August 2012. Same problems. Same failed answers. Same crisis. Only bigger.



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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Fri 3 Aug - 22:24

3 August 2012 Last updated at 16:47 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page



Spain's implied cost of borrowing fell below 7% on Friday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was considering bailout options.

At a press conference in Madrid, Mr Rajoy said he would do "what was best for the Spanish people".

The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds dropped to 6.8% late on Friday after topping 7.4% earlier in the day.

Greece, Portugal and Ireland all had to seek international bailouts when their borrowing costs stayed above 7%.

In June, Spain requested 100bn euros ($122bn) of loans from the EFSF bailout fund to help support its banks, which are struggling with bad debts from loans made in the property sector.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis

Tom Burridge

BBC News, Madrid

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any journalist working in Spain will have lost count of the number of times the Spanish government has ruled out a full bailout for the country.

Now the language has changed.

However by stating that he was waiting to see what measures the European Central Bank might take, Mariano Rajoy might be hoping to exert some pressure on officials in Frankfurt, Brussels and Berlin.

The fact that the amount needed to bail out Spain would probably be hundreds of billions of euros, and also that there's no guarantee that Italy might not later have to follow the same path, means that it's possible that a full bailout for Spain might not be the preferred option for other countries and institutions in the eurozone.

The change in tone from the Spanish government reflects the disappointment here over what Spain's El Pais newspaper described as the ECB's "inaction" on Thursday.

Mariano Rajoy has raised the stakes for the whole eurozone, stating that once the ECB has decided what course of action it will take to help Spain lower its borrowing costs, he will also make a decision of his own.

However, speculation had increased in recent weeks that the government would have to request a full financial rescue.

Draghi's challenge

On Thursday, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi said the ECB was ready to intervene in the bond markets to bring down the cost of borrowing for countries such as Spain.

But he told reporters that Spain's formal request for help from the European bailout funds - the EFSF and ESM- was "a necessary condition" of any ECB support.

Eurozone members Germany and Finland oppose ECB support for Spain without promises from its government to stick to strict spending and budget plans.

By making a formal request to the EFSF, Spain would have to sign a memorandum of understanding or legal promise to stick to agreed plans.

"What I want to know is what these measures are, what they mean and whether they are appropriate and, in light of the circumstances, we will make a decision, but I have still not taken any decision," he said.

The government was also due to submit budget plans for 2013 and 2014 to the European Commission on Friday.

Last month, Madrid announced additional spending cuts and tax rises worth 65bn euros ($79bn; £51bn).
=============================

Question: How on Earth are these Countries going to repay the bailouts when they have to keep making cuts in expenditure, export more in a market which is in the throes of a worldwide recession and the cuts cause more unemployment ?????

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Sun 5 Aug - 17:13

Greece

Agreement in Athens


2 August 2012
I Kathimerini Athens







“We agreed ... On the outline of the measures ... Details later.”
(Cartoon of the 3 Greek Leaders holding up a Cartoon of a matchstick man being hung )

After several days of tense negotiations, the three government coalition parties have agreed on a plan of savings amounting to €11.5 billion.

The leaders of Pasok (Socialist) and Democratic Left – Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis – withdrew opposition to measures including slashing wages and pensions. Greek PM Antonis Samaras can now conduct negotiations with the EU-ECB-IMF in order to relax the bailout conditions imposed on the country.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Aug - 9:42

5 August 2012 Last updated at 19:19 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti has warned of a "psychological break-up" of Europe that must be contained.

In an interview with Germany's der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, he said the eurozone crisis was creating national resentments that could damage the EU.

Separately, the head of Italy's central bank, Ignazio Visco, insisted his country did not yet need a bailout.

Meanwhile, negotiations between Greece and its rescue lenders made "good progress" and will resume in September.

Inspectors from the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) left Athens on Sunday following several days of talks with Greece's new coalition government.

The Greek government desperately needs the next tranche of bailout money to be released in order to meet debt payments and to pay its bills, but will have to wait another month for a decision.

"Talks went well, we made good progress," said the IMF's chief negotiator, Poul Thomsen. "We will take a break and come back in early September."

'Front line'

The Greeks have offered a further 11.5bn euros (£9.12bn; $14.25bn) of austerity measures in order to win over the inspectors.

However, the tough conditions imposed by Greece's lenders - including spending cuts, tax rises and labour market reforms - have met with popular anger in Greece, with the public's ire particularly focused on Germany.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
Much depends on ourselves”
End Quote
Ignazio Visco

Bank of Italy governor

The issue was taken up by Mr Monti in his interview, which was published on the German language site of der Spiegel.

"There is a front line in this area between north and south. There are reciprocal prejudices," he said. "It is very alarming and we must fight against it."

In Greece, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has often been caricatured as a Hitler figure in protests and in the media.

This week an Italian newspaper is set to run a front-page article describing Ms Merkel's domination of the European political scene as a "Fourth Reich", according to the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Monti warned that a disintegration of the eurozone would "destroy the founding of the European project".

"Therefore it is the prime task of the nations' leaders to explain to their citizens Europe's real situation, and not give in to prejudices."

Meanwhile, Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco has told the Italian daily Repubblica that his country does not yet need to turn to the eurozone's two bailout funds for financial assistance, but did not rule it out in the future.

"Looking ahead, it will depend on several factors," he said. "If the markets convince themselves a turning point has passed, if Italy does not abandon fiscal discipline and steps up its efforts to promote growth, then there will be no need for a rescue fund intervention. Much depends on ourselves."

Italy's government has the biggest debt burden of any of the major eurozone countries, which makes it particularly susceptible to a loss of market confidence - something that would make it impossible for the government to reborrow its debts as they come due for payment.

Speculation is currently focused on Spain, which has already secured a 100bn-euro rescue deal for its banks.

It is feared that if Spain's government is cut off by the markets and has to seek a full-blown bailout, Italy may follow not far behind - an eventuality that would exhaust the eurozone's current bailout capacity.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Aug - 12:11

Portuguese bonds are leading gainers among European sovereigns, trumping the safe-haven appeal of German bunds even as the euro-region’s debt crisis approaches its fourth year.

In the first seven months of 2012, Portuguese debt returned 28 percent, the most of 26 markets tracked by indexes compiled by Bloomberg and the European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies. German bunds rose 4.1 percent and Spanish debt fell 5.1 percent. The yield on Portugal’s benchmark 10-year bond has declined by 7 percentage points since late January.











Portugal’s progress in meeting the terms of its 78 billion-euro bailout has helped sustain bonds, even after neighboring Spain sought aid in June, fueling contagion concerns. Photographer: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg
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“There is still juice left for investors,” said David Schnautz, a fixed-income strategist at Commerzbank AG in New York. “For those that are more risk tolerant, there is still value in Portuguese bonds. At the end of the year, yields should be lower than they are right now.”

Portugal’s progress in meeting the terms of its 78 billion- euro ($96 billion) bailout has helped sustain bonds, even after neighboring Spain sought aid in June, fueling contagion concerns. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho aims to regain access to bond markets by September 2013, and has said he can count on further support from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund should “external reasons” leave Portugal cut off from investors.

Five Bailouts

The sovereign-debt crisis has forced five euro nations to seek rescues. On June 25, Cyprus became the latest to request a bailout since Greece triggered the European crisis almost three years ago. The petition came weeks after Spain sought 100 billion euros to shore up its banks.

Portugal’s 10-year bond rate is at about 11 percent, while two-year debt yields 7.4 percent, down from records of 18 percent and 22 percent respectively at the end of January. The difference in yield investors demand to hold Portugal’s 10-year bonds over German bunds has narrowed to 9.5 percentage points from 16 points on Jan. 31. Germany sold five-year notes on Aug. 1 at an average yield of 0.31 percent, the lowest on record.

“In fixed-income portfolios, you have to ask the question why would you invest in government bonds at the moment when nominal and real yields are exceptionally low,” Robert Parker, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse Asset Management, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “My answer to that is you can have selective minor positions in Europe where bailout programs are working, like Ireland, like Portugal.”

‘Good Grades’

While Greece needed two elections this year to form a government, the coalition led by Passos Coelho is cutting spending and raising taxes with the backing of a parliamentary majority elected a year ago. Portugal has had four successful quarterly reviews of its bailout program.

“Portugal is doing very well in terms of reforms,” Schnautz said. “Portugal is getting good grades with each report. There’s still a way to go.”

The IMF projects Portugal’s debt will peak at about 118.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 and decline to less than 80 percent of GDP by 2030. The projection assumes annual economic growth of 2 percent and medium- and long-term borrowing costs of 7 percent when the country regains access to markets in 2013, declining gradually to 5 percent over the next four years.

Standard & Poor’s cited the government’s compliance with terms of its aid program on Aug. 2 when it affirmed Portugal’s BB long-term credit rating, the second level below investment grade.

Bonds ‘Depressed’

While many European banks have been hobbled by losses from government bonds, Portuguese lenders have benefitted in recent months. Banco BPI SA (BPI) of Porto, Portugal, had potential gains of 80 million euros to 90 million euros from its bond holdings, primarily purchased in the first half.

“Portuguese government bond prices were quite depressed at the beginning of the year,” Chief Executive Officer Fernando Ulrich said on July 25. “Now they are quite a lot better.”

Banco Espirito Santo SA (BES) had “potential gains” of 100 million euros on its Portuguese debt in the first half. Espirito Santo CEO Ricardo Salgado said March 6 that the Lisbon-based bank was “slowly” buying longer-maturity bonds. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said May 4 that it sold all its Irish and Portuguese government debt.

Banco Comercial Portugues SA (BCP), also based in Porto, will continue to “moderately” buy local sovereign debt, Chief Executive Officer Nuno Amado said on July 27.

Return to Market

The low volume of Portuguese bond trading may discourage some investors from betting on a continued rally. Trading fell to an average 15 million euros a day in June from 38 million euros a day during the same month of last year, according to the debt agency. Turnover of the securities averaged 93 million euros a day in June 2010.

Portugal is “sounding out” the market as it prepares to resume sales of medium-term notes, Joao Moreira Rato, chairman of the country’s debt agency, said in an interview last month.

The Portuguese government plans to issue notes with maturities of one to five years that are designed for specific creditors, the IMF said in a report released July 17. The government also may sell additional treasury bills with maturities of more than one year in the coming months, the Washington-based fund said.

The IGCP, as the Lisbon-based debt agency is known, sold 1 billion euros of 18-month bills on April 4, the longest maturity auctioned since the country requested the bailout in April of last year, at an average yield of 4.537 percent. On July 18, Portugal sold 1.25 billion euros of 12-month bills due in July 2013 at a rate of 3.505 percent, the lowest since November 2010. That was less than the 3.918 percent Spain paid on similar maturity debt a day earlier.

“Despite fears of a spillover from Spain, you could see Portuguese bonds perform well even if pressure in Spain increases,” Commerzbank’s Schnautz said.


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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Aug - 17:21

Greece

Clampdown on illegal immigrants


6 August 2012


Ta Nea Comment



Ta Nea, 6 August 2012


The Greek authorities have dubbed the initiative "Zeus Xenios" (Zeus, the protector of hosts). For Ta Nea, it will amount to a “massive drive to reduce illegal immigration”. On August 4, more than 4,500 police were mobilised in downtown Athens and in Evros, on the Turkish border, which is one of the main entry points for illegal immigration to Europe. “Some 4,900 people were were questioned and 1,130 were were placed in detention centres,” reports the daily, which explains the goal of the first in a series of such similar operations is


to intercept illegal immigrants and to organise large numbers of repatriations. According to estimates from the Ministry of Citizen Protection, approximately 5,000 will be placed in reception centres by December. [...] At the same time, the ministry aims to demonstrate that undocumented migrants are not welcome and should not come back. [...] The initiative has prompted a mixed reaction from the public. For some, the clampdown has come too late for the centre of Athens, which has already been transformed into a ghetto, while others argue that the state should establish a proper migration policy instead of relying on ad hoc operations that have no lasting impact.

In the wake of the organisation of a special deportation charter flight that sent 88 people to Pakistan, and which was financed by the European Return Fund, the Greek government has announced that it intends to triple the number of border guards at Evros to counter an upsurge in the number of refugees arriving from Syria.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Aug - 20:06


Credit Suisse says there is too much pessimism about the Euro crisis.

Merkel popularity on 3yr high.

The German coalition Party with Merkel's says Greece will leave the EURO by the year end. The troika who have been
in Greece for several days says good progress has been made and will meet again in September. In the meantime Greece has asked for and will receive E3 billion immediately to pay Bills.

Spain is considering some kind oof help but if Bonds continue to decrease this may not be necessary. Monti is very
critical of the way the EC is handling the crisis which he says is dividing the Union.

It may be Italy will need a bail out and analysts suggest France won't be far behind but there is not enough money to
bail out big amounts and if Draghi buys Bonds there is no guarantee they will be repaid. Investors are very wary
because when Greece had to write off Bonds a few months ago the ECB did not lose, only the private Bond holders.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Mon 6 Aug - 20:14

Panda wrote:Greece

Clampdown on illegal immigrants


6 August 2012


Ta Nea Comment



Ta Nea, 6 August 2012


The Greek authorities have dubbed the initiative "Zeus Xenios" (Zeus, the protector of hosts). For Ta Nea, it will amount to a “massive drive to reduce illegal immigration”. On August 4, more than 4,500 police were mobilised in downtown Athens and in Evros, on the Turkish border, which is one of the main entry points for illegal immigration to Europe. “Some 4,900 people were were questioned and 1,130 were were placed in detention centres,” reports the daily, which explains the goal of the first in a series of such similar operations is


to intercept illegal immigrants and to organise large numbers of repatriations. According to estimates from the Ministry of Citizen Protection, approximately 5,000 will be placed in reception centres by December. [...] At the same time, the ministry aims to demonstrate that undocumented migrants are not welcome and should not come back. [...] The initiative has prompted a mixed reaction from the public. For some, the clampdown has come too late for the centre of Athens, which has already been transformed into a ghetto, while others argue that the state should establish a proper migration policy instead of relying on ad hoc operations that have no lasting impact.

In the wake of the organisation of a special deportation charter flight that sent 88 people to Pakistan, and which was financed by the European Return Fund, the Greek government has announced that it intends to triple the number of border guards at Evros to counter an upsurge in the number of refugees arriving from Syria.

I did not know that there was a "European Return Fund" ! About time we started using it. Mind you I doubt that it has enough funds to do the job for us. I have nothing against legal immigration for people that want to work, If we have room for them, which we do not. If ever a country was full to the edges and sinking fast, it is us. It is like overfilling a life boat so that everybody goes down. IMO

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Aug - 20:45


The trouble is with Britain, it abides by the Human Rights act, I agree the immigration problem in Britain should be addressed, Britain is a small Country. As regards Europe, maybe it is something to do with the no Border policy where
all EC Countries can pass through more freely but Britain checks Passports for anyone travelling , something like that.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Mon 6 Aug - 21:31

Panda wrote:
The trouble is with Britain, it abides by the Human Rights act, I agree the immigration problem in Britain should be addressed, Britain is a small Country. As regards Europe, maybe it is something to do with the no Border policy where
all EC Countries can pass through more freely but Britain checks Passports for anyone travelling , something like that.

Yes Panda I agree that we abide by the human rights act. More so than any other EC country. It seems though that human rights work in a strange way in our country. It seems to do more harm than good.

Not quite sure about understanding the rest of your post. Britain checking passports does not seem to be working very well. It seems to me that people pass through Europe freely as you say but with only one destination in mind which is here!

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 6:54



fuzeta, The biggest loophole is the Eurostar. Apparently there is no check in Belgium and when Britain asked , the Belgians said it was not their responsibility. This means illegals can just step off the Train in the U.K. and walk away without any check , even though they may not be just illegals, but drug smugglers as well.!!!!

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 11:17

Panda wrote:

fuzeta, The biggest loophole is the Eurostar. Apparently there is no check in Belgium and when Britain asked , the Belgians said it was not their responsibility. This means illegals can just step off the Train in the U.K. and walk away without any check , even though they may not be just illegals, but drug smugglers as well.!!!!

I know Panda it is a nightmare. The Belgians probably do all they can to help them on their way!

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 12:56

I think Cameron should give what Blair Promised nearly 20 years ago....a Referendum. It is obvious Britain doesn't fit in

with the rest of Europe , I don't think they like us either.

We were conned by Edward Heath and other PM's who signed Treaty's without us having any understanding the effects this would have on our way of life and the EU rules us now,not our Government . Give Maggie Thatcher her due , she stood up for us.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 13:01

fuzeta wrote:
Panda wrote:

fuzeta, The biggest loophole is the Eurostar. Apparently there is no check in Belgium and when Britain asked , the Belgians said it was not their responsibility. This means illegals can just step off the Train in the U.K. and walk away without any check , even though they may not be just illegals, but drug smugglers as well.!!!!

I know Panda it is a nightmare. The Belgians probably do all they can to help them on their way!

At least the French are not afraid to act, banning Burkas and now rounding up illegals.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 19:51

Panda wrote:
fuzeta wrote:
Panda wrote:

fuzeta, The biggest loophole is the Eurostar. Apparently there is no check in Belgium and when Britain asked , the Belgians said it was not their responsibility. This means illegals can just step off the Train in the U.K. and walk away without any check , even though they may not be just illegals, but drug smugglers as well.!!!!

I know Panda it is a nightmare. The Belgians probably do all they can to help them on their way!

At least the French are not afraid to act, banning Burkas and now rounding up illegals.

To be honest Panda I think it is only us that follows everything to the letter. All the others pick and choose. Visited France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland earlier this year and all the time I was thinking 'well how do they get away with that?' They get away with it because they do not stupidly follow all the rules to the letter like we do. A real eyeopener.

You are right we do not fit into the EU. How could we? we are not really Europeans we are a different species altogether. Even our good friends who are Dutch say we are completely different from Europe, we are an island. In fact every country is different. It is all just geographical. I love all peoples but none of us are the same. Long live the difference, it is what makes us want to travel and see other ways of life. Makes the World a better place. How boring it would be if we were all the same.


Last edited by fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 20:37; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : to add)

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 21:12

I think introducing the Euro was a big mistake on it's own. The U.S. and U.K. has a central Banking system but the Euro

hasn't and the difference now between North and South Europe is noticeable . Germany is the Leader and expects every

Country to be the same and live within it's means. The stringent austerity measures it imposes on Countries seeking a bail-out when most of the World is in recession is creating great social unrest and I think the EC has taken three years to try and resolve the situation and solved nothing. I think Greece will default , maybe a couple of other small Countries and

doubt the Euro will survive.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 21:52

Panda wrote:I think introducing the Euro was a big mistake on it's own. The U.S. and U.K. has a central Banking system but the Euro

hasn't and the difference now between North and South Europe is noticeable . Germany is the Leader and expects every

Country to be the same and live within it's means. The stringent austerity measures it imposes on Countries seeking a bail-out when most of the World is in recession is creating great social unrest and I think the EC has taken three years to try and resolve the situation and solved nothing. I think Greece will default , maybe a couple of other small Countries and

doubt the Euro will survive.

I agree completely. Stupid to think it would work in the first place. If every country ended up going back to their own currency, yes it would be hard with big problems for everyone but IMO not as hard as they keep saying. It would all be so much better in the long run. As I say just IMO


Last edited by fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 21:53; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : change)

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 22:24

fuzeta wrote:
Panda wrote:I think introducing the Euro was a big mistake on it's own. The U.S. and U.K. has a central Banking system but the Euro

hasn't and the difference now between North and South Europe is noticeable . Germany is the Leader and expects every

Country to be the same and live within it's means. The stringent austerity measures it imposes on Countries seeking a bail-out when most of the World is in recession is creating great social unrest and I think the EC has taken three years to try and resolve the situation and solved nothing. I think Greece will default , maybe a couple of other small Countries and

doubt the Euro will survive.

I agree completely. Stupid to think it would work in the first place. If every country ended up going back to their own currency, yes it would be hard with big problems for everyone but IMO not as hard as they keep saying. It would all be so much better in the long run. As I say just IMO

Fuzeta, when the Greek problem started Merkel et al were eager to lend to Greece because they were terifield the Country would default and bring chaos around the World. The result was, Greece got deeper and deeper in debt , social unrest led to violence, massive unemployment and real hardship has followed, including Greece reneging on Bonds which makes the country even more unlikely to get investment from other Countries. Now Spain has massive debts, Italy and even France are vulnerable and the situation is ten times worse.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  fuzeta on Tue 7 Aug - 22:39

Panda wrote:
fuzeta wrote:
Panda wrote:I think introducing the Euro was a big mistake on it's own. The U.S. and U.K. has a central Banking system but the Euro

hasn't and the difference now between North and South Europe is noticeable . Germany is the Leader and expects every

Country to be the same and live within it's means. The stringent austerity measures it imposes on Countries seeking a bail-out when most of the World is in recession is creating great social unrest and I think the EC has taken three years to try and resolve the situation and solved nothing. I think Greece will default , maybe a couple of other small Countries and

doubt the Euro will survive.

I agree completely. Stupid to think it would work in the first place. If every country ended up going back to their own currency, yes it would be hard with big problems for everyone but IMO not as hard as they keep saying. It would all be so much better in the long run. As I say just IMO

Fuzeta, when the Greek problem started Merkel et al were eager to lend to Greece because they were terifield the Country would default and bring chaos around the World. The result was, Greece got deeper and deeper in debt , social unrest led to violence, massive unemployment and real hardship has followed, including Greece reneging on Bonds which makes the country even more unlikely to get investment from other Countries. Now Spain has massive debts, Italy and even France are vulnerable and the situation is ten times worse.

That's right Panda and now that Greece is right in it! They have turned their backs and want to cut them adrift as if they are nothing. Well what happens with the next country and the one after that. Sure Greece lied to get into this currency, I do'nt think anybody cared at the time!

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 23:00

fuzeta , Greece is borrowing BILLIONS of euros with stringent austerity measures and how on earth are they going to pay it back. ??? More and more unemployed in Greece are turning to farming and those in Cities are now living with their Parents . O.K. maybe Greece had a laissez faire attitude and didn't collect Taxes but to go back to the Drachma and renage on their debt before they take on any more debt will give them a chance.

Did you know that Shipping is one of the biggest money earners in Greece but the Shipowners pay no Tax. They threaten to Move their business to another Country if the Taxman tries to tax them.

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Thu 9 Aug - 16:24

9 August 2012 Last updated at 10:25

EU calls urgent talks on row between Belarus and Sweden


Swedish activists who dropped the bears say they had no assistance from the Belarusians arrested
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories



  • Strange case of the 'airlifted teddies' Watch
  • Belarus country profile

The EU is to hold urgent talks on Friday over the diplomatic row between Belarus and Sweden, which followed a political stunt involving teddy bears.

Belarus effectively expelled Swedish diplomats after a Swedish PR firm parachuted toy bears bearing pro-democracy messages over its territory.

Sweden responded by taking action against diplomats from Belarus, one of Europe's most authoritarian states.

It is thought that new EU sanctions may be discussed in Brussels on Friday.

The ex-Soviet republic has been subject to EU sanctions since 1996, two years after Alexander Lukashenko became president.

More than 200 Belarusian individuals are currently barred from entering the EU and their assets have been frozen by EU banks.

Twenty-nine companies linked with three businessmen closely associated with Mr Lukashenko are also subject to sanctions.

Belarus will be the only subject on the agenda of the EU ambassadors' meeting on Friday, an unnamed official in the European diplomatic service told the European Voice news website.

Washington has condemned the expulsion of Swedish diplomats, saying the action only served to deepen Belarus's "self-isolation". It called on Belarus to immediately release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, and end "the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition".
'Serious escalation'
Diplomats in Brussels expect a decision to be taken to recall EU ambassadors from Minsk en masse, a diplomatic source told the EU Observer news website.

"Recalling the EU ambassadors for consultations [to their home capitals] is the minimum that we can do," the source said.

"The situation has seriously escalated and this would be a natural step."

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said last week that Ambassador Stefan Eriksson, who took up the post in Minsk in 2008, was being expelled because of his advocacy of human rights and meetings he had with the Belarusian opposition.

After President Lukashenko recalled the Belarusian ambassador from Stockholm, Sweden said his replacement would be unwelcome and cancelled the residence permits of two Belarusian diplomats.

Belarus then gave Stockholm until 30 August to remove all of its diplomats from its territory.

In a message to Mr Bildt on Twitter, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Sweden can be proud of its role championing human rights in Belarus."
'Swedish initiative'
Mr Lukashenko sacked his air defence chief and head of border guards after the incident on 4 July when some 800 bears were dropped from a light plane.

He told their replacements not to hesitate to use force to stop any future air intrusions from abroad.

Belarus's KGB state security service also arrested two Belarusian men on suspicion of involvement in the stunt. One of them is said to have merely uploaded photos of the teddy bears.

Hannah Frey, a Swedish woman who says she piloted the plane which dropped the teddy bears, told the BBC's Russian Service that a total of four people had been involved in the stunt, all of them Swedish nationals.

She denied any knowledge of the Belarusian nationals currently under arrest.




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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Panda on Thu 9 Aug - 17:18

Back to Spain (2/3)
Storming Barcelona’s banks



9 August 2012Der Spiegel Hamburg






Spanish mortgage holders struggling to meet repayments after the bursting of the housing bubble, protest outside a bank in Barcelona on June 6.

AFP

What is going on in Spain? In the second part of his journey in his parents’ country, Der Spiegel reporter Juan Moreno discovers ruined people’s anger against the banks.

Juan Moreno

Barcelona is full of tourists. The number of overnight stays increased last year. The cafes around Plaça Catalunya still serve overpriced coffee, while the police chase away beggars. To find the crisis, you have to walk a few blocks away.

At an intersection on Avinguda Diagonal, I encounter Pedro Panlador, a slight man who has positioned himself in front of a Bankia branch. He wants to storm the bank. A few like-minded people have joined him. They called the offices of newspapers so that they would report on their protest, but the papers declined. Banks are being stormed all over Spain at the moment.

Bankia, a Madrid bank created in 2010 by the merging of seven regional saving banks, evicted Panlador from his condominium because he could no longer make his loan payments. In the first three months of this year, the occupants of 200 apartments and houses were evicted every day throughout Spain.

Panlador, born in Colombia, has lived in Barcelona for 12 years. He currently has €242,000 in debt. He was a chauffeur before the crisis. Now he's been unemployed for over two years.

Pedestrians walk by, some encouraging him and some applauding. No one thinks it's wrong to be standing in front of a bank and calling the employees "criminals." Panlador says that he intends to remain "peaceful" and that he only wants to "speak with the director."

Bankia lost €3 billion in 2011, and now the bank needs more than €20 billion to avoid going into bankruptcy and bringing down the Spanish financial system with it.

The last CEO was Rodrigo Rato, who served as finance minister under former Prime Minister José María Aznar. Rato was also managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until 2007. It's possible that the IMF will soon have to rescue Spain. It sounds like a joke.

Panlador and his boys are ready to begin storming the bank. They're doing this for the first time. Panlador has already camped out in front of a Bankia branch before, but he feels that storming a bank makes a greater impression. He musters up courage and walks up to the entrance, where he sees that the branch has a security door and a doorbell.



To read the full article go to the Spiegel Online International website...

For the first part of the series: Everything revolves around the crisis

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Re: New EC Thread

Post  Badboy on Thu 9 Aug - 17:54

IT WAS SAYING ON OTHER FORUM THAT GREECE TO DEFAULT/BE EXPELLED ON AUGUST 20,IS THIS TRUE.
ALSO ON OTHER FORUM ,IT WAS SAYING 2BILLION EUROS ARE FLOWING OUT OF SPAIN EVERY DAY INTO GERMAN GOVERNMENT BONDS.

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Re: New EC Thread

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