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Austerity News From around the World


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In our greed for ideology, we gorged on light-touch regulation


Irish Examiner
But there’s a problem with austerity. It dawned on me recently that I admire austerity. Some of my life-long heroes were austere. But they practised austerity, they didn’t impose it. When there isn’t a true, genuine, shared austerity, for a higher 
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Ireland : No more austerity ( and dump the euro )
Forbes
Today, my wife and I are traveling to Ireland to visit the town where my grandfather grew up (and maybe have a beer or two–if we survive my driving!). The economy there presents a sad case study for the austerity programs being forced on economies 
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An end to austerity will not boost Europe
Financial Times
The eurozone periphery is on a risky path to end fiscal austerity and accept larger budget deficits. Portugal is the most recent dramatic shift in that direction; Italy, Spain and even France are also abandoning plans to cut spending and raise taxes 
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Civilians on unpaid leave in Pentagon austerity move
Reuters
WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters) – Civilian defense workers across the United States began taking unpaid leave on Monday in a Pentagon-imposed austerity move expected to save $1.8 billion through Sept. 30 by effectively cutting the pay of about 650,000 
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Greek municipal workers riled by government’s austerity plans
Globe and Mail
Greek municipal workers riled by government’s austerity plans Add to … The Globe and Mail. Published Monday, Jul. 08 2013, 3:01 PM EDT. Last updated Monday, Jul. 08 2013, 3:28 PM EDT. Oops, something bad just happened, don’t worry, I’m sure it is our 
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‘Maariv’ management says paper won’t print
Jerusalem Post
The management of Hebrew daily Maariv announced Monday that the newspaper would not be printed for Tuesday morning, due to austerity measures. Employees were reportedly instructed to stop work on the current edition, but they instead decided to take 
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IMF, smokescreens and visions
The Express Tribune
There is nothing home-grown about the IMF austerity packages, which have delivered little in Europe or elsewhere. But, at least, the IMF has a vision. Some economist like Joe Stiglitz view it as immune to evidence and that is why they dub this vision 
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Portugal back from the brink, but risks loom
Sydney Morning Herald
The rift was all about the austerity that Portugal is being forced to carry out in exchange for its bailout from the troika of European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Vitor Gaspar, who was an architect of the cutbacks 
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Has Xi’s graft crackdown run out of steam?
South China Morning Post
President Xi Jinping has consulted retired party leaders on his anti-corruption and austeritycampaign, the Communist Party’s official newspaper reported on Monday – a move some analysts believe is a sign that the current leadership lacks the 
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UAE royals eschew wedding feasts to set example of austerity
Financial Times
As Muslims across the region prepare for the start of the annual month-long Ramadan fast this week, the message is going out strongly from Gulf royals, mosques and the street that – theoretically at least – waste is out and austerity is in. It is a 
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Indonesia: Draconian austerity amidst impressive economic growth
In Defense of Marxism
The fuel price increase in Indonesia is part of the capitalist austerity which is now being implemented all over the world. The capitalist crisis that exploded in 2007 has not subsided. On the contrary, it is getting deeper. For the capitalists, there 
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Georgiades Says Cyprus Making ‘Good Progress’ Before Aid Review
Businessweek
Cypriot Finance Minister Haris Georgiades expressed optimism about the first review later this month of the government’s progress in meeting budget-austerity conditions tied to the international rescue of the country. “We are doing good progress 
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Austerity Discredited, Not Defeated – Time to Fight for Jobs and Growth

Truth-Out
Cracked bank (Image: Cracked bank via Shutterstock)For four long years after the recession officially ended, conservative austerity policies have sabotaged America‘s economic recovery, condemning millions of Americans to unemployment and poverty.
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Fighting Austerity

Socialist Project
Dan Gallin is Chair of the Global Labour Institute (www.global-labour.org), a labour service organization established in 1997 with a secretariat in Geneva. This is his speech at a conference co-organized by the GLI, Fighting Austerity: Rebuilding 
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Athens mayor ‘physically attacked’ over job cuts

RT (blog)
The incident happened as the mayor was leaving a Confederation of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) meeting, where he held discussions about the austerity measures and the way they affect thousands of municipal employees. According to reports, he was 
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Portugal general strike rejects austerity

Workers World
To satisfy a stringent austerity program, the government has cut social security, health care, education and other benefits, and reduced workers’ job security. The Portuguese working class answered these conditions with a political general strike on 
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Vatican Watch


 images (15)

 

Vatican scandals

The Economist
The latest scandal is less grisly, but equally bizarre. On July 1st the IOR’s director, Paolo Cipriani, and his deputy, Massimo Tulli, resigned three days after the Italian authorities arrested and jailed aVatican cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano. He 
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Amid financial scandalVatican posts modest 2.2M euro surplus with donations 

Washington Post
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican posted a 2.2 million euro ($2.85 million) budget surplus for 2012, an improvement from the previous year and some good news as it struggles to cope with a scandalinvolving its embattled bank. In its annual financial 
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Catholic Church Abuse: New Documents Reveal that $57 Million Spent to Hide 

Lawyer Herald
 and deposition testimony from Cardinal and Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, who during his time of Milwaukee’s archbishop between 2002 and 2009 appealed to the the Vatican on numerous occasions to help address the fallout from the scandal.
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Vatican financial watchdog now part of network
Malta Independent Online
Nonetheless, the Vatican is reeling under a spate of scandals, including one in which a Vaticanaccountant is jailed in Rome while prosecutors probe an alleged plot to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) in cash in a private plane from Switzerland 
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Austerity Today


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Protesters, upset over school closings and austerity cuts, march to Mayor 

Chicago Sun-Times
If the mayor was home on the Fourth of July, he’d look out to see hundreds in front of his home, holding signs that read “#onetermmayor” and calling austerity a reason for some of the city’s biggest problems. Dubbed a fight against austerity, the group 
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Arbitrary austerity fuels organised crime in Europe


The Conversation
Until the 1990s, Europeans viewed themselves to be generally unaffected by the activities of organised crime, with the notable exception of Italy and, to a minor extent, Germany. But now, Europol’s recently published European Union Serious and 
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Will the age of austerity harm health?


BBC News
Sandwell, like many areas that were heavily reliant on manufacturing, was hit hard by the recession of the 1980s. Unemployment rose steeply and poverty increased. In some respects, the area has never recovered. The West Midlands borough is now the 
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End to era of austerity budgets within ‘touching distance’, claims Michael Noonan
Irish Times
Ireland is within “touching distance” of no longer having to frame annual austerity budgets, Minister of Finance Michael Noonan has told members of the financial services industry. “We have a difficult budget coming up in October,” said Mr Noonan 
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An Autogestión Alternative to Austerity: Occupy, Resist, Produce!

Truth-Out
An Autogestión Alternative to Austerity: Occupy, Resist, Produce! Austerity policies continue to deliver pain to populations the world over, but shifts toward democratic self-direction deliver much-needed hope. Home · News · Opinion · Video · Art 
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Portuguese coalition holds together

SBS
Portugal’s PM Pedro Passos Coelho says the coalition has found “a formula” that secures its survival after fears it would break up over austerity policies. Portugal’s centre-right government coalition has averted its break-up in a dispute over 
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Greek Salaries Cut Another 10%
Greek Reporter
The austerity measures have also worsened a six-year recession and created a record 27.4 percent unemployment rate and put 1.3 million people – all in the private sector – out of work. Until Samaras shut down the national broadcaster ERT on June 11 and 
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Portugal: A bitter pill too far?

Deutsche Welle
Those tensions reached a temporary climax this week when two top government officials resigned in Portugal. The architect of the country’s austerity, Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, stepped down. He cited public backlash against his policies. Less than 
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Spanish downturn a disaster for green energy
BusinessWorld Online Edition
MADRID — Spain’s wind turbine manufacturers are laying off workers and farmers who installed solar panels are facing ruin as austerity policies afflict the long-coddled green energy sector. Wind turbines in La Veleta wind park, in Monasterio de 
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Lisbon finds formula to avert collapse
The Times (subscription)
Portugal’s centre-right coalition Government last night averted its collapse in a row over austeritypolicies after striking a deal which will reassure eurozone partners that a second financial rescue will not be needed for the bailed out nation. “A 
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Portugal Government Lives, as Does Crisis
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Portas’ resignation Tuesday in protest over the strict application of austerity demands by the country’s international bailout lenders “was a personal decision,” Mr. Passos Coelho said. He added that Mr. Portas had told him he was committed to 
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International financial news
The Daily Telegraph
LISBON – Portugal’s leaders are fighting to prevent a collapse of the coalition government in a dispute over austerity policies squeezing the bailed-out nation. LONDON – The Bank of England has hinted that it is unlikely to lift record-low borrowing 
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Ireland’s Coalition Seen Secure Despite Lawmakers’ Revolt
Wall Street Journal
The coalition is preparing to detail in October more painful spending cuts and tax increases for its 2014 austerity budget to meet the conditions of the bailout Ireland struck with the European Union and International Monetary Fund in late 2010. The 
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Portugal on brink of collapse sparking fears the country will not be able to 
Daily Mail
Portugal’s financial markets nosedived today amid fears that repayments on its £64billion bailout could soon become unsustainable as the government looked set to collapse following a spat over the country’s austerity programme. Share prices dropped by 
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Passos Coelho: I will not go
Morning Star Online
Mr Gaspar said he lacked public support for the austerity programme the PM had brought him in to carry out. Mr Portas, who has demanded greater emphasis on growth measures, said he could not accept Mr Gaspar’s replacement, former junior finance 
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Corporations Pay Lower Tax Rates Than The Middle Class
ThinkProgress
Simply put, “austerity fatigue” has the government that’s enforced steep cuts to public services on the brink of collapse. After the minister in charge of austerity plans resigned Monday, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho appointed a replacement who …
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Portugal: The Price of Austerity
Council on Foreign Relations (blog)
The leader of the junior coalition partner CDS-PP resigned yesterday, complaining that the new Finance Minister (Maria Luís Albuquerque, replacing Vítor Gaspar who resigned Monday) represented a “mere continuity” of failed austerity policies. While it 
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Greece pressed on austerity
Investor’s Business Daily
The next 8.1 bil euro bailout installment may be broken into smaller payments, the top eurozone finance minister said, as lenders push Athens to meet demands for economic reforms and gov’t job cuts. Greece doesn’t need the full payment at once, and …
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Political turmoil rattles Europe’s fragile economies
Globe and Mail
 past several months. Political instability in Portugal, combined with troubles in Greece and Italy, raise the prospect of an austerity backlash, rather than the gaping budget deficits that have been a hallmark of the debt crisis in the 17-member 
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Vatican official held for cash plot


Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is accused of fraud, corruption and other charges after the alleged Vatican plot

A Vatican official has been arrested over an alleged plot to take 20 million euro (£17 million) into Italy from Switzerland on board an Italian government plane.

Silverio Sica, lawyer for Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, said his client is accused of fraud, corruption and other charges stemming from the plot, which never got off the ground.

Mr Sica said that Scarano was a middleman in the operation. Friends asked him to intervene with a broker, Giovanni Carenzio, to return 20 million euro they had given him to invest.

Mr Sica said Scarano persuaded Carenzio to return the money, and an Italian secret service agent, Mario Zito, went to Switzerland to return it on board an Italian government aircraft.

He said the plot failed because Carenzio reneged. Carenzio and Zito have also been arrested

via Vatican official held for cash plot – Independent.ie.

Europe’s New Dismal Jobless Numbers


The euro zone has registered yet another record high unemployment rate of 12.2%, European statistics agency Eurostat reports on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Italy, the third-largest economy in the currency bloc, reported a first quarter jobless rate of 12.8%, the highest in the 36 years this data has been collected, Meanwhile youth unemployment rose to a staggering 40.5%, also an all-time record high, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.

Here is a breakdown of the alarming numbers:

-More than 26 million people unemployed in the 27-member European Union.

-More than 19 million unemployed in the 17-country euro zone.

-Euro zone average: 12.2%

-European Union average: 11%

Highest rates:

Greece: 27% in February 2013

Spain: 26.8%

Portugal: 17.8%

Lowest rates:

Austria: 4.9%

Germany: 5.4%

Luxemburg: 5.6%

In comparison, the United States was 7.5% down from 7.6% in the previous month and 8.1% in April 2012.

Youth unemployment:

-Euro zone youth unemployment: 24.4% up from 24.2% in January 2013.

-European Union under-25 unemployment: 23.5% down from 23.6% in January 2013.

Euro area inflation expected to be on the rise:

via Europe’s New Dismal Jobless Numbers – All News Is Global |.

McDonald’s in Bray Co Wicklow makes Top 10 list on USA Today – WorldIrish


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People of Wicklow here’s some good news! McDonald’s in Bray has made number five in the Top 10 ‘coolest McDonald’s around the world.’

The list, that was put together by USA Today, describes the building as ‘picturesque’ and ‘historic.’

Around the back of this picturesque Irish building dating back to the 19th century, McDonald’s has once again found a home in a historic building. The walk-up restaurant looks a tad out of place in such a pastoral location, but with a location right inside the Town Hall, they’ve certainly figured out the most central location in the city!

Also in the running were McDonalds’ from New Zealand, South Korea and Italy

via McDonald’s in Bray Co Wicklow makes Top 10 list on USA Today – WorldIrish.

via McDonald’s in Bray Co Wicklow makes Top 10 list on USA Today – WorldIrish.

Europe’s austerity packages start to bite but still lots more to be extracted from the Irish


The chart below suggests that Ireland is still far to wealthy. Rest assured that the IMF/ECB via their agent “The Government of Ireland” have more tricks and schemes up their sleeves to extract money from you.

EU austerity Oct11.png

Its the ‘big picture’ issues that we need to watch these days, no longer detailed forecasts of individual product growth rates. They are driving chemical product sales in every major region.
The chart above from the Financial Times highlights Europe‘s drive towards austerity. Long gone are the days of the 2009 G20 meeting, when everyone focused on stimulus spending. This year, austerity packages will hit household income in most countries:
• Greeks lose 14% of their income, €5600 ($7600)
• Ireland and Portugal lose 5%
Spain loses 5%, and Italy 3%
• Even the average German household will lose 1%

Estimated Cost of Eurozone Break-up a Shocking $22.0 Trillion


eurozone

The financial crisis in the eurozone has continued for some time, and there is still no end in sight. What was once perhaps a nice theory on paper is currently crumpling under the strains of reality. It’s still a surprise to me that the founders of the eurozone did not realize the possibility of a financial crisis and the importance of having a fiscal union to go along with the monetary union. I’m sure every person knows that they shouldn’t cosign a loan with someone unless they can trust in that person’s ability to repay their debt. Instead, the eurozone has essentially given a blank check to the weaker nations, specifically the PIIGS—Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain.

With this financial crisis unfolding, many are surprised that the eurozone is still holding together. So the question is: why would the wealthy northern part of the eurozone continue to support the poor and fiscally irresponsible countries during this financial crisis? Why not just break up the union? It appears that the costs associated with breaking up the eurozone might be far higher than most people realize. In fact, perhaps the eurozone members themselves know the true costs and are thus willing to throw in hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent the loss of trillions.

new study by research company Prognos has come out with an estimate; if Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Spain were to leave the eurozone, in terms of growth, it would cost approximately 17.2 trillion euros, or US$22.3 trillion, by 2020. (Source: “Euro Exit by Southern Nations Could Cost 17 Trillion Euros,” Spiegel Online October 17, 2012)

The research company looked beyond just the existing levels of debt that would be wiped out and considered the decline in economic activity in 42 economies around the world as well. While the company does state that an exit by Greece alone would have a minimal effect worldwide, it would have a serious effect on all markets, including America’s if the financial crisis were to spread to other nations within the eurozone.

The company estimates that if Spain were to leave the eurozone, it would cost America 1.2 trillion euros in lost gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. The firm states that if Italy left, the cost of the eurozone financial crisis would be even more catastrophic for all nations around the world, including the U.S.

Obviously, these are just estimates and, considering the unprecedented nature of the financial crisis, a eurozone break-up would be extremely difficult to fully calculate. However, it is obvious that the costs of the financial crisis if the eurozone were to fold would be quite severe, including  the debt not repaid, the hit to the financial system, and the loss in economic activity and wealth within those eurozone nations that had left. Obviously, the currency of any nation that leaves the eurozone will sharply decline in value, which would mean a massive drop in imports and a historic loss in wealth. Hopefully, eurozone members are aware of the costs if the financial crisis should escalate, and are doing their best to not only plug the holes but to also make the necessary structural reforms to prevent a break-up from occurring. However, time is running out.

via Estimated Cost of Eurozone Break-up a Shocking $22.0 Trillion | NowPublic News Coverage.

via Estimated Cost of Eurozone Break-up a Shocking $22.0 Trillion | NowPublic News Coverage.

Irish have second shortest working week in Europe –


IRISH EMPLOYEES had a shorter working week than everyone else in the EU apart from the Danes last year, according to new data. Irish full-time employees spent an average of 38.4 hours in the workplace, two hours fewer than the EU average.

The figures from the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat, show that those in the education sector had the shortest working week, putting in just 31.5 hours. This was six hours below the EU average for the sector and slightly below the time spent at work in 2008.

Only in Greece and Italy do education sector workers have shorter working weeks than their Irish counterparts. Hours are longer in the other 24 EU member countries, with British teachers putting in the longest weeks – at more than 42 hours.

In all other sectors, including public administration and health, Irish employees are much closer to EU averages in their respective sectors in terms of hours worked per week.

Employees in the agricultural sector worked longest – more than 42.5 hours a week.

Irish employees in the aggregate have barely changed the number of hours worked since the recession began. In 2008, the average working week was less than half an hour longer. This is in line with patterns elsewhere.

The working hours gap between the sexes in Ireland is the second largest among the 27 EU countries, according to Eurostat’s Labour Force Survey. Salaried Irish men work 3.5 hours more than women. Only in Britain is the gap bigger. The average gap between the sexes across the EU is 1.8 hours. Men work longer hours in paid employment in every country without exception.

The self-employed in Ireland work much longer hours than their salaried counterparts. Self-employed people put in 48 hours a week on average last year, in line with the EU average.

Across Europe, Lithuanian entrepreneurs laboured least, doing a 42-hour week. Their Austrian counterparts were at the other end of the spectrum, working for 55 hours a week.

The figures show no north-south divide in Europe in hours worked, either among salaried employees or the self-employed.

The figures also show Irish employees are less likely to be on limited duration contracts than their counterparts in Europe. One in 10 employees was employed on such contracts last year. The average across the bloc was 50 per cent higher. In Spain and Poland more than one in four people was employed on such contracts.

via Irish have second shortest working week in Europe – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 06, 2012.

via Irish have second shortest working week in Europe – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 06, 2012.

‘Town councils could be scrapped next week’


THE abolition of town councils across the country could be announced as early as next Tuesday, it was claimed this week.

Cllr Pat O’Connell (FF) made the claim at Tuesday night’s meeting of Macroom Town Council, having attended a conference last week at which local government minister Phil Hogan gave a speech on the future of local authorities.

“From what I can gather, there is going to be reform but as to what kind he didn’t tell us. It seems to be that town councils will be abolished and replaced with municipal district councils,” Cllr O’Connell explained.

“If town councils go, Macroom will be dead. It will be a disaster for the town because it will be replaced by a municipal council with six or seven members for the entire Macroom electoral area, not the town,” he added.

Cllr Connie Foley (Ind) accused Minister Hogan of ‘ not knowing what he is doing.’

“He calls this reform, but it’s not reform, it is destruction. Go to Italy or France and you’ll see the smallest hamlets with local representation,” he said.

Mayor of Macroom Owen McCarthy (FF) said the issue was ‘ the single biggest challenge to come before the council.

“I am pleading with all members of the council to unite on this, we really need our TDs behind us. They have depended on our support in the past, this is our time,” he said.

via ‘Town councils could be scrapped next week’ – News – Corkman.ie.

via ‘Town councils could be scrapped next week’ – News – Corkman.ie.

The Implications of the German Court ruling on the ESM


The German courts rule that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the EU’s fiscal compacts are compatible with the German Law.

This is a great day for Germany and a good day for Europe,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The European Parliament leapt to its feet in thunderous applause at the announcement of the news.

However, in reality, the ruling is a yes “but” judgement.

The court capped Germany’s ESM share at €190bn and ordered the government to “express clearly that it cannot be bound by the Treaty” if the limit is breached. This prevents the ESM increasing Germany’s share if Spain and Italy seek additional funding.

This capping of the fund could in the future prove a real obstacle to political and economic problems.

The Karlsruhe court said both houses of the German parliament, including the Bundesrat must be consulted on all EU bailouts. The Bundestag “must individually approve” each large rescue package and is prohibited from establishing permanent mechanisms based on international treaties to bypass this ruling. This means no ESM package for Spain, and Italy can go ahead without a vote in the Bundestag.

An acquisition of government bonds on the secondary market by the ECB aiming at financing the Members’ budget independently of the capital markets is prohibited, as it would circumvent the prohibition of monetary financing,” the ruling said. Where this leaves the Draghi bond plan is anybodies guess.

Overall, there is an element of “stalemate” to the ruling and so the circus continues and the dog collars remain firmly fixed.

For now, the statues quo remains but expect the fun and games to start after Christmas.

 

 

 

Upcoming EU Events that will Impact on Ireland


Today the German Constitutional will issue a preliminary ruling on the €500bn ESM fund. If the result is positive, it will need the approval of the Bundestag.

Nothing then happens until Spain and Italy formally request a rescue from the EU bailout funds.

There will be no new deal for Ireland until we have closure on these matters.

The negotiations with Spain and Italy will be tough. The Spanish Finance minister Luis de Guindos has told the creditor bloc that the battle for the survival of the euro will take place in Spain. Some people see this as a threat to walk away from the Euro if pushed too far.

If deals are not stuck over the coming months, the outlook for Ireland just becomes that bit harder.

Our Government appears to rely on a positive outcome, and we suspect that they have no alternative plan if the negotiations prove to be futile.

In the long term, this debt problem will, hopefully be solved resulting in debt stabilizing at a high level. This of course means for the participating bailout nation’s years of austerity.

It of course remains debatable even if the plan comes to fruition, it will correct these very complex problems. However, then again, that is another story.

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