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How Europe’s Solution for Economic Crisis is Actually the Problem


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Europe‘s current crisis is more than economic. Between the German government advocating a dangerous austerity policy and European authorities lacking any other suggestions, it is clear that the 2008 financial crisis is no longer solely responsible for the downward spiral of Europe.

The GDP for countries in Europe has fallen by a considerable amount: 5.3% for Greece3.9% for Portugal4.1% for Cyprus2.3% for Italy, and 2% for Spain. This is without even mentioning the recession into which France is entering. In the first quarter of this year, the European Union economy contracted by 0.7%, or one percent when only taking into consideration the eurozone.

If it was only the 2008 economic crisis that was responsible for all this, Europe would not be one of the only one to suffer so much. For example, the United States, the birthplace of this crisis, registered a 1.9% increase in their economy in 2013 [fr] while their unemployment rate was at its lowest in four years.

Europe, which for a long time has aimed to maintain growth that compares favorably with  United States, now finds itself completely lost among incoherent policies and disputes between countries[fr].

One of the main reasons for this current instability in Europe is the evident failure of the European policy authorities when their proposals seem more than enigmatic. Restricting interchange fees as proposed by Michel Barnier, the European Union Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, is a perfect example of the Commission taking measures that will not have any concrete impact.

Capping interchange fees, bank charges paid by retailers when they make a card payment, would not only increase personal bank charges [fr], as the banks would want to recuperate the money lost by this cap, but the retailers profit margin will also increase, as they rarely lower their prices just because their costs have decreased.

The other significant issue which has notably accelerated the decline of Europe is the restricted austerity policy which the majority of EU countries have undertaken. It would be more logical for Europe to take inspiration from the countries that have pulled through, i.e. the United States, in order to stimulate the market rather than only focusing on reducing the deficit.

Le taux de chômage des jeunes en Europe de 2005-13 via Les crises, domaine public

Youth unemployment rate in Europe between 2005-2013 via Les Crises – public domain

The most frustrating aspect about this issue is that the majority of the European leaders agree on this point, but no one dares to confront the life-long defenders of austerity, also know as « Sparkurs » [de] in Germany and its strict chancellor, Angela Merkel [fr]. But there are also critics of austerity on the German side. Last week, Gilles Moëc, head economist at Deutsche Bank, admitted to the news outlet Agence France-Presse that “there were some errors” [fr] in the selected strategy.

However, it’s not as if the Merkel method was fully tried and tested, in fact, it was far from it. Portugal, for example, had never been in such a terrible state until it was subjected to the European austerity policy. In two years, its unemployment rate increased by 5.3%, its budget deficit by 1.1%. As for its public debt, it’s now 123% higher than its GDP.

Julio Salazar Moreno, Secretary-General of Spanish worker’s trade union, USO, believes that the countries within the European Union need to stop with the austerity policy [pt], according to online newspaper Público:

Os países da União Europeia (UE) têm de parar “de uma vez por todas” com a aplicação de medidas recessivas, porque os cidadãos, alerta, estão a viver no limite dos sacrifícios

The countries within the European Union (EU) must refrain from enforcing austerity policies “once and for all” because the alert citizens are living at the very limits of their possible sacrifices.

The sledgehammer approach is just as inefficient for Greece, claims Gregor Gyzi, a president from a left-wing parliamentary group in Germany, Bundestag, by addressing the Greek readers [el] of news247:

οι επιβληθείσες, κυρίως από την γερμανική κυβέρνηση, περικοπές σε μισθούς και συντάξεις, οι απολύσεις και οι ιδιωτικοποιήσεις, όχι μόνο ώθησαν την Ελλάδα σε βαθιά ύφεση και κοινωνικά προβλήματα, αλλά κατέστησαν και αδύνατη την επιστροφή των δανείων στο εγγύς μέλλον

Imposed primarily by the German government, salary and retirement cuts, redundancies and privatisations, are not only going to push Greece into a major recession and cause social problems, but its also going to make loan repayments equally impossible.

Emigration figures for Europe are also far from surprising. In two years, 2.5% of the Portuguese population left the country. Who would have said ten years ago that today many Europeans would leave the continent to work in countries like Angola or Brazil?

Facing this alarming development, it is even more depressing to hear the responses of others, like that of the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, also the former minister of the Eurogroup, who recently gave his thoughts on the European crisis [fr] and concluded that what Europe needs is some “TLC”: a statement which speaks for itself.

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Written by Laurent Delors · Translated by Hayley Warden

The Irish bail-out programme: The meaning of exit


WHEN tapes of conversations between senior executives at the failed Anglo Irish Bank at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 were leaked in June, Irish credibility as a true penitent among the five bailed-out euro-zone countries took a knock. At last month’s European summit Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who calls the shots in the 17-state currency block, expressed her contempt for the bankers’ conduct, which included crass anti-German sentiment.

But any fears that this unwelcome reminder of past sins and sinners might upset Ireland’s path to exit from the rescue programme have been short-lived. This week’s review by the troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF – concluded that Ireland should be able to leave on schedule by the end of 2013. That’s precisely three years after fiscal and banking woes forced the Irish to go cap in hand for €67 billion ($87 billion) of official loans from Europe and the IMF.

A punctual Irish exit has seemed likely for some time if only to show that the German-inspired programmes of austerity and structural reform can work. The worse things get in other bailed-out countries – Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain (for its banks) – the more that Ireland is favoured. Thus Portugal’s recent political ructions, which has caused the planned inspection by the troika on July 15th to be postponed, have strengthened Ireland’s hand.

Moreover, Irish debt managers have deftly exploited chances to raise funds as Ireland’s fiscal credibility improved and its bond yields subsided. They have benefited along with the other crisis countries from the ECB’s commitment last September to make unlimited purchases of bonds in secondary markets under strict conditions – its “Outright Monetary Transactions” (OMT) programme, which has proved so successful a deterrent that it has not yet been used. Helped by the debt-management agency’s forays into the markets, the Irish government is now fully funded into early 2015.

That’s handy because on the economic front things haven’t been going so smoothly. Irish cheerleaders can no longer brag about their country being a bright spot in the recessionary gloom on the euro-zone southern and western periphery. In fact, GDP has shrunk for three consecutive quarters (the second half of last year and the first quarter of 2013) as exports have been hit first by a slowdown in global trade and secondly by the lapsing of patents on blockbuster drugs that have hurt pharmaceutical exports. The budget deficit remains high at 7.5% of GDP and public debt will reach 124% this year, a figure that underestimates the effective burden because a big chunk of Irish GDP is profits made by foreign multinationals which are lightly taxed.

The Irish government thus has good reasons to be nervous about having to fend for itself. That’s why Michael Noonan, the finance minister, is angling for a backstop to be available after the bail-out ends. But it is not just a credit line that the Irish are seeking: they want to be eligible for the ECB’s OMT programme.

That will be possible, however, only if the Irish apply to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the eurozone’s bail-out fund, for an “enhanced conditions” credit line. The Irish argue that there would be no need to comply with extra conditions, but whether the other euro-zone finance ministers who are on the board of the ESM will concur remains to be seen. Ireland may find that the best it can secure is a deal where it is still subject to intrusive monitoring.

If all goes to plan the Irish exit from its ignominious bail-out at the end of this year will be hailed as a big success. But the reality will be fuzzier. The official funding may end but the price of support remaining available if necessary is that Ireland will not secure full independence.

via The Irish bail-out programme: The meaning of exit | The Economist.

Austerity- Poverty Problems: Brits turn to food banks amid austerity & economic downturn


Austerity Discredited, Not Defeated. Time to Fight for Jobs and Growth.
Huffington Post
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. And in Europe, the same policy regime of spending cuts 
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Poverty Problems: Brits turn to food banks amid austerity & economic downturn

RT

Increasing numbers of Britons are heading to food banks to satisfy their hunger. But the Work and Pensions minister claims half-a-million UK people just want to have their bellies filled for free, and denies a link between the rise in food banks and See all stories on this topic »

Portugal disabled by euro straitjacket

Financial Times
Sadly, Portugal’s disappointing economic growth experience with budget austerity and economic reform within a euro straitjacket has been shared by the rest of the European economic periphery. Indeed, even in Ireland, the poster child for the 
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Taxpayers oblivious to the cost of farm subsidies

Globe and Mail
They preach government austerity, then hand out $50,000-plus bonuses to deputy ministers. They talk about openness but practise secrecy. And they tout Senate reform while tolerating entitlement. It also turns out the Conservatives haven’t been 
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Should US take lessons from Germany on fiscal austerity?

Economic Times
Keynesian stimulus proponents argued that temporary tax cuts and additional government spending would bolster hiring. Austerity advocates countered that additional government spending would merely displace private spending and that we already had too 
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11 Signs That Italy Is Descending Into A Full-Blown Economic Depression

Men’s News Daily
Harsh austerity measures are causing the Italian economy to slow down even more than it was previously. And yet even with all of the austerity measures, the Italian government just continues to rack up even more debt. This is the exact same path that 
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Portugal’s crisis shows that our problems haven’t gone away
Irish Independent
A second conclusion is that, while the Irish edifice may not be solid brick, it is of durable construction. Not a lot of people seem to know this, but the Irish austerity programme was less severe than that imposed on Greece and Portugal. In addition 
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Austerity Today- A summer of discontent for Europe?


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A summer of discontent for Europe?


BBC News
The economies of many eurozone countries remain fragile, with high unemployment and austeritymeasures causing public anger. So could Europe be set for a new financial crisis and will the continent suffer a summer of discontent? Bill Blaine is a 
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A socialist program against war, austerity and the drive to dictatorship

World Socialist Web Site
The financial and corporate elite was demanding the junking of the post-financial crisis stimulus spending measures associated with Rudd, and the implementation of austerity measures aimed at slashing the living standards of the working class. At the 
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Multiple austerity budgets ‘damaging most vulnerable elderly people’
Irish Examiner
A pre-Budget forum at Dublin Castle will hear today how the cumulative impact of multiple austeritybudgets is having a severely damaging effect on the most vulnerable of older people. More than 30 organisations, including Age Action, St. Vincent De 
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Amartya Sen: The taste of true freedom
The Independent
Now, he calls the UK Coalition’s austerity programme “an intellectual failure”. “Is there anything surprising in that it failed? Should a well-educated economist have been able to anticipate that? Yes. One doesn’t have to be a Keynesian to see it. My 
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Campaign groups join in Lisbon anti-government rallies
The Portugal News
Various anti-austerity campaign groups have added their voices to that of Portugal’s largest trades union federation, the communist-linked CGTP, in calling for a demonstration outside the presidential palace on Saturday, to demand an end to the current 
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5 Reasons Why Cyprus Should Leave the Euro
Yahoo! Finance (blog)
Reason 1: Severe budget austerity will not work: Cyprus is hardly the first European country to have been required to sign up to severe budget austerity in return for IMF-EU bailout funds. Greece, Ireland, and Portugal have all preceded Cyprus down 
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Older people ‘at breaking point’

Irish Health
Older people are reaching ‘breaking point’ as a result of the austerity measures they have had to withstand in recent years, Age Action Ireland (AAI) has warned. According to the national charity, the effect of cuts in services combined with rising 
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Fears austerity is being ‘pushed too far’ after Suffolk County Council underspend
Bury Free Press
County council leaders have been accused of ‘pushing austerity too far’ following an underspend of more than £3.5 million last year. The Conservative controlled Suffolk County Council made about £26.19 million in budget cuts for 2012/13 with further 
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BARRIE GRUNEWALD: Austerity? It isn’t working
St Helens Today
THE government’s spending review for 2015/16 last week provides clear evidence that their austerityprogramme just isn’t working. Since the 2010 election the Chancellor George Osbourne has argued that the tough spending cuts would lead to economic 
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MP Andrew George’s weekly column – July 4, 2013
This is Cornwall
In a time of stress and austerity, community celebrations become more, rather than less, important. After all, what would we do if our lives just continued with routine and mundane sameness, with no light relief or anything to look forward to; with no 
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Austerity cuts ‘hitting pensioners’
Belfast Telegraph
Age Action warned the Government that the cumulative impact of multiple austerity budgets was having a severely damaging effect on the most vulnerable of older people. Think tank Social Justice Ireland also called for the poorest pensioners to be given 
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IMF Sees Bulgarian Risk in Unstable Government, Euro Area
Businessweek
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski took office on May 29 after antiausterity protestsforced out his predecessor, Boyko Borissov, leading to a May 12 snap election. An appointment of controversial media and business executive Delyan 
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FINANCIAL TIMES: Portugal needs new model
BDlive
Yet a deeper and more drawn-out recession than expected has weakened that consensus just as Portugal prepares for the most difficult phase of its austerity regime ahead of the scheduled exit next summer. This would require more cuts to the size of the 
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Fresh Eurozone fears over Portugal’s ‘unsustainable’ debt
The Week UK
In May, a fresh package of austerity measures increased the working week of civil servants from 35 to 40 hours and reduced the workforce by 30,000. In response, workers staged a number of demonstrations last month and unions organised a general strike.
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UK strikes dip to lowest level since 2005
Financial Times
Britain lost only 248,800 working days through strikes last year, the lowest since 2005, as public sector protests against the coalition’s austerity measures faded. The figure published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday is down from 1 
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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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Austerity Today -Economic recovery ‘will take 20 years’


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Economic recovery ‘will take 20 years’, warns Britain’s top civil servant


Daily Mail
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said the austerity drive has not gone far enough and stressed it will continue for decades. He said there was a ‘very long way to go’ before the economy returns to the same level as before the 2007 recession. ‘This 
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Portugal’s Coalition Splinters on Austerity Fatigue: Euro Credit
Bloomberg
Portuguese borrowing costs topped 7 percent for the first time this year after two ministers quit, signaling the government will struggle to implement further budget cuts as its bailout program enters its final 12 months. Secretary of State for 
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NEWS ANALYSIS: Doubts as Portugal’s austerity plan changes hands
BDlive
THE resignation of the main architect of Portugal’s austerity policies has sparked concern over the country’s ability to complete its European Union (EU)International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail-out programme. Analysts say the departure on Monday of 
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Andrew Palmer: Austerity opens the door to new kind of regeneration
Yorkshire Post
WHEN most of us think of “regeneration”, we picture large, government-backed programmes to revitalise rundown areas – the waterfront in Hull, for example, or the Leeds riverfront. What we face now, though, is a new economic reality which means these 
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Redesigning for austerity – but politics get in the way
Public Service
And the director who saw the storm coming and had a plan jumped ship and now heads health commissioning – from which position he could be better placed to redesign for austerity. Blair McPherson is author of ‘Equipping managers for an uncertain future 
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Feeling the pinch in austerity-hit Portugal
BBC News
The resignation of two key ministers has left many questioning whether Portugal’s right-of-centre government, which has enthusiastically embraced austerity measures, can survive much longer. But in a statement to the nation on Tuesday night, Prime 
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Portuguese government at risk of collapse over austerity
EUobserver.com
Gaspar, whose replacement, Maria Luis Albuquerque starts work on Wednesday (3 July), identified increasing public disaffection with the government’s austerity drive as the reason for his resignation. But Albuquerque, who has been promoted from treasury 
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EU to ease deficit rules to allow some investments: Barroso
Hindu Business Line
The decision comes amid a wider debate over the austerity-driven policies used to tackle the EU’s economic crisis, as the worst-affected countries and left-wing parties argue that austerity is throttling growth and failing to tackle soaring unemployment.
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London midday: Stocks hit by political uncertainty, economic data
ShareCast
Resignations of both the Portuguese Finance Minister and Foreign Minister over the last few days have sparked concerns all over the Eurozone, as anti-austerity rallies gather support. Portugal’s 10-year bond yields have now surged above 8.0% for the 
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The Socialist 3 July 2013 Tories – cuts, Lib Dems – cuts, Labour – cuts
Socialist Party
And when Tory Chancellor George Osborne announced another £11.5 billion in cuts and extendingausterity past the next general election, rather than saying ‘we will tear up this spending review if we win power’, Labour promised to abide by it. These 
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European Stocks Tumble; Portugal’s Political Woes Weigh
Wall Street Journal
European stocks opened sharply lower Wednesday as a mounting political crisis in Portugal sparked worries over whether the country would be able to continue the austerity measures dictated by its acceptance of an international bailout two years ago.
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Portuguese Uncertainty Knocks The Euro
Wall Street Journal
Portugal’s government was thrown into turmoil Tuesday when Foreign Minister Paulo Portas followed Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar’s lead and resigned in protest over the country’s austerity policies, increasing the uncertainty over the future of the 
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New warehouses hit Ocado profits
Belfast Telegraph
Slashing Eurozone austerity could boost growth: report new. Cutting back on austerity across the eurozone would boost growth by 1% next year, consultants Ernst & Young has forecast. Smith brothers sell e-tee website BRS Golf new. Two brothers from 
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Portuguese markets in turmoil on gov’t confusion
Montana Standard
Portugal’s financial markets are in turmoil amid growing concerns over the future of the country’s coalition government and its ability to pursue the austerity measures demanded by creditors. While the country’s main PSI 20 stock index tumbled 5.4 
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Portuguese stocks, bonds slide amid confusion over future of government
Washington Post
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho defied calls to resign late Tuesday but he was running out of options to keep his center-right coalition government together following the resignations of key ministers in a spat over austerity. A protester holds an 
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Heywood: 20-Year Battle To Fix UK Economy
Orange UK News
Britain is in a “20-year generational battle” to rescue the economy, according to the country’s most senior civil servant. Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has suggested drastic austeritymeasures implemented by the coalition may have to go further.
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Portugal, oil in focus as stock futures retreat
USA TODAY
In Europe, markets moved sharply lower as Portugal’s foreign minister resigned amid a dispute over the nation’s austerity program, the Wall Street Journal reported. That follows a surprise departure for the country’s finance minister on Tuesday 
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Lenders Pressuring Greece Over Austerity Pledges
Voice of America
The lenders – Greece’s European neighbors, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – have been meeting with government officials in Athens. They are demanding that the government make progress on its austerity pledges ahead of 
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New Study Dispels Myths of European Austerity
OpenMarket.org
Cries throughout the media of “savage austerity” notwithstanding, only a handful of European countries have actually implemented austerity in the true sense of the term: reducing both public spending and taxation. On the other hand, most countries in 
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Portugal gov’t in peril as another minister quits
TheNewsTribune.com
Portugal’s government was in danger of collapse Tuesday after Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, the leader of the junior party in the center-right coalition government, resigned over the bailed-out country’s austerity policies. By BARRY HATTON; Associated 
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Rug buyers look for round rugs in austere times
PRWire (press release)
Rug buyers across Australia are looking to make their homes cosier as they hunker down for a period of relative economic austerity. That’s the view of the team at The Bespoke Rug Company (www.bespokerugs.com.au) Australia’s leading retailer of 
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Bailed-out Portugal’s finance minister resigns
Fresno Bee
Workers’ unions called a 24-hour general strike to protest the government’s austerity measures with public transport and government offices expected to be the worst-hit services. The banner reads in Portuguese: “The street is our. Nothing to lose”.
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The Tories must beware these feelings of irrational exuberance
Telegraph.co.uk (blog)
We have had enough of five years of austerity and doubt. All around there are signs that the economy is stirring, that the combination of low interest rates and high employment is beginning to encourage consumer activity. Even beyond the powerhouse of 
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There are few bright spots for them in last week’s spending review by George 
Third Sector
There are one or two other bright spots for the sector in the sixth year of austerity announced by George Osborne in last week’s spending review, which was in effect the opening salvo of the next general election campaign. The continuing expansion of 
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Portuguese Finance Minister’s Exit Elicits Few Gasps
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Yields on Portuguese government bonds ticked up a bit to 6.42% after the unexpected resignation of Mr. Gaspar–the architect of Portugal’s austerity plan–but volumes were low, and the news didn’t prompt predictions of outright default. Instead 
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Democratic Deficit Scolds Get Desperate and Weird
New York Magazine
Liberals may complain about austerity, but, they argue, “we haven’t had an austerity budget.” Cowan and Kessler’s evidence for this — that the federal government spent more, on average, during Obama’s first term than during George W. Bush’s second 
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Lapid: Deficit could cause collapse
Globes
Finance Minister: The austerity measures will stop Israel reaching the conditions in Europe with high unemployment. 2 July 13 12:42, Moshe Golan. Tweet. “The idea that we have people here whose lives are at risk because they are doing their jobs is 
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EU Rehn: New Portugal Finance Minister Must Maintain Tempo of Reform
Wall Street Journal
The former treasury secretary took the post after Vitor Gaspar, chief enforcer of austerity demands under Portugal’s EUR78 billion international bailout program, said Monday he was stepping down after two years in the job. Mr. Rehn praised Mr. Gaspar 
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The Strain in Spain Could Help Firefox OS Take Root
TechNewsWorld
Due to the extreme austerity measures in certain South American and European countries, “low-cost smartphones will be very appealing,” said Joshua Flood, a senior analyst at ABI Research. The ZTE Open — the first commercially available smartphone 
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Merkel opponent derides jobless summit as cynical ploy
Reuters
BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s summit on youth unemployment in Europe is an attempt to paper over the economic consequences of the austerity policies she championed in the region, a leading member of Germany’s opposition Social Democrats 
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Portugal’s austerity government feels the pinch
BBC News
The resignation in quick succession of two of Portugal’s biggest political beasts has left many questioning whether the right-of-centre government which has enthusiastically embraced austeritymeasures can survive more than a few weeks, let alone months.
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Twenty years of austerity ahead, says Sir Jeremy Heywood
Telegraph.co.uk
Sir Jeremy Heywood also suggested that the cuts made to public services to date were not sufficient and that austerity measures would have to continue for “at least” another four years. The comments from the Cabinet Secretary will have a sobering 
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Austerity Blitz: Eurozone Notes From Beyond the Grave
Truth-Out
The criminal effects of the austerity blitz strategy that the European Union (EU) conceived of on Germany’s insistence as the answer to the global financial crisis when it hit Europe’s shores with the triggering of the Greek sovereign debt crisis have 
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Portugal’s Budget Austerity May Do More Harm Than Good
KTEP
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Of all the bailed-out countries in Europe, Portugal has been the good student – taking the austerity medicine its lenders prescribe. Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar took it even further – doubling budget cuts and tax hikes.
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Public sector austerity drive ‘hitting women the hardest’
Gulf Times
George Osborne’s revelation in his spending review that a further 144,000 jobs are to be slashed from the public sector means there is more pain to come for women, critics say. Data collated by the Guardian highlights the disproportionate blow to 
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Lapid: Without Austerity Measures, Deficit Could ‘Bury’ Israel
Algemeiner
Most Popular. Recent Posts. The BioHug vest. Photo: BioHug.com. Israeli-Developed Vest Hugs People to Health · Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party. Lapid: Without Austerity Measures, Deficit Could ‘Bury’ Israel · Amy Winehouse. Photo: wiki commons.
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Portugal’s PM says he won’t quit despite resignations over austerity measures
Fox News
But the government’s future is hanging in the balance after the resignation earlier Tuesday of Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, the leader of the junior party in the governing center-right coalition, in protest against austerity measures. Passos Coelho 
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Trade unions call for social investment
Morning Star Online
And he said the people of Northern Ireland were suffering the same fate at the hands of the austerity-mad Westminster government. “Austerity is now no more than a mantra without meaning. The intellectual underpinning for it has been discredited,” he 
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Portugal’s finance minister resigns amid pressure for government to soften 
Malaysia Sun
Portugal’s finance minister resigns amid pressure for government to soften austerity | Malaysia Sun. Malaysia Sun. Issue 11/0183. Malaysia Sun · http://www.malaysiasun.com · Malaysia News · Southeast Asia News · Breaking International News · Asia 
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Activists climb County Hall, Westminster in anti war, anti austerity protest
Indymedia UK
The newly formed Black Katz Kollektive has within the last hour occupied County Hall on the south side of Westminster Bridge facing the Houses of Parliament, with banners unfurled down the side of the building. Their message is simple: stop the war 
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Portuguese government in peril as foreign minister, head of junior party in 
The Republic
Austerity is widely blamed for driving the jobless rate in Portugal to 17.6 percent and for what is forecast to be a third straight year of recession in 2013. Portugal needed a 78 billion euros ($102 billion) bailout two years ago after a decade of 
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Portugal PM defiant despite another resignation
Boston.com
Gaspar, a non-political economist specially selected by Passos Coelho to push the austerity drive, said he lacked the political and public support for his ongoing program of cutting public sector pay and pensions and raising taxes. Portas, the leader 
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Portuguese Finance Minister Gaspar resigns
Channel News Asia
Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, the architect of the country’s reforms under its EU-IMF bailout, resigned on Monday as the economy reels and social discontent mounts under the impact ofausterity measures. PHOTOS. File photo of Portuguese 
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Miss. tax receipts approach $5 billion in FY2013
WJTV
Top budget writers say they expect pressure from schools, universities and state agencies that saw budgets slashed during four years of austerity. Tax receipts have surged more strongly than jobs or Mississippi’s overall economy, leading to notes of 
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Portuguese PM adamant he will not stand down
Radio New Zealand
Austerity measures are blamed for causing Portugal’s worst economic crisis since the 1970s. Portugal has been in recession for two years and the economy is expected to contract by 2.3% this year. Unemployment is over 17.5%. A general strike was held 
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Portuguese Finance Minister Resigns
New York Times
MADRID — Portugal’s finance minister, Vítor Gaspar, unexpectedly resigned Monday amid a prolonged recession that citizens have attributed largely to austerity measures that he helped enforce in accordance with the demands of the country’s 
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Concern over Portugal bailout
Independent Online
Lisbon – The resignation of the main architect of Portugal’s austerity policies has sparked concern over the country’s ability to complete its EU-IMF bailout programme. Analysts say the departure Monday of finance minister Vitor Gaspar has weakened a 
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Portugal foreign minister steps down in second major ministerial resignation
Deutsche Welle
Former Treasury Secretary, Albuquerque was appointed on Monday following the shock resignation of Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, the main architect of the austerity measures. ccp/kms (AFP, AP, dpa). Date 02.07.2013; Share Send Facebook Twitter 
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Austerity Today


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Bond investor says Ireland will continue its policy of austerity

Irish Independent
“Indeed, Irish society seems remarkably hesitant to change course. Right or wrong, Ireland will stick with austerity. Efforts to regain national control of the country’s destiny, the Irish seem to believe, must take time.” Recounting Ireland’s slide 
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Ireland and the Austerity Debate

Project Syndicate
DUBLIN – Both sides of the austerity debate that is now gripping economists and policymakers citeIreland’s experience as evidence for their case. And, however much they try to position the country as a poster-child, neither side is able to convince 
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No winners if austerity continues – Independent.ie

* The fact that the economy is now officially back in recession vindicates those of us once referred to as economic illiterates. read full article

independent.ie

Reilly to make cuts of €40m in fees to GPs and pharmacists

Cuts effective immediately and figure represents savings to be made by the end of the year read full article

irishtimes.com

Portugal finance minister quits

Resignation of Vitor Gaspar comes amid rising social discontent over austerity measuresread full article

aljazeera.com

EU gives Greece three-day ultimatum over €8.1bn bailout loans

GREECE has three days to reassure its lenders it can deliver on conditions attached to its international bailout in order to receive the next tranche of aid, four euro zone officials wa read full article

independent.ie

Irish health spending contracting faster than any other country except Greece

The OECD figures show Ireland has fewer doctors than most European countries, though more per head of population than in the US or Canada . Ireland has a relatively high number of nurses, though the report warns about comparing data as nurses and midwives can be categorised differently. read full article

irishtimes.com

Public sector austerity measures hitting women hardest

Figures show that twice as many women as men have lost jobs in local government since the coalition came to power in 2010 read full article

guardian.co.uk

Jobless rate hits new record in Portugal


These figures, relevant to the first three months of 2013, show that more than 165,000 people aged 15 to 24 currently claim unemployment benefits.

During the first quarter of 2012, this figure stood at 36.2 percent, but had risen to 40 percent by the end of the final quarter of last year.

Overall, unemployment in Portugal rose to 17.7 percent in the first quarter of the year from 16.9 percennt at the end of last year with over 952,000 people out of work the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.

The unemployment rate was up 0.8 percentage points from one quarter to another and 2.8 percentage points on 12 months earlier.

The figures from the first quarter of 2013 were the highest ever, with the numbers rising constantly since the second half of 2008 when 7.3 percent, equivalent to about 410,000, were jobless.

Carlos Silva, general secretary of the UGT trade union confederation appealed to the government Thursday to analyse the documents that are on the table for the social agreement to promote job creation measures.

“The documents have to be compiled to encourage ways of creating growth and jobs”, Silva said following the unemployment numbers released earlier in the day.

The opposition Socialist party said the number of job seekers was proof the government’s

policies were “destroying the economy and society”.

via Jobless rate hits new record – The Portugal News.

via Jobless rate hits new record – The Portugal News.

Do we Need the IRA to Fight the War Damage of Austerity?


We don’t have a leader to fight the war against austerity and given that we have no alternative should we ask the IRA to take up the cause on behalf of the citizens

I have no doubt that Kenny and Noonan have good intentions but can you see these men throwing down the gauntlet to force radical change to IMF/ECB policy… no these guys will not rock the boat for the are bonded to their masters

We are a country blitzed by the imposition of austerity…no credit, mounting household debt, high unemployment, plummeting standards right across the broad spectrum of education/social services  and finally the Government selling off the what remains of the family silver. Light at the end of the tunnel I don’t think so all I see is devastation and more ruin. Given the level of mounting Government debt at some stage we are going to reach the point of no return and what then. Do we have to wait until the bitter end to face face reality.

Public Sector

Cutting public sector jobs means higher unemployment and fewer people in work paying taxes

Freezing public sector pay and higher unemployment means less disposable income to be spent in the private sector, with a knock-on effect on private sector jobs
Cutting business taxes means less revenue to close the deficit and pay off our debt.

The government is presenting its plans as simply ‘dealing with the deficit’, but that is a smokescreen for another agenda. The government wants to cut and privatise public services because it believes in a market for even essential goods and services; that business should be free to extract profit from any public service, even schools, hospitals, welfare ETC.

The government’s policies are failing because the public sector is not the real problem.

Instead of solving the crisis, these policies are making it worse.

Austerity is not working
It’s not just in the Ireland that austerity isn’t t working. Just look at Greece,Italy, Portugal, UK and Spain

In Spain the unemployment rate is now 25%, while youth unemployment is over 50%.

Why inequality has to be addressed

We are the 99% – and as an end game harassing the 99%  cannot not work.

Wages have disportionately . Inflation has been higher than the annual increase in pay. This fall in real wages means we are able to buy less with our money than before, as we have less disposable income.
. . . .
Redistribution: to the 1%
Why is this happening and where is the money going? At the same time that wages and other income has been squeezed for the majority of people, a few people at the top are doing better than ever A few at the top are getting very rich by cutting pay and pensions for the rest.

Freedom of information

The very fundamentals of democracy are build on freedom of information and yet on a worldwide basis it appears to be politicians want to squeeze the information been fed to its citizens. Why will the Irish/EU not release the full details of the bailout agreement to its people.

Education

Cutbacks In in education will mean will mean we revert to being a nation of unskilled factory workers.

What next immigration to Bangladesh?

Education is one of the few remaining life lines open to the country

No sell off of public utilities

Everywhere this has happened it has been an unmitigated disaster

  
A banking system that works for people not profit

Some of the banks that were bailed out by the government are still using loopholes to advise their corporate and wealthy clients how to avoid paying tax.

They have also laid-off thousands of their own staff to maintain the greed at the top. It feels like we have nationalised the debts while the profits are privatised.

The banking collapse, which caused such economic damage , means the finance sector has lost the right to carry on as before. It must now act in the public interest; publicly owned and controlled.

The money, real money, that is held by the finance sector is ours anyway: our pension funds, our savings, and the cash in our current accounts. The rest of it is credit – electronic money (as over 90% now is) created out of thin air by the banks to lend. The banks are given the right to create credit by governments.

We therefore need the government to ensure that when banks create credit, or lend or invest with our savings or pension funds, they are doing so in our collective interest.

That means investing in infrastructure like new council housing  not lending recklessly and creating a housing bubble (and inevitable crash). It means investing to create new jobs in renewable energy rather than speculating on food prices to profit from starvation. And it means investing in new businesses and ideas, not getting windfall dividends and bonuses for merging existing businesses and laying-off staff.
Conclusion

Essential public services are being cut back and privatised, and people’s living standards have been falling , both for those in work and even more so for those unemployed.

There are social consequences too, which have clear financial costs.

Research from previous recessions shows that the increased financial pressures push more people into depression and substance abuse, means couples are more likely to separate, and suicide rates increase.

Politics is about choices – and there is always a choice and always an alternative. Because there always is an alternative but yet we are continually fed the mantra there is no alternative to austerity.

There is an economic crisis – one of rising unemployment, inequality and economic stagnation. Austerity isn’t working, and is not producing the economic growth that the government promised it would. But it is not just growth that matters. If we value people’s lives as more important than simply making more transactions, then the relevant tests for judging an economic recovery are:

Is unemployment falling?

Are people’s living standards rising

Is inequality reducing

Is the tax gap closing?

These are the tests against which we should measure the government’s economic strategy and proposals.

Also the government we have appear to be incapable of showing any leadership whatsoever. They sheep like continue to follow the dictate of their masters…Ollie Rehn.  “the eurozone has shown a degree of resilience and problem-solving capacity that many observers and policymakers would not have predicted even a year ago”…Commission chief Jose Barroso  insisted that the policy(austerity) is “fundamentally right” and working in Ireland, a risible statement if ever.

We need a leadership that knows how to play rough and this was familiar territory for the IRA. The lesson learnt was once the financial heart of London was bombed peace was in the making.

If the politicians do not heed the wishes of the electorate what then, protest marches …if they still do not listen…civil disobedience… if they still remain deaf well the options narrow. Revolution,guns , violence bombes I hope not.

May common sense prevail

 

Denis O’Brien fights Revenue over tax liability – RTÉ News


Counsel for Denis O’Brien said the property at Raglan Road in Dublin 4 was purchased as an investment

Justice Mary Laffoy has reserved judgment in the High Court in a challenge taken by the Revenue to a decision made by an Appeal Commissioner relating to the businessman Denis O’Brien.

The Appeal Commissioner, Ronan Kelly, found in 2003 that a house at 6 Raglan Road, Dublin 4, purchased by Denis O’Brien in 2000 was not a ‘permanent home’ under the Ireland/Portugal Double Taxation Convention.

Revenue then withdrew an assessment to capital gains tax of €57.8m in the tax year 2000/2001.

This arose from the sale by Mr O’Brien of shares in Esat Telecom.

Counsel for the Revenue, Anthony Collins SC, said the Appeal Commissioner had ‘erred in law’ in not recognising that someone could have two permanent homes under the Convention.

It said it had ‘conflated’ the concept of a permanently available home and a principal private residence.

Counsel for Denis O’Brien, Dermot Gleeson SC, said the property at Raglan Road was purchased as an investment.

He said Mr O’Brien’s family had moved to Portugal and did not have a home in Dublin during the tax year of 2000/2001.

He added that “no stick of O’Brien furniture ever went into this house.”

via Denis O’Brien fights Revenue over tax liability – RTÉ News.

via Denis O’Brien fights Revenue over tax liability – RTÉ News.

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%

Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs


The Independent TD due to table a private member’s Bill on the legalisation of cannabis has welcomed a report by a British parliamentary committee which recommends legalising drug use.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan, an Independent TD for Roscommon, who intends to table a Bill early next year, said it “didn’t come as any surprise” that the British committee had concluded legalisation of drugs should be considered.

Mr Flanagan said, in relation to cannabis, legalisation would take thousands of cases out of the criminal justice system each year, freeing up Garda resources. He also said if taxation were applied on sales of the drug that this would generate revenue and legalisation would take profits away from drug gangs.

“From a health point of view people would know what they were getting,” Mr Flanagan added, saying drug dealers bulk out quantities of illicit drugs, with a variety of substances the health effects of which are unknown. The TD made his comments after the British parliament’s home affairs committee said Britain’s drugs policy was not working and called on prime minister David Cameron to appoint a royal commission to review the issue.

The report said it had been impressed by Portugal’s decriminalised regime where users are not prosecuted over small amounts of drugs and are instead referred to a non-criminal “dissuasion commission”.

It said the government should also fund research into the effectiveness of marijuana legalisation in the US states of Washington and Colorado, as well as into Uruguay’s proposed state monopoly on cannabis production and sale.

However, Mr Cameron yesterday ruled out a fundamental review of the government’s approach to drugs: “I don’t support decriminalisation. We have a policy which actually is working in Britain. Drugs use is coming down, the emphasis on treatment is absolutely right, and we need to continue with that to make sure we can really make a difference,” he said. – (Additional reporting PA/Reuters)

via Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs – The Irish Times – Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

via Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs – The Irish Times – Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

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