One European Government

August 16, 2011

Who in their right mind believes that giving more power to those who destroyed the economy is a good idea?

Germany and France are calling on all euro-zone members to enshrine a balanced budget in their constitution, as well proposing a collective “government” led by the EU president.

In one of the most dramatic expansions of state power since the onset of the EU debt crisis, France and Germany have proposed a united euro-zone government to guide the bloc’s finances.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a joint press conference Tuesday in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy, also proposed giving the new government the power to overrule national governments.

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have had another go at stopping the Eurozone debt crisis from spreading.

The worry is that Italy and Spain may be next in line to fail, while France is also battling to keep its credit score from being downgraded.

However, earlier it was announced that the French and German leaders would not discuss Eurobonds during their meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

Eurobonds are considered the panacea which would save the European economy by spreading the debt burden across the EU, transferring Northern European reliability to the southern states, which are in most financial trouble.

But Germany does not want to risk losing its hard-earned reputation for economic reliability by  signing up for the Eurobond.

Meanwhile, influential investors like George Soros are supporting the Eurobonds, saying the only solution for such weak countries as Portugal and Greece is to leave the euro.

The German opposition party, the Christian Democrats, who are currently leading the polls, also believe their country should take responsibility for their neighbors and accept Eurobonds.

The problem is that Germany has already been sucked into the crisis itself with its economic growth skidding to a halt in the second three months of the year.

Greece Selling Islands to “Save Its Economy”

As any other consolidation scheme created by the bankers, the control and acquisition of Greek lands and resources is well on its way.  Greece asked for financial aid to the very bankers it was in debt with.  Now, as part of the deal, Greece is giving away its land.  How much can an undeveloped island cost in the middle of a depression these days?  Little enough for billionaires and bankers to buy it for pennies on the Euro.

Elena Moya

Desperate attempt to repay debts also driven by inability to find funds to develop infrastructure on islands

There’s little that shouts “seriously rich” as much as a little island in the sun to call your own. For Sir Richard Branson it is Neckar in the Caribbean, the billionaire Barclay brothers prefer Brecqhou in the Channel Islands, while Aristotle Onassis married Jackie Kennedy on Skorpios, his Greek hideway.

Now Greece is making it easier for the rich and famous to fulfill their dreams by preparing to sell, or offering long-term leases on, some of its 6,000 sunkissed islands in a desperate attempt to repay its mountainous debts.

The Guardian has learned that an area in Mykonos, one of Greece’s top tourist destinations, is one of the sites for sale. The area is one-third owned by the government, which is looking for a buyer willing to inject capital and develop a luxury tourism complex, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Potential investors also looking at property on the island of Rhodes, are mostly Russian and Chinese. Investors in both countries are looking for a little bit of the Mediterranean as holiday destinations for their increasingly affluent populations. Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, is among those understood to be interested, although a spokesman denied he was about to invest.

Greece has embarked on the desperate measures after being pushed into a €110bn (£90bn) bailout by the EU and the IMF last month, following a decade of overspending and after jittery investors raised borrowing costs to unbearable levels.

The sale of an island – or convincing a member of the international jet-set to take on a long-term lease – would help to boost its coffers. The Private Islands website lists 1,235-acre Nafsika, in the Ionian sea, on sale for €15m. But others are on for less than €2m – less than a townhouse in Mayfair or Chelsea. Some of the country’s numerous islands are tiny which could barely fit a single sunbed.

Only 227 Greek islands are populated and the decision to press ahead with potential sales has also been driven by the inability of the state to develop basic infrastructure, or police most of its islands. The hope is that the sale or long-term lease of some islands will attract investment that will generate jobs and taxable income.

Told by the Guardian that such sales or leases were in prospect, Makis Perdikaris, director of Greek Island Properties, said that he would be unhappy at the prospect of any outright sale of state land: “I am sad – selling off your islands or areas that belong to the people of Greece should be used as the last resort,” he said. But he was not necessarily against long-term leases: “The first thing is to develop the economy and attract foreign domestic investment to create the -necessary infrastructure. The point is to get money.”

In its battle to raise funds, the country is also planning to sell its rail and water companies. Chinese investors are understood to be interested in the Greek train system, as they already control some of the ports. In a deal announced earlier this month, the Greek government also agreed to export olive oil to China.

After the socialist government of prime minister Geórgios Papandreou responded to the IMF bailout with draconian budget cuts, rioters took to the streets, costing three lives in May.

In the midst of the crisis, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, delayed her support as she faced local elections and popular opposition to any public-funded help to Greece.

As strikes almost paralysed the country and hedge funds bet against the economy, German politicians called for Greece to start selling islands, historic buildings and artworks. It now appears that the Greek government has heeded their demands.

The City, where investors are increasingly shunning Greek investments, welcomed any island sales. “It’s a shame if it has come to this but it does at least demonstrate that Greece is prepared to take all actions necessary to try and meet its obligations,” said Gary Jenkins, a credit analyst at Evolution Securities.

Property prices have fallen between 10% and 20% since the May riots in Athens, as bad publicity has drawn visitors away, Perdikaris said.

“We have experienced a very slow booking season. Most tour operators offer hugely discounted rates,” he said. Britons account for more than 60% of his company’s property sales.

• This article was amended on 25 June 2010. The original heading – Greece puts its islands up for sale to save economy – went beyond what the story said. This has been corrected. More context has been added to a quotation from Makis Perdikaris, director of Greek Island Properties, to make clear that he was not expressing knowledge of existing Greek government sales of island land.

As Predicted, Spain on the Brink of Collapse

The tentacles of the international banking cartel are about to envelop the fifth most important economy of the old continent

The Independent

European leaders meet in Brussels today amid growing fears that Spain, Europe’s fifth-largest economy, is preparing to ask for a

The horns of the depression are in Spain's rearview mirror. An aid package is in the works to rescue one more failed State.

bailout which would dwarf the €110bn (£90bn) rescue plan for Greece.

The Spanish government yesterday dismissed reports that it was already in discussions with the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury for a rescue package worth up to €250bn.

Officials in Madrid, Brussels and Paris were forced to deny that a Spanish bailout – which would take the European debt and euro crisis into a potentially dangerous new phase – was on the Brussels summit agenda.

“Spain is a country that is solvent, solid and strong, with international credibility,” said its Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The European Commission spokesman said: “I can firmly deny [that a Spanish rescue is under discussion]. I can say that that story is rubbish.”

Brussels diplomats have been at pains to send out feel-good signals ahead of a summit in which Europe’s leaders are supposed to take the first steps towards more disciplined and co-ordinated, control of national finances. Those reforms are meant to restore confidence in the euro and underpin the €750m EU and IMF safety-net, created last month for euroland countries that lose the confidence of the financial markets.

However, it is proving hard to shake off persistent market fears about Spain, which, if it needed a lifeline, would swallow up a large part of the emergency fund. Worryingly for the EU, the doubts about Spain – whether real or driven by speculation – are eerily similar to the gradual seeping away of confidence that sent Greece into a financial death spiral in March and April. The Spanish government’s cost of borrowing hit a new record yesterday. The interest rate gap, or spread, between 10-year Spanish bonds and their German equivalents, rose by more than 0.10 of a point to 2.23 percentage points.

A senior Spanish banker, Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of the BBVA financial services group, confirmed that foreign private banks were now refusing to provide liquidity to their Spanish counterparts. “Financial markets have withdrawn their confidence in our country,” he said. “For most Spanish companies and entities, international capital markets are closed.”

As a result, the European Central Bank is said to have provided record amounts of liquidity to Spanish banks in recent days. The closure of bank-to-bank credit to Spanish institutions recalls to some market commentators the ripple of crisis through the global financial system after the fall of Lehman Brothers in the Autumn of 2008.

The IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected in Madrid tomorrow to see Mr Zapatero – but brushed off speculation of a crisis. “It’s a working visit,” he told reporters in Paris. “I am in France [today] – are there such rumours about France?”

Fears over Spain’s finances checked the recovery of the euro on money markets yesterday. The single currency lost much of the gains it had made in the past seven days.

One of the proposals on the table at the Brussels summit is public “stress tests” to force banks to reveal the state of their books. The Spanish government offered yesterday to open the books of its own private banks unilaterally to prove that they were sound.

Today’s summit in Brussels was intended to be a time for the EU leaders to catch their breath and discuss ways of restoring the euro’s long-term credibility. The threatened Spanish crisis may blow all that out of the water.

Despite an apparent rapprochement between Paris and Berlin this week, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel remain deeply divided on how to prevent the currency and debt crisis from dumping Europe back into recession. Mr Sarkozy has agreed to drop his proposals for new institutional machinery for a political “government” of the euro by its 16 member states. Ms Merkel prefers to talk of a vague “governance” of the euro, and European state spending, by all 27 EU governments.

More fundamentally, Paris is deeply concerned that the austerity plans announced by Berlin last week could – on top of budget cuts in other countries – plunge Europe into crisis.

The French fears were echoed yesterday by the billionaire investor, George Soros, who warned that Europe would almost certainly face a recession next year which might generate “social unrest” and the kind of populist nationalism seen in the 1930s. “That’s the real danger of the present situation – that by imposing fiscal discipline at a time of insufficient demand and a weak banking system… you are actually… setting in motion a downward spiral,” he said.

The collapse of Spain’s housing boom has helped fuel a deep downturn which has sent unemployment spiralling to 20 per cent, the second worst in the EU. Mr Zapatero introduced a range of measures last month, including spending cuts of €15bn over two years and reductions in public sector wages and spending. Unions have called a general strike over labour reforms.

David Cameron: No More Power to Brussels

Times Online

David Cameron gave a blunt warning to Angela Merkel today that he would veto any attempt to reopen the Lisbon treaty to give the EU more power over national budgets.

Standing alongside the German Chancellor, Mr Cameron insisted that he wanted to see a strong single European currency but pledged to block moves to prop it up that involved a transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels.

The Prime Minister held robust and cordial talks with Mrs Merkel in Berlin where they also disagreed over hedge-fund regulation and Mr Cameron refused to reconsider his decision to pull the Conservatives out of the main centre-Right group in Europe.

The two leaders put on a relaxed show for the cameras, with Mrs Merkel’s mood buoyed by securing a “yes” vote in the German Parliament for the eurozone’s 750 billion euro bailout fund, to which Berlin will contribute up to €147 billion in loan guarantees.

But the convivial atmosphere could not mask their differences, with Germany leading calls at a finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels today for EU treaty changes to help restore confidence in the euro by introducing new sanctions and powers of co-ordination.

“There is no question of agreeing to a treaty that transfers power from Westminster to Brussels. That is set out 100 per cent clearly in the coalition agreement,” Mr Cameron said.

“Britain obviously is not in the euro and Britain is not going to be in the euro, and so Britain would not be agreeing to any agreement or treaty that drew us further into supporting the euro area.”

The Prime Minister added: “It goes without saying that any treaty, even one that just applied to the euro area, needs unanimous agreement of all 27 EU states including the UK, which of course has a veto. I think these are very important points to understand.”

His remarks left open the possibility that the 16 eurozone countries could introduce greater control from Brussels that applied just to them.

Mrs Merkel suggested that she had not given up on her desire to re-open the Lisbon treaty but played down its significance today. “There are certain ideas that Germany has tabled where treaty change plays a role. But this is the beginning. It is very early days as yet,” she said.

She added: “I have made it clear that we need to stabilise the euro but at a later stage we will be able to say what we can do and how should we do it.

“And then we will see what the majority will want and the interests of the eurozone.”

Mr Cameron showed that he had not given up trying to persuade Mrs Merkel to relax tough new proposed EU rules for hedge funds driven by Berlin and Paris.

“We do have our concerns because we do not think actually hedge funds were the cause of the problems in our financial markets and in our economies,” Mr Cameron said.

“We accept the need for regulation but it does need to be fair and proportionate.

“We have a particular issue about hedge funds that are based in other countries but have operations within one EU country and whether they would be able to access the so-called passporting system. So we have concerns; it is still being discussed.”

He refused to be drawn into open criticism of Mrs Merkel’s surprise decision this week to ban certain types of risky trading in shares and bonds, which began a slide of confidence in European shares that continued today.

Mr Cameron said: “Obviously we should respect each other’s decisions on these issues.”

“All I would say is this, and I’m sure there would be agreement on this: what matters is are we dealing with the real causes rather than just the symptoms?

“It seems to me that the cause of many of our problems in the European economies is excessive debt, excessive deficits, financial systems that haven’t worked, banking systems that have ground our economies down.

“Those are the problems. We’ve got to tackle the problems and get to the source of the problems and then actually we’ll find the symptoms will be less of a problem.”

Relations between Mr Cameron and Mrs Merkel were soured by the Conservative pull-out from the centre-Right European group over its support for closer political union in Europe.

Mrs Merkel is understood to have told him that she was saddened by the move which saw the Tories ally themselves with right-wing parties from Poland, the Czech Republic and Latvia.

Peter Ramsauer, the German Transport Minister and old Etonian, who forged links with Mr Cameron through their alma mater, said: “I have tried my very utmost best to try to keep things together. I said ‘David, can you imagine the great British Tories can be a partner of people like Topolánek from the Czech Republic? Never, ever.’ Maybe we can bring them together again. There are lingering hopes very far on the horizon.”

Banco Central Europeu: U$ 1 trilhão só serve para ganhar tempo

Por Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
Maio 17, 2010

A corrupção e as mentiras do Banco Central Europeu e das suas filiais ao redor do mundo são ilimitadas. Há um ano atrás, o seu escritório nos Estados Unidos, -a Reserva Federal- solicitou 700 milhões de dólares para ‘salvar’ a economia. Isso, nós aprendemos mais tarde, revelou-se uma mentira. Foi uma mentira não só porque o dinheiro não era para fazer “mágica” econômica tal como foi prometido, mas também porque não erão somente U$700 milhões e, sim, mais de U$ 25 bilhões. Há poucos dias atrás, a União Européia lançou um pacote de ajuda de 1 trilhão de dólares que, segundo eles, serviria para manter a região economicamente estável. Agora, o BCE disse que o trilhão só serve para ganhar tempo. Tempo para quê? Resposta: Tempo para os bancos fazerem os preparativos finais para o colapso total da economia global. Existe alguém que ainda não vê isso?

Este tem sido o padrão mostrado ao longo da história com a elite liderada pelos bancos.  Eles criam problemas e apresentam soluções ”milagrosas” que, também, ajudam a consolidar o poder e controle. Desta vez, porém, é definitiva. A linha inferior é esta, os banqueiros jogaram todas as suas cartas e, de uma vez, se converterão nos proprietários de tudo e de todos. A economia e o estado do mundo correram para baixo de modo incontrolável e nem mesmo eles podem salvá-los neste momento. Não que eles tiveram a intenção de fazê-lo.

Um por um, os países que foram vítimas de abutres financeiros ao longo de 100 anos fazem fila para pular além da borda do cânion. Como nos lembramos, tudo começou na Islândia, onde os funcionários agora parecem tentar lutar contra a corrupção enviando banqueiros para a cadeia. A crise mudou-se para a Grécia, onde as nuvens de dívida fiscal envolveram um país que, pelo contrário, é considerado um paraíso. Com Goldman Sachs como portador da lança, os banqueiros adicionaram mais um país à sua valiosa coleção. Nenhum banqueiro foi preso ou processado ainda. Em contrapartida, a Grécia sucumbiu à União Européia, enquanto os banqueiros tomam conta dos fundos de pensão e da poupança através do endividamento.  Os gregos agora estão imersos em uma dívida ainda maior através de um pacote de ajuda que assegura que a jóia do Mediterrâneo seja propriedade dos bancos.

Dois gigantes estão em linha para seguir os passos da Grécia e a Islândia. Portugal e Espanha começaram o processo de colapso através da redução dos salários, congelamento das pensões e o aumento dos impostos. Com uma população à beira do colapso social, as duas nações podem ver protestos no estilo tailandês mais cedo do esperado. A razão pela qual isso não aconteceu ainda? A Engenharia Social, é claro. A atenção do povo é desviada para o futebol e os torneios de tênis assím como cinzas vulcânicas imaginárias. Com o desemprego em torno de 20%, tanto Espanha como Portugal tiveram uma queda quieta livre de dor, mas as últimas medidas de austeridade provavelmente estouraram a bolha que isolou os dois países nos últimos dois anos. As subidas de impostos e os cortes nos serviços sociais foram bastante aplaudidos pelo Banco Central Europeu, bem como o líder do mundo em falências, Barack Obama. Esses aplausos decorrem do fato que as medidas os ajudam a ganhar tempo para consolidar o poder e os recursos. Cada vez que um país anuncia um pacote de medidas de austeridade, significa que mais dinheiro do povo, que já pagam impostos para tudo, é usado para pagar os empréstimos que os bancos já fizeram para estes países. É o banco que tem a prerrogativa de pedir aos países para reembolsar o empréstimo na totalidade, se desejar. Foi o que aconteceu na Islândia, Grécia e é por isso que eles precisam ser resgatados. O problema é que o plano de resgate financeiro vem dos banqueiros com quem os países inicialmente estavam em dívida. Você começa a entender a idéia? Por isso é chamado Consolidação.

A forma na qual os bancos operam é como um pescador que pesca um peixe grande. O pescador coloca a isca, -o banco oferece empréstimos-, o peixe morde a isca -os países aceitam os empréstimos-, e o pescador pode, então, escolher puxar o peixe para fora devagar, esperando que este continue travado no gancho, ou decide dar um grande puxão. A primeira opção fará com que a captura seja quase certa, mas vai demorar mais tempo. A segunda, dará uma recompensa mais rápida, mas o resultado pode ser também que o cordão seja cortado e, como resultado, o peixe escape. Há quase um século atrás, os banqueiros decidiram tentar a primeira opção para puxar a corda devagar deixando que o peixe se sentisse confortável. Agora, o peixe -a gente-, sabe que está preso e está fortemente puxando a corda. O pescador está desesperado porque o peixe pode escapar e está pensando seriamente em puxar a corda rápido e forte.

Parece impossível escapar do desastre econômico mundial que começou há aproximadamente uma década e que somente foi mascarado pelos números falsos de crescimento e recuperação econômica. Não houve geração de empregos significativa nas maiores economias do mundo e, até Jean Claude Trichet,  manifestou o seu pessimismo sobre as esperanças de um final feliz. Ele, claro, conhecia o resultado há muito tempo, provavelmente desde que chegou ao BCE. Ele disse, na semana passada, que os Estados Unidos estavam em uma situação semelhante à da Grécia. Outros cúmplices de Trichet também contribuiram à lista de frases memoráveis. George Soros, por exemplo, disse que o euro estava em uma situação precária e muito perto do colapso.

Pode-se facilmente ver o desespero da elite quando Nicolas Sarkozy bate o punho na mesa e Angela Merkel relutantemente apóia um pacote de ajuda que, em teoria, salvaria a Europa da ruína, mas na verdade não salvará ninguém. Como o BCE disse, o pacote só serve para ganhar tempo. O colapso financeiro foi precipitado ainda mais rapidamente devido ao fato de que mais pessoas estão entendendo este tipo de fraude e como elas foram enganadas durante as últimas décadas submetendo as suas poupanças e pensões  às organizações supranacionais. Como alguém disse, você pode enganar algumas pessoas durante algum tempo, mas você não pode enganar todas as pessoas o tempo todo. O mundo tem sido oprimido durante séculos, até mesmo milhares de anos, pelos impérios, os banqueiros e a elite. Agora, a moeda se inverteu e a pressão está sobre os opressores.  Eles têm que escolher entre fazer o colapso ocorrer de forma lenta ou abrupta. A Comissão Trilateral reuniu-se este mês. A reunião do Grupo Bilderberg é em Junho. O pescador está desesperadamente pensando em puxar a corda fortemente.

Fique atento.

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