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(roarmag.org) That the UK and EU would break up over money issues was no real surprise — but why is nobody talking about their extramarital affair with the banks?

 It was always a difficult marriage, born out of economic interests and family pressure more than mutual love. For 38 years the partners bickered over money issues — CAP this, rebate that — with the continent occasionally accusing the island of cheating with Uncle Sam, and the island chastising the continent for mingling too much into its personal affairs. But for many years, the two stayed together for the kids and for the family business. That may now be changing.

On Friday morning, a crucial EU summit — touted as the last opportunity to save the euro from collapse — ended in a dramatic split between the UK and the rest of Europe. As Michael White wrote for the Guardian, “it looks like the Big One, the moment when a government in London exercised the famous British veto on an important EU matter and withdraws to the margins of the European Union, thus ending 50 years of more-or-less consistent policy.”

The break-up marks yet another tectonic shift in European history. But it also reveals the extent to which financial interests have corrupted the minds of our leaders and soured their mutual relations. The extramarital affairs of our political elites with the banks now threaten the very survival of the European family. All of them, it seems, are willing to sacrifice not only the family business, but also their own children. No price too high for the love of gold.

As always, the greatest pain is quietly borne by the kids: the citizens who haven’t even been consulted by their leaders. Childhood illusions about European solidarity have been brutally uprooted. But, as if to repress the most confronting part of the drama, no one appears to be talking about the disgraceful extramarital affairs that lie at the root of it all. The truth is that both the UK and Europe have been engaging in financial adultery for decades on end.

Introducing the Lovers: Frankfurt and La Défense vs. the City

This was never a clash over the European interest versus the British interest, as both continental cosmopolitans and British euroskeptics like to portray it. Behind the veil of ideology lurk powerful financial interests dictating the choices of our double-crossing elites. As the Guardian reported, “Cameron wielded the British veto in the early hours of the morning after France succeeded in blocking a series of safeguards demanded by Britain to protect the City of London.”

More specifically, Cameron demanded that: (1) “any transfer of power from a national regulator to an EU regulator on financial services would be subject to a veto”; (2) “the European Banking Authority should remain in London”; (3) “banks should face a higher capital requirement”; and (4) “the European Central Bank be rebuffed in its attempts to rule that euro-denominated transactions take place within the eurozone.” Sarkozy rejected Cameron’s demands outright.

The reasons for this are really quite simple: (1) Sarkozy doesn’t want UK-based banks to get a competitive advantage by dodging the European-wide financial transaction tax; (2) he wants the European Banking Authority to move to Paris; (3) he knows French banks are in a much weaker position than their UK counterparts; and (4) he wants euro-denominated transactions to take place within the eurozone so they will be routed via La Défense instead of the City.

The bottomline is that this is a battle of banks; a clash of capital — it has nothing to do with the general European or British interest. If the eurozone were to break up, many German and French banks would collapse, hence the Franco-German push for fiscal union. Yet such a fiscal union would impose continental-style regulations on the free-for-all City of London. Fearing its competitive position vis-à-vis New York, the UK therefore strongly opposed participation.

Read more: http://roarmag.org/2011/12/eu-summit-uk-fiscal-union-banks-city/

(Activist Post) “If the eurozone were to split, it is difficult to imagine for the European Union not to split as well. It is difficult to imagine Europe to be as safe as it is now without the European Union.” — Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski (AP)

Ahh yes. Fear is being laid on thick as another “crisis” is being used in an attempt to consolidate political power. This time-honored tactic looks like it is now getting the final push in Europe as financial leaders and presidents alike call for a United States of Europe to avert collapse.

The message is clear coming from the establishment: form a more centrally-controlled political and economic union or you will suffer.

Unfortunately, that’s not a prediction, but a promise.

It’s become obvious that this has been the plan all along.  “If you have a currency union, you certainly also need more elements of a political and of an economic union. That was clear from the outset when we started this project some 10, 15 years ago,” said the Luxembourg finance minister Frieden.

However, many nations have not been so quick to give up their sovereignty and economic independence.  Therefore, a good crisis is needed, followed by a coordinated chorus of experts to sway public opinion and policy.

Read more: http://www.activistpost.com/2011/09/eu-debt-crisis-being-used-to.html

(farmwars.infoSafety of Monsanto’s Synthetic-Toxin maize to be re-examined

Testbiotech and GeneWatch UK formally request withdrawal of EU market authorisation of Monsanto´s genetically engineered maize Genuity VT Triple PRO Cornwith synthetic toxins.

28 July 2011. The non-profit organisations Testbiotech (Germany) and GeneWatch UK have submitted a formal request to the European Commission to re-examine market authorisation of a genetically engineered maize produced by Monsanto sold under brand Genuity VT Triple PRO Corn (event MON89034 x MON 88017) that produces a synthetic toxin, intended to kill insect pests. This maize was approved for usage in food and feed by the EU Commission on 17th of June. It produces a combination of three different insecticidal toxins, one of which is synthesised artificially. Further, the plants are made tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate (known as Roundup).

The organisations are filing a formal request for internal review of the EU Commission´s decision according Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No. 1367/2006 because the legally required high level of protection for consumers, farm animals and the environment are not met and legal requirements for monitoring of health effects have been ignored completely. They argue that the authorisation should be withdrawn.

“This maize produces a unique combination of insecticidal proteins. In the parts of this plant, a synthetic Bt toxin is produced. Its toxicity might affect a much wider spectrum of species than expected. Further combined effects have to be expected with the other toxins and the residues from spraying with the herbicide. These risks can impact both on health and the environment,” said Helen Wallace from GeneWatch UK. “But none of these risks were properly examined before approval was granted.”

The plants were not tested for health effects in feeding studies. Only a short term trial for its nutritional quality was performed in poultry. The residues from spraying with glyphosate formulations were also not considered by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. There are further legal requirements for monitoring of potential health effects that were ignored by the EU Commission:

No plan for monitoring as required by European regulation was made available that would allow identification of particular health impacts that might be related to the use of these genetically engineered plants in food and feed. There is not even a reliable method to measure the level of toxins produced in the maize and to trace the products within the market,” said Christoph Then from Testbiotech.

According the request prepared by the two organisations, this case is also of general relevance for the setting of risk assessment standards by EFSA that are currently under discussion before being adopted as EU regulations. This case shows that in general much more effort is needed to ensure the high level of protection for human health and the environment required by the framework of the EU regulations.

Since this case is a precedent, the NGOs have the option of considering further legal steps such as a case at the European Court of Justice if the EU Commission rejects their request for internal review.

Currently, genetically engineered crops mainly enter the EU from North and South America as soya or maize for use in animal feed. Maize containing a single Bt toxin is also grown for use in animal feed in Spain. Numerous “stacked events” containing multiple Bt toxins and/or resistence to one or more herbicides are awaiting regulatory approval in the EU. Herbicide resistant “superweeds” are becoming a major problem for American farmers growing herbicide tolerant GM crops and pests are also developing resistance to the Bt toxins included in many GM crops. A recent Canadian study suggested that the assumption made by regulators that Bt toxins do not survive in the human gut may be incorrect.

Link to Testbiotech and the request as filed to the EU Commission:

http://www.testbiotech.de/node/526

Link to GeneWatch UK:
http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d66a9b354535738483c1c3d49e4
/Document_Request_for_internal_review_MON89034xMON88017.pdf

by Christoph Then/TestBiotech

Source: http://farmwars.info/?p=6557

(independent.co.uk) … The vote went through in the Athens parliament against a backdrop of rioting in the streets outside as police clashed with protesters opposing more tax hikes, spending cuts and a privatisation sell-off demanded by the country’s international creditors.

(…)

And effective implementation will be difficult if an increasingly rebellious public defies the deal and refuses to hand over more taxes or absorb more cuts to pay the price for an economic crisis they say was not their fault.

Nevertheless the 155-138 vote this afternoon should be enough in itself to ensure the handover of the latest 12 billion euro (£10.7 billion) instalment of an EU-IMF bail-out fund agreed a year ago and worth a total of 110 billion euro (£96.5 billion).

Greece has been warned for weeks that the latest slice of the money would be withheld without today’s “yes” vote, allowing Greece to default on its debts within weeks.

 Continuing with the payment should now be a formality when EU finance ministers hold a special meeting in Brussels on Sunday to decide the next step.

Greece desperately needs the latest aid by July 15 to meet its immediate debts, but already Europe is considering a second massive bail-out – probably worth more than the first – because of the scale of the crisis and the risk of “contagion” to other struggling eurozone economies.

But the scale of rioting on the streets of the capital and across Greece hint at serious difficulties to come for the Greek government.

Read more http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greek-parliament-passes-cuts-plans-2304188.html

IT SEEMS LIKE THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE IS ON FIRE


Live Video: http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/stopcarteltvgr?layout=4&color=0x000000&autoPlay=true&mute=false&

Live News: http://eagainst.com/articles/live-from-the-parliament-of-greece-second-day/

Twitter:

#Greekrevolution
AfroditeXig Afrodite Xigorou
Ppl testify now on tv that Greek riot police attacked ppl eating at tavernas & cafe at
Monastiraki sq without any reason. #Greekrevolution

#Syntagma
northaura spyros gkelis
urgent, desperate call for doctors to immediately go #syntagma please RT there are
injured people there and rescue team doesn’t cope #29jgr

#Greece
AlexMaragos Alexandros Maragos
Teargas Grenade: price 11.50€, Maalox: price 2.80€ Greek indignants holding the square
despite chemical war: priceless #Greece #j29gr

(guardian.co.uk) 6.00pm: Artemis, who was at Syntagma Square today between 10.30am and 2.50pm BST, has sent in an eyewitness account of events today. He says there were troublemakers but the police “showed no mercy”. He also says many Greeks believe there were agent provocateurs at work:

I joined the crowd of mostly independent, peaceful protesters at about 12:30. Lots of grey-haired people around, as in every single protest I’ve been to in the last month.

The riot police fired huge amounts of teargas right in the middle of the crowd – more often than not without the slightest provocation. Clearly, they had orders to disperse the protesters at all cost while the 300 Greek MPs were voting on the new package of austerity measures in the Parliament nearby. At some point, some of us were kettled and targeted; some of us took refuge in a building – most of us gagging and wretching; there’s no getting used to teargas, believe me. I have nothing but admiration for those who stood their ground and didn’t leave the Square; without a proper gas mask it’s impossible to stop the streaming tears or indeed breathe.

The police showed no mercy; you’d have thought they suffered from teargas incontinence! What’s the point, I joked to my companion, the austerity measures will have us crying our eyes out anyway – they really are set to cripple the Greek economy rather than help it. Everyone I spoke to – ordinary Greeks, many in their 40s, 50s, and 60s – agreed that the police tactics hardly differed from those applied during the 1967-1974 dictatorship.

The ‘mysterious’ thugs, who, most Greeks are convinced include agents provocateurs, did turn up at some point and broke into a bank – PC monitors, furniture, anything they could grab was thrown into the street (Othonos Street) and set alight. About 500 people seemed to be trapped in the Syntagma underground station, many with breathing problems. Red Cross volunteers provided first aid, but some people had to be hospitalised, I heard. Just now the Greek association of pharmacists appealed to the police to allow emergency services – doctors, ambulances – through the blockade, to reach those protesters in need of medical help.

As I’m typing this, from my parents’ place, about 1 mile from Syntagma Sq., I can hear blasts of, presumably, more teargas and smoke grenades. On the way back from Syntagma I could see a handful of hooded thugs ripping wooden benches and setting piles of scrap wood and rubbish alight in the middle of Panepistimiou Street, outside the Athens university. There were hardly any protesters, or indeed police, around at the time; it certainly looks like those hooded urban terrorists are organised and act according to a plan aimed at sabotaging peaceful protests – an aim obviously shared by the police, and, of course, the minister of citizen protection, who (theoretically) gives the orders.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/jun/29/greece-austerity-vote-demonstrations

(Roarmag) Amidst mass protests and an historic 48-hour strike, one ‘no’ vote by a Greek MP could tip Greece into bankruptcy and the world into global financial meltdown.

The eyes of the world are on Greece. Or, to be more specific, on Syntagma Square, where 300 MPs prepare for a crucial vote on the EU-IMF imposed austerity package — and where hundreds of thousands of Greeks will converge to stop the vote from being passed in the country’s first 48-hour strike since the fall of the dictatorship.

There is an uneasy tension in the air in Athens. Just yesterday, Communist protesters stormed the Acropolis and unfurled a giant banner calling for a massive organized counterattack. Today, over 5,000 policemen have mobilized in central Athens to prepare for an epic stand-off with hundreds of thousands of striking workers and indignants.

What is going on in Athens right now is truly historic. Indeed, superlatives aside, it is nearly impossible to describe the gravity of the situation at hand. What happens in the next 48 hours in Athens will determine the fate of the entire eurozone, the EU and — indeed — the world economy as a whole. This is the very climax of the eurocrisis.

Here’s the short synopsis: today, Greek members of parliament will start debating a new round of austerity measures, which are a condition for Greece to receive both the fifth tranche of last year’s bailout, worth €12bn, and a second bailout, worth €80-120bn from the EU and IMF. They will vote on the measures on Wednesday.

Now, if Parliament votes against, Greece will be denied both the fifth tranche of last year’s bailout and the second bailout by the EU and IMF. As a result, Greece will be forced to formally default by mid-July, when several billions of euros worth in three and six-month bonds mature.

In the midst all of this, hundreds of thousands of Greeks are expected to converge upon Syntagma Square, right in front of Parliament, for the largest mass demonstration so far — coinciding with the country’s first 48-hour strikesince the fall of the dictatorship and the establishment of democracy in 1974. Unions have threatened to storm Parliament and physically prevent the vote from taking place.

Read more: http://roarmag.org/2011/06/strike-protest-austerity-athens-greece/

(wlcentral.org) The past two days were very important for the political calendar of Europe. The European Commission signed the new adjustments of the Euro-Pact, the rules for the european commonwealth, organized by the European Bank, the IMF and the executive body of the European Union. In Brussels, where the whole summit took place, people went to the streets and squares to manifest their indignation regarding corruption and economical dominance of state affairs.
We have been there and experienced two days of rage in the european political capital. Read More

(wsm.ie) The big bad ECB wolf is a-huffing and a-puffing but the first of the three little pigs is showing no signs of surrendering just yet. And behind the spectacle of the Greek populace standing up against its government and the core EU powers, lurks a recent historical shadow – a spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Yugoslavia.

Today Greece is the target of pressure and brinkmanship by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund who are holding back the next installment in the so-called “bailout” agreed last year. The payment of €12 billion was originally scheduled for this month and without it Greece will default on repaying its existing bonds due for redemption on Jul 15. Read More

(jfjfp) ‘Lasting Peace Only Possible with Hamas On Board’
It is time for the European Union to rethink its policy in the Middle East. That is the demand being made by 24 former heads of government, foreign ministers and peace negotiators. A Hamas recognition of Israel should be the goal rather than the precondition of the peace process, the leaders write in an open letter.
10.6. 2011

Palestinian Unity Is a Prerequisite for Peace with Israel
A new Palestinian government is expected to be formed soon as a result of the agreement recently signed between the main Palestinian factions — Fatah and Hamas. The new, transitional government composed of independent figures will be tasked to pave the way for the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections in May 2012.
Palestinian reconciliation is part of the momentous changes sweeping through the Middle East. Brokered by Egypt following its own revolution and reflecting a strong public desire to overcome the four-year long internal rift, Palestinian unity is a fruit of the “Arab Spring.”
As former international leaders and peace negotiators, we have learnt first-hand that achieving a durable peace requires an inclusive approach. We consider it of vital importance that the international community supports Palestinian unity and avoids any steps that could jeopardise the fragile reconciliation process. In particular, we urge the United States and the European Union to constructively engage with the transitional government as well as with the Palestinian leadership that results from the elections next year. This is imperative for the following reasons:
Firstly, overcoming the political and institutional divide between the West Bank and Gaza is an obvious pre-condition for the establishment of a unified and viable Palestinian state.
Secondly, a durable settlement with Israel can only be achieved if the Palestinian leadership is able to negotiate on behalf of all Palestinians and with the agreement of main political forces. Reconciliation is thus a prerequisite for achieving the two-state solution. It is not an obstacle to it. Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: a lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board.
‘A Chance for Course Correction’
Palestinian reconciliation is also an opportunity to enhance Israel’s security. The unity deal could help consolidate a ceasefire, preventing renewed attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians. An exchange of Palestinian prisoners for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit could be another positive off-shoot of the agreement.
The opportunity presented by the unity deal must be seized without repeating past mistakes. In 2006, following the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian election, the US and the EU opted for political and financial boycott. In hindsight, those policies were a major setback for the peace process by exacerbating Palestinian divisions and entrenching the blockade of Gaza.
The new unity deal and the developments in the wider region offer a chance for course correction by the US and the EU. The so-called Quartet principles including recognition of Israel should be treated as goals rather than preconditions of engagement with the Palestinian leadership and factions. Adherence to a ceasefire and non-violence is a realistic threshold from which to commence negotiations.
By supporting Palestinian unity at this vital juncture, the US and the EU have an opportunity to show their commitment to the two-state solution as well as to the democratic aspirations currently being voiced throughout the broader Middle East. The alternative is hard to contemplate. If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, with dramatic consequences for all parties and the international community at large.
________________________________________
LIST OF SIGNATORIES
Dries van Agt: Former Prime Minister, the Netherlands.
Lord John Alderdice: Former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Massimo d’Alema: Former Prime Minister, Italy.
Frans Andriessen: Former Finance Minister, the Netherlands; former Vice-President of the European Commission.
Halldór Ásgrímsson: Former Prime Minister, Iceland; Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Hanan Ashrawi: Former spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process.
Shlomo Ben-Ami: Former Foreign Minister, Israel.
Betty Bigombe: Ugandan politician, former chief LRA – Uganda government negotiator.
Laurens Jan Brinkhorst: Former Vice-Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Hans van den Broek: Former Foreign Minister, the Netherlands; former EU Commissioner for External Relations.
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen: Former Foreign Minister, Denmark.
Gareth Evans: Former Foreign Minister, Australia.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock: Former UK Ambassador to the United Nations.
Lena Hjelm-Wallén: Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden.
Ioannis Kasoulides: Former Foreign Minister, Cyprus.
Mogens Lykketoft: Former Foreign Minister, Denmark.
Ram Manikkalingham: Former Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on the peace process with the Tamil Tigers.
Louis Michel: Former Foreign Minister, Belgium; former EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
Poul Nyrup Rassmussen: Former Prime Minister, Denmark.
Elisabeth Rehn: Former Minister of Defense, Finland; former UN Under-Secretary General.
Alvaro de Soto: Former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
Thorvald Stoltenberg: Former Minister of Defense and of Foreign Affairs, Norway; former UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Erkki Tuomioja: Former Foreign Minister, Finland.
Hubert Védrine: Former Foreign Minister, France.

Source: http://jfjfp.com/?p=23651

(thebureauinvestigates.com) (…) The data should be approached with caution as some figures may not refer to one item of expenditure but to a cumulative amount of expenditure over a period of time. The FTS does not make that distinction and all the data is presented with the same degree of detail as it is by the EU Commission.

Read more of the data from our investigation below, arranged in spending themes.

EU Commission Expenditure – Jets *

EU Commission Expenditure – Limousines

EU Commission Expenditure – Golf

EU Commission Expenditure – Wine

EU Commission Expenditure – Orchestras

EU Commission Expenditure – Resorts

EU Commission Expenditure – Away Days

EU Commission Expenditure –  Banquets

(…)

* All the data relating to private jet travel is based on expenses information available for “Abelag Aviation NV”, the Commission’s main supplier of private jet travel services.

Source: http://thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/06/01/get-the-data-eu-commission-expenses/