Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

With a superfluity of hypocrisy and a thirst for positive media exposure the European political leaders marched last Sunday in the streets of Paris, to tell the world ‘Je suis Charlie’. It’s most uncertain if anyone of them knew what the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was before the atrocity in the premises of the journal. Bernard Holtrop, […]

Eurozone: A crucial January ahead again with existential questions

The EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive entered into force as from yesterday 1.1.2015. In theory, from now in the unfortunate event of a failing or about to fail bank in all Eurozone Member States, a resolution or recovery will be conducted under a single rule book, as provided by the above mentioned Directive. As […]

Greece did it again

Last Monday, the Greek government scheduled an early Presidential election before the end of the year, which according to the constitution is to be held in the Parliament. If the Parliament proves unable to elect a new President of the Republic (180 votes are needed in a house of 300) a new legislative election must […]

How much time has the ‘European Union of last chance’ left?

Ahead of the 18-19 December Summit of the 28 EU leaders, the European economy dives deeper in recession and disinflation. Brussels sources estimate that November inflation plunged again to 0.3% from 0.4% in October, widely diverging from the institutional target of below but close to 2%. There is more to it though. According to Eurostat, […]

What can stop the ‘too big to fail’ bankers from terrorising the world?

Last Monday 10 November the Financial Stability Board, an international non-binding body based in Basel which comprises government and central bank officials from G20 countries had a bright idea for the lenders. They admitted that the 30 “too big to fail” major world banks should retain at least 20% of their risky assets in own […]

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

The EU Commission has correctly translated the ideas emanated from the Brussels’ European Council of 23-24 October and accordingly adjourned confrontation with France and Italy over budgetary deficits and extra investment spending for 2015. European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen responsible for financial affairs and the euro seems to have read very carefully the Conclusions […]

The EU moulds a new compromise for growth and financial sustainability

The whole world knows that the European Union has for decades been powered by a strong force; the Berlin – Paris axis. At times, when this  relationship broke down, the EU came to a standstill. Obviously now this is again the case. Towards the end of last month the newly appointed French Prime Minister, Manuel […]

Is Germany yielding to pressures for more relaxed economic policies?

Not surprisingly, European Commission’s quarterly review on ‘Employment and Social Situation’ and its “Annual Report on European SMEs 2013/2014” which were published last week, both conclude that economic recovery is still quite uncertain, while small and medium businesses are always in contraction, constituting the main impediment to growth. Despite all that, and as if economic […]

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

With the unemployment rate always at double digit levels (11.5%), inflation falling again nearer to naught (0.3% in August), the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) dropping and the Business Climate Indicator idling flat, the Eurozone economy is steadily heading to a dormant state at best or to a new long recession at worst. Speaking of overall […]

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

The Russian convoy of 280 lorries loaded with humanitarian aid (food, water, electricity generators, etc.) crossed the borders without Kiev’s permission last week and delivered on Friday 22 August its cargo to Luhansk, a key position in the warfare between the government special forces and the pro-Russian separatist rebels who still hold the city. The […]

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

The US led confrontation of the West with Russia has just generated the first tangible and sizeable losses for Europe. German equity values and EU agricultural exports to Russia registered heavy costs last week, while the New York Stock Exchange recorded only minor harms. Those developments came after the EU activated its last package of […]

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

With inflation in Eurozone falling last month to crisis level nadir and a new business investments retreat, it is easily understandable why unemployment is still exploding at double-digit highs. As a matter of fact, at the end of last month Eurostat, the EU statistical service published its estimates for the above mentioned crucial variables, which […]

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

Eurostat, the EU statistical service, has recently released data showing that, while the government indebtedness increases, the industrial production retreats. Of course Eurozone doesn’t run any danger of losing its competitive edge in world markets. European goods and services exports usually leave a solid positive result, so the Union and more so the Eurozone don’t […]

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Despite the willingness of the West (EU and US) to gradually cut off Russia from the western and central European economic volume, the gas pipelines are always there, supplying the rest of Europe with Russian combustible materials and reminding everybody that the Old Continent is still dependent on Russian fossil fuels. The ‘Euro-Mediterranean Platform on […]

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) worries about the “effectiveness of EU policies in bringing young generations back into the labour market”, and quite rightfully so. A steady stream of statistics confirms the assessment that the European economy has entered into a long-term stagnation and very low inflation period without visible exit from it, […]

Europe is now practically divided as in the Cold War

Last week’s European Summit in an implicit way actually sealed the partitioning of Europe as in the Cold War. The European Sting has repeatedly reported and commented on this issue and analyzed the efforts, mainly by Germany, for this new division to be avoided. However, Berlin’s endeavors towards this direction were in vain. The European […]

Europe might not avoid new partitioning on Ukrainian crisis

It seems that a confrontational paranoia is engulfing our world. The British Prime minister is waging an aggressive campaign (which may end up being self-destructive) against the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker for the Presidency of the Commission. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is encountering this British challenge with an all-out offensive having organized a continental […]

Germany fears that Americans and Russians want to partition Europe again

The Western threat to punish Russia by blocking its associations with the European Union and the Atlantic economic volume over the Ukrainian crisis has a major drawback; the Russian supplies of natural gas which move Europe. Moscow says it will cut off its gas supplies to Ukraine if an agreement on pricing is not reached […]

Moscow’s Eurasian Union lost significance after the crisis in Ukraine

Last Thursday 29 May, the Presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the last and most important document, the founding Treaty for their Eurasian Union, to have effect as from 1st January 2015. Four more countries Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have also expressed strong interest to adhere to this new politico-economic entity. The EaU […]

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

Petro Poroshenko, the new Ukrainian President elect, is one of the wealthiest men of his country, but he is not an oligarch in the sense that he hasn’t made his fortune by getting government contracts and concessions. He actually is the only exception to the rule, that all business tycoons of this badly governed state, […]

Eurozone: The crisis hit countries are again subsidizing the German and French banks

The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the infamous ‘Troika’, officially declared that Portugal has successfully completed the assistance program and now as a financially self-sustainable country she can address herself to the markets, whatever this last term means. Towards the end of April, Portugal sold a €750 million bond […]

What the G7 wants to do in eastern Ukraine

  It took only hours for the West and Russia to discover, after their 17 April Geneva agreement, that the situation in Ukraine is much more complicated than they wanted to make the rest of the world and the public opinion in their home countries believe. The belief that a few men, representing the Organisation […]

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Say farewell to the European Parliament you knew and be prepared to work with the new legislature to be constituted after the elections of 22-25 May. This is what the Brussels’s bureaucracy must be thinking these days. The composition of the new Parliament remains a puzzler. If the tendencies the voters have shown in national […]

The EU invites the US and Russia to partition Ukraine

With an announcement of a few words, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton announced yesterday that Ukraine accepted to participate in a meeting planned to take place in Geneva together with representatives of Russia, the EU and the US. The international relations tradition and practice has it, that whenever a weak country, tormented by existential internal […]

The true EU unemployment rate may have soared to 21.9%

On top of the 26.2 million of the unemployed, averaging at 12% of EU’s working age population, there is another 10 million of underemployed par-timers who want to work more but they don’t find employment, plus 11.5 million more of working age persons who are available to work but not seeking (9.3 million) or seeking […]

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

Once more, the International Monetary Fund, with its latest issue of World Economic Outlook, comes back to criticizing Eurozone’s low inflation rate calling it, a ‘key downside risk’ to global growth. Last week IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde had also singled out Eurozone as the dark growth spot in the developed world threatened by super […]

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

The Eurozone unemployment rate in February remained stubbornly stuck at the high level of 11.9% since October 2013. According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical service, the EU28 unemployment rate was 10.6% in February 2014, one decimal point lower than the 10.7% of January this year. Let’s dig a bit into unemployment. On an absolute number […]

EU Commission: The banks are not obliged to finance the real economy

At a time when the Eurozone banks have received for free €4.5 trillion of taxpayers’ money and at least another €3 trillion from the ECB at close to zero interest rates, the Commission dares to ask the pension funds and the Internet to replace the banks in financing economic growth in the crisis stricken and […]

The EU Commission is lying to the “Right2Water” campaign

As expected, yesterday, the European Commission said ‘yes’ to the very first successful European Citizens’ Initiative, organized by the Right2Water campaigners. A ‘no’ reply was unthinkable, just sixty days ahead of the European election. On 1st April 2011, the EU Regulation No 211/2011, under the title of “European Citizens’ Initiative” (ECI), entered into force. According […]

Crimea: The last bloodless secession of a Ukraine region?

There is no doubt about the outcome of the referendum on Crimea’s future annexation to Russia. It’s not only that 68% of the Crimean population is of Russian origin and speak Russian. The omnipotent presence of the Russian armed forces in the peninsula, the transparent ballot boxes and the fact that there are no envelopes […]

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

The Council of the European Union responsible for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer affairs couldn’t avoid recognizing that the social scenery in the EU is deteriorating fast as 26.8 million jobseekers unable to find a job and 25% of the European population at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Mind you that more than […]

A week to decide if the EU is to have a Banking Union

This Monday and Tuesday, 10 and 11 March during the Eurogroup and the ECOFIN meetings respectively, the member states will show their willingness to compromise with the Parliament, in order to finalise the legal base of the European Banking Union. This would be the most important EU project after the common currency. The Banking Union […]

Eurozone stagnates after exporting its recession to trading partners

Today Eurostat, the EU statistical service, published its second and more accurate estimate for the euro area and the EU28 Gross National Product during the last quarter of 2013, and confirmed its flash estimate of 14 February when it had reported GDP increases of 0.3% and 0.4% respectively, in relation to the previous quarter. On […]