What the future holds for the EU – China relations?

EU and China relations are perfectly depicted in a passage from a European Union External Action service Press release issued recently. It says, “While acknowledging China’s advancement of the economic and social wellbeing of its people in the past 25 years, the EU also hopes to see greater space open up for discussion and debate […]

Will Europe be a different place this Monday?

According to the latest projections, the four traditional and clearly pro-EU parties or rather Parliamentary groupings, that is the center-right European Peoples Party (EEP), the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the centrist Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and the ecology group Greens-European Free Alliance (G/EFA) are expected to win a clear victory […]

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

Yesterday, in Geneva the representatives of the EU, the US and Russia did on Ukraine what the European Sting said they were about to do; partition the poor country. By the way, the Ukrainian ‘Foreign Minister’ Andriy Deshchytsia was around, while the three were negotiating about the future and the actual existence of his country, […]

Crisis hit countries cut down public spending on education

Despite an almost continuous but very moderate increase of government spending on education in absolute (euro) terms during the 2002-2012 decade the amount of public resources devoted to this end as a percentage of GPD either stagnated (2002-2007) or decreased (2009-2012), with the exception of a brief period between 2007-2009. During those three years educational […]

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

In a historic meeting, Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner, László Andor, and local and regional European leaders elaborated yesterday on the shortcomings of Europe’s growth strategy and agreed that a reform is needed on the principles of Eurozone’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). They also took stock of the poor performance of the Youth […]

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Two unrelated at first reading, but in reality very closely connected developments, materialised this week. On the one side it’s the new fall of industrial producer prices in February 2014 (deflation), while on the other, Germany surprised everybody by adopting, for the first time in its economic history, a compulsory minimum wage, expected to be […]

Easier Schengen Visas for non-EU holiday makers: A crucial issue for south Eurozone countries

With Brussels ‘digesting’ two historical developments, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the creation of the European Banking Union, this new week predictably could be rather quiet. There is a problem though the Commission will try to resolve during the next few days. It’s the EU Schengen visa applications by non EU citizens, who […]

EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

The European Parliament, in a strongly worded and overwhelmingly voted resolution, set a definite condition for the legislature’s approval of the currently under negotiation EU-US free trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP). The condition is that American NSA’s mass surveillance practices be completely stopped. The relevant Press release clearly states that “Parliament’s […]

EU Parliament: A catastrophic crisis management by European leaders

The European Parliament once more confirmed its reputation as the authentic channel transiting the social and the economic realities the European people have to endure to decision makers. Yesterday, the MEPs disagreed with the Commission President Manuel Barroso and Dimitrios Kourkoulas, the Greek deputy Foreign Minister speaking for the Council Presidency, that economic recovery was […]

The EU to bear the cost of eventual sanctions against Russia

It’s easy for Washington and London to threaten Russia with far reaching economic sanctions, but very many countries and businesses in continental Europe don’t see it that way. The US and Britain after having actively supported the ‘Kiev revolution’ which ousted Victor Yanukovych from the Presidency, now insist that the West imposes tough economic measures […]

High unemployment to continue haunting the EU

Eurostat, the EU statistical service, revealed yesterday that the “euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12% in January 2014, unchanged since October 2013”. The number of people without a job though increased in January 2014 to 19,175 from 19,158 thousand in December 2013. The rate of unemployment remains obstinately stuck to those very high […]

The new Kiev rulers ask $35 billion from the West

The new rulers of Kiev now demand from the West 35 billion in an aid package, without making it clear if this is in dollars or euros. As they say ‘after the meal comes the bill’ and the West has to come up with a convincing support scheme, because Ukraine can turn around and change […]

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

As if history wanted to remind everybody what will be the outcome of direct foreign intervention in a region or country divided by internal differences, the Bosnians took it to the street to end a fallacy of governance at a time when Ukraine is about to follow suit in this direction. Kiev’s political elite, the […]

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

Predictably, the Right2Water campaigners while presenting yesterday in the European Parliament their ‘citizens’ initiative’, met opposition from some MEPs only when they crossed the line of the usual pompous but vacuous words about ‘universal rights’ and laid down their meaningful demand to ban privatization of water supply. It turned out that the organisers of the […]

The EU Parliament backs the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through

This afternoon the European Parliament is to hold a public hearing on the universal right to clean water, the first such hearing under the European Citizens’ Initiative, which enables the public to ask the EU authorities to table new legislation, provided the initiative is backed by one million people across seven member states. The ‘right2Water’ […]

Industrial producer prices on free fall and stagnant output

  During the last few days, Eurostat, the EU statistical service, has produced disappointing data on the Eurozone economy. Last week it was a fall of the volume of retail sales in December by 1.6%, compared to November. Also in December last year compared with December 2012 the retail sales index decreased by 1% in […]

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

This morning the European Union clearly showed its complete disappointment, with last Sunday’s result of a referendum held in Switzerland, where with a narrow majority of 50.3%, the people of this country approved a “mass immigration” initiative, imposing quotas on European Union citizens entering the Alpine Confederation. The narrow approval of this new law is […]

Sochi not far away from Ukraine

On the day the Russian organizers of the $51 billion Winter Olympic Games staged the opening ceremony in Sochi, the European Union found the opportunity to talk to Moscow about pigs, European pigs. Yesterday, Friday 7 February, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg called once more on the Russian Federation to “engage in constructive talks on the […]

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Yesterday, Eurostat, the EU statistical service, published an update of unemployment statistics for the European Union covering the period up to December 2013. In that month 26.200 million men and women in the EU-28, of whom 19.010 million were in the euro area (EA-17), were unemployed. Eurostat estimates that “Compared with November 2013, the number […]

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

Eurostat, the EU statistical service, announced late yesterday evening that in December unemployment remained at the persistently high level of 12% since October, while inflation took a new downwards turn to 0.7% in January, from 0.8% in December. It’s difficult to say which one of the two developments is more alarming. On both accounts Eurozone […]

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

Although the “Structural reform of the EU banking sector”, as proposed yesterday by European Commission member Michel Barnier, undoubtedly goes halfway to fulfilling the suggestions of the Erkki Liikanen High Level Group Report, it agitated people on both sides of the spectrum. Those who protect the banks by profession said it is ‘irresponsible’, and those […]

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

Yesterday, Karel De Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner delivered a speech in Düsseldorf, to reassure his German audience that the EU-US negotiations to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (Free Trade Agreement), will not lead to abandonment of EU health rules that ban genetically modified food and beef with hormones nor will it give […]

IMF launches a new offensive against Germany

In the latest issue of its World Economic Outlook (WEO), which was published yesterday, the IMF raises the tone of criticism against Europe. It’s again the risk of deflation and the projection that “economic slack will remain high”, the two axes which constitute the cutting edge of criticism of North America against Eurozone. The latest […]

Rising political extremism in Europe escapes control

Everybody knew it but ‘The Independent on Sunday’ said it this weekend; Nigel Farage’s UKIP political formation is the first choice of the Brits. The newspaper published a poll giving 27% to UKIP, 26% to Labour and 25% to Conservatives. Not to forget that last year this party got almost one-quarter of the English vote […]

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Weak growth is threatened by deflation in the developed world, while emerging markets have to overcome the financial turbulences that lie ahead, due to forthcoming restrictive monetary policy by the US central bank, the Fed. This is what IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday, speaking at the National Press Club in the U.S. capital. […]

Europe bewildered by radicalisation and terrorism

Today the Commission will present a Communication entitled “Strengthening the EU’s response to radicalisation and violent extremism”. Despite the fact that the relevant Press release announcing the news stresses that “Traditional law enforcement techniques are insufficient to deal with the evolving trends in radicalisation”, the whole affair is dealt with rather as a police and […]

Eurozone has practically entered a deflation trap

With consumer price developments in Eurozone remaining below the one percentage unit for many months now, disinflation (falling inflation) is just some decimal points away from deflation (negative inflation). Yesterday, Eurostat, the EU statistical service, released its estimate for the December headline inflation at 0.8% , down one decimal point from 0.9% in November. This […]

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

During 2014 Europeans will be confronted with at least two major developments. Firstly, the completion of the political control of the EU financial market will materialize during the next year, after the adoption, before March 2014, of the Resolution Board a body like the EU council, which will decide which banks will fail. A second […]

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

Rules for state aid covering research, development and innovation investments (R&D&I) are already relaxed in the European Union, in order to facilitate growth and job creation. Mind you that in this case the bending of competition rules is not confined to very small businesses, the SMEs and mid cups, but covers the entire constellation of […]

Berlin ‘orders’ the EU Parliament to compromise

As expected the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz  strongly criticised  the agreement reached in the European Council by the 28 EU leaders, on the plan for the enactment of the Banking Union. He said, “The slower and inefficient a system is, the more expensive it will be”. However the Federal Minister for Finance […]