This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.Here is the unofficial problem bank list for March 2016. Changes and comments from surferdude808: Update on the Unofficial Problem Bank List for March 2016. During the month, the list fell from 228 institutions to 222 after eight removals and two additions. Assets dropped by $1.4 billion to an aggregate $64.6 billion. A year ago, the list held 349 institutions with assets of $106.2 billion.This month, actions have been terminated against Bank of Washington, Washington, MO ($599 million); Community First Bank, Inc., Walhalla, SC ($355 million); Union National Bank and Trust Company of Elgin, Elgin, IL ($311 million); First State Bank, Mesquite, TX ($172 million Ticker: CFOK); American Bank of Baxter Springs, Baxter Springs, KS ($91 million); Freedom Bank, Columbia Falls, MT ($58 million); and Pacific West Bank, West Linn, OR ($54 million Ticker: PWBO).North Milwaukee State Bank, Milwaukee, WI ($67 million) exited the list through failure on March 11, 2016. This is first failed bank since October 2, 2015.The additions this month were both from Kentucky -- Peoples Bank & Trust Company of Hazard, Hazard, KY ($278 million) and Blue Grass Federal Savings and Loan Association, Paris, KY ($38 million). Perhaps in a few months, the list will begin to see new additions from banks operated in local economies where the oil & gas industry is a large driver.With it being the end of the first quarter, we bring an updated transition matrix to detail how banks are moving off the Unofficial Problem Bank List. Since the Unofficial Problem Bank List was first published on August 7, 2009 with 389 institutions, a total of 1,705 institutions have appeared on a weekly or monthly list at some point. There have been 1,483 institutions that have transitioned through the list. Departure methods include 837 action terminations, 396 failures, 236 mergers, and 14 voluntary liquidations. The first quarter of 2015 started with 250 institutions on the list, so the 28 action terminations during the quarter reduced the list by 11.2 percent. Of the 389 institutions on the first published list, 26 or 6.7 percent still remain more than six years later. The 396 failures represent 23.2 percent of the 1,705 institutions that have made an appearance on the list. This failure rate is well above the 10-12 percent rate frequently cited in media reports on the failure rate of banks on the FDIC's official list.Unofficial Problem Bank ListChange Summary Number of InstitutionsAssets ($Thousands)Start (8/7/2009) 389276,313,429 Subtractions Action Terminated162(61,658,424) Unassisted Merger40(10,183,639) Voluntary Liquidation4(10,584,114) Failures157(184,803,449) Asset Change(2,514,219) Still on List at 3/31/2016 266,569,584 Additions after8/7/2009 19658,049,809 End (3/31//2016) 22264,619,393 Intraperiod Deletions1 Action Terminated675276,185,701 Unassisted Merger19678,425,969 Voluntary Liquidation102,324,142 Failures239119,641,968 Total1,120476,577,7801Institution not on 8/7/2009 or 3/31/2016 list but appeared on a weekly list.
Думаете ли вы о смене банка? Вы не один. Согласно данным J.D. Power & Associates в течение последних 12 месяцев 9,6% банковских клиентов в США поменяли финансовую организацию. Более того, эта тенденция с каждым годом только усиливается: в 2011 г. недовольных клиентов было 8,7%, в 2010 г. - 7,7%. И хотя имеется множество причин для смены банка, эксперты называют 5 основных условий, когда следует расстаться с вашей нынешней финансовой организацией, пишет Business Insider. №1. Вклады в банк не застрахованы Надежный банк в России должен быть участником системы страхования вкладов. Об этом можно узнать как на сайте самого банка, так и на сайте Агентства по страхованию вкладов. Благодаря этой системе вы получите свой вклад обратно даже в том случае, если банк обанкротится, но это распространяется на вклады, размер которых менее 700 тыс. руб. В США о финансовом состоянии вашего банка можно быстро узнать на сайте Федеральной корпорации страхования депозитов (FDIC), говорит президент AEGIS FinServ Corp. Джим Англетон. По его словам, следует убедиться, что ваш банк имеет страховку FDIC, которая гарантирует каждому вкладчику обанкротившейся или закрытой регулятором финансовой организации возвращение вклада на сумму до $250 тыс. Если банк не является участником подобной системы, то это говорит о его ненадежности и вы рискуете потерять деньги. №2. Плата за услуги В настоящее время крупные банки увеличивают размер комиссионных сборов, чтобы компенсировать потери в связи с необходимостью снижать ставки по кредитам, говорит президент Union National Bank Рэнди Джарвис. Это значит, что вы можете заметить появление или увеличение комиссии за годовое обслуживание вашей дебетовой карточки, за снятие наличных денег в банкомате или за доступ к интернет-банкингу. Как правило, небольшие региональные банки берут более низкую плату за свои услуги, что, по мнению Джарвиса, делают их более привлекательными для клиентов. №3. Вы поменялись Возможно, в прошлом ваш банк идеально подходил вам и вашему образу жизни. Но времена меняются: вы получили новую работу, переехали в другой город или просто поженились, а это значит, что у вас появились новые требования к финансовой организации. Так, например, теперь вам необходим банк с широкой сетью банкоматов и офисов, с более подходящим графиком работы или со специальными видами вклада. № 4. Обслуживание клиента Заметили вы, что каждый раз, когда вы входите в банк, вас приветствуют или игнорируют его сотрудники? Приходится ли вам стоять долго в очереди? Хотят ли банковские сотрудники помочь вам? “Отношения с банком - то же самое, что и любые другие человеческие отношения. Если вы недовольны тем, как к вам относятся, то с этим необходимо что-то делать”, - считает вице-президент TD Bank Джон Розенфелд. По его словам, следует искать банк, который предлагает клиенту намного больше, чем простые услуги кассира. Современная финансовая организация должна иметь круглосуточный телефонный сервис, а на сайте банка программу, с помощью которой можно связаться с “живым” представителем организации. №5. Ограниченные возможности интернет-банкинга Если ваш банк предлагает минимальное количество услуг в интернет-банкинге, то пришло время искать другую финансовую организацию для ваших денег. “Доступность в реальном времени ко всем своим счетам - обязательное условие правильного финансового решения”, - уверен Розенфелд. Некоторые банки предлагают установить услугу предупреждения, если баланс на счете достигнет определенного уровня, возможность автоматической уплаты счетов, перевода денег между счетами, а также доступ к сберегательному счету.
Michael Moore says Britain is more successful united in Lib Dem conference speech marking one year until referendumMichael Moore, the Scottish secretary, has raised the spectre of an uncomfortable, unjustified divorce between Scotland and the rest of the UK as campaigners mark a year to the independence referendum. In a speech to the Liberal Democrat annual conference in Glasgow, Moore said he wanted to champion a positive case for "keeping the family together" in next September's vote, insisting that the UK was a highly successful and dynamic "family of nations". Moore peppered his speech with references to the UK's collective achievements, including the NHS, pioneering state pensions, defeating fascism in the second world war, and the UK's influential role on the world stage. "These are good things, great things, in which men and women from across our family of nations have worked together and scaled the highest heights," he said. "In this history and these achievements our United Kingdom has been forged. We are Scottish and English, Welsh and Northern Irish. We are proud, we are diverse, but we are British – and we are sticking together." His speech came as Alex Salmond, the first minister and Scottish National party leader, prepared to lead a major debate on the referendum at Scotland's devolved parliament (now controlled by the majority SNP) on Wednesday afternoon, marking that "year to go". A series of opinion polls released on Wednesday morning have made sobering reading for the first minister and the independence campaign, Yes Scotland. A Progressive Scottish Opinion survey for the Daily Mail found support for independence down to 27%, with support for the UK at 59%. A YouGov poll in the Times reported a slightly narrower gap, with a no vote at 52% and yes support at 32%. A poll for the Herald by TNS BMRB found that 45% of voters in Scotland believe the Scottish economy would do worse after independence, with 23% believing it would improve. Alistair Darling, the Labour former chancellor and chairman of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, said these polls showed the independence case was floundering. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Darling said: "When you get borders, you get barriers to trade. Scottish businesses and jobs would suffer if we put a barrier between ourselves and what the rest of our market is." Salmond argues that independence is the natural, bold choice for Scotland, allowing Holyrood to grow from a devolved assembly into a fully fledged state parliament, one that reflects the country's more socially liberal views than those of the rest of the UK. "Today marks one year to the biggest opportunity Scotland has ever had. Referendums like this are a once-in-a-generation event, which means the vote on 18 September next year will be the opportunity of a lifetime for many people in Scotland, as we get the chance to choose our country's future," Salmond said before the debate. The first minister sought to counter the widespread view that independence was his project, with the SNP's success heavily reliant on his leadership. "This referendum is not about any one politician or party – it is about completing Scotland's home rule journey, which has been under way for more than a century," Salmond said. Moore dismissed the attempt to claim a direct link between independence and home rule, a version of devolution. The Scottish secretary insisted that home rule had been a Liberal party policy for decades, referring obliquely to its introduction under Gladstone in the late 19th century, and said it was a concept based on Scotland remaining in the UK. He said the SNP had refused to get involved in any of the political processes which led to devolution, or which enhanced Holyrood's powers, including the constitutional convention of the 1990s with Labour, the trade unions and civic society, or the Calman commission, which led to Scotland winning control over income tax from 2016. "So when they seek to spread doubt that more powers will come, the irony is this: Scotland's journey towards home rule has not happened because of the SNP. It has happened despite the SNP," he said. The Scottish secretary, the MP for the Borders constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, opened his speech with a reference to the battle of Flodden in 1513, the largest battle between Scottish and English forces, which ended in defeat and death for the Scottish king James IV. Moore insisted he regarded himself as a proud Borderer, a Scot, but someone who is equally British. He alleged that the Scottish National party and other nationalists wanted to split those interlinking, shared identities in two by forcing Scotland's voters to choose between being Scottish and British. "Should we stay with this UK family of nations? A family in which we have grown together and achieved so much. Or should we take the irreversible step of leaving that family and going it alone? Should we go forward together or divert into the unknown? It's a clear choice," he said. "Nationalists will argue that only by being an independent state can we achieve our potential as a nation; that a truly Scottish future cannot be a British one. But that is just not true. People living here in Scotland are wholly comfortable being both Scottish and British [and] proud to live in and to contribute to the wellbeing of the family of nations that is the United Kingdom. "As liberals and democrats, this is common sense. So let's be clear. Our choice next year is not the false choice of picking an identity." Remaining in the UK was "a positive outlook – this instinct to expand our identity, take down barriers and build on our success is entirely at odds with the idea of breaking up Britain", he said. "Over three centuries of partnership together we have achieved so much. Our economy is the sixth largest in the world. Providing opportunity to generations of children and the resilience to withstand a financial crisis where the banks went bust."Scottish independenceScottish politicsScotlandLiberal DemocratsLiberal Democrat conference 2013Liberal Democrat conferenceSeverin Carrell theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Hospitals report 10% reduction in births in past four years as ministers say families cannot afford to have childrenGreece has suffered a huge drop in its number of live births because of austerity and unemployment, according to a senior government official.The decline of almost 15% in the past four years is unparalleled in Europe and highlights the savage impact costcutting measures are having on the nation at the heart of the eurozone's financial woes."The falling fertility rate is a natural consequence of harsh austerity and record levels of unemployment, especially among the young," said Christina Papanikolaou, general secretary at the health ministry. "It is the mirror image of the 25% drop in our GDP since the start of the crisis," she said.If further evidence was ever needed of the human cost of austerity, it is the effect budget-reducing policies are clearly having on childbirth in Greece. Figures released by the state-run Institute of Child Health show that the number of births dropped from 118,302 in 2008 to 100,980 in 2012.The health minister, Adonis Georgiadis, has attributed the decline squarely to the effect of the economic crisis on Greeks. "The problem of low fertility among the Greek population has grown continuously over the past two decades and worsened significantly, recently, as a result of the profound economic crisis the country is facing," he said, acknowledging that the number of stillbirths had also risen.Mired in its sixth straight year of recession – the longest on record for an advanced western economy – Greece is in the midst of a public health disaster that according to doctors is worsening by the day.Stringent cuts imposed on Athens in return for €240bn (£201bn) in rescue funds from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, have resulted in the country's health budget being slashed by close to 40%. State funds for medication have been axed by almost half, from €5bn euro to just over €2bn, since the turmoil began.Soaring joblessness – at nearly 28%, Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone – has also meant that growing numbers are no longer covered by free healthcare. The migration of thousands of private insurance holders to state-sponsored schemes has added to the strain."This is by far our biggest problem, the long-term unemployed no longer having access to health services because they are uninsured," said Papanikolaou, a physician herself. "We have had to make cuts in a very short period of time and some have been unfair. Pregnant women, for instance, no longer receive any kind of help or benefits."With more than a fifth of the country's 11.4 million-strong population living under the poverty line, prenatal screening and other tests have been abandoned by prospective mothers who can no longer afford them. The decline in crucial medical examinations has fuelled fears that unemployed mothers are increasingly at risk of losing babies.Earlier this year, the National School of Public Health said stillbirths had increased 21.5% from 3.31 per 1,000 in 2008 to 4.01 per 1,000 in 2011, attributing the rise to the growing rate of unemployment among women and the inability to access healthcare.In a four-page analysis submitted to parliament, Adonis Georgiadis, the health minister, conceded that steps needed to be taken to ensure that the uninsured and financially vulnerable could be covered by insurance funds in prenatal screening.The collapse of medical services has also affected Greece's large migrant community. At hospitals in Athens, which have been worst hit by the crisis, social workers say growing numbers of uninsured migrant mothers are failing to register children at birth for fear of being forced to pay delivery rates that at €600 (€1,200 for caesarians) few can afford."There is a growing population of undeclared children in Greece," said one social worker, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. "We have had cases of mothers fleeing hospitals with babes in arms in the middle of the night."GreeceEuropeEurozone crisisEuropean UnionHelena Smith theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
With a year to go before the referendum, Yes Scotland and Alex Salmond's SNP are confident of winning over sceptical ScotsThis Saturday, campaigners for Scotland's independence will be on the march. Central Edinburgh will be awash with the blue and white St Andrew's cross, the dramatic yellow and red of the erect lion rampant and Yes Scotland placards from the Highlands, urban Glasgow and the prosperous farmlands of Moray and Aberdeenshire.The organisers of the event, which closes with a rally on the crest of Calton Hill with its panoramas of the Scottish capital, are being coy about the numbers they expect. But many thousands are due, dwarfing last year's inaugural independence march of perhaps 10,000 activists that passed through the city centre.The march will mark "a year to go" – the 12 months of increasingly frenetic and intense campaigning until Scotland holds its first and perhaps only referendum on independence on 18 September 2014.Its keynote speaker will be Alex Salmond, the first minister and Scottish National party leader whose landslide victory two years ago in the Scottish parliament elections delivered the referendum that had been, until now, an 80-year-old dream for his party.Key to that result is a far more significant event in the nationalist calendar. In November, perhaps close to St Andrew's day at the month's endSalmond will publish his government's white paper on independence.That thick document, perhaps 500 pages long, will be his prospectus for independence, his campaigner's bible, covering an independent Scotland's options on its currency and taxation, welfare and pensions, the role of North Sea oil, defence and the EU, and its economic and social choices.Salmond has spoken of wanting a great Scottish literary figure to write for it, to sketch out a vision of his newly revitalised nation. But critical to next September's result is the document's credibility and honesty on factual detail, particularly on the economy.Over the past seven months, his government has faced a series of detailed questions on currency, welfare, oil and pensions from Westminster's Scotland Analysis project, led by the Treasury. Whitehall officials say the SNP white paper willface forensic scrutiny.They assert that Salmond's model of independence – an "indy lite" brew where Scotland would have a currency union with the UK, use the Bank of England in London, share welfare services and need hefty UK subsidies to help his renewable energy revolution, would leave Scotland highly dependent on goodwill and collaboration with the rest of the UK and mean painfully strict controls over its public finances.And despite the 80-year quest by the SNP to convince them, opinion polls suggest Scotland's 4 million voters remain as sceptical or as opposed as ever. A series of recent surveys suggest as many as 65% of voters would say no next September, with a gap of around 20-30% between no and yes.Yet behind those headline figures are more subtle trends that are emboldening the pro-independence campaigners of Yes Scotland and the SNP. They show that perhaps 40-50% of voters are genuinely undecided, floating or willing to switch sides.Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, believes this shows his side are within reach of a win. Voters are being won over by the prospects of change. "We're very confident that the race is very close now and such movement is towards yes and at some point, the polls will catch up with yes," he said.Here the SNP and Yes Scotland are happily exploiting public discontent with the Tory-led government in London, particularly over welfare cuts such as the bedroom tax, and are building up support amongst leftwing, working-class voters and political activists.Equally, Salmond's government has produced convincing evidence that Scotland's economy is as healthy as the UK's, and quite capable of prospering independently – if the challenging questions about taxation and spending are answered.It is here where Salmond and Yes Scotland are able to find leverage, suggesting that the Tories' "austerity fetish" and spending cuts are alien to Scotland's more inclusive, socially liberal values. So the potential for another Tory victory at the 2015 general election will be an influential factor in next September's vote.That adds to the pressure on Ed Miliband and the Scottish Labour party – which despite Salmond's successes at Holyrood still commands a million votes in UK elections, the most of any party – to counter Salmond's proposals and offer Scotland a convincing alternative vision.Repeated opinion polls show Scottish voters want the Holyrood parliament to have more powers but Labour's moves to answer those demands are halting and undermined by internal political disputes. Its launch of an early draft of that alternative plan was badly bungled.It too needs a convincing alternative, and likely one agreed in advance of the referendum with the Tories and Liberal Democrats. Labour seems more intent on attacking Salmond on domestic Scottish issues, not on the far greater challenge of independence.That is in large part why Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor and chairman of the cross-party pro-UK campaign Better Together, warned in a Guardian interview last week that complacency was his campaign's greatest enemy. The anti-independence movement, he said, "has a fight on its hands".Scottish independenceScotlandAlex SalmondScottish politicsSeverin Carrell theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Alice Walton is fretting about cheap flights. Not for herself, of course; the Walmart heiress takes a Gulfstream jet to meetings. Her concerns are purely professional.
Спайдер остается без изменений перед открытием торгов на NYSE. Европейские индексы на отрицательной территории. SPY (внутридневной график) боковое движение на премаркете. Сопротивление: 169.75 Поддержка: 168.75 Премаркет NYSE/NASDAQ: Gapping up: In reaction to strong earnings/guidance: ULTA +14.3%, LFVN +5.9%, UNFI +4.2%, ALOG +3.2%, MBII +1.8%. Other news: SGMO +4.6% (announced presentation of clinical data demonstrating functional control of viremia in HIV-infected subjects treated SB-728-T), SFNC +2.9% (to acquire Metropolitan National Bank), CTIC +2.8% (announces sales of Conv Pref Stock), LDK +2.6% (engages financial advisor for offshore debt obligations), SUNE +1.1% (public offering of 30 mln shares of common stock at a price of $7.25/share), EVTC +0.7% (prices 20 mln shares of common stock by affiliate of Apollo Global Mgmt and other selling shareholders at $22.50 per share ). Analyst comments: OCLR +6.2% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley & Co), SWY +3.2% (upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse), SFNC +2.9% (pgraded to Outperform from Mkt Perform at Raymond James, upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at a boutique firm), WFT +2% (upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse), INTC +1.9% (upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies), LULU +1.4% (upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse), AET +1.2% (pgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill), CMC +1.1% (upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill) Gapping down: • In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance: COV -2.3%. • Select metals/mining stocks trading lower: MT -1.6%, RIO -1.5%, AU -1.5%. • Select names showing early weakness following public offerings: GALE -10.1% (announced proposed public offering of common stock and warrants, size not disclosed), ARTX -8.3% (announces proposed public offering of common stock- size not disclosed), ARTX -8.3% (offering of ~3.43 mln shares of its common stock at a purchase price of $1.75/share), NSPH -5.5% (announced commencement of public offering of common stock, size not disclosed), PVR -4% (announces public offering of 5.5 mln common units), SSYS -3.7% (prices 4.5 mln shares of ordinary shares at $93.00 per share), MKTO -2.3% (prices 6 mln share of common stock follow-on offering at $35.50 per share), DRWI -2.2% (announces proposed public offering of common units), EMKR -1.9% (intends to offer 2.5 mln shares of common stock in public offering ), NXPI -1.6% (selling shareholders commence secondary offering of 25 mln shares of common stock), HAIN -1.4% (announced sale of 3,589,963 shares of common stock by selling stockholders), SN -1.4% prices 9.6 mln shares of the Company's common stock at a price of $23.00/share). • Other news: DCTH -5.4% (receives complete response letter from fda for Melbleztm kit new drug application), GFI -1.7% (S African miner unions have ended strike and have agreed to 12% pay hike, according to reports ), YHOO -1.1% (Alibaba.com IPO may delayed due to terms of Yahoo (YHOO) stake deal, according to reports), TSLA -0.9% (Elon Musk says it is 'not as crazy' in reference to shorting the stock at these levels in FBN interview; recall he made a similar statement about the co's stock valuation a few weeks ago). • Analyst comments: MPWR -2.9% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham), UA -1.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse ), AXLL -1.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill), HMY -1.4% (downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman), RIG -0.9% (downgraded to Mkt Perform from Outperform at Bernstein). Интересные новостные акции NYSE и NASDAQ: • COV – шорт ниже 60.00, при закреплении выше – лонг. • ULTA – шорт ниже 112.00 • LULU – шорт ниже 65.30, лонг при закреплении выше 60.00 Оригинал статьи: shark-traders.com/blog/analitika-nyse-na-13-sentyabrya/
Follow ZeroHedge in Real-Time on FinancialJuice Everything flows, it all evolves and nothing remains static. The Lavoisier Universal Law whereby nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed. That’s exactly what is happening to British society right now and probably to a good many of the societies around the world in the countries in which we live. Britain has transformed itself into a society of people that have become individualistic, that are centered on themselves. That means that everyone can do more or less what they want in a world of live and let live; but there are some that the British would like to see live and let die and that’s the banks and the European Union. For the British the banks and the EU have been created, have been told to get lost but won’t go away and need transforming now. Unemployment According to research that has been carried out by NatCen Social Research in the UK (which carries out research yearly on UK citizens to determine just how much UK society evolves on certain key issues) has shown that the British have changed in the last 3 decades with regard to gender, sexuality and class perceptions. They have also changed their opinion on the state welfare system and believed in two years ago that people were unemployed and who were living off state benefits were in fact, just scroungers that didn’t want to work. 62% of the population believed this. However, that number has fallen to just 51% today and perhaps the economic climate. With the financial crisis and the unemployment at an official figure of 7.8% (2.51 million people, but with only 1.4 million people who have the right to claim the British benefit system, the Jobseeker’s Allowance) this is hardly a surprise. But, no government should be truly trusted as to the figures it releases to us and we can’t just arbitrarily take it as read; especially where economic data is concerned. Just as in the USA (where the U-3 jobless rate is 7.3% for August 2013, but the U6 unemployment is double that standing at over 14% today) there is growing concern that the figures are not quite true. The U6 unemployment rate includes all people that have been discouraged from looking for work in the past four weeks or people that work just a few hours per week sometimes and who are considered employed (despite the fact that they would not be able to live on the salary that they earn and that they areunderemployed in their present job). The UK is exactly the same in the doctoring of the figures and real unemployment has been suggested to be as high as 6 million people in the country today. A temporary job or a job in which you are underemployed may be better than living off state benefits alone, but it is far from adequate enough to be taken out of the official figures. Perhaps that means that the British have indeed modified their perception of people who are unemployed today in the country. This is even truer since in recent months the British coalition government of David Cameron has reduced Child Benefit or has withdrawn it entirely from higher-income groups and has also decided to cap the legal limit of state benefits claimants are allowed to receive (£26, 000 per year). But, at the same time the British also believe that spending on social welfare and the National Health system must not be increased. Government But, it is also not the role of the government to provide a decent standard of living. The British used to believe in 1985(81%) that that was the role of the government in society. They had to be aided and abetted in the daily lives that they ran. But today that figure has dropped to just 59% of the UK population. Self-reliance and meritocracy have become the order of the day. So, while the British believe that people are unemployed are not state-spongers they also believe that they have to fend for them to get what they want. Have the British come to realize that they are disillusioned with the promises and pledges of the politicians and they won’t get anything handed to them on a plate? The fact that only 20% of the country actually believes that the government will put the people before their own personal gain or the advantage of the political party is telling in itself. Do politicians, avid fans of pollsters and surveying questionnaires, actually know that? It was double that figure towards the end of the 1980s, which is not high either, but a whole lot better than today. But, the economic times and the access to information were entirely different then. Banks The British are not completely in the fairytale land of Alice, but they would certainly like to send some crashing through that mirror onto the other side of nowhere. Their hostility towards banks has increased and that is not just true of the UK. Today only 21% of the British trust that their banks will put them first over the financial profit to be made or that they will have ethical practices in business. However, it is on those two points plus ‘listening to customer needs’ that the public in the UK would like to see banks improve in order to regain trust. The day that the banksters and the financial institutions decide to put profit in the back office rather than in the shop window will be far off in the future. The British disillusionment will simply have to continue. In the USA, trust in the banking system is marginally higher and stands at 35%. But, only 25% of the British believe that the government should intervene in order to monitor the practices of banks. That’s hardly surprising given the 20%-figure for the number of people that believe government puts people first. It’d be like letting the fox loose in the chicken coup, wouldn’t it? The eggs would just get taken. 72% of the Chinese believe that they can trust in their banks by comparison. It is hardly surprising that the issue of moral bankruptcy in the financial sector and the sovereign debt crisis around the EU and elsewhere in the world have been issues that have changed the shape of the way people think in society. Today 67% of the British either want the UK to leave the European Union or for the powers of the latter to be reduced. That skepticism has never been as high as at the present time. The banks and the EU have become the bugbears of the British people and they distrust their government more and more. But, they believe that their fellow citizens are in need of financial aid to live. However, self-reliance and independence from the government is the best way to get there. There is a seismic divide that has split the government from the people and has distanced the British from the banks and the EU. can happen now? Can it get any worse? Septaper Will Open Floodgates | How Sinister is the State? | Food: Walking the Breadline | Obama NOT Worst President in reply to Obama: Worst President in US History? Obama's Corporate Grand Bargain Death of the Dollar | Joseph Stiglitz was Right: Suicide | China Injects Cash in Bid to Improve Liquidity Technical Analysis: Bear Expanding Triangle | Bull Expanding Triangle | Bull Falling Wedge | Bear Rising Wedge | High & Tight Flag
Following Barroso's State of the EU speech, we thought it useful to reflect on the true state of the EU. Nigel Farage's recent tirade slamming "Communist" Barroso's pro-bureaucrat policies are poignant as he exclaims the "disaster" that the EU has become for the poor and unemployed. To further color this rant we note Charles Gavekal's recent note on why Europe's still broken as worthless IOUs are 'transferred' around the union and "no one really knows who is going to take the final loss." Perhaps it is The Hamiltonian's summary of the structural problem (an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites) and the sad fact that history suggests a crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. The first few minutes of Farage's speech focus on the real-world problems that his peers "are in denial" over... (the rest is global warming related) But to provide more specific reasons for why Europe's still broken, here is Charles Gave (of Gavekal Research), ... The interesting thing is that the median cost of capital across the eurozone has not changed significantly during the crisis period; what has shifted is the dispersion around that median. And the countries which are on the wrong side of the spread have seen interest rates remain above their economies’ structural growth rates. The result is a massive deleveraging of the private sector, offset by a huge increase in state spending in the likes of France, Italy, and Spain, etc. The logic of the system is inherently at odds with the budgetary stipulations set within the Maastricht criteria. Hence, so long as interest rates are set way above the growth rate, “austerity” must fail miserably. This system is inexorably causing the destruction of the industrial bases in Italy, France, Spain and the others. The lost revenues from productive activity is for the moment offset by Germany (together with the likes of Japan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) accumulating financial assets issued by the governments of those nations that face slow strangulation. It can’t last. A while ago, I argued that Germans might as well load much of their auto exports headed to eurozone countries on to a boat and sink it outside of Hamburg. It would do as much good as selling Audis in exchange for IOUs issued by bankrupt countries. But no problem—now those IOUs are held by the European Central Bank as shown by the still high Target 2 balances. Of course, what this really means is that no one really knows who is going to take the final loss and so the game continues (and this is the difference with a gold standard where cycles end with a simple depletion of the gold inventory). The end game will come when sovereign nations inside and outside Europe stop accepting this rotten paper. This denouement will ultimately be a political decision which is hardly my area of confidence. What I would say to those tempted by Europe’s “attractively valued” markets, is look elsewhere... and From The Hamiltonian, Europe - Crisis Deferred Is Crisis Magnified, In the current period of surface calm in [Europe] it is more necessary than ever to point out the structural phenomena which mean that a crisis is bound to re-emerge. ... The structural problem... is an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites. King said there are four possible resolutions to the crisis. One is continued mass unemployment in the cads in order to produce deflation; the second is inflation in Germany; the third is giving up on adjustment and instituting a perpetual transfer union (and, implicitly, German rule); the fourth is a change in euro area membership. King, although he was not explicit, seemed to have grave doubts about the feasibility of the first three possible solutions (he would no doubt also rightly have major worries about the possible financial implications of the fourth possibility; but if nothing else is feasible, the authorities should be planning to mitigate the financial consequences of that possibility – but that would mean admitting that entering into monetary union pre-programmed some sort of financial crisis, something the progenitors of monetary union, and even some of their successors, will never admit). ... Ponzi games are sometimes excused, or even lauded, on the grounds that a crisis deferred is a crisis resolved. Sadly, history suggests that crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. Can one justify the creditstimulation ambition on the slightly more respectable argue that time is being bought? Well, one might – if it were clear what exactly the time being bought was expected to produce and if the price at which time is bought were specified. The second condition has never as far as we are, been fulfilled. What about the first condition? Two main possibilities are mooted by the proponents of buying time. One is that underlying structural improvement in the cads will allow structural adjustment without a need for deflation. The second is that the passage of time will allow the third of the possible resolutions outlined by King – a perpetual transfer union – to become more feasible politically. And of course the two arguments are linked: the greater an improvement in the structural performance of the cads, it is claimed (though often sotto voce), the more likely it will be that Germany will accept a transfer union and the more likely it is that cad societies, having already by hypothesis become more “Germanic”, will be able to accept the imposition of German rules (and, in effect, German rule) in return. ... Barroso’s comments last night, in which he claimed that any “rowing back” from “Europe” would re-create conditions like those which led to the First World War, are not just ludicrously wrong – wrong by 180 degrees – but frankly obscene. But apart from that, PMIs tell us all is well, right? (well, no!)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: Beth F. Cobert– Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget Sloan D. Gibson– Deputy Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs Heather Anne Higginbottom– Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, Department of State Jim Shelton– Deputy Secretary, Department of Education Jo Ann Rooney– Under Secretary of the Navy, Department of Defense Captain Paul Nathan Jaenichen, Sr., USN (Ret)– Administrator of the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation David Weil– Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor John P. Carlin– Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice Bradley Crowell– Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy Richard G. Frank– Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services Esther Kia’aina– Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Department of the Interior Michael D. Lumpkin– Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Department of Defense Christopher Smith– Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Department of Energy Puneet Talwar–Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Department of State Jay Williams– Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Department of Commerce Jamie Morin– Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Department of Defense Victoria Wassmer– Chief Financial Officer, Environmental Protection Agency Larry Edward André, Jr.– Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Department of State Anthony Luzzatto Gardner– Representative of the United States to the European Union, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State Ambassador Helen Meagher La Lime– Ambassador to the Republic of Angola, Department of State Michael Anderson Lawson– Rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Department of State Luis G. Moreno– Ambassador to Jamaica, Department of State George J. Tsunis– Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway, Department of State Daniel W. Yohannes– Representative of the United States to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State Representative Barbara Lee– Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.S. Representative from the State of California) Representative Mark Meadows– Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.S. Representative from the State of North Carolina) Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley– Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Ted Strickland– Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Stephen N. Zack– Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.” President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: Beth F. Cobert, Nominee for Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget Beth F. Cobert is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where she has worked since 1984. She is the firm’s Global Leader for Functional Capability Building, responsible for developing skills among over 9,000 consulting staff at the firm. Ms. Cobert is also a Global Leader of McKinsey's Marketing and Sales practice, and chairs the firm’s pension fund. She served as the head of McKinsey’s San Francisco office from 2005 to 2008. Prior to working at McKinsey & Company, from 1980 to 1982, she worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Ms. Cobert received her B.A. from Princeton and her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Sloan D. Gibson, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson is Chief Executive Officer and President of the United Service Organizations (USO). Before joining USO in 2008, Mr. Gibson worked in banking for 20 years, including 11 years as an executive at AmSouth Bancorporation and 9 years as a Senior Vice President at Bank South. In 2004, he retired as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of AmSouth Bancorporation, a position he held since 2000. In 2002, Mr. Gibson chaired the United Way campaign in Central Alabama. Mr. Gibson is a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as infantry officer in the U.S. Army. Mr. Gibson received a M.A. from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a M.P.A. from Harvard University. Heather AnneHigginbottom, Nominee for Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, Department of State Heather Anne Higginbottom is Counselor in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of State (DOS). Prior to joining DOS, Ms. Higginbottom served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2011 to 2013. From 2009 to 2011, Ms. Higginbottom served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. From 2007 to 2008, she was Policy Director for Obama for America. Ms. Higginbottom worked as Senator John Kerry’s Legislative Director from 1999 to 2007 and as Deputy Director for Policy on his Presidential campaign from 2003 to 2004. In 2004, Ms. Higginbottom founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank. Ms. Higginbottom received a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a M.P.P. from George Washington University. Jim Shelton, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Education Jim Shelton is the Acting Deputy Secretary of Education, a position he has held since June 2013. He is also the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education, where he has served since March 2009. Mr. Shelton previously was the Deputy Director for the Education Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2003 to 2009. He was a Partner for NewSchools Venture Fund from 2002 to 2003, President for the LearnNow Division of Edison Schools from 2001 to 2002, and the President and Co-Founder of LearnNow, Inc. from 1999 to 2001. He was Vice President of Knowledge Universe from 1997 to 1999. From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Shelton worked at McKinsey & Company as an Associate and then Senior Engagement Manager. Mr. Shelton received a B.A. from Morehouse College, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an M.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, Nominee for Under Secretary of the Navy, Department of Defense Dr. Jo Ann Rooney is a Managing Director at the Huron Consulting Group in Chicago, a position she has held since 2012. Previously, Dr. Rooney was Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defense from 2011 to 2012, and served as Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from November 2011 to June 2012. Prior to her appointment in 2011, Dr. Rooney was President of Mount Ida College in Massachusetts and also served as President of Spalding University in Kentucky from 2002 to 2010. From 1996 to 2002, Dr. Rooney served as Corporate General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Partner at The Lyons Companies in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to The Lyons Companies, she practiced tax law in the Boston area and was a founding partner of the consulting firm Stearns, Rooney & Associates in Hingham, Massachusetts. Dr. Rooney received a B.S. from Boston University, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, a LL.M. from Boston University School of Law, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. CaptainPaul Nathan Jaenichen, Sr., USN (Ret), Nominee for Administrator of the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation Captain Paul Nathan Jaenichen, Sr., USN (Ret), currently serves as the Acting Administrator and as the Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) at the Department of Transportation. Captain Jaenichen was a career naval officer, retiring after serving 30 years as a nuclear trained Submarine Officer in the United States Navy. His final assignment was Deputy Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy from 2010 to 2012. At sea, Captain Jaenichen served as Commanding Officer of the USS Albany from 1999 to 2002 and Commander of Submarine Squadron ELEVEN in San Diego, California from 2007 to 2008. Ashore, he served as Director of the Submarine/Nuclear Officer Distribution at Navy Personnel Command from 2008 to 2010; Chief of the Western/Eastern Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Divisions on the Strategic Plans and Policy Joint Staff from 2005 to 2007; Executive Assistant to the Director of the Submarine Warfare Division from 2004 to 2005; and Senior Member of the Atlantic Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examination Board from 2002 to 2004. He received a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy in Ocean Engineering and a M.S. from Old Dominion University in Engineering Management. Dr. David Weil, Nominee for Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor Dr. David Weil is Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law and the Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Boston University School of Management, where he has worked since 1992. He is also Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Transparency Policy Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a position he has held since 2002. He has been a lecturer and Research Fellow at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program since 1987. He is the recipient of the Broderick Prize in Research and the Broderick Prize for Teaching at Boston University, the Shingo Prize for Research on Manufacturing Innovations, and Boston University School of Management Best M.B.A. Instructor of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Dr. Weil received a B.S. from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University. John P. Carlin, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice John P. Carlin is the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice (DOJ), a position he has held since March 2013. In addition, he has been the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff for the National Security Division since 2011. From 2007 to 2011, he served in leadership roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), ultimately serving as Chief of Staff to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. A career federal prosecutor, he served in 2007 as National Coordinator of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property program within the DOJ Criminal Division. From 2001 to 2006, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Mr. Carlin first joined DOJ through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 1999. He is a five-time recipient of the Department of Justice Award for Special Achievement. He received a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Bradley Crowell, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy Bradley Crowell is the Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Prior to this, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2010 to 2012. Previously, he was a Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from 2007 to 2010. Mr. Crowell was the Legislative Advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council from 2004 to 2007 and a Policy Advisor to Congressman Chris Bell from 2002 to 2003. He was a Public Policy Associate for Burness Communications from 2001 to 2002 and a Legislative Aide for Senator Richard Bryan from 1999 to 2001. Mr. Crowell received a B.S. from Santa Clara University. Dr. Richard G. Frank, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Richard G. Frank is currently the Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, a position he has held since 1999. From August 2009 to March 2011, while on leave from Harvard Medical School, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he directed the Office on Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy. From 1994 to 1999, Dr. Frank was Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Policy at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Frank previously held faculty positions at the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University from 1984 to 1994 and at the University of Pittsburgh from 1980 to 1984. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Botswana from 1975 to 1976. He is the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Mental Health Association of Maryland. He has been a member of the Institute of Medicine since 1997, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research since 1987, and is a co-editor of the Journal of Health Economics. Dr. Frank received a B.A. in Economics from Bard College and a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University. Esther Kia’aina, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Department of the Interior Esther Kia’aina is the First Deputy Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawaii, a position she has held since 2012. Previously, she was Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 2009 to 2011 and from 2007 to 2009, she was a Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schools’ Land Asset Division. Ms. Kia’aina served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Ed Case from 2003 to 2007. From 1999 to 2003, she was Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Robert Underwood. Ms. Kia’aina served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Daniel Akaka from 1990 to 1999. Ms. Kia’aina received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. Michael D. Lumpkin, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Department of Defense Michael D. Lumpkin is Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, a position he has held since 2013. Mr. Lumpkin was the Chief Executive Officer of Industrial Security Alliance Partners from 2012 to 2013. From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Lumpkin served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities) at the Department of Defense. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary, and then Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining the Administration, Mr. Lumpkin served as the Director of Business Development for Aardvark Tactical, Inc., a supplier of nonlethal tactical equipment, from 2008 to 2010. Mr. Lumpkin served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years, including as a Navy SEAL. He received a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. from Naval Postgraduate School. Christopher Smith, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Department of Energy Christopher Smith is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a position he has held since February 2013. He also served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy from February 2013 to August 2013 and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Gas from 2009 to 2013. From 2007 to 2009, he was as the Director of Liquid Natural Gas Trading Analytics for Chevron Global Gas. From 2005 to 2007, he was an Advisor to the President and Chief of Staff for Chevron Global Supply & Trading. Mr. Smith was a Developmental Manager and Regional Manager of the Latin America region for ChevronTexaco Global Gas from 2002 to 2005. He held several roles with Texaco, including Business Development Manager from 1999 to 2002 and Executive Business Analyst from 1998 to 1999. He was an Operations Officer and Task Force Engineer for the 25th Infantry Division of the United States Army from 1991 to 1993. Mr. Smith received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. from the University of Cambridge. Puneet Talwar, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Department of State Puneet Talwar is a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States on the White House National Security Staff, a position he has held since 2009. Prior to this, Mr. Talwar served as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate (SFRC) from 2001 to 2009 and from 1997 to 1999, and was the chief advisor on the Middle East to then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., SFRC Chairman. He served as a member of the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 1999 to 2001. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a foreign policy advisor to Representative Thomas C. Sawyer, and from 1990 to 1992 as an official with the United Nations. He received a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Jay Williams, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Department of Commerce Jay Williams is the Director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers at the Department of Labor, a position he has held since 2011. Mr. Williams was the Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio from 2006 to 2011. Prior to becoming Mayor, he was the Executive Director of the Community Development Agency for Youngstown from 2000 to 2005. From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Williams was with First Place Bank in Warren, Ohio. Previously, from 1995 to 1997, Mr. Williams was an Examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Williams received a B.S.B.A. from Youngstown State University. Jamie Morin, Nominee for Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Department of Defense Jamie Morin is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management, a position he has held since 2009, and was Acting Under Secretary of the Air Force from 2012 to 2013. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the Senior Defense Analyst at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget. From 2002 to 2003, Mr. Morin was a National Fellow at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. In 2001, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, working primarily for the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. From 2000 to 2001, Mr. Morin was an economist and strategy specialist at J.E. Austin and Associates and was a research associate and assistant from 1995 to 1997 at the same firm. Mr. Morin received a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University, a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Victoria Wassmer, Nominee for Chief Financial Officer, Environmental Protection Agency Victoria Wassmer is the Assistant Administrator for Finance and Management at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a position she has held since 2011. Previously, she was the Vice President of Administration and Finance at the Millennium Challenge Corporation from 2010 to 2011. From 2004 to 2010, Ms. Wassmer held several senior roles at the FAA, including Deputy Director of the Office of Budget and Management and Chief Financial Officer. She was a Senior Associate with the Carmen Group from 2003 to 2004 and a staff member in the Office of Capital Programs and Oversight for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority from 2002 to 2003. From 1996 to 2002, Ms. Wassmer was a Policy Analyst with the Office of Management and Budget. Ms. Wassmer received an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and an M.P.P. from Harvard University. Larry Edward André, Jr., Nominee for Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Department of State Larry Edward André, Jr., a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, most recently served as Acting Envoy and Director of the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan at the Department of State. Prior to this role, Mr. André served as Deputy Executive Director for the Department’s Bureau of African Affairs from 2010 to 2011 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 2008 to 2010. Other previous assignments have included Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (2006 to 2008); Deputy Director of the Office of West African Affairs (2004 to 2006) and Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone (2002 to 2004). Mr. André received a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and a M.B.A from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, Nominee for Representative of the United States to the European Union, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State Anthony Luzzatto Gardner is the Managing Director of Structured Finance at Palamon Capital Partners in London, a position he has held since 2007. In 2007, Mr. Gardner was Executive Director, European Leveraged Finance, at Bank of America in London. From 2002 to 2007, Mr. Gardner served as Executive Director, European Leveraged Finance, in GE Commercial Finance and as Director, European Industrial Business Development, at GE International in London. Mr. Gardner served as Director for European Affairs in the European Directorate at the National Security Council from 1994 to 1995. He also worked in the Directorate-General for Competition Policy of the European Commission from 1990 to 1991. He received a B.A. from Harvard University, a M.Phil. from Oxford University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School, and a M.Sc. from London Business School. Ambassador Helen Meagher La Lime, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Angola, Department of State Ambassador Helen Meagher La Lime, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Director of Outreach for the United States Africa Command, a position she has held since 2011. From 2008 to 2011, she was Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in the Republic of South Africa. Ambassador La Lime served as the Consul General in Cape Town from 2006 to 2008. From 2003 to 2006, Ambassador La Lime served as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique. She was Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassy Rabat from 2001 to 2003 and Director of the Office of Central African Affairs from 2000 to 2001. Ambassador La Lime has held a number of other positions, including Deputy Director in the Office of Central African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena, Chad, and International Economist at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the Department of State. She received a B.S. from Georgetown University and a M.S. from the National Defense University. Michael Anderson Lawson, Nominee for rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Department of State Michael Anderson Lawson is the immediate past President of the Los Angeles World Airports’ Board of Airport Commissioners. He has been a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners since 2005 and held the position of President of the Commission since 2011. From 1980 to 2011, he practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP where he served as partner since 1995. From 1978 to 1980, he was a staff attorney at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Mr. Lawson is a member of the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, Loyola Marymount University, The Advancement Project, the Music Center at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the California State Teachers Retirement System Board, and the Community Redevelopment Agency Oversight Board for the City of Los Angeles. Mr. Lawson received a B.A. from Loyola University in Los Angeles and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Luis G. Moreno, Nominee for Ambassador to Jamaica, Department of State Luis G. Moreno, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain. From 2010 to 2011, he served as Political-Military Affairs Minister Counselor, as well as Force Strategic Engagement Cell Director at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. From 2010 to 2007, Mr. Moreno served as Deputy Chief to Mission in Tel Aviv, Israel. From 2004 to 2007, he served as Consul General and Principal Officer in Monterrey, Mexico. Mr. Moreno also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti from 2001 to 2004 and as Narcotics Affairs Director at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia from 1997 to 2001. Throughout his time with the Foreign Service, Mr. Moreno served as Refugee Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; International Relations Officer in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; and Deputy Director of Narcotics Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru. He received a B.A. from Fordham University and a M.A. from Kean College. George J. Tsunis, Nominee for Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway, Department of State George J. Tsunis is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chartwell Hotels, LLC. From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Tsunis was of counsel at Rivkin Radler, LLP and served as partner since 2005. Mr. Tsunis was Special Counsel to the Town of Huntington Committee on Open Space Preservation as well as Counsel to the Dix Hills Water District from 2003 to 2009. From 1998 to 1999, he practiced law at Goldberg & Cohen in Brooklyn, NY. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Legislative Attorney at the New York City Council. Mr. Tsunis received a B.A. from New York University and a J.D. from St. John's University School of Law. Daniel W. Yohannes, Nominee for Representative of the United States to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State Daniel W. Yohannes is the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a position he has held since 2009. From 2003 to 2009, he was President and CEO of M&R Investments. From 1999 to 2003, he served as Vice Chairman of U.S. Bancorp, first as Head of Consumer Banking and then as Head of Integration, Community and Public Affairs. From 1992 to 1999, Mr. Yohannes was President and CEO of U.S. Bank Colorado (formerly Colorado National Bank). From 1977 to 1992, he worked at Security Pacific Bank (now Bank of America), ultimately serving as Executive Vice President. Mr. Yohannes has previously served on the boards of the National Jewish Hospital and Research Center, the Denver Art Museum, the University of Colorado Medical School and Project C.U.R.E. Mr. Yohannes received a B.S. from Claremont McKenna College and a M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Representative Barbara Lee, Nominee for Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.S. Representative from the State of California) Representative Barbara Lee represents the 13th District of California. She was first elected in 1998. Representative Lee is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, serving on both the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and on the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. She is also a member of the Committee on the Budget and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. From 2009 to 2010, she served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. From 2002 to 2008, Representative Lee served as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She received a B.A. from Mills College and an M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley. Representative Mark Meadows, Nominee for Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.S. Representative from the State of North Carolina) Representative Mark Meadows represents the 11th District of North Carolina. He was first elected in 2012. Representative Meadows is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Prior to this, Representative Meadows was a real estate developer from 1992 to 2012, and owned his own restaurant from 1986 to 1990. From 1983 to 1986, Representative Meadows was the Director of Customer Relations and Public Safety at Tampa Electric. He received a B.A. from the University of South Florida. Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Nominee for Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley is a Special Adviser at the Department of State. From 2010 to 2012, she served as Special Representative for Public-Private Partnerships in the Global Partnership Initiative at the Department of State. From 2008 to 2011, Ambassador Bagley was a Member on the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. From 2005 to 2007, she was a Counselor at Manatt, Phelps, Phillips law firm, and Manatt Jones Global Strategies in Washington, D.C. Previously, Ambassador Bagley was Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Media Acquisition in the Balkans from 1997 to 2001, and served as U.S. Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic from 1994 to 1997. Prior to this, Ambassador Bagley was a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center from 1991 to 1993. She was the Congressional Relations Director at the Center for National Policy from 1981 to 1987. She received a B.A. from Regis College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Governor Ted Strickland, Nominee for Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Governor Ted Strickland is co-founder and Chairman of Midwest Gateway Partners, a position he has held since 2011. Previously, he served as the Governor of Ohio from 2007 to 2011. He served as a U.S. Representative representing the 6th District of Ohio from 1993 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2007. From 1983 to 2004, he practiced psychology in Ohio. Governor Strickland served in a number of capacities at the Methodist Children’s Home of Kentucky, Shawnee State University, and the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. He received a B.A. from Asbury College in Kentucky, a M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. Stephen N. Zack, Nominee for Alternate Representative of the United States to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Stephen N. Zack is an attorney and administrative partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, a position he has held since 2002. Previously, from 1998 to 2002, he was a managing partner at Zack Kosnitzky, P.A. Mr. Zack was a partner at a number of law firms from 1991 to 1998, including Zack, Sparber, Kosnitzky, Spratt & Brooks. From 2010 to 2012, he served as President of the American Bar Association, the first Hispanic American to hold the position. Mr. Zack served as Chair of the Florida Ethics Commission from 1987 to 1994 and was appointed to re-write the Florida Constitution as a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in 1997. Mr. Zack received a B.A. from the University of Florida and a J.D. from the University of Florida Law School.
Thousands of readers responded after we asked for your views on how German chancellor had handled the eurozone crisisEfficient, organised and successful. Arrogant, dominant and authoritarian. Saviour of the European project. Merciless tormentor of anyone south of the "olive line". For some, the eurozone would have collapsed without German leadership. For others, tens of millions of southerners would have been better off without it.In the runup to German elections this month that will have a crucial bearing on the rest of the continent, the Guardian, Le Monde in France, El País in Spain and La Stampa in Italy asked readers for their view of German leadership in the euro crisis, as well as of the vote itself. The exercise generated a surprisingly robust response from more than 7,000 readers. Such surveys can never be statistically relevant because of the self-selecting nature of the exercise. But among the jokes and hostility – and the inevitable rogue entries from people calling themselves things like Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – certain trends were unavoidable.In the Spanish survey, the overwhelming tone of the response was negative. "Germany is looking to increase its power, imposing solutions that go well in Germany," wrote Alessandro Gimenez. "It's trying to change the southern countries into a cheap workforce, without rights or legal or work security. It perceives the euro as a single currency when it is convenient to do so and as a confederation of currencies when it is in its interest."Karen González said Germany had profited from the crisis, abandoned the EU's core principles and had "preferred patching things up than undertaking a true cure at the heart of these problems which are now suffocating countries like Spain, which could backfire".Germany's insistence on fiscal rigour in return for EU bailout funds had made matters worse in countries crying out for a bit of growth to lessen the pain, many readers opined.In recent months, the eurozone crisis has gone into another of its periodic remissions, as government borrowing costs have tracked lower and the continent shows a few delicate signs of economic recovery.But for Greeks such as Ioannis Pelegrinis, the worst is still to come. "The German leadership is clearly looking out for its own financial interests, as the government of any sovereign country should. Unfortunately, they are doing so at the expense of other EU and eurozone members. That exactly is the sort of attitude that will bring the dissolution of the EU."Italians produced a very mixed response, with plenty of criticism tempered by the occasional vote of confidence. "We should be grateful to Germany for the structural changes we've seen in Europe," wrote Lorenzo Iorio. Ezio Dallocchio urged Italians to be more charitable. "They are a model economically and politically for others to copy and not to hate as many of us stupid Italians do."Northern Europeans were more inclined to give Germans the benefit of the doubt – though many respondents argued that Berlin is acting in its own national interests and not through any broader motivation as a quasi-European leader.Briton Darren Mills said: "The chancellor and her country have stood steadfast behind their neighbours and EU partners. This is even though the path followed by Germany is not the one that will bring acclamation, or even necessarily benefit. Leadership is not necessarily the art of being 100% correct, it is the art of being seen to be strong and at the forefront. Germany has shown leadership, more importantly considered leadership."On the subject of leadership, some respondents argued Germany had demonstrated too much arrogance, while others sensed a reluctance – born of historical precedence – to assume control. All of which left one anonymous respondent to quip: "If you're being criticised from both sides, you've probably found the centre ground."That centre ground had enabled Germany to emerge pre-eminent in Europe, according to some. "Germany has managed to pull a coup over the European Central Bank and has almost complete control. Even France, which has a huge economy and powerful global influence, has lost all real influence," remarked Briton Robert Lowe.With elections looming on 22 September, few respondents expected a big change in policy to emanate from Berlin. Most predicted the re-election of Angela Merkel , and Mattia Tognoni, from Italy, said: "Merkel's victory unfortunately won't help countries in difficulty. Anyway, I don't think the German population wants to help those with problems elsewhere and so whoever wins the election will keep this in mind."Not everyone had given up on SPD challenger, Peer Steinbrück, just yet. Willy Tinner, who lives in Switzerland, believed the elections "will have an effect on European politics. If the left win we can leave the disastrous politics of austerity behind".As for Merkel, some saw a stubborn control freak acting in her country's interests, while others were more charitable, viewing her as a pragmatist who could see the bigger picture. Dutchwoman Anouk van den Waal argued that: "If there could be an emergency machine that manufactures leaders in a crisis, Mrs Merkel is probably something we would have programmed into it. To Europeans, she doesn't seem to have ideology, she is pragmatic, I don't think many could say if she was left or rightwing. She doesn't take risks, she is quietly strong, she is consensual."Some argued that Merkel had been right to stick by her insistence on reform as a quid pro quo for bailouts, but quibbled with the manner she had gone about her business, failing to sell her policies effectively to her partners in Europe. And the further south you went, the terser the responses on Merkel."Merkel has only thought of the German economy and by extension, of her votes," wrote David Revilla Velasco, a Spaniard. "Another chancellor, even from the same party, would have had a vision which was less localist and closed, and who even at the risk of self-sacrifice would have done more for the currency and for Europe. Merkel's recipe is 'Bread for me and for today, and hunger for all tomorrow'."A gastronomical metaphor from a Spaniard and a typically philosophical summation from a Frenchman, Jacques Lecucq: "Mark or euro, Germany wants a strong currency, which is not the case with all its neighbours. It has achieved its objectives and Angela receives dividends. Were they wrong to be strong, were we right to be weak?"Additional reporting by Carmen Fishwick, Edmond Wax and Jessica Shepherd GermanyEuropeEurozone crisisEuropean UnionEuropean monetary unionEconomicsBankingEuropean banksFinancial crisisFinancial sectorEuroAngela MerkelMark Rice-Oxley theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 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Authors: Enrico Letta Dear President, Jean Claude Trichet, Dear Director, Guntram Wolff, Dear Members of the European Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you so much for your kind words of introduction, Jean Claude, and for your invitation to attend the dinner of the Annual meeting of Bruegel. I do not intend to deliver a standard speech on where the euro area stands and what is the “to do list” for the next months. Rather, if you will allow me, I would prefer to address some political issues about the future of the Economic and Monetary Union and the future of Europe. I am full of optimism but I do not assume that the crisis is behind us and we can turn our attention away from economic challenges. Some leading indicators tell us that the economy is gaining momentum in the euro area. Confidence is returning. However, the recovery is fragile and uneven. Unemployment remains dramatically high in many Member States, as in Italy. Much work remains to be done. What I want to say is that we are not short of opportunities to debate the technical aspects of EU monetary and economic policy. We talk much less about the political foundations needed to build a more stable Economic and Monetary Union and a European Union fit for the challenges of our time. Over the past years, Europe has made extraordinary progress in responding to the crisis. The decisions taken have set in motion a process of transformation that has not followed a deliberate ex ante design. The new arrangements have marked a break with the past but we don’t see yet a fully-fledged architecture emerging. We have moved away from the old arrangements butwe have not yet completed the transition to a new one. At the same time political tensions are emerging, disenchantment with or even rejection of the European integration process is growing. As we move forward from crisis management to more structural issues, things become more difficult. The time has come to address these issues. If we do not do it, it will become difficult to move forward and we will remain stuck half-way. The reason why I raise this point tonight is because in the second half of next year Italy will hold the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The Italian Presidency will come at a crucial juncture for the European Union. In May next year the European citizens will elect a new European Parliament. In the following months the European institutions will choose the new President of the European Commission and the new members of the Commission, the new President of the European Council and the new High Representative. The persons will change, the policies must change. Europe will go back to drawing board and set out a new set of priorities and objectives for the future. And the next five years will mark a crucial phase in the evolution of the Union. They will be the moment to choose if we want to take a leap forward, and make progress towards a new phase in the life of the European Union. I want the Italian Presidency to be a connecting point, a time during which we conclude the adoption of important measures we launched in 2013, from banking union to economic and fiscal union and we reflect on broader steps needed to have a stable functioning of the EMU and a stronger European Union. We can use the opportunity well only if we start building the political foundations for future progress already now. Our task is like that of an athlete who has to run a 100 metres race. If we do not jump off from the starting blocks and make the first steps right, it will be difficult to win the race. I believe that we can move forward only if we address openly some tough questions about what is required for the Economic and Monetary Union to function in a more stable manner and deliver what we expect from it. Thus, I want to focus on three issues that in my view illustrate why more of the same will not work and why we need a greater integration: first, how to deepen economic integration to support structural reforms at national level; second, how to further greater integration in the single market; third, how to introduce some forms of risk sharing in order to make the EMU as a whole and the Member States more resilient to shocks. In all these areas progress does not depend on technical discussion, but on reaching agreement on a different political approach. Thus, I will conclude with some thoughts on how we can make progress at a time in which support for European integration is getting thinner. Let’s start with economic union. The main tool we have devised to promote structural reforms at national level is the coordination of budgetary and economic policies. Indeed the new coordination framework anchored in the European semester is one of the main advances made in response to the crisis. The striking symbol of this change is that this year all Member States will send their annual draft budgets to Brussels in line with the requirements set out in the “two pack”. This system reflects the principle, that “economic policies are a matter of common interest”. In short, interdependence requires responsibility. Let me just say here that this notion of responsibility is already at the heart of the economic policy pursued by Italy. The government is determined to maintain the public deficit below 3% this year and in the coming years. We have one of the largest primary surpluses of the euro area. We have stabilised long term spending for health care and pensions. To enhance the competitiveness and the growth potential of its economy Italy has implemented a strong reform agenda. In the coming months we will add new measures to speed up civil justice, create a better business environment, lower the tax wedge on labour to boost employment. We will launch a specific programme, Destinazione Italia, to attract private foreign investment and privatise state owned assets. At its meeting in Saint Petersburg, the G20 has recognised Italy's track record of reforms. We have taken new commitments in the 2013 Action Plan. We will deliver on them. So based on this concept of responsibility, Europe has been shaping up a system of coordination based on an intergovernmental logic. It is now proposed to extend ex ante coordination also to major economic reforms and introduce some form of mutually binding contractual arrangements between EU institutions and member states. There is a strong case for upgrading the existing framework. Indeed today, euro area economies are not less diverse, if anything they diverge more than they did before the crisis While the economic rationale is there, we should also be aware that we might end up with an imperfect or even counterproductive instrument if we do not take a broader view of supranational coordination and of its implications for legitimacy and accountability. The reforms to tackle the rigidities of our economies and enhance their growth potential are complex and painful to implement. Some of them require financial investments that are not possible in time of consolidation. Some others produce effects only after some time, too much time for the patience of many citizens and voters. Citizens, and voters, are ready to accept the sacrifices needed to reinvent our economies. But they need to see a reward, a payback. So if we are serious about the need to support Member States structural reforms, we need to match greater surveillance and coordination with a system of targeted financial incentives. These incentives can expand the options for governments struggling with fiscal consolidation and represent in the eyes of public opinions a signal that Europe is a partner supporting their effort. A stronger coordination framework should also address issues of ownership and accountability. By setting policy objectives and framing national choices, the European Union today intervenes in areas such as pension reforms, wage setting mechanisms, labour policies, which are at the heart of national politics and of the prerogatives of national Parliaments. Some national parliaments feel under pressure, for what they see as an “intrusion” that disempowers them. Some others stepped up controls on their executives, to avoid that they take financial commitments in Brussels prejudging their budgetary decisions. At the same time, there is not an adequate discussion of common economic policy priorities at EU level. The European Parliament is searching for a greater role in this area. The involvement of the EU Parliament is essential to ensure the legitimacy qnd consistency of a system of contractual arrangements between the EU institution and the individual Member States. If we build an essentially intergovernmental system of economic coordination, the tension with national parliamentary democracy is unavoidable. We may end up with one Parliament against the other and we risk a paralysis of decision-making. So to move forward towards greater economic union we should embrace a broader notion of responsibility, which recognise a greater role for the EU level. Let's now turn to the Single Market. The Single Market is Europe’s best asset to restore growth. Market integration can also play a role in reabsorbing internal imbalances in the euro area. Yet despite the political investment made by President Barroso and Commissioner Barnier, with the Single Market Acts I and II, despite various European Council conclusions, progress is very slow. Everywhere we see signs of resurgent economic nationalism. Can we reverse this trend and deliver real open markets just by discussing a list of new directives or regulations? I don’t think so. The only way is to build consensus for a new political approach. So far we have liberalised national markets, encouraging private companies to operate cross border. The result is a patchwork of interlocking national markets, rather than a true single market. We need European champions, operators that are truly active on a continental scale. Today we have national champions, national banks, national energy companies, national telecommunication companies. To give an example, in Europe we have 100 telecom operators. They are 5 in the US and 3 in China. If we want to unleash the full potential of the Single Market, we must have the courage to look at it as a European Market, and adopt coherent policies. This applies to the financial and banking sector, where we need to complement the single supervisor with a single resolution mechanism that ensures effective resolutions of the crises. This is very important for Italy and we will insist that the calendar agreed by the European Council is respected. This applies to the telecommunication and the digital sector, which will be on the agenda of the next European Council. The ICT-driven economy can be a boost for employment and growth. A true Single Market can be instrumental to achieve this result. My third issue is the role of risk sharing and financial solidarity within the Economic and monetary union. I believe that a genuine EMU will require some degree of risk sharing. The crisis has shown that we cannot rely only on national budgets to absorb shocks and support the necessary adjustment. National tools can be inadequate and, without a form of support from the central level, the economic and social price to pay for a Member State can be dramatically high. The question is: what type of solidarity is acceptable and justified within the context of the EMU? In truth, during the crisis we have made important steps towards mutual insurance. The European Financial Stability Fund, the European Stability Mechanism, the ECB Outright Monetary Transaction arrangement are forms of collective insurance. At the same time, any move towards forms of financial solidarity between Member States, has met with resistance and has fuelled a growing divide between debtor and creditor countries, the North and the South of Europe. One of the most worrying aspects of the euro crisis is that the embryonic sense of community that was emerging in Europe, cemented by the Erasmus generation and the use of the euro, has been shattered. Can we overcome this divide and agree on a common notion of solidarity? I believe that a notion of solidarity cannot be construed as a moral obligation of some to help others. This type of absolute solidarity presupposes a sense of community, which is not there. By some, that solidarity would be even perceived as unfair, a code for a “transfer union”. But solidarity can also be just enlightened self interest, a form of reciprocity, from which everyone benefits in turn and that does not lead to permanent transfers. That notion is in my view compatible with the logic of the EMU. From this perspective, I think there is room to reflect on a fiscal capacity for the euro area. Such a fiscal capacity could provide the financial incentives, at least initially, for the implementation of major reforms at the national level and expand later on into other stabilisation functions. In time, it could issue bonds on financial markets to support public productive investments at the EU level. This fiscal capacity would be based on the principle of budgetary neutrality over time. Its operation could be connected to the conclusion of contractual arrangements for reforms, thus linking responsibility and solidarity. To sum up, our ambition should be to build a framework that supports Member States commitment to reform their economies that promotes greater integration within the Single Market and provides timely stabilisation when a national economy is hit by a crisis. To do that, we need more common solutions at European level. A framework based on a predominant intergovernmental logic will not work. It will not deliver the greater convergence of national economies, the integration within the Single Market and the resilience against asymmetric economic shocks that are required for a stable and sustainable functioning of the EMU. This is not just a reflection on governance. The ultimate purpose is to bring back growth and jobs. A better governance will allow the EU to pursue more effective economic policies and to have a stronger role in the global system. Here comes the most difficult part of the challenge. Can we realistically aim for deeper economic, financial and fiscal integration at a time in which the confidence in European institutions and the support for the European Union are at an all time low? Disenchantment with Europe is strong both outside and inside the euro area. In Italy, where public opinion is traditionally pro-European, confidence in the EU has dropped from 75% to 30%. What is interesting is that anti-European feelings are common to Southern and Northern Europe, but for opposite reasons. In Southern Europe citizens no longer see EU institutions as better than national institutions. This is a result of a general disenchantment with politics but also a sign that Europe is no longer seen as a solution, it is a problem. In Northern Europe, support for EU institutions has fallen below that for national institutions. This explains why many voices across the region are calling for a repatriation of competences to the national level. Does this mean that we have to play defence and focus on implementing and fine-tuning existing instruments? In my view, we can win back the heart of citizens only if we present a convincing and promising perspective. The European Parliament elections in May 2014 will be the focal point for all the political tensions that are surrounding European integration today. If we do not engage in a real political debate, disaffection and disenchantment will lead to a very low turnout and to the mobilisation of forms of anti-European, nationalistic movements In my view it is necessary that in the run up to elections the focus of our debate shifts from procedures, indicators, rules to substance, to what Europe can do to help Member States fight unemployment, to promote the competitiveness of the manufacturing sectors, to exploit new sources of growth like the digital economy. The June European Council was an important step in this direction. On top of that, elections should allow to confront different political programmes on Europe. It is important that citizens feel that European elections are for real, that they can choose different candidates for President of the Commission and that they can influence the direction of policies at EU level. If the elections are a confrontation between technocracy and populism, we risk a backlash. The next European parliament could be the most euro-sceptic parliament ever. A Parliament that cannot be an engine for Europe, but is a brake on collective decision-making. So, in my view we need to strike a fine balance between a realistic pragmatism and the right level of ambition for the future. As we complete and implement the measures agreed for the short term, we should not lose sight of the importance of longer term objectives. Once we have restored confidence in the EU institutions and forged a new political consensus on what is needed for a stable EMU and a stronger European Union, we can reflect on whether the current set up provides an adequate legal basis or we need a modification of the Treaties. This will also be an opportunity to reflect on how we can reconcile the needs of those members of the EMU who need deeper economic, financial and fiscal integration and those Member States who want to preserve a greater degree of sovereign autonomy within the European Union. Cher Jean-Claude, la première fois que je suis entré à Strasbourg au Parlement européen, j’avais dix ans. Quelques année après - j’étais bien jeune - j’étais à Bruxelles quand Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Jacques Delors négociaient Maastricht. Quelques ans après j’ai écrit un petit pamphlet qui s’appelait «Mourir pour Maastricht». Aujourd’hui je me retrouve avec une énorme responsabilité en tant que Premier Ministre. Je suis à Rome pour faire de l’Italie de nouveau un grand pays européen. Avant l’Acte Unique Européen, il y a eu le Conseil européen de Milan. C’est le Conseil européen de Rome qui a lancé les deux Conférences intergouvernementales qui ont conduit au Traité de Maastricht. La prochaine Présidence Italienne devra être la base pour progresser dans la voie de l’intégration européenne. Je me battrai pour une Italie plus forte et pour une Europe plus forte. Je suis ici parce que la bataille pour l’intégration européen doit être combattue. Je suis ici au nom d’une Italie européenne et pour réaliser ensemble le rêve de nous tous, une Europe plus unie. Read more...
Antonis Samaras says economy is regaining its competitiveness and is on track to return to pre-crisis levelsGreece's prime minister Antonis Samaras has insisted the worst is almost over for his country and reassured Greeks that the debt-stricken nation's longest recession would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.Boosted by figures showing the economy contracting by 3.8% in the second quarter – its smallest decline since the outbreak of Athens's worst financial crisis in modern times – the leader said the country's dependency on foreign lenders was also nearing an end."Greece is turning a page … all the international organisations agree that next year, 2014, will be the year of recovery for the Greek economy," he told industry and business leaders attending the annual Thessaloniki trade fair. "Last year most abroad were predicting that Greece would exit the euro. Now they are predicting the exact opposite. That Greece will exit the recession and stay in the euro," he said promising that the progress would hail the end of unpopular austerity.The fair is traditionally used by Greek prime ministers to outline their economic policies. Using the keynote speech to list the achievements of his 14-month government, Samaras said Athens had not only made the biggest fiscal adjustment "in world history", but emerged with an economy that in regaining its competitiveness was on track to return to pre-crisis levels. Much of the rebound is due to an unexpectedly good tourism season. If Greece kept up the progress – the condition of rescue funds worth €240bn from its "troika" of creditors at the EU, ECB and IMF – Samaras said the country would also succeed in shaving its debt mountain, at €320bn the biggest in the eurozone."After the end of the year, we will achieve a new lightening of the debt burden," he insisted reminding international lenders they had "committed to" making Greece's debt load sustainable if Athens posted a primary surplus [before interest payments on debt] by the end of 2013."A primary surplus will mean that the country can stand on its feet [and] will be the first decisive step towards exiting the policies of the memorandums," he said referring to the two loan agreements Athens has signed up to since the start of the crisis. By returning to capital markets and breaking free of creditors, Athens could use the surplus to "lighten the injustices" of Greeks on low pensions and public sector employees hit by cuts.With German elections looming, Greece is under immense pressure to continue paring back the bloated public sector – the root of the country's financial woes.But the government also faces the herculean task of keeping the social peace at a time when most Greeks, struggling with draconian cuts and tax increases, are bracing for their hardest winter yet. Driving home a message of hope is central to the campaign.In Thessaloniki over the weekend it was quite clear that many disagreed with that message just as they do in Athens and other parts of the nation. Police estimated that around 50,000 took to the streets to decry the record levels of unemployment and poverty associated exclusively with almost four years of austerity driven recession.The radical left main opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, accused Samaras of lambasting Greeks with "a primary surplus of deceit."There is mounting speculation that Greece, whose economy had shrunk by nearly 25% since 2010, is heading for a third bailout in what EU mandarins hope will finally be the end of the eurozone crisis. The IMF has indicated that the country will face a €11bn funding gap when the country's current rescue program ends next July.On Sunday, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble repeated that Berlin was "always ready" to help as long as Athens fulfilled its side of the deal. But Germany, which has provided the bulk of Greece's bailouts to date, rejected the notion that Athens would receive any kind of debt relief – a move that would cost German tax payers up to €30bn .Greece was forgiven €145bn in debt by private creditors last year. "It would upset investors and creditors," Schäuble wrote in the German magazine Focus. "A second haircut is not the right step for Greece … and whoever discusses it, puts everything in danger."GreeceEuropeEurozone crisisEuropean UnionEuropean monetary unionEuropean banksFinancial crisisEuroEconomicsHelena Smith theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Exactly As I Warned, "Cyprusization" Goes Mainstream! Ireland On Tap, Next Up For Citizen Fund Confiscation (Again)
Last year I wrote "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia" wherein I warned of both the risk in Germany as a save all, and the risks posed to European FIRE sector companies (and insurers in particular) as a result of this belief in magic over math. Well, now Bloomberg reports that Poland has literally confiscated private pension manager's (read insurance companies) bonds with essentially no compensation, ex., they stole them, as per Bloomgerg - Poland to Cancel Bonds From Pension Funds in System Revamp: Poland will take over and cancel government bonds held by its privately managed pension funds, stopping short of fully “nationalizing” the system as it seeks to curb public debt, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. Whaaaat!!!??? Cancel bonds? Outright theft! Listem carefully here. It's not as if I didn't tell you so. Now, what happens to those insurers whose pension funds under management were robbed? Again, revisit "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia". This plain as day and easy to see coming, and there's a lot more coming! Remember my many warnings this year on the Irish and EU banking system: Transparency In The European Banking? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness!!! If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It...), the chances of there being any recovery is somewhere between zilch and nil, give or take a euro or two - reference LGD 100+: What's the Possibility of Certain European Banks Having a Loss Given Default Approaching 100%? and The Anatomy of a Serial European Banking Collapse to realize that once a counter party driven bank run starts, there may be less than nothing to divy up in the end. Lehman Brothers' US creditors received roughly 10 to 40 cents on the dollar, but after 5 years of wrangling, the European International arm was full repaid. Hey, do you feel lucky with your life savings? Even if you do feel lucky, you'll still need 5 years to spare and a ton of cash for legal fees. However, some member states have not ruled out the possibility that insured deposits, i.e. deposits under €100,000, would be forced to bear losses in the event of a bank collapse even though these deposits would be likely to be protected by the deposit guarantee scheme. As stated earlier, this ain't AAA coverage! This year Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the group of 17 euro zone finance ministers, said that losses on bondholders and depositors could form part of future bank bailouts as euro zone officials seek to move the burden of bailouts away from taxpayers – as was the case in the Irish bailout – and on to private investors. The European Commission argues that this switch from so-called “bailouts” to “bail-ins” would result in an allocation of losses that would not be worse than the losses that shareholders and creditors would have suffered in regular insolvency proceedings that apply to other private companies. Ahem, that non-sense only works on the uneducated and/or the unassuming. The major difference is that creditors that would be subject to regular dissolution proceedings AND that are unsecured, would demand considerably higher rates of return. A borderline solvent bank whose officers AND regulators admit publicly is in need of additional capital infusions after receiving three thus far, and 96% losses in its publicly traded equity, would have to borrow money at 18%, not 2% - and that's being generous. See the bank deposit rate calculator below. While the inclusion of large savers in future bank bailouts is now widely accepted, significant differences still remain between member states. While the new rules governing bank resolution were first intended to come into place in 2018, since the Cypriot bailout there have been calls from senior EU figures such as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and EU economics affairs commissioner Olli Rehn to introduce the new regime as early as 2015. The Irish presidency of the European Council is hoping to reach a common position by the end of next month. The little app below calculates what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity??? Side note: The video below was the result of a collaborative effort to bring Mr.Middleton to Ireland through a crowdfunded campaign. While the effort fell through, we have recycled some of the material to ascertain interest in his visiting Ireland on an independent basis. If you're Irish, from Ireland or simply find this financial/ethical malarkey disagreeable and would be interested in seeing Reggie Middleton visit Ireland to disseminate his research, create new resarch, hold town hall style discussions on how to "occupy the banks" or simply have a good, old-fashioned breaking of the bread, let us know of your willingness to contribute to a crowdfunded project on Indiegogo. If there is enough interest to make this happen, we will create a project to fund Reggie's trip and create saleable research. Let Reggie know directly by contacting him via email: reggie at boombustblog dot com Other hard hitting pieces on the resurgent EU banking crisis Is The Cypriot Government Crazy Or Do They Really Fear Bankers That Much? Mainstream Media Says Cyprus Salvaged By… Economic Depression Is The New Success The Canadian Government Offers "Bail-In"… EU Bank Depositors: Your Mattress Is Starting To Look Awfully Attractive - Bank Risk, Reward & Compensation Global Banking Crisis - How & Why YOU Will Get "Cyprus'd" As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!! As If On Cue, BoomBustBlog Shenanigan Research Gets Real In Ireland, Why Aren't These Guys Knocking On My Door? Are You About To Get Cyprus'd in Ireland? When A Single Word's Worth Billions Of Euros... Dear Ireland (& AIB), Haven't We All Learned The Problem Is Insolvency, Not Liquidity? Oh No! Is It Possible? A 3rd Irish Bank With Hidden Charges Not Revealed In Its Annual Reports? Ireland, You May Very Well Be Bust & I Make No Apologies For What I'm About To Show You The Next Leg Of That Counterparty Led European Bank Run Has Put On It's Running Shoe I Illustrate How The Irish Banking Cancer Spreads to UK Taxpayer & Metastizes Through US Markets Allegations Of Big Irish Banks Operating… Readers Respond With Evidence That AIB (… "Till default do us part, A half-hearted banking union raises more risks than it solves". To wit: Almost a year ago, as the euro crisis raged, Europe’s leaders boldly pledged a union to break the dangerous link between indebted governments and ailing banking systems, where the troubles of one threatened to pull down the other. Yet the agreement that seems likely to emerge from a summit later this month will be one that does little to weaken this vicious link. If anything it may increase risks to stability instead of reducing them. Almost everyone involved agrees that in theory a banking union ought to have three legs. The first is a single supervisor to write common rules and to enforce them uniformly. Next are the powers to “resolve” failed banks, which is a polite term for deciding who takes a hit; these powers also require a pot of money (or at least a promise to pay) to clean up the mess left by bust lenders and to inject capital into those that can get back on their feet. The third leg is a credible euro-wide guarantee on deposits to reassure savers that a euro in an Italian or Spanish bank is just as safe as one in a German or Dutch bank. National insurance schemes offer scant reassurance to savers when sovereigns are wobbly and insured deposits make up a big chunk of annual GDP (see chart). It's Not Just Reggie Warning Irishmen Anymore As Irish Presidency of the European Council Says Capital At Risk Kiss Those Euros Goodbye Allegations of Fraud, 20% Drop In Stock Price, Market Manipulations, Internal Investigations: Nothing To See Here, Move On...
The G-20 is the world’s premier forum for economic cooperation – where Leaders representing economies generating more than 80 percent of global GDP assemble around the table to address the world’s most important and difficult economic challenges. This year’s St. Petersburg G-20 Summit – the seventh that President Obama has attended since taking office – has reaffirmed the G-20’s leadership as the premier forum at which the major countries coordinate their economic policies to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth and to address global challenges that no country can tackle alone. This year, G-20 Leaders were united in the belief that promoting growth and creating better-quality jobs is their top economic policy priority. Leaders also agreed on a number of specific steps to strengthen the global economy, address climate change, fill holes in the international tax system, expand trade, strengthen nuclear industry liability, improve workplace safety, combat corruption, and promote global development. Among the most significant agreements were: to phase down the production and consumption of a potent category of greenhouse gases (hydrofluorocarbons) through the Montreal Protocol, a mechanism with a proven track record of success. to work together to address international tax evasion, to fix tax rules that allow multinational companies to avoid paying tax anywhere, and to support efforts by less developed countries to strengthen their revenue collection. to achieve a strong multilateral trade agreement this December, with trade facilitation at its core, and to extend the standstill on protectist trade measures for an additional two years through 2016. Building a Stronger Global Economy through Jobs and Growth The St. Petersburg Summit marks another milestone in the recovery from the global financial crisis that first erupted five years ago this month. Thanks in part to decisive action by the G-20, this Summit was the first in several years not to take place under the looming threat of financial crisis; instead, G-20 Leaders were focused on securing and deepening the gains we have made – and the key role of growth and jobs in this effort. Crucially, the United States is a source of strength for the global economy because we’ve focused on creating jobs and growth. All told, our businesses have created a total of 7.5 million new jobs over the past 42 months. We have cleared away the rubble of the financial crisis and put in place new rules to strengthen our banks and reduce the chance of another financial crisis. At the same time, the United States is getting its fiscal house in order, with deficits falling at the fastest rate in 60 years. Yet, even given this progress, both at home and around the world, G-20 Leaders came to St. Petersburg mindful of the challenges that remain – and reached a consensus on how to proceed, agreeing that our focus needs to be on creating the growth and jobs that put people back to work. They agreed to a St. Petersburg Action Plan with growth and job creation at its core: Focusing on job creation. All G-20 countries will present jobs plans at next year’s G-20 Summit in Brisbane. Reinforcing economic stability in Europe. The Euro Area committed to strengthen the foundations for economic and monetary union, including through further efforts to strengthen bank balance sheets, reduce financial fragmentation and moving ahead decisively and without delay toward a banking union. Advanced G-20 countries also agreed to maintain a flexible approach in implementing their fiscal strategies, while remaining committed to sustainable public finances. Managing emerging market volatility. Facing increased financial volatility, emerging economies agreed to take the necessary actions to maintain stability – including efforts to improve their economic fundamentals, increase resilience to external shocks, and strengthen financial systems. Coordinating reforms to promote growth. All G-20 nations committed to cooperate to ensure that policies implemented to support growth at home will also support global growth and financial stability and to push ahead more urgently with important structural reforms, in order to strengthen the foundations for long-term growth. Rebalancing the global economy. All G-20 nations reiterated their commitment to move more rapidly toward more market-determined exchange rate systems and exchange-rate flexibility. Confronting Climate Change Addressing Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). G-20 Leaders committed to using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. This commitment marks an important step forward toward addressing HFCs – highly potent greenhouse gases that are rapidly increasing in use – through the proven mechanism of the Montreal Protocol. Phasing down HFCs would yield enormous climate benefits, reducing as much as 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent between now and 2050, or roughly two years of global greenhouse gas emissions at current levels. Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Building on the commitment made at the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit in 2009 to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsides, G-20 Leaders agreed on the methodology for a new peer-review process of fossil fuel subsidies, an important step in combatting climate change: the International Energy Agency estimates that eliminating subsidies – which amount to more than $500 billion annually – would lead to a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below business-as-usual by 2050. Building Stronger International Tax Standards Fighting tax evasion. G-20 Leaders committed to fight cross-border tax evasion, requiring financial institutions to learn where their customers are resident for tax purposes and report that information to tax authorities. This measure will help to stop tax cheats from hiding their money in foreign bank accounts. The G-20 committed to make automatic exchange of information between tax authorities – based on the U.S. FATCA legislation – the single, new global standard, with automatic exchange of information expected to begin by the end of 2015. Ending tax avoidance. G-20 Leaders endorsed an ambitious action plan to change national tax rules that encourage multinational companies to shift their profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions, allowing them not to pay tax on much of their income. Opening Doors to Greater Global Trade Supporting a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. With its support for a strong outcome at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, with a trade facilitation agreement at its core, G-20 Leaders reaffirmed the significance of the WTO to the multilateral trading system. Combating protectionism. Protectionist trade barriers weaken trade and investment. That is why the G-20 Leaders committed to extending their commitment to refrain from protectionist measures for two more years through 2016. Establishing a Global Nuclear Liability Regime Recognizing that countries may opt for nuclear power as a part of their energy mix, G-20 Leaders called for a commitment to nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation and reiterated the call for the establishment of a global nuclear liability regime to ensure appropriate and swift compensation for nuclear damage in the case of a nuclear accident. Improving Global Labor Conditions Given the recurring loss to human life across the world on account of unsafe working places, G-20 Leaders directed the G-20 Task Force on Employment to partner with ILO in consultation with countries, and to consider how the G-20 might contribute to safer workplaces. Strengthening Global Anti-Corruption Efforts G-20 Leaders endorsed a number of anti-corruption initiatives: Beneficial Ownership: The G-20 endorsed action to ensure greater transparency about shell companies, which can be misused to facilitate illicit financial flows stemming from corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering. Mutual Legal Assistance: To facilitate cooperation, G-20 countries adopted high-level principles on mutual legal assistance. These will be implemented in accordance with each country’s legal system. Foreign Bribery: To promote better business environments, the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group finalized two sets of principles on enforcing anti-bribery commitments and on addressing solicitation of bribes. Asset Recovery: To facilitate the return of moneys taken though the proceeds of corruption, G-20 countries agreed to assess their laws and procedures against high level asset recovery principles and to produce publicly available guides on their asset recovery regimes – inspired by a U.S.-led G-8 initiative. Promoting Global Development, Food Security, and Public Health Development. The G-20 set the course for its future work on core development priorities: food security, financial inclusion and remittances, infrastructure, human resource development and domestic resource mobilization. Leaders expressed their strong support for the elaboration of a post-2015 development agenda. Food Security. In 2013, the G-20 held the Second Meeting of Chief Agricultural Scientists (MACS) to improve global food security. The MACS works to strengthen collaborative research in priority areas and to intensify sustainable agricultural production to meet the world’s increasing demands for healthy, safe and nutritious food. The G-20’s Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is generating greater food market transparency and coordination of policies in response to market uncertainty. Global Public Health. To respond to the human and economic threat of emerging infectious diseases, including current H7N9 Influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, the G-20 called upon countries to improve rapid and effective responses to public health threats and to strengthening compliance with the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations.
UK Only Article: standard article Issue: Fight this war, not the last one Fly Title: Central Asia and its Russian dependence Rubric: Russia attempts to draw Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan back into its orbit Location: BISHKEK AND DUSHANBE Main image: Going back for more Going back for more PICK a village in either of the former Soviet Union’s two poorest and frailest successor states, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, and the chances are you will not find many men about. It is not that they are busy in some workshop. Rather, they have left for Russia. According to the World Bank, Tajikistan is more dependent on remittances than any other country in the world. Last year migrant workers sent home the equivalent of 47% of Tajikistan’s GDP. Perhaps half of working-age males are abroad, most in Russia. Kyrgyzstan is third in the World Bank’s rankings, behind Liberia. One-fifth of its workforce are migrant workers. The economic dependence of ...
UK Only Article: standard article Issue: Fight this war, not the last one Fly Title: Central Asia and its Russian dependence Rubric: Russia attempts to draw Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan back into its orbit Location: BISHKEK AND DUSHANBE Main image: Going back for more Going back for more PICK a village in either of the former Soviet Union’s two poorest and frailest successor states, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, and the chances are you will not find many men about. It is not that they are busy in some workshop. Rather, they have left for Russia. According to the World Bank, Tajikistan is more dependent on remittances than any other country in the world. Last year migrant workers sent home the equivalent of 47% of Tajikistan’s GDP. Perhaps half of working-age males are abroad, most in Russia. Kyrgyzstan is third in the World Bank’s rankings, behind Liberia. One-fifth of its workforce are migrant workers. The economic dependence of ...
Harald Uhlig, 5 September 2013EZ banks are more exposed to their own nation’s government bonds than ever. This column argues that Eurozone members can now afford to tell their banks to diversify, but pressure from Germany, Austria, France and the ECB might be necessary. Defusing the pernicious entanglement between the Eurozone’s weak banks and weak sovereigns would reduce the cost of any new crisis and reduce the likelihood of such a crisis occurring.Full Article: Sovereign default risk and banks in Europe’s monetary union
Authored by Lars Seier Christensen, CEO Saxo Bank; via his blog at TradingFloor.com, Merkel's Lack of Vision Is The Achilles Heel Of Europe I have met a number of politicians over the years, but lately it has dawned on me that very few of them are seriously prepared to stand up for their beliefs, if indeed they have any. I can just about recall a time long ago when things seemed slightly different; nowadays, politics is all about solving day-to-day problems and following opinion polls on what voters are prepared to tolerate, rather than leadership and fundamental personal integrity. Ideologies and courage have been consigned to the past and, as I see it, Europe’s Achilles’ heel is the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto leader of the EU, and her lack of vision for the single-currency bloc. Her lack of vision stands as a striking contrast to the emotional feelings that dominated much of post-war European political thinking. I, for one, believe a more rational approach could have saved us from the mess we are in, but declaring that the EU should be winning the global economic race, which is one reason why Germany wants to keep Britain in the EU, is not a vision. It’s a rational goal I support, but one we won’t reach unless we come up with a new, realistic vision for Europe in the 21st century. When Saxo Bank opened its new office in Prague in May 2009, my staff requested a private meeting with then president Václav Klaus. Our application was granted and, a few months later, we sat in a car en route to the beautiful presidential palace with its air of faded grandeur. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain – and even long before that and under particularly difficult circumstances – Václav Klaus has been a beacon for freedom and for confronting state abuse and injustice. President Klaus is a man well worth meeting if you believe in liberalism and capitalism, as I do. During our meeting, we discussed the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis that was well under way, although few had noticed it at that point. We agreed that the biggest practical challenge facing the EU beyond any comparison – the problem at the root of all other problems and the reason why the EU is moving in the direction of economic disaster and increasingly seems to be neglecting the democratic process – is the common currency: the euro. When president Klaus last year published his English edition of Europe – The Shattering of Illusions about his frustrations with the current situation in Europe, I did not hesitate to publish it in Danish and promote it wherever I could. The book discusses the institutional developments in Europe from the Second World War to the Eurozone debt crisis and it assesses the current phase of instability, which he calls “the interim phase”. It is essential reading for anyone who cares for Europe, as I do. President Klaus’ main point is that if Europe wants to restart its economic development, it has to undertake a fundamental transformation and for that to happen, we need a bold new vision for our continent. The idea of a common currency in Europe goes way back, even before the European Economic Community (EEC). It was discussed before the Second World War by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. Back then, it was just a grandiose vision. The Werner Report in 1970 finally put it on the agenda of the EEC. Even though the euro is the root of most of the EU’s problems, the idea of a common currency to any seemed impressive, ambitious and logical. If you could create a comprehensive economic and monetary union with a population bigger than that of the US, then that would also be reflected by the international political power. One should not underestimate the fact that more political influence had been a dream for European politicians for decades. As in many other aspects of the EU, large parts of the common currency project were driven by European politicians’ feeling of inferiority compared with the US and Russia and later, the real or potential superpowers like China, India and the Middle East. The central problem, however, is that the majority of European citizens do not have any desire to create a political union, which must be the foundation for a monetary union. The citizens of wealthy countries did not want to give up their national identity and they did not want to see their economic achievements become part of a collective pool. In this construction, solidarity with poorer countries cemented their position as permanent contributors. Personally, I side with the independent trait displayed by proud citizens of strong individual nation states linked together by free trade and economic prosperity rather than by a monstrously strong and increasingly undemocratic bureaucracy in Brussels. Not surprisingly, the greatest enthusiasm for the original Euro proposition has been expressed by economically weaker countries. They saw considerable advantages in such a system, but without being ready to throw their national states or traditional policies overboard. But the EU is not a horn of plenty from which all the wealth just keeps coming without the need to demonstrate one deserves to be on the receiving end. The European politicians knew well enough that a foundation in the shape of a political and financial union was a necessary precondition for a well-functioning common currency. There was no shortage of warning voices in the final days of the creation of the EMU. But even if it was obvious for some, the European heads of state and government chose to get the project started with a foundation as weak as a sandcastle at the edge of the beach. They did this, expecting to be covered by an extra appropriation bill, or – as it turned out later – with a hidden agenda, by creating this foundation piece by piece, without caring much to ask the European populations. That process is also being continued relentlessly in countries like Denmark, which are not even members of the Eurozone. But politicians just want a more wide-ranging integration than many citizens are ready for. To be loyal towards the rulers in Brussels and disloyal towards your own population often equals a great job and plenty of distinctions and stars, along with the illusion of political significance among your friends. But what is the true problem with a common currency when it sounds so practical and meaningful to avoid exchange expenses and rate risks, and when it created a strong central bank that could play an international role? By joining a common currency, countries waive some of the important tools that their national central banks normally would have at their disposal. The most obvious tool is the option to adjust currency rates either through devaluation or revaluation or to leave the rates to the financial markets, which is the norm for most other asset classes. The second important tool is the option to adjust economic trends by short-term interest rates. Both these adjustment triggers are critically important and their absence carries the seed of potential disaster for any area or country if there is no agreement that the occurrence of inequalities can be regulated in a different way. This could be common bonds, fiscal transfers and so on – just think of what happens within national states. Lolland for example, one of the islands in Denmark, would be in dire straits if it had to find financing for projects in international markets. But as a fully integrated part of Denmark and with national money transfers, its problems are being resolved smoothly. If you imagine a Europe constructed as a national state, many of the problems would be resolved – although the overall economy hardly would be something to brag about. But it requires former independent national states to accept the same role as a little Danish island, while the more prosperous areas in Europe must be willing to take on the same responsibility as Denmark with a weaker area in its national state. We are far from having achieved this situation. In addition, the movement of products, services and labour cannot be compared with how this is done within the borders of a national state. Language, education, culture and geographical distances make it a much more difficult task in a European context. Merkel’s mentor, Helmut Kohl, the great re-unification chancellor, believed one could draw a political line under Europe’s fractured history, with economics playing a much lesser role. “Das Mädchen”, as Kohl used to call her, fortunately lacks this naïve approach to the EU. She is definitely not a girl any more, but has developed a very pragmatic approach to the EU and for that reason socialistic, France calls her “Madame Non”. Merkel has said “nein” to centralised EU economic governance, “nein” to a permanent bailout mechanism and “nein” to the idea of euro bonds, which she called “economically wrong and counterproductive”. Her handling of the euro crisis explains the French disenchantment with Europe, which was revealed in a Gallup and Pew Research Center poll in May 2013. When former European Commission president Jacques Delors, who presided over the creation of the euro, regaled a Socialist gathering the following month, he attacked what he called a “punitive and alienating” Europe. Merkel’s Europe is not punitive and alienating. It’s fair. She wants the EU member states to follow rules and ensure Europe becomes more competitive. She is a problem-solver and there’s nothing wrong with solving concrete problems. However, politics is also about declaring new ideas and visions. It’s about setting an agenda instead of following a popular sentiment. Merkel has yet to do that. Germans are in no mood for change, the polls show. Merkel is likely to win the election on September 22. She will then stay the de facto leader of the EU and its future and disaster currency will be determined by this former research chemist. As I see it, the research is done. The verdict is out. We have to re-evaluate the EU.