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Distilled Geography: Europe?s Alcohol Belts from Strange Maps

It matters where we are, for it helps determine who we are. Or, as the quote often attributed to Napoleon states: Geography is destiny. That destiny extends to drink, as demonstrated by this map. Where we are determines to a statistically significant degree what kind of alcohol we prefer. Or is it the other way around: the kind of alcohol preferred is determined by the place where it is produced?…….

And It?s A Bailout?..

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

Well, it?s not fully official yet, and all the fine print certainly isn?t written and signed, but the will is now clearly there, and where there?s a will, there?s a way, especially when you have the global financial markets breathing down your necks. The first one out of the box was the Economist?s Charlemagne, earlier this afternoon.

Greece rejects bailout as eurozone worries grow

from EurActiv.com
The deterioration of Greek public finances has reignited speculation that Athens might need financial aid from the European Union to service its debt. However, there is no clear procedure for bailing out a eurozone member.

Greece suffers from ‘credibility deficit’

from FT.com – World, Europe
The real problem dogging Athens is its ‘credibility deficit’: that few investors believe what the prime minister has to say, either about the economy or the Chinese

Mounting fears over Greek economy

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Mounting fears over Greece’s ability to pay off its debts continue to hit the financial markets.

Greek tragedy is not yet inevitable

from FT.com – World, Europe
Time is running out for Athens to prove its resolve in cutting its massive deficit. It must immediately invite an auditing team to assess its accounts, lest investors flee in fear of more buried bodies

After Greece, and Portugal, Does Spain Come Next?

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

Well, the Spanish government are due to announce their 2009 fiscal deficit number this morning, together with their adjustment plan for reducing the annual fiscal deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2013. This rather distasteful news will be presented to the Spanish people later in the same day on which they opened their morning newspapers to discover that they were all going to have to work two years longer – no crisis comes free – since the Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho has announced that the retirement age will be raised from 65 to 67 (in two-month-per-year installments) between now and 2025.

Spain unveils radical austerity measures

from FT.com – World, Europe
The country’s Socialist government has announced radical austerity measures aimed at shrinking the budget deficit by almost ?50bn between now and 2013

Growing opposition against EU-USA SWIFT or TFTP agreement

by Grahnlaw

Active opposition against the so called SWIFT agreement on the rendition of financial data from the European Union to the United States of America seems to be growing among experts, in the European Parliament and beyond.

Euro credibility at stake in Greek economic crisis

from Blogactiv

We?ve heard a lot about banks that are ?too big to fail?. Perhaps a more immediate question is whether the sovereign nation of Greece is too big to fail. The risk of default and the threat of Greece quitting the eurozone would have profound implications for Europe?s monetary union, for other European countries wrestling with

Spain: a country profile
Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

Introduction:
Spain took over the European Union?s six-month Presidency from Sweden on 1 January 2010. This report aims to present an overview of the Spanish labour market and industrial relations system, mainly using research findings from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

To bail out or not to bail out, that is the question

Open Europe blog team

As Greece’s troubles continue (save yesterday’s temporary boost), the debate on whether the EU Treaties legally allow the EU to bail out one of its member states rages on. On his blog, the FT’s EU correspondent Tony Barber claims that the “EU possesses the legal power to rescue Greece if necessary.”

For what it’s worth, we’re not convinced it does, although there is so much ambiguity in the EU Treaties that it’s probably going to be a case of ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

Why I am Euroblogging in English

by Julien Frisch

I started to write a blog post in German, and then I erased everything because it didn’t sound right.

The reason I even though about blogging in German was this request by Europaeum yesterday:

Außerdem wünsche ich mir von den vielen Euroblogs noch mehr Mut, auch in der eigenen Sprache zu bloggen und damit die Euroblubble wenigstens ein Wenig aufzustechen.

For those not familiar with German: Europaeum is hoping for a little more courage by eurobloggers to blog in their mother tongue in oder to puncture the eurobubble.

4th Data Protection Day 28 January 2010 in Europe

by Grahnlaw

On the fourth Data Protection Day the Council of Europe issued a communication highlighting the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Strasbourg, 28.I.1981).

ridiculously generous

by Open Europe blog team

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Budget Committee voted on Wednesday to award themselves an extra ?1,500 in cash and to hire an additional 150 staff. MEPs say they’re in desperate need of more money because the Lisbon Treaty is now in force which means more work for them. In total, MEPs can already cash in on some £360,000 year in pay and allowances. For most people this seem like an incredibly generous amount – but not for the MEPs themselves apparently. The increase will cost taxpayers an extra ?13.3 million a year and send the EP’s total annual budget past the ?1.6 billion mark.

Burqa rule

by NICOLE POPE
A French parliamentary committee set up to study the burqa, or full facial veil, has just delivered its conclusions after months of research and hundreds of interviews.

Pipeline politics: Why Nabucco is stuck

from Centre for European Reform by Centre for European Reform

by Katinka Barysch

Last year, plans for the Nabucco pipeline ? almost a decade in the making ? appeared finally to make some headway. In March, the EU earmarked ?200 million for preparatory work. The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development promised to help with financing the ?10 billion cost. In July, the countries through which the 3,000 km pipeline will run (Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey) signed a long-awaited ?intergovernmental agreement? on transit rules. Ratification of the IGA has been plodding along. Meanwhile, the six energy companies (from the transit states and Germany) that form the Nabucco consortium continued to look for gas to fill the pipeline. Two of them are trying to get involved in a big gas project in northern Iraq and another one in Turkmenistan. The EU started looking at the idea of aggregating European gas contracts through a ?Caspian development corporation? to get the likes of Turkmenistan interested in selling large volumes of gas westwards.

Can Euroland Survive?

Source: Levy Economics Institute at Bard College

Social unrest across Europe is growing as Euroland?s economy collapses faster than the United States?, the result of falling exports and a weaker fiscal response. The controversial title of this brief is based on a belief that the nature of the euro itself limits Euroland?s fiscal policy space. The nations that have adopted the euro face ?market-imposed? fiscal constraints on borrowing because they are not sovereign countries. Research Associate Stephanie A. Kelton and Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray foresee a real danger that these nations will be unable to prevent an accelerating slide toward depression that will threaten the existence of the European Union.

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