Top officials from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the EU held emergency meetings over the weekend to prevent bank and insurance giant Fortis from becoming the eurozone’s first major victim of the global financial crisis.
by Charles Grant
Those who never liked ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism are feeling smug. Marxists, fans of ‘Rhineland’ capitalism and those who simply cannot stand American power are crowing. “The US will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system,” says Peer Steinbruck, Germany’s finance minister. “Self-regulation is finished, laisser faire is finished, the idea of an all powerful market which is always right is finished,” says France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The British academic (and sometime fan of Margaret Thatcher) John Gray proclaims that “in a change as far-reaching in its implications as the fall of the Soviet Union, an entire model of the government and the economy has collapsed.”
The ongoing global economic crisis will impact on Turkey’s economy but thanks to its strength it will overcome this turbulence, the prime minister said Sunday in his address to the nation.
Now that the global financial crisis seems to have reached a climax, experts from across Europe are asking whether capitalism as we know it has outlived its usefulness. Is it time for a new international economic order?
By Henning Meyer
The Social Democratic Party of Austria and the Austrian People’s Party, which together made up the country’s grand coalition government which collapsed in July, have suffered major losses in early parliamentary elections. By contrast the Freedom Party of Austria and the Alliance for the Future of Austria, both right-wing populistic groups, received 30 percent of the vote. What are the causes and consequences of Austria’s shift to the right?
Short version: for the last two years, Austria has been run by a “grand coalition” government of the two largest parties, the Social Democrats and the center-right People’s Party. Everybody hated this arrangement, though, and it didn’t get much done. So they called new elections, which were held yesterday.
Result: both large parties got hammered badly. The Social Democrats seem to have dropped from about 36% to 30%, and the People’s Party from 35% to 26%. (Ironically, it was the People’s Party that pulled the plug on the coalition last month.)
Nobody likes the European Parliament, and that’s probably why everyone had such low expectations about the “telecoms package” it was meant to pass. There was all kinds of horrible gunk in there – the French government, for a start, had outsourced its policy to the owner of a chain of record shops, who decided that all ISPs should be required to cut off service to anyone they were told was downloading illegal music. Then, for some reason, British Conservative MEPs joined in; it looked like we were on our way to a continent-wide mandate for deep packet inspection, with various horrible lobbies getting access to the take.
As water shortages in developing countries become more acute due to climate change, the EU is backing policies to manage the demands of all sectors, prioritising health, sanitation and cooperation between states.
A few months ago the European Blogosphere (well, the eurosceptics, especially) was going haywire over a mere report by an Estonian Member of European Parliament, Marianne Mikko. The relevant text of her report read:
(Recital) O. whereas weblogs are an increasingly common medium for self-expression by media professionals as well as private persons, the status of their authors and publishers, including their legal status, is neither determined nor made clear to the readers of the weblogs, causing uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits,
The victory of the Social Democrats in the general elections on Sunday (28 September) was overshadowed by the resurgence of the extreme right, with the two populist parties virtually holding a near-majority in the new parliament.
Scandinavian countries’ much-praised flexicurity concept still serves as a guiding example for other European countries. But its failure to integrate the low-skilled is often overlooked, according to a senior advisor to the Danish Employment Confederation.