EU finance ministers gathered in Brussels yesterday to formalise a timetable for the Greek government to reduce its budget deficit from 12.7% to 3% by 2012.
from FP Passport by Annie Lowrey
This weekend, the New York Times reported that Greece, in the midst of a massive economic crisis, had none other than Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs help it keep its books in the black with some creative financial maneuvers, such as selling away the rights to future lottery earnings.
from Social Europe Journal by Andrew Watt
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
Investigative reports by the New York Times and Der Spiegel have left Goldman Sachs and Greece squirming in the limelight. For at least fifteen years, the American investment bank has been helping Greece legally massage its public finances. The arrangement enabled Greece to keep its European partners happy without having to make tough fiscal decisions. Specifically, the bank created currency swaps that enabled debt issued in dollars or yen to be swapped for euro-denominated bonds that would be paid back at a later date. Sound fishy? Those on both sides of the Atlantic think so. From the New York Times:
The finance ministers of the EU on Tuesday ordered an ambitious austerity programme and strict budget controls for Greece. Commentators say it’s high time for a common economic policy for all EU members, and analyse reasons for the failure of Southern Europe’s economies.
he Greek economic meltdown can be turned to the advantage of both Turkey and Greece, observers have said, stressing the benefits of a possible solidarity visit to Greece by Turkish businessmen which might boost bilateral relations both politically and economically.
Smart states realise that to get anything done in the EU they need allies in all policy areas. If their priorities involve a significant amount of money they need to get a net contributor member state involved, Haughton argues.
A European Monetary Fund and governance mechanisms with bite would address the problems underlying the current crisis
The focus of critical attention that has long been on Italy?s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is now moving to the country?s political opposition. In May-June 2009, two publications – the newspaper La Repubblica and openDemocracy – responded to the latest scandals swirling around Berlusconi by posing a series of questions to him. ?Le dieci domande mai poste al Cavaliere? (14 May 2009) and ?Silvio Berlusconi: ten more questions? (1 June 2009) asked the prime minister to account (among other things) for his public behaviour over his relationships with young women, his conflicts of interest as media tycoon and political leader, his party?s selection of ?showgirl? candidates in the European elections, and his attacks on Italy?s judiciary and president.
As I have predicted, the negotiations around the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty), a step that would make the Union’s institutions liable to the European Court of Human Rights, are already creating controversies.
A relatively abundant, cheap and clean source of energy, natural gas is becoming an increasingly essential part of Europe’s energy mix, winning supporters for a variety of uses ranging from power generation, household heating and transport to fertiliser, plastics, and other manufacturing products.
from Social Europe Journal by Gary Titley
In August 2009 the European Commission published the Communication:
by Katinka Barysch
Unbundling the supply of energy from its transport, moving Europe towards a low-carbon energy system, and getting the Nabucco pipeline built ? these were the priorities of the last energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. His successor, Günther Oettinger, will write his own to-do list. The EU now has a dedicated climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegard, with whom Oettinger will have to work closely. When it comes to the EU?s internal energy market and security of supply, Oettinger will also have to rethink.
Amid steady growth in air traffic and related polluting emissions, the aerospace industry is rolling up its sleeves to ensure that the sector grows in a carbon-neutral manner as of 2020.
from Social Europe Journal by Henning Meyer