Last week, three associations of Dutch pension funds’ issued a quite startling warning to the Dutch Parliament: “If interest rates remain so low” they said “the the entire pensions system will be undermined?, adding that insurers could take a serious hit as well.
The previous blog post mentioned the European Day of Languages, which is celebrated each 26 September.
Officially organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union, the purpose of the EDL is to inspire you to learn a foreign language.
In an internal document the EU Commission has expressed doubts about the lawfulness of France’s repatriation of Roma to Bulgaria and Romania. Commentators praise Brussels’ criticisms of the French expulsions but find they don’t go far enough.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
We do not know if the EU Commissioners gathered in Val Duchesse agreed to shred Viviane Reding?s communication plan and decided to enter the fascinating world of 21st century communication instead, but we do know that we saw both disquieting and promising signs around the time of the Commission?s seminar retreat.
How is the European Union responding to public opinion and media trends?
Conducted during the triple crisis ? financial sector, economy and eurozone – Eurobarometer 73, Public opinion in the European Union (First results) recorded sinking support for what the EU has actually achieved, but possibly clear acceptance of future EU level action to sort out the economic mess and to promote job creation.
The media roundup of the EU-wide opinion poll, Eurobarometer, revealed four strands of news reporting and commentary: Stress on economic challenges, or plunging support for EU membership, scepticism towards public opinion polls like Eurobarometer, and available in ten languages on Presseurop Marco Zatterin?s possible synthesis of citizens? expectations and lack of delivery by EU institutions.
By Philip Whyte
The German economy has been growing exceptionally strongly of late. In the second quarter of 2010, it expanded faster than any other economy in the G7 and faster than at any time since the country?s reunification in 1990. Industrial output is surging. The rate of unemployment has been declining for over a year and is now well below the eurozone average (let alone levels in the US). Consumer spending and business investment are picking up ? and households and firms are generally less burdened with debt than their counterparts in highly leveraged economies like the UK and the US. Germany, in short, seems to have emerged strongly from the Great Recession. Indeed, some observers think it has entered a self-sustained recovery ? and that it is starting to act as Europe?s ?growth locomotive?.
Today the German government passed key measures in its austerity package first announced back in June. The stated aim is to ensure compliance with the bizarre new constitutional clause ? the so-called debt-brake ? requiring a balanced (structural) budget by 2016 at the latest and to get below the Maastricht 3% deficit limit by 2013. It is a sad day for the already disadvantaged in Germany and also for Europe.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
Has Berlusconi reached the end of the road?
Italians, as the Romans before them, have never really taken their Gods seriously. Even the Greek deities, with all their psychological complexities, were rather trivialized when they entered the Roman Olympus, losing most of their awe-inspiring qualities and becoming, rather, paternal (or maternal) figures ? with occasional, conveniently timed, miraculous manifestations – to whom one could entrust one?s health, prosperity or loved ones. Indeed, their qualities greatly resembled those attributed to present day Saints in Italy, keeping in mind in the particularly pagan-oriented Catholicism of most Italians.
Spain?s EU harmonised seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate (which is the interesting number) went up again in July, according to the latest data from Eurostat. It rose to 20.3% from 20.2% in June.
The current generation of policymakers seem to be like Captains of large ocean liners, out there on the high seas, bereft of either compass or adequate charts, trying hard to calm there worried passengers by telling them nothing is amiss. But the charts are there, if only they would look at them, and in the present Spanish case, unlike the old refrain, the future is ours to see, and it has a name: Germany.
Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen was a German baron born in Bodenwerder in the eighteenth century. Made famous by the Hollywood director Terrence Gilliam, the baron first came to public attention for his ability to recount outrageously tall tales about his adventures while fighting abroad in the Russian army. Among the astounding feats which legend attributes to him are riding cannonballs and travelling to the Moon. But perhaps his best known marvel is the story of how he managed to escape from a swamp by pulling himself out by his own hair (or by his bootstraps, depending on who tells the story). Which puts me directly in mind of the way some people are now expecting an export-dependent German economy to drag the rest of Europe ? and with it the whole global train ? up and out of the ditch in which it is currently sunk, simply by exporting to everbody else. Sounds just like one of those tall tales, doesn?t it. A very tall one.
Not seen on the newswires from the Federal Reserve retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming ?
?The world of economics was rocked to its foundations yesterday when European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet urged countries to run huge structural budget deficits and massively pro-cyclical fiscal policy while creating huge contingent liabilities in their financial sectors.?