Author Topic: Why Europe Keeps Failing........ merged with "EU Seizes Cypriot Bank Accounts"  (Read 557580 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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A realignment in the stars?

Quote
Poland is ready to drop its fierce opposition to David Cameron's welfare plans if he supports a call to permanently base Nato troops in the country.
In a potentially significant breakthrough for the British government, Witold Waszczykowski, the Polish foreign minister, said he is “of course” willing to consider a bargain over a proposed ban on European migrants claiming in-work benefits.
In exchange, Poland wants Britain to back the permanent basing of Nato troops in the country to deter Russian aggression.
The issue will be discussed at a Nato summit in Warsaw in July.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/12079354/Poland-ready-to-offer-David-Cameron-EU-welfare-deal-in-exchange-for-Nato-bases.html





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Offline Thucydides

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In the Migrants to Europe thread, there was some speculation about Russia either sponsoring or opportunistically formenting migrant problems such as lawlessness and rape. Now more evidence seems to be surfaxcing of other hostile regimes working to destabilize Europe by intervening in electoral politics and funding media. We have some experience ourselves; the 2011 election featured a group named AVAAS, which has funding and ties to the US political group Moveon.org, and Vivian Krause has documented US groups like the Tides Foundation funneling money to Canadian lobby groups in attempts to cripple Alberta's oil industry. Still, this is disturbing, since these activities also feature in military doctrines such as 4GW, Unrestricted Warfare and Hybrid War:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/01/13/was-podemos-funded-by-iran/

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Was Podemos Funded by Iran?

Spanish police are looking into a claim that the leftwing populist party Podemos received €5 million from Iran in the run-up to this fall’s elections. The Local.es reports:
 
According to a report in the Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial, Podemos is alleged to have received some €5 million ($5.4 million) from media companies administered in Spain by Iranian regime-linked businessman and academic Mahmoud Alizadeh Azimi.
El Confidencial alleged that the companies concerned inflated sums paid to firms linked to Podemos for broadcasting services. And that the cash was channelled to the organization from Iran through third countries including Dubai and Malaysia.

Nothing has been proven. Yet, were this to be so, it would not be entirely out of character: A WSJ profile has shown that Podemos has deep albeit non-financial links to the Venezuelan regime. Furthermore, European radicals and leftists in general increasingly look toward anti-U.S. nations for leadership. (This is in some ways a weak echo of how Western European communist parties would look to the U.S.S.R.) Tom Gallagher has written recently in these pages about the Scottish National Party’s recent embrace of Iran, while ties between populist parties on both the far-Left and far-Right to Vladmir Putin are well-documented.

So, on the one hand, an outright gift of money on this scale from Iran to a Western political party would be something new; on the other, it would make sense given current, troubling trends. This is definitely something American officials need to keep an eye on. Europe is far from out of the woods, and it’s a realistic possibility that before the euro, refugee, and economic crises are resolved, somewhere, a third party will win. And if or when a party like Podemos sits in control of a NATO or EU country, we need to know about what ties like these may exist—and how deep they go.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Offline Jed

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As the old man used to say: " I used to be a coyote, but I'm alright nooooOOOOWWW!"

Offline Chris Pook

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I don't think we need to go there Jed.

I don't think this "empire" will last that long and it will certainly never develop enough coherence to develop a single course of action.  It is not even amoebic.  It is slime.

The eurozone is likely to go the way of  the Latin Monetary Union (1865 - 1914) and the Zollverein

Unfortunately the Zollverein led to the Prussian Empire and World War 1.  That in turn killed off the Latin Monetary Union. Which necessitated WW1, which resulted in the Weimar, which resulted in Hitler, which resulted in WW2, which resulted in the European  Monetary Union......

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Offline Chris Pook

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Illiberalism.

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Authoritarianism is the norm in France

The indefinite extension of police powers is viewed as the price that has to be paid for better security


French soldiers patrol on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris  Photo: EPA

By Anne-Elisabeth Moutet7:35PM GMT 25 Jan 2016

Something strange is happening here in Paris. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has declared that France’s State of Emergency – announced after the terror attacks last November – will be extended for “as long as is necessary” to destroy Islamic State.
This is strong stuff. Under these special dispensations, police can listen to a suspect’s telephone conversations without getting a magistrate’s authorisation; searches and seizures of terrorist suspects’ houses are allowed day and night without judicial oversight; and censorship of the media is, in theory, possible.

Anyone looking at France as a bastion of liberal thought and a freedom-loving society would be aghast. But they are missing the point. The famous événements in May 1968 may have seen a full month of happy rioting, a general strike, and a great deal of grandstanding, from the Sorbonne university in the Latin Quarter to the Renault factories in Billancourt and Flins .
But when General de Gaulle flew by helicopter back to Paris after checking on the Army on the Rhine to restore order, one million people marched up the Champs-Elysées in his support – just as, almost two centuries earlier, the turmoil of the French Revolution ended in a neat, bloodless coup by one Napoleon Bonaparte, whose popularity remains intact.

In 1963, General de Gaulle signed the Élysée Treaty, enshrining friendship with France’s former deadly enemy, Germany - Cameron can prove de Gaulle was right about us all along

When General de Gaulle returned to Paris after checking on the Army on the Rhine, one million people marched up the Champs-Elysées in his support 

The reality is that in France, authoritarianism is far from strange. It is the norm. The “events” of May 1968 may have started as a revolt against single-sex student lodgings at the Nanterre campus, and the free love slogans that followed endured over the years. But they did not change much in the way of civil liberties. It did not help that the Marxists who took over what Gramsci called the “superstructure” of France’s intellectual and cultural thought in the following decade had been shaped by doctrines from Communism, Maoism and Trotskyism, which if anything were even more illiberal.

"We French, by and large, like to see that our politicians do not overstep the boundaries."

Not for nothing has the Ministry of the Interior (a nice way to say the Police ministry) been the surest way to a great political career in France. Manuel Valls was first a tough-talking, popular Minister of the Interior. So was, famously, Nicolas Sarkozy. So were, in their time, Georges Clémenceau, François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac, and many more, including, famously, the Socialist Jules Moch, who ordered the army to shoot striking miners in the winter of 1948.

But a taste for authoritarianism does not equal a delight in dictatorship. We French, by and large, like to see that our politicians do not overstep the boundaries. This is an elastic concept, I know, but the reality is that human rights and minority groups protest against the obvious profiling of suspects in public places; anti-discrimination legislation abounds; and several independent bodies guarantee a hearing to victims who feel they’ve not been well served by the regular courts.

Still, it is all but accepted in France that the security services – DGRI (the equivalent of MI5) and DOSE (MI6) – quietly operate with a ruthlessness unknown in countries where greater public scrutiny is the rule. Back during the Bush presidency, the provisions of the Patriot Act were loudly decried in France, even though its main practices were already in use here. Indeed these practices were only given a formal legal basis after the Charlie Hebdo killings last January with a law which allows immediate personal data-hacking, listening in, and even re-forms a corps of agents specialised in breaking into suspects’ houses or cars – all “in the interests of France’s National Defence, foreign policy interests, major economic or scientific interests”.) Provisions are made for an independent authority supposed to control such practices, but only after the fact.

It sounds like an Orwellian nightmare, but the French, so far, don’t see it that way, even though following the Bataclan killings, more than a thousand searches made under State of Emergency provisions returned only two dozen illegal weapons, and produced fewer than 10 arrests. The homes of hundreds of Muslim suspects were wrecked, however. From abroad this may appear an unacceptable slide towards repressive regime rule, but the French are more disposed than you might think to pay a high price for security. After 1968, remember, De Gaulle was rewarded at the ensuing general election with a clear majority.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/12121116/Authoritarianism-is-the-norm-in-France.html

The Anglo-French divide.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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I rather thought the tweaks in Bill C-24 represented fine motor controls and improvements in lieu of provisions of the Emergencies Act, which in turn is a dramatic improvement over the War Measures Act.

If we haven't enough tools to deal with small problems with small impacts, we eventually will arrive at circumstances in which people demand the application of blunter tools to deal with escalating problems.

I don't have a well-thought-out solution to maintaining proportionality, but will just observe that a broad suspension of civil liberties is worse than sending packing someone who doesn't honour their contract of citizenship.  There can be no notion of a two-tier citizenship where no citizenship exists, and citizenship is nullified when the citizen breaches the contract.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Thucydides

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NATO continues to cut spending despite the rather alarming international situation (or even their own increasing issues at home with terrorism and economic migrants). The amount of work needed to reverse this situation will be astounding, and will probably have to be undertaken in the worst possible conditions (i.e. in an emergency with no time and no new economic growth to fund it):

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/01/29/nato-spending-still-shrinking/

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NATO Spending Still Shrinking

Despite the ongoing Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine and the conflicts in Syria and Libya that are driving millions of refugees into Europe, the European members of NATO still cut their defense spending overall last year. Reuters reports:

NATO’s defence spending as a share of economic output fell 1.5 percent in 2015, the sixth straight year of cuts, dragged down by a 12 percent decrease in Italy, the U.S.-led alliance said in its annual report.

The 2008/09 financial crisis and the ensuing euro zone crisis forced many NATO allies into drastic measures to reduce their budget deficits, leading to sometimes sharp cuts in defence spending.

But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the data showing total defence budget reductions outside the United States, which accounts for almost three-quarters of NATO military spending, fell just 0.3 percent last year. Overall, the alliance’s total cuts were the mildest in four years.

“We have started to move in the right direction,” Stoltenberg told a news conference, saying that 16 allies spent more on defence in real terms in 2015 and there was also an increase in spending on new equipment. “The cuts have now practically stopped among European allies and Canada.”

Stoltenberg is trying to spin this as good news. But after the Great Recession, many European NATO members treated their defense budgets as rainy-day funds and raided them heavily (Italy, for instance, cut defense spending by 28%.) Collectively, our European NATO allies shed the equivalent of the the entire German Army in troops. To get back up to scratch, even larger increase, in percentage terms, will be required. (Due to the laws of mathematics: think of what it would take to recover from a 28% drop in a stock portfolio.) Germany, for instance, recently mulled the kind of spending increase that would be required to get to the NATO target of 2% of GDP: an eye-watering 70% increase in its military budget.

As those German defense hearings indicate, there have been some signs recently that some European nations are waking up to the necessity of defense increases. But it is alarming to see the Italians still treating their military as optional, even as Libya burns across the Mediterranean, migrant boats come ashore every day, and, not to put too fine a point on it, America has made it clear it’s no longer willing to take care of every military problem that affects Europe. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to see “just” a 0.3% overall decline as anything to cheer.

It’s true that after President Obama, the next occupant of the White House will almost certainly be at least somewhat more proactive in the military crises (Ukraine, Syria, Libya) that are currently bedeviling Europe. But America will not just be able to wave a magic wand and make the problems go away. During the Cold War, the Europeans were a much stouter part of NATO than they are now, accounting for 50% of total spending, as opposed to approximately 30% presently. Now that history has returned, so too, sooner or later, must the measures all mature democracies take to defend themselves.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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The British prepare for a referendum on the EU, and now Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith write in favour of a "No" to the EU vote. From Instapundit:

Quote
A BREXIT PREFERENCE CASCADE? Boris Johnson exclusive: There is only one way to get the change we want – vote to leave the EU.
 
Related: Zac Goldsmith: EU referendum: The European Union has shown it is not willing to reform. It’s time for us to leave.
 
James Bennett emails: “Are we seeing a preference cascade for Brexit? Although many are already for it, of course, mostly they have been either old-line Tories or working-class marginal malcontents. Boris and Zac are part of the rich, well-connected, cosmopolitan London set which has always been presumed to be Europhiles. Watch this phenomenon.”
 
I think that when the EU ship set sail, it offered dazzling opportunities for graft and self-aggrandizement, free from tedious popular scrutiny and control. But now that it’s taking on water, the smarter members of the political class are scouting out the lifeboats.

His Worship the Mayor:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12167643/Boris-Johnson-there-is-only-one-way-to-get-the-change-we-want-vote-to-leave-the-EU.html

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Boris Johnson exclusive: There is only one way to get the change we want – vote to leave the EU
By Boris Johnson
6:55AM GMT 22 Feb 2016

I am a European. I lived many years in Brussels. I rather love the old place. And so I resent the way we continually confuse Europe – the home of the greatest and richest culture in the world, to which Britain is and will be an eternal contributor – with the political project of the European Union. It is, therefore, vital to stress that there is nothing necessarily anti-European or xenophobic in wanting to vote Leave on June 23.

And it is important to remember: it isn’t we in this country who have changed. It is the European Union. In the 28 years since I first started writing for this paper about the Common Market – as it was then still known – the project has morphed and grown in such a way as to be unrecognisable, rather as the vast new Euro palaces of glass and steel now lour over the little cobbled streets in the heart of the Belgian capital.

When I went to Brussels in 1989, I found well-meaning officials (many of them British) trying to break down barriers to trade with a new procedure – agreed by Margaret Thatcher – called Qualified Majority Voting. The efforts at harmonisation were occasionally comical, and I informed readers about euro-condoms and the great war against the British prawn cocktail flavour crisp. And then came German reunification, and the panicked efforts of Delors, Kohl and Mitterrand to “lock” Germany into Europe with the euro; and since then the pace of integration has never really slackened.

As new countries have joined, we have seen a hurried expansion in the areas for Qualified Majority Voting, so that Britain can be overruled more and more often (as has happened in the past five years). We have had not just the Maastricht Treaty, but Amsterdam, Nice, Lisbon, every one of them representing an extension of EU authority and a centralisation in Brussels. According to the House of Commons library, anything between 15 and 50 per cent of UK legislation now comes from the EU; and remember that this type of legislation is very special.

It is unstoppable, and it is irreversible – since it can only be repealed by the EU itself. Ask how much EU legislation the Commission has actually taken back under its various programmes for streamlining bureaucracy. The answer is none. That is why EU law is likened to a ratchet, clicking only forwards. We are seeing a slow and invisible process of legal colonisation, as the EU infiltrates just about every area of public policy. Then – and this is the key point – the EU acquires supremacy in any field that it touches; because it is one of the planks of Britain’s membership, agreed in 1972, that any question involving the EU must go to Luxembourg, to be adjudicated by the European Court of Justice.

It was one thing when that court contented itself with the single market, and ensuring that there was free and fair trade across the EU. We are now way beyond that stage. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the court has taken on the ability to vindicate people’s rights under the 55-clause “Charter of Fundamental Human Rights”, including such peculiar entitlements as the right to found a school, or the right to “pursue a freely chosen occupation” anywhere in the EU, or the right to start a business.

These are not fundamental rights as we normally understand them, and the mind boggles as to how they will be enforced. Tony Blair told us he had an opt-out from this charter.

Alas, that opt-out has not proved legally durable, and there are real fears among British jurists about the activism of the court. The more the EU does, the less room there is for national decision-making. Sometimes these EU rules sound simply ludicrous, like the rule that you can’t recycle a teabag, or that children under eight cannot blow up balloons, or the limits on the power of vacuum cleaners. Sometimes they can be truly infuriating – like the time I discovered, in 2013, that there was nothing we could do to bring in better-designed cab windows for trucks, to stop cyclists being crushed. It had to be done at a European level, and the French were opposed.

Sometimes the public can see all too plainly the impotence of their own elected politicians – as with immigration. That enrages them; not so much the numbers as the lack of control. That is what we mean by loss of sovereignty – the inability of people to kick out, at elections, the men and women who control their lives. We are seeing an alienation of the people from the power they should hold, and I am sure this is contributing to the sense of disengagement, the apathy, the view that politicians are “all the same” and can change nothing, and to the rise of extremist parties.

Democracy matters; and I find it deeply worrying that the Greeks are effectively being told what to do with their budgets and public spending, in spite of huge suffering among the population. And now the EU wants to go further. There is a document floating around Brussels called “The Five Presidents Report”, in which the leaders of the various EU institutions map out ways to save the euro. It all involves more integration: a social union, a political union, a budgetary union. At a time when Brussels should be devolving power, it is hauling more and more towards the centre, and there is no way that Britain can be unaffected.

David Cameron has done his very best, and he has achieved more than many expected. There is some useful language about stopping “ever-closer union” from applying to the UK, about protecting the euro outs from the euro ins, and about competition and deregulation.

There is an excellent forthcoming Bill that will assert the sovereignty of Parliament, the fruit of heroic intellectual labour by Oliver Letwin, which may well exercise a chilling effect on some of the more federalist flights of fancy of the court and the Commission. It is good, and right, but it cannot stop the machine; at best it can put a temporary and occasional spoke in the ratchet.

There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says No. The fundamental problem remains: that they have an ideal that we do not share. They want to create a truly federal union, e pluribus unum, when most British people do not.

It is time to seek a new relationship, in which we manage to extricate ourselves from most of the supranational elements. We will hear a lot in the coming weeks about the risks of this option; the risk to the economy, the risk to the City of London, and so on; and though those risks cannot be entirely dismissed, I think they are likely to be exaggerated. We have heard this kind of thing before, about the decision to opt out of the euro, and the very opposite turned out to be the case.

I also accept there is a risk that a vote to Leave the EU, as it currently stands, will cause fresh tensions in the union between England and Scotland. On the other hand, most of the evidence I have seen suggests that the Scots will vote on roughly the same lines as the English.

 We will be told that a Brexit would embolden Putin, though it seems to me he is more likely to be emboldened, for instance, by the West’s relative passivity in Syria.

Above all, we will be told that whatever the democratic deficiencies, we would be better off remaining in because of the “influence” we have. This is less and less persuasive to me. Only 4 per cent of people running the Commission are UK nationals, when Britain contains 12 per cent of the EU population. It is not clear why the Commission should be best placed to know the needs of UK business and industry, rather than the myriad officials at UK Trade & Investment or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

If the “Leave” side wins, it will indeed be necessary to negotiate a large number of trade deals at great speed. But why should that be impossible? We have become so used to Nanny in Brussels that we have become infantilised, incapable of imagining an independent future. We used to run the biggest empire the world has ever seen, and with a much smaller domestic population and a relatively tiny Civil Service. Are we really unable to do trade deals? We will have at least two years in which the existing treaties will be in force.

The real risk is to the general morale of Europe, and to the prestige of the EU project. We should take that seriously.

We should remember that this federalist vision is not an ignoble idea. It was born of the highest motives – to keep the peace in Europe. The people who run the various EU institutions – whom we like to ply with crass abuse – are, in my experience, principled and thoughtful officials. They have done some very good things: I think of the work of Sir Leon Brittan, for instance, as Competition Commissioner, and his fight against state aid.

They just have a different view of the way Europe should be constructed. I would hope they would see a vote to leave as a challenge, not just to strike a new and harmonious relationship with Britain (in which those benefits could be retained) but to recover some of the competitiveness that the continent has lost in the last decades.

Whatever happens, Britain needs to be supportive of its friends and allies – but on the lines originally proposed by Winston Churchill: interested, associated, but not absorbed; with Europe – but not comprised. We have spent 500 years trying to stop continental European powers uniting against us. There is no reason (if everyone is sensible) why that should happen now, and every reason for friendliness.

For many Conservatives, this has already been a pretty agonising business. Many of us are deeply internally divided, and we are divided between us. We know that we do not agree on the substance, but I hope we can all agree to concentrate on the arguments; to play the ball and not the man.

At the end of it all, we want to get a result, and then get on and unite around David Cameron – continuing to deliver better jobs, better housing, better health, education and a better quality of life for our constituents for whom (let’s be frank) the EU is not always the number one issue.

It is entirely thanks to the Prime Minister, his bravery and energy, and the fact that he won a majority Conservative government, that we are having a referendum at all. Never forget that if it were down to Jeremy Corbyn and the so-called People’s Party, the people would be completely frozen out.

This is the right moment to have a referendum, because as Europe changes, Britain is changing too. This is a truly great country that is now going places at extraordinary speed. We are the European, if not the world, leaders in so many sectors of the 21st-century economy; not just financial services, but business services, the media, biosciences, universities, the arts, technology of all kinds (of the 40 EU technology companies worth more than $1 billion, 17 are British); and we still have a dizzyingly fertile manufacturing sector.

Now is the time to spearhead the success of those products and services not just in Europe, but in growth markets beyond. This is a moment to be brave, to reach out – not to hug the skirts of Nurse in Brussels, and refer all decisions to someone else.

We have given so much to the world, in ideas and culture, but the most valuable British export and the one for which we are most famous is the one that is now increasingly in question: parliamentary democracy – the way the people express their power.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to vote for real change in Britain’s relations with Europe. This is the only opportunity we will ever have to show that we care about self-rule. A vote to Remain will be taken in Brussels as a green light for more federalism, and for the erosion of democracy.

In the next few weeks, the views of people like me will matter less and less, because the choice belongs to those who are really sovereign – the people of the UK. And in the matter of their own sovereignty the people, by definition, will get it right.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Because it worked so well the last time (see also US $15 trillion deficit spending):

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-86172145/

Quote
European Central Bank launches sweeping stimulus plan, cuts main interest rates
By Associated Press
March 10, 2016, 8:15 a.m.

The European Central Bank cut all its main interest rates, expanded its bond-buying stimulus program and offered new cheap long-term loans to banks, making an unexpectedly aggressive move to boost inflation and economic growth in the 19 countries that share the euro.
 
The bank's steps on most counts exceeded expectations among analysts, suggesting that it was determined to have an impact and avoid the market disappointment that occurred after its Dec. 3 meeting, when it was seen as having done less than it could have. Stock markets surged Thursday after the ECB's announcement.
 
At Thursday's meeting, the central bank:
 
— Cut its main benchmark rate to zero from 0.05%, a mostly symbolic step,
 
— Lowered the rate on deposits from commercial banks at the central bank to minus 0.40% from minus 0.30%, an unconventional move aimed at pushing banks to lend rather than hoard cash,
 
— Increased its monthly bond purchases to 80 billion euros ($88 billion) from 60 billion euros, pushing more newly printed money into the economy,
 
— Added corporate bonds to the assets it can buy, expanding the potential scope of the purchase program,
 
— Announced long-term cheap loans of up to four years to help support banks.
 
The negative rate on deposits -- in essence, a tax on bank's excess funds -- is an unusual step aimed at pushing banks to lend rather than leave money at the central bank.
 
More lending would promote growth and push up inflation from a worryingly low annual rate of minus 0.2%. The rate cut and the other measures to expand stimulus underline how far the ECB sees itself from achieving its goal of inflation of just under 2%.
 
The bond purchases are paid for by adding newly created money to banks' reserve accounts at the central bank, in the hope that the money will then find its way into the economy through more and cheaper loans. Increasing the money supply is one way to try to lift inflation.
 
Low or negative inflation has raised fears that Europe may become stuck in an economic quagmire known as deflation, in which stagnant prices weigh on wages, investment and economic growth for years.
 
And more trouble in Europe -- just as it seems to finally be recovering from the debt crisis that led to bailouts in Greece and other countries -- is the last thing the global economy needs.
 
Europe is a key market for major companies, from automakers Ford and General Motors to technology companies Apple and Samsung. A slide in growth would compound woes from slowing growth in many parts of the world, particularly China.
 
Yet the ECB's cut of the deposit rate below zero -- also deployed by central banks in Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and elsewhere -- has raised fears of side effects, in particular that it could dent bank profits. Weak banks are less likely to lend, defeating the purpose of the measure.
 
See more of our top stories on Facebook >>
 
The ECB's policies have driven market interest rates below zero as well, pushing investors into a topsy-turvy world in which they are expected to pay for the privilege of loaning someone else money. The German government can borrow money at minus 0.54% for two years.
 
Such negative rates have raised fears about the health of banks, because they hit bank profits. The new round of cheap loans to banks appears aimed at easing those concerns. Four Italian lenders needed a bailout last year. Share prices have fluctuated violently for big European banks such as Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse after they posted big losses for last year.
 
One key effect of negative rates and bond purchases has been a lower euro. The ECB insists that it does not use monetary policy to send the currency lower, but the euro has fallen to around $1.10, from around $1.40 in 2014, before markets began to anticipate the bank's current effort at unconventional stimulus through bond purchases, called quantitative easing, or QE, launched in March 2015. A subsequent stimulus increase at the Dec. 3 meeting had less effect on the euro, however.
 
Cutting rates to deeper levels in the eurozone also puts pressure on the ECB's neighbors. Sweden and Switzerland also have negative rates, in an attempt to keep money seeking higher returns from surging in from the eurozone and driving up their currencies.
 
Yet despite such unconventional measures such as negative rates, central banks in Europe, Japan, the United States and elsewhere have had little luck recently in pushing up inflation. The Bank for International Settlements, an international organization of central banks, said in a report Sunday that central bank policies were reaching their limit.
 
The Bank for International Settlements -- and many economists -- say that the key to boosting global growth must come from governments spending more and tackling the obstacles to growth in their own economies. So-called structural reforms would include clearing away regulation that makes it hard to start a business and excessive employee protections that make companies reluctant to hire in the first place.

Since the issue is a Hayekian credit bubble, and there are essentially no more credit worthy borrowers (you can always print more money, but the number of people and business who are actually creditworthy is the limiting factor). Increasing government spending will have the effects we have observed since 2008, so the old saying about doing the same thing and expecting a different result has resonance here. Ironically, the solution is also included in the same sentence, but good luck getting crony capitalists and meddling bureaucrats out of the way.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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More news on the German people's response to the CDU: the CDU was wiped out in regional elections. It remains to be seen how well the nativist parties can capitalize on this, or if the political establishment will attempt to block them and prevent them from running in the elections or preventing their ascent to power if they do win. One prediction; any attempt to subvert or otherwise stop the voters will have ugly repercussions, since the people will see that their preferences and concerns are not just being ignored, but actively opposed by the political class:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3489936/Angela-Merkel-set-punished-voters-open-door-refugee-policy-Germany-s-Super-Sunday-state-elections.html

Quote
German voters' crushing verdict on open-door migration: Angela Merkel is punished in crucial state elections as far-Right party wins big vote with call to stop flow of refugees
Three German regions vote for state legislatures on 'Super Sunday'
Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt all vote
Angela Merkel's party set to lose support in the wake of refugee crisis
Exit polls suggest the Christian Democratic Union has lost in two states
Anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AFD) set to win seats at all three
For more of the latest on Angela Merkel visit www.dailymail.co.uk/merkel
By JACK DOYLE POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 09:36 GMT, 13 March 2016 | UPDATED: 00:06 GMT, 14 March 2016

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3489936/Angela-Merkel-set-punished-voters-open-door-refugee-policy-Germany-s-Super-Sunday-state-elections.html#ixzz42ptbj2eO
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

German voters turned to the far right in droves yesterday in a damning verdict on Angela Merkel’s open door border policy.
In regional elections she was humiliated by the anti-immigrant AfD – Alternative for Germany – party.

Formed just three years ago, it has surged in popularity following Mrs Merkel’s decision to roll out the red carpet for more than a million migrants.

Frauke Petry, who leads the Eurosceptic party, has suggested German border guards should open fire on illegal immigrants.

Analysts said the regional poll – in which Mrs Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats lost two out of three states – was a ‘worst case scenario’ for the embattled chancellor ahead of a general election next year.

The timing made it a virtual referendum on Germany’s refugee policy. It will also be seen as an indictment of the failure of Europe’s ruling classes to acknowledge the public’s fears about migration.

Mrs Merkel’s welcome for arrivals from Syria, other parts of the Middle East and N
orth Africa, has caused chaos across the continent.

Initially, the incomers were greeted by crowds of well-wishers.

But, faced with the sheer numbers, public opinion soured. And there was outrage when gangs of migrant men were involved in organised sex attacks on women in Cologne and other cities on new year’s eve.

One by one, EU states have thrown up border fences to stop the flow of arrivals – leading to the slow collapse of the Schengen passport-free zone.

Austria is one of several countries to limit numbers in defiance of Brussels.

Mrs Merkel, who has failed to win support for a Europe-wide quota system to share out refugees, last week masterminded a deal for Turkey to take back migrants landing in Greece.

In return, Ankara would be handed up to £3.9billion, EU countries would accept quotas of Syrian refugees from Turkey and all 75million Turkish citizens would be allowed visa-free travel around continental Europe.

On Thursday Mrs Merkel insisted that imposing a limit on refugee numbers was a ‘short-term pseudo-solution’ and that only a ‘concerted European approach’ would bring down numbers.

Germany has attempted to return economic migrants to ‘safe’ countries such as Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro but still risks being overwhelmed.

Last night millions of voters showed they have lost faith in the chancellor’s policies.

Growth: Supporters of the German Green Party were delighted after exit polls predict it will win the Baden-Württemberg election
Early exit polls suggested AfD had won 23 per cent of the vote in the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt, finishing third.
The party fares better in former Eastern Germany where scepticism of liberal refugee policies is stronger.

But its double-digit score in two other states, Rhineland and Baden-Württemberg, was potentially more significant.
This suggests middle-class voters are deserting the Christian Democrats and other establishment parties.

Baden-Württemberg, which is home to Porsche and Daimler, was won by the Green Party. Mrs Merkel’s CDU lost a large slice of its vote in its former stronghold, plunging to a historic low of 27 per cent.

AfD has seats in five regional parliaments and in the European Parliament.

But its huge gains on ‘Super Sunday’ will reinforce fears that Germany is shifting to the right after decades of middle-of-the-road consensus politics following the Nazi period.

The tabloid Bild newspaper ran the headline yesterday ‘AfD shocks Germany!’.

Last night Mrs Petry, who chairs AfD, said: ‘We are seeing above all in these elections that voters are turning away in large numbers from the big established parties and voting for our party.’

She said voters expected AfD to offer ‘the opposition that there hasn’t been in the German parliament and some state parliaments’.
The far right victory came despite attacks by leading establishment politicians.

Mrs Merkel described AfD as a ‘party that does not bring cohesion in society and offers no appropriate solutions to problems, but only stokes prejudices and divisions’.

Sigmar Gabriel, her vice-chancellor, insisted that gains for AfD would not change his government’s stance on immigration.
‘There is a clear position that we stand by: humanity and solidarity,’ he said. ‘We will not change our position now.’
Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats accused AfD of having a ‘linguistic affinity’ with the Nazis.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper said that the party drew in racists and anti-semites and suggested many former members of the neo-Nazi NPD ‘and other right wing parties are attracted to it’.

The publication of an outline of the migrant deal has raised concerns in the UK that it represents a step toward Turkish membership of the EU.

Some 12.7million are heading to the polls in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhal
FAR RIGHT PARTY MAKES GAINS IN GERMANY: WHO ARE THE AFD?


Germany’s AfD – Alternativ für Deutschland – started out at as an anti–EU, anti–euro party sceptical of the power of Brussels and the ‘superstate’ project beloved of most of the Fatherland’s citizens.

Its destiny was almost certain to be that of a protest party until the refugee crisis came along and propelled it on to the national stage in a way no–one predicted.

Founded in 2013 with the intention of ending bailouts for poor southern EU countries, it focused on criticizing the government’s immigration policies last year and has not looked back.

AfD is seen by many in Germany to be linked to Pegida, a xenophobic movement which draws thousands onto the streets of the city of Dresden every Monday.

Critics refer to Pegida as ‘Nazis in pinstripes’ – an allusion to the middle-class disaffected voters it is drawing into its ranks.
Meteoric rise: Frauke Petry's Alternative for Germany had just five per cent support in Saxony-Anhalt, but this week, the right-wing anti-immigration party was polled at 19 per cent

+25
Meteoric rise: Frauke Petry's Alternative for Germany had just five per cent support in Saxony-Anhalt, but this week, the right-wing anti-immigration party was polled at 19 per cent

The current leader of AfD is an East German-born female scientist. But the parallels with Angela Merkel end there.
Frauke Petry believes that German police should ‘if necessary’ shoot at migrants seeking to enter the country illegally.
She was lambasted for saying so in January but a poll found nearly 30 percent of the electorate agreed.

Mrs Petry, 40, took over as party chief in July 2015 after an internal power struggle that saw the party’s co-founder and first leader, Bernd Lucke, ousted.

Under Mrs Petry AfD has moved to the right and shifted focus from eurozone issues to migration.

It became the first anti–euro party to win seats in a German regional parliament – in Saxony in 2014 – and went on to win seats in four other states’ parliaments.

Its latest big win makes it more powerful than ever.

However George Osborne insisted yesterday that the Government would prevent Turks moving to Britain.

‘We have a veto over whether Turkey joins or not,’ the Chancellor told the BBC. ‘We can set conditions and we have made it absolutely clear that we will not accept new member states to the European Union and give them unfettered free movement of people unless their economies are much closer in size and prosperity to ours.

‘I don’t frankly think Turkish accession is on the cards any time soon. We could, if we wanted to, veto it as other countries could.’
Last week Iain Duncan Smith, a Brexit-backing Tory cabinet minister, warned that the silencing of debate on immigration had been ‘terrible for the British people’.

Around 110,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in the first seven weeks of this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Last year it took from January until July to reach that figure.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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A Nativist party (falsely labeled "right wing" as usual) wins the Presidential elections in Austria. The candidates from the two centrist parries finished so far down they don't even make the runoffs:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/24/austrian-far-right-wins-first-round-presidential-election-norbert-hofer

Quote
Austrian far-right party wins first round of presidential election
Norbert Hofer of Freedom party takes 36% of the vote as candidates from the two governing parties fail to make runoff
Monday 25 April 2016 09.52 BST Last modified on Monday 25 April 2016 10.05 BST

Austria’s government was licking its wounds after the anti-immigration far-right triumphed in presidential elections, dealing a major blow to a political establishment seen by voters as out of touch and ineffectual.

According to preliminary results, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom party came a clear first with 36% of the vote in the first round of elections for the largely, but not entirely, ceremonial post of head of state.

Candidates from the two ruling centrist parties, which have effectively run Austria since the end of the second world war, failed to even make it into a runoff on 22 May, coming fourth and fifth each with 11% of the vote.

The result means that for the first time since 1945, Austria will not have a president backed by either Chancellor Werner Faymann’s Social Democrats or their centre-right coalition partners, the People’s party.

Having a president in the Habsburg dynasty’s former palace in Vienna not from either of the two main parties could shake up the traditionally staid and consensus-driven world of Austrian politics.

“This is the beginning of a new political era,” the Freedom party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, said after what constituted the best result at federal level for the former party of the late Joerg Haider, calling it “historic”.

The Oesterreich tabloid described Hofer’s victory as a “tsunami that has turned our political landscape upside down”.

Hofer is a “a kind, nice, protest politician who wraps the FPOe’s [Freedom party’s] brutal declarations against refugees in soft language”.

Faymann said on Sunday the result was a “clear warning to the government that we have to work together more strongly”. He said, however, that his party would not make any personnel changes – including with regard to his own position.

Facing Hofer on 22 May is likely to be Alexander van der Bellen, backed by the Greens, who garnered 20%, ahead of third-place independent candidate, Irmgard Griss, who won 18.5%.

The only candidate who fared worse than the main parties’ candidates was Richard Lugner, an 83-year-old construction magnate and socialite married to a former Playboy model 57 years his junior, who won just over 2%.

The rise of fringe politicians has been mirrored across Europe, including in Spain, Britain and Germany, and also in the US with the populist messages of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, who hopes to become president next year, tweeted her congratulations to the Freedom party for its “magnificent result”. “Bravo to the Austrian people,” she said.

Last year, Austria received 90,000 asylum requests, the second highest in Europe on a per capita basis, and Faymann’s government has taken a firmer line on immigration in recent weeks. But this has not stopped support for the Freedom party surging. Recent opinion polls put the party in first place with more than 30% of voter intentions ahead of the next scheduled general elections in 2018.

Support for the two main parties has been sliding for years and in the last general election in 2013 they only just garnered enough support to re-form their grand coalition.

Austria’s traditionally strong economy has also faltered of late and it no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union. Faymann’s coalition, in power since 2008, has struggled to agree structural reforms.

David Pfarrhofer from the Market polling institute said Sunday’s result showed that the traditional parties could not continue “messing around” if they want to cling on to power.

“It’s not so much about personalities but about issues … Something needs to change if the [the two main parties] want to avoid another debacle like this,” Pfarrhofer told AFP.

Reinhold Mitterlehner, head of the People’s party, appeared to agree, saying late on Sunday after the “disappointing” result that it was time to “relaunch” the coalition.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Why the EU really fears BREXIT?

Quote
A poll released earlier this week suggested that support for the European project is on the wane in Sweden, with only 39 percent of voters saying they think it's a 'good idea' that Sweden is in the European Union, compared to 59 percent in autumn 2015.
 
The same survey also suggested that Swedes would be more likely to back 'Swexit' in the event of the UK leaving the 28-member bloc first. 44 percent said they would currently vote for continued EU membership, if there was a referendum in Sweden, dropping to 32 percent following Brexit.

If Britain goes others may follow....




Quote
Sweden and Denmark UK's 'closest allies' in EU voting
Published: 20 Apr 2016 12:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Apr 2016 16:29 GMT+02:00

Denmark and Sweden have been revealed as the countries most likely to vote the same way as the UK when it comes to EU issues, with the authors of an independent investigation arguing that Brexit could have a knock-on effect on the Scandinavian nations.

Swexit? Support for EU plummets in Sweden (18 Apr 16)
Why these Brits in Sweden are stressed out about Brexit (08 Mar 16)
The report, put together by international NGO VoteWatch Europe, shows that Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark are currently the UK's closest allies when it comes to voting on European policies.
 
Sweden was in sync with the UK in almost 89 percent of all votes, closely followed by the Netherlands at 88.5 percent and Denmark, which sided with the Brits in 88 percent of votes, according to VoteWatch's figures.
 
"The evidence from the voting records in the EU Council and the European Parliament suggests that the British government and British MEPs are closely aligned with the Swedish and Danish representatives in these two institutions," one of the report's authors, political scientist Professor Simon Hix, told The Local following its release on Wednesday.
 
"Hence, if the UK leaves the EU, Sweden and Denmark will lose a valuable ally in EU decision-making,” he argued.
 
However, while the figures initially seem high, a closer analysis reveals that most other European member states also shared the UK's perspective in at least 85 percent of votes. Poland, Croatia, Austria and Germany were the only exceptions, but still agreed on at least 83 percent of all occasions.
 

Sweden and the UK are closer than you might think when it comes to voting on EU policies. What do Swedes think of Brexit? Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda/Natacha Pisarenko
 
Nevertheless the report comes amid growing jitters in the Nordics regarding the potential fallout if the UK leaves the European Union following its upcoming referendum.
 
"The UK is one of Sweden's most important trading partners and Brexit would over time erode that relationship to the cost of billions for both parties," Per Tryding, deputy CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, wrote in a debate article for The Local earlier this year.
 
"We have very extensive trade with the UK, as well as considerable exchange in services,” he argued.
 
Many of The Local's international readers have also said that they are stressed about how a Brexit could impact on their ability to work and live in Sweden.
 
Meanwhile some campaigners have argued that Stockholm should be preparing to capitalise on a 'no' vote in the UK, by seeking to strengthen its position as an alternative hub for European headquarters.
 
A poll released earlier this week suggested that support for the European project is on the wane in Sweden, with only 39 percent of voters saying they think it's a 'good idea' that Sweden is in the European Union, compared to 59 percent in autumn 2015.
 
The same survey also suggested that Swedes would be more likely to back 'Swexit' in the event of the UK leaving the 28-member bloc first. 44 percent said they would currently vote for continued EU membership, if there was a referendum in Sweden, dropping to 32 percent following Brexit.
 
The UK's referendum takes place on June. British voters living abroad can vote by post, in person or nominate someone else to cast their ballot, as long as they have registered online by June 7th.

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.thelocal.dk/20160420/sweden-and-denmark-revealed-as-uks-closest-allies-in-eu-votes
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Offline George Wallace

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As the UK contemplates leaving the EU, this comedy may help to explain their position:

https://www.facebook.com/britishcommonwealth2/videos/1125295727510356/?video_source=pages_finch_trailer
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And it increasingly looks as if the Brexit vote will prevail.  Cameron is becoming more and more desperate as the wheels come off the "Stay" side campaigns.  This last week should be entertaining from a train wreck point of view.

Offline Thucydides

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From the Daily Mail online, Peter Hitchens predicts a constitutional crisis of outstanding proportions; the people want to leave, but the political class wants to stay. How will Parliament respond?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3637246/PETER-HITCHENS-British-people-risen-unleash-chaos.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Quote
PETER HITCHENS: The British people have risen at last - and we're about to unleash chaos
By PETER HITCHENS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
PUBLISHED: 01:00 GMT, 12 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:05 GMT, 12 June 2016
     
I think we are about to have the most serious constitutional crisis since the Abdication of King Edward VIII. I suppose we had better try to enjoy it.

If – as I think we will – we vote to leave the EU on June 23, a democratically elected Parliament, which wants to stay, will confront a force as great as itself – a national vote, equally democratic, which wants to quit. Are we about to find out what actually happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

I am genuinely unsure how this will work out. I hope it will only destroy our two dead political parties, stiffened corpses that have long propped each other up with the aid of BBC endorsement and ill-gotten money.

I was wrong to think that the EU referendum would be so hopelessly rigged that the campaign for independence was doomed to lose. I overestimated the Prime Minister – a difficult thing for me to do since my opinion of him was so low. I did not think he could possibly have promised this vote with so little thought, preparation or skill.

I underestimated the BBC, which has, perhaps thanks to years of justified and correct criticism from people such as me, taken its duty of impartiality seriously.

Everything I hear now suggests that the votes for Leave are piling up, while the Remain cause is faltering and floundering. The betrayed supporters of both major parties now feel free to take revenge on their smug and arrogant leaders.

It has been a mystery to me that these voters stayed loyal to organisations that repeatedly spat on them from a great height. Labour doesn’t love the poor. It loves the London elite. The Tories don’t love the country. They love only money. The referendum, in which the parties are split and uncertain, has freed us all from silly tribal loyalties and allowed us to vote instead according to reason. We can all vote against the heedless, arrogant snobs who inflicted mass immigration on the poor (while making sure they lived far from its consequences themselves). And nobody can call us ‘racists’ for doing so. That’s not to say that the voters are ignoring the actual issue of EU membership as a whole. As I have known for decades, this country has gained nothing from belonging to the European Union, and lost a great deal.
If Zambia can be independent, why cannot we? If membership is so good for us, why has it been accompanied by savage industrial and commercial decline? If the Brussels system of sclerotic, centralised bureaucracy is so good, why doesn’t anyone else in the world adopt it?
I think we are about to have the most serious constitutional crisis since the Abdication of King Edward VIII

As for the clueless drivel about independence campaigners being hostile to foreigners or narrow-minded, this is mere ignorant snobbery. I’ll take on any of them in a competition as to who has travelled most widely, in Europe and beyond it. Good heavens, I’ve even read Tolstoy and like listening to Beethoven. And I still want to leave the EU.

Do these people even know what they are saying when they call us ‘Little Englanders’?
England has never been more little than it is now, a subject province of someone else’s empire.

As for the clueless drivel about independence campaigners being hostile to foreigners or narrow-minded, this is mere ignorant snobbery. I’ll take on any of them in a competition as to who has travelled most widely, in Europe and beyond it.

As for the clueless drivel about independence campaigners being hostile to foreigners or narrow-minded, this is mere ignorant snobbery. I’ll take on any of them in a competition as to who has travelled most widely, in Europe and beyond it.

I have to say that this isn’t the way out I would have chosen, and that I hate referendums because I love our ancient Parliament. And, as I loathe anarchy and chaos, I fear the crisis that I think is coming.

I hope we produce people capable of handling it. I wouldn’t have started from here. But despite all this, it is still rather thrilling to see the British people stirring at last after a long, long sleep.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3637246/PETER-HITCHENS-British-people-risen-unleash-chaos.html#ixzz4BQEE1eMH
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Perhaps more ominously, the very conditions that have led to the revolt of the voting class against the political class are replicated in the United States (see Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump), and here in Canada as well. One can only wonder what the trigger is going to be here, and who will become our own Donald?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline S.M.A.

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"Brexit disastrous for EU global role" - says Analysts
« Reply #816 on: June 12, 2016, 23:38:40 »
Some of the security implications of a Brexit on the role of the EU:

Defense News

Quote
Brexit ‘Disastrous’ for EU Global Role: Analysts
Agence France-Press 12:58 p.m. EDT June 12, 2016

BRUSSELS — Britain leaving the European Union would strip the bloc of a nuclear-armed global player and prove “disastrous” for its presence on the world stage, analysts say.

The timing could hardly be worse, as the EU struggles with its biggest migration crisis since World War II and the continent facing a growing threat from terrorism fueled by conflict in the Middle East.

Analysts said any such division within the bloc would likely be seized upon by Russia, whose ties with the EU have been badly damaged by the Ukraine conflict.

“Great powers like the United States, China and India will see an EU weakened politically and geopolitically if there is Brexit,” Vivien Pertusot, Brussels-based analyst with the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), told AFP.

The EU has been keen to increase its influence around the world in recent years.

The bloc helped negotiate the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, and has worked closely with Washington and Moscow in an effort to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Analysts said losing a UN Security Council permanent member and NATO lynchpin like Britain would likely diminish the EU’s influence and respect around the world, while also making it more inward-looking.

EU Would Lose Influence

“It would be bad news with a view to the role of the EU. It would increase the loss of image if the EU shrinks for the first time in its history,” Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at European Policy Centre, told AFP.

“The signal would be that the EU gets slowly but steadily in a downward trend,” he said, suggesting that such weakness could be exploited.

“The Chinese and the Russians might use that ... to exert pressure and divide further.”

Pertusot said there would also be a loss of influence in areas such as Latin America and Southeast Asia which regard the EU as a model for regional groupings such as Mercosur and ASEAN.

The prospect of a British exit has raised the possibility in some quarters that it would free up the bloc to move ahead on its own in forging a more united global position.

Swedish, Polish Ministers Call for No Brexit

But analysts say there is no appetite for that, adding that most member states look to US-led NATO for security when push comes to shove in a crisis. Of the EU’s 28 member states, 22 are members of the military alliance.

Rosa Balfour at the German Marshall Fund of the United States said a Brexit would effectively wreck efforts to forge what the EU now calls its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

“As a major security and military provider in Europe, a British exit ... is likely to have a disastrous effect on the EU’s CSDP,” Balfour told AFP.

Without British assets, it is questionable whether it is worth pursuing defense integration.

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini is completing a year-long review to draw up a new policy that addresses recent changes around the bloc, such as the freeze in relations with Russia over the Ukraine crisis and the war in Syria.

The review will be submitted to EU leaders at a summit just after the June 23 Brexit vote.

French-German Plan B?

France and Germany, the EU’s historic heavyweights, would be left as the main foreign and defense players if Britain leaves.

(...SNIPPED)

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Offline Thucydides

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Although about the Brexit, this piece also explains much of the rise of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, the Nativist parties in Europe and the general unrest in the political sphere. Political parities and elites are wedded to a certain world view which is both at odds with the desires of the voters, and  generally counterproductive to the current economic, demographic and technological realities of today:

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-17/britain-s-elites-ignore-the-masses-at-their-peril

Quote
Britain's Elites Can't Ignore the Masses
908
JUNE 17, 2016 2:30 AM EDT
By
Megan McArdle

This past weekend, I found myself in the British borough of Luton, pondering a British exit from the European Union. “How did you find yourself in Luton?” you will ask, and I will reply, “That is a long story, and alas, a very dull one, so let’s just proceed upon the assumption that I was indeed in Luton for good and sufficient reasons.” And why was I pondering Brexit? Because the penultimate chapter of this dull story involved many hours spent in a horrible third-tier European airport with middle-class Britons heading home from their holidays.

The airport was short on seats and power outlets even before flight-delayed travelers were stacked eight-deep along the floors. Perhaps a dozen of us middle-aged folk had wrested a single power outlet from the teenagers who had tethered themselves to all the other sources of battery-life-giving energy in the vicinity. We huddled around this small electric flame in the manner of travelers everywhere, taking what sustenance we could, drinking wine and swapping stories of our homelands. I was asked to explain Donald Trump. And by way of getting my own back, I naturally asked about the referendum on Brexit, which is now just days away.

The folks I talked to were from all over Britain, but they had middle age in common as well as, mostly, membership in the petit bourgeoisie. What did they think about leaving the EU?

“I still don’t know how I’m going to vote,” said an adult-education teacher from the Midlands, who then proceeded to deliver a long and earnest speech about the cost of providing social services to immigrants, which suggested that she wasn’t really so unsure. Her sentiments were echoed by other people I talked to during that endless layover.

These weren't racist diatribes; no one mentioned race or nationality, and, in fact, they were very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants. They just didn’t want to have to accept them into their country -- operative words “have to.” The dominant tone was what is often called compassion fatigue, and their arguments were not unreasonable.

Riding a refugee-crowded ferry back from the Greek island of Lesvos last fall, my heart broke for every one of the families I saw. But I couldn’t help but ask myself just how many such people Europe could absorb in a short period of time. The people in the airport were asking themselves the same question, and the answer they were getting was “no more, please.”

Around 1:30 Monday morning, a budget jet brought me to Luton, where I stayed overnight. The next leg of my travel did not begin until late afternoon, and so I took the opportunity to walk around the area near the Mall Luton, which turned out to be a very good place to think about Brexit.

Luton is a city of about 200,000 people on the outskirts of London. It was once known for its manufacture of hats, and in 1905, Vauxhall Motors opened a manufacturing plant in Luton. The company stopped making passenger cars there in 2002, and the town is now -- like so many places in Europe and America -- looking for its post-industrial future. EasyJet, a budget airline, is based there, but as you so often find in similar cities in the U.S., the biggest employers are the local government and the local hospital. It has also had a dramatic shift in population. The Luton council estimates that “between 50% and 75% of the population would not have lived in Luton or not have been born at the time of the 2001 Census.” It is now minority white British, and only barely majority white.

You can see it in the area around the mall. It’s not a notably prosperous place: multiple dollar stores, not much in the way of upscale retail. The Duke of Clarence pub is closed, having apparently run afoul of the local constabulary; one Polish food store appeared to be doing a land-office business. I wandered into several off-license shops in search of batteries and found that all of them appeared to cater to a significant foreign-born clientele. I bought some Polish sausage and pastry at an off-license, some Indian dumplings and Thai noodles at a couple of food trucks, and I sat on a bench in the mall, listening to people from three continents chat with each other in more than half a dozen languages, none of which I spoke.

As an American, this did not strike me as odd; this is what our cities have been like for centuries, particularly on the coasts. One group of immigrants moves in, creates an enclave, then gets rich, assimilates and moves out, making way for the next group that will throw a little of their food, their language and their customs into our vast melting pot. But this is not normal in most of the world. Nor is it necessarily welcome.

Most places in Britain are not like Luton, of course. But that’s not quite the point. Anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. is often found in places that don’t have enormous immigrant populations, and wonks who proclaim this to be irrational seem not to grasp that those people may be looking at the places that have been transformed by immigration and responding with a fervent “No, thank you.” There’s a lot to be gained from globalism, the mixing of two or more cultures into something new. But something specific and local and much-loved is inevitably lost at the same time, and the people who feel that loss most keenly are the inward-looking people who stay in place, not internationalist elites.

So it’s not that my food was bad -- it was all quite good -- or that there was anything wrong with the immigrants serving and eating it. They all looked like quite nice people. But it was all very different from traditional British food, traditional British people. And no matter how hard we try to argue that it doesn’t matter, it does -- politically, if in no other way. Especially when things aren’t going all that well for the natives.

Somehow, over the last half-century, Western elites managed to convince themselves that nationalism was not real. Perhaps it had been real in the past, like cholera and telegraph machines, but now that we were smarter and more modern, it would be forgotten in the due course of time as better ideas supplanted it.

That now seems hopelessly naive. People do care more about people who are like them -- who speak their language, eat their food, share their customs and values. And when elites try to ignore those sentiments -- or banish them by declaring that they are simply racist -- this doesn’t make the sentiments go away. It makes the non-elites suspect the elites of disloyalty. For though elites may find something vaguely horrifying about saying that you care more about people who are like you than you do about people who are culturally or geographically further away, the rest of the population is outraged by the never-stated corollary: that the elites running things feel no greater moral obligation to their fellow countrymen than they do to some random stranger in another country. And perhaps we can argue that this is the morally correct way to feel -- but if it is truly the case, you can see why ordinary folks would be suspicious about allowing the elites to continue to exercise great power over their lives.

It’s therefore not entirely surprising that people are reacting strongly against the EU, the epitome of an elite institution: a technocratic bureaucracy designed to remove many questions from the democratic control of voters in the constituent countries. Elites can earnestly explain that a British exit will be very costly to Britain (true), that many of the promises made on Brexit’s behalf are patently ridiculous (also true), that leaving will create all sorts of security problems and also cost the masses many things they like, such as breezing through passport control en route to their cheap continental holidays. Elites can even be right about all of those things. They still shouldn’t be too shocked when ordinary people respond just as Republican primary voters did to their own establishment last spring: “But you see, I don’t trust you anymore.”

In some ways, the modernity that we thought was supposed to wash nationalism away on the tide of history made things worse for the cause of mass migration. For the first few centuries of its existence, America had a chronic labor shortage, which eased any frictions with new arrivals. We also lacked a modern welfare state, to which low-skilled immigrants are likely to be net costs rather than net contributors. I heard the strain on the National Health Service cited multiple times this weekend as a sore spot for Brexiteers, and though the “Remain” campaign says “You’ve got it all wrong, the problem is Conservative budget cuts,” this rather aggressively misses the point: When things are hard, immigrants compete with natives for scarce government resources, and the natives don’t like the competition.

I don't know whether Britain will end up leaving the EU; based on my conversations this weekend, and the polls, I’d put the chances at slightly above 50 percent. But that’s not a very educated guess, and I wouldn’t stake anything important, like money or the future of my country, on its correctness. Even if Remain wins, however, elites will face the question of what to do next. They can decide that they’ve skated by the crisis and may now return to business as usual while they wait for the populist storms to blow over. But there’s a real danger in doing so, in Britain or in any of the other countries that are currently being swept by populist movements. The storm may indeed pass, but it may blow up into a hurricane -- and the majority may go shopping for a new elite, one they trust to take care of people like them.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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More on how the EU as an institution is disconnected from the majority of Europeans, and why that led to the BREXIT and the potential of more (insert nation)exits to come:

http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/07/01/rejecting-post-political-europe/

Quote
Rejecting Post-Political Europe
by THEODORE DALRYMPLE|4 Comments

European Union flags outside EU headquarters in BrusselsEuropean Union flags outside EU headquarters in Brussels
Public debate before elections or referenda is seldom notable for its high intellectual level or honesty, and that which preceded the recent referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union was no exception. On both sides names were called and nonsense spoken. Those for remaining in the Union implied that trade with Europe would cease if Britain left and even that war on the continent would be more likely. Those for leaving the Union played on fears of limitless immigration, though much of it (for example from Poland) has been good and even necessary for the country, and the inability or unwillingness of the British public administration to control the kind of immigration that is most feared, for example from Moslem countries, has nothing to do with Britain’s membership of the Union. It has rather to do with a generalised administrative incompetence that ultimately is attributable to a culture of frivolity and to careerism in bureaucracies grown too large and convoluted to have any connection with their ostensible purposes.

Much of the pre-referendum argument turned whether on the people of Britain would be better or worse off if their country stayed or left, and especially whether the country derived more benefit from its membership than it paid for. This was an undignified debate, since it implied that if we got back in subsidies more than we put in, this would be an argument for staying. Perhaps this is not surprising in a country in which social justice has come to mean (as it has in most western countries) a large proportion of the population living at the expense of the remainder of the population.

But fundamentally the argument was, or should have been, about politics. Was the European Union compatible in the long term with freedom and the self-determination of peoples, or was it on the contrary constructing a kind of giant Yugoslavia, to be kept together for a time by a combination of bureaucratic dictatorship and inertia, eventually to break up acrimoniously or even violently?

To answer this question it is sufficient to read the interview that the French Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron, gave to Le Monde a week before the referendum. The sentiments that he expressed in it are not idiosyncratic but on the contrary completely orthodox for a member of the European Union’s ruling political class, and have been repeated ad nauseam. The tone of the minister was peremptory and his argumentation very weak. He spoke more as a ruthless mediocrity than as the brilliant man he is reputed to be.

What did the referendum (which had not yet taken place) mean for the minister?

For me, it expresses the desire for a more efficacious Europe, the end of an ultraliberal  vision of Europe that the British themselves have brought.

This is misinterpretation on an astonishing, even an heroic, scale; only a man blinded by some kind of ideology or prejudice could even entertain it for even a moment. According to Macron, British discontent with the European Union – which, incidentally, is less pronounced than in some other member countries – is due to insufficient political and bureaucratic interference in economic and social life. There has never been a demonstration, at least in the west, with ‘Less freedom, more official regulation!’ as its slogan.

Macron’s use of the term ‘ultra-liberal’ to describe the European Union should be enough to disqualify him from any post involving thought, at which he is clearly not very gifted. When the French use the word liberal they do not mean it in the American social sense, but in the original, economic laissez-faire sense. Irrespective of whether laissez-faire is desirable or not, no one with the slightest contact with reality could possibly describe any European polity as laissez-faire, let alone ultra-laissez-faire. Try starting a business or hiring a worker in France, for example, and see just how much you will be left to your own devices and discretion! Try going on to the street in England (that laissez-faire heaven or hell, according to Macron’s notion) and sell something to passers-by just as you choose! You will be stopped far quicker than if you go round shop-lifting.

Had Macron used the word corporatist he would have been nearer the truth: and to corporatism there is no easy answer, though regulatory obstacles to entry into a market — no doubt some of them justified — encourage such corporatism. But Macron’s vision, his utopia, is entirely corporatist, with the state always having the upper hand.

In the interview he speaks of ‘the European adventure,’ as if a continent of hundreds of millions of inhabitants were engaged upon a mountaineering trip. ‘If we allow Brexit to gnaw away at the European adventure…,’ says Macron: what then? Other countries, the majority of whose populations want to leave the Union, might also decide to leave, and that would be the end of his corporatist dream.

What is the solution, according to Macron? ‘We are,’ he says, ‘closing the parenthesis of a Europe without a political project.’ Who this ‘we’ actually are does not bother Macron in the least: for, in true Colbertian fashion, ‘we’ are the political class who, unlike the mere people, know what is best.

As for the project itself, what exactly is it? Strangely enough, though the term ‘the European project’ appears on innumerable occasions in the French press, it is never spelt out explicitly what it is, nor do any journalists ask those who use the term exactly what they mean by it. ‘The European construction’ is another such term: what is being constructed is never stated and no explanation is ever demanded. It is as if a builder built a house without a plan: in fact the plan in the case of Europe is obvious. It is for a United States of Europe, minus most of the federalism.

Repeatedly in the interview, Macron calls for uniform conditions throughout Europe. ‘This tension’ he says, referring to the increasing desire of peoples that their countries should leave the European Union, ‘is due to the incompletion of Europe: we have not achieved the convergence of our social systems…’ That convergence — the same economic and social policies regardless of the individual countries’ particular situation and interests — is ‘blocked by two taboos.’ ‘A French taboo, which is the transfer of sovereignty, and a German taboo, which is financial transfers and solidarity [between nations].’

In other words, the Greeks spend and the Germans pay, in return for the self-abasement of France which no Frenchman (quite rightly) wants. As a recipe for international understanding, and for the continuation of the peace that apologists for the Union claim is the only reason why Portugal has not attacked Estonia, or Belgium Croatia, this seems to me to be an unrealistic recipe, to put it no stronger.

But why the drive for union in the first place? Macron makes it quite clear that it is desire, and no doubt nostalgia, for power that is the motive. No European country, France included, is any longer by itself truly powerful on the world stage:

Europe must face the world… The best answer is Europe [in the sense of the Union]. There are today two blocs – the Asian and the American – and the risk is that they will speak face-to-face while forgetting us.

As geopolitical theorising, this is drivel of positively Hitlerian proportions; but it is nevertheless current in the class of which M. Macron is a fine example, who use it as a plea for ever more centralised control exercised by themselves.

I would like to think that my fellow-citizens, in voting to leave the European Union, had in mind a rejection of M. Macron and his ilk, though I am not sure that they did. But many of them must have been aware of the bullying or menacing language of the European political class — Macron said in the interview that the European Council must issue an ‘ultimatum’ to the British — and it had the opposite effect of the one intended.

Theodore Dalrymple
Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist, contributing editor of the City Journal and Dietrich Weissman Fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

- See more at: http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/07/01/rejecting-post-political-europe/#sthash.kmrM13FD.dpuf
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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I see the Council of the Socialist International just held a meeting in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations, in United Nations property.

http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/dg.nsf/(httpSpeechesByYear_en)/6A82A94BEE10D47BC1257FE300393A7F?OpenDocument&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Here is the list of participants.

http://www.socialistinternational.org/images/dynamicImages/files/L%20of%20P%20GENEVA%202_7_16.pdf


Anybody know if similar organisations, with different ideologies, exist?

Do they get the same level of consideration from the United Nations?

Quote
Meeting of the Council of Socialist International
1 July 2016
Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

Welcome Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

Palais des Nations, Room XVII
Friday, 1 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great privilege and pleasure to welcome you all to the Palais des Nations. I very much appreciate that this year again you have chosen to meet at the heart of International Geneva.

Addressing current international crises, defending and securing democracy, defeating inequality in the world economy – the list of the global challenges you have chosen to tackle in the course of these two days is also at the centre of the United Nations agenda.

These challenges are not new, but finding solutions becomes increasingly difficult as they cannot be contained to only certain countries or territories in the world that is now more interconnected than ever. Climate change, terrorism or armed conflicts are examples of such challenges that transcend borders and continents.

The aging Westphalian model of governance focusing on States as the only actors in international relations is itself being put to the test. The role of the State is being challenged by new actors in civil society, private sector and academia. The contribution of these stakeholders at the decision making table is now more needed than ever to identify comprehensive and holistic answers to today’s complex and interconnected realities. These multistakeholder partnership models that are being developed at different governance levels will not only strengthen informed decision making processes, but will also help alleviate the deficit of trust towards those in power that we are experiencing today. There needs to be a mind shift in learning to deal with issues in a strategic and inclusive manner, connecting the global and the local, and emphasizing prevention for long term impact.

This mind shift is already taking place as demonstrated last year, with the adoption of a historic roadmap for humanity by all Member States of the United Nations. This collective roadmap consisting of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Agenda for Financing Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Agreement is oura collective plan of action towards a sustainable world for our future generations. These policy frameworks have been agreed following an unprecedented engagement from international and regional organizations, parliaments, civil society, academia, the private sector and many other actors, including up to 10 million people online, in a truly inclusive process.

Reflecting the spirit of inclusiveness, in which this roadmap was developed, the new agenda places the interdependence of all actors at the heart of its achievement, and requires horizontal thinking and working together across issues in the implementation phase.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 goals and 169 targets is a clear manifestation of the understanding that has evolved over the last several decades of the United Nations’ existence that the three pillars - peace, development and human rights – are deeply interconnected. People, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership – the five “P”s, constitute the nucleus of our collective efforts to achieve the future we want without leaving anyone behind. This Agenda is a roadmap for all 7 billion of us, and everyone has a role to play in making it a reality.

Now, that the “what” has been agreed upon by everybody, we need to shift the focus on the “how” and to develop new ways of working through inclusive partnerships, horizontal and cross cutting cooperation. The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to adjust our national, regional and international systems and structures to the new way of doing business. Business as usual is no longer possible. For example, there is dire need of breaking silos between different national ministries for countries to begin operating in a more integrated way. A stronger focus on the “whole of government” approach is needed more than ever to implement the Sustainable Development Goals successfully. The same holds true for the international cooperation system, which replicates the same silos and fragmentation. We need to become much better at all levels to work horizontally, across issues, thus re-enforcing a sense of shared responsibility for our common future.

Parliamentarians clearly have a very important part to play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They are the crucial links between international agreements, national decisions and local constituencies. Parliaments can and should help ‘domesticate’ the policy frameworks adopted at international level.

Strengthening the collaboration between the United Nations and Parliaments worldwide is one of my objectives here in Geneva, where we are working closely with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

We must, together, restore the trust that people, in particular young people, have lost in all levels of governance structures, by increasing accountability and promoting transparency and the rule of law. We need to be more serious about building a world where the universal values of solidarity, dignity, equity and justice are respected – by everybody, everywhere. Only by doing so will we be able to counter and reverse the deep sense of injustice and the serious trust deficit that we are experiencing across the board today.

As a worldwide organization, the Socialist International unites 153 social democratic, socialist and labor parties widely represented in parliaments worldwide. In addition, a third of your parties are currently represented in governments. These parties constitute a major political force in democracies around the world. Your words and actions have an important impact on your constituencies.

Here in Geneva – the operational hub of the international system - we are continuously exploring new ways to enable and promote collaboration between different actors. This includes structures to facilitate exchanges between States, civil society, parliamentarians, the private sector, researchers, practitioners and think tanks. We are working to further improve collaboration across the network of International Geneva, which consists of over 50 entities of the UN system, 110 international entities, 400 NGOs and 250 Permanent diplomatic Missions and other delegations. This network contributes collectively towards global “peace, rights and well-being”. In an ongoing mapping that my office is conducting, more than 250 organizations across Geneva have highlighted their expertise on the different Sustainable Development Goals.

We still need to make much more progress in injecting the United Nations into the work of parliaments, connecting global and local levels, multiplying global messages and mobilizing support for global action with a strong local impact. I hope that your meeting here will help to further reinforce these links.

I wish you a very successful meeting.

Thank you very much for being here.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 16:32:12 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Chris Pook

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A couple of days ago Merkel, Hollande and Renzi met at the grave of a man of whom I had never who wrote a document which I had never read: another bit of ignorance on my part.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/22/renzi-hollande-and-merkel-head-to-birthplace-of-european-project/


I wish I had heard of him earlier.  It would explain so much.

The man was Altiero Spinelli.  He was an Italian communist imprisoned by Mussolini.  He was also a Member of the European Parliament and widely considered one of the fathers of the EU.

The document was "The Ventotene Manifesto". 

The document stated:

Quote
"The dividing line between progressive and reactionary parties no longer follows the formal line of greater or lesser democracy, or of more or less socialism to be instituted; rather the division falls along the line, very new and substantial, that separates the party members into two groups. The first is made up of those who conceive the essential purpose and goal of struggle as the ancient one, that is, the conquest of national political power – and who, although involuntarily, play into the hands of reactionary forces, letting the incandescent lava of popular passions set in the old moulds, and thus allowing old absurdities to arise once again. The second are those who see the creation of a solid international State as the main purpose; they will direct popular forces toward this goal, and, having won national power, will use it first and foremost as an instrument for achieving international unity."[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventotene_Manifesto

It is summed up this way:

Quote
‘Towards a Free and United Europe’, the manifesto states that any
victory over fascist powers would be useless, if it led to nothing
more than establishing another version of the old European system
of sovereign nation-states, but just in different alliances. This
would only lead to another world war. The manifesto proposed
the formation of a supranational European federation of states,
the primary goal of which was to connect European states to such
an extent that it would be impossible to enter into war ever again

https://europa.eu/european-union/sites/europaeu/files/docs/body/altiero_spinelli_en.pdf

Mister Spinelli, now deceased, has, in addition to Merkel, Hollande and Renzi a fan in Jean-Claude Juncker

Quote
National borders are 'the worst invention ever', says EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/national-borders-are-the-worst-invention-ever-says-ec-chief-jean-claude-juncker-a7204006.html

Internationalism as a socialist project, with the EU as the vanguard and the UN as enabler.


I guess it makes some kind of sense.  After WW2 the only people that could get jobs in government were those that hadn't been in government - in other words, socialists.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Christopher Booker: "the “project” has only ever had one real agenda in all it has done: to promote a supranational government for Europe, based on eliminating national self-interest: what Monnet called “national egoism”."

Quote
....Spinelli’s Ventotene Manifesto proposed that his future government of Europe should be quietly assembled by its supporters over many years; and that only when all its pieces were in place would those supporters summon a convention to draw up a “Constitution for Europe”, which would finally reveal to the European people just what they had been up to.

What we were also not told – and this is seemingly one of the best-kept secrets of the whole story – is that many years later, when Spinelli was elected as a Communist MEP in 1979, he became the second most influential person, after Jean Monnet, in shaping “Europe” as we know it today.

At a time when the integration process had stalled, it was he – as I and my co-author, Richard North, were first able to explain in our book The Great Deception – who persuaded the European Parliament to vote for a “Draft Treaty on European Union”.

And it was this, taken up by Jacques Delors, which led directly to the next two major treaties, the Single European Act and Maastricht, transforming the European Community into the European Union, complete with its own currency, foreign policy and much else besides.

It was an astonishing achievement, which is why one of the largest office blocks in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Parliament, is called the Altiero Spinelli Building. But if you stop any of the hundreds who work there, you will scarcely find one who could tell you why it bears his name.

The point is that, exactly as envisioned in their different ways by Spinelli and Monnet, the “project” has only ever had one real agenda in all it has done: to promote a supranational government for Europe, based on eliminating national self-interest: what Monnet called “national egoism”. There could only ever be one direction of travel: ever more integration; whatever the question, the answer is always “more Europe”.

Janet Daley: "The European Union’s “free movement of people” rule and its obtuse confusion over the assimilation of migrants seem deliberately designed to undermine any such notion of cohesive national identity."
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Offline Chris Pook

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Offline Chris Pook

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For those of you not keeping up - Deutsche Bank is in trouble (and so is Commerzbank).

Only they're not in trouble and they didn't ask Angela Merkel to bail them out - which she rejected if they had.  Because if Greece can't bail out Greek banks and Italy can't bail out Italian banks, likewise Spain, Portugal and Ireland then Germany can't bail out German banks.  Sound logic. Hypothetically speaking.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/28/is-deutsche-bank-the-next-lehman-brothers-the-denials-certainly/


Cue Comical Ali.

Not to worry though.  There is a saviour in the offing.

Quote
Awkward for Angela! Germany facing humiliation as TURKEY plots swoop for Deutsche Bank

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/715973/Angela-Merkel-Turkish-president-Recep-Erdogan-buy-Germany-Deutsche-Bank

Quote
The potential buyout was announced in a tweet sent out today by the Turkish leader’s influential chief advisor, Yigit Bulut.

He sent a message to his boss asking him: "Wouldn't it make you happy if the Deutsche Bank would become the Turkish bank?"

Economic experts have said Turkey could finance such a takeover either through a sovereign wealth fund or by proxy via its network of state-owned banks.

And they may be in a position to rescue more European banks.

Quote
And more worryingly still, Mr Bulut hinted that Ankara’s ambition may not stop at Deutsche Bank, saying Turkey could take advantage of the EU’s dire economic situation to buy up a whole hose of influential counties.

He urged Mr Erdogan to “be ready” for the eventuality that other European financial institutions would be driven to the brink of collapse, such as Germany’s second biggest bank Commerzbank and a plethora of Italian firms.

By the way, the subhead on this thread is "EU seizes Cypriot bank accounts".

Turkey holds half of Cyprus.  Presumably the banks on its side of the island are solvent.

And Boris is playing nice with Erdogan - you'd almost think somebody had a hate-on for Brussels.

Quote
Boris Johnson seeks to mend fences in talks with Turkish leadership
UK foreign secretary avoids mention of lewd poem about Turkey’s president and pledges to support EU membership bid

http://army.ca/forums/index.php?action=post;topic=103357.800;last_msg=1455437




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Offline George Wallace

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/28/is-deutsche-bank-the-next-lehman-brothers-the-denials-certainly/


Cue Comical Ali.

Not to worry though.  There is a saviour in the offing.


Now if that is the Fulda Gap and all the "Worst is behind us"; then we have been overrun and might as well sit down and have some wurst.......and a large Biere.
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