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(EUEUEUEUEU) Stratfor on Germany's strategy (wrecks national sovereignty for EUEUEU countries)

Posted by Olog-hai on Wed Mar 14 04:09:03 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

Geopolitical Weekly

The State of the World: Germany's Strategy

March 12, 2012 | 2217 GMT
By George Friedman
The idea of Germany having an independent national strategy runs counter to everything that Germany has wanted to be since World War II and everything the world has wanted from Germany. In a way, the entire structure of modern Europe was created to take advantage of Germany's economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. In writing about German strategy, I am raising the possibility that the basic structure of Western Europe since World War II and of Europe as a whole since 1991 is coming to a close.

If so, then the question is whether historical patterns of German strategy will emerge or something new is coming. It is, of course, always possible that the old post-war model can be preserved. Whichever it is, the future of German strategy is certainly the most important question in Europe and quite possibly in the world.

Origins of Germany's Strategy

Before 1871, when Germany was fragmented into a large number of small states, it did not pose a challenge to Europe. Rather, it served as a buffer between France on one side and Russia and Austria on the other. Napoleon and his campaign to dominate Europe first changed the status of Germany, both overcoming the barrier and provoking the rise of Prussia, a powerful German entity. Prussia became instrumental in creating a united Germany in 1871, and with that, the geopolitics of Europe changed.

What had been a morass of states became not only a unified country but also the most economically dynamic country in Europe — and the one with the most substantial ground forces. Germany was also inherently insecure. Lacking any real strategic depth, Germany could not survive a simultaneous attack by France and Russia. Therefore, Germany's core strategy was to prevent the emergence of an alliance between France and Russia. However, in the event that there was no alliance between France and Russia, Germany was always tempted to solve the problem in a more controlled and secure way, by defeating France and ending the threat of an alliance. This is the strategy Germany has chosen for most of its existence.

The dynamism of Germany did not create the effect that Germany wanted. Rather than split France and Russia, the threat of a united Germany drew them together. It was clear to France and Russia that without an alliance, Germany would pick them off individually. In many ways, France and Russia benefited from an economically dynamic Germany. It not only stimulated their own economies but also provided an alternative to British goods and capital. Nevertheless, the economic benefits of relations with Germany did not eliminate the fear of Germany. The idea that economics rule the decisions of nations is insufficient for explaining their behavior.

Germany was confronted with a strategic problem. By the early 20th century the Triple Entente, signed in 1907, had allied Russia, France and the United Kingdom. If they attacked simultaneously at a time of their choosing, these countries could destroy Germany. Therefore, Germany's only defense was to launch a war at a time of its choosing, defeat one of these countries and deal with the others at its leisure. During both World War I and World War II, Germany first struck at France and then turned to deal with Russia while keeping the United Kingdom at bay. In both wars, the strategy failed. In World War I, Germany failed to defeat France and found itself in an extended war on two fronts. In World War II, it defeated France but failed to defeat Russia, allowing time for an Anglo-American counterattack in the west.

Binding Germany to Europe

Germany was divided after World War II. Whatever the first inclinations of the victors, it became clear that a rearmed West Germany was essential if the Soviet Union was going to be contained. If Germany was to be rearmed, its economy had to be encouraged to grow, and what followed was the German economic miracle. Germany again became the most dynamic part of Europe.

The issue was to prevent Germany from returning to the pursuit of an autonomous national strategy, both because it could not resist the Soviet forces to the east by itself and, more important, because the West could not tolerate the re-emergence of divisive and dangerous power politics in Europe. The key was binding Germany to the rest of Europe militarily and economically. Put another way, the key was to make certain that German and French interests coincided, since tension between France and Germany had been one of the triggers of prior wars since 1871. Obviously, this also included other Western European countries, but it was Germany's relationship with France that was most important.

Militarily, German and French interests were tied together under the NATO alliance even after France withdrew from the NATO Military Committee under Charles de Gaulle. Economically, Germany was bound with Europe through the emergence of more sophisticated multilateral economic organizations that ultimately evolved into the European Union.

After World War II, West Germany's strategy was threefold. First, it had to defend itself against the Soviet Union in concert with an alliance that would effectively command its military through NATO. This would limit German sovereignty but eliminate the perception of Germany as a threat. Second, it would align its economy with that of the rest of Europe, pursuing prosperity without undermining the prosperity of other countries. Third, it would exercise internal political sovereignty, reclaiming its rights as a nation without posing a geopolitical threat to Western Europe. After the fall of the Soviet Union, this was extended to include Eastern European states.

The strategy worked well. There was no war with the Soviets. There was no fundamental conflict in Western Europe and certainly none that was military in nature. The European economy in general, and the German economy in particular, surged once East Germany had been reintegrated with West Germany. With reintegration, German internal sovereignty was insured. Most important, France remained linked to Germany via the European Union and NATO. Russia, or what was left after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was relatively secure so long as Germany remained part of European structures. The historical strategic problem Germany had faced appeared solved.

Europe's Economic Crisis

The situation became more complex after 2008. Germany's formal relationship with NATO remained intact, but without the common threat of the Soviet Union, the alliance was fracturing over the divergent national interests of its members. The European Union had become Germany's focus, and the bloc had come under intense pressure that made the prior alignment of all European countries more dubious. Germany needed the European Union. It needed it for the reasons that have existed since World War II: as a foundation of its relationship with France and as a means to ensure that national interest would not generate the kinds of conflicts that had existed in the past.

It needed the European Union for another reason as well. Germany is the second-largest exporter in the world. It exports to many countries, but Europe is a critical customer. The free-trade zone that was the foundation of the European Union was also one of the foundations of the German economy. Protectionism in general, but certainly protectionism in Europe, threatened Germany, whose industrial plant substantially outstripped its domestic consumption. The pricing of the euro aided German exports, and regulations in Brussels gave Germany other advantages. The European Union, as it existed between 1991 and 2008, was critical to Germany.

However, the European Union no longer functions as it once did. The economic dynamics of Europe have placed many countries at a substantial disadvantage, and the economic crisis of 2008 triggered a sovereign debt crisis and banking crisis in Europe.

There were two possible solutions in the broadest sense. One was that the countries in crisis impose austerity in order to find the resources to solve their problem. The other was that the prosperous part of Europe underwrites the debts, sparing these countries the burden of austerity. The solution that has been chosen is obviously a combination of the two, but the precise makeup of that combination was and remains a complex matter for negotiation.

Germany needs the European Union to survive for both political and economic reasons. The problem is that it is not clear that a stable economic solution can emerge that will be supported by the political systems in Europe.

Germany is prepared to bail out other European countries if they impose austerity and then take steps to make sure that the austerity is actually implemented to the degree necessary and that the crisis is not repeated. From Germany's point of view, the roots of the crisis lie in the fiscal policies of the troubled countries. Therefore, the German price for underwriting part of the debt is that European bureaucrats, heavily oriented toward German policies, be effectively put in charge of the finances of countries receiving aid against default.

This would mean that these countries would not control either taxes or budgets through their political system. It would be an assault on democracy and national sovereignty. Obviously, there has been a great deal of opposition from potential recipients of aid, but it is also opposed by some countries that see it as something that would vastly increase the power of Germany. If you accept the German view, which is that the debt crisis was the result of reckless spending, then Germany's proposal is reasonable. If you accept the view of southern Europe, which is that the crisis was the result of the European Union's design, then what Germany is proposing is the imposition of German power via economics.

It is difficult to imagine a vast surrender of sovereignty to a German-dominated EU bureaucracy, whatever the economic cost. It is also difficult to imagine Germany underwriting the debt without some controls beyond promises; even if the European Union is vitally important to the Germans, German public opinion will not permit it. Finally, it is difficult to see how, in the long term, the Europeans can reconcile their differences on this issue. The issue must come to a head, if not in this financial crisis then in the next — and there is always a next crisis.

An Alternative Strategy

In the meantime, the basic framework of Europe has changed since 1991. Russia remains a shadow of the Soviet Union, but it has become a major exporter of natural gas. Germany depends on that natural gas even as it searches for alternatives. Russia is badly in need of technology, which Germany has in abundance. Germany does not want to invite in any more immigrants out of fear of instability. However, with a declining population, Germany must do something.

Russia also has a declining population, but even so, it has a surplus of workers, both unemployed and underemployed. If the workers cannot be brought to the factories, the factories can be brought to the workers. In short, there is substantial synergy between the Russian and German economies. Add to this that the Germans feel under heavy pressure from the United States to engage in actions the Germans want to be left out of, while the Russians see the Americans as a threat to their interests, and there are politico-military interests that Germany and Russia have in common.

NATO is badly frayed. The European Union is under tremendous pressure and national interests are now dominating European interests. Germany's ability to use the European Union for economic ends has not dissipated but can no longer be relied on over the long term. Therefore, it follows that Germany must be considering an alternative strategy. Its relationship with Russia is such a strategy.

Germany is not an aggressive power. The foundation of its current strategy is its relationship with France in the context of the European Union. The current French government under President Nicolas Sarkozy is certainly committed to this relationship, but the French political system, like those of other European countries, is under intense pressure. The coming elections in France are uncertain, and the ones after that are even less predictable. The willingness of France to engage with Germany, which has a massive trade imbalance with France, is an unknown.

However, Germany's strategic interest is not necessarily a relationship with France but a relationship with either France or Russia to avoid being surrounded by hostile powers. For Germany, a relationship with Russia does as well as one with France. An ideal situation for Germany would be a Franco-German-Russian entente. Such an alliance has been tried in the past, but its weakness is that it would provide too much security to Germany, allowing it to be more assertive. Normally, France and Russia have opposed Germany, but in this case, it is certainly possible to have a continuation of the Franco-German alliance or a Russo-French alliance. Indeed, a three-way alliance might be possible as well.

Germany's current strategy is to preserve the European Union and its relationship with France while drawing Russia closer into Europe. The difficulty of this strategy is that Germany's trade policies are difficult for other European countries to manage, including France. If Germany faces an impossible situation with the European Union, the second strategic option would be a three-way alliance, with a modified European Union or perhaps outside of the EU structure. If France decides it has other interests, such as its idea of a Mediterranean Union, then a German-Russian relationship becomes a real possibility.

A German-Russian relationship would have the potential to tilt the balance of power in the world. The United States is currently the dominant power, but the combination of German technology and Russian resources — an idea dreamt of by many in the past — would become a challenge on a global basis. Of course, there are bad memories on both sides, and trust in the deepest sense would be hard to come by. But although alliances rely on trust, it does not necessarily have to be deep-seated trust.

Germany's strategy, therefore, is still locked in the EU paradigm. However, if the EU paradigm becomes unsupportable, then other strategies will have to be found. The Russo-German relationship already exists and is deepening. Germany thinks of it in the context of the European Union, but if the European Union weakens, Russia becomes Germany's natural alternative.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) Stratfor on Germany's strategy (wrecks national sovereignty for EUEUEU countries)

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Wed Mar 14 04:27:31 2012, in response to (EUEUEUEUEU) Stratfor on Germany's strategy (wrecks national sovereignty for EUEUEU countries), posted by Olog-hai on Wed Mar 14 04:09:03 2012.

Dammit Olog ... you just CLEANED that thing. Anonymous is STILL in his systems. :(

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EUEUEUEUEU's human rights situation getting worse . . .

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 15 03:24:20 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.


Human rights in Europe is getting worse, says Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg

2012/03/14 20:56 CET
Chris Burns: “The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, wraps up his six year term at the end of this month and he’s going out with a bang, not a whimper. The former head of Amnesty International, he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 on behalf of Amnesty says the human rights situation in Europe is getting worse not better.

“It’s your chance now to ask questions to Mr. Hammarberg, who is joining us from Luxembourg. Mr. Hammarberg, wrapping up your six year term, how does it feel and the fact that things are worse and not better after six years…”

Thomas Hammarberg: “I think that I am a bit disappointed there is no ground for complacency in Europe about our human rights performance. One reason of course is the economic crisis, which has undermined the social rights for quite a number of people as a consequence of the austerity budgets but also I feel that the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York on the 11th of September 2001 has not had a good effect on the respect for human rights. People have been arrested and tortured even when there was no real proof that they had been involved in the planning of this terrorist attack. And torture, of course, should be absolutely forbidden.”

Chris Burns: “Well, let’s take a look at how the situation is now and get some questions from some of our viewers. Let’s take a look at our first question now.”

Gabriela, Czech Republic: “I’m Roma from the Czech Republic. I work for the Ergo Network, a Roma organization based in Brussels. I know about the the Roma program that the Council of Europe is organizing and I would really like to know how you would motivate the municipalities — those who are against the Roma — to implement this program? Thank you.”

Chris Burns: “Mr. Hammarberg, Gabriela agrees with you. Things are not getting better; what do you think about what she says?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “I think Roma is one group in Europe which has suffered from the economic crisis and the growth of extremist groups who attack the Roma both verbally but also in some violent attacks, that’s a very serious problem. I think that the questioner is right, that much of the reform has to be done on a local level. And there are some attempts to do that from the European Union and the Council of Europe but more needs to be done in order to secure that people can live together on a local level. We have been very disappointed that there have been statements by politicians, in several countries in Europe, which has increased the prejudices against the Roma.”

Chris Burns: “And addressing an issue like that is difficult from the European level to trickle down to the local level, let’s look at another question regarding the same issue.”

Florin, Brussels: “I’m a community worker based in St. Georges, Brussels. If somebody really wants to do something to help the Roma people there needs to be a public policy of positive discrimination in every EU member state. We should be considered as European Roma. This problem needs solving and I hope you will be able to find some way to do this…

Chris Burns:“Well there’s a rather concrete suggestion of positive discrimination. What’s your opinion on that, Mr. Hammarberg?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “I think there is a need for positive discrimination to catch up on the disadvantages, which has struck on the Roma population in Europe. I agree that this is also a European problem; it’s a local problem, it’s a national problem and it’s a European problem. And politicians on all these levels must work towards a situation where Roma would be fully integrated and accepted in our societies, which they are not today. The main point there is to put an end to anti-gypsy prejudices against the Roma and there I feel that the politicians have a very important role, which they have not lived up to, so far in my opinion.”

Chris Burns: “I suppose education is also probably a factor in that. Let’s go on to a wider question about the situation in general, another question here.”

Ronifen. Bulgaria: “In several Non-Governmental organizations it was announced in the beginning of 2012 that there is a human rights crisis in the EU. How will European Institutions guarantee human rights in the EU?”

Chris Burns: “That’s almost a bit of an accusatory question there saying that the European institutions are falling down on the job here. He says there is a crisis, in a sense agreeing with you but also accusing you at the same time, no?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “Yes, but of course the decisions by the European institutions depend very much on whether they have support from the national governments, who are members of these institutions and I think that both the Council of Europe and its institutions, the court for Human Rights there and the EU structures and for that matter also the OECD have done contributions in order to improve the situation when it comes to human rights in the countries but there hasn’t been enough support [advice] given by these European institutions on a national level.”

Chris Burns: “Do you think maybe it is because there aren’t enough teeth, that some of these institutions don’t have a stick to wield, is that the problem?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “That’s one of the problems but those who would give the teeth or the stick is the national governments. So the responsibility goes back to them and to the parliaments in those countries and in the end to the voters in those countries.”

Chris Burns: “Mr. Hammarberg, we have a written question here; let’s take a look at that. And that is from Portugal and it says ‘What does Europe think about Chechnya and the war in the Caucasus?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “There’s still problems in the northern Caucasus in Chechnya but also in the northern republics, there is a use of counter terrorists methods there, which unfortunately victimizes the ordinary population and totally innocent people, and that has to stop. In Chechnya there are still several thousand people who have disappeared and are probably in masked graves, which have not been opened so far. There have been more than 150 judgments in the European Courts for human rights on Chechen cases asking for thorough investigation into what happened some ten years ago during the height of the war there and we still feel that there hasn’t been a sufficiently positive response from the Russian authorities to these judgments.”

Chris Burns: “Exactly, what hope do you have now that there is a new president…the old president…new president, in power?”

Thomas Hammarberg: “With the election now there is another opportunity to bring these cases to the leadership in Russian and to remind them that there is an absolute need for them to do something to the past crimes in Chechnya.”

Chris Burns: “Okay, now I think we move to our last question now, lets take a look…”

Toussaint, Brussels: “I am a director of a service to help those in living on the streets. The question I ask myself in regards to human rights concerns children. In Brussels, the capital of Europe, there are currently young immigrant children who are here without their parents and for some incomprehensible reason are unable to find accommodation. Despite Belguim being a signatory to Children’s Rights International, there is currently nothing in place to help children sleeping rough. What is the Council of Europe going to do about it?”

Chris Burns: “I imagine that that is happening on a daily basis in the capital of Europe, Mr. Hammarberg, and you yourself were the head of Save the Children in Sweden, so I’m sure you can speak from experience…”

Thomas Hammarberg: “Yes, of course the rights of the child is a major preoccupation and we have also in Europe problems when it comes to that. State children is also a symptom of deeper problems, often going back to the families. Many of those who are on the street have come from other countries. Migrant children are particularly vulnerable in our societies and frankly we have a growing child poverty in several European countries partly as a consequence of the economic countries. There is a need for the politicians both in the European institutions and on a national level to be more energetic and more focused when it comes to protecting the rights of every child.

Chris Burns: “A work very much in progress. Mr. Hammarberg, thank you very much. Thanks for joining us from Luxembourg. So you see, you ask the questions and I’m here to make sure you get the answers on i-talk here from the European parliament in Brussels. I’m Chris Burns sitting in for Alex Taylor; see you again soon.

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EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first "medical tricorder"

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 15 15:44:22 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

EU Observer

Belgian trades EU for US to build Star Trek medical device

2012.03.15 @ 09:44
By Philip Ebels
BRUSSELS — Star Trek fans will know about the Tricorder, a handheld device used by Captain Kirk and company to, among other things, scan the biological state of the living creatures they encountered on their interplanetary voyage.

Today, almost 50 years after the science-fiction series first aired on American television, the device is close to becoming a reality.

“It really is very difficult to build, but not impossible,” says Walter De Brouwer, the founder and CEO of Scanadu, a start-up company based in Sillicon Valley working with the NASA space agency to build a 21st-century Tricorder, to be put on the market by 2014.

The Tricorder, he says, will be not much more than a smartphone extension and be able to monitor and diagnose your health conditions without needing blood, urine, saliva, physical contact or even cooperation from the patient.

Instead, the Tricorder works with light, says De Brouwer, without going into details. “Advanced optics. Everything is light.”

It is one of many new futuristic health devices that are making the rounds at future-of-healthcare conferences like TEDMED or FutureMed and, we are told, will be here rather sooner than later. “There is an explosion of new devices,” says De Brouwer.

Not made in Europe

But like the conferences, it seems most of the devices are either American-made or designed. And not European. De Brouwer himself, a Belgian national, recently moved to California in order to start work on the Tricorder.

“People who decide to live in Silicon Valley are larger than life,” he says. “They are romantics, not afraid to take risks or to fail.”

But most of all, he says, they are happy to listen to other people’s ideas “with a willing suspension of disbelief,” citing English 19th-century poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The advent of the Tricorder came a step closer in January when Qualcomm, an American telecommunications company, launched a $10 million prize for whoever builds the device first. De Brouwer is officially competing.

“In Europe,” he says, “people are of the extreme cautionist school — they only do something if it has proven to work in the US.”

De Brouwer takes the example of the VScan handheld ultrasound device, recently presented by General Electric. “In Europe, people would say: It can’t be done. In the US they say: It will be done.”

And what about the Tricorder? Would it have been possible to build in Europe?

“No,” says De Brouwer. “First in the US, then in Europe.”

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first ''medical tricorder''

Posted by italianstallion on Thu Mar 15 15:46:15 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first "medical tricorder", posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 15 15:44:22 2012.


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Re: EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first ''medical tricorder''

Posted by Dan Lawrence on Thu Mar 15 22:33:56 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first "medical tricorder", posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 15 15:44:22 2012.

Believe that and you can run for the Presidency.

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first ''medical tricorder''

Posted by grand concourse on Thu Mar 15 23:37:06 2012, in response to Re: EUEUEUEUEU loses to US for building the first ''medical tricorder'', posted by italianstallion on Thu Mar 15 15:46:15 2012.


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EUEUEUEUEU's "Merkozy" affair cooling down

Posted by Olog-hai on Sat Mar 17 01:09:00 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

France still knows who the boss is, though.

EU Observer

Merkel and Sarkozy: The end of the affair?

15.03.12 @ 09:50
By Honor Mahony
BRUSSELS — She needed him to soften the impression that Germany alone is leading Europe. He needed her to give the impression France is still, despite its economic difficulties, a political player.

For months, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy were the eurzone's inseparable political duo. He was effusive and talked in a grand way about the historical importance of Franco-German relations. She, more pragmatic, concentrated on the here-and-now.

From a frosty beginning their relationship evolved towards mutual respect. They met, bickered, compromised and then decided on eurozone policy.

With France struggling to contain its budget deficit and French banks heavily exposed to Greece, Sarkozy embraced Merkel's economic view of the world — austerity measures until a balanced budget is achieved.

He brought his admiration for the 'German model' into his electoral campaign. She said she would support Sarkozy in his re-election bid "no matter what he does" and her Christian Democratic Party was equally warm. Plans were even afoot for the Chancellor to appear alongside the President in pre-election rallies.

But with just weeks to go until the first round of the elections on 22 April, 'Merkozy' — as their moniker goes — is no longer the talk of the eurozone.

Both sides have cooled. Sarkozy, after being mocked by opponents for being Germany's lapdog, no longer mentions Merkel or Germany in his campaign. His own party told him that it would do him no good to be seen alongside the German leader, who is associated with painful spending cuts in France.

On Berlin's side, it is becoming clear that Merkel risked causing long-term damage to relations with Paris by refusing to meet with Sarkozy's main challenger, the socialist François Hollande — who, until very recently, had a firm lead in the polls.

On Tuesday, Sarkozy publicly cemented the break, telling Europe 1 radio that "at one moment or another" he and Merkel would appear together to discuss Europe. But it would "not be at a rally because an election campaign is the business of the French."

His statement followed a major speech on Sunday which would not be viewed well in Germany, even allowing for normal pre-election hyperboles.

Sarkozy threatened to pull his country out of the EU's passport-free Schengen zone unless more is done to stop irregular immigration and took a swipe at free trade, suggesting there should be a "Buy European" law.

As his campaign takes on a more populist and right-wing tone, German newspapers have begun to ask if the Chancellor still wants to be seen as his running mate.

'Do you really want this guy, Frau Merkel?' a headline by the Die Zeit newspaper said last week.

Meanwhile, for Sarkozy, the anti-immigrant stance seems to be paying better dividends than the Merkozy hook-up. Following Sunday's speech he pulled ahead of Hollande in polls for the first time since electioneering began in earnest.

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(EUEUEUEUEU) MEPs slam Commission President over "Blackmail Clause" in new Fiscal Treaty (vid)

Posted by Olog-hai on Sat Mar 17 20:19:16 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.


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EUEUEUEUEU being pushed deeper into recession by Berliln's "austerity" dictates

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 00:59:53 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

Imperial Germany wants to be the only game in town . . . this is all a power play.

Berlin's European Recession


The austerity dictate imposed by Berlin and Brussels is driving nearly all indebted southern European countries deeper into the recession, as shown by new data on the economic developments of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. According to this data Portugal's economy, for example, declined by 1.3 percent in the last quarter of 2011 and could shrink by up to six percent this year. Industrial production in Italy registered a sharp decline. Retail sales in Spain — an indicator of private consumption — declined by almost a quarter in comparison to 2007. Greece is approaching the economic level of countries in Latin America or Southeast Asia, which, up to now, had clearly lagged behind European standards. In the longer run, the recession could have a backlash on Germany because the massive slump is also affecting German exports. This could have serious repercussions.

"On the Right Path"

Germany is continuing to impose disastrous economic austerity measures all over Europe. Top German politicians and officials relentlessly plead for the continuation of the austerity policy, undeterred by the erupting recession in areas of the Euro zone. The policy became binding for almost all EU member countries through the signing the Fiscal Pact on March 2. As German Finance Minster Wolfgang Schäuble declared March 6, by signing the Fiscal Pact, Europe is on the "right path."1 Indicating the Czech Republic and Great Britain, both of which refused to sign the treaty that will slowly erode national sovereignty, he added that he hoped all EU members would soon sign up for the Pact, which Berlin substantially formulated. On March 13, Federal Bank President Jens Weidmann called for the southern Euro countries, which are currently slipping into recession, to apply "stiffer reforms" and additional austerity measures.2

Recession in Spain

The situation in Spain has been dramatically worsening since the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came to power and pursued a strict austerity policy. Because of austerity measures already adopted, the country's economic output shrank by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, as compared to the preceding quarter. The Rajoy government is anticipating a deepening of the recession this year, which could lead to a 1.7 percent contraction of the economy. In February, Spain had the highest unemployment rate in Europe, with an official rate of 21.2 percent. Youth unemployment has even risen to 46 percent. By comparison, before the crisis began in mid 2007, the unemployment rate south of the Pyrénées had been around eight percent and the youth unemployment rate around 15 percent. As in Greece, the Iberian Peninsula's economic downturn has been provoked by a slump in domestic demand due to the austerity measures. Last January, Spanish retail sales dropped by 4.8 points below last year's level for the same period. The real drama of this collapse can only be seen from a long-term perspective: Compared to March 2007, Spanish retail sales even dropped 23 percent.

Continue to "Save"

The worsening economic situation forced the Rajoy government to put into question the EU imposed austerity plan. Originally, the Spanish government had planned to reduce the 2011 budget deficit of 8.5 percent to 4.4 percent. But as the recession picked up momentum, the prognosis for the Spanish deficit rose to 5.8 percent. Following last Monday's controversial negotiations in Brussels, Madrid was granted a slight increase in the deficit ceiling to 5.3 percent under the condition of committing itself to an even greater cutback of 0.5 percent of the GDP. Spain must make "greater consolidation efforts," demanded Jean-Claude Juncker, the chief of the Euro group and reiterated that from 2013 on, the country has to push its budget deficit below the limit of three percent of the GDP.3

Downturn in Italy

The downturn, having begun already in the second half of 2011, is also accelerating in Italy. Even the EU Commission is predicting that the economy south of the Alps will shrink by 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from the previous quarter. This prediction could prove too optimistic. Already the most recently announced slump in Italian industrial production fell 2.5 percent of the preceding month, three times more than experts had predicted. Italy's technocratic government, led by Prime Minister Mario Monti and imposed by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, has also pushed through austerity programs including value-added tax increases, retirement pension reductions and a further deregulation of the labor market and, these measures, as seen in Greece, lead to a breakdown of domestic consumption demand. Therefore new car registrations fell by 18.9 percent in February, which incidentally also affects products produced in Germany or German producers such as Audi (−35%), Mercedes (−14%) and Opel (−40%). By December, Italian retail sales had fallen relatively modestly — 6.3 percent in relation to the high in February 2008. But this could also quickly change with the impending implementation of the austerity measures, such as additional increases in the value-added tax.4

Portugal is Crashing

Portugal has been particularly hard-hit by the austerity measures imposed by Brussels and Berlin, which have greatly accelerated the recession. In the third quarter of 2011, the Portuguese economy dropped by 0.6 percent from the previous quarter and in the fourth quarter it was already down 1.3 percent. According to diverse predictions, this impoverished country is expected to decline from 3.3 to 6 percent.5 Portugal's unemployment rate has risen to 14.8 percent, while the right-wing government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is doing everything possible — including mass layoffs and wage cuts in the public sector and hasty privatizations — to reach the targeted 4.5 percent deficit level for 2012, despite the recession.

On the way to the Third World

Where this austerity policy, imposed by the German government on Europe, will lead, can be seen in Greece's dramatic crash, which can literally be characterized as Greece saving itself to death. According to all predictions, in 2012 the country will remain in its fourth year of recession and continue to approach the economic level of the third world. The German business press predicts that if Greece's economic contraction continues, it will be bypassed by countries such as Vietnam or Peru. A deeper recession could even saddle Greece with a GNP, in terms of buying power, lower than the GNP of Bangladesh. The German edition of the Financial Times speaks of a "historically exceptional" economic collapse. "Some experts fear that the GNP for 2012 will again decline up to eight percent, after an approx. 6.5 percent drop in 2011. This is "the worst recession that a western country has encountered since the war," explains Barry Eichengreen, an economic historian at the University of Berkeley.6

Backlash on Germany

In the end, Germany's export industry will not escape the downward trend in the Eurozone, despite its growing exports to so-called threshold countries. EU countries' orders coming in for the German industry are dramatically diminishing. The business press reports, "already since the middle of the year, the quantity of new orders from countries of the monetary union has declined consistently, since the debt crisis resurged in the summer." "A demand for German products has decreased also" in other countries, "due to their austerity measures."7 Berlin's austerity dictate is ultimately threatening to push Germany's export-dependent economy into a recession. Like the populations in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy today, the German population will most likely have to confront drastic austerity programs.
  1. Germany Fin Min: EU On "Right Path" With Fiscal Compact; online.wsj.com 07.03.2012
  2. Weidmann fordert härtere Reformen von den Eurostaaten; www.focus.de 13.03.2012
  3. Eurozone knöpft sich Spanien vor; www.handelsblatt.com 12.03.2012
  4. Europas Sorgenkinder; www.handelsblatt.com 23.02.2012
  5. Europa spart sich in die Rezession; www.ftd.de 15.02.2012
  6. Dramatischer Wohlstandsverlust in Griechenland; www.ftd.de 13.03.2012
  7. Euro-Krise peinigt deutsche Exporteure; www.ftd.de 13.03.2012

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU being pushed deeper into recession by Berliln's ''austerity'' dictates

Posted by dand124 on Thu Mar 22 01:02:37 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU being pushed deeper into recession by Berliln's "austerity" dictates, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 00:59:53 2012.

according to olog:

German austerity=bad
republican austerity=good

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU being pushed deeper into recession by Berliln's ''austerity'' dictates

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 01:38:25 2012, in response to Re: EUEUEUEUEU being pushed deeper into recession by Berliln's ''austerity'' dictates, posted by dand124 on Thu Mar 22 01:02:37 2012.

This is more proof that you're a liberal: the partisan BS. I don't recall any "Republican austerity" program besides, and you just made yourself look like you support the giant expansion of welfare that the liberal politicians in every corner of this country are engaging in instead of endeavoring to rebuild the USA's manufacturing base.

As for Germany's "austerity", it's quite different and entails blackmail, designed to gain their country political powers over its neighbors. You'd only wake up to the danger if they ever sent a "troika" to the USA to dictate the terms of the national budget, as many countries over in the EU already have to go through. You need to get over your narcissism once you recover from your breakdown . . .

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EUEUEUEUEU creates "Berlin Club" (it has ten members)

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 02:43:52 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.


Europhiles create “Berlin Club”

21 March 2012
Gathered around Germany, "ten countries have formed the 'Berlin Club' to revive the European project," reports Spanish daily ABC following a dinner hosted in Berlin by German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. The minister invited only those European Foreign Ministers considered to be "the most Europhile," from Poland, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Luxemburg, Spain, Denmark and France (the latter two did not attend). According to ABC, Westerwelle's goal is to…
… create a kind of 'club' committed to developing formulas that, in these times of crisis, will revive the ideal of a united Europe.
The group, which is scheduled to meet at least four more times, will discuss such issues as increased cooperation of fiscal and economic policies, efforts to stabilize growth and the euro, as well as border controls and security policies. The group will present its conclusions in a final document.

ABC notes that on March 9, during an informal meeting of European Foreign Ministers, Guido Westerwelle…
… was in favor of reopening the discussion on the need for a European Constitution, but there is no consensus on the subject among the 27 [member states].

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members)

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 22 03:16:04 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU creates "Berlin Club" (it has ten members), posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 02:43:52 2012.

There's nothing wrong with a "united Europe" ... despite the red states, America works, doesn't it? Only problem is that they were in such a hurry to build the first one, they fucked it all up.

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members)

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 03:23:01 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU creates "Berlin Club" (it has ten members), posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 02:43:52 2012.

A bit more from the EU Observer . . . the other seventeen member states found this more than merely unsettling.

German 'future of Europe' meeting irks partners

20.03.12 @ 09:43
By Valentina Pop
BRUSSELS — German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has irked some of his EU colleagues by inviting only a select few to a dinner on Tuesday (20 March) to discuss the 'future of Europe' after the economic crisis.

The meeting does not appear on the official website of the German foreign ministry as it is meant to be an informal event at the Villa Borsig, north of Berlin. Invited were the foreign ministers of France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

But by leaving out 17 of the EU's 27 states, Westerwelle has stepped on the toes of some of his colleagues.

A diplomat from Sweden, one of the non-invitees, told Spiegel magazine that the German foreign minister was not contributing to EU cooperation by leaving some countries out.

The Danish foreign minister was invited, but refused to participate. "We have a government meeting that evening. Of course I am willing to discuss EU topics. But us ministers have to weigh which meetings are important and which are not," Villy Sovndal said in Copenhagen last weekend when asked by German Radio about Westerwelle's event.

The German minister also faces criticism in Ireland, another country not on his guest list.

From Dublin's perspective, Westerwelle's debate on the future of Europe is seen as unhelpful at this moment in time, as the government is preparing a referendum on the Germany-inspired treaty on fiscal discipline, the Irish Times reports.

A recently ousted leader of the German Liberal Party, Westerwelle is struggling to maintain his credibility both internally and on the European stage. His idea to set up a "Future Group" to discuss issues ranging from the EU's democratic deficit to immigration and Schengen is aimed at bolstering his status.

"We have to open a new chapter in EU politics. We cannot limit ourselves to crisis management, but we have to show that Europe can also offer political perspectives," Westerwelle said last Friday when arriving in Copenhagen for an informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers.

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members)

Posted by Spider-Pig on Thu Mar 22 04:07:36 2012, in response to Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members), posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 03:23:01 2012.

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has irked some of his EU colleagues by inviting only a select few to a dinner on Tuesday (20 March) to discuss the 'future of Europe' after the economic crisis.

He couldn't invite everyone to the club because before you hit the club you gotta do GTL. That's how you stay fresh and mint. And that's the situation.

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members)

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 22 05:19:37 2012, in response to Re: EUEUEUEUEU creates ''Berlin Club'' (it has ten members), posted by Spider-Pig on Thu Mar 22 04:07:36 2012.

LOL! :)

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(EUEUEUEUEU) Unions blame Germany and EUEUEUEU for double-dip recession

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 22 19:54:51 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.


Trade unions blame Germany, EU for double-dip recession

Published 22 March 2012
A new study by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) maps out the effects of the economic crisis on unemployment and inequality. It blames EU leaders, notably the European Commission’s push for austerity in early 2011 and the European Central Bank’s previously tight monetary policy, for the failure to spur a recovery.

The report notably contrasts the European situation with the fragile economic recovery in the United States.

The European Union entered a double-dip recession in the last quarter of 2011, with the economy shrinking by 0.3% and the unemployment rate continuing to increase, reaching a record in the eurozone of 10.7% in January.

The study was presented at a conference in the European Economic and Social Committee on 20 March.

‘Collective failure’

The report blames this divergence largely on the actions of EU-level and national leaders.

Andrew Watt, an economist and one of the report’s co-authors, said: “It was a collective failure of the Commission, the European Central Bank and national governments.”

“In a normal democracy, Olli Rehn would have been forced to resign," he said, referring to the European commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. "Heads would have rolled.”

The report also criticizes the European Central Bank (ECB), claiming it helped “quell the recovery,” by increasing interest rates for banks’ refinancing twice in 2011, making it harder for them to lend to governments, as well consumers and companies in the real economy.

“On both occasions, the increase in the spreads in the 10-year bond yields of [the peripheral economies] increased sharply,” the report underlined.

The general increase in bond yields in the eurozone, the interest the market demands for governments to refinance themselves or secure new loans, was one of the major causes for the economic slowdown and increase of unemployment in the second half of 2011.

The report claims this led to economic crisis even in countries with modest debt and deficits. “The failure to undertake a full government bank role so far, along with other failures of economic governance, has led to a spreading of the debt crisis even to member states with fundamentally sound public finances,” it reads.

German priorities ‘bound to make recession deeper’

The ECB has since dramatically reversed policy, reducing refinancing rates to their original level, and taking measures of unprecedented scale including the purchase of over €200 billion of Spanish and Italian bonds, and the making of over €1 trillion in low-interest, three-year loans to eurozone banks since December.

This action is widely credited with easing the economic crisis and giving European leaders a “breathing space”. It is uncertain whether this will prove lasting in the absence of effective reforms at national and European level.

In particular, member states’ competitiveness will need to converge to reduce trade imbalances between them. This means, as countries within the euro cannot devalue, that wages must decline dramatically in peripheral economies such as Greece relative to those in core.

Some economists have suggested the re-balance should also be achieved through an increase in wages in “over-competitive” in Germany. The report says “the insistence by Germany and other core economies that current account imbalances are corrected unilaterally by those member states in deficit, are bound to make the recession deeper and more widespread.”

Rising unemployment and inequality

The study describes in detail the increases in unemployment, poverty and inequality that have resulted from the crisis, drawing on statistics from various sources including the EU’s Eurostat statistical agency, ECB, the Paris School of Economics and others.

Among the worst-affected are youth, with an EU average unemployment rate of 22.4% with over 40% of those with jobs working on temporary contracts (almost four times as many as people over 25). The situation is also dramatic for migrants from outside the EU27 who, to the extent that such estimates can be made, suffer an unemployment rate of around 20%.

In addition to a moderate increase in the average inequality between individuals in EU countries, it also shows that inequality of wealth between European regions and nations is on the rise.

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EUEUEUEUEU against employees' rights

Posted by Olog-hai on Sat Mar 24 03:40:07 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

PressEurop.eu — Frankfurter Rundschau

The crisis: golden opportunity for employers

23 March 2012 | Frankfurter Rundschau | Frankfurt

Pressed hard by the recession and national debts, European governments are rewriting the labor law, whether watering down job protection or cutting wages cuts. And employers are smiling.

Stephan Kaufmann

In Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, the crisis is raging. All of southern Europe has been laid low. All of southern Europe? Not exactly. Some people in these countries are seeing long-cherished wishes come true. One is Juan Rosell, head of the Spanish employers' organization CEOE, who has been calling for a relaxation of job protection for years. Now the government has heeded his call. “It won’t be the last labor market reform,” prophesies Rosell, scenting victory. The crisis is his opportunity.

Businesses in Europe have the upper hand. Under pressure from recession and national debt, governments are rolling back workers' rights across the board and pushing down labor costs. The aim is to make locations for investors cheaper and therefore more attractive. “Europe is on its way to becoming an entrepreneur's paradise — on the backs of the workers,” complains Apostolos Kapsalis of the Research Institute of the Greek Trade Union Federation, GSEE.

Given skyrocketing unemployment rates and the cutbacks demanded by the European Union, trade unions are on the defensive. In Greece, the government has made drastic cuts to the minimum wage and to unemployment benefits. “Massive wage cuts will be the consequence,” says Michala Marcussen from French bank Société Générale.

Retirement age has also been pegged higher, which not only lets the state save on pension payments but also increases the numbers of job-seekers. This in turn fuels competition for those jobs. “In the European labor reforms, Greece is the laboratory rat,” says Kapsalis. “Here is where they’re testing how to carry out the rollbacks.” Similar moves can soon be expected in other countries, the trade unionist warns.

Employee rights on the chopping board

In Spain for example, where in February, and without negotiating with the unions, the government reformed the labor market — “extremely aggressively”, as even economics minister Luis de Guindos conceded. The big winners are the companies: “It's simply a matter of increasing their profit margins — and this, in the short term, can only be done by driving down unit labor costs,” says Patrick Artus, an economist at the French bank Natixis.

The wave of reform is washing across not just the smaller states. Even in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti is drawing up plans for swingeing cuts in traditional workers' rights. Iron-clad employee job protection is one of those rights on the chopping board. The government tried to get rid of it in 2002, but mass protests forced it to back down.

Today a new opportunity is dawning — and the Prime Minister intends to seize it. “When it comes to economic policy issues, Monti’s line is very close to ours,” says Emma Marcegaglia, head of the Italian industrial association Confindustria.

The model for EU politicians is Germany, where Agenda 2010 and wage restraint have been highly profitable for companies and where the crisis has long been over. “In international competition with rising powers like China and Brazil, Europe can stay in the race only if it’s as competitive as Germany,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said in January.

“The measures will turn out to be a burden on growth”

German wage levels and productivity have thus set the benchmarks for European competition — and in France too, which has seen its international market share drift to other countries, while Germany has been able to expand its market position. By Commerzbank's calculations, French and Italian car production fell between 2004-2011 by almost 30 percent, while in that same period the German car manufacturers saw their own output jump by 22 percent.

What’s already clear is that the labor market reforms are not short-term measures to tackle the crisis, but are here for the long run. The cost-cutting strategies are pitting the states against each other. Low-wage countries like Croatia and the Czech Republic are being forced to make their labor markets more flexible and push their labor costs downwards to become more competitive, says the IMF.

This competition between states is also desired by the EU, whose goal is to make Europe the most competitive region in the world by 2020.? “We must come up with an agenda for growth,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

This increase in competitiveness through lower labor costs comes at the expense of income — and thus consumer spending. “The measures will turn out to be a burden on growth and on the labor markets for years to come,” predicts Natixis economist Artus. The question is whether those affected will go along with it. The Portuguese trade unions have just called a general strike, and the Spanish unions are coming out next. In Greece, the trade unionist Kapsalis is also launching a call for solidarity from the Germans: “Today it’s us feeling the squeeze — tomorrow it’ll be your turn again.”

Translated from the German by Anton Baer

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU against employees' rights

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Sat Mar 24 03:54:07 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU against employees' rights, posted by Olog-hai on Sat Mar 24 03:40:07 2012.

Well GEE, Unca Olog ... where do you think they got THAT idea from?

Republicans ... republicans everywhere. :(

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU against employees' rights

Posted by Fred G on Sat Mar 24 05:15:36 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU against employees' rights, posted by Olog-hai on Sat Mar 24 03:40:07 2012.

Next thing ya know they'll emulate the Wisconsin anti-collective bargaining fever.

your pal,

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EUEUEUEUEU can't get economists for Commission

Posted by Olog-hai on Tue Mar 27 02:48:20 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

Well, after what they did to Bernard Connolly and Marta Andreasen, who wants to go work for them? You tell the truth, you get canned and they try to wreck your reputation!

EU Observer

EU commission struggling to attract top economists

26.03.12 @ 17:28
By Honor Mahony
BRUSSELS — So few people are applying for jobs in the European Commission that the official in charge believes it will soon no longer be possible to guarantee a high-caliber workforce where all member states are fairly represented.

EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, in charge of administration, says salaries for the commission are too low to be attractive to candidates from rich member states.

"For some time we are facing quite a serious problem recruiting people from so-called high-wage economies," he said Monday (26 March).

The problem goes across the board from entry-level salaries for policy officers (€4,349.59 a month before tax) right up to the top bureaucratic posts in the commission.

Germans represent 16.31 percent of the EU population. Yet in 2010, only 7.61 percent of EU applicants for an administrator post (a policy expert) in the commission were Germans. This dropped to 6.82 percent last year — less than half of what it should be to ensure the country's fair representation in the commission.

But it is in Britain where the problem is so acute that the commission has actively started to try and recruit students in their last year of university to stop well-qualified graduates flitting off to highly-paid jobs elsewhere.

While the country represents 12.38 percent of the EU population, it accounted for only 2.39 percent of entry-level applicants in 2011.

Šefčovič notes that he himself has interviewed "several high civil servants" from "high-wage economies" who have made it through the commission's staff hiring process only to turn down the job in the end because national civil services pay more.

The situation risks becoming "structural" by the end of this decade, by which time around 60 percent of managers will be coming to retirement age but are not being sufficiently replaced.

Where are the economists?

But the problem is not just a long term one. The commission is also having immediate difficulty getting top economists to fill an extra 59 posts in its Economic and Financial Affairs department (DG ECFIN).

The beefed-up DG reflects the increased powers the commission has in surveying national budgets but also over bailed-out countries, particularly Greece, which require almost constant detailed economic analysis and responses.

"I know that [economic affairs commissioner] Olli Rehn and [director general] Marco Buti are struggling to get to the level of economists that they would like to have," said Šefčovič.

Of the 59 places up for grabs, only six have been filled. Twenty-two are in the process of being filled, while the rest remain empty.

Šefčovič's comment on staff problems come as member states begin their traditional squabbles on the EU's multi-annual budget (2014-2020).

The commission's administrative budget accounts for 6 percent of the around €130 billion annual budget. However, some member states — including the UK and Germany — have called for further reductions in salaries and pensions in the next long-term budget.

The commission counters that its current problems stem from staff reforms that kicked into place in 2004, when salaries were lowered and pensions made less attractive.

"We can really have almost all old member states before 2020 facing this problem. I was trying to be clear what kind of consequences this problem might have for the fair geographical representation and for the high quality of officials we need in the commission over the coming years," said Šefčovič.

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Re: EUEUEUEUEU can't get economists for Commission

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Tue Mar 27 02:50:56 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU can't get economists for Commission, posted by Olog-hai on Tue Mar 27 02:48:20 2012.

They've certainly proven that the only economist they want to talk to is Goldman Sachs. :(

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(EUEUEUEUEU) German court legalizes racial profiling

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 02:41:14 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

The Local

Should cops target black people for ID checks?

Published: 28 Mar 12 14:27 CET

A German court ruled this week that police are allowed to use skin color as a criteria to for spot-checks when looking for people breaking immigration laws. Is that justified?

The ruling emerged from the case of a young black German man who said he was so sick of repeatedly being asked for his ID in his own country that he refused to do so without being given a good reason.

The Koblenz court ruled that the police were justified in using a person’s appearance, including skin color, to decide whether to check their ID, provoking outrage from the man and his lawyer. One human rights lawyer told The Local the judge was not fit for office.

The young man on the train, who asked not to be named, told The Local he had been stopped and asked for his ID many times — and that the humiliation of this happening repeatedly in his own country had made him furious.

Although it might seem logical for police carrying out spot-checks to select people on the basis of their appearance, doing so is likely to alienate those Germans whose skin is not white.

The UK and US have a long and bitter experience of minorities who become alienated by police racial profiling. Is it worth the damage that such policies do to society? Or is it justified in the hunt for people breaking immigration and residency laws? . . .

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court legalizes racial profiling

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 02:51:03 2012, in response to (EUEUEUEUEU) German court legalizes racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 02:41:14 2012.

The Local

Victim slams court's racial spot-check ruling

Published: 28 Mar 12 14.03 CET
The young black German whose refusal to show police his ID led to a court ruling that cops could use skin color as a criteria for spot-checks, says he will fight the case all the way.

Speaking to The Local, the 25-year-old student said he was disappointed by the verdict which has provoked a storm of outrage. One human rights lawyer called for the judge to be dismissed, while his own lawyer says he will take the case to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

“I don’t want to believe it — that my country now supports this, it is terrible,” the student said.

The police have been told they can do this — no-one is thinking of the person getting hurt. I just wish every kind of racism would stop; it is horrid how people are treated by those who think they are lesser.”

The student, who asked not to be identified, said he often took the train from Kassel, where he studies, to visit family in Frankfurt.

“Over the last three years I have been asked for my identification about 15 times on that train,” he said. “It was making me sick.”

The check in question came on December 3, 2010, on the train he had taken so many times before.

“I had got myself a cup of tea and was returning to my seat when my way was blocked by the two police officers who asked me where I was going. I told them I was going back to my seat.


“I did not understand why my answer made them so angry. They treated me really as if I was not a person, it was humiliating.”

The officers asked him to show his identification, but could not tell him why they were asking — and without a reason he refused to cooperate.

“It made me very angry, with such an anger I had not had before. You see them when they enter the carriage, they act like hunting dogs tracking down a piece of meat; they walk past 100 people and stop at my seat.”

He said he decided to make a stand and refused to show them his identification without good reason. The altercation ended with him telling the police their methods reminded him of those used in Nazi times by the SS.

The police took him off the train and to a police station where they said if he did not cooperate and show them his ID they would lock him up.

'Lock me up!'

“Lock me up! The only thing I probably did was to ‘look illegal’.”

And despite never getting a good explanation of why he should, the student eventually showed them some ID in order to get out and go home.

But the SS comment resulted in a charge of slander, which was dismissed by a court on Tuesday. Crucially, one of the court hearings produced the admission that the police officers had checked his ID because he was black — and for no other reason.

This was challenged by his lawyer Sven Adam, who told The Local, “It is a scandal. It’s unconstitutional and illegal — one cannot be forced to identify oneself if there is no suspicion or danger.”

Adam said he was determined to appeal the verdict, and would take the case to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

'Fertile grounds for racism'

“The decision will certainly provide fertile ground for racism on trains and on the streets,” he said.

But on Tuesday, the Koblenz administrative court ruled that such reasoning was acceptable, prompting harsh criticism.

"This is of course complete nonsense," human rights lawyer David Schneider-Mensah told The Local. "And the judge who passed this verdict is clearly not fit for his office and should be dismissed."

“Of course there are objective criteria which the police can use to decide who to spot-check — people who are behaving suspiciously, for example," he added. "But any criteria based purely on people's appearance are illegal."

Schneider-Mensah has fought many similar cases in the past. "Most police spot-checks in Germany are illegal in my experience," he said.

"The police often appear to be running secret border checks, which are outlawed by the EU, since the Schengen agreement clearly means that we have no border controls."

A spokesman for the court told The Local that the judge had decided spot-checks were only effective when carried out according to an officer’s assessment of the person’s appearance.

“There is no way they can check all 500 or so people on a train, they have to be selective,” he said. People who appear to be foreign were more likely to be breaking German immigration and residency laws than those who seemed German, he said.

Trains going to large cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin were the most likely to be checked, since they are most used by people breaking such laws, he said.

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(EUEUEUEUEU) Appointed Italian PM blames Germany for EU debt

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 02:56:20 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

Yes, this did shock Correspondent Olog. After all, Monti owes his current job to Germany . . . but notice that he calls Germany (and GF France) "bad parents" who set a "bad example" for the rest of the eurozone (what a twisted way to say that Germany runs the EU) . . .

AFP via The Local

Italian PM: Germany to blame for EU debt

Published: 28 Mar 12 10:16 CET
The Italian Prime Minister has blamed Germany for Europe's debt woes which, he told reporters on Wednesday, lie in irresponsible parenting from stronger member countries during the eurozone’s infancy.

On a visit to Tokyo, President Mario Monti announced that because the eurozone's two largest players—Germany and France—had not abided by fiscal rules, they had set a bad example for the rest of the continent.

"The story goes back to 2003 (and) the still almost infant life of the euro, when Germany and France that were too flexible concerning public deficits and debts," Monti said.

“Of course if the father and mother of the eurozone are violating the rules, you could not expect (countries such as) Greece to be compliant," he added.

The technocrat, who replaced billionaire media magnate Silvio Berlusconi in November as head of the EU's third largest economy, said that flouting rules that allowed for an annual budget deficit of no more than three percent of GDP was the issue.

He said despite recommendations from a meeting of ministers from European Union governments, France and Germany had escaped without punishment for going beyond the deficit limit.

The eurozone is now under pressure to increase its debt rescue fund, as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on Tuesday that a financial safety net of at least €1.0 trillion was needed.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting on Friday and Saturday in Copenhagen to decide whether to increase the EU safety net or not.

The OECD said the refinancing needs of vulnerable eurozone nations could top €1.0 trillion over the coming two years, on top of cash needed to recapitalize banks.

Italy alone needs some €750 billion to finance its debt, while Spain requires around €370 billion over the next three years.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:03:26 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court legalizes racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 02:51:03 2012.

Heh. Figured the libs would keep their heads in the sand over this one. Never mind a few that think they're conservative . . .

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:38:43 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:03:26 2012.


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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 18:59:54 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:38:43 2012.


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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Fred G on Thu Mar 29 19:01:55 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 18:59:54 2012.


your pal,

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:02 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 18:59:54 2012.

Is this an official liberal position?

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:38 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Fred G on Thu Mar 29 19:01:55 2012.

So you're laughing at the Polizei doing racial profiling, eh?

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Fred G on Thu Mar 29 19:11:26 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:38 2012.

Nope try again.

your pal,

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 19:12:54 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:02 2012.


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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:31:08 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Fred G on Thu Mar 29 19:11:26 2012.

Do you have a viewpoint on racial profiling, at least?

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling

Posted by Rockparkman on Thu Mar 29 19:32:14 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:03:26 2012.

Stop whining about winning the Cold War.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:32:44 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 19:12:54 2012.

Ah, so German racial profiling = good, by the libs. It's not bad universally.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:33:45 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling, posted by Rockparkman on Thu Mar 29 19:32:14 2012.

Who won the Cold War? Why is Red China still around and Putin is rebuilding the Soviet Empire?

Can't face the subject matter of this subthread, can you? Debate that first, and then I might go further on your thought.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 19:38:11 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:33:45 2012.

The answer to that first question would be because they thought the cold war was over and you guys keep wanting to reset the breaker on it.

Your own words pretty much sum up what they fear. That's why.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 19:39:09 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:32:44 2012.


You have no problem with it happening HERE. That's the problem.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 20:31:41 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 19:39:09 2012.

C'mon, you know better than to lie against someone like that, even in a facetious manner. The libs seem to have a problem saying that it's bad everywhere, though; they shoulda posted this story before me.

I discovered some of Billy Joel's best music ever, a while back. I wanna share.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Thu Mar 29 21:03:30 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 20:31:41 2012.

Well lemme whip off my pants then and give you the straight poop. You see ... it's like this. Even as recently as your Trayvon posts, you've made it quite clear that you have no problem with any of those issues happening right here in the (formerly, before FOX) United States of America.

Hint: Those of us who live here care a LOT more about what's going on right here in our very own country ... you know ... the place where we actually LIVE? And so, since you're on the side of the oppressors rock solid, your so-called "outrage" about what you endorse happening here seems a bit ... well ... fake.

So forgive us if we ignore you and then laugh at you. If any of this REALLY mattered beyond your obsession, then you'd be complaining about the same thing happening right here ... in the (formerly, before FOX) United States of America. We don't give a shit about what happens elsewhere outside our borders when there's more than enough that needs fixing right here.

Please remember to take your belongings with you when you exit the train.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling

Posted by DAND124 on Thu Mar 29 21:10:56 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:03:26 2012.

no one ever pays attention to this thread because it's about the


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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Olog-hai on Fri Mar 30 00:00:42 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 18:38:43 2012.

More from der Spiegel . . .

The World from Berlin

Profiling Ruling 'Sows Seeds of Distrust and Racism'

Earlier this week, a German court ruled that federal police are allowed to conduct spot checks on certain train lines based on skin color to prevent illegal immigration. German editorialists question whether such measures are appropriate in a country that has become increasingly diverse.

Is it acceptable for German police to conduct checks for illegal immigrants on trains based on the color of a person's skin? A regional court in the country says it is, but human rights activists are outraged by the ruling.

The debate began on Tuesday, after the administrative court in Koblenz ruled that it is legal for German federal police to use skin color or appearance of non-German ethnic origin as criteria for determining which people they can ask for identification when doing spot checks for illegal immigrants. The ruling is limited to train lines that are known to be used by migrants illegally entering the country.

But a major human rights group says this violates international anti-racism conventions.

"International and European bodies like the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, have all clearly determined that record checks and identity checks that are exclusively or largely based on criteria like a person's ethnic origin or 'skin color' violate the ban on racial discrimination," the German Institute for Human Rights wrote in a statement on Thursday. The organization said that although federal police are permitted to conduct checks in certain places, like airports, train stations, trains and border areas, racial profiling is illegal.

Court Throws Out Case

In its ruling, the Koblenz court threw out a case brought forth by a 25-year-old student who is black and a German citizen. Police had stopped the man and asked him to provide identification during a spot check that took place on a train traveling between Kassel and Frankfurt in Germany on Dec. 3, 2010. The man said the police provided no reason for checking his identification, so he initially refused. He was subsequently taken into custody for a short time. While he ultimately showed his ID, he also told officers that he felt their methods were reminiscent of those of the Nazi SS. Police charged the student with slander in the incident, but the charges were dropped by the court.

The man sued the police, seeking a ruling from the court that acknowledged the officers' behavior had been illegal.

The officers involved in the incident admitted in court that during controls of train passengers, skin color is a criteria police take into consideration. One officer said that if he suspects a person is in Germany illegally and that person looks like a foreigner, then he will conduct a spot check.

But the court ruled that the methods the police used to determine the man's identity had been legal and that, under German law, federal police are permitted on certain railway routes to conduct controls on people who appear to be foreigners, even if there is no concrete suspicion of wrongdoing.

Possible Appeal Ahead

These railway lines are limited to routes police can show have often been used by foreigners to travel illegally into or through Germany, or where there are regular violations of the country's residency law. On those routes, the ruling stated, federal police are permitted to conduct controls based on skin color "regardless of whether a suspicion exists."

Police argued that because of capacity issues and for the sake of efficiency, they are limited to conducting spot checks and thus also need to have the ability to make those choices based on their "outward appearance." The court also ruled that the police conduct these spot checks on potential illegal immigrants based on their "relevant experience in border policing." Because of that experience, the court argued, the criteria had not been applied arbitrarily.

The lawyer for the man who brought the case to court has said he may appeal the decision, possibly taking it to Germany's Federal Constitutional Court.

So far only Germany's left-leaning dailies have run commentaries on the court ruling, but on Thursday those papers offer surprisingly different takes.

Die Tageszeitung writes:
"Good morning, federal police, identity check, please produce your ID." Four police officers enter the train and check for papers, especially from those of passengers with dark skin or dark hair. Everyone in Germany is familiar with such scenes, and many find them both shameful and discriminatory. But the court in Koblenz has no objections to such practices. Germany's law regulating federal police practices permits controls to take place and passengers' appearance is also allowed to play a role in spot checks. That's not arbitrary because, when it comes to preventing illegal immigration, skin color and appearance are a criteria. Most of those who have entered into Germany illegally have dark skin or dark hair color and, according to German law, concrete suspicion is not required for these checks.

So the real problem here is the law. If you allow checks without suspicion in order to fight illegal migration, then you also automatically create a discriminatory situation. This discrimination is particularly directed at those who have legal residency here or have even long been German citizens. With each check, they will be reminded once again that they don't actually belong here and, at the very least, have an appearance that leads police to imagine they are illegal immigrants. … Here, the seeds of distrust and racism are permanently sown. Such laws only serve to hinder integration and should be eliminated.
The Berlin daily Berliner Zeitung writes:
As tempting as it may be to think that the Koblenz judges have given their open blessing to latent racism among the police force, this impression is wrong — at least in this case. This is because the judges' ruling applies specifically to train routes that are regularly used by illegal migrants traveling into Germany. In this case it is justifiable for police to concentrate primarily on train passengers who are foreign in appearance. Of course, blond or red-haired passengers will enjoy an unfair advantage here. That's the difficulty with spot checks that are based on subjective criteria and empirical values.

Still, the police need to ask themselves whether their criteria should still apply. Just take a look at our national football team. It shows that Germans today aren't just blonde-haired, blue-eyed Sebastians and Manuels. They also have names like Mesut, Sami, Jerome or Miroslav.
— Daryl Lindsey

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SMAZ on Sun Apr 1 09:33:11 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:38 2012.

So you're laughing at the Polizei doing racial profiling, eh?

I am.

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by Fred G on Sun Apr 1 09:40:48 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 19:02:38 2012.

Nope laughing at you but I stopped.

Nope, started up again :P

your pal,

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*

Posted by SMAZ on Sun Apr 1 09:44:53 2012, in response to Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) German court *legalizes* racial profiling against *black people*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Mar 29 20:31:41 2012.

I discovered some of Billy Joel's best music ever, a while back. I wanna share.

I discovered one too. He dedicated this one to you.

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(EUEUEUEUEU) German Nobel laureate (ex-SS) writes antisemitic anti-Israel poem

Posted by Olog-hai on Thu Apr 5 19:09:07 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

Der Spiegel

Historian Michael Wolffsohn on Israel Poem

'Grass Has Written an Anti-Semitic Pamphlet'

Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass has caused a controversy with a new poem criticizing Israel's policies against Iran. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, the German historian Michael Wolffsohn accuses Grass of anti-Semitism and rehashing far-right stereotypes about Jews.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you think of Günter Grass's poem, "What Must Be Said," which was published in Germany's center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday?

Wolffsohn: It would have fit well in the (German far-right weekly) National Zeitung — and I mean that with no ifs or buts. In the poem, Grass makes the victims into perpetrators, and otherwise it contains pretty much every other anti-Semitic stereotype that we know from the far-right scene. And, on top of that, the language is completely lacking in sophistication.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In a statement on Wednesday, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin pointed out that the poem was published just before the feast of Passover.

Wolffsohn: I noticed that, too. In doing so, Grass is following an ignoble tradition. The time around Passover has always been the time of pogroms and a time when the blood-libel myth about Jews is disseminated.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Grass accuses Israel of claiming a "right to the first strike" which "could wipe out the Iranian people." Do you really think that he is following an anti-Semitic tradition with such statements?

Wolffsohn: At the very least, I would not have expected such cluelessness from a former practicing Catholic like Grass, given the current tension between different religions. Apart from anything else, this talk of a "first strike" is total nonsense.


Wolffsohn: Israel has never threatened to conduct a nuclear first strike. The submarines referred to in the poem provide a second-strike capability. If one's own territory has been devastated by a nuclear attack, submarines give a nation the ability to respond to the attack. That's something obvious to anyone who knows anything about military strategy. Grass clearly has no idea about the topic.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But Grass also calls Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a "loudmouth" who has "subjugated" his people.

Wolffsohn: That doesn't make things any better. By using the word "loudmouth," he is trivializing the nuclearization of Iran. The Jews have learned from history that threats are more than just crazy talk — thanks to Hitler, for whom Grass fought.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are referring to the fact that Grass was recruited into the Waffen-SS as a teenager toward the end of World War II. It was against his will, as he explains in his autobiography "Peeling the Onion."

Wolffsohn: At it happens, I have just read the book, and I was shocked by how he played it down. At the age of 17, one certainly does possess a political consciousness. Grass is simply incapable of self-criticism. Apart from that, he himself also writes in his "Onion" book that he had volunteered for the Navy and would have also been happy to join a tank regiment. Not his parents, however.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you believe him when he writes in his poem that he feels "connected" to the State of Israel?

Wolffsohn: I have never believed him. He was never a friend of the Jewish people — this is a myth he constructed himself. During his very first visit to Israel, on the occasion of the first German-Israeli "culture week" in 1971, he already acted like a bull in a china shop, and lectured the Israeli audience on historical and moral issues.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Grass writes that he was condemned to silence because, otherwise, he would be accused of anti-Semitism.

Wolffsohn: This is a very common stance in Germany: According to a poll by the Allensbach Institute, 52 percent of Germans believe that, when it comes to the issue of Israel and Jews, it is too easy to fall flat on your face. I am very cautious about using the term (anti-Semitic), but what Grass has written is an anti-Semitic pamphlet compressed into pseudo-poetry. Moreover, the possibility of an Iranian attack on Israel is the subject of extensive public debate, as is the question of a conventional bombing of Iran by Israel. Grass is living in a dream world if he believes there is some kind of taboo in that respect. It's yet another indication that the man engages entirely in navel-gazing.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Grass is 84 years old. Can one argue in his defense that maybe he is getting a bit too opinionated or even confused in his old age?

Wolffsohn: No. I know the complete works of Grass — he is really formidable in terms of language. And this undeniable eloquence is, in his case, fundamentally shaped by a moral and intellectual brutality. He appoints himself as judge and jury. The man is the sum of all his prejudices. Quite apart from that, there are also great works of literature that were written by authors of a similar age — think of Goethe's later works, for example.

Interview conducted by Christoph Twickel

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(EUEUEUEUEU) Child labor reappears

Posted by Olog-hai on Mon Apr 9 04:51:26 2012, in response to EUEUEUEUEU Olog, posted by RockParkMan on Sat Nov 12 14:58:17 2011.

PressEurop (Le Monde)

Child labor re-emerges in Naples

30 March 2012
Le Monde Paris

In one of Europe’s poorest cities, thousands of children are leaving school to help their families make ends meet. Part of a trend that has been accentuated by the crisis, they find work in the black economy or they are recruited for sinister purposes by the mafia. (Extracts.)

7 a.m. in San Lorenzo in the heart of Naples: the kid is struggling to carry a heavy crate of canned goods through a humid labyrinth of city streets. Dressed in his faded overalls, hoodie and and busted trainers, little Gennaro has already begun his day at work.

No one is surprised to see him slaving away at such an early hour. In September 2011, Gennaro found work in a grocery shop. On the job six days a week and 10 hours a day, he stocks shelves, unloads orders and delivers shopping to customers in the neighborhood.

Gennaro dreamed of becoming a computer programmer, now he is a shop assistant — the most common profession for Neopolitan child workers. He is paid in cash, earning less than a euro an hour. In a good week he can expect to take home 50 euros. Gennaro has just turned fourteen.

Gennaro’s mother, Paola Rescigno, never thought there would come a day when she would deprive her son of school. For 20 years, she and her husband lived in a 35-square-meter flat that gave onto an interior courtyard in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, the most densely populated area in the city center.

Then the father died, carried off by a sudden and virulent cancer, and Paola Rescigno was forced to live from hand to mouth. She organized a micro-company offering cleaning services, which nets her and some of the other unemployed women in her neighbourhood 45 euro cents an hour, or 35 euros a week — significantly less than the wage brought home by her son.

At age 10, the children work ten hours a day

She is the one who wakes Gennaro at dawn every morning so that he will arrive on time at the grocery. His younger sister is only six, and difficult choices had to be made: "I don’t have the means to buy books for both of them. It was either one or the other." On the kitchen table, there is an “8-day loaf”: 3 kilograms of bland long-lasting rye bread, a throwback to the post-WWII Italian famine, which costs only five euros.

In Naples, thousands of children like Gennaro have been forced to work. In 2011, a local government report sounded the alarm on the surrounding Campania region, where more than 54,000 children left the education system between 2005 and 2009 — 38% of them were less than 13 years old.

Shop assistants, waiters, occasional delivery boys, apprentice hairdressers, shop floor hands in the back country tanneries and big brand leather workshops, gofers for market stall holders: they are plainly visible, clearly working, and hardly anyone seems to mind. "Of course, we were the poorest region in Italy. But we haven’t seen a situation like this since the end of the Second World War," says Naples deputy mayor Sergio d'Angelo. "At age 10, these kids are already working 12 hours a day, which is a clear breach of their right to development." The parents, who have put themselves in an illegal position, have to contend with the possibility that social services may place their children in foster homes.

The Italian economic crisis has played a major role in all of this. Since 2008, a succession of financial reforms have introduced drastic cuts. In June 2010, the Campania region put an end to its minimum welfare scheme, plunging more than 130,000 families into poverty.

At the time, the average income in the region was 633 euros per inhabitant: today, half of the region’s residents believe they are worse off. "The younger generation has been obliged to suffer the entire weight of the worst economic crisis in the post-war period," says Sergio d'Angelo.

"A state that abandons its children"

In Naples, the vast majority of children from poor families are faced with a choice between struggling to stay in school or dropping out to work in the black economy. Then there is a third option, which is to join the ranks of the Camorra, the Neopolitan mafia. Specialist educator Giovanni Savino, age 33, has devoted his life to preventing young people from opting for this most brutal choice. His home turf is one of Naples worst neighbourhoods: Barra, a decayed highrise area of the city which is now an openair drugs supermarket under the control of the Camorra clans.

Every week, Giovanni Savino visits Rodino secondary school, located at the centre of one of the suburb’s housing projects, where drug trafficking is a major business and one in every two children is out of school for more than 100 days per year.

By law, absences of more than 60 days should automatically lead to expulsion. For Savino, each case is a race against the clock. Every week, the school’s head teacher, Annunziata Martire, gives him a list of absentees, for whom he must find a solution within ten days before their files are referred to social services.

More often than not, he encourages his charges to sit state exams as external candidates to ensure that they are not taken away from their families and placed in foster homes.

Local government officials are afraid to enter the area’s tower blocks, and there are very few educators like Giovanni Savino who are able to enter Barra.

At the head of an association called Il Tappeto di Iqbal, "Iqbal’s carpet", named after a Pakistani child-slave who led a revolt and was subsequently murdered, Giovanni Savino has angry words for the mafia, a failing education system, and a state "which abandons its children." In Italy, there is no automatic access to benefits. Support for the young people and their families is distributed by 150 associations, which are wholly dependent on local government financing.

Since the onset of the crisis, funding for such initiatives has been cut by 87 %: and the 20,000 educators in the Campania region, who have not been paid for two years, have to rely on their own resources to do their work. If no alternative funding is found, Il Tappeto di Iqbal will soon be forced to close down.

"Don't tell mum I have a knife"

It is a situation that is all the more lamentable when you consider the dozens of Barra children whom Giovanni Savino has rescued unscrupulous employers and the clutches of mafia clans eager to recruit future soldiers.

Carlo was one of his first successes. At age 13, the already tattooed child-killer was a seasoned extortionist, thief and knife wielding enforcer for the Aprea clan. Four years later, Carlo is now Giovanni Savino’s unshakably loyal righthand man: "He is not happy just to have you sit the school diploma exam. Once he has you, he doesn’t let go. He saved my life."

After Carlo came Marco, a 12-year-old cocaine addict and seasoned pickpocket, and Ciro, a promising student who gave up his studies when his family fell into the hands of mafia loan sharks.

Giovanni Savino refers to his most recent recruit, Pasquale, as one of his greatest challenges thus far. Nine months ago when he first took the 11-year-old under his wing, Pasquale was malnourished truant. To help his family, the freckle faced child who is only 1.30 metres tall, unloaded boxes in a supermarket by day, and spent his nights stealing copper from waste disposal facilities and Trenitalia depots. "You take the wire, you burn it like that, then you cut to make a ball," he says authoritatively.

Then he is seized by doubt: "Just don’t tell my mother that I have a knife!" In Barra, where the business is managed by children, copper and aluminium sell for around 20 euros a kilo. When you ask Pasquale what he wants to do when he grows up, he suddenly falls silent. Then he sighs: "I’ll do what I can."

Translated from the French by Mark McGovern

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Re: (EUEUEUEUEU) Child labor reappears

Posted by italianstallion on Mon Apr 9 09:13:05 2012, in response to (EUEUEUEUEU) Child labor reappears, posted by Olog-hai on Mon Apr 9 04:51:26 2012.

Aren't conservatives in favor of child labor?

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