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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 09:45:18 AM EST
Europe's German agenda - The Local
The economy is in shambles, people are taking to the streets in angry protest, and the government is on the verge of collapse after passing unpopular yet necessary austerity measures.

But this is not Greece in 2012 - it was Germany a decade ago.

Contending with the worst economic downturn since 1993, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder came up with a package of labour and welfare reforms he called Agenda 2010. Deeply disliked at the time, it's now widely credited as the reason why Germany is in considerably better shape than the rest of Europe.

In particular, it helped increase Germany's competitiveness by making its labour market more flexible and living on the dole less attractive. But the Greeks, Italians and Irish now railing against the supposedly callous Germans for living it up while demanding their neighbours implement tough austerity measures appear not to be aware of just what it was like here ten years ago.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 10:29:10 AM EST
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Arrests deal blow to Serbia's organised crime, but may not eliminate it (SETimes.com)

Serbian officials say the recent arrests of four criminals -- one of whom is charged in the March 12th 2003 assassination of the late Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic -- is a major advance in the country's fight against organised crime.

President Boris Tadic said the arrests deal "a decisive blow to organised crime, from which it will not recover for a long time". He added that this could also be important for new investment in the country, because foreign businesses invest money in safe countries.

In Valencia, Spain, police arrested Vladimir Milisavljevic -- known as Budala -- who was sentenced in absentia in 2007 to 35 years in prison for Djindjic's assassination. Also apprehended was Serbian underground leader Luka Bojovic and members of his organization, Sinisa Petric and Vladimir Mijanovic.

"The Zemun criminal clan no longer exists," Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic announced on Friday (February 10th), speaking on Thursday's arrest.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 10:42:02 AM EST
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BBC News - Eurozone states want Greece out, says Venizelos

Some eurozone countries no longer want Greece in the bloc, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has said.

He accused the states of "playing with fire", as Greece scrambled to finalise an austerity plan demanded by the EU and IMF in return for a huge bailout.

Mr Venizelos promised to clarify the plan before a conference call with eurozone bosses due at 16:00 GMT.

Greece needs to convince lenders that it will make enough savings, and that its politicians will enact the changes.

Athens is hoping to get a 130bn-euro (£110bn; $170bn) bailout from the EU and IMF.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 10:59:06 AM EST
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Greek squabbling adjourns Eurogroup meeting | EurActiv

Eurozone finance ministers have dropped plans for holding a face-to-face meeting today (15 February) on Greece's new international bailout, saying party leaders in Athens failed to provide the required commitment to reform. 

With the European Union's patience at breaking point, ministers downgraded the talks to a telephone conference call, almost certainly killing off any chance they would approve a €130 billion bailout that Greece needs by next month to avoid a messy bankruptcy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:04:12 AM EST
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The other issue is the €325m shortfall in savings.  Kathimerini  writes that the Greek cabinet examined a proposal to use cuts in defense spending, public investment funds and the health sector, but that this proposal was rejected by Euro Working Group -- low-level EU finance ministry officials who were meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. Kathimerini's sources said that the EU officials insisted that the additional savings should come from cuts to pensions.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:08:12 AM EST
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Eurozone crisis live: Greek president attacks Germany as bailout looks shakier | Business | guardian.co.uk

There's a few interesting rumours skitting around tonight following the eurogroup conference call.

Dow Jones is reporting tonight that some eurozone officials want a "Troika presense" agreed in Athens before the bailout can proceed, along with a commitment that Greece's rescue funds will be paid into an escrow account.

There's also a report that the German, Finnish and Netherland's finance ministers suggested that the eurogroup should also seek pledges from Greece's smaller political parties - having secured Antonis Samaras and George Papandreou's support.

That has not gone down well in Greece - journalist Efthimia Efthimiou argued that it showed that the eurozone was no longer prepared to help Greece.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 03:55:17 PM EST
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Eurozone crisis live: Barroso salutes Greece's courage as markets fall | Business | guardian.co.uk

Jose Manuel Barroso struck a concilliatory tone in the European Parliament today. Rather than lambast Athens, he urged European leaders to accept Greece's undertakings, and give it the second bailout.

Barroso told MEPs that:

I would like to salute the courage of the Greek government and the Greek people in these very demanding, challenging times.

And I would hope that the member states, the members of the European Union will accept the commitments given by Greece.

There was no suggestion from Barroso that Europe would be better off without Greece, or by postponing the bailout.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 11:51:09 AM EST
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Spain joins France in bid to ring fence CAP budget | EurActiv

The farm ministers of Spain and France have issued a joint statement on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), saying both countries "will not accept" any budget overhaul that fails to preserve the EU's current level of farm spending.

Spain has joined France in its campaign to preserve the EU's farm budget after 2013 when a major overhaul of the policy is due to kick in.

The two countries are among the biggest beneficiaries of the CAP, which absorbs some 40% of the EU's annual budget (see background).

As negotiations on the future of the CAP enter a critical phase, the two ministers stressed the importance of maintaining a strong agricultural sector that contributes to growth and jobs in Europe, said the joint statement, issued on Tuesday (14 February).

"In this respect, France and Spain consider it essential to maintain the CAP budget at least at the level of commitments reached at the end of the current programming period, as the Commission proposes." 

"France and Spain will not accept any financial framework that does not guarantee the stabilisation of the CAP."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:06:38 AM EST
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Cori Crider: Six Days for Britain to Avoid War Crimes Investigation

As the clock ticks down on the Yunus Rahmatullah case, the Ministry of Defence has been caught in another mess over its special forces in Iraq. The two cases have regrettable parallels: in both instances the MoD set its face against coming clean about the fate of its prisoners. Now it has been forced to admit the existence of the H1 blacksite, and is still stonewalling over the fate of Yunus Rahmatullah. But the time is fast approaching when the truth - all of it, however ugly - will emerge.

A brief recap: last week we learned that British involvement in Iraq's 'black sites' was far greater than we knew. The MoD was apparently up to its ears in a heretofore unknown secret prison at an airstrip in the desert called H1. We only know about H1 because one man, Tariq Sabri al-Fadhawi, was beaten to death in a Chinook en route. Given that the purpose of the detention facility was to hide prisoners from the International Committee of the Red Cross, it is safe to conclude that the fate of those who reached their destination was equally grim.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 03:48:48 PM EST
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The government is seeking to shunt all cases like Yunus Rahmatullah into secret courts - itself an entirely separate scandal -- but they will have a bitter fight on their hands to keep the truth from coming out.

They may have to fight..a bit.. but they'll win and it will all disappear behind the fog of secrecy, lies and SOP. Any problems will be down to rogue elements and rotten apples etc etc move on, nothing to see here

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 07:20:39 AM EST
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House of Lords votes down plan to cut housing benefit | Society | The Guardian

Defiant peers have narrowly voted again to demand that the government drop plans to cut housing benefit for claimants in under-occupied homes.

The peers voted by 236 to 226, even though the Commons had last week rejected a similar amendment from the Lords and then imposed financial privilege, a means of preventing the Lords from tabling the same amendment again.

The Lords had opposed the so-called "spare bedroom" tax a fortnight ago, and on Tuesday reasserted that view by saying housing benefit cuts of £14 a week should not be imposed on claimants in under-occupied homes if they are unemployed, carers, foster carers, disabled or war widows.

In a process known as ping-pong, the Commons will have to address the issue again when it returns from its half-term break next week. The amendment passed was costed by the department of work and pensions as up to £100m annually by 2013-14.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 03:52:55 PM EST
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Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Delays are threatening to derail the package - chances of a successful bond swap are already reduced
Yesterday's telephone conference agreed to postpone a decision on Greece until Monday; Germany, Finland and the Netherland seek more letters of assurance from smaller Greek parties; Jean-Claude Juncker said that some issues remained open until a final agreement can be reached; Antonis Samaras has written a letter confirming his commitment to the programme, but said that modification may be necessary if the Greek economy does not recover; Juncker also insisted that the troika would need a permanent representation in Greece; reiterated insistence that the money be disbursed into an escrow account; Wolfgang Schäuble enrages the Greeks with a suggestion that they should postpone the elections; a senior German official said there was now a massive problem of trust; Greek president Karolos Papoulias said he cannot accept Mr Schäuble's insults; Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said there are forces trying to push Greece out of the eurozone; Peter Spiegel has more details of the letters of the financial and legal advisers to the euro working group, in which they warn about the serious consequences of delaying the agreement; the Greek privatisation agency said that they could raise at most €4.7bn in revenues this year, as political obstacles remain; Portugal had a successful auction of Treasury Bills; Mario Monti says there shall be no additional austerity even if economy hits recession; also criticises stereotypes of core and periphery; Nicolas Sarkozy declares his candidacy for the French presidency; French Q4 growth stronger than previously estimated;Erkki Liikanen, meanwhile, warns about the consequences of the ECB's liquidity policies and says an exit strategy is urgently needed.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 08:30:05 AM EST
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British tanks to be sent to Germany for storage so army can sell land in UK | The Guardian
Thousands of the British military's tanks, carriers and cars will head across the Channel because of MoD plans to sell off its vast complex at Ashchurch in Gloucestershire. This is where it stores or repairs up to 6,000 vehicles, ready for duty.

The problem of where to put them all when the 72-hectare (178-acre) site is sold has been troubling military planners, who have plumped for Mönchengladbach in western Germany. The city in North-Rhine Westphalia is home to the British-owned Ayrshire barracks.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:51:12 PM EST
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