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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:54:56 AM EST
MP: Bundestag ready to accept cosmetic changes to fiscal pact | EurActiv

A high-ranking member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition has said that they are ready to accept "rhetorical" changes to the EU' fiscal compact treaty in case of a victory of socialist candidate François Hollande in the French presidential elections. 

On Monday (23 April) Andreas Schockenhoff, an MP and vice president of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union group in the Bundestag, announced that the fiscal compact could be changed not on the substance, but on the rhetoric. "We can put in a fine paragraph on growth," he said.

"This way, Hollande will be able to say at home: `I have ensured that the fiscal pact deals with growth'. These rhetorical things, we can do them."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The word cynical won't do to describe this. Chutzpah is perhaps more apt but even there, chutzpah is more about egotism and arrogance. The utterance above contains several other characteristics that take it beyond the level of chutzpah. I mean, you can have ample amounts of chutzpah without necessarily being idiotic or obtuse.

Any other words?

by Upstate NY on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recall:

EurActiv: Delors points the finger at Europe's 'killers' (29 March 2012)

He said that the EU leaders of the eurozone were "morally responsible" for the crisis, and that they ignored his proposals, made in 1997 in his capacity of president of the Notre Europe think-tank, to coordinate economic policies.

Instead, leaders only added the word "growth" to the name of "Stability and Growth pact", he said.

"What nonsense, what folly, what irresponsibility!"

Delors however confessed of having made a mistake, namely in believing that while federalism was not possible, cooperation could be an alternative. He further explained that what happened is that the common market with a common currency led to a greater diversification of productivity in the interest of Germany and to the detriment of others.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An article "based on" that speech can be downloaded at the Notre Europe site. Snippet:

I had proposed the coordination of economic policies in 1997, when I was no longer president of the European Commission but a simple French citizen. I had proposed this as a consequence of the 1987 Delors report. It was not taken up: instead, "growth" was simply added to "stability". That is typically French, the French adore formal requirements. They returned home happy because "growth" had been mentioned. How irresponsible. Or what a fraud?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a very nice tribune by Delors.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
Any other words?

not really, you nailed it.

i get the same shiver watching cameron foaming in pariament about the crisis 'we' are experiencing, like his buddies aren't chortling in their caviar and champers, his partner in crime, nick clegg slumped beside him like a deflated balloon.

cognitive dissonance, a terrible waste of beautiful minds.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a terrible waste of beautiful minds

you are obviously able to discern something which is not apparent to the rest of us. Cameron is a prime example of government "of the 1%, for the 1%, by the 1%". He cannot see beyond his own small entitlement class, cannot see the problem of his idea that while increasing money motivates the rich, then increasing poverty must surely motivate the poor.

We are not in France 1788, but probably entering the 1780s

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are not in France 1788, but probably entering the 1780s

Forwards or backwards?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly going forwards. While I do not relish the prospect, the increasing immiseration the 1% are inflicting on populations who have become used to a reasonable standard of living is making resentments fester. If policies are not reversed I don't see where else it ends but in 1789 and the terror.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
your snark meter needs recalibrating...

dave was getting hot under the collar, and ed was tanning his hide in parliament.

all kabuki of course...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is pretty clear that what were, for Delors, flaws in the drafting of the Maastricht Treaty were, for the German financial elite, features. Delors and the rest of the countries in the EMU have been gulled. Time some figured this out.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Delors (from speech quoted above :

But there is something that I personally under-estimated, I must admit, because knowing that we could not go any further with federalism, I believed in cooperation - in the context of the triptych: "competition, cooperation, solidarity". I believed in cooperation and I was wrong. During this period, the Single Market with the Single Currency had given rise to an increasingly large diversification, a specification of production, to the benefit of some countries, of which Germany, and to the detriment of others.

...

We know now the strength of Germany and I am absolutely appalled when I hear economists talking about comparable competitiveness as if it were possible to club together in the same model Germany, Portugal and Greece. Europe is founded on the concept of diversity, can it live with this diversity or will it have to accept the implicit domination of Germany and its rules?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is founded on the concept of diversity, can it live with this diversity or will it have to accept the implicit domination of Germany and its rules?

There are three choices I see:

  1. Change the rules.

  2. Dissolve the EMU.

  3. Watch helplessly as the periphery is crushed in an economic vice.

Option 3 is the current revealed choice. How long this remains the case determines how complete the destruction will be.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:26:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You got the word I was looking for when I posted the item. Yet you're right, this is in a superior category to chutzpah. Chutzpah is too nice.

This is brazen power, the reality behind the "Franco-German couple" facade. For Sarkozy, the Germans were willing to put on the "France still matters" show known as Merkozy. For Hollande, they are willing to put a pretty ribbon round the austerity pact. With a superior smile, as they get on with beggar-thy-neighbour business as usual.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've been told that the EU was supposed to make war between the European Powers impossible.

Unfortunately it seems to have replaced bombers with bankers.

(And it may also be worth reminding readers how the banking classes facilitated and funded the Nazis in the run up to WWII.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it may also be worth reminding readers how the banking classes facilitated and funded the Nazis in the run up to WWII.

And not just in Germany alone. The Anglo-US bank Brown Brothers Harriman and Prescott Bush were instrumental in providing investment and technology sharing, including the process for extracting gasoline from coal and producing tetra ethyl lead as well as synthetic rubber which was provided to Germany and withheld from US industry for several years.

IBM, Standard Oil, DuPont, and Ford, among others supported such efforts and then got to keep their assets in Germany after the war. Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg were executed for similar generosity towards the Soviet Union. US businessmen, especially Ford, were envious of how effectively Hitler dealt with the Unions and Hitler personally gave a medal to Henry Ford for his services to the Nazi regime.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Like the neutron bomb, the buildings are left standing while people perish.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In reply to the question "Any other words?", and at the risk of turning the thread into a slice of english.StackExchange, hubris would seem to fit:

extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence

(from wikipedia)
by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Overestimation? Not so sure. Will a centre-left government in France really tip the balance that much? Perhaps after a change of government in the Netherlands.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:53:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well then, we need a word that can incorporate cynicism, condescension, idiocy, obstinacy, chutzpah, hubris, arrogance, egotism, nefarious intentions, lies and propaganda.

This is the sort of stretching of language that can only be accomplished by applying all those elements to someone's last name with the suffix -ize.

To [NAME]-ize.

by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's also condescending: the assumption is that Hollande can't possibly really mean something so silly.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:09:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European labour cost study adds fuel to French campaign | EurActiv

A Eurostat survey revealing huge labour cost differences across the 27 EU member states unveiled yesterday (24 April) has provided fuel for the French election campaign, where the two contenders are battling over plans for a "social VAT" to protect French producers against social dumping.

Hourly labour costs for 2011 range from €3.5 in Bulgaria to €39.3 in Belgium, the highest in the European Union, and just ahead of Sweden (€39.1), the Eurostat figures show.

The average hourly labour cost for the eurozone is of €27.6, higher than the EU-27 average (€23.1).

Other EU countries with cheaper labour costs include Romania (€4.2), Lithuania (€5.5), Latvia (€5.9), Poland (€7.1), Hungary (€7.6), Estonia (€8.1), Slovakia (€8.4), the Czech Republic (€10.5).

In Germany, the hourly labour cost is €30.1 compared to France's €34.2.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Draghi urges eurozone not to give up on austerity

BRUSSELS - Budget cuts may be deepening the recession, but governments should not give up now, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi said on Wednesday (25 April) at a hearing in the European Parliament.

"We are just in the middle of the river we are crossing, the only way out is to persevere," the Italian economist in charge of the eurozone's central bank said.

He admitted that "fiscal adjustment" - a euphemism for budget cuts - is contributing to recession, which in some countries may last longer than a year or even two.

"In certain cases the contractionary effects could be medium or even long term, for instance where youth unemployment has been there for a long time," Draghi noted, in reference to Spain, where over half of people under 25 are out of a job.

He said the only way out is to stick to labour market reforms that "free some energies in the economy," given that countries like Spain were prosperous and competitive in the past.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Eurozone leaders push for growth
Speaking to the European Parliament, Mr Draghi acknowledged that austerity in Europe - which has brought waves of protest in Greece, Spain and beyond - has curtailed growth without doing much to reduce fears that governments may be unable to repay their debts.

He said austerity - spending cuts and tax rises - "has been undertaken and is starting to reverberate its contraction effects, and we haven't seen the benefits".

"What is most present in my mind is to have a 'growth compact'," the ECB boss said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is what's needed.

We don't want no stinking jobless recovery.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Better downsize the banking sector then.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Growth" is just a bankster term for increased financial sector profit. Employment may not be a formal enemy of growth, but is increasingly seen as a regulatory impediment to it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We keep coming back to Kalecki's Political Aspects of Full Employment...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:08:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Backs Draghi's Call for Growth to Combat Debt Crisis - Bloomberg

Chancellor Angela Merkel backed European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's call to focus on spurring economic growth, as German officials rejected charges they are fixated on budget austerity to fight the debt crisis.

Europe needs growth "in the way that Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said it today, that is in the form of structural reforms," the chancellor told a conference of her Christian Democratic bloc in Berlin today.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:11:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So "structural reforms" don't just lead to growth, they are growth according to Merkel...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as brutal national deleveraging is growth, because wages and prices fall instantly to a new equilibrium and the market leaps back. (Only failures like Keynes made out that wages and prices are too sticky for this theology to work in messy real life.)

Never mind. As Ludwig Erhard, when Finance Minister in the '50s, said of the "Social Market": "The market is social".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if wages and prices did that, you would still need the commit the loanable funds fallacy and violate stock-flow consistency to get the instant magic pony growth that new classicals pretend.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

Because growth for the 1% is the only growth that matters.

Even if the wider economy is in a depression, as long as income is rising for the 1%, everything is happening as it should.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Delors' For a revival of Europe (h/t afew)
Then, there are the international causes of the crisis affecting the euro. Of course, it is easy for the United States Secretary of the Treasury to talk about the euro crisis forgetting his own deficit and the domination of the dollar. But the international causes of the euro crisis still exist. It is, of course, due to the excess of financial ideology. I will quote you a single sentence that shocked me when I was talking to a leading French banker, who said to me: "Jacques Delors, you understand nothing, the creation of value is essential". "And what is the creation of value?" I asked him. I did not wait for his answer, as I already knew it: it is the increase in stock market prices. We are a long way from the Schumpeterian entrepreneur and the economic moral doctrine of Max Weber. For years we lived with this ideological euphoria and the Commission services were not insensitive to it. After all, to sum up, finance was the queen of the game and capitalism worked well, provided that employees accepted to be mobile and to earn less. That was their system. Such are the international causes of the euro crisis.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The bonus pool is the booty of the current pirate banking model.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:52:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Draghi to Holland: "Fate il vostro dovere!!"
by Upstate NY on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
"We are just in the middle of the river we are crossing, the only way out is to persevere,"

as the scorpion said to the donkey carrying him over the river...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. Cognitive dissonance PLUS the sunk costs fallacy.

This is actually pretty impressive intellectually (in a sick sort of way).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / Cyprus gets set to umpire EU budget talks

BRUSSELS - The incoming Cypriot presidency is getting ready to tackle the biggest and ugliest dossier in the EU - the money - amid a host of problems in its own backyard.

"It's the big bang in the EU because everything gets put on the table - own resources, administrative spending, external aid, cohesion, agriculture," a Cypriot source told EUobserver in Brussels on Wednesday (25 April), referring to future talks on the Union's next €1-trillion-plus seven-year budget.

"We are currently assessing the level of ambition we should have for each dossier. We're really ambitious to finalise [the budget talks] by the end of the year ... if it is not possible, we at least want to reach a stage where an agreement is within reach," the contact added.

Cypriot priorities also include new EU rules on asylum seekers - a hot topic in the current anti-immigration climate, especially for Cyprus' neighbour, Greece, which is struggling to cope with Asian and Arab Spring refugees.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Democracy Live - MEPs clash over EU accession to ECHR

MEPs have had a lively and, at times, heated debate on progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, on 19 April 2012.

The ECHR was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe - a body independent from the EU - and came into force in 1953.

It covers principles including the right to life, freedom of the press and provisions on privacy; and violations of the convention are dealt with by the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg.

Although all EU member states are signatories to the ECHR, there is a proposal for the EU as a whole to become a signatory.

This would implement a power in the Lisbon Treaty for the EU to have "legal personality", meaning that it is able to accede to international treaties and conventions in its own right.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia - IPS ipsnews.net
BELGRADE, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - As the May 6 date for Serbia's general election inches closer, two young Belgrade playwrights have capitalised on the electoral war of words between the pro-European camp and conservative nationalists to highlight the dark side of propaganda and expose the omnipotence of party membership.

For the last few months, the airwaves and newspapers in Serbia have been thick with promises of a `better life' for a nation struggling with aftershocks of the economic crisis, high unemployment and a painful transition to a market economy.

Election pledges also touch on rebuilding democracy and all its attendant institutions, which came into being only after the downfall of the country's former leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 and have since suffered from a lack of efficiency, transparency and accountability.

Amidst the turmoil, Maja Pelevic (31) and Milan Markovic (33), whose plays are staged in several prominent Belgrade theatres, offered what they described as a new "cultural and marketing strategy", which was quickly snapped up by every major political party in Serbia and propelled the two young artists into positions of political authority.

What politicians and the media failed to recognise was that the duo's text, `Idea, Strategy, Movement', was lifted right out of a 1928 speech by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, entitled `Knowledge and Propaganda'.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia - IPS ipsnews.net
"We also replaced the words 'national socialism' with 'democracy' and `propaganda' with `political marketing' and it worked fine," she added.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big deal; we're way ahead of you. Our fabulous government routinely adopts big chunks of 1930s continental terminology. E.g., our Department of Homeland Security is a pretty obvious ripoff of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). Same name, same function, same mindset...
by asdf on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: ECB and several euro states prepare for direct lending of the EFSF to banks
The ECB and several member states prepare proposals to enable the EFSF/ESM to directly lend money to troubled banks; A working group meeting is to come up with proposals next week; Mario Draghi called for a growth compact in his hearing at the European Parliament
So, what is this growth compact?
According to Asmussen one option would be to redirect money from the EU's structural or regional funds to program countries
Robbing Peter to pay Paul!
Another option would be labour market reforms as the Agenda 2000
And that's the extent of the "growth compact"?
German newspapers and  interprets the ECB's proposal as a further sign that Angela Merkel's consolidiation approach is increasingly contested; Mark Schieritz says the proposal offers nothing new, just more of the same; Francois Hollande proposes his own 4-point growth compact; it includes eurobonds to finance infrastructure projects, EIB involvement, a financial transaction tax and redirection of unused EU funds; Sarkozy under pressure after comments that Le Pen was compatible with the principles of the republic; FTP party leader and Bundesbank urges ECB to exit loose monetary policy; German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements; though collective wage bargaining agreements that foresee wages below the minimum wage shall nevertheless stay valid; Zaki Laidi writes that Sarkozy's lack of political coherence and action is the reason why he lost support; IMF says Spanish banks need more money; German tourists, meanwhile, have been avoiding Greece, fearing anti-German reprisals.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements

Am I missing something, or does this put them to the left of the SPD?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it doesn't.

And as you can see that is not a general minimun wage.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hang on a minute. The SPD engineered a situation where the only workers covered by a minimum wage were those covered by collective bargaining.

There exists a second class of workers who currently have no minimum wage coverage. If the CDU proposal covers everyone who is not already covered, how is this different from a general minimum wage?

The only possibility I can see would be if the CDU proposal allowed collectively-bargained minimum wages to be lower than their proposed coverage. If that were the case, it could be said that they are not proposing a general minimum wage. But I can't see how that could work.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements; though collective wage bargaining agreements that foresee wages below the minimum wage shall nevertheless stay valid

Bold mine.

Of course, that will only last for one union contract cycle, after which the unions can simply refuse to sign any agreement which does not in some material fashion outperform the legal minimum wage for non-union shops. So it's essentially grandfathering in current contracts. Which does makes some sense, from a certain point of view.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They engineered nothing, there has never been a general minimum wage in Germany. The method to use state sanctioned collective bargaining treaties to create sectoral minimum wages goes back to the nineties.

One reason the social democrats used this method  is that the CDU blocked a general minimum wage earlier. It was supposed to be a substitute.

"The only possibility I can see would be if the CDU proposal allowed collectively-bargained minimum wages to be lower than their proposed coverage."

exactly. That is the proposal.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I distinctly remember an SPD-Grüne majority government in the '90s. Is there some legal arcana here that enables the CDU to block a minimum wage law despite being in the minority for a solid decade? Or were the SPD just being gentlemanly and abstaining from any social progress that the CDU pitched a hissy fit over?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:22:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is something called the Bundesrat, you know.

But basically they didn't push for a minimum wage between 1998-2005 (not the nineties) because the unions still opposed it. They feared back then that a state minimum wage would make them less powerful. Only later they changed their view. (The more powerful Unions later) And the buildings union was happy with their sectoral minimum law. (One of the problems with the unions is that the sectoral unions are strong and their federation weak.)

As soon as the unions changed their mind, a general minimum wage was the official SPD position.

But in the latter years of the red-green coalition there wasn't a Bundesrat majority and in the great coalition the CDU opposed a general minimum wage.

So they used collective bargaining in sectors, made mandatory by the state (Allgemeinverbindlichkeitserklärung). But since only some employers were pro minimum wage, that just created a minimum wage patchwork, covering only some employed and these on different minimum wages.

And that is how things stand. Now the CDU proposes - not the government - that another large patch is added to the patchwork.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks more like a safety net than a patch.

And from outside Germany, it looks suspiciously like a concession to Eurozone partners, an alignment with norms. A hopeful sign, in short.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to remember that until now it is just a CDU proposal. The FDP still opposes it. So it won't become law soon.
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here an early 2005 article from some left wing unionists.

http://www.labournet.de/diskussion/arbeit/realpolitik/kombilohn/mlbachmann2.html

The story is basically that Franz Müntefering (SPD) proposed a general minimum wage, but said that the condition for an actual legislative proposal is unanimous union support. The unions couldn't get a common line, ver.di (services) and NGG (food and restaurants) being pro general minimum wage, IG metall (metal and electronics) and IG BCE (chemical and energy) opposed.

So until the end of red-green some major union opposed a minimum wage and the SPD - don't know about he greens - didn't want to act without them.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:06:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... so it would be theoretically possible for unions to sign new collective bargaining agreements which provide for a minimum wage below the general minimum.

This strikes me as unlikely. So functionally, this is a general minimum wage, unless you have something other than a semantic argument to offer.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the unions oppose it and don't see a general minimum wage.

You have to remember that you just have to find a union for a collective bargain treaty. What kind of union isn't specified and some small fake union, especially "christian" union will do. So yes, there have been until now and probably will in the future "unions", who will do any collective bargaining deal the employers want. Including below general minimum wages.

The mainstream will let the old treaties slide, but we don't know about the others.  

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What? Unions don't have to "be representative" of the workers in order to negotiate in their name?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically, in Germany, unions always negotiate only for their members. And the employers can freely choose with whom and if at all they negotiate.

Now de facto unions tend to have a unionization grade of 30% or higher in the firm or the sector and so can force the employers to negotiate. The employers then pay everybody according to the treaty, sometimes because the individual contracts are linked to collective contracts, sometimes because paying non union members less would be an encitement to join the union.

But especially in sectors or firms were unions are weak, small, almost virtual unions can make treaties too. In the individual treaties where is then a clause: pay according to collective treaty with christian union x. And you can claim to have a collective treaty. And you could use such a treaty with a pliant union  to ward off a general minimum wage.

Or "union" and employers could even try to make the declaratory treaty mandatory in their sector. Mandatory treaties mostly exist in sectors were unions and employers associations are weak anyway.

Now anywhere were real unions exist, they could just go on strike. But in the many, especially service, sectors were real unions are weak, they are not able to go on strike.

There is one remedy: The courts. (It is Germany after all). Real unions can go to court an declare their unions non-union. If they are to weak to plausibly conduct collective bargaining, they should be declared non-unions, always in a particular sector. The unions succeeded with such a suit in the lend-labour sector recently.

But that needs years and even if the real union succeeds, in the meantime a new fake union has popped up.          

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German economic model is a wonder. We should all adopt it immediately without reservation.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The german labour law - especially collective bargaining law - tends to work generally.

It depends on unions strong enough to threaten a strike, that much is true.

The weakening of unions tend to show the flaws not visible with stronger unions.

That is also the reason that the weaker unions first supported a state minimum wage: the stronger unions could still pretend that in their sector everything is well.

That said I think in the end all collective bargaining rests on the ability of the unions to go on strike.  

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:07:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain there are worker councils at firms, and periodic "union elections". A "fake union" could not win representation at a firm's workers' council if there were a "real" union, ability to strike or not. And an industry sector wouldn't be able to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with a union that isn't broadly represented in the sectoral workers' councils.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could change the labor laws and then they would have to on strike anyway. Like they just do.

And in germany the employees councils can do a lot, but very much not negotiate about wages - unions only. (And this does actually go back to beginning of the twenties, like a lot of german labour laws)

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is, how can a union that fails to win election to the workers' council (only reasonable definition of "fake" union) negotiate a binding collective bargaining agreement?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see:

a) There is collective bargaining agreement

b) Genuine unions are to weak to force one

c) The employer or a employers association seeks themselves a union and negotiate a agreement

d) In the individual agreements with employees a new clause incorporating the collective agreement is inserted

(It is probably a high fluctuations sector anyway or you can use move the employees to sign new treaties - no union they can complain too)

e) The individual agreement makes the collective agreement legally binding (It would be binding for union members of the contracting union anyway, but we assume few exists)

I can't use "contract"?

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In French they say convention. But I think the right English word is agreement.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain it's convenio (colectivo) which is probably best translated into English legalese as covenant.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think contract pertains to an individual worker. So, a worker will have an employment contract which must be drawn in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement, and other statutes.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A union can negotiate with every employer even if they have only one member working there. The union needn't be elected to do so: they just represent their members.

Fake unions play a role in temporary work: These slave traders must pay the same wage as the company where the slaves actually work IF THEY DON'T HAVE AN AGREEMENT OF THEIR OWN. So they have fake agreements with fake unions. They get away with it, because so few temp workers are organised in real unions

Worker councils are elected in the companies, but they don't do bargaining and they are banned by law from calling to strike.

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could change the labor laws and then they would have to on strike anyway. Like they just do.

Bingo.

A strike fund and organisation percentage large enough to support participation in a one-month general strike seems like a good benchmark to aim for.

Not that you will ever actually want to do a one-month general strike. But you have to be able to, for the same reason you have to be able to impose hard currency rationing and price controls, even if you don't ever want to actually do it.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In German companies there are worker councils too, but they have nothing to do with collective bargaining and strikes. They are elected by all employees, not the union members.

German unions and labour laws worked quite well as long as unemployment was low and slave temporary work was banned. When temporary work was introduced our stupid unions disdainfully refused to have anything to do with it. So now we have "core staff", well paid and organised in unions and temporary workers who get paid much less and who are organised in Verdi (the ones who supported a minimum wage fairly early), but organising them is very difficult and there are the fake unions IM mentioned.  

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
now we have "core staff", well paid and organised in unions and temporary workers who get paid much less

You have the same "dual labour market" that we're told is the source of all our problems in the periphery?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. I've been told that it is the flexibility that cures all problems, though.

There are a few specialised companies though who pay well and who have no interest at all in flexibility of their well trained employees. In all other sectors of the economy precarious employment is becoming the rule as older employees reach pension age. There won't be much of a "dual labour market" soon.

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be "agreements" in English not "treaties".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Treaty is never used outside state relationships? Can I use pact? Deal is to informal for legally binding agreements?
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:09:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Collective bargaining agreement" is a set phrase. You can say "a collective bargaining agreement is a pact/treaty/deal/whatever".

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Pact" is the sort of word newspapers use when they're used "agreement" too many times in a paragraph. Agreement is idiomatic, and in context will be expected to be in some way binding.

Sorry, I almost never correct usage like that.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:36:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog

The Five Star Movement is upstaging the conventional parties by pledging to refuse political "reimbursements," the Movement's representatives have cut their salaries from the monthly 12 thousand euros to two thousand; they propose a two-term stay in Parliament; renewable energy replacing fossil fuels; public water; zero waste; sustainable growth. The five stars (in the logo) represent honesty; know-how; transparency; effective comunication; continuous political representation.

For a fast-growing number of Italians the Five Star Movement is the political antidote for a corrupted country where, every other day for the last twenty years, headlines broke stories of political malfeasances: if not organized crime, it was politicians or parties squandering taxpayers' money, pillaging state-owned properties, mismanaging the country's environmental wealth, neglecting crumbling infrastructures.

Such as the Italian situation, no one should be surprised if political parties are no longer believable. In fact, millions of disgusted people are no longer accepting the ineptness of a political caste hell bent on destroying a country physically and morally. Thousands of people jam the squares across Italy whenever the comedian-activist, leader of the Five Star Movement shows up to mock and lampoon a decadent political class while offering a political alternative. If the political success of the the Five Star Movement proves anything it proves that people power is alive and well and George Carlin would have been pleasantly surprised.

beppe's on a roll lately... it's true about george carlin, he would approve of comedy used as political weapon of mass instruction.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comme Marine Le Pen, Sarkozy veut une présomption de légitime défense pour les policiers | L'Elysée côté jardinLike Marine Le Pen, Sarkozy wants a presumption of self-defense for police officers
« Je suis du  côté des fonctionnaires de la République, voilà la réalité. Que la justice dise le droit et nous nous inclinerons, mais je demande que le droit de la légitime défense évolue dans un sens plus protecteur pour les policiers et les gendarmes. Il doit y avoir une présomption de légitime défense. Dans l'Etat de droit, on  ne peut pas mettre sur le même plan le policier dans l'exercice de ses fonctions  et le délinquant dans l'exercice de ses fonctions à lui », a indiqué Nicolas Sarkozy lors d'une visite en Seine Saint Denis, alors qu'un policier a été mis en examen pour homicide volontaire, suscitant l'émotion de ses collègues policiers."I'm on the side of officials of the Republic, is the reality. The justice system determines the point of law, and we respect that, but I ask that the right of self-defense is taken into account for a more protective environment for police and gendarmes. There must be a presumption of self-defense. Under the rule of law, we can not put on the same level the officer in the performance of his duties and the offender in the performance of his duties, "said Nicolas Sarkozy during a visit in Seine Saint Denis, while a policeman was indicted for murder, prompting the emotion of his fellow officers.
Cette proposition sur la présomption de légitime défense a été faite préalablement par Marine Le Pen.The proposal on the presumption of self-defense was made previously by Marine Le Pen.

Footnote : We have grown accustomed to Sarkozy's methods of legislating based on the week's newspaper headlines. But there is an element of black humour in the fact that the person against whom the charged police officer is to be presumed to have defended himself ... was shot in the back.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the rule of law, we can not put on the same level the officer in the performance of his duties and the offender in the performance of his duties

The "offender" has duties?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The duty to turn around before the police fires?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. He had to be shot in the back because he was running away ie guilty.

An innocent man would have turned round. Then the gunshot would have been accidental.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Duties" is a bad translation. The word is "functions". Still sounds funny.

There will be no limit to Sarkozy's crawling to the right wing over these two weeks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he's being deliberately funny about the guy who got shot in the back. This is why we love him so.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:56:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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