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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:11:26 PM EST
Financial Crisis Looms Over EU Leaders' Split on CO2 Reductions | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 11.12.2008
EU leaders began a first round of complex talks on how to obtain massive greenhouse-gas emission cuts by 2020. While some pressed for emergency action, the financial crisis stopped others from committing.

"This is the moment of truth for the climate," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said as he arrived in Brussels.

... "What we need, today, is leadership. ... We look for that leadership from the European Union," United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told delegates at a parallel UN conference on climate change in the Polish city of Poznan.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:19:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opinion: Why Merkel's Climate About-Face Is Bad for Business - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

By Christian Schwägerl

The economy or the environment? That is the choice as Angela Merkel sees it -- and she has chosen the former. But the dichotomy is no longer valid, and Merkel's choice is a grave mistake. These days, one can have both the economy and the environment.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Environment Minister: America is on a Better Path | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.12.2008
The European Union must pay special attention so as not to gamble away its leading position on climate protection, Geman Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told DW-WORLD.DE

If only his own chancellor would listen...


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:19:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gabriel is wrong of course. At least if the goal is to protect the climate.
The EU should refuse to do ANYTHING further to protect the climate, unless most other countries to which our industries can potentially be outsourced agree on an international climate protection treaty. Currently exceptions e.g. on steel mills and concrete producers are helping the climate, not damaging it.

Gabriel repeatedly praised the US before, again in the linked interview. This proves his dumbness, and that the EU has gone too far wrt climate protection. Even he recognises changes in policies more than the policies itself. If this is reflected in international treaties, the EU will always have to make much stronger comittments than other blocks. This is not just unfair, but at some point the EU won't be able to fulfill stricter treaties, while others would have still room to go.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 04:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you could simply impose import duties on "carbon-rich" goods like steel and cement from countries that do nothing to tax carbon at home.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 02:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This would be a good idea, but one can have doubts if this is sufficient.

E.g. if we export steel to the US and China exports steel to the US, EU import duties won't do anything. Only if the economies, that take part in the treaty are much bigger than those outside the treaty, such import duties will force producers to comply with the rules.
And especially for some energy rich industrial products emerging markets are today even more important customers than the developed world. So only protecting the industries from competition in our own markets won't do the job. It maybe an option if everything else fails.

After all, I don't see any reason, why Europe should sacrifice political good will (e.g. abolishing WTO rules) and economic well being (e.g. due to devaluation of our experience and the capital bound in the factories) to pressure countries that will suffer much more through droughts and storms into climate protection. It is in their own interest and the strongest tool to convince is to say we won't act responsible, if you are not as well.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 11:57:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel and Tusk Meet, Agree on EU Climate Deal | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.12.2008
At a meeting in Warsaw, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Tusk said they made progress on a common position toward EU environmental goals. Both want more flexibility.

Gosh...


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Agrees to Expand Use of Renewable Energy | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.12.2008
European Union delegates have laid the groundwork for new law that would boost the use of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of total consumption by the year 2020.

The deal agreed Tuesday, Dec. 9, in Brussels is part of a larger EU climate plan that also aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent over the next decade.

 

EU leaders will fine tune the total package on Thursday and Friday at a bloc-wide summit.

Yawn...


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wave of Violence: Riots Throw Greece into Deep Democratic Crisis - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
A blonde-haired woman in her mid-thirties stands amidst the thick fog of tear gas and wafts of smoke rising from a few burning trash bags. She's wearing a pant suit and carries folders under her arms. She's talking to a young Black Bloc protester wearing a Quicksilver sweatshirt of the same color, Adidas tennis shoes and a Nike backpack. He's got stones in his hands.

The two seem enthusiastic as they chat to each other, smiling and cracking jokes. Perhaps they're related. At the same time, the mates of a rioter standing next to him are busy ripping apart the sidewalk. The woman says goodbye, kissing both of his cheeks, before gracefully tottering away. Then one of the rioters turns around, picks up a large rock and throws it down into the street where the police are standing.

It's the daily dose of anarchy in Athens, that entered into its fifth day on Wednesday.

The Greek riots are a textbook example of how deep a country can sink if it lacks democracy's most important element, the support and acceptance of its people. The scales of democracy have tipped here, and one inevitably gets the impression these days that there are few left who still trust the government to find the right path. Their experiences with its scandals, cronyism and corruption are too deeply seated. And it is in their unanimous rejection of the elite that both business people and the Black Bloc anarchists have found common ground.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A neat touch pointing to the consumerism inherent in youth expression that contradicts their expressed political philosophy. And yet it seemed unnecessarily dismissive, because the last paragraph really underlines the fact that the faultline in the political process lies elsewhere.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 04:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
????? Do you misread that woman with shopping bag as a rioter?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I took her to mean the kid's wearing of brand-name crap (the fact that it is just as likely to be fake fashion doesn't necessarily invalidate her point).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 04:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

In Greece, Protests Echo European Students' Ire

Thousands of students were joined by striking workers in a fifth day of protests in Greece, an uprising that mirrors growing discontent among youths in many European countries over outdated education systems, lack of jobs and a general apprehension about the future.

From Rome to Berlin to Madrid, young people graduate from university much later than their peers in Northern Europe, the U.S. or U.K. When they do, they struggle to find long-term jobs with social-security benefits.

In Germany, many young people -- including large numbers of university graduates -- have struggled in recent years to find employment that pays a full wage. Instead, they have found themselves working as interns for no or low pay for long periods. German media have dubbed such economically insecure young people "Generation Intern."

In Spain, a generation of young people is entering the workplace with few benefits or protections, often moving between temporary contracts so that employers can avoid the country's onerous employment laws. The media have dubbed them "mileuristas" -- loosely, those who scrape by on a thousand euros a month. In Greece, this same group has been dubbed "Generation 600" -- referring to the country's national minimum wage of €600 (about $776) a month.

LOL In the UK and US you don't "struggle to find long-term jobs with social-security benefits" because these benefits don't even exist...

I find it fascinating that the consequences of Anglo Disease (inequality and precarity) are blamed on European rigidity...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 02:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown dismisses German attack on economy rescue plan - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

In a surprise attack, German finance minister Peer Steinbruck derided the headline 2.5 per cent cut in VAT announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling in the Pre-Budget Report while warning that a generation of taxpayers would be saddled with the debt.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, he described the Government's switch to a "crass Keynesianiam" to try to spend its way out of the economic crisis after years of preaching fiscal rectitude as "breathtaking".

But Mr Brown, who will head to Brussels later today for a major European Union summit, told London's LBC Radio: "Actually the German government is investing more. They have just announced a fiscal expansion so that they can invest in public works and helping their banks and doing these sorts of things.

"I do not really want to get involved in what is clearly internal German politics here, because they have a coalition in Germany with different political parties.

"The important thing is that almost every country around the world is doing what we have been doing."

Quite measured from Brown, in my eyes. (Most of the German media is focusing only on the headline.)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:20:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whither the 'Good Europeans'?: EU Ire with Germany Spills into the Open - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Berlin has shown an increased willingness in recent weeks to go it alone when it comes to questions facing Berlin and its partners in the European Union. Now, though, the dissent threatens to turn into outright hostility.

...Following the appearance on Wednesday of a Newsweek interview with German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück -- in which he picks apart Britain's recent sales tax (VAT) reduction -- Downing Street has hit back. Germany, a source close to the prime minister's office told the BBC, "was in a minority position and out of step with most other countries on how to deal with the looming recession."

...France has likewise played a major role in poisoning the relationship with Germany. "It used to be that whatever happened in the European Union, Germany and France discussed it first before going public with a proposal," Barysch said. "Now, they open up the newspaper in Berlin to learn that Sarkozy has sprung a new idea on them. They are constantly being put on the spot having to respond to proposals from Sarkozy. And they really don't like that."




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In yesterday's IHT:


A scientist by training, with a mastery of detail, Merkel is instinctively at odds with her energetic and mercurial French counterpart. "The Germans," said another diplomat, also speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, "hate the feeling that they wake up in the morning and have no idea what Sarkozy will do that day. They really hate it."

Who can blame them, seriosuly?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 03:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The Germans,.. hate the feeling that they wake up in the morning and have no idea what Sarkozy will do that day. They really hate it."

They are not the only ones...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 03:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
really... the man/rodent has 'loose cannon' written all over him. it's a miracle he hasn't caused more serious damage already.

still time for that.

here's hoping carla is busy exhausting him at night, (though i think her singing is probably pretty barbiturate!)

he and berlu are really making me question democracy, i mean it's the best system out of a bad menu of choices, i know, but without extensive education in critical thinking, it just leads to the rule of the ignorant by the cunning.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:40:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet the german statement as reported in the UK focuses on the line that economies that were prudent with their economies do not want to subsidize for the consequences UK's regularotory weakness.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:02:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, by "headline" I actually meant the sub-headline:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown dismissed criticism of his economic rescue plan for the UK today as a matter of "internal German politics".

Depending on paper and journalist, this is either presented as a strong dismissal indicating worsening relations - or as an astute if pointed observation from abroad.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:24:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland under pressure to hold second EU poll - Europe, World - The Independent

Draft summit conclusions prepared before the summit begins this afternoon set out the likely way round last June's "no" vote - a re-run of the poll on the basis of new guarantees to convince voters that the Treaty does not undermine policies on abortion, neutrality and tax.

The draft conclusions make clear that EU leaders want the Treaty, which must be ratified by all 27 EU countries, to come into force by January 1 2010.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Report: EU Leaders to Set New Defence Agenda | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 11.12.2008

The leaders, in draft conclusions drawn up to be published Friday at the end of their two-day summit in Brussels, will express their willingness to give "new impetus to European security and defence policy."

The EU, they say, should be capable of deploying a total of 60,000 troops in 60 days for a major operation, while "simultaneously planning and conducting" 19 other missions, ranging from maritime surveillance to police training.

The text sets no target date, saying only that this should happen "in the years to come."




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good grief, what is it with these frustrated militarists ? didn't they get enough fun recreatng toy soldeir battles in their playpen ?

the european economies are falling through the floor, unemployment is rocketing, the climate is on the verge of collapse whilst we face critical resource shortages and all these fools can think about is who to invade.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think that the folks who want to do the invading are the same people who are out of jobs, living on the streets, etc?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 06:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow the money. "Defence and security" also means major infrastructure spending on new, hypersecure digital communications systems, civil defence and so on.

Plus, a 60k force requires not only weapons (or "weapon systems" as the kids say) but also transport capacity. And in the final analysis that means big orders for the Airbus A400M currently under development.

And if that's not enough, something that went across my desk this week indicated that in a few years, the only person wearing more electronic bling than your average 20-something will be your average 20-something infantryman.

These are $erious People doing $erious Business.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:10:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, of course.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 10:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Advertisement: Why pay retail?  | Bloomberg | 11 Dec 2008

Boeing Co., the second-biggest U.S. defense contractor, plans to offer cheaper weapons systems based on existing technology to counter potential Pentagon budget constraints under the Obama administration. ...

After rising more than 70 percent in the last eight years, U.S. defense outlays may slow because of spending on government stimulus programs and troop cutbacks in Iraq. President-elect Barack Obama wants to revive the economy with what may be the biggest public-works investment since the Interstate Highway System under President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. ...

Congress would be "willing to look at" low-cost alternatives "if it makes sense," Representative John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who heads the House Appropriations Committee panel on defense, told reporters in Washington yesterday. ...

U.S. weapons exports, an area of growth for Boeing, rose about 45 percent to $33.7 billion in the fiscal year ended in September, the highest total since 1993, as the Defense Department increased sales in the Middle East to improve security in the region.

Future weapons sales to U.S. allies may be tempered because "a lot of these countries have their economic boom driven by globalization, and they have seen some of that unwind," Albaugh said.




Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 08:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luxembourg monarch muzzled over euthanasia - Europe, World - The Independent

Grand Duke Henri, ceremonial ruler of Luxembourg's 470,000 inhabitants, provoked an unprecedented crisis in the sedate territory two weeks ago when he refused to sign the law, apparently for reasons of conscience.

Henri is a devout Catholic. The hereditary monarch's powers are largely nominal but, under the Grand Duchy's constitution, no new legislation can come into force without royal assent. Until a fortnight ago, no member of the dynasty had ever challenged the parliamentary process.

A constitutional amendment approved by parliament yesterday limits the monarch to announcing decisions of parliament, in effect, muzzling the Grand Duke but the move has provoked a debate about the monarchy's future.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
President Traian Basescu designates Theodor Stolojan as future prime minister of Romania - Politics - HotNews.ro
Romanian President Traian Basescu announced on Wednesday he designated Theodor Stolojan, a leader of the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L), as future prime minister of the country. Stolojan is due to form a new government which then must be approved by the Parliament.

...Theodor Stolojan said for his part he would work for the next ten days with representatives with his party PD-L, with Social Democrats (PSD) and the Hungarian Democrats (UDMR). He presented the latter two as the two parties who showed interest in forming a coalition government with PD-L.

... But talks on a coalition majority were made difficult earlier this week by a PSD announcement tha the party would be ready for a government along with the PD-L, but excluding the UDMR.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:22:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The criminal files of the PSD/PC + PDL alliance - Politics - HotNews.ro
Social Democrats (PSD) and Democrat Liberals (PDL) gather a dozen high-level corruption files and tens of others all around the country. According to sources, four files are close to being sent to Court, probably next week. Among them, the file against Miron Mitrea, who would thus be prevented from participating in the future Government. HotNews.ro counted the main files and their status.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
14 'Islamic extremists' held in Belgium - Europe, World - The Independent

Police detained 14 suspected al-Qa'ida-linked extremists today in raids in Brussels and eastern Belgium, including one militant who allegedly was plotting a suicide attack.

The terror sweep came only hours before a European Union summit brought together the heads of 27 countries in Brussels, though the site of the purported attack was unclear. Nearly 250 police officers raided 16 locations in the capital and one in the eastern city of Liege overnight, confiscating computers, data storage equipment and a pistol.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 03:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy Postpones School Reform

The Italian rightwing government has partially backtracked this evening on its intent to radically overhaul the Italian educational system. After negotiations between the government and union representatives, the government agreed to accept guidelines and criticism by the competent parliamentary commissions as well as postpone the "Gelmini Reform" for one year for secondary schools and lyceums.  

The "reform" of  the primary school will be introduced as an option to the present system rather than as a top down overhaul with an eye on massive budget cuts.  The full 40 hour week with two principal teachers will remain a choice for parents. The contested decree 133, converted into law last month, had been ambiguous on this point when not outright illogical. While the law did not exclude full time it set a maximum limit of 24 hours per week for a single teacher. It was unclear how the remaining 16 hours would be filled. Minister Gelmini lightly remarked that the missing time could be handled by "English" and "Religion" teaching, the former most often far below par, the latter unwelcome by 35% of the population. Before the 1990 reform that introduced two teachers per class for full time, children were traditionally parked in the afternoon under the watchful eyes of janitors.

The real problem with the school of obligation is secondary school. It runs an extra year in comparison with other European systems while students fair poorly in all fields in comparison. Unfortunately Mariastella Gelmini at the behest of the Minister of Economy first attacked the primary school thus creating a very negative impression. The Italian elementary school is considered excellent by international standards. What little needs to be done in terms of waste and mismanagement concerns infrastructure and administration- certainly not the primary educational system per se. Conversely, secondary education is presently in shambles and does need a well thought out reform. To do so takes time as well as an ample and constructive debate by all concerned parties. This cannot be imposed by off-the-cuff decrees and confidence votes in parliament.

Perhaps the government has an eye on tomorrow's massive strike and are simply putting out a good card to feign altruism. If there are riots, it will be good excuse to take back their word. Given Berlusconi's precedents, it's not to be excluded.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks de G, for your usual high-pith-factor help in deciphering the murky code of italian politics.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The general strike has been dampened by very bad weather throughout Italy. It is an emergency. Rome will be hit by a wave of mud this evening.I have never seen the Tiber so high. I suppose Berlusconi corrupted God to ruin the strike. God just got a little outta hand.

Otherwise it's Jesuit vengeance for Italy's evil ways.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 10:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Brussels urged to act over SNCF

The once-cosy world of European state-owned railways was given a jolt on Thursday as Italy revealed it had teamed up with Germany's Deutsche Bahn to press the European Commission to act against what they saw as unfair competition and fully liberalise national passenger markets.

Mauro Moretti, chief executive of Italy's state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato, made it clear that the Italian-German initiative was aimed primarily at France's SNCF, which he accused of unfair competition and obstruction. "This is our first action [against SNCF]," he told the Financial Times. "If there is not a positive answer we can consider other steps."

Their action follows raids by the French competition authorities last month against SNCF.

It said it would co-operate fully with the inquiries about the openness of the rail freight market, saying it was "playing the game fairly".

SNCF also rejected D Bahn's and Ferrovie's accusations, pointing out that since its rail freight market started deregulating in 2005, private competitors had taken 8 per cent of the market - a point it said took 10 years to be reached in Germany.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 04:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:( entirely justified.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 05:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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