September 30, 2011

German Economic Policy and the Euro 1999 - 2010

  The Bruges Group  

Germany has benefitted more than any other country in the Eurozone since the launch of the Euro in 2002, according to the latest Bruges Group research.

The Euro has effectively become a German currency empire which is draining the resources of the Eurozone’s smaller economies. The harm that German policy is causing is so severe that the Mediterranean-Rim countries are caught in a debt trap where their economies are suffering, they are incurring debt and must then impose austerity measures which further weaken their economies. Yet their economies will not grow so long as the Euro helps German manufacturers dominate the Eurozone.

When the Single Currency was introduced on 1st January 1999 the 11 countries committed themselves to economic and monetary union, and irrevocably fixed the exchange rates of their currencies (Greece joined later).

This eventually resulted in the impossible task of the ECB, for example, having to dictate a common exchange rate for Germany, with the second largest current account surplus in the world, and Spain, with the second largest trade deficit in the world.

Because of Germany’s influence over the ECB, it ends up requiring it to impose an inappropriate interest rate policy upon the Eurozone - an exchange rate which in essence suits the German economy but which many Eurozone economies are finding it increasingly difficult to live with.

The document, entitled German Economic Policy and the Euro 1999-2010 reports that since the launch of the Euro currency on 1st January 2002:
  • The German economy has grown faster than any other country in the Eurozone

  • Germany has been by far the largest exporting nation within the Eurozone

  • In the last 3 (recorded) years alone, Germany has run up massive trade surpluses with the other Eurozone countries averaging €100 billion per year

  • The ECB’s exchange rate policy favours German interests

  • Germany entered the euro at too low a rate of exchange, cementing its historic economic advantage and to the disadvantage of countries with smaller economies such as Greece and Ireland

  • The siting of the ECB in Frankfurt enabled Germany to influence policy regarding the Euro in its own interests
The political dimension
But so determined were the Eurozone’s leaders to force through the creation of the Euro for political reasons that they failed to think through properly what were to become the disastrous economic consequences of the Euro’s fixed rate exchange system in 2010.

The political aim was to foster a sense of common identity among Europe's citizens, and to give new momentum to European integration.

E.g. Romano Prodi, who was the President of the European Commission at the time pronounced: “The common currency is not an economic decision, it is a political decision”. This was an opinion held by many European leaders at the time.

Even today, there is a continued yearning for further European integration among the Eurozone’s political class. This suggests that they have still not understood that the problems within the Eurozone stem from the deliberate conduct of German economic policy, via the ECB, and the effect of the huge disparity between their own economies and that of Germany?

One exception is Christine Lagarde, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry of Germany’s greatest ally, France. In an interview with the Financial Times on 15th March 2010 she complained about German policy causing increasingly serious imbalances within the Eurozone and called on it to alleviate the problem it was causing.

[Could] those with surpluses [Germany] do a little something? It takes two to tango. It cannot just be about enforcing deficit principles….I’m not sure it is a sustainable model for the long term and for the whole of the group. Clearly we need better convergence.”

Admission of advantage by German elite
Even Germany’s elite now openly acknowledge the economic advantage accorded to Germany by its membership of the Euro. Multi-millionaire German industrialist, Frank Asbeck, says of the Eurozone crisis:

“From a German standpoint we don’t see any crisis ….Germany is the industrial heart of Europe and as long as the Euro is weak, I think for Germany, it is a good situation.” *
And respected German economist Klaus Schweinsberg says:

“The big winner of the Eurozone is German industry…the view of the German industrialists is that … it makes us relatively more competitive within the Eurozone. [The German economy] “has boomed to such an extent that Germany can afford to pay off the debts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal and should do so to preserve its export markets in those countries.” *
Whatever is decided however, the conclusion of the report is clear: that so far the German economy has been the overwhelming winner of the Euro era.

* BBC Radio 4, 14th January 2011

Click here to read the full report online



Germany must hit the eject button
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Euro structure won't last: McKibbin
Former Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board member Warwick McKibbin says the current structure of the European Union is doomed, and that splitting the block of nations into a two-tier currency system is the only solution to its current debt problems.
Europe Prepares Next Crisis Steps After Merkel Rescue-Fund Parliament Win
European leaders are turning their focus to the next steps to stem the region’s debt crisis after German lawmakers approved an expansion of the euro-area rescue fund’s firepower.
Too many eggs broken to unscramble euro mess
Citi: Euro area recession likely to begin in Q4
We expect Ireland and Portugal to follow Greece into sovereign debt restructuring soon afterwards, mainly because of ‘political contagion
Why Europe’s crisis matters to U.S.
Greek default on its sovereign debt obligations will happen — as it did in 1826, 1843, 1860, 1894 and 1932. Germans won’t continue to bail out their fragile neighbors unless there is some consequence for irresponsibility. And irresponsibility is now Greece’s main economic product. So the short-term goal is to manage a Greek default while creating a firewall round the rest of the European Union.

The problem is that such firewalls are easily leapt during a financial panic. “Greece is about 2 percent of European GDP,” World Bank President Bob Zoellick told me, “but if not handled with care, it could have an effect like Lehman.”
EU hushes talk of multi-trillion bail-out ahead of German vote
French finance minister Francois Baroin for his part said that a public discussion of the issue could not happen before Germany votes
"It is out of the question to put forward, three days from the Bundestag (lower house) vote, the issue of whether we should increase the fund,” he said. “Let's not open Pandora's box on something that is a red flag for Germany.
Enron-i-sation of Europe; Is the Euro "Beyond Rescue"?

MEP hits out at plans for EU 'schools propaganda'

By Martin Banks - 28th September 2011

When you are talking about pushing propaganda at children, that is a little sinister
Emma McClarkin

A UK Conservative MEP has hit out against commission plans which she fears will lead to schoolchildren being "force-fed pro-Brussels propaganda".

She claims the proposals, contained in a report to parliament, could lead to pupils having "compulsory lessons in how to be good Europeans and receiving a biased version of the EU's benefits to society".

The report, by French European People's Party MEP Jean-Marie Cavada, proposes wide-ranging changes to the network of European schools, the educational establishments across Europe set up primarily to educate the children of EU politicians, civil servants and other staff.

It calls for the development of "the European dimension in education" and argues that the European schools must foster European integration.

It also asks that the European schools be promoted in Britain and other member states to "encourage the emergence of European citizenship from a very young age".

The report even asks member states to include teaching about the EU in their national syllabuses.

Emma McClarkin, Conservative education spokesman in the parliament, said, "This looks like a licence to force-feed pupils a very one-sided, starry-eyed version of what the EU is and does for its people.

McClarkin added, "We fear it will be a carte blanche to push the federalist agenda that is so close to the hearts of the Eurocrats. When you are targeting youngsters and their education, that amounts to political interference.

"When you are talking about pushing propaganda at children, that is a little sinister.

"The setting of education policy should remain firmly within the hands of member states. This is just another example of the EU infringing member state subsidiarity.

"What children need to know about Europe is that there is a range of views on the EU. As well as supporters of the European project, there are many political parties across the continent which see it as costly, inefficient, bureaucratic and self-serving.

"It can bring benefits, but it also needs keeping in check. Somehow I doubt whether those aspects are in this report's grand plan."

September 29, 2011

The dangerous subversion of Germany's democracy

Comments Comment on this article

The Bundestag and the German people are being undermined (Photo: Alamy)

Optimism over Europe’s "grand plan" to shore up EMU was widely said to be the cause of yesterday’s torrid rally on global markets, lifting the CAC, DAX, Dow, crude and copper altogether.

This is interesting, since Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has given an iron-clad assurance to the Bundestag that no such plan exists and that Germany will not support any attempt to "leverage" the EU’s €440bn bail-out plan to €2 trillion, or any other sum.

"I don’t understand how anyone in the European Commission can have such a stupid idea. The result would be to endanger the AAA sovereign debt ratings of other member states. It makes no sense."

All of this was out in the open and widely reported. Markets appear to be acting on the firm belief that he is lying to lawmakers, that there is indeed a secret plan, that it will be implemented once the inconvenience of the Bundestag’s vote on the EFSF tomorrow is safely out of the way, and that German democracy is being cynically subverted.

The markets may or may not right about this. Mr Schäuble has a habit of promising one thing in Brussels and stating another in Berlin.

When 500m people say NO, the EU had better listen

PJC Journal – IanPJ on Politics

Earlier this week we heard the views of the market trader Alessio Rastani. The Euro is going down.

Today we hear from Hungarian economist and Global Head of Global Securities Services at UniCredit Group in Milan, Szalay-Berzeviczy:
  • “the euro is “practically dead” and Europe faces a financial earthquake from a Greek default”…
  • “The euro is beyond rescue”…
  • “The only remaining question is how many days the hopeless rearguard action of European governments and the European Central Bank can keep up Greece’s spirits.”
  • “A Greek default will trigger an immediate “magnitude 10” earthquake across Europe.”
  • “Holders of Greek government bonds will have to write off their entire investment, the southern European nation will stop paying salaries and pensions and automated teller machines in the country will empty within minutes.”
Much more where that came from here

September 27, 2011

Let the Euro and the European Union Collapse to Send the Bankers a Message

       Lone Star Watchdog

                The Central Bankers in Europe have been trying to enslave the world by fraud and  a phony debt the people do not owe. Europe should just default on the derivatives, abandon the Euro altogether and arrest the bankers if they use financial terrorism as an end to a means. We are starting to see a financial insurrection world wide against the private central bankers. These bankers know they are being found out and the people in power better learn real quick that being an agent for these oligarchs will not mean they will escape justice aiding in banker fraud.

                The bankers have been responsible for much of the famines and disease around the world because they see these people's lives have no value to them. The politicians or dictators in these countries are brought and paid for by these same bankers to keep these countries from ever developing industry and elevating the standard of living in these underdeveloped nations. The banking cartel has been the people behind all the unnecessary misery because they are saving mother earth is their justification. The world bank has terrorized villagers in Uganda shooting children, forcing innocent people off their land in the name of saving the planet. This was done in southern Mexico relocating the Mayans off ancient land that was theirs in the name of biodiversity. These bankers are very sick people with no regard for humanity.

September 26, 2011

Unsent letter of Shamil Basayev to British Queen Elizabeth II

Publication time: 9 September 2011, 21:52

This unsent letter was ready to be made accessible to the general public back in 2003. Author- Shamil Basayev (Martyr, Insha'Allah). Date: after a magnificent reception accorded by the British Queen to Putin.

However, on reflection, Shamil Basayev, had withdrawn the letter and the publication did not take place.
ChechenInfo editors have decided to publish this material as a historical-archival document, specifically for the British Prime Minister Cameron's visit to Russia, having said that, the thoughts set forth in this letter by Emir of Caucasian Mujahideen have in no way lost their relevance and poignancy.


From Emir of the Brigade of Martyrs Riyad-us-Saliheen Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris to the Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful!

Praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

I testify that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His trusted messenger and signatory on behalf of all the prophets sent to this world as a great mercy to mankind.

Upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah and over his family, his companions over and above all, who would follow him until the Day of Judgement.

And then...

The lunatics are raiding the magic money tree again

PJC Journal – IanPJ on Politics

Yup, it the stuff that Harry Potter or the Fantastic Five are made of. Super criminals are about to raid the magic money tree and put us all into slavery as they make us pay for it.

A fairy tale, well not quite, but the lunatics who run the EU, the ECB, National Governments and the financial institutions have devised a cunning plan to create, out of thin air, a a €3 TRILLION scheme to bail out the Euro.

Just where is this money to come from? Savings? No, National reserves? No, EU slush funds? No, Borrowings on the international money markets? No. They are going to raid the fictional magic money tree, that much vaunted left wing tool called the Treasury computer.

You see the money just doesn’t exist, they are going to create it by adding a few numbers to the computers, and as if by magic, the money appears. If it did exist, does anyone really believe it would not have been used up already, if it did exist then we would not be in the crisis that the lunatics have already placed us.

If anyone believes that this is real money then they need their heads examined. If anyone thinks that you can inject this kind of funny money into economies with little or no kickback then they need committing to an asylum.

If anyone thinks that the austerity measures already announced across the EU are harsh, just wait till the funny money kicks in. Its going to take a lot more than a few demonstrations to fight this plan.

September 25, 2011

Lobbying warfare

Corporate Europe Observatory 


Lobbying Warfare - the arms industry's role in building a military Europe maps out the key players in the defence and security lobby in Brussels, and highlights how the industry's close alliance with EU decision makers has contributed to the expansion of the EU's defence and security structures, and to the overall militarisation of EU foreign policy.

The activities of arms lobbyists rarely appear in the media, and when they do, it is often in connection with bribery, dubious export deals and corrupt government officials.

While the public image of arms lobbyists is generally defined by such scandals, there is a more mundane side to their activities which is no less disturbing. This is not only true at a national level, where arms companies have always had close ties with governments and defence departments, but also at the European level.

The arms industry has become an integral player in the European Union (EU), where military issues have become increasingly important. All the major arms companies have offices in Brussels, acting through a vast network of think tanks, clubs and informal circles, and their industry association is frequently consulted by EU officials.

Though arms industry lobbyists have long been active in Brussels due to the presence of NATO, the transformation of the EU into a powerful player in foreign, defence and security policies – in part due to successful lobbying by the arms industry – has increased the city’s attraction for lobbyists.

The companies’ activities, as far as they are covered in this report, are not illegal. Nevertheless, they give rise to serious questions about the EU policy-making process, with decisions made by a small elite of policy-makers and industry representatives, effectively hidden from public scrutiny. 

This system, which lacks transparency and public accountability, sits uncomfortably with the common understanding of how legitimate democratic decision making should work.

This close alliance between policy makers and industry has also contributed to a worrying expansion of the EU’s defence and security structures in terms of decision-making powers, staff and organisational capabilities, and to the overall militarisation of its foreign policy.

This report investigates the crucial role of big arms-producing corporations like EADS, Thales and BAE Systems in this process and exposes their symbiotic relationship with EU decision-makers. A relationship that serves as the foundation for the emerging military/security-industrial complex in Europe.
Also available in Dutch.


Seven reasons you should invest in global mega-caps

coca cola coke bottles bottle glass
As the Fed takes a 1961 stimulus approach, "nifty 50" are worth a look.
24 Sep 2011

Eurozone leaders' comedy of errors brings monetary union to the brink

‘I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” said Douglas Adams.
24 Sep 2011

Plan B: Flood the markets

The IMF building in Washington.
Meeting halls A and B in HQ1 of the International Monetary Fund’s concrete plaza of buildings in Washington are a drab affair. Bare walls, muted browns and hovering interpreters’ booths perfectly capture the characterless functionality of the world’s economic watchdog.
24 Sep 2011

Allan Leighton: state must instil confidence

Allan Leighton talks to the Telegraph's James Quinn
Having spent much of the past decade in Canada running part of the Weston family’s empire, Allan Leighton is more synonymous with retail turnarounds than recession theory.
24 Sep 2011

Jim O’Neill: Safe havens, alternative investments, valuation and benchmarking...

Goldman Sachs served with subpoenas in US inquiry
The chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O'Neill, speaks about the increasing nervousness of investors as the crisis in Europe continues to unfold.
24 Sep 2011

September 24, 2011

Busted Europe, Busted Dream

by Gary North

The European Monetary Union is going to break down. This will be followed by a break-up of the European Union.

This is denied by the New World Order's promoters of international unification. They have been planning for this since the end of World War I. They have been actively implementing this by stealth since the early 1950s. They used treaties to bring this political unification to pass. They used economic unification as the bait. The hook of political unification was always buried in the bait.

The threat facing the NWO is that the economic bait has turned out to be poison. The EMU is based on a common central bank and a common fiat currency. But without a common system of government, there can be no fiscal union. There can be no central planning by Keynesian means.

The nationalism implied by Keynesian fiscal manipulation has led to the Greek crisis. The EMU rested on an unlikely premise: the wisdom of Europe's commercial bankers, who had spent their careers in highly regulated domestic markets. Always before, bankers in large banks could count on their national central banks to bail them out. But, in this new world banking order, the European Central Bank does not have the flexibility to bail out all of the large national banks that are now in big trouble. There are members of the ECB's board who are part of the German-Dutch axis, which favors tighter money and stable prices. The Board must placate them to some degree. This reduces the ECB's response time.

The Week in Review

September 23, 2011 | From
The ‘Arab Spring’ extends into autumn, the Taliban’s idea of ‘negotiating,’ the pope’s ‘difficult’ homecoming, and Britain’s push for homosexual ‘marriage.’

- video

Middle East 

Yemen lurches toward anarchy: At least 83 people were killed and, according to protesters, nearly 1,000 wounded in Yemen in a fresh wave of violence that hit on Sunday. A shaky ceasefire largely held on Wednesday, but Yemen remains on the brink of civil war. Demonstrators called for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in Saudi Arabia recovering from an attack on his compound in June, to step down—something he has promised to do several times. The protesters are supported by Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a powerful general who defected to the opposition in March. The latest bloodshed pushes the two sides further apart, making anarchy more likely. Such anarchy would favor Iran. Saudi Arabia is Iran’s biggest opponent in the region, and Yemen is right on its border. Anarchy would mean a breeding ground for extremists on Saudi Arabia’s borders. And if Iran gets control of Yemen, it gives it a strategic base by the Gulf of Aden. 

The Soft Underbelly of Europe

On its surface, the European financial crisis is about money. And there is a lot to be said on that score: with Greek one-year bonds closing on Thursday at 135 percent interest–slightly off their high of a week ago of 149 percent – the markets clearly regard a Greek default as all but inevitable. The continued efforts of European leaders and lenders to kick the can down the road have failed, in large part because while loans can address a liquidity problem, they are no cure for a solvency one. Unfortunately, Greece has both problems.

The answer of the Europeans and the IMF to the solvency problem has been austerity, with the predictable result that Greece’s GDP contracted 7.3 percent in the second quarter of 2011. Cutting back the overblown state is certainly part of the answer, but it is no panacea, if only because austerity based largely on tax hikes will likely cause Greece’s GDP to fall faster than it can cut spending – for it is doubtful politically or even practically that Greece can reach its austerity targets through spending cuts alone. The result will be an increase in Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which not surprisingly makes the markets even more nervous about Greece’s ability to pay its debts.

Déconfiture de l’Europole? Vive la faillite!

Déconfiture de l’Europole? Vive la faillite!

Tout cela va s’achever en eau de boudin! La Grèce est déjà en faillite. Car qui va lui prêter les 8milliards d’€ dont elle a un pressant besoin? Quant à l’Espagne, l’Italie, l’Irlande, le Portugal, ils sont eux aussi au bord d’un gouffre dont la France elle-même s’approche à grands pas. D’ailleurs, en ce qui concerne le collapsus grec, on en est maintenant à débattre du pourcentage des pertes que subiront ses créanciers. Ceux-ci trop sûrs qu’ils étaient de se goinfrer à bon compte, se retrouvent à présent gros Jean comme devant et pleurent misère… Cela pour avoir largement encouragé la Grèce à persévérer dans la démagogie de l’argent facile, corollaire de la démocratie clientéliste. Celle qui achète les suffrages à coup de niches sociales, d’avantages acquis et d’encouragement au droit à la paresse(1)… faillite des États dont la devise est «aujourd’hui l’on rase gratis»!


En débat donc la possibilité d’un défaut de paiement partiel de la Grèce, au mieux de 30%. Ce qui serait un moindre mal compte tenu de l’obstination forcenée des eurolâtres à maintenir la Grèce dans l’euro, obstination qui creuse chaque jour davantage l’abîme de la dette hellénique. Pourtant si Athènes quittait le triste Eden de l’Euroland et revenait à la Drachme, les Grecs détiendraient alors cet outil inestimable de réajustement qu’est la capacité de dévaluer. Mais ce serait trop simple. Non, il faut coûte que coûte maintenir l’intégrité de la zone euro et refuser d’en exclure la Grèce… parce que— selon la vulgate des eurocrates têtus et obtus peuplant les cabinets gouvernementaux— c’est sur l’euro que repose la fiction de l’Europe bruxelloise.

September 23, 2011

Exposed: the myth that there is such a thing as European union

Eurofacts Vol 17 No 1
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011

Please find attached the latest copy of eurofacts Vol 17 No 1

dated 23rd September 2011 in Pdf format.


Exposed: the myth that there is such a thing as European union

Eighteen months into the debt crisis that has paralysed the European Union and, in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel could bring down not only the euro but the EU itself where exactly is the great beacon of peace, hope and prosperity for Europe?

The answer is, in a worse state than it was a year and a half ago.

After the bailouts for Ireland and Greece, the buying of government bonds by the European Central Bank, the proposal of a second bailout for Greece and the prospects of further cash being flung at Portugal and Italy, the EU is in an even deeper hole economically. Growth has stalled, markets have collapsed and the very things that the EU was supposed to bring, stability and cooperation, seem like a bad joke.

Finland says that if it is to contribute to a further rescue fund for Greece, it wants collateral. Germany says this is unacceptable, but Austria and the Netherlands argue that whats good for Finland should apply to them, too.

The European Commission says greater fiscal integration and supervision is the solution and that can be achieved without changes to the Lisbon treaty to end all treaties. The Germans say that is nonsense because the required tools are not available under Lisbon, so there will have to be renegotiation, no matter how difficult that would be. They and other countries have even suggested a whole new treaty. Ireland is dismayed: after what happened over Lisbon, the chances of getting any new agreement through a referendum are vanishingly small.

The Questions Never Asked About Palestine

By Steve Feldman

As the Palestinian-Arabs and their friends make their latest push for "Palestinian" statehood at the United Nations this week, once again the wrong questions are being asked, while the pertinent questions every reporter, activist, and foreign minister should be asking never arise.

Why do "Palestinians" need a state of their own?  Who are these "stateless" people?  What is their history?  Where have they been for all of these years?

In the spirit of "you don't know what you don't know," here are some Hansel-and-Gretel-like bread crumbs to guide journalists and others to the questions they might ask:

Where does the name "Palestine" come from and who have been the people who've lived there?  Of course, it was coined by the conquering Romans to add insult to injury to a Jewish nation they sought to obliterate.  The Romans conquered the land, but there was always a remnant of Jewish people living there. 

While throughout the ages the land was under control of various powers, none called themselves "Palestinian," and there was never a nation with that name.  It was that Jewish remnant and those Jews who joined them over time who became the "Palestinians."

Dare Less Democracy

2011/09/20 FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Own report) - A recently published book, by one of the most influential German newspaper publishers, is pleading for a transition toward "less democracy." The "voice of the people" and the "emancipatory Zeitgeist, putting everything into question," has a too "paralyzing influence" on current governance, writes the publishing house in its blurb for the book. The author therefore demands to "correct the system" for "more efficient policy making." These "corrections" must include the dismantlement of democratic participation. The book, recently published under the title "Dare Less Democracy" is being heavily promoted by public broadcasting stations, for example the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR), with close affiliation to the Social Democrats. Since some time, influential circles of the German elite have been demanding dismantlement of democracy in Germany. The recently published book will bring this debate into a broader public.

The book "Dare Less Democracy" was published in August by the publishing house of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the most influential German dailies. The author Laszlo Trankovits is the bureau chief and correspondent of the Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa) in South Africa. He had previously worked for dpa in Washington - as its "White House correspondent," explains the publisher.[1] The title of the book is hinting at social modernization that was introduced in the 1960s and often described with the demand to "Dare More Democracy." This was the formulation used by Chancellor Willy Brandt (SPD) in his government declaration speech in October 1969.