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The shadow over Europe

Gavin Hewitt | 15:58 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011

In the soft spring sunshine it was possible to believe the Brussels briefings that Europe was finally getting on top of the crisis in the eurozone. But a shadow fell across the summit.

It was not just the fact that Portugal was edging ever closer to needing a bail-out. It was not even that the Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, had resigned and that there could be a political vacuum in Lisbon for two months. It was more fundamental than that.

Portugal's parliament had rejected an austerity plan that carried the imprint of the European Central Bank and the European Commission. The country was told that an extra round of spending cuts and tax increases was essential to appease the markets. It was sold as a matter of survival. All the pleadings counted for little. The plan - the fourth austerity package in the space of a year - was thrown out. The people had had enough of belt-tightening. They would be squeezed no more.

Now Portugal's political parties say they'll respect the deficit-cutting targets, but elections lie ahead and the people will deliver their verdict.

All of this reflects a deeper trend. A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery.The plates are shifting, creating a divide. The people in the northern countries are increasingly frustrated at having to bankroll the weaker nations. At the same time the people in the Republic of Ireland, Greece, Portugal and elsewhere are increasingly resistant to the austerity imposed on them. There is increasing tension between the bankrollers and the bailed-out.

Now in order to fix the crisis the EU has agreed to increase the lending capacity of the current fund and to set up a permanent bail-out mechanism after 2013. With it comes a "grand bargain" drawn up by Germany. In exchange for being Europe's paymaster Berlin has demanded a say in how other economies are run. So there will be a pact aimed at bringing eurozone countries closer together in areas like tax rates and wage bargaining. Economic co-ordination will have arrived. Sanctions will rein in those inclined to run up deficits.

Whether these measures truly address the cause of the crisis is an interesting question. But even before they are introduced there is potential trouble.


EU leaders at European Council in Brussels, 25 March 11

The historian Niall Ferguson recently described it as a giant "Ponzi scheme" where the burden of supporting weaker nations was placed on the shoulders of an "ever-shrinking number of healthy ones".

On 17 April Finland will hold an election.The party that may end up holding the balance of power is the True Finns. It opposes increasing the size of the EU's bail-out fund and wants the whole deal renegotiated.

A casual glance at today's German papers indicates just how unpopular a larger bail-out fund is with German voters. Bild said "the old promise that we won't pay for others has been broken once again". Several German papers pointed out that topping up the euro rescue fund would now cost 22bn euros (£19bn). That is money up front. Kurt Lauk from the CDU is quoted as saying "Europe is on the threshold of becoming a transfer union."

In response to the collapse of the Portuguese government the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "A lot depends now on those who represent Portugal making it clear that Portugal feels obliged to stick to the goals" of its deficit-cutting programme.

But say the mood is shifting. Say the ability of weaker states to adopt austerity measures is weakening. What then?

In Ireland - despite a bail-out - the crisis is not yet over. The new government says that the bill to bail out the sickly banks is still growing. It may need a further rescue. Otherwise the threat is there. Investors, including French and German institutions, will have to be burned. There will be further bank stress tests next Thursday. The Irish government is hemmed in. There is growing hostility towards Brussels. The public won't take more austerity.

And even though the bail-outs have bought some breathing space they have not solved the fundamental problem. Greece has had the interest rates of its loans reduced and its repayment period extended, yet the country shows no sign of being able to grow its way out of its debt crisis. Its tax revenues are actually falling. Growth is elusive. Sooner or later Greece will have to face its debt mountain.

Chancellor Merkel offers no relief. "Member states," she said at the summit, "face many years of work to atone for past sins". And that's part of the problem - countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal will be taking the austerity medicine not just for this year, but quite possibly for a generation.

As Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform observes, "there may be a time when, even if politicians want to do the right thing for the euro, the public will not allow them to do it."

Brussels is often a strange world. There is a Panglossian upbeat tone to much of what is said publicly, whilst economist after economist predicts a restructuring of the debt is coming.

This was supposed to be the summit that delivered the comprehensive package to end the eurozone crisis. It hasn't. Three months of uncertainty lie ahead. The fix is not in. A line has not been drawn. And tensions are rising.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    It's only right that we should work hard so they can enjoy the sunshine and siestas.

  • Comment number 2.

    "A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery.A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery."

    So are Ireland, Iceland, UK and Belgium part of Europe's prosperous North? None of them are southern countries and two of them cannot properly be described as peripheric.

    And when did Spain become a debt-ridden country? It has seen its debt rates soar because of its high unemployement and weak growth, but even to this day its public and private debt remain lower than that of Germany.

  • Comment number 3.

    "The historian Niall Ferguson recently described it as a giant "Ponzi scheme" where the burden of supporting weaker nations was placed on the shoulders of an "ever-shrinking number of healthy ones"."

    An absolutely superb explanation of what is happening, the EU is a Ponzi scheme and the pro EU philes are the saps who have yet to understand that.

    As for prudence I will give an example from debt ridden Belgium, a small train station I know well has had three racks for cycles for a few years, nobody remembers more that one place being used , once only, yet SNCB are constructing a slab of concrete for a large cycle park in many stations including this one. What is happening when the Lycra, leotard financially incompetents are running the asylum.

  • Comment number 4.

    Mr Hewitt: Watch out for the April 17th Election in Finland.

    A more 'pro-EU' Nation couldn't be found than Finland: As with so many members States that ultra-supportive mode is at the 'big-Government/big-Business' level of support for the Brussels monolith.

    Further down the economic-social chain and there are many Finns who are very far from 'pro-EU': They've grown annoyed by Finland being required to Pay for spendthrift nations, they're fed-up with time-consuming, expensive EU Legislation Finland's leadership took onboard like every other initiative whilst other Nations held back such as the new Fuel 'E95' that has been found to damage car engines (& Finns are diehard motorists), quite a lot of Finns are disenchanted with 'Immigration' that has seen the 'Open Borders' allow an influx of what one Finn Newspaper editorial described as 'very foreign' people with 'very foreign ways', and many Finns are now equating the EU-Brussels' EUro-zone with the dramatic Price Rises of basic Consumer Goods over the last 2 to 3 years.

    Watch for the result of the Finnish General Election.

    Finns are conservative-liberals by nature: They have the same instinctive work-ethic as their German neighbours: A lot of Finns regard the old Finn Markka currency being tied to the German Deutschmark would have been a better idea than a EUro.

    They went with the EUro (despite Sweden's reluctance) because Germany did so and because Germany's leadership said it was never going to be a 'transfer union' which is precisely what it is about to become. Finns wont accept that Fiscal policy: They jealously protect their own State's finances & donating annually to weaker neighbours is not in the Finns' nature.

    If Finns turn to Political Parties that propose radical shifts in the organisation & institutions of the EU in substantial numbers then be assured the whole of the EUropean Union is in deep, deep trouble with EU Citizens everywhere.

  • Comment number 5.

    I forgot to say Gavin Hewitt that this analysis is spot on, it is just a shame that it is not PC to call a certain German chancellor a fool and that, that person has yet to realise why the East German part of the nation that lived under the yolk of communism did not flourish.

  • Comment number 6.

    Gavin,
    I sense you got tired of being unfair (no to use a stronger word) to Greeks alone so now you are being unfair to all south Europeans. Another piece of your usual prejudiced 'analysis'. Capitalism as applied to suit the bankers is a Ponzi scheme.

  • Comment number 7.

    @4. cool_brush_work wrote:

    "Mr Hewitt: Watch out for the April 17th Election in Finland."

    He already mentioned it.

    It's impossible to convey a rounded picture of the Finnish political landscape without mentioning the True Finns Party (which GH did but you didn't).

    The betting is that the TF's will secure a sufficiently enlarged share of the vote (Finland has PR) to hold the balance of power after the election. They are a rough equivalent of J-M le Pen's National Front Party but somewhat less extreme. They're part of a trend seen in recent years across several European countries (Belgium, Holland, Denmark, France, UK and - recently and surprisingly - Sweden): populist, anti-immigrant, anti-Brussels, anti-ECJ, stressing indigenous ethnic solidarity - to the point almost of xenophobia at times - with at least an undercurrent of racism.

    Although the TF's advocate that Finland leave the EU I strongly suspect that that's just gesture politics aimed at harvesting the votes of the malcontents. I don't agree that it will tell us much if anything about what's going to happen to the EU if the party does well: the gut issues are domestic ones. Governments in the Nordic countries are always coalitions and a lot of the election-campaign rhetoric is promptly jettisoned in favour of collective responsibility by the parties which actually form the government. The electorate (which is pretty sophisticated) understands this game well. Undoubtedly the TF's have the potential to create disruption in the normal boring consensus-politics but that won't have any repercussions outside Finland IMO.

    Of course though if one is determined to see signs of the imminent dissolution of the EU one can always find them.

  • Comment number 8.

    There is a deep feeling among the public that this crisis is a consequence of the gross mismanagement of the Euro and of the world economy. When governments ask people to suffer through austerity measures, people feel that are being punished for the incompetence of others. What's more, those incompetents are still running the show. So maybe if other, more competent, and more honest, people were allowed to step in, all this suffering could be spared.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hmm, as I was saying, the EU-Brussels entity represents the vested interests of 'big-Business/big-Government' and this supremacy is assured by the EU's final arbiter of what is correct, its very own EUropean Court of Justice:

    E.G.:

    24 March 2011 BBC News: 'EU rejects Catalonia scheme to protect small retailers'

    'A bid by Spain's Catalonia region to protect small retailers against competition from larger rivals has been blocked by the EU's Court of Justice.

    The European Commission brought an action against Spain after it allowed the region to restrict areas where large retailers can set up.

    Some restrictions were enshrined in Spanish national laws while others were laid down in Catalan legislation.

    The industry-rich region accounts for about a fifth of Spain's economy.

    "A member state may not make the opening of a large retail establishment conditional upon economic considerations such as its impact on the existing retail trade, or the market share of the undertaking concerned," the court said in its ruling.

    "Such considerations cannot justify a restriction on the freedom of establishment."

    Catalonia's restrictions included limits on new permits which stipulated that they might only be issued when the authorities were satisfied that proposed new businesses, such as hypermarkets, would not have an impact on small traders.'



    And so it goes on... The monolithic EU-Brussels supporting the 'big' aganist the 'small', crushing the life out of the 'small traders' in order for the Super-Stores to reign supreme.

    Will anyone reading the above and the ECJ's Judgement be surprised to also learn that an IMMENSE LOBBYING of the Commissioners & MEPs was carried out by a number of giant Retailers in Brussels over months prior to this ECJ decision.
    In contrast the 'small retailors' though Represented by their Regional Government (which of course is answerable to the local communities & most likely to be promoting the Citizens' preference) were simply OUT-SPENT by their COMMERCIAL rivals.

    Aaah, EU Democracy-in-action: Don't You just love the way it takes care of the 'little people'!

  • Comment number 10.

    actually it is not that impossible to turn things around with respect to government debt fairly quickly (in much less than a generation)... despite all its other faults and weaknesses, Bulgaria is a shining example of that

  • Comment number 11.

    There is a very interesting irony here. Don't cure this problem - including making the big banks and financial speculators share the pain - and the Euro may just come to be seen as a failed experiment. Alternatively, cure the problem - which means dancing the tune of Berlin - and the Germans will achieve an economic dominance, even control, that they lost two world wars trying to achieve.

  • Comment number 12.

    7. At 19:51pm on 25th Mar 2011, torpare wrote:
    @4. cool_brush_work wrote:

    "Mr Hewitt: Watch out for the April 17th Election in Finland."

    He already mentioned it.

    It's impossible to convey a rounded picture of the Finnish political landscape without mentioning the True Finns Party (which GH did but you didn't).2


    Yes Mr Hewitt did indeed, and that would be why I then wrote my #4.

    Living in Finland and with family in Belgium & the UK I believe I get a fairly broad spectrum of the publics' political sentiment: I don't appreciate the True Finn party's political stance, but I am aware Citizen support for its more extreme attitudes is a rising phenomena/spectre across 'Political' platforms in EUrope.

    You may be rght about the 'concensus' political tradition settling in once the Election is over, however I doubt it because these Parties (such as TF) are more than just on the fringe these days - - they participate in Coalitions - - some of their policies have to be taken account of & when 10 to 20 % of the Electorate Vote for them to do otherwise would be thoroughly Un-Democratic.

    Finland is largely very 'pro-EU': Watch the April 17th Results - - if enough Finnish Citizens are turned-off by the EU-Brussels entity then it will mean even stronger anti-EU sentiments in other Nations of EUrope - - the EU could be in serious trouble (which Mr Hewitt also mentioned, "..There is growing hostility towards Brussels. The public won't take more austerity..." AND, "..As Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform observes, "there may be a time when, even if politicians want to do the right thing for the euro, the public will not allow them to do it." ).

    My #4 was merely reflecting that viewpoint based on my observations at a State level in a country not known for hostility to any aspect of the EU.


  • Comment number 13.

    As the French might say "On a besoin de plus d'existentialisme" (We need to take matters into our hands).

  • Comment number 14.

    The measures will adress the cause of the crisis, because they hinder further increasing of the debts (made especially by the public sector and only partly by financial adventures). Also Germany has to improve and we know that.

    Another question is what will happen with the overwhelming amounts of depts in some countries. I think they are going to be restructured sooner or later. No way out else. The economists are right, but Brussels doesn't want to give in at the moment, because it would weaken the euro once more. Time isn't right for that.

    The upcoming anger about the austerity measures is natural, but no one of those angry will deny, that you have to earn what you want to spend. No way out again.

    Denmark, Poland and other NON-eurozone members have adopted the new stability measures yesterday voluntarily, because they know that.

  • Comment number 15.

    Germany has finally achieved domination over the entire continent -I wish they'd stop crying about it now, it has worked out cheaper than another war. They'll lend us all some money so we can refund their banks for the gambles they lost in the countries whose economies exploded with cheap credit caused by the ECB's focus on doing what's right for Germany. All they want in return is control of everyone else's economy. Machiavellian

  • Comment number 16.

    ... or is it just the tactic of the pimp getting a new crack ho?

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    "All of this reflects a deeper trend. A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery."

    Ok let's click on the link and see... what do we see?

    Top 8 most indebted countries in the EU, as a % of GDP (Malta excluded as absolute size of debt insignificant):

    Italy
    Greece
    Belgium
    France
    Portugal
    Germany
    UK
    Austria

    Of these, Belgium, France, Germany, UK and Austria could hardly qualify as 'peripheral' countries, unless peripheral means isolated somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, in which case, the UK could be counted in. So five out of eight are not perhipheral. True 'peripherals' of the porcine type I see only Greece and Portugal.

    In a nutshell, all this makes for sensationalist journalism, but other than that it is fact free.

    Of these eight 'peripheral' countries, i.e. the most indebted as a proportion of GDP, there are only two whose budget deficit is above or near 10%: Greece, Portugal and...the UK. So out of these 'peripherals' only these three would count as true debt-ridden 'peripherals' of the porcine variant.

    "Chancellor Merkel offers no relief. "Member states," she said at the summit, "face many years of work to atone for past sins". And that's part of the problem - countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal will be taking the austerity medicine not just for this year, but quite possibly for a generation."

    Excuse moi, Mr Hewitt, which part of this paragraph doesn't fully apply to the UK as well. It has been conclusively proven above that the UK falls into the 'peripheral' category, porcine subtype. It is also clear that it lived wa----------y beyond its means for well over a decade if not decades.

    Here you can see that the UK has the largest trade deficit in the whole of the EU by quite a margin, almost doubling the second largest, another 'debt-ridden country on the periphery', i.e. France...:

    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/

    (Click on 'Euro area external trade deficit 14.8 bn euro', and go to page 5)

    Adding three and three together, the UK alone scores a triple whammy: High debt, high budget deficit and highest trade deficit. So, if you think the Eurozone debt crisis is bad, austerity medicine and the like, you ain't seen nothing yet, wait for the (unavoidable) British austerity medicine to kick in... although me thinks that the real day of reckoning for the British economy will be postponed for another generation, in the meantime it will keep printing money to delay this day of reckoning. Now, back to the Eurozone crisis, ain't we having fun ...

  • Comment number 20.

    Gavin Hewitt .... "A casual glance at today's German papers indicates just how unpopular a larger bail-out fund is with German voters. Bild said "the old promise that we won't pay for others has been broken once again". Several German papers pointed out that topping up the euro rescue fund would now cost 22bn euros (£19bn)."

    Die Bild went on to inform its readers just what the sum of 22bn euros means to Germany .... "This is about as much as the federal government pays each year in unemployment benefits, or the total combined annual intake of tobacco tax, electricity tax and liquor tax." Bild further explained that the 4+ bn per year Merkle had negotiated represents the total sum paid each year in a program called Eltensgeld that is designed to financially reward families that have children.

    The average German with stagnant wages for almost 10 years will likely not be thrilled to see such large amounts of their treasury sent off to support failed economies around Europe. It's not really all wine and roses as it may seem from the outside.

  • Comment number 21.

    @19. At 23:07pm on 25th Mar 2011, JorgeG1
    Well said. Gavin's analysis is just sensationalism for the sun-reader EU-bashing public in the UK. Set to generate ridiculous reactions such as comment 1. BBC should be ashamed.
    On the essence, some countries have done well (various reasons, Euro being one) and others have done badly (various reasons, Euro being one). In a union with acommon currency transfer of money with simultaneous tightening of policies to restrict excesses (see my home country Greece) is normal. After some decades, money could go the other way, who knows. This is a union. If Germans or Greeks do not like it they can press to stay out. Otherwise they'd better get used to the fact that countries with surpluses will aid countries with deficits and of countries with deficits will suffer to sort out their problems. Nothing is free. Selling your products to a common market without tariffs is also not free. Politicians should say to the public the truth. Countries with surpluses will have to share some of the surplus. Countries with stupid politicians who made a mess will have to suffer for a while. A union is a union.

  • Comment number 22.

    # 15. Paul in Dublin

    You have to lend a lot of money to refund YOUR banks, which were allowed by YOUR goverment to dump European financial legislation standards to achieve advantages over other European financial markets.

    Also there is an Irish dumping strategy with company taxes since ever while received billions of Ecu directy from Brussels as donation to bring you up after entering the EC, now EU.

    Nobody forced anybody to sign the Treaty of Maastricht and, unfortunately, nobody can anybody force to leave the eurozone after failing the conditions.

    Throwing with mud and arrogant German bashing combined with a solid paranoia is the one side of the coin, the other one is the total surrender of both intellegence and moral.

  • Comment number 23.

    MarEndins
    @2.

    Never allow facts to spoil a story :)))

  • Comment number 24.

    "Brussels is often a strange world. There is a Panglossian upbeat tone to much of what is said publicly, whilst economist after economist predicts a restructuring of the debt is coming."

    That gives me some hope, if the economists say so then the opposide will be true. So, as I have been saying for over a year now, nothing to worry. I am still more stressed about my saving in GBP, than if I had the EURO

  • Comment number 25.

    "This was supposed to be the summit that delivered the comprehensive package to end the eurozone crisis. It hasn't."

    Ahhh, it has!

  • Comment number 26.

    22
    The money was also lent by German French etc banks to the Irish banks so their financial skills were as shady as their Irish customers. They took a punt and just like Irish banks should have to suck it up rather than having the man in the street pay back gambling debts. BTW, it's not just German banks, the UK loan will go mainly to plug the gap in UK banks' books, they're essentially bailing our their own banks via an intermediary, to be repaid by the intermediary.

    Taxes are a national issue and Irish corporation taxes have been the same since long before there even was a Treaty of Rome. How many of the CAC 40 pay any tax at all? There's nothing paranoid about seeing double standards and knowing you've been duped

  • Comment number 27.

    I really do get irritated when European politicians look to blame a chain of events which effectively started and had its roots in the USA. Europe as an entity made a huge mistake agreeing thatat the birth of the euro that the European block would still accept the US dollar as the marker for any currency. Germany in particular condsidering its export of expensive motor vehicles should have insisted for payment in Euros. The only reason that the UK currency keeps taking a hit is because the £ is shafted by the dollar on the one hand and on the other by the euro. Most people with the brain the size of a pea will rember when Margaret Thatcher tried to buck the market. The UK economy would have been far more stable and not in such a mess if we had joined the euro years ago. We would have learned among other things, that control of the international banking system requires the collective effort of all the European partners. Trying to clear up such a mess that we now have after the event is useless. The UK has either to decide do we wish to belong to a society that is in the pocket of the US i.e. help finance their wars to fund profits for their huge arms industry. The result being a society with the majority facing a future of low paid, low skilled, no future jobs(which of course just ensures more and higher profit margins for the large global countries), or do we want to break out and join a society which values its citizens and offers a fresh approach to uncontrolled and rampant capitalism.
    Our politicians need to understand that the majority of people are totally fed up paying for the destructive antics of overpaid bankers wether they be in the US or Europe. Until collectively Europeans stand together an work together, the Murdoch media together with their financial backers will continue to lie and deceive and prevent any honest open discussion about the real causes of failure in the world.

  • Comment number 28.

    As my great Italian friend has said to me many times ," All these years after WWII ,the Germans are finally winning the war by peaceful means ".

    So Vassilis is quite right , Germany and the rich countries of the north should take care of , finance , the poor countries of the south . " He who calls the tune , pays the piper ". No ?

    JorgeG1 in his anti British rant misses a heap of points , one being that Britain is not in the Eurozone .

    With regard to the ECJ ruling against Catalonian law to protect small business , there comes a time when the ECJ should be ignored . A heavy fine should go unpaid . The ECJ cannot sentence Catalonia to prison and the EU cannot expel Spain .

    It is very significant that the level of indebtedness in the north of Europe , means an ever weakening and decreasing ability of north european countries to support the south .

    It might seem that " Ponzi Schemes " are sufficiently common place these days as to be overlooked or acceptible .

    Dietrich , isn't the whole EU and world deficient in intelligence and moral ?

    " As Charles Grant from the centre for European reform observes " There may be a time , when even if politicians want to do the right thing for the Euro , the public will not allow them to do it ". Might we not now be reaching that point ?

    If the People of Europe were ever considered by the EU ; the best thing the EU could do now , would be to abolish the Euro , send every country back to their original currency . I accept that the EU would suffer a huge loss of face ; but I believe would gain in some respect of ordinary people .

  • Comment number 29.

    Bob Mathews (naive parochial Bob we shall say),

    You are WILDLY OFF CENTER POLITICALLY/SANITY wise--no offense..meant, BUT it IS Europe that is the rotten center of all the economic problems in the world today. Every other nation is coping and past their main crisis phase's doing their best to survive and someday thrive.

    Europe is the weak link in the world chain of economies. If it is to survive as an entity (at most) or individual nations with currencies (at worst) it is not and should not rely on the USA to give it succor. We have had it with trying to stabilize YOUR

    Situations.

    This Libya/Bosnia/Debt/and any other crises you deign to have are all YOUR problems and if you do not EVER look INSIDE yourselves for ANY insight, well all, one semi intelligent person in the USA (more intelligent at least than yourself, no offense) CAN SAY IS

    If you dont arrive at these important insights soon, the EU is doomed and with that goes PLENTY.

    The problems surrounding the EU south and southwest are immense. And the Pacific is going up up up. Hmmmm, survivallistically and opportunistically, you are going to find that the USA has UP and GONE.

    We are already Trying to leave you in this Libya HUGE MESS AS WE SPEAK.

    Because the Pacific Rim has a MAJOR major headache a-comin' its way in Japan's crisis,--and because your EU Short attention spans for anything other than your own navels--guarantee that China/Japan/Russia/India are higher on the USA's to-do-list than your mess South of you.

    We will continue to protect our ASSets in the Oil Rich Kingdoms of the MEast, but we would

    probably Sell you Is-rye-EL (Im half Jewish) for Russia--OH Lordy, could that occur????..doubtful...sigh.

    Let me tell you something else, India/Pakistan are doomed to coexist as brothers of fate, because of Afghanistan--if nothing else (rivals there) SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    China/Japan and the Pacific Rim nations are our survival mechanisms ...and because of this we would love for you and Russia to take over actions in your trouble areas...because our wish is not to become the next Ottoman empire or Arabian empire divided into areas of influence as

    you may become (except for UK/Ireland)

    WHY DO I SAY THESE MEAN THINGS???? JAPAN IS ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER AND OUR EYES ARE FIXED THERE IN

    !!!HORROR!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    From the USA,

    While I have been paying attention to Libya and thinking uh ohhhhh!, my brother was stresssssed out on Japan and has had to turn away to keep his eyes on work--who writes on these things except old and retired people (me and y'all)?????

    So Asia is our focus. No offense, just true...and y'all ARE A BUMMER, MAN.

    No offense, tho :)))

  • Comment number 31.

    #27 Bob Matthews

    I seem to have missed your point .

    Which Society " values its citizens and offers a fresh approach to uncontrolled and rampant capitalism "? I am not , as yet , aware that there is one !

    #25 ChrisArta

    " Ahhh it has "! What ? Shouldn't you enlarge on what you mean ?

    Agreement of heads of state at the latest of many failed Brussels Summits , doesn't mean anything in practical terms . No good may ever come of it .

    As for your savings , they would be no better off in Euros than in British Pounds . You might kid yourself that you had slightly more Euros than Pounds , but in fact your spending power would be the same and your savings no safer .

  • Comment number 32.

    H above you are right, but in the real world...with out these conspiracy/corrupt type explanations ...

    Rising Stars like the USA after WWII and China (present) and the Rim nations (recent past) are great places to trade with

    Cash Cows like the Computer industry, oil, and farming stuff are all ok.

    But, government budgets in the West are horrifying us all. That is why Europe and the USA may go separate ways..we have the same problems and are trying to work out world problems while our nations go belly up. That is not an option for us--how about Europe?

  • Comment number 33.

    I (benign and hopeful for you ...in every situation) will probably continue to come Here, because the lot of you are far more educated and mentally aware of the world as a whole..

    Other blogs tend to obsess on areas of complete utter nonsensical self aggrandizement or hatreds of others

    But here there is at least some shred of civilized educated talk...I suppose the Americas blog is a haven, but not so interesting-they are quite

    DEPRESSING there

    So, here I'll stay...with you ...reading and giving out Jerahmiads [sic] and pep talks...or plain c**p for your benefit.

    One thing people have missed talking about (for instance) is that in Arab and Muslim nations OFTEN the military has the most power. Whom it is run by is ALL important.

    If we kill off the military of Mr. Qaddafi (mr cause he has power still) then his nation will not be there to exist for the benefit of Europe, now will it???? (OIL???)

    So, lets hope the military flees Qaddafi, or vice versa, so that this Democratization has stability in all these nations (remember Turkey ..many times overthrowing Islamic problematic regimes then starting from scratch again and again?) The military stayed so democracy and Europe would stay with IT.

    These rebels, NOT Al Quaida [sic??? how does one know] are the inspiration to millions of fed up-left behind the times-peoples in these so called important nations ..OIL, OIL, and location, location.

    Sunnis seem to be leading this "fight" for liberation. I see in Pakistan,

    Taliban and Shiites are rivals (Shias vs. Taliban) for power...po po po India...such a neighborhood..oh well...harvesting ones sowing is not fun sometimes.

    But, my point is these Al Quaida and Taliban could eventually turn to intellectual, political people whose influence is on the wane because of lack of fear AND INTELLECTUAL content. Therefore, the new revolutionaries are wanters of secular democracy with probably an Islamic influence, not Western. How to achieve THAT?

    Have a stable military in each nation implementing elections until the political parties achieve legal traditions and ways of getting along...that is the hard part...removing military power once its achieved..but better bread than poverty....look

    at Africa..military stability only goes so far. So, Me, Myself and I am optimistic about these revolutionaries ...IF

    let's just hope these rebels value Education in the Basic ways, freedom of information, freedom of career and freedom to be poor, working-class, and other myriad ways of successful well fed living. Gosh, golly gee...but basics are important.

    I say let ***Europe***(Anglo/German/French/Greek/Italian and MittleEuropean--east euro)wide-led and world introductions (to all the deep schooling necessary) help these rebels...before the Chinese get ahold of em..lololol..NOTfunny...

    PLEASE????????

  • Comment number 34.

    Russia and China (eyeing each other) abstained from this mess for economic reasons ..new loans for China and less scrutinization of THEIR POLITICS and Russia gets to prove that neutrality will give it more leverage with the Germans and more moral authority in future European crises (in Europe---eventually maybe achieving a continental Europe free trade deal?).

    My congrats to both nations...wow..Lucky nations (including Germany).

    There, now, you guys ARE TO take over the initiative in all Euro affairs outside the EU area--JUST READ MORE, TALK LESS!

  • Comment number 35.

    i READ THIS ELSEWHERE

    "I am among those who think Obama has it about right so far - and am as eager as he is for the Europeans and willing Arabs to take over from here.

    The biggest scandal is that there is constant carping from Europe about US militarism and US defense spending that exceeds everyone else combined. Yet, when key Euro zone countries find a worrisome problem on their doorstep that they think needs a military response, they need "unique military capabilities" from the US to maximize military effect. The EU now has a bigger population and GDP than the US, and the US is just as fiscally over-extended financially as EU governments are as a whole. But the US is still subsidizing EU defense capabilities - which the EU does not think needs to be very large UNTIL a crisis erupts and they need military capabilities they have not invested in. The US should substantially withdraw from Europe and reduce this dependency that the US can no longer afford and US taxpayers are unwilling to pay for." (READ IN ANOTHER BLOG)

    That time and its lack of preparation made for that time by "The EU" is

    STAGGERRINGLY fast approaching--wake up, Europa!

    You dont need us..you want us..Get that *widely held thought in the US* and all IT means sorted out in your minds..

    entitlements are not taken, they are given!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Also, ironically what if an Arab Napolean or Che' ...arises out of this mess? Doubtful but

    Yuk get on with it please!

  • Comment number 37.

    #29 Stevenson

    Europe and the United States together are the rotten centre of economy in the world today . The US is bankrupt to the tune of many trillions of dollars , but is still able to print money . Europe is hamstrung because the Euro is controlled by the ECB , so individual countries whose economies are not in tune with the rest , have no power to adjust interest rates , devalue currency or print money .

    The errors of financial , banking and political jiggery pokery and chicanery are common to both the US and Europe .

  • Comment number 38.

    Gavin Hewitt panders to the Europhobe British public - and does little of his own thinking of which financial interests are behind the Eurocrisis. And is a little behind the times what really is going on.

    He quotes the wrong Ferguson here Niall, the historian, who calls the EU rescue funds a Ponzi financing scheme. (That just shows how much historians know about finance - that is blatantly wrong!)

    The more appropriate Ferguson would have been Michael, who with his film "Inside Job" opened our eyes to the way economic and academic opinion can be bought by financial interests to further particular economic options.

    Gavin Hewitt says: "Brussels is often a strange world. There is a Panglossian upbeat tone to much of what is said publicly, whilst economist after economist predicts a restructuring of the debt is coming."

    Well, Gavin, there is a number of German blogs (including the ZEIT) which openly discuss the possibility of a number of economists either being bribed by hedgefunds or having their own financial interests in a restructuring of debt, as then Credit Default Swaps would become payable. It could well be an issue for the German public prosecutors already - for all we know. As it does not make any economic sense to restructure these debts, especially because credit default swaps could double the costs of restructuring to the public. And only CDS holders would benefit.

    These credit default swaps betting on euro countries defaulting are at the heart of this eurocrisis, allowing hedgefunds to bribe their way into public opinion, advertising restructuring as then they could make huge profits from the eurocrisis.

    More information is in my contributions to Rober Peston's blog from Thursday about Portugal. The BBC economics department should take note and write about this CDS issue!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2011/03/portugal_to_muddle_through_-_f.html

  • Comment number 39.

    The US and Europe should stop seeing Russia in the image of the now long past cold war enemy . Russia is a potentially huge growing economy . I believe that politically President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin are trying hard to put the Soviet past behind them , offer the hand of friendship to the west , we should take it and look to the future collectively .

    China is seen purely as a Communist country that poses a threat to western economies . The Chinese are very astute at business and hard working . In all the countries of South East Asia , it is the Chinese who run nearly every big and successful businesses .

    Europe has effectively priced itself out of the market in many areas of production ; in the interest of giving people a superior standard of living . We now have standards and costs of living which we cannot afford . I think we were far better off in the 1950/60 than we are today , when people had fewer expectations beyond their means than they have today .
    We are all taxed out of existence , directly or indirectly to pay for public services , not to mention the EU , all of which have become horrendously expensive .
    People dream of being rich . When you are rich , the resposibilities and worries of maintaining the status quo , can almost make one long to be poor again

    Europe has been ruined by the Euro and may never recover the actual quality of life enjoyed before .

  • Comment number 40.

    @Vassillis
    "Selling your products to a common market without tariffs is also not free. Politicians should say to the public the truth. Countries with surpluses will have to share some of the surplus. Countries with stupid politicians who made a mess will have to suffer for a while. A union is a union. "

    Absolutely right. That is why the easiest way the Eurocrisis could be stopped is to take the massive current account surplus of Germany and divide it up between its citizens. that would give everybody, say, 1,000 Euro which can then be used to be spent on a holiday in Greece, Spain, Portugal or Ireland.

    The Eurocrisis would immediately be solve. If a quarter of that would be spent in Greece, the Greek economy would grow by 20%+, tourism would more than double, their current account deficit would be wiped out - the Eurocrisis would be over.

    But still, it would be helpful to ban Credit Default Swaps betting on the Eurocrisis, nevertheless. So that speculators could not make unjustified profits from the crisis.

  • Comment number 41.

    #25. At 00:07am on 26th Mar 2011, ChrisArta wrote:

    "This was supposed to be the summit that delivered the comprehensive package to end the eurozone crisis. It hasn't."

    Ahhh, it has!"

    Oh how simplistically people like you think, this agreement solves nothing, it can have no effect on any underlying problems in the economies rescued, it cannot save the Euro, merely prolong the agony as the reasons for a rescue remain in place and fully active. The agreement, that some here are calling as a sign of the EU being a 'transfer union', is more proof that the EU has become a Socialist pipe dream with the redistribution of wealth being at the forefront as always. As always with rampant Socialism it's leaders are ideologically flawed and driven by envy and greed and the need to act collectively in the name of so called solidarity. The result always being crises after crises just as we have in the EU and Euro.

    #13 Eddy from Waring used the French word for a philosophy called 'Existentialisme', it means every man is responsible for their own actions or in other words existentialism therefore considers each person as a unique being who is master not only of his actions and his destiny, but also - for better or for worse - the values ​​it chooses to adopt. This philosophy suggests that the ideology of the EU has been allowed to surpass existentialism and become a typical Socialist philosophy where the collective assume responsibility for all decisions and blame all resulting crises on external factors like capitalism rather than themselves and their doctrine.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lets make the point a bit more sensitively - as it was not published the first time around.

    We should remember here, there are definitely interests which can benefit in the Eurocrisis from a negative view of the Euro.

    These financial interests hold Credit Default Swaps, betting on the rescheduling of debt in the Eurozone, as these CDS would then become payable, giving investors perhaps a profit 10 times the initial outlay.

    Any negative opinion will help these interests - as prices of CDS tend to rise.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 43.

    #19

    jorge1;

    "although me thinks that the real day of reckoning for the British economy will be postponed for another generation, in the meantime it will keep printing money to delay this day of reckoning."

    'Postponed for another generation', ah that old chestnut! Cant make a prediction work, fob it off for 20 years until half the board is dead. Good idea actually.

  • Comment number 44.

    #26

    PFD;

    "Taxes are a national issue and Irish corporation taxes have been the same since long before there even was a Treaty of Rome. "

    Err, i dont think so.

    "Until 1998 the standard rate of corporation tax in Ireland was 32%. Following the Irish Government's agreement with the EU for a general rate of 12.5% to apply from 1st January 2003, the rate to be applied to trading income fell in stages between 1999 and 2003:

    in the 1999 fiscal year the rate was 28%;
    in the 2000 fiscal year the rate was 24%;
    in the 2001 fiscal year the rate was 20%;
    in the 2002 fiscal year the rate was 16%;
    thereafter the rate has been 12.5%. "

  • Comment number 45.

    It is right for the people to be fed up with all the austerity plans.
    Let be clear the people which created the problem in the first place are living blissfully happy and an punish.
    Will not only the Euro zone which will be in trouble it will be all the nations which prescribe to the USA model of capitalism.
    Regarding the Euro we con stop the shadow if the members state realize we need one fiscal policy one budget and Ect. for all the Euro zone no in the future bat now.
    John

  • Comment number 46.

    #45

    john;

    "Regarding the Euro we con stop the shadow if the members state realize we need one fiscal policy one budget "

    Lets start with harmonising corporation tax rates.

  • Comment number 47.

    This crisis comes under the heading of "That which does not kill us makes us stronger". I fear the former, as I have no wish to go back to a Europe of squabbling nation states. I hope for the latter, because in my personal experience the EU has been hugely beneficial, especially for smaller states.

  • Comment number 48.

    #46. At 09:51am on 26th Mar 2011, champagne_charlie,

    One slight problem with harmonising corporation tax rates is that the German led Eurozone believe that they should be harmonised at the highest level existing in the Eurozone. I'm not sure but that is probably Germany. It is inconceivable for the German leadership that the tax rates be harmonised downwards and that is why the concept of harmonisation is fatally flawed and inherently dangerous. The German leaderships desire for everyone else's tax rates to be as high as Germany's only benefits German exports and it is vital this never happens as it is us that will see our taxes and living costs rise to benefit German exports, it will certainly not make the production and exports of other EU member states more competitive.

  • Comment number 49.

    "The shadow over Europe"

    Oh for goodness sake. We've pulled together after 2 all-out wars in the last century alone.

    Whatever the EU costs us, the net savings of Not Having Wars repay that many, many times over in cash alone.

    Anything positive to say Gavin, or wouldn't your paymaster like that?

    (I think an EU-wide audiovisual outfit that sidelines the BBC to its rightful regional standing would be jolly good, by the way. It could assume training for broadcast staff etc., and take a healthy portion of the licence fee to support this).

  • Comment number 50.

    1

  • Comment number 51.

    To quote "Bild" as an authoratitive source of serious news on anything other than who has just jumped into / out of (delete which not applicable) bed with whom is daft in the extreme. The Frankfurter Allgemeine or Sud Deutsche Zeitung might possibly offer rather more authoratative views!

    Anyway, what intrigues me is that the BBC, and other UK news outlets are forever forecasting the demise of the Euro, and suggesting the entire eurozone is in crisis, but if this is the case, why has the pound sterling been languishing close to record lows over the past two years agains the Euro. Possibly, just perhaps, because the reality is that being such a large important currency, even the problems that the eurosone is undoubtedly experiencing presently, it can ride the storm - where as the little old, comparatively unimportant sidelined pound can be used as a toy by the financial traders to make money at the UK's expense?

    I say UK's expense because our currencies weakness is the chief reason why we, the UK, has such a high inflation rate against Euroland, where the currency is, undoubtedly strong, despite the harbingers of doom in from the UK.

    There is definately saefty in numbers, and despite everything I'd still rather be on the inside than the edge looking in

  • Comment number 52.

    44
    the rates were changed because the EU said the Irish state was unfairly favouring its exporting, and later its manufacturing companies. Quid pro quo there's been little change.

  • Comment number 53.

    29 (and 30,32,33,34,35,36) Stevenson writes:

    "WHY DO I SAY THESE MEAN THINGS????"
    --------------------------------
    Could be the time of night had something to do with it. To put it in as polite a way as possible, it's called 'stream-of-consciousness' writing when one feels perhaps a little bit tired and emotional as the following meaning explains so well:
    .
    "Stream-of-consciousness writing is usually regarded as a special form of interior monologue and is characterized by associative leaps in syntax and punctuation that can make the prose difficult to follow."

  • Comment number 54.

    So, it turnes out even Socrates has been wrong after all.


    Whose next? Aristo- teles?

  • Comment number 55.

    GW:A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery.






    Try and be more precise: between the North and the South.


    Just like in Iraq, Korea, Sudan, Yemen etc.


    "Same difference".

  • Comment number 56.

    CBW: 'A bid by Spain's Catalonia region to protect small retailers against competition from larger rivals has been blocked by the EU's Court of Justice.







    So when is a no-fly zone going to be implemented over Cataluna?


    Before, or after a similar zone is established over Syria and Ivory Coast?

  • Comment number 57.

    ChrisArta wrote:
    "This was supposed to be the summit that delivered the comprehensive package to end the eurozone crisis. It hasn't."

    Ahhh, it has!







    Perhaps it was a summit to end the eurozone?


    Naaaaaah!

  • Comment number 58.

    55 powermeer writes:
    Try and be more precise: between the North and the South.
    Just like in Iraq, Korea, Sudan, Yemen etc.
    "Same difference".

    Or the USofA? Not another civil war in the offing? I've been told that the tensions between the two are still basically unresolved even more than a century after one of the most bloody civil wars in history. Bit like the ones you mention above. As you say: "Same difference".

  • Comment number 59.

    26 Paul of Dublin

    Remembering what Ireland looked like before it joined the EU I don't suppose you propose returning to those halcyon days?

  • Comment number 60.

    margaret howard wrote:
    55 powermeer writes:
    Try and be more precise: between the North and the South.
    Just like in Iraq, Korea, Sudan, Yemen etc.
    "Same difference".


    Or the USofA? Not another civil war in the offing? I've been told that the tensions between the two are still basically unresolved even more than a century after one of the most bloody civil wars in history.








    Since you.ve commented on a character of some posts here, let me quote one of our favourites, Colonel (in reality: only a captain) Muammar Gaddafi:



    "Freedom of expression is the right of every natural person, even if a person chooses to behave irrationally, to express his or her insanity"

    M.Q.'s Green Book)

  • Comment number 61.

    Yep, ur write M Howard..maybe its an extension of tired ness and then all of a sudden something happens...

    Now I know how Nik feels...

    LOLOLOL Thank you for your sweet analysis

    :))))

  • Comment number 62.

    The picture at the bottom of the article is interesting. None of those worthies looks very worried, or even serious. Merkel, Cameron and the guy on the right look amused, and Sarko-Fantastic, Warrior Prince of the Western Realm, looks positively bored.

    Presumably he'd rather be off bombing unpopular dictators, in an effort to finally get a green card.

  • Comment number 63.

    19. At 23:07pm on 25th Mar 2011, JorgeG1 wrote:

    Ah, there he is!

    Our Spanish friend who worries so much about the UK.

    Strange how quiet he is on Marine Le Penn's Poll successes in France!

    And yet he couldn't stop himself ascribing Jean Le Penn's & Gert Wilders' Far Right views to the Britons who're 'anti-EU' in earlier posts.
    Odd how the only elected Far Right UK Political representatives are BNP and have fit right in to the EU Parliament JorgeG1 so admires with its multitude of extreme views!


    Oh but wait... "Excuse moi, Mr Hewitt, which part of this paragraph doesn't fully apply to the UK as well. It has been conclusively proven above that the UK falls into the 'peripheral' category, porcine subtype. It is also clear that it lived wa----------y beyond its means for well over a decade if not decades.

    Here you can see that the UK has the largest trade deficit in the whole of the EU by quite a margin, almost doubling the second largest, another 'debt-ridden country on the periphery', i.e. France...:"

    Apparently not concerned with 40% Unemployment amongst under-25 Spaniards it is the UK's Economy attracts his anxious gaze.
    Apparently unconcerned by a 65% Unemployment rate & almost total halt to the Spanish Building Trade it is the UK Economy that causes his lack of sleep.
    Apparently dismissive of Spain's Economic-Fiscal demise that makes it next after Portugal for an EU multi-billion 'Bail-out' package the caring soul is troubled by the UK's Economic plight.



    And so he continues in his desparate diatribe against the UK, " ...although me thinks that the real day of reckoning for the British economy will be postponed for another generation, in the meantime it will keep printing money to delay this day of reckoning..-"


    Hmm, the 'day of reckoning'!

    Remarkable, all those paragraphs of anxst for the British comes down to.. to, well, some sort of notion something might happen, sometime, somehow..

    Meanwhile, the 'EUro-zone' continues to pile 'bail-out' on 'bail-out' with EU Citizen Tax-Payer monies for which not 1 Citizen gave consent.

    Apparently, such is his troubled mind on the UK that total lack of 'democratic'-'economic' accountability within the EU doesn't concern JorgeG1 in the least!

  • Comment number 64.

    21. At 23:39pm on 25th Mar 2011, vassilis wrote:
    @19. At 23:07pm on 25th Mar 2011, JorgeG1
    Well said. Gavin's analysis is just sensationalism for the sun-reader EU-bashing public in the UK. Set to generate ridiculous reactions such as comment 1. BBC should be ashamed.

    "..Sun reader.."


    Are You for real!?

    A BBC European Editor's blog is the staple of UK Citizens who read the Sun newspaper.

    You have got to be kidding or You have absolutely no idea about the people who inhabit Britain!?

    To dismiss as nothing but "..sensationalism.." a lengthy, sourced and factually accurate article about the present Economic-Fiscal crises in EUrope that all 27 States' leadership are meeting to discuss is absurd bordering on idiotic!

    For 'pro-EU' such as Yourself to launch this head-in-sand approach to those of us who oppose the EU is to make our task of exposing the fraudulent core of the EU ideal all the easier.

    Thank You.

  • Comment number 65.

    @not_so_cool_brushwork
    "Meanwhile, the 'EUro-zone' continues to pile 'bail-out' on 'bail-out' with EU Citizen Tax-Payer monies for which not 1 Citizen gave consent."

    A gross generalisation, surely. I did give implicit consent to the bail-out.

    I rather bail out European countries, than give taxpayers money to hedgefunds and speculators who bet billions on the defaulting European countries with Credit Default Swaps. If CDS have to be paid, banks which issued them will have to be rescued. By you, the taxpayer!

    Why don't you have a look at Robert Pestons blog and his recent report on Portugal from Thursday 25th March - and my comments underneath. We are being brainwashed by hedgefunds and everybody else they influence, such as BILD and economists, that all European countries are bust, when they are clearly not.

    Have a look what really is going on!

  • Comment number 66.

    See Margaret, I work constantly and am going finally to parttime...that rant I directed at you was during the most stressful time of my recent life.

    But, all I have are the internet, a close friend and youtube. I just can't see myself living life thru Facebook.

    So, sorry for my rant and you keep posting your flammable (provocative posts) because, you for one at least provide different ..quite different thoughts than what

    I..think...generally.

    But otherwise this place is usually boring except to read. But at least the debates are lively because of your input...thanks for the late nite tip. I'll take it to heart.

    Actually playing bejeweled is my pasttime mixed with youtube.com music. That is all I can handle with 40 hours of intense low paid (for my knowledge of taxes and tax law) work. (mid 30s money which should be mid 40s...thereby straining my base of knowledge to every day I learn something quite important and new )

    My bills can stand it, but my mind tends to wander :)))) Keep up ur spirits..Spring is finally arriving :)

  • Comment number 67.

    Yes, it's true - not one citizen in Europe voted for the Euro as a currency. The Euro is now a dictatorship currency - dreamed up by France and Germany?

    It would take a true democratic and brave and honest EU to accept, admit and realise that the Euro was imposed undemocratically upon many EU Nations.

    Therefore, a greater, wiser, braver and truly honest decision for democracy in Europe would be to abandon the Euro and allow all nations to decide and adjust the value of a return to their own sovereign currencies that are allowed to adjust to their own economies and focus on their own particular strengths.

    So many millions of ordinary people have suffered by imposition of the Euro. Stop the Euro and accept it as a failed experiment that no citizen voted for!

  • Comment number 68.

    The Euro and the EU does make y'all look inward towards your intestines quite alot...but, Germany should be ur model or someone other than ...

    France, Italy, Spain, blah, blah, blah, but look north and east and west And South outside of Europe (ur comfort zones) and you'll be distracted.

    I say let Germany handle the financial planning and the financing for this war and when you arrive back to reality from this vacation, your BILL will be waiting

    Oh Lordy, lordy, us (USA) too :))



    :))

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Hmmm I like PMKs many carriage returns and his



    many, many, many, many "pointless" "returns"



    David

  • Comment number 71.

    #65. At 17:20pm on 26th Mar 2011, matt_us wrote:

    "@not_so_cool_brushwork
    "Meanwhile, the 'EUro-zone' continues to pile 'bail-out' on 'bail-out' with EU Citizen Tax-Payer monies for which not 1 Citizen gave consent."

    A gross generalisation, surely. I did give implicit consent to the bail-out."

    Sorry but it seems you have yet to realise that to treaty's like Lisbon, a bail out was not legal and neither agreed to, therefore you have not agreed either implicitly or explicitly so why pretend you agreed to it. Did you have a referendum none of us had the chance to vote for, or whereby the Lisbon treaty enthusiasts (the brain dead) somehow managed to slip through or more likely invent without everyone else knowing about.

  • Comment number 72.

    65. At 17:20pm on 26th Mar 2011, matt_us wrote:

    ".. A gross generalisation, surely. I did give implicit consent to the bail-out."


    Well there is 'generalisation' and then there is the chap who writes on this blog, "..I did give implicit consent.."

    Matt gave consent: Oh well that's alright then, the whole of the EU-Brussels acquisition of Tax-Payers Monies specifically forbidden by the Lisbon Treaty to be used for 'Bail-outs' can go ahead.

    Honestly, I'm sure the 500 million breathed easier knowing You'd approved a complete contravention of Lisbon!

  • Comment number 73.

    65. At 17:20pm on 26th Mar 2011, matt_us wrote:

    "..Have a look what really is going on!" (Peston etc.)


    So, I did.

    Blog Headline: 'Portugal to muddle through - for now'

    Robert Peston | 14:29 UK time, Thursday, 24 March 2011

    "It looks to me as though Portugal will muddle through without a formal EU bailout for a while longer, for two reasons...

    The understandable consensus among European leaders is that it would be pointless negotiating a long term bail out with Portuguese ministers who may not be in office in a few weeks........

    ..... As for when the proper rescue comes - and officials tell me it certainly will come - the scale of loans may be around €80bn or £70bn, provided by eurozone and IMF...."




    No!

    No change!

    No mention of Portugal avoiding a massive multi-billion 'EU-Bailout': Only doubt as to when it will happen and just how huge the amount will be!

    Now, might I suggest You try reading about the EU Summit meeting at which discussion of the Bail-outs of Greece, Ireland and the prospective Bailouts of Portugal, Spain, Belgium etc. are under discussion.

    Oh, BTW,Your Comments: I stopped at #33 - - all fairly much a wish list of what You'd like to be the present Econoic-Fiscal situation inside the EUro-zone - - IMO not really upto speed with the factual reality.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 28 Huamek

    "JorgeG1 in his anti British rant misses a heap of points , one being that Britain is not in the Eurozone ."

    No I didn't miss that point, but it seems that you along with 99.9% of the Europhobe brigade cannot see anything whatsoever positive with 27 countries that share a single market between them also sharing a single currency. What would you think if you entered a shopping centre and every store worked in a different currency? Well, a single market is a bit like that, but instead of being a small shopping centre it is a giant one.

    I can very clearly see negatives in sharing a single currency, e.g. you cannot devaluate your way out of trouble, particularly applicable if you are a banana republic wannabe, and of course, if you share a currency with other countries you cannot just do what you please as in the good old days when you had your own Mickey Mouse currency, in the same way that if you are married then it is not polite to go to the pub every night and get trashed while chatting up everything that moves...

    Of course there are downsides in sharing a single currency; however on balance I am of the opinion that the positives outweigh the negatives, and of course I’m not alone. For example, in one of the links that Hewitt has posted in his article, the one linking to the EU conclusions from the summit, you can read that it is not only Eurozone countries that are joining the so called Euro Plus pact. Several non Eurozone countries are joining as well. In fact it is only two that are not joining: Sweden and … yes, you guessed it, Britain. I think Hungary is out as well, which seems peculiar given that they are obliged to join the euro by their accession treaty so they will have to eventually join this as well. Of course, in the Europhobic world, nothing has any value unless it has been submitted to popular referendum, in which case, why would one need to have elections and politicians?

    None of this applies to you, of course. The Europhobic brigade has a monolithic self-belief in which absolutely 100% of anything to do with the EU is negative.

    Yest, the UK is outside the Eurozone, thanks for the reminder. It has costed me a lot of cash over the years that has gone to enrich the bankers and allow them to pay themselves ever increasing bonus.

    The UK is also outside Schengen and that has costed me a lot of money and trouble as well, for reasons that are personal to me.

    But hey, although you wouldn’t even contemplate such a thing, in your monolithic self-belief, there are costs to glorious isolation, and it is not be who says that, but several Britons:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2010/08/britain_and_eu

    http://www.prfire.co.uk/press-release/jactravel-calls-on-british-government-for-action-not-words-47117.html

    As for Britain being outside of the Eurozone, see what this other British gentleman has to say:

    "The UK's trade position has, if anything, worsened despite the biggest currency devaluation in recent history. Admittedly, during the recession, the trade gap narrowed a bit, but that was more a reflection of haemorrhaging demand for imports than a sudden desire to ''buy British'' overseas. Indeed, for all the supposed benefits of sterling's decline, UK exports have performed no better than Irish exports despite the Ireland's entrapment in the eurozone."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/stephen-king/stephen-king-the-british-worker-is-suffering-the-pain-of-inflation-ndash-but-in-ireland-its-worse-2186256.html

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    #74

    jorge1;

    Did you bother reading that Independent article? The clue was in the title "..in Ireland its worse".

  • Comment number 77.

    74. At 19:46pm on 26th Mar 2011, JorgeG1 wrote:

    "..What would you think if you entered a shopping centre and every store worked in a different currency? Well, a single market is a bit like that, but instead of being a small shopping centre it is a giant one..."


    Oh my goodness!

    'A shopping centre'!?

    That would be the shopping centre where the duty manager gets to tell every customer where they will shop, what provisions they need, who they can shop with, how much they will spend and how long they will be in the centre.

    Oh yeah, I get it now: A sort of "giant" 'Shop-now & Pay with Your Life Savings' centre!

    Nah, think I'll pass on that one and much prefer to Shop-around for the deals that suit.

    Thanks all the same.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 76 champagne, yes I bothered reading that Independent article, but unlike you I fully understood its meaning, for example at the end it says that a key reason why in Ireland it is worse is because the UK has exported its economic problems to them.

    "...then again, given sterling's collapse against the euro, it's not so surprising that Ireland's in such a mess: in part, we've exported our economic problems to them."

    ...which is precisely why the euro was created in the first place.

  • Comment number 79.

    #74. At 19:46pm on 26th Mar 2011, JorgeG1

    "The UK is also outside Schengen and that has costed me a lot of money and trouble as well, for reasons that are personal to me."

    Having transversed into and out of Schengen since it began and having done the same before Schengen I fail to see why it could either cost you money or trouble. However those smuggling, involved in crime or other such nefarious pastimes will of course have trouble and lose money, not that such an honest, intelligent Europhile as yourself would ever consider being less that honest I'm sure. All that remains is for those parodies of virtue who run the EU to be as honest, but then it's they that maybe meet problems crossing Scengen borders.

    As for your articles, you refer to two from the Economist and the Independant, maybe you would also like to refer to similar articles from the Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail, just so that you show the ability to understand a cross section of media viewpoints rather than two very europhile rags that love rabid socialism and think that no matter the question the answer is the EU/Euro.

    As for "...which is precisely why the euro was created in the first place", if you've let to realise the Euro was a political construct to simply further the ambitions of power hungry politicians then you really have understood nothing.

  • Comment number 80.

    "All of this reflects a deeper trend. A fault line is developing between Europe's prosperous north and those debt-ridden countries on the periphery.The plates are shifting, creating a divide. The people in the northern countries are increasingly frustrated at having to bankroll the weaker nations. At the same time the people in the Republic of Ireland, Greece, Portugal and elsewhere are increasingly resistant to the austerity imposed on them. There is increasing tension between the bankrollers and the bailed-out."

    Please some facts about that?? or is it just some "gut feeling"? when 27 countries get together and agree to do things, it does not look like a creating a divide, it looks more like coming together!

    When both the Greeks and the Irish report that they expect primary surpluses next year and they report 20% & 30% increases in exports, yet you ask where the growth with come from?? is that another "gut feeling" question?

    come on people lets report on the facts not ignore the facts to make a "good" story!

    I have good reason to worry about my pounds because every year I buy more than the year before and have inflation here at home at over 4% - 5%, so I have good reason to worry about that. some of us may be happy to see the Queens head on our coins, I do not care one bit whose head I see as long as it worth the same now as it was worth six months ago!

  • Comment number 81.

    The Schengen area makes the Euro necessary...no money changing (or whatever they call it) problems in nearby (very nearby) nations.

  • Comment number 82.

    #79

    buzet23;

    "Having transversed into and out of Schengen since it began and having done the same before Schengen I fail to see why it could either cost you money or trouble."

    Because he's British but has a non-EU wife.

  • Comment number 83.

    Now the crisis is spreading to the masses --marches everywhere.

    --The Germans are marching AGAINST nuclear energy --- and the Brits FOR their dentures !

  • Comment number 84.

    Dont laugh about dentures...they cost quite alot, QOT

    :)

  • Comment number 85.

    19 JorgeGl writes:
    "Excuse moi, Mr Hewitt, which part of this paragraph doesn't fully apply to the UK as well. It has been conclusively proven above that the UK falls into the 'peripheral' category, porcine subtype. It is also clear that it lived wa----------y beyond its means for well over a decade if not decades.
    Here you can see that the UK has the largest trade deficit in the whole of the EU by quite a margin, almost doubling the second largest, another 'debt-ridden country on the periphery', i.e. France...:"
    ------------------------------------------
    Those of us who actually live here rather than emigrating and then viewing 'this blessed isle' from abroad, know that your are right about the state of the country's finances and things will get much worse very soon. We receive just about the meanest pensions in the whole of Europe but have to pay extortionate amounts in fuel costs, petrol, train fares and taxes on drink or tobacco. Many old and disabled people are barely surviving and we have one of the highest ratios of children eligible for free school meals.
    You have probably seen the protest march in London this afternoon against the cuts, the biggest the country has seen since the 2003 anti-Iraq war demonstrations. The fact that so much anger was directed against bankers when Santander, Bank of Scotland and HSBC had their windows smashed and paint was daubed over the buildings and shops owned by so-called tax avoiders, should tell us that this was much more than just a demonstration against government tax cuts. People are aware that much worse is to come. Luckily the oil is still flowing and £50 billion worth of North Sea revenues from Scotland filled the London exchequer last year. When will that run out?
    Incidentally, when we switched on the news tonight and saw young men throwing missiles and smoke bombs going off, we thought for a moment we were seeing events unfolding in Libya. My husband suggested this looked so bad that Gadaffi might be persuaded to come to our aid and declare a no-fly zone around London!

  • Comment number 86.

    QOT (hopefully you wont need any dentures),

    now they put a snap in one of ur teeth on one end (my situation) and then leave a tooth or two (preferably) and have a metal partial "thingy" over the other end (two teeth) but the snap means no jell needed

    So, I'm sympathetic to people who value their health insurance. In America, we have to be well employed (govt or decent job necessary) and well...I could go on ...but Europe at least does have a decent (dont they still?) safety net.

    I could have had a new car but no.....or a new "this" or a replacement for "that" but no I had to have dentures...oh well :)

    But, the dentist gets his extra money..how nice :)

  • Comment number 87.

    #85

    margarethoward;

    "Luckily the oil is still flowing and £50 billion worth of North Sea revenues from Scotland filled the London exchequer last year."

    Total rubbish, it averages out less than £8 billion/year.

  • Comment number 88.

    Gavin this piece is so simplistic it is misleading and actually stifles sensible debate about an important issue.

    Who was it that lent all of that money to Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain etc. It was banks from Germany, France, UK, Netherlands etc. They were throwing money at people without doing any sensible analysis.

    If the so-called PIGS simply said 'we are paying the loans back we are defaulting' I suspect the economies of Nothern Europe would indeed suffer. In fact proprortionately such a default would probably have a far greater effect on Northern Europe.





  • Comment number 89.

    margaret howard wrote:


    "Or the USofA? Not another civil war in the offing? I've been told that the tensions between the two are still basically unresolved even more than a century after one of the most bloody civil wars in history."

    And who told you that nonsense? Some anti-American friends of yours?

  • Comment number 90.

    I Could defend you M Howard but, I'm feeling quite self consciously "stream of"

    even tho You Were Polite:) (Surprisingly) (Could it be you Relish these very contentious debates with all those who disagree with you??? dam)

    OH..well

  • Comment number 91.

    85. At 02:06am on 27th Mar 2011, margaret howard wrote:
    19 JorgeGl writes:

    "Those of us who actually live here rather than emigrating and then viewing 'this blessed isle' from abroad, know that your are right about the state of the country's finances and things will get much worse very soon..."


    1 - - (See earlier Blog MH "knew" Churchill was as great mass murderer as Hitler/Stalin, asked for proof she could provide NONE AT ALL).

    2 - - (See previous blog the fragrant lady "knew" Americans thought Gulf of Mexico was Gulf War, asked for proof she could provide NONE AT ALL).

    Oh really, You "know" that, do You... 3!?

    Asked for proof of the impending Financial & Economic collapse of the UK the Scot's Lady will doubtless in 2011 furnish us all with the evidence... meanwhile it is the factual reality that so far 3 EUro-zone nations requiring massive 'Bail-outs' is the tip of the EU's Financial & Economic problems.

    Finally, and very sadly, it is abundantly clear from the fragrant one's latest thoroughly unpleasant & thoughtless, "..My husband suggested this looked so bad that Gadaffi might be persuaded to come to our aid and declare a no-fly zone around London!.."
    She shares with her husband a uniquely pitiless sense of humour and feels no shame at all for such insensitivity.

    To compare the Economic-Social tribulations of Britons in 2011 to the struggle of the 'Libyan' people for their freedom from a cruel & bloody tyranny shows an incredible lack of respect for people putting their lives at risk for a better future.

    Let us all hope that when Margaret wrote, "..People are aware that much worse is to come..." She actually has some semblance of an idea just much 'worse' things could become for Libyans in comparison with Britons & Europeans in general.

  • Comment number 92.

    Ah, Gavin is on his usual anti-EU rant, but misses the core point (as so often).

    The problem of course, is that we shouldn't let taxpayers bail out the irresponsible bankers.

    Let them take a haircut. When you invest, there is a possibility of risk and default.

    Whatever happened to real capitalism? Where investors (stock- and bondholders of banks) accept they can lose their money?

    The current casino-capitalism means profits are private, and risks are public. Easy to make money, and pay immoral bonuses that way.

    Has absolutely nothing to do with north or south europe, but with common sense, and moral justice.

  • Comment number 93.

    #85. At 02:06am on 27th Mar 2011, margaret howard

    You show once more an inability to understand even the most basics of finance, tax avoidance is the legal avoidance of tax by using legal provisions in the legislation. I have no doubt you and your husband also claim allowances etc which make you also a tax avoider. Tax evasion is illegal by the way.

    As for us who have left the UK and lived in your EU Eurozone 'paradise', only joking, we often have close family in the UK as well. In my case I have a brother, aunts, cousins and two of my children still living in the UK thus I hear all the time how things are in the UK, plus I see all the time how things are not ok in the Eurozone and how leaderless Belgium could easily become the next bankrupt nation after Portugal. You though continue to spout utter nonsense and I often wonder if you think Belgium is the capital of Brussels by your lack of knowledge.

  • Comment number 94.

    Message to the BBC blog administration

    It seems you have changed something in your software once again as I often have difficulty in posting since two or three days. Quite often a post does not post and I get a message saying there are technical difficulties. When I close the tab and re-enter the blog I can then post ok, can you report this failure to whoever is responsible.

  • Comment number 95.

    If there were ever any doubts of EU being a disguise for Eurabia, the differing reactions of Latin Europe and NordEurop should make it abundantly lay it to rest.
    The EU was first hijacked by Eastern Europe in the 1990s - resulting in the deliberate migration inundation of the UK.
    And now South Europe - ClubMed - will hijack the EU over troubles from the other side of the Mediteranean. Hope Cameron & Clegg will not vote for Arab inundation after Blair & Brown permitted the East European inundation in the 1990s.
    The EU agenda is clear - keep socking Planet English; flooding them with migrants or forcing them to keep paying into bottomless coffers. Angel Merkel is now learning what Planet English has known for 323 years. Wisdom demands - as it has for most of those 323 years - that we stay with Planet English. Why get suckered again and again - when we know that until the Holy Roman Empire takes over Planet English permanently, ClubMed is not going to rest.

  • Comment number 96.

    94 Buzet23

    I am having difficulty posting on my computer . I have written a lengthy response which I would like to post and do not want to lose . I am now on my wife's computer to check things out . Any ideas on what to do would be welcome , could I copy and post ? If I printed to rewrite would get the whole article and all the replies .

  • Comment number 97.

    66 Stevenson writes:
    "Keep up ur spirits..Spring is finally arriving :)"


    Sorry I meant to reply to your kind messages last night but the clocks jumped forward by an hour at midnight and it was 2 o'clock - way past my normal bedtime. We went to our lovely little woodland nearby with the ground carpeted with celandines and yes, spring is finally arriving. Hope you have somewhere similar to go to as this revival of nature restores ones spirit enormously.
    As to your message at 90, yes I do relish a good discussion and missed Nic and especially webalice's contributions last week (is she at her dacha?). And of course QOT, although I laughed at his 83 - --The Germans are marching AGAINST nuclear energy --- and the Brits FOR their dentures !
    Enjoy your Sunday.

  • Comment number 98.

    24. At 00:04am on 26th Mar 2011, ChrisArta wrote:

    "... I am still more stressed about my saving in GBP, than if I had the EURO..."

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Indeed. Friends of mine whose pensions are paid in GPB have had to abandon their retirement dreams and return from warmer parts to the UK. Many others have had to give up any such ideas for the future. There's little prospect of a major improvement in exchange rates.

  • Comment number 99.

    #74 JorgeG1

    I believe that when Europhiles refer to the EU , they have in mind the glorious union of European peoples of 27 nations and a prosperous free trading zone .
    You are mistaken in your judgement of 99.9% of Europhobes ! We are not opposed to 27 countries sharing a single market . There was a single market before the Maastricht Treaty . I do admit that I voted for Britain to leave the EEC ; but that was because I had a terrible foreboding that what was promised was not real and might turn out for the worst , which indeed it has .

    When we refer to the EU , it is not at all clear what anyone is refering to .

    Europhobes are refering to the EU commission , the European parliament and the vastly expensive and wasteful bureaucracy . The attempt to create a single nation out of 27 vastly varying people , customs , style of life ; the creation of a single currency and " One Size Fits All " fiscal economy . The ignorant misjudgement of the commission and heads of state , to think that all regions of Europe could/would operate industrially like Germany , Sweden ,Holland , Denmark or Finland . The mentality of southern europeans is quite different and there economies reflected that difference . No amount of political planning in Brussels is going to change that . Tourism , hospitality , summer holidays and winter retirements are no match for luxury motorcars or precision instruments , marketed the world over .

    Europhobes would like to be part of a peaceful friendly Europe , where indigenous Europeans are free to move to and work in other European countries , where we can make friends of the other European nationals . We are happy to enjoy a free trade area , where we can share and exchange products ; where we can visit and enjoy different cultures , foods and lifestyles .

    The EU that Europhobes are against is one that tries to make Europe a political entity , to create a Federal State , a single currency , rules and laws that apply to all member states , a putting of 500ml people in a mixing bowl and saying now you are one . In France they have a saying , " Vive La Difference ". Europhobes hold to that saying . We on this blog may just be a few people who hold opposing views ; but you have to observe the many summits in Brussels , which arrive at no way forward even if there is seeming agreement on the day .

    Europe is not one big shopping centre ; so the question of each shop having a different currency does not arise . I am widely travelled both in Europe and in the world . I have not the slightest problem changing currency to that of the country I am in , I just go to the ATM and draw it out . When I went to live in Italy , imagine my pleasure at getting L.3000 to the pound sterling and everything being so cheap . Germans too , flocked to southern europe for their holidays . For countries like Greece , Italy , Spain and Portugal ; they have been lured with the idea of their having a currency equal to northern countries . What they didn't realise is that their cost of living at home would rise dramatically and would have a negative effect both on living costs and on their ability to compete industrially .

    Many people in Italy were not pleased to have the Euro introduced ;I believe many people right across the Eurozone , including Germany , would welcome back their
    " Mickey Mouse " currency as you put it . Personally I always classified the Euro as
    " Mickey Mouse " and IMO so it has proved to be . You cannot lump all national traits together . Workers in some countries like to go to a pub and get trashed , but they are not the same people who want to lay everything that moves .
    My Italian friends , when they were young , liked to go to the German Beer festival , because all the German men would get sloshed and the Italians could lay all the pretty girls . National characteristics will not change to accomodate the EU or a single currency . For Brussels to count upon it for the success of the project would be folly .

    It is the EU establishment in Brussels that has monolithic views . You are mistaken to think that the British are the only Europhobes in Europe ; it is only because the British people are the most vocal , from my living in Italy and travelling in other european countries and Germany , where my daughter lives , I am well aware that there are as many Europhobes in other countries . What does it matter , having to show your passport once at a national frontier , when you have to show your identity card many times on demand in the country in which you reside .

    You write of the British wanting to enjoy Glorious isolation ; we are an Island People , isolation is part of our make up . We do not like crowds and we do not want to be lumped together " One Size Fits All " with everybody else .
    It is a question of quality of life . Life is not just about markets and finance , it is nice to have enought to live decently , but how the people of a country choose to live is up to them . It does not have to be ordaned and predetermined , by a body of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels , to be exactly the same as in every other of 27 countries .

    The financial misfortunes in Britain today are largely due to government mismanagement under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown , hugely increased public spending , going to war in Iraq , selling all of Britain's gold reserves . Socialist governments the world over do the same , spend the taxpayers money to be popular , without any thought for tomorrow .

    Euroscepticism in Britain should be seen as more a hatred of the British Governments that have put Britain in the EU and then do not protect what the people see as essential British interests . British people don't mind at all if mainland European countries whant to lump themselves all together , as long as the British are not lumped together with them .

    The EU as Europhobes see it , is just political and a market , based on a single lifestyle . There is no thought for human differences , strengths and frailties , individual lifestyles , national customs , or simply wanting to go it alone .
    It is a Stereotyped Package , take it or leave it !

    Europhobes are as much in favour of European people being united and friendly as anyone else . We do not accept the present formula and believe that a looser , confederation of self governing sovereign states would work much better than the present hugely costly , wasteful bureaucracy that is mismanaging the so called EU today .

  • Comment number 100.

    95. At 10:44am on 27th Mar 2011, PlanetEnglish wrote:

    "..The EU was first hijacked by Eastern Europe in the 1990s - resulting in the deliberate migration inundation of the UK..."


    Whilst sharing Your total dislike of the EU entity it really is best to stick to facts.

    Eastern Europe did not "hi-jack" the EU: That was down to the 15 member States who'd signed up for Maastricht (inc. very foolish Thatcher-led UK).
    Eastern European "migration" did not only affect the UK - - it occurred across the 'west' & 'scandinavia'.

    The 'inundation' was because the very foolish UK having agreed to Maastricht altering the EEC into the EU committed the members to 'expansion' in the East despite setting very foolishly low threshold criteria for Entry for new member States (just as it subsequently did for the EUro-zone).

    However, Maastricht was no accident: It was the deliberate Political-Economic ploy of the EU-Brussels elite representing as they do 'big-Business/big-Government' vested interests: Hence many far poorer 'east' Nations' populations hurried 'west' to hugely increase the available Labour Force and consequently to reduce wages, reduce general labour costs, reduce Trade Unionism etc. At a more advanced level the 'expansion' allowed the declining 'west' Economies (eroded by 'one-size-fits-all' Brussels' policies) to Invest in the recovering post-Soviet 'East' Nations. Thus Brussels could alter all its stagnating Economic-Fiscal statistics to show rapid & prolonged Economic progression almost entirely resulting from the 'East' Nations' developing Economies (which from the very low post-Soviet base would inevitably record very significant progression) - - and, hey presto, post-Maastricht EU-Brussels could declare itself a brilliant success - - when all the time it was the 'East' development and the influx of 'East' work-force that made it seem so.



    "..learning what Planet English has known for 323 years. Wisdom demands - as it has for most of those 323 years - that we stay with Planet English. Why get suckered again and again -.."

    Unsure about the '323' years, but totally agree with You on the "..wisdom..": It is just such a pity and prolonged debacle that the 'wisdom' has come almost too late.

    With the notable and laudable exception of the EUro-zone, England is in the EU & mired by its Economic-Judicial tyranny. Only a week or so ago PM Cameron stated 'it was good for Britain' to remain in the EU. With Leadership of all 3 main UK Political Parties so wrapped up in the Brussels' gravy-train & political-prestige it is going to take something really exceptional to remove England from the dangerously anti-Democratic entity now dominating it.
    I was struck by 2 pieces from Chancellor Osborne's 'Budget' Speech in which he explained that the UK Parliament could not change 2 Taxes that he had wanted to because to do so "..would be illegal.." - - there was no illegality in reality - - there was the all-encompassing/blanket stranglehold of the EU-Brussels which forbade such changes. It can only get worse as Brussels passes new, draconian Laws to control Banks & Investment institutions slowing up, stagnating & pricing the City of London out of its premier World Financial Services position.
    Again, no accident: Paris-Brussels-Berlin, the EU's axis-of-ill-intent, has long envied & hankered after the City's multi-billion Fiscal Industry - - to enslave it would again enormously boost the image of a successful Brussels' Economic system when in reality it would practically all be off-the-back of one City's entrepreneurial instincts & talents!
    I fear aping his idol Margaret Thatcher - - very foolish Cameron is on the verge of handing over the keys of the United Kingdom/England, its essential, critical independent Financial Services sector.

    The UK/England and indeed EUrope are at a cross-roads in determining their Political future for at least a generation: Within this decade it must be decided does the Nation return Sovereignty to an Independent, Supreme State's Parliament or abandon any pretence of the UK/England being anything other than an off-shore political-economic minion of EU-Brussels.

 

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