Comments for en-gb 30 Fri 26 Dec 2014 20:11:59 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at David Bluesberry,Nothing personal, but where is your country of habitation?You seem perilously anti-American, but very harmless and quite civilized.So, I'm just curious (cat like huh?)David Sun 31 Oct 2010 06:43:17 GMT+1 resistance35 62.Benefactor wrote:I have a job where I work at a smallish medium sized business and my experience is that the streamlining of regulation across the bloc has made it easier to import from across the EU.In some industries, the undemocratic EU's avalanche of regulations, most of which are totally unnecessary, make it compulsory to take all sorts of 'safety' measures (which really have nothing to do with safety) that are extremely expensive. Large corporations can afford those, smaller companies cannot. Which is why the undemocratic EU is good for corporations, not so good for other businesses. Lobbying the undemocratic EU, which corporations can also afford, pays off for them by increasing their market share at the expense of smaller competitors.The EU has not had any positive effect on trade. Particularly not on trade with non-EU countries. Wed 27 Oct 2010 15:07:08 GMT+1 BluesBerry France & Germany support changes to Lisbon Treaty, but other EU Members are nervous about tweaking a document that took over 10 years to bring into law.The Greek crisis caused EU members to scramble. The EU finally generated: "The European Financial Stability Fund". Germany was unhappy, but it saw the immediacy of the situation, the urgency.Germany was unhappy because EFSF waddles and quacks like a bail-out & The Lisbon Treaty prohibits financial bailouts. The EFSF expires 2013. Germany wants a more EU viable resolution mechanism = need to change Lisbon Treaty.In Ireland & Britain for example, it took a lot of political wrangling to win approval for the Lisbon Treaty. BUT…Britain has indicated that it could support a change as long as any alterations pertain only to the 16 EU countries that use the euro. Tricky David Cameron! There would be no transfer of power from Britain to Brussels and therefore no need for a referendum. Nonetheless, there remains the possibility that Lisbon Treay changes could bring some dissension between LibDems and Conservatives.Herman Van Rompuy, President of the EU Council, has been assigned to explore the needed changes. France and Germany said they would like to have proposals before the EU Leaders' Summit, March 2011. Van Rompuy has already held extensive discussions across the EU.Risk: The treaty is on the table. EU member state are likely to bring forward their own proposal for changes. Oh, oh - massive chaos!Necessary: care, so that one tweak does not unravel the whole sweater..Required: unanimous approval by all 27 member states, ratified by each country. That process could take many months. (The Lisbon Treaty took 2 years between the signing of the treaty and its entering into force.) Tue 26 Oct 2010 14:39:01 GMT+1 Benefactor @ 48. At 10:26pm on 20 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:--"I have a job where I work with smaller and medium sized businesses and my experience is that the avalanche of Brussels regulations have made it for them MORE expensive than before the EU was imposed upon us instead of an EEC which it used to be. EU regulations tend to be good for those who produce in large volumes but not so good if your volume is lower."--I have a job where I work at a smallish medium sized business and my experience is that the streamlining of regulation across the bloc has made it easier to import from across the EU.i.e. I ring/email another company, ask for a part (or parts), it gets shipped, job done. Maybe its different in other industries?Not that such anecdotal evidence counts for much, but you win some, you lose some I guess. Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:24:57 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Abnormal Conquest, is that 23 million figure any more reliable than the EU's books which haven't been certified by auditors for well over a decade? Well see how high it goes when all of those featherbedding make work government jobs evaporate as Europe's economies implode. The UK is already slated to lose half a million and the fallout in the private sector could be far worse. Sat 23 Oct 2010 13:19:19 GMT+1 David I do like Nic's use of "do you mind it?," tho. Sat 23 Oct 2010 02:03:53 GMT+1 David Wait....I do not trust other people's statistics, N.Conquest. If what you say is true...then We Have Become More European Than the Europeans.:) Sat 23 Oct 2010 02:01:06 GMT+1 Norman Conquest "And how will jobs be found for the 23 million out of work? That is Europe's real crisis."That's not a crisis. America has 30 million out of work within a much smaller population. THAT is a crisis. Thu 21 Oct 2010 22:14:08 GMT+1 quietoaktree #56 CBW---at least the 50th wedding anniversary is not paid by the EU.--Look on the bright side. Thu 21 Oct 2010 21:29:35 GMT+1 cool_brush_work As though any further evidence were needed as confirmation of the EUropean Union's lunatic, fantasy Political world:By a very large Majority the MEPs voted for the EU Budget for 2011-12 to be increased by 5.9%.As leader of these utterly useless, totally out-of-touch MEPs their President, Jerzy Buzek, is quoted after the vote, "..the EUropean Parliament has acted with great sense of responsibility..".This is a man living in a fantasy land: This is a so-called President sitting atop Disney World's Fairy Tale castle with a mind so out of step with the real World outside he is completely incapable of distinguishing reality from fiction. Thus, as EU States' Governments & Citizens struggle to cope with high unemployment, bankruptcies & deprivation and almost every one of the EU27 Nations undertake immense Cuts in Public Spending & Increases in Taxation the numbskulls at the Brussels' EP that has the colossal nerve to claim they represent the interests of 500,000,000+ Constituents blindly, recklessly ignore the whole debacle to vote massive Increases in EU Funds!An Increase in Funds that will have to come from the already beleaguered Tax-Payers of the EU27!I asked before and I ask again: Is there a 'Pro-EU' with the nerve to write on these Blogs justifying this action by Brussels & its MEPs when every National body argues it is a detrimental Policy that will serve only to increase the disrepute of the entire EU? Thu 21 Oct 2010 20:22:02 GMT+1 Buzet23 #53. At 11:49am on 21 Oct 2010, quietoaktree But fun and what a way to go, hic.#52. At 11:45am on 21 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work I learnt in the early 70's how political correctness and spin works from one of the masters, a certain ex London mayor who is desperate to get his snout back in what the Olypic games start. Which is why I enjoy taking part here so as to upset the plan that the EU is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is an abject failure and probably the greatest scam so far, the second greatest being Ponzi. Thu 21 Oct 2010 20:07:23 GMT+1 powermeerkat "It is Paris-Moscow. Do you mind it?"Nik, I'm sure there are pleny of .ru portals which would be more than happy to publish your often repeated pro-Kremlin views.And perhaps even RT might be eager... :) Thu 21 Oct 2010 13:58:42 GMT+1 quietoaktree #51 Buzet 23Somehow to ´die healthy´ is a contradiction in terms ? Thu 21 Oct 2010 10:49:06 GMT+1 cool_brush_work Buzet23What some of the more limited contributors on here find "..boring.." or get uptight about is Mr Hewitt's Blog has enabled voices opposed to the EU's Paris-Brussels-Berlin entity to be aired regularly.The complainers are so 'bored' they unjustifably imply those who repeat objections to the EU are similar to 'alzheimers' sufferers. I.e. arguments against the EU are for those who've lost their faculties and are only capable of repetitious phrases.This is the classic 'Pro-EU' stance: What I call the 'Pristine-line'.Apparently if all the comments followed the Brussels' apparatchik mantra, 'EU is good! All else is bad!' Then this would be a perfectly acceptable Blog. It is a phenomena that arose in large part from the curse of the 2 disastrously ruinous mainland European wars and an understandable desire for no possibility of a third catastrophe. This laudable instinct was almost certainly pure in essence among the Continent's ordinary Citizens: However, as History reveals the unsrupulously overly ambitious Political elite have inevitably exploited it to their authoritarian advantage. The difference these last few decades has been the emergence of a Regulation-obsessed Bureaucratic elite seeking an all-encompassing stability. In a unique and admittedly very resourceful & powerful banding-together the Politicians & the EUrocrats have set-up a centralising dynamism that in its early years attracted much public support. That Citizen enthusiam has gone (one suspects, never to be recovered), but such was the vested interest of this 'Coalition-of-the-willing' Political class & Bureaucrats (irony of Dubya!) the EU steamroller of indifference to the individual Citizen & even Nationhood has rolled on & over most challenges to its aggrandising operation. They use 'one-size-fits-all' supra-National Rules as the method to stifle any instinct for cross-border controversy and the way to control any contravention of the Regularised Political-Economic construct. The complete undermining of all Citizens' Rights & Responsibilities (hard won over centuries) plus that of the Legal status of Sovereign Nations is seen by the 'pro-EU' as entirely worthwhile if it establishes the acceptance of pan-EUropean 'unity'. Such is the EU-Brussels' impetus for this pooling of Nations in order that no Political-Social-Economic ripple ever again distrubs the Continent they have abandoned the very Democratic principles that brought them together post-1945.It's the 'pristine-line': A situation whereby the Political-Bureaucratic class, always proclaiming motives of benign benificence, effectively create the non-Citizen status in which Consensual Political-inertia & credulous Economic-acqiescence is the norm for society. QOT, Ellinas, Benefactor etc. fit right in.That is the how the 'pro-EU' week-in-week-out present on this Blog 'EU is good! All else is bad!' And, they would far rather we all wrote in that manner; and they object to our objections to smoothly, conveniently fitting in their duplicitous 'one-size-only-pieces' supra-National jigsaw. Thu 21 Oct 2010 10:45:13 GMT+1 Buzet23 #50. At 00:25am on 21 Oct 2010, quietoaktree I think the futility of everyday politics is enough to drive us to drink, unfortunately they are even making that luxury difficult to afford these days, plus we are bombarded by various competing medical opinions, all after bigger research grants, all saying that whatever it is we eat, drink, exercise, is bad for us and can lead to a veritable plethora of unspeakable medical conditions. I'm minded to remember that October/November are the months were most suicides happen due to the summer ending and the dark grey winter approaching.Oh dear, time to go to the cafe while I still can, glug, glug! Thu 21 Oct 2010 09:35:28 GMT+1 quietoaktree #47 buzet 23I am beginning to feel like being in a OAP home --the way the topics are put for discussion by Mr Hewitt. Yes, it would have been different if he had chosen the same theme as the others. Instead of us sitting in a circle and throwing the ball to the person facing --it could be bounced now and again.Unfortunately Mr Hewitt has not considered this.If we ourselves did not go off on tangents it would be unbearable.But there is a limit -- if it is generally accepted the EU is a waste of time --then OK--some think yes and others think not. But the same one track negativism blog after blog after blog is not my idea of balance or truthful´ theme ´ selectionMr Hewitt is only grinding his own axe, but how long is it expected from us to be the grinding wheel ? I am bored --and justifiably so !Its driving us to drink --as some of us have confessed.! Wed 20 Oct 2010 23:25:02 GMT+1 Nik 30. At 08:43am on 20 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:"""An alternative to Paris-Berlin axis might be Athens-Dublin-Lisbon exis."""No. It is Paris-Moscow. Do you mind it?As said, again and again, we talk about finance and economy and other blah blah and keep forgetting the basics:To have a good economy either:1) You have the advantage of being the "smart" guy selling "thin air".Since antiquity there were always the "thin air" sellers. Mafia-city Athens had equated their 300gr. gold coin to the 300gr. equivalents of other cities... only that the Athenian one weighted 200gr. Today we all know one such currency selling thin air is the dollar. By proxy Europe depend on it in an intrinsic manner.2) The good old hard work. Buy energy, buy materials, produce, trade, capitalise, re-invest and so on.As far as I understood the whole idea was to raise the euro in such a position to sell "thin air" - and indeed Europe wanted and still wants to play that way. But to do so, it needs 1 basic thing: the army to back it up. Europe cannot sell cheap blah-blah, cheap values, cheap structures, cheap policies to replace its inexistent defense and external affairs policies. And on the other hand it has reached a point where it cannot adopt the strategy no2 either since again for that it needs to reach outside for the provision of its production machine.What rests is to either run around like a headless chicken on all corners of the world trying to outcompete the US, the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians and even a large number of other countries that stand in the waiting (eg. Indonesia has only 200,000,000 people, in 2-3 generations it become 300,000,000 which makes Vietnam with 85,000,000 rather small)... or just sit down and talk to Russia to collaborate on energy, defense & space and rule the world game. It is 100% playable, albeit ruling aristocracies in Europe are still intrinsically connected to the equivalent in the US (in fact they are one unity of globalist rulers) and as such their interests are not exactly these. Wed 20 Oct 2010 22:16:50 GMT+1 resistance35 40.Benefactor wrote: Having only one set of regulations across 27 countries and only one currency amongst 16 of those seems like it would make it easier for smaller companies to export goods as well as provide a larger market from which to shop around to get cheaper products to import.I have a job where I work with smaller and medium sized businesses and my experience is that the avalanche of Brussels regulations have made it for them MORE expensive than before the EU was imposed upon us instead of an EEC which it used to be. EU regulations tend to be good for those who produce in large volumes but not so good if your volume is lower.Lower costs + bigger market = more profit = more wealth.Which is a very good argument for abolishing the EU and reverting to an exclusively economic community. Wed 20 Oct 2010 21:26:56 GMT+1 Buzet23 #46. At 9:39pm on 20 Oct 2010, quietoaktree Would you prefer both Nick Robinson's and Gavin Hewitt's to run the same thread, plus Mark Easton and Mark Davenport, three out of four blogs has got to be enough, surely? Wed 20 Oct 2010 21:08:51 GMT+1 quietoaktree Ellinas is correct -The largest overhaul of Britain´s finances for over 30 years ---and Mr. Hewitt skips the issue.CBW --- the disparate opinions are sorely missing.This is boring us into Alzheimers prematurely --and some appear proud of it ! Wed 20 Oct 2010 20:39:50 GMT+1 cool_brush_work Re #43For the monumentally slow or those incapable of reading for themselves:At the top of this & every one of these Blog Articles runs the following 2 distinct headings:'Gavin Hewitt's Europe' & 'I'm Gavin Hewitt, the BBC's Europe Editor..'I know for a very few on here that is not clear enough: Indeed, they lay claim to understanding & knowing so much they demand the "..whole truth.."! Of course, the reasonable & the discerning reader/contributor to these Blogs will know their & any version of the "..whole truth.." is of course just another person's opinion.In the UK we have been long used to people expressing disparate opinions on all sorts of matters & whether an individual makes sense or not we do expect at the very least they make an attempt at 'sense'. Unfortunately #1 & #43 fall lamentably short of even that bare minimum - - despite this, I am confident there are many Greek Citizens who are able to distinguish the above headings from other headings alluding to other matters which though they may be of value/interest are not covered by the role of Mr Hewitt on this BBC Blog. Wed 20 Oct 2010 19:57:31 GMT+1 Buzet23 #40. At 6:02pm on 20 Oct 2010, Benefactor,You are wrong, you forget that there no such thing as a European company and that it's introduction has been blocked by the big players like France and Germany who have always insisted that each company has a base in their country so they can tax it. For a large company that is convenient but for a small/medium SME it is far too expensive and while the small can sell they are limited by the regulations and the associated costs. Now do you understand where at least one of the problems lie?#43. At 7:31pm on 20 Oct 2010, Ellinas Your post is as always ridiculous and not worthy of comment, take some more Greek wine and go to bed. Wed 20 Oct 2010 19:02:30 GMT+1 Ellinas #41 CBW is assumed to be of interest to the British?can't Hewitt sit still? EU ants in his UK pants?......Then tell Hewitt to tell us the whole truth from the beginning...and change it from "Hewitt on Europe" to "Hewitt UK inside Europe" and from "Subscribe to Gavin Hewitt's Europeù" to "Subscribe to Gavin Hewitt's UK inside Europe" blog :) Wed 20 Oct 2010 18:31:25 GMT+1 cool_brush_work John_from_HendonRe #14You've said about G.B. 'must join' the EUro-zone almost as many times as I've said England (at least) must 'withdraw from the EU' asap.In all honesty I fail to see how You can write G.B. will 'fall further & further behind the rest of EUrope'?Could You run through again Your arguments for how the 'experience of the last 2 years' in the EUro-zone could in any way suggest it is in more advanced, more progressive, more stable/reliable than the Pound? "..the bankers who nearly destroyed the whole of capitalism.." were surely among the same Bankers/Financiers who brought enormous fortunes & by investment the longest period of Economic progress to EUrope & the UK/England post-WW2.Could You explain how You imagine the demonstrably flawed EU-Brussels' centralised 'one-size-fits-all' policy could operate across Banking & Finance Houses from Malta to Sweden, from Ireland to Slovakia, never mind actually remaining Competitive with the rest of the World's Financial Services sector? The EU27 entity is already the least able to respond to 'Market Forces': Overly severe Brussels' Financial intervention to tighten Fiscal controls/oversight will just add several more layers of time-consuming, inaccurate & expensive EUrocratic Officialdom. Wed 20 Oct 2010 17:37:58 GMT+1 cool_brush_work Re 31Stating the obvious about the "..first time..sanctions.. did not mention Greece..": It is not."..because now it has become a UK(EU9 problem..": Possibly, but as this article is written by British Journalist for a British blog on a British media it is more likely that it is assumed to be of interest to the British.I've looked today at Finnish, Belge & German newspapers: All cover the same topic in varying degrees, and believe it or not, they ALL refer to it from their respective National interest & perspective. WOW! What a turn-up! Duh!!! Wed 20 Oct 2010 17:18:07 GMT+1 Benefactor 38 resistance"The EU was always favoured by corporations because through the EU corporations could get countless regulations enacted which their small- and medium sized competitors (SMEs) could not afford, thus helping the corporations screw the SMEs."Care to back up this claim?Having only one set of regulations across 27 countries and only one currency amongst 16 of those seems like it would make it easier for smaller companies to export goods as well as provide a larger market from which to shop around to get cheaper products to import.Lower costs + bigger market = more profit = more wealth. That seems like common sense to me, but if I am wrong I would like to know. Wed 20 Oct 2010 17:02:24 GMT+1 Benefactor @ 38 resistanceSo, the loans they have given out are now guaranteed, but they won't be able to lend as much money in the future due to stricter enforcement of the rules against national debt.... thats only good for banks in the short term.If the fund for Greece was the only part being implemented you might have a point. Wed 20 Oct 2010 13:40:34 GMT+1 resistance35 36.Benefactor wrote:Is that a fact?Yes it is. This bailout fund being discussed (despite its illegality according to the undemocratic EU's treaties) was one of the prime goals of the banks. No longer having to run the risk of defaults because of separate currencies, now they can get a system in place where loans to peripheral countries such as Greecce (that previously could default, which the banks didn't like) now are effectively guaranteed by the net contributors to the undemocratic EU.Can you cite your source or clarify a litte, also if the new rules are designed to stop Governments borrowing excessively and getting themselves indebted to banks... won't that be bad for banks?Banks now have their loans guaranteed by the entire eurozone, this isn't bad for them but good. Also, defaults are nearly out of the question, another benefit for the banks.The EU was always favored by corporations because through the EU corporations could get countless regulations enacted which their small- and mediumsized competitors (SMEs) could not afford, thus helping the corporations screw the SMEs.The EU: for the politicians and corporations, against everyone else. Wed 20 Oct 2010 12:49:55 GMT+1 Freeborn John This proposal would reinforce Franco-Germany hegemony within the EU and permently establish the UK as a contributing member of towards fiscal transfers with the eurozone.The proposals for European economic governance includes a qualified majority vote of eurozone members before any country is punished. This gives France and Germany an effective guarantee that the punishment will never be inflicted on them because the combined voting vote of the Franco-German axis is within touching distance of the blocking threshold such that they would only need the support of a couple of their dependable acolytes (Luxembourg, Belgium, etc.) to be sure of avoiding being punished themselves. These Treaty changes are clearly designed from the beginning to be rules designed by France & Germany for others to follow.Furthermore the punishments, especially denial of voting votes, would make it easier for France and Germany to impose EU law itself as a punishment. For example if Ireland were to be denied voting rights, then one could expect EU minimum levels of corporation tax to be introduced, to prevent what Paris and Berlin have long seen as ‘unfair tax competition’ from Ireland. The long-term result would be high-cost French & German levels of administrative bureaucracy driving out more efficient practice elsewhere. This in turn could only reinforce the major long trend that we see associated with European integration of those countries most closely associated with the “core EU” being the slowest growing economic region in the world since Maastricht. More Europe = more inefficiency. The PIGS countries that are the obvious targets for punishment should have no part of this treaty.The proposed EU Treaty change would also establish the current temporary EU bail-out fund as a permanent mechanism. This fund is in two parts, with the UK (thanks to the final act of the last government) having already contributed £8bn to the first (EU Commission-controlled) part of the bailout mechanism, which is the money used first before the larger war chest of printed euros and IMF funds is used. The proposed Franco-German EU treaty change would therefore establish the UK as a permanent contributor to fiscal transfers within the eurozone whose only purpose is to keep its peripheral countries from defaulting because of the one-size-fits-all interest and exchange rate policy, which in turn exists for no other reason than to advance the Franco-German controlled super-state agenda. The UK should have no part of this treaty for that reason alone. Wed 20 Oct 2010 12:25:51 GMT+1 Benefactor @ 33 resistance--"Am I mistaken, or have you finally decided to take off the mask and say out loud that democracy should be abolished and the undemocratic EU given all powers? Because, reading your post, that is the message I get."Dear EU please ram all future treaty changes through and keep abolishing that nonsense called national parliamentary democracy."--No, he says he doesn't want (to wait) for a referendum on this particular issue that primarily concerns the Eurozone anyway, nothing to do with Parliamentary democracy. At all.--"And besides, you seem to forget the inconvenient little fact that the Euro is a banker project. Get your loans to Greece guaranteed by German taxpayers, eh French banks?"--Is that a fact? Can you cite your source or clarify a litte, also if the new rules are designed to stop Governments borrowing excessively and getting themselves indebted to banks... won't that be bad for banks? Wed 20 Oct 2010 11:40:35 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII One of the underlying principles of democracy is accountability. Ultimately all government officials are accountable for their actions and the results of their actions to voters. Laws are passed to make people, governments, nations in the case of the EU accountable. When there is no accountability, when laws which are passed, laws which exist for the common good are agreed to by the majority or whatever number are required to enact them, then they must be enforced. Enforced in the case of a common currency through real, intrusive, and thorough audits at sufficiently frequent intervals. Audits which themselves can stand close scrutiny and are held accountable. And another principle are consistent penalties for breaking those laws or rules or they have no meaning. The penalties for exceeding 3% GDP as a national debt was a good idea. Even that was intended as an extreme case, the expectation being that most years national budgets would be balanced. But failing to enforce that rule with real audits and real penalties doomed the Euro from the start. Surprise, all Euroland governments with the possible exception of Germany are broke. Now Germany is faced with the unpalatable dilemma of footing the bill for the crooks, liars, cheats, it tied its fate to or breaking up the Euro and probably the EU with it. How Euronic the entire situation is. It reads like a Greek tragedy...or comedy depending on which side of the pond you happen to live on. I always enjoy a good fireworks display...from a safe distance.The EU never again? Somehow I doubt it. After the EU is gone, in a generation or two the next round of megalomaniacs will devise an new scheme to unite Europe. And I'm sure future generations will have just as much entertainment repeating the same story just as it has been repeated so many times in the past. Only the names, faces, details of circumstance change. The underlying idea remains the same. Wed 20 Oct 2010 11:10:57 GMT+1 resistance35 Gavin wrote: The German chancellor finds the French president mercurial. He, for his part, is wary of a leader who in his view increasingly places the German interest above European solidarity.Ha! As if French politicians give a toss about 'European solidarity'. Whenever a French politicians uses such words they mean 'Germany must help guarantee loans French banks made to Greece'.Self-interest is always there when French politicians want something. If a proposed major EU policy doesn't benefit France, don't expect it to be approved.Just think about how the French set up the CAP, once the system was in place it became in French interest to have UK in. Because, more countries in meant more money for France. Wed 20 Oct 2010 11:04:30 GMT+1 resistance35 @14 John-from-HendonAm I mistaken, or have you finally decided to take off the mask and say out loud that democracy should be abolished and the undemocratic EU given all powers? Because, reading your post, that is the message I get."Dear EU please ram all future treaty changes through and keep abolishing that nonsense called national parliamentary democracy."And besides, you seem to forget the inconvenient little fact that the Euro is a banker project. Get your loans to Greece guaranteed by German taxpayers, eh French banks? Wed 20 Oct 2010 10:09:47 GMT+1 Richard35 It is interesting Gavin to see that you have reports of President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel planning for the European "shock and awe" fund or EFSF to become permanent.I notice that notayesmanseconomics feels the following about Greece."So adding development since then I feel that the euro zone’s taxpayers would be best off considering their existing loans to be permanent and that they ready themselves for demands for more which will be along soon enough. As a suggestion when this happens then they should ask whoever gets the job of implementing this,exactly how things are ever going to improve under the current strategy?"I guess many will be asking the same question. Wed 20 Oct 2010 10:01:32 GMT+1 Freeborn John Mathiasen (27): A UK opt-out from any revised EU Treaty provisions to reinforce the ‘Stupid Pact’ rules is not enough. We need something in return for agreeing to let eurozone countries introduce fiscal federalism. That something should be a reduction in other areas of unwanted and unnecessary Brussels interference, such as the Working Time Directive, Maternity Leave regulations, etc.Isenhorn (28): The situation in the UK is different from Ireland and other PIGS countries. In the UK the government ran up its own, i.e. public debt, of its own accord, gradually abandoning the former policy of ‘prudence’ and Gorden Brown’s so-called 'Golden Rule', especially after he became Prime Minister and no longer felt the need to assert the power of the Chancellorship by denying ministerial rivals finance, and especially later when the banking problems led him to realise that Labour would have to try to ‘buy’ the election with a massive public spending splurge.The problems in the eurozone periphery (Ireland, Spain, etc.) was an unsustainable decade-long growth in private debt, driven by too-low (for them) eurozone interest rates. This is evidenced by almost all growth in Ireland for example during the Celtic Tiger years being in interest-rate sensitive sectors like construction and finance, which are now the most seriously affected by the bust. If the UK had had a eurozone-periphery style private-debt blowout, in addition to Gordon Brown’s public sector swing from prudence to profligacy, then the UK would be in a far more serious situation than even Ireland now. Fortunately we were spared that (not least by Brown himself who deserves some credit for keeping us out of the euro, in the period when he still was still doing a good job). Wed 20 Oct 2010 09:43:10 GMT+1 powermeerkat An alternative to Paris-Berlin axis might be Athens-Dublin-Lisbon exis. Wed 20 Oct 2010 07:43:48 GMT+1 powermeerkat Re: cooling public sector... "BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next six years - and the corporation is to take over the cost of the World Service, currently funded by the Foreign Office" (BBC) Wed 20 Oct 2010 07:40:53 GMT+1 Isenhorn Re: 16‘Can you not see that when a country has artificially low interest rates (like the entire eurzone periphery did), then the public will over-borrow? And that when eventually they can borrow no more there will be a bust? And when that private sector bust occurs, tax revenues will plummet and a massive public sector deficit (far greater than 3%) will be the inevitable result? And you want to fine those countries when this inevitability occurs??’Freeborn John,The situation you describe above looks suspiciously like the situation in our own dear UK, which is outside the eurozone. Can you remind us again what is the public sector debt and deficit are in the UK? If you do not remember exactly, I have given a link- they are well above 3%. Well, well above. Wed 20 Oct 2010 07:28:36 GMT+1 Mathiasen #24. threnodio_II,In the EU Paris-Berlin is no doubt a main axis, but the question is what kind? At the moment there is an idea announced in Deauville, which only came around because Germany compromised on its principles. The chairman of the Euro-group, Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxembourg, has already had the opportunity in German television to criticise this compromise, because he agrees with the original German wish. The criticism is, in other words, directed at Paris, and German television is transporting it.European papers outside the UK are guessing that GB will end outside possible treaty changes with an opt-out, and that UK will not be affected by the treaty changes. There are other countries and not only such with stability problems that will be affected, and they will probably have to have a referendum. Therefore, even before the French-German idea has been brought to the table in EU one can foresee a very difficult negotiation pattern. For the moment it is not possible to say anything certain about the outcome. Wed 20 Oct 2010 02:39:39 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII "The key change is that the EU is committed to embracing sanctions against those states that blow their budgets and threaten the eurozone."They had that in the original Maastrict treaty. It was called "The Stability and Growth Pact." France and Germany insisted on it. It had severe penalties for those countries whose budget deficits were over 3% of GDP. And two countries violated it for years. And those countries were....France and Germany. And when it finally got to the EU court, France and Germany persuaded the court to set aside the huge fines they owed the EU because, they explained it, that part of the pact was obsolete. And so all teeth that gave that pact meaning were removed, the treaty became an empty shell with no real force. So what is the EU law? It appears whatever France and Germany decide is convenient to them at any given moment. Don't like it? Then get out of the EU, you'll never change it."Now initially the sanctions will only apply to those countries in the eurozone, but the Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn wants to extend the new rules to all 27 members. Britain believes it has a clear opt-out from any sanctions. There is a second part to what was agreed yesterday. The French and German leaders backed a permanent safety net for those countries that run into trouble. At the moment there is a 440bn-euro (£385bn) stability fund that countries can tap into. When that expires in three years it may be replaced with a permanent fund and a mechanism to manage national insolvencies.So on one hand there will be sanctions for EU members in economic trouble and on the other there will be a safety net to bail them out. How? By paying their fines? Makes sense...if you're a European. If not, don't even bother trying to figure it out, it's a waste of time.As for what Britain believes, that's another matter entirely. It will find out what the EU law is after it breaks it. A referendum,? You must be joking. I'd write that one off too, it won't happen. Britain is an EUSSR without doubt and will bend to those it so eagerly surrendered to. Tue 19 Oct 2010 23:39:33 GMT+1 tamar Those brave would be doing what they need to do regardless if it fits the EU plan or not, do what is right, not what pleases the group. save thy self, cause you know very well no one is coming to your rescue when it is your turn to crumble! Tue 19 Oct 2010 23:31:54 GMT+1 threnodio_II I imagine that the sight of Sarkozy and Merkel walking into the wind on Deauville seafront seeking to agree a solution which will be imposed on the rest of us will bring a wry smile to a few faces. Just who the hell do they think they are to dictate to the rest of us?Berlin and Paris have been trying to paper over the cracks for years but now it seems that any PR opportunity to paper over yawning chasms has to grabbed at any cost. Government by photo-op? Let us be clear. Germany may have significant economic clout within the EU but France? Give me a break. This is beginning to resemble an attempt at an unholy alliance hell bent on a stitch up. I am known hereabouts as a EU enthusiast. That does not mean that I am a Berlin-Paris Axis fan.I therefore disagree with those who believe that the UK government's position is an uncomfortable one. If, as is suggested, the measures require treaty changes and the UK government is serious about requiring a referendum, there is a real possibility that the British people will be able to send them back to the drawing board again and again and again - until eventually they get the message that the EU is a community of 27 nations, not the puppet of the unholy alliance. Tue 19 Oct 2010 22:02:31 GMT+1 Gheryando "What is not getting so much attention are the causes of this crisis. Countries with very different economies are harnessed together in a monetary union. Some of those countries used low borrowing costs to finance a boom. Unit labour costs grew. In order to regain competitiveness years of wage and spending cuts lie ahead. And where will growth come from? And how will jobs be found for the 23 million out of work? That is Europe's real crisis."The solution comes by itself. Greeks are taking a heavy beating and their wages will be lower by the end of the tunnel, thus regaining competitiveness. The crisis is like liposuction where you end up slimmer after. But it is still sucking. Tue 19 Oct 2010 21:48:26 GMT+1 Lorentz If you wanted another war in Europe, this is the way to go about it. Tue 19 Oct 2010 21:46:10 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Freeborn John (20):Public sector syncing with the private sector is a win-win situation for both parties. When public sector downscales activities in good economic times, it removes resource over-appreciation from the markets and allows private sector to make better investments. In downturn public sector in turn can utilise resources and remove under-appreciation from the markets. In any case the difference between public and private sectors will decrease in future when states will outsource and privatise more and more of their operational work, specialising instead to planning and purchasing.In case of Spain and Ireland, while they had mild surplus, those were the result of a long term boom of foreign direct investment from where both govermeants got their cut, both booms were going to end sooner or later. In both countries governments could have cooled down the economy by scaling down their own operations and with legislation slowdown building booms. Tue 19 Oct 2010 21:21:13 GMT+1 Freeborn John Jukka: I am sure millions of people on the public payroll in the eurozone periphery will be delighted that their incomes must go up and down in order that interest rates and exchange rates can be fixed. And if you get sick, or lose your job at the wrong part of euro-boom-bust cycle, then I am sure you will understand that public services are not about providing quality health-care or a safety-net but are simply the new adjustment mechanism to replace interest and exchange rates abolished in the eurozone, so you should not expect these things except during economic good times.No doubt the voters already agreed they were in favour of this type of 'economic stability' that the euro brings when their parents voluntarily agreed to join the common market and implicitly accepted anything and everything that eurofederalists zealots would ever decide among themselves in backroom stich-ups (like this one in Deauville) such that there is no need to trouble voters alive today by asking them if they agree to their livleyhoods becoming an alternative adjustment mechanisms to replace interest and exchange rate flexibility?The public are probably too stupid anyway to understand their real interest, right, so better that more intelligent politicians who understand the true meaning of the public interest decide this on their behalf? That is the true meaning of representative democracy, right? BTW - did you hear former Europe Minister Dennis McShane, the leading advocate of the Lisbon Treaty in Britain has been referred to the police for claiming £125000 'constituency office' expenses for his garage? It will be easier to get that £125k back than the powers he gave to Brussels. - you are totally wrong to say that countries which ran surpluses during the good times avoided the bust. It was Spain and Ireland that had balanced budgets and France and Germany which ran deficits and so demanded the watering down of the 'stupid pact' rules they now want enforced through treaty change. Tue 19 Oct 2010 20:47:56 GMT+1 Buzet23 #1. At 1:13pm on 19 Oct 2010, Ellinas,#14. At 4:32pm on 19 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon#17. At 7:06pm on 19 Oct 2010, Jukka RohilaYou are living proof of the maxim that a fool and his/her money are soon parted, brain bl**dy dead. Tue 19 Oct 2010 20:15:03 GMT+1 Freeborn John This post has been Removed Tue 19 Oct 2010 20:05:58 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Freeborn John (16):When the private sector is overheating, it is the duty of the public sector to cool down the economy by postponing public investments and increase of public services. All Eurozone countries had this option, they could have ran either balanced budgets or small surpluses, some did, some didn't. Those countries that didn't maintain surplus and decrease their debts ran into serious financial difficulties when the downturn started, those that did the right thing, fared much better. Tue 19 Oct 2010 18:06:28 GMT+1 Freeborn John John from Hendon (14): It was not the bankers who created this depression in the PIGS countries; it was those making imbecile arguments like that in comment 14 that such countries should be part of the eurozone. Had the UK been part of the eurozone (as you amazingly still suggest would be a good idea!) we would have had the same inappropriate monetary policy as Ireland this last decade which has now resulted in an economic contraction of that country’s economy by 17% since the peak, and which is still getting worse. That is the real-world consequence of pure economic stupidity (as outlined in comment 14). Can you not see that when a country has artificially low interest rates (like the entire eurzone periphery did), then the public will over-borrow? And that when eventually they can borrow no more there will be a bust? And when that private sector bust occurs, tax revenues will plummet and a massive public sector deficit (far greater than 3%) will be the inevitable result? And you want to fine those countries when this inevitability occurs??Former EU Commission president Romani Prodi once called the eurozone rules the ‘Stupid Pact’. It should be self-evident that countries in the eurozone periphery are more or less condemned to widely fluctuating economic cycles, and that it is impossible for PIGS countries that are part of a fundamentally unstable regime to never borrow more than a 3% a year without more or less condemning their public sector workers to hire and fire policies that would make a Donald Trump blush, and which would mean automatic slashing of public services during the inevtiable downturns which would dwarf anything that Thatcher attempted in the 1981-82 downturn. What kind of socialist thinks that a good idea?Furthermore the ‘Stupid Pact’ obliges eurozone members to reduce their accumulated debt to below 60% which implies multiple decades of austerity for countries like Italy, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, etc. where accumalted debt is currently well over 100% of GDP. What kind of socialist condemns the public sector of these countries to such a savage regime, and would deny the voters of those countries all say indefinately about the most basic policies of economic government? Tue 19 Oct 2010 16:51:39 GMT+1 Tom How ridiculous John!How can referendums be nonesense or does the EU move beyond democracy? Tue 19 Oct 2010 16:28:23 GMT+1 John_from_Hendon The EU will be stronger and more resilient after the experience of the last two years. And the UK MUST take this opportunity to join the Euro or our economy will get further and further behind the rest of Europe. The EU is a work in progress as every human organisation. We (the UK) need the EU. Let us hope that the EU still needs the UK!There will obviously need to be new treaties and we must pass them into law after robustly negotiating our corner. Neither we (the UK) nor the EU can again be crippled by this referendum nonsense. The bankers who very nearly destroyed the whole of capitalism must be controlled - we cannot wait till a referendum is put to the people in any European state.We need practical pan European financial services and banking regulation enforced on a European and state level. We need it NOW. The new treaty must set out the competences of the EU and the states and there must be no loopholes! Tue 19 Oct 2010 15:32:37 GMT+1 resistance35 All those that support the Euro, in my opinion are either bankers or banker friends or other corporate types. The Euro was a corporate invention, pushed by their paid politicians in order to secure them more profits and of course, one of their goals was a bailout fund so they can lend money to countries risk-free.The Euro currency: a banker dream, a people's nightmare. Tue 19 Oct 2010 15:29:43 GMT+1 resistance35 A permanent safety net for the unwanted Euro? Will this one also be totally illegal like the current one is (despite the EU's bogus attempt at using a part of article 122 whilst ignoring the bit that is inconvenient to them)?Treaty change = referendum, mr Cameron.And no, you cannot 'opt out' from a referendum. This is not just a manifesto pledge, but a government pledge.I am looking forward to seeing the ugly undemocratic face of the EU again as the Barroso's and Rompuy's will frantically plead, beg and bully national governments not to have referendums. And the media will blindly act as EU propaganda outlets and publish uncritically all EU propaganda on the new treaty/treaty changes.Naturally, all the net recipients will be in favor of this, as will the Franco-German engine of the 'Reich'. But the German people won't be in favor, so will have to be ignored according to EU. Because those that refuse to pay up to save the unwanted Euro, are always deemed 'un-European' by the anti-democracy crowd.And another thing, what makes Merkel and Sarkozy think they have the right to pre-decide basically everything?Finally, I think we all know this isn't a "country bailout fund" but just another shameless "banker bailout fund", setup to make sure French banks get all the money Greece owes them. To be paid for by the German taxpayers. Tue 19 Oct 2010 15:27:50 GMT+1 Freeborn John This is a unprecedented negotiating opportunity for a much-desired change to EU treaties to return powers from Brussels to Westminster e.g. in the areas promised in the recent Conservative party manifesto. Cast-iron Cameron must know that the rule of the game in Brussels is that counties that want something must make concessions in other areas. For Cameron not to ask anything at all in return for a new EU Treaty felt necessary by eurozone countries to keep the sinking single currency afloat, would be a complete abdication of his responsibilities. It would be inconceivable that those eurozone governments would ever agree to European treaty changes desired by the UK without asking for something in return and for Cameron to do this would cause amazement in other capitals whose only conclusion could be that Cameron is a complete pushover. Cast-iron Cameron sacrificed his seemingly assured majority win in this year’s general election with his Lisbon Treaty climb-down in November 2009. He and William Vague will fully deserve to lose the next election if they ignore this Golden Opportunity to negotiate the reduction of Brussels power as promised by them in the manifesto they recently ran for office on. Tue 19 Oct 2010 15:08:38 GMT+1 Commodus In, before MAII the prophet of doom explains why the Euro did not collapse this year, but it's only a matter of time etc etc...Yawn. The same usual crowd foaming at the mouth, since the birth of the Euro, prophetising the unavoidable end of the currency. Every couple of year more or less the same song, but hold on! It's still there!I don't share Gavin's point of view, quite the opposite. With a sound safety net in place, it will be less tempting for the market to play against the Euro. Anyway, I guess at the next bump MAII will tell us again that the end is near... As always! Tue 19 Oct 2010 15:03:12 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan The bankers want assurances that nations will not waste their resources on providng for the needs of their citizens instead of paying off their loans. Of course the banks caused all of this with their criminal lending and false ratings to coutnries, but who wants to dwell in the past. The attacks on the working class will continue as the wealthy and their political handmaidens seek to lower the standard of living for everyone but themselves. Year end bonuses are due. Of course you understand that they must retain this talent that can continue to rob the middle class and poor to their benefit. This is not about economics, it is about the power of wealth and the influence it has in government. Tue 19 Oct 2010 14:39:56 GMT+1 Mathiasen At this moment probably just one thing is sure: Germany feels a need to handle even if it is clear to everybody that treaty changes are not welcome - not only in the UK, which is the perspective of Mr. Hewitt, but also in other countries, where certain governments (in referendum countries) are already beginning to be worry.Shall be a most interesting process to follow at the level of the union as well as the level of member states. Tue 19 Oct 2010 14:39:43 GMT+1 Sebastian Meznaric It seems to me that the deficit reduction plans are a bad idea in the current economic climate. The spending approach would have a lot better consequences with increasing the employment in the services and manufacturing sectors. The problem for the economy right now is not one of supply, but one of demand. And at the time when this is the problem, the states *lower* the demand by engaging in austerity plans. Not only is this a bad economic idea, but also a bad political idea with increasing social unrest across Europe. The euro could be saved, but we need to spend our way out of our current condition, not save! Tue 19 Oct 2010 14:16:05 GMT+1 Tom I can understand the importance of protecting the Euro but non-Euro nations should not be financially involved. I also do not believe that non-Euro countries should be involved with the Euro, they will still not be apart of it and if they ever decide to adopt the Euro they will understand what comes with it including the chnages that might be made.Isn't sanctions counter-productive for countries struggling financially? I would support a freeze of voting rights but sanctions isn't going to help anyone. Tue 19 Oct 2010 13:58:49 GMT+1 Freeman #1 I think you will find Cameron's worry will be the promise of a referendum rather than any financial issue.If this comes up then he will be forced to put his money where his mouth is. I somewhat suspect he will show his 'standing up to the EU' rhetoric will be shown as so much hot air if a new treaty came around. Tue 19 Oct 2010 13:56:32 GMT+1 powermeerkat "The euro is now like a heart patient. It has had the big scare. Now it will be subject to scans and stress tests."I'm afraid the patient will end up with mutiple by-passes.Which will clog with time. As they eventually almost always do. Tue 19 Oct 2010 13:13:16 GMT+1 Beavervalley Will this be another cunning plan that is only supposed to apply to others, like the erstwhile stability pact? That didn't last long once France and Germany found themselves in breach of the very rules that they had drafted! Hard not to be cynical in the face of such holier than thou posturing. But it will make for good fun if they decide that treaty change is necessary. The new UK government will face a test that they'd love to avoid, and hopefully somewhere in the EU there will be a referendum.Speaking of referendums, how about giving us a vote regarding the EU machine's request for more money, while we all tighten our belts at national level? I can only conclude that the Brussels crowd don't live in the real world. Tue 19 Oct 2010 12:38:50 GMT+1 one step beyond Thank you Gavin for an informative and useful heads up on this issue. It will be interesting to to see the reactions of the different countries to this. It will also be a test to see where the conservatives in the U.K. really stand on the E.U. Tue 19 Oct 2010 12:29:26 GMT+1 Ellinas First article Hewitt about financial sanctions etc. that you didn't mention Greece. Are you sure you are not ill.Hmm! I see! It's because now it has become a UK (EU) problem.--✄-- The country most against the idea of a treaty change is the UK. David Cameron simply does not want to handle the problems that may come with it. --✄-- Tue 19 Oct 2010 12:13:09 GMT+1