Posts tagged "Europe"

Philip Hammond: I would still vote to leave Europe

Philip Hammond: I would still vote to leave Europe

Foreign secretary says status quo ‘not in Britain’s interest’ and he would vote to leave without renegotiation of UK relationship. Read more…

Posted by admin - July 21, 2014 at 09:49

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David Cameron criticises Europe for lack of action on pro-Russia separatists

David Cameron criticises Europe for lack of action on pro-Russia separatists

‘For too long there has been a reluctance to face up to the implications of what is happening,’ British PM says. Read more…

Posted by admin - July 20, 2014 at 10:07

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Labour must take tougher line on ‘mass migration’ from Europe Miliband told

Labour must take tougher line on ‘mass migration’ from Europe Miliband told

Party is losing working class, say senior MPs, as shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander sets out EU reform plan. Read more…

Posted by admin - June 1, 2014 at 09:00

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Tory Eurosceptics to support David Cameron until after general election

Tory Eurosceptics to support David Cameron until after general election

Rightwing Conservatives expect ‘moment of reckoning’ over Europe in runup to possible EU referendum if party is re-elected. Read more…

Posted by admin - May 20, 2014 at 08:11

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Nigel Farage accepts Clegg’s challenge to debate Britain’s EU membership

Nigel Farage accepts Clegg’s challenge to debate Britain’s EU membership

Ukip leader says ‘I’ve spent years being told I’m a nutcase. I’ve got to say yes’, after Lib Dem leader proposes head-to-head. Read more…

Posted by admin - February 22, 2014 at 11:04

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Cameron’s EU referendum ‘timebomb’ could undermine UK position say lords

Cameron’s EU referendum ‘timebomb’ could undermine UK position say lords

Former cabinet secretary Lord Armstrong says PM should follow Thatcher’s example by being patient in EU negotiations. Read more…

Posted by admin - January 11, 2014 at 10:55

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Strong services data signals UK growth on track to outstrip rest of Europe

Strong services data signals UK growth on track to outstrip rest of Europe

PMI survey’s all-sector reading hits 15-year high, with order books growing at fastest pace since Tony Blair became PM. Read more…

Posted by admin - September 4, 2013 at 15:06

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Obama tries to ease NSA tensions and insists – Europe spies on US too

Obama tries to ease NSA tensions and insists – Europe spies on US too

President says intelligence services all over the world use spying programs but admits US could be damaged by revelations. Read more…

Posted by admin - July 1, 2013 at 19:04

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Eurozone crisis live: Mario Draghi defends bond-buying plan

President of the European Central Bank rebuts criticisim of his Outright Monetary Transactions programme, ahead of data showing how Europe’s manufacturers fared in May


    



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Posted by admin - June 3, 2013 at 08:24

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Europe’s austerity: big worries, small thinking | Editorial

Plan A is now acknowledged to be a failure; yet it remains the default option, just extended far into the future

The economist Yanis Varoufakis has an apt metaphor for Europe’s latest approach to its economic crisis. Imagine, he says, that your neighbours demanded you do a 100m sprint in under 10 seconds. They whip you, and threaten dire sanctions for flunking. But as August looms and with your times getting worse not better, your taskmasters change the regime. The target remains in place, the threats are just as grave – but the deadline is extended to December. So, have your neighbours loosened their grip? Of course not, says Mr Varoufakis, they have simply extended into the future their “maddened misanthropy, making a virtue out of abject policy failure”.

So it goes in the EU too. The European Commission has confirmed what was already widely suspected: that France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia will all be allowed extra time to complete their austerity plans. In some quarters this was greeted as “Europe in retreat”. It is nothing of the sort. There has been no relinquishing of the actual budget targets, let alone a move towards replacing the cuts with other economic policies. Put at maximum strength, this decision allows Paris and the other capitals to bring in the automatic stabilisers: to spend more on unemployment and other benefit bills, which are rising fast amid this ferocious economic slump. That tweak alone will help take the edge off the pain of the crisis, but it will do nothing to resolve the underlying crisis. It is a palliative, and no more.

The policymakers of Europe have now formally adopted the same position as George Osborne’s Treasury. Plan A is now acknowledged to be a failure; yet it remains the default option, just extended far into the future. For the sake of fairness, we should concede that such a policy is better than some of the alternatives, and certainly better than trying to double down on austerity and cutting even harder. Neither Mr Osborne nor the top brass in Brussels are foolhardy enough to do that; and should they ever be tempted they can merely look down to Athens to see the political, social and economic turbulence it can cause.

And yet the European economy is in a deep enough hole already. For evidence of that, just look at the OECD’s grim assessment of the continent’s prospects. The thinktank of rich nations expects the eurozone’s GDP to shrink by 0.6% this year, a sharp downgrade from the 0.1% contraction predicted just six months ago. Even that is an average across the 17-member club and so masks just how bad the recession is in some countries, especially along the southern periphery. Joblessness across the euro-area is expected to keep rising from its current rate of 12%. Compare these dismal figures with those projected for the austerity refuseniks. Having adopted extraordinary stimulus measures, Japan’s forecasts have improved sharply. Six months ago, OECD economists expected it to rack up growth of 0.7%; now they’ve chalked it up for 1.7%. The US is predicted to continue its weak recovery and clock up 2%. From this shaming contrast, one might expect the OECD to call for imaginative policies to get the coalition out of its deep rut. Sadly, its policy prescriptions were cautious and conservative. They will not upset any politicians’ apple carts; nor will they help ease the crisis.

European leaders acknowledge the scale of the problem. This week, French president François Hollande called on fellow leaders to “act urgently”. “Six million youngsters are out of work in Europe,” he pointed out. “Close to 14 million are without work, study or an apprenticeship.” The chorus was joined by Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister. He warned of “catastrophe” if jobs were not found for Europe’s young. “We will lose the battle for European unity.” Fine words and all the better for being plausible. Polls show that Europeans are increasingly mistrustful of the EU. No surprise there. A grand political project increasingly resembles the interwar gold standard: a mechanism for increasing social suffering and hobbling the economy.


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Posted by admin - May 30, 2013 at 08:11

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