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Monday, 24 September 2012

Why we need a eurozone parliament but what does it really mean!

The eurozone crisis can only be resolved by further integration, with a strong democratic dimension
The European Union is planning a major overhaul of its institutional structure and the way it is supposed to function in the future. The envisaged reform includes the further strengthening of the EU's diplomatic service, the creation of a pan-European foreign ministry and even plans to create a European army. While these foreign policy proposals seem like adding to the core reforms the eurozone crisis has made necessary, there are also new plans involved that could help the currency union become more sustainable in the future.
Chief among them is the introduction of a eurozone parliament, a parliamentary sub-chamber of MEPs coming from eurozone countries. This is an idea I have been putting forward in publications and talks since February this year and it is great to find it in actual reform proposals. Why do we need another parliament, you might ask? Let me make the case in a bit more detail. My idea rests on three pillars: the necessity to democratise the eurozone, ideas for an "English grand committee" and the need to create a "federal" budget to have potentially more means to balance asymmetric shocks. Let me explain these three elements in turn.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the eurozone crisis can only be resolved in a positive way by major further integration steps. Given the magnitude of these reforms and the political fallout from the failed crisis politics of the last few years, it should be equally obvious that such major new integration steps also represent the limit of the elitist integration process. Not only do the integration steps themselves need strong democratic approval but the new, even more powerful, governance structure must also have a much stronger permanent democratic dimension to it. And given that the key institutional reforms will be around the eurozone, it follows that a democratic institution for the currency union, whether you call it a eurozone parliament or a euro group in the European parliament does not matter, is urgently needed. Such an assembly would also mirror the euro group in the council of the European Union that already exists.
This argument leads to the question of how to meet this need. Do you need a completely new parliament, in which national parliamentarians are also involved? I do not think so and a look at the UK experience is very instructive in this context. The process of devolution in the UK has again raised the so-called West Lothian question. The West Lothian question basically addresses the issue of why Scottish MPs are allowed to vote on matters that only affect England, whereas the corresponding Scottish matters are dealt with in the Scottish parliament and are thus outside the influence of any English MP. One of the suggestions to resolve this issue was an English grand committee in Westminster, in which only English MPs vote on English laws. My version of a eurozone parliament was the application of this basic idea to the European context.
Once you have such a parliamentary assembly it can also assume functions that national parliaments perform. An obvious issue to address would be the much criticised fact that there are no significant fiscal transfers or automatic stabilisers on the eurozone level that could help to counteract asymmetric economic shocks. There will not be social security transfers or anything like this on the eurozone level but I nevertheless think it would be a good idea to have an additional eurozone budget democratically run by a eurozone parliament. Such a budget would be additional to the normal EU budget and could be financed through new taxes, for instance a eurozone-wide financial transaction tax. Such an additional annual budget could further politicise parliamentary discussions and make investments with the macroeconomic health of the whole eurozone in mind possible. It would also help to improve the general infrastructure in the eurozone and thus help to create growth.
For these reasons I think it is welcome that the idea of a eurozone parliament has made it into the political realm. Some of the proposed reform measures seem like a step too far at the moment and are not related to the most needy area for institutional reform: the eurozone. But I hope that the eurozone parliament has a realistic chance of actually seeing the light of day.
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Euro
  • Economics
  • Eurozone crisis
  • Euro

guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions 

The posts and articles provided by our news desk are not always representative of our personal views of the story.Tweet at #AceEurozoneNews or email to News & Views

Thank you, Ian [Editor]

Ireland's economic growth falls flat as it fails to meet target!

Some economists are concerned the Irish are battling into headwinds that will ultimately defeat them
Irish politicians are masters of spin. From the aftermath of the credit crunch to the present day, every party except Sinn Féin has told the Irish people 'don't worry, things will turn out all right'.
The message from Dublin is relentless in its consistency and sophistication as it seeks to keep everyone from Cork to Sligo and Galway to Wicklow from losing hope in the Irish Tiger.
It doesn't matter, the Treasury says, how much money has been borrowed from Brussels and the International Monetary Fund. Never mind that every bank is bust, just ignore house price falls of 50% or more. We will recover our swagger. We are not Greece, Portugal or even Spain.
From one angle the latest GDP figures for the second quarter could be used to bolster this argument. The outcome was the same as the first quarter. This flatlining contrasts with falls in other parts of the eurozone. Exports are strong and the economy has borrowed money on the open private markets for the first time in three years.
But the report from the Central Statistics Office makes for difficult reading if you are finance minister Michael Noonan.
GDP was expected to be in positive territory but failed to meet the target after a 0.4% fall in consumer spending on the previous quarter. Spending is now 10.3% below the pre-recession peak and at a new post-crisis low, as Michael Saunders, chief UK economist at Citi, points out.
In addition, investment fell 29.4% over the same period after a 26.5% rise in the first quarter.
Noonan was jubilant when the Q1 investment figure was released. It will be interesting to see how he explains the subsequent fall.
The trouble is the figures are always volatile because, as an offshore tax haven and manufacturing base for international companies, investments can be distorted by purchases beyond what an island with a population of 5 million would normally buy. In this case, the Q1 figure was inflated by purchases of large aircraft by leasing companies sheltered in Dublin.
Stripping out the volatile quarterly figures leaves investment 66% below the pre-recession peak and at the lowest since the current set of GDP data began in 1997.
Kasia Zatorska at Lombard Street Research says low growth will push up an already high 110% debt to GDP ratio (UK = 62%)
Saunders, chief UK economist at Citi, is concerned the Irish are battling into headwinds that will ultimately defeat them. The extent of the debts they must repay and the damage to the economy are too great for any country, even a hopeful and vigorous nation like Ireland. With a debt write-off from Brussels, they'll never make it. Things will just get worse.
For Noonan, it's time to admit that Ireland and Greece, while very different, are economically closer than he would like to admit. That is probably why the prime minister, Enda Kenny, spent Friday with Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy and Mario Monti of Italy.
Saunders says that while this year's government deficit will be close to Noonan's 8.1% of GDP target, "over the longer term, Ireland's ability to return to a sustainable fiscal path requires both fiscal austerity and economic growth. The underperformance of the economy in Q1 and Q2 reinforces our worries that, even with strict adherence to its fiscal plans, Ireland's deficit and debt path will exceed official forecasts in coming years."
  • Economics
  • Ireland
  • Europe
  • Eurozone crisis

guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions 

The posts and articles provided by our news desk are not always representative of our personal views of the story.Tweet at #AceEurozoneNews or email to News & Views

Thank you, Ian [Editor]

IMF hints at more time for Greece to implement hardline austerity

Managing director Christine Lagarde says IMF 'prepared to be flexible' – saying both growth and austerity are necessary
The International Monetary Fund dropped the broadest of hints on Monday night that it would give Greece more time to implement its hardline cuts programme as it warned that Europe posed a "critical risk" to a weakening global economy.
Christine Lagarde, the Fund's managing director, said the Washington-based institution was "prepared to be flexible" and said both growth and austerity were needed to put an end to a crisis which will next month again force the IMF to cut its global growth forecasts.
The head of the IMF was speaking as financial markets responded nervously to Portugal's decision to dilute its deficit-reduction programme, the protracted talks over a new package of help for Greece, and mounting political pressure on the Spanish government over its package of cuts and tax increases.
Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal's prime minister, said his government was abandoning plans to raise employee social security payments from 11% to 18% of their salary following widespread public protests. In Spain, Mariano Rajoy's government was facing one of its toughest weeks since it came to power last year as it sought approval for a new wave of reforms designed to pave the way for a European rescue.
Meanwhile, in Greece there was mounting suspicion among members of Antonis Samaras's government that the IMF has been deliberately blocking agreement on €11.9bn (£9.5bn) of spending cuts necessary for Greece to receive the next tranche of its bailout.
"Basically they want the measures to fail so that Greece is forced to ask for another haircut [on its debt] but we know that is not the view of the EU commission or Germany which is strongly against another debt restructuring at this time," said one Greek official in Athens.
Lagarde said that Europe's debt crisis and the projected sharp budget retrenchment in the US early next year posed critical risks, and said the Fund would show flexibility to countries in trouble.
"We continue to project a gradual recovery, but global growth will likely be a bit weaker than we had anticipated even in July, and our forecast has trended downward over the last 12 months", she said in a speech in Washington. The Fund had been expecting the global economy to grow by 3.5% this year and by 3.9% in 2013.
"A number of factors are weighing the global economy down. At the centre of them all is the element of uncertainty; uncertainty about whether policymakers can and will deliver on their promises."
The IMF managing director said the lasting scars from the crisis included youth unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain, high levels of public debt and a poorly functioning financial sector.
"Worryingly, the energy to implement the reforms that have been agreed –as well as the other reforms that we need – is waning. I am often asked, five years into the crisis, whether the financial sector is safer today than it was then. My answer? 'Despite real progress, not yet.'"
Lagarde said Europe remained the epicentre of the crisis, adding that programmes should be tailored to the needs of individual countries and backed by financial help.
"On the Fund's part, we are favourably considering that this be done in as timely and flexible a manner as possible: slowing the pace of fiscal adjustment where needed; focusing on measures rather than targets; and, above all, keeping the emphasis not just on austerity, but also on growth as we believe that the two can be reconciled and should not be mutually exclusive."
In Madrid, some 1,300 police were being drafted in to keep protesters away from the Congreso de los Diputados, the parliament building, as an "occupy parliament" movement called for a popular, indefinite blockade starting on Tuesday.
Metal fencing and several rings of security manned by police were being put in place to keep demonstrators away from the building, with authorities claiming a blockade would be a direct attack on Spanish democracy.
"We will not let parliament be surrounded or taken over," warned Cristina Cifuentes, the interior ministry's Madrid chief, who claimed extreme left-wing and right-wing groups were both involved.
It was unclear whether organisers, who define themselves on the internet as "democratic, anti-neoliberal, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal", would be able to mobilise a large number of demonstrators.
The protest coincides with the beginning of a debate in the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona which threatens to see it demand that Rajoy's government formally recognise a right to self-determination for the wealthy north-eastern region.
Rajoy's government will this week approve a new reform programme and next year's budget, opening the way for it to request a bailout from eurozone countries. That would allow the European Central Bank to intervene in bond markets and drive down the country's exorbitant borrowing costs.
Several of Spain's most important indignado protest groups have refused to back Tuesday's attempted peaceful blockade of the Congreso de los Diputados organised by the "On Your Feet!" group, which says it does not intend to stop deputies going to work.

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The posts l provide are my views and also are shared from a number of contacts, news and blogging services. They are not always tried and tested by me unless it states that l have cooked any myself,whereby it will be noted on the post accordingly. Please tweet at #AceEurozoneNews or email News & Views

Thank you, [Editor]

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

InfoCision Charity Scam: Report Finds Telemarketing Company Takes Largest Cut Of Donations

These companies are not charitable they disgraceful,but l never surprised at these types of tactics just to make a buck! Over the past 5 years l stopped giving to charity and now provide my services by getting people out of debt by charitable means! So that anyone donating money to my organisation will be told it is in a welfare fund and be asked which of one of seven causes do they want to support.Each one of these causes are for people living in and around my local community and all funds does not go to any registered charity, but to buy a wheelchair, or piece of equipment to help someone disabled!

The mot of our organisation is people before profit!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

9/11 Anniversary Promotions: Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel Offers Discounts On Rooms, Food

This is typical of the capitalistic attitude and lack of the ability for businesses to sell their products without resorting to shock tactics! This ability to use these types of events just to gain peoples attention,is fast becoming a way of life! My worry is that many people see it as a way to make profit out of peoples grief and not give thought or consideration for those that died on that fateful day!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

U.S. Poverty: Census Finds 46.2 Million Impoverished As Median Income Drops

The real problem is that everyone wanted more when things were good and this cost money! This money was so easy and so accessible we fell into a false sense of security and borrowed.We all do not want to admit it,but we all had too much and now it is time to pay back,what we all owe! For some this is virtually impossible for others they are trying, but we all have to do without!

Oh l know you will all see this comment and site the bankers, politicians and the like! But seriously do you really need that 3 holidays a year or even 2 its time for less not more!

Finally for those that have very little l am sorry for that and you deserve a little more, but not by borrowing but by a welfare state of providers! Instead we have a nation and a world of people hell-bent on looking after number one!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Youth Employment Turning the Corner in 2012

As young Americans all across the country head back to a new school year, I’m excited to say that many more will take with them lessons learned through summer jobs.
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on youth employment. The numbers show that while there’s still work to be done, opportunities are growing for young people around the country.
It’s no secret that the effect s of the 2007 recession had a significant impact on the job prospects for youth, but today’s report showed positive signs that job prospects for young people picked up pace in 2012. Between April and July of each year, the youth labor force (16-24 year olds working or actively looking for a job) grows significantly, as large numbers of students take on summer work and new graduates enter the job market. So July traditionally marks the peak of youth employment during the year.
Today’s report showed that youth employment rose by 2.1 million between April and July 2012, with 19.5 million young people employed last month. That’s up from 18.6 million a year ago. The youth unemployment rate showed a significant decline, falling to 17.1% — a percentage point from last year and down two points from 2010. Meanwhile the share of young people employed in July 2012 climbed back up to 50.2% from its historic low last year.
Youth employment increased across a wide variety of industries including education and health services, manufacturing, transportation and utilities, but there remains much work to be done, especially within communities of color. While the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratios for African Americans and Latinos all showed significant improvement from 2011 to 2012, both African American (28.6%) and Latino (18.5%) youth continue to have a much higher unemployment rate than their white counterparts (14.9%).
Earlier this year the President and I both took a stand for the importance of summer employment, launching our Summer Jobs+ initiative. By teaming up with committed businesses, nonprofits and cities around the country, this effort provided more than 300,000 summer job opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged youth, including more than 100,000 paid positions.
Together we’re helping young people across the country realize that there’s no substitute for the real world experience of work and no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck.


Labor Day 2012: Honoring the Great American Worker

On the first Monday of September, we honor the workers who built the world’s strongest economy.  This Labor Day, as the U.S. Department of Labor approaches our centennial celebration, I take extra pride in the historic efforts of today’s workers to drive our recovery by learning new skills and adapting to new challenges.
For more than two centuries, the prospect of work has drawn people to our shores to pursue new opportunities and dreams of a better life. The demands on our workers have changed over the generations, but we’ve always risen to the occasion.

During the Industrial Age, factory workers saw their knowledge and paychecks grow as they mastered new processes to mass produce everything from automobiles to armaments. Following the Great Depression, more than 6 million women joined the workforce, clocking in at shipyards, lumber mills and foundries, and their production helped us win the Great War. And the Internet age carried the talents of our workers across the globe, as our ideas and products reached new markets and brought the world closer together.
As I mark my fourth Labor Day as the nation’s secretary of labor, I’m inspired by job seekers from all walks of life in this country going back to school and upgrading their skills to match the demands of a 21st century global economy.  I’m impressed by communities coming together and new partnerships being formed among employers, labor unions and community colleges. And I’m reminded that for this  federal agency and this administration, Labor Day has been, and will always be, every single day.
This Labor Day, we lift up American workers who are doing what it takes to reinvent themselves to ensure that our future is even brighter than our past.