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Talk Cold Turkey

Henri Matisse View of Nôtre Dame 1914

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003. His AKP party had won a major election victory in 2002, but Erdogan was banned from political office until his predecessor Gül annulled the ban. Which he had gotten in 1997 for reciting an old poem to which he had added the lines “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….”

The Turkish courts of the time saw this as “an incitement to violence and religious or racial hatred..” and sentenced him to ten months in prison (of which he served four in 1999). The courts saw Erdogan as a threat to the secular Turkish state as defined by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey in the 1920’s. Erdogan is trying to both turn the nation towards Islam and at the same time not appearing to insult Ataturk.

The reality is that many Turks today lean towards a religion-based society, and no longer understand why Ataturk insisted on a secular(ist) state. Which he did after many years of wars and conflicts as a result of religious -and other- struggles. Seeing how Turkey lies in the middle between Christian Europe and the Muslim world, it is not difficult to fathom why the ‘father’ of the country saw secularism as the best if not only option. But that was 90 years ago.

And it doesn’t serve Erdogan’s purposes. If he can appeal to the ‘silent’ religious crowd and gather their support, he has the power. To wit. In 2003, one of his first acts as prime minister was to have Turkey enter George W.’s coalition of the willing to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. As a reward for that, negotiations for Turkey to join the EU started. These are officially still happening, but unofficially they’re dead.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brexit – Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

Brexit – Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

Brexit - Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

By TruePublica: It is impossible for anyone who even occasionally visits the news to ignore just how dramatically the world has changed in the last 10 years. The epicentre of the crumbling world order that we have all known was the global financial crisis. It literally shook the foundations of the Western world and the institutions that upheld it – and today they are now falling down one by one. Will the European Union be one of them as its own existential threats continue to mount?

Political systems such as democracy are now known to be failing the world over to some degree or another and all of a sudden, many of us have started to wonder about a world without those structures we took so much for granted. Unfortunately, others have embraced this new found fragility more eagerly than others and with frightening consequences.

It, therefore, should come as little surprise that the past decade has been assessed as a period defined by systemic dysfunction and political change. As we enter the next decade this dysfunction will characterize the momentum of a decade’s worth of disruption and one regional area of change will undoubtedly be the European Union.

There is no point in researching for material in this article with the assistance of the hatemongering MSM rags typified by the likes of the Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph et al. We have looked at many articles, periodicals and predictions – and there has been for some time a growing belief amongst many in the financial and geopolitical environments that the future prospects of the European Union is at best ‘challenging’ but more likely dismal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The EU Backs Off its War on Cash. Here’s Why

The EU Backs Off its War on Cash. Here’s Why

People view paying in cash “as a fundamental freedom, which should not be disproportionately restricted.”

The European Commission, in its official war on cash, admitted that physical cash is perhaps not quite the source of all evil that many EU institutions, including the Commission itself, had made it out to be. And it has abandoned its war on cash.

In a report to the European Parliament and Council on the viability of EU-wide cash payment restrictions, the Commission made three crucial observations.

1. Cash restrictions would have little effect on terrorist financing

Cash plays a major role in many terrorist activities, “offering anonymity and facilitating the ability to conceal not only illegal activities, but also ancillary legal transactions that could otherwise be tracked by law enforcement agencies,” the report points out. But according to the findings of a detailed analysis of recent terrorist attacks, restrictions on payments in cash would have had little impact on the capacity to prepare these attacks, especially given the “observed trend of the decreasing costs of terrorist attacks.”

The amounts of individual transactions are often even lower, and would therefore not have been impacted by restrictions. What’s more, many common transactions made in the preparation of recent terrorist attacks were done using traceable means (credit and debit cards, bank transfers, etc.) without raising any red flags.

2. Cash restrictions could be useful in combating money laundering but are of limited help against tax fraud.

The report notes that cash limits could be a useful tool in the fight against money laundering, of which cash transactions are normally the starting point. Despite the steady growth in non-cash payment methods and the changing face of criminality (i.e., the rise in cybercrime, online fraud and illicit online market places), criminal activities continue to generate profits in the form of large amounts of cash.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“God Help Us” – British Army Readied In Case Of Hard Brexit

Just as was extremely evident prior to the actual vote in 2016, scaremongering around Brexit (deal or no deal) is escalating among the cognoscenti or desperate Remain ‘told you so’-ers.

Britain’s Sunday Times reports that UK ministers have drawn up plans to send in the army to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of shortages if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

Blueprints for the armed forces to assist the civilian authorities, usually used only in civil emergencies, have been dusted down as part of the “no deal” planning, with helicopters and army trucks used to ferry supplies to vulnerable people outside the southeast who were struggling to obtain the medicines they needed.

However, as ominous as this sounds, The Sunday Times admits – a number of paragraphs into their “Army on standby for no-deal Brexit emergency” story – that a source inside the Ministry of Defense said they have not yet received “a formal request” to assist the civilian authorities.

And while desperate not to have this positioned as the work of “Project Fear’, pro-EU opposition MP David Lammy took aim at the news on Twitter saying: “God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal,” adding his own touch of hysteria… “We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation.”


God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal. We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/army-on-standby-for-no-deal-brexit-emergency-dz3359lrf 


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies


René Magritte Empire of light 1950

There’s not a shade of a doubt that I’m not an expert on tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies, and I’d be the last to suggest any such thing. But I can read. Still, do correct me if I’m wrong anywhere. The whole field is so complicated -no doubt often on purpose- that there’s always the possibility that there are side issues involved for which one would need to actually be an expert.

But still. Now that EU chief Jean-Claude -‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie’- Juncker is due to arrive at the White House soon, I looked at some of the items involved. Last night Trump said that all tariffs, barriers and subsidies should be dropped between the EU and US. Why the TTiP doesn’t come anywhere close to that is anyone’s guess. Too complicated for the boys and girls?

In at least some major fields, Trump does seem to have a point or two. The US has a 2.5% tariff on European cars, while the EU slaps a 10% tariff on American cars. That’s 4x as much, or a 300% difference. Whoever said yes to that? Sure, the US has a 25% tariff on EU pickups, but nobody in Europe drives pickups, hence they don’t produce them, so that’s not consequential.

So what had Trump done? He’s threatened a 20% tariff on Beemers and Mercs, and added -for entertainment value only- that he doesn’t want to see any of them in on Fifth Avenue anymore. Cue EU carmakers warning about the cost to American customers.

That’s all fine and well, but those tariffs on personal cars are still 300% higher. So push your European government to make them equal. Easy as -American- pie. How about zero? I can see where Trump’s coming from. Issuing warnings to the American public about BMW’s getting more expensive doesn’t look entirely on the up and up.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Trump and Juncker Supposedly Agree to Trade Deal: Lies All Around

The US and EU agree to resolve trade differences. Color me skeptical as to how long this lasts and what happens next.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S., EU Agree to Resolve Trade Differences.

President Trump on Wednesday declared a “new phase” in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union, agreeing to hold off on proposed car tariffs and work with the EU to resolve their dispute over metals duties, while also promoting bilateral trade.

Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and the EU had agreed to “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non auto-industrial goods.”

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” Mr. Trump said. He said the U.S. and EU would “resolve” the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed earlier this year and the retaliatory tariffs the EU imposed in response.

He said the EU had agreed “almost immediately” begin buying more U.S. soybeans and that the European bloc had agreed to increase LNG exports [imports?] from the U.S. The EU will be a “massive buyer” of LNG, Mr. Trump said.

“I had the intention to make a deal today,” said Mr. Juncker. “And we made a deal today. “

Lie When It’s Serious

Ahead of the meeting, Juncker said it was not his intent to work out a deal. Now he says it was his intention all along.

In case you forgot, please consider the most honest thing Juncker ever said: “When it becomes serious you have to lie.”

So, is Juncker lying today or was he lying two days ago?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nord Stream 2’s Confusing Endgame

Nord Stream 2’s Confusing Endgame

Pipeline

The summer of 2018 will go into history as the moment when a US president fundamentally and decisively changed the international world order which its predecessors worked hard on during the past decades. Within approximately a week from 11 July until 16 July, President Donald Trump achieved to insult its key allies in Europe and fundamentally undermine NATO and the EU, while cozying up to what seems to be the most important adversary of the West. While this week will go into history as an arduous one for the presidency of Trump, for President Vladimir Putin, in contrast, it is one of his best since the Ukraine crisis began in 2015.

The strategic interests of Russia were met in considerable ways as its key adversaries are divided due to Trump’s bellicose and aggressive language before and during the yearly NATO summit in Brussels. The unprecedented attack on Germany during a televised lunch, which caught off-guard the host Secretary-General Stoltenberg, in many ways showcased the current administration’s interest in the financial and energy domain.

Trump claimed “Germany is totally controlled by Russia. They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.” Although this is factually untrue, Germany imports 33 percent of its gas and 40 percent oil from Russia, these statements spread confusion as to what Trump’s actual endgame is. Several options are possible as to the true intentions of these statements.

This could be a negotiating strategy of Trump by putting pressure on Germany in order of significantly increasing its defense expenditure. Although NATO leaders reaffirmed after the gathering on 12 July their commitment to the pre-Trump agreement of gradually increasing defense expenditure, the US president seems adamant on even more. Trump claimed that the remaining NATO members have agreed to increase expenditure to 4 percent instead of 2 percent. This was rebuffed by the other alliance members.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War With China Morphs Into Currency War: Biggest Loser is the EU

Those who think “trade wars are good and easy to win” need to stop and reflect on currency wars.

Trade Wars Easy to Win


When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!


Trump’s “logic” rests on the notion that China has a huge trade surplus and the US can hurt China more than China can hurt the US.

Such logic is seriously misguided.

  1. Trade is not a zero sum game. One does not gain by losing less. Losing is losing.
  2. Yes, Trump is correct that the US can place more tariffs on Chinese goods than China can place on US goods. However, Trump cannot ignore US farmers, but the unelected leaders in China can suppress all dissent.
  3. The US dollar floats, the Renmimbi (Yuan) doesn’t. Thus, China can manipulate it currency, albeit with risks of capital flight, to mitigate some or all of US tariffs.

Currency charts can be confusing. Sometimes up is down and sometimes down is up, It depends on which currency is fist. The lead chart shows a 7.4% decline in the yuan vs the US dollar since April 16.

Meanwhile the dollar index itself has advanced.

US Dollar Index

Relative to the overall US Dollar Index Weighting, the Yuan has effectively declined 13.8%.

Combined with China’s counter-tariffs on US goods, that relative decline effectively counteracts most, if not all, Trump’s tariffs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gross Incompetence

Jean-Léon Gérôme Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind 1896

Here’s the lowdown: the EU’s single market mechanism dictates freedom of movement for labor, capital, services and goods. These are not divisible; you cannot have one without the other. Still, that’s precisely what Theresa May, again, is proposing. She basically wants to keep the UK in the single market for goods, and make other arrangements for the rest. The EU will not accept that because it could have 27 other countries coming with their own versions of single market à la carte.

So why does she come with version 826 of what she already knows will not be accepted? And why did her cabinet comply? There are a few possibilities. Perhaps May has finally understood that there is no manner of leaving the EU left to her that will not lead to utter disaster. Maybe she just wants the whole thing to stop. Or maybe Boris Johnson et al, sensing failure for May, see a chance to dethrone her and take over power. Then again, maybe they all look for a way to blame the EU for their own failures.

It’s hard to say, really. What’s obvious, through the comments of industries like Airbus and Jaguar Land Rover, is that 100,000s of jobs are at stake, along with 100s of billions of investments in Britain. Large enterprises are often branched out all through the EU, and they need to comply with EU rules; separate rules for their business with the UK would be a nightmare.

And even smaller companies, to varying degrees, face those same problems. For all you may think of the EU, it has arranged the single market strictly and successfully. There are enormous advantages for companies in that. Take those away and they will look at relocating towards the continent, where they would regain those advantages.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

The new Italian government will increase public spending and public debt. It promised to reduce taxes, introduce basic security and reform pensions. Italy’s Northern League’s leader Mateo Salvini surged in the polls and the party is now the strongest in Italy. A couple of years ago it was inconceivable that this regional group could become Italy’s leading political party. We should expect more to come. As the saying goes, it just could not happen till it happened. The financial establishments in North European countries like Germany and the Netherlands assume that the politicians of M5S and Lega Nord will follow the Greek script and will backtrack on their promises. But Mateo Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte know that if they do not live up to the expectation of the voters, they will be voted out of office. They are also aware of it that the Italian voter has still another alternative called “CasaPound”, a much more radical, if for the time being insignificant, social and anti-migration movement.

The planned reforms could burden the state budget with an additional 125 billion euros per year. Can the Italian government afford such a thing?1)

The question is rhetorical when you look at Italy’s growing debt mountain.

It amounts to €2300 billion, of which 1900 billion are government bonds. What should worry investors, however, is the structure of this debt. Ten years ago, when the last financial crisis broke out, 51% of these government bonds were hold by foreign investors. When the climate for investment in a country deteriorates, they sell these bonds immediately. When in 2011 the Berlusconi government threatened to withdraw from the eurozone budget rules because of the huge budget deficit, German and French banks sold Italian government bonds BTP (Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali) worth a total of €150 billion. In the following years, foreigners bought Italian debt instruments again for around €100 billion, but their share is now very low at 36%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Firmly In the Twilight Zone: Threatens Nord Stream 2 With Sanctions

Trump’s vise on the EU started with steel, progressed to cars, then to Iran, and now to a gas pipeline vital to the EU.

The story of the day, not discussed in mainstream media, involves Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline between Russia and the EU. The feature image is from Gazprom.

Gazprom says “The new pipeline, similar to the one in operation, will establish a direct link between Gazprom and the European consumers. It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe.”

Some suggest the EU is unwise to depend on Russia. That is nonsense. Why?

Free trade stops wars!

Regardless, it is the EU’s decision to make, not Trump’s, and the deal is already underway.

Gazprom, Partners Invest €4.8 Billion Nord Stream 2 Construction

Believe that? Why not? There is no dispute from the EU.

My point is the investment.

Russia’s gas producer Gazprom and its Nord Stream 2 partners have invested a total of 4.8 bln euro in the project on natural gas pipeline construction as of the end of June, Chief Financial Officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the pipeline construction, Paul Corcoran told journalists on Thursday.

“We have received 96% of the pipes, we have concrete coated 55% of those pipes and we mobilized vessels for the pipelines. So we are quite well prepared on track and on time for the project,” CFO added.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019.

Stop It All Says Trump

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Biggest Monetary Experiments in History: Part 1

The Biggest Monetary Experiments in History: Part 1

… and all at the same time.

Last week was a humdinger. Three things happened:

One

Firstly, our pasta-eating friends, after having experienced firsthand a blizzard of accelerating violent crime… and watching their previously gentrified neighbourhoods reconfigured into ghettos resembling the Maghreb, decided enough was enough and said “non piu”.


Italy turns away two more boats loaded with ‘human cargo’ https://sc.mp/2lbiUF7  via @SCMP_News

Italy turns away two more boats loaded with ‘human cargo’

Minister says the country no longer wants to be any part of the business of ‘clandestine immigration’.

scmp.com


And who could blame them?

A clash of cultures. One that will one day be studied by scholars sipping their coffee, scratching their heads, frowning and scorning the insanity of it all.

The below video of migrants unhappy with the accommodations provided by the Italian state is nothing unusual. It is rather a daily occurrence, not only in Italy, but across various parts of Europe, Britain, and Scandinavia.

A strange way one would say to show gratitude to the Italians who rescued them from the ocean, fed them, clothed them, and provided them shelter.

That these daily events aren’t publicised by the MSM is a topic for another day, but increasingly it’s hard to hide this sort of thing from your own people. Italy, as we all know, is predominantly Catholic, certainly Christian. And so when Luigi strolls outside for an espresso at his local cafe and finds this in the streets:

… he wonders what the hell the politicians are thinking.

When future generations look back at the reasons why the European Union and one currency system collapsed, there will be many factors to consider.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Italy challenges the Western order

Italy challenges the Western order

The EU is under a lot of strain

With a massive influx of immigrants from across Africa and the Middle East, and growing poverty, Italy voted in a populist government representing policies which would seem to virtually overturn the postwar European order.

The austerity measures which have been imposed upon the Italian people have pushed more and more of them down into poverty, with the poverty rate doubling over the course of the past decade.

Relative to migration, Italy is one of the Southern European countries taking the brunt of the migrants who are flooding into Europe by the thousands, helped along by various NGOs which seek to alter the demographic makeup and economic and political order of Europe under the guise of humanitarianism.

The present economic metrics tend to perceive the profits of multinational corporations as a gauge of the health of the economy, rather than the economic situation on the ground level, faced by the Italian citizen. All of these and more are things which this new government has a view towards radically changing.

To combat Austerity, which may be tossed out the window, the option on the table is to review treaties to which Italy is partied which impose or advise them. Rather than gutting the population for the money which the government needs in order to cover obligations to multinational financial interests, a proposal was broached of launching a universal basic income, reduction in the pension age, as well as a flat tax system.

And while the migrant policy is still evolving, it has had a view towards repatriating the migrants which are already within Italy’s borders. Italy has already flexed its will on the migrants issue over refusing a ship full of migrants port in Italy, forcing it to set sail for Spain.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Gently Rotting Debt-Ridden EU

The Gently Rotting Debt-Ridden EU

The EU as a political construction is in a state of terminal decay. We know this for one reason and one reason alone: its core principle is the state is superior to its people. A system of government can only work over the longer term if it recognises that it is the servant of the people, not its master. It matters not what electoral system is in place, so long as this principle is adhered to.

The EU executive in Brussels does not accept electoral primacy. It shares with Marxist communism a belief in statist primacy instead. The only difference between the two creeds is Marx planned to rule the world, while Brussels is on the way to ruling Europe.

The methods of satisfying their objectives differ. Marx advocated civil war on a global scale to destroy capitalism and the bourgeoisie, while Brussels has progressively taken on powers that marginalise national parliaments. Both creeds share a belief in an all-powerful executive. The comparison with Marxism does not flatter the EU, and suggests it has a limited life and that we may be on the verge of seeing the EU beginning to disintegrate. Despite economic evolution in the rest of the world, like Marxian communists Brussels is stuck with a failing economic and political creed.

It has no mechanism for compromise or adaptation. A rebellion from Greece was put down, the British voted for Brexit, which is proving impossible to negotiate, and now Italy thinks it can partially escape from this statist version of Hotel California. The Italians are making huge mistakes. The rebel parties forming a coalition government want to stay in the EU but are looking to exit from the euro. Putting aside the impossibility of change for a moment, they have it the wrong way around. If they are to achieve anything, they should be exiting the EU and staying in the euro. Let me explain, starting with the politics, before considering the economics.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What The “Doomsday Brexit Plan” Document Says Should Frighten Us All

This is the first paragraph of The Times article (paywall) regarding Britain’s now famous Doomsday Brexit plan.

Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tries to leave the European Union without a deal, according to a Doomsday Brexit scenario drawn up by senior civil servants for David Davis.

The Times confirms that the port of Dover will collapse “on day one” if Britain crashes out of the EU, leading to critical shortages of supplies. This was the middle of three scenarios put forward by senior advisors. A type of best guestimate if you like. You simply do not want to know the outcome of the worst of those three scenarios. Indeed, we have been spared from such details.

The article states that the RAF would have to be deployed to ferry supplies around Britain. And yes, we’re still on the middle scenario here. You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well,” a contributing source said.

The report continues to describe matters such as cross-channel disruption for heavy goods vehicles, which would also be catastrophic.Massive carparks will be required.

A senior official said in the ‘Doomsday’ Brexit plan:

We are entirely dependent on Europe reciprocating our posture that we will do nothing to impede the flow of goods into the UK. If for whatever reason, Europe decides to slow that supply down, then we’re screwed.

Let’s not worry about the fact that French borders are often left in chaos due to the all too familiar strikes that appear almost monthly during holiday season for one reason or another.

Home secretary Sajid Javid makes an unconvincing comment stating he’s ‘confident’ a deal will be done. That’s hardly the type of assurance we need is it?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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