Ten more countries that may default on debt after Argentina

Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody’s ratings.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

Continue reading

France rebels against austerity as Europe’s recovery collapses

France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets

Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.

Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.

Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.

It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.

Continue reading

Germany to Kill Canada-EU Trade Agreement, May Axe US-EU Deal Too

In the end, they will side with Russia. Not only because of legal issues or political issues such as the Snowden ‘scandal’, but because they have historically leaned pro-Russian despite the last 70 years of strong relations with the United States. The current Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is heavily Russian influenced as she grew up in the Soviet controlled eastern portion of Germany and voluntarily participated in the DDR — and held leadership positions. She was groomed to be pro-Russian. Her predecessor, Gerhardt Schröder, strengthened business ties between nations during his tenure, plus he now works for Gazprom, a state-owned (KGB/FSB) Russian gas company — and knows exactly who and what entity he works for.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is going as leaves don’t fall far from the tree. The espionage ‘scandal’ is only an excuse — because it’s quite clear every nation spies on another, including allies — to do what Germany has long wanted to do: Kick NATO and the Western powers out and rule the European continent on its own.

NATO being shown the door is only one crisis away and a Russian invasion of Ukraine could prove that. NATO, the protectorate of Europe against Soviet aggression, is unprepared to fend off a Russian attack and will sit idly by while anger stirs against its intentional complacency. That would be the nail in the coffin for the West and a boost for Germany’s Fourth Reich to take the military lead, as it’s slowly pushing for now.

Germany is to scupper a free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada because the clauses giving legal protection to investors would give them too much power, according to a report in a leading Germany newspaper.

The Canada deal is considered a template for the United States-EU free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is still under negotiation. If Germany rejects the Canada agreement, then the American deal looks likely to fail, too.

A senior European Commission official in Brussels told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung: “The free trade treaty with Canada is a test for the agreement with the United States.” If the one with Canada is rejected, “then the one with the United States is also dead.” Continue reading

Europe braced for any gas crisis as Russia sanctions escalate

The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.

The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.

This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.

“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading

South Stream puts Serbia in conflict with EU

With the decision by Bulgaria to suspend construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, there is more pressure on Serbia, which is balancing its longstanding ties with Russia against its desire to join the European Union.”The Serbian situation is the most difficult because it ‘paid ‘ the entrance to the pipeline by giving to Gazprom low prices for NIS (Naftna Industrija Serbia – Oil Company of Serbia) and Banatski Dvor (and underground gas storage in Vojvodina),” Jelena Milic, director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies for Belgrade, told SETimes.

“It is not regulated by the energy agreement with Russia what will happen if Russia gives up the project or if it will not be able to realise its obligations. Serbia counts on incomes of transit and to pay back its debts to Russia,” Milic said. Continue reading

UK edges closer to EU exit as David Cameron is crushed in bid to block Jean-Claude Juncker’s leadership

Britain took another step towards the EU exit door as David Cameron warned that Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment to the top job in Brussels would make it harder to persuade the public to remain in the 28-nation bloc.

Mr Cameron’s stark warning came after he suffered a humiliating defeat in his lonely battle to stop the veteran federalist becoming president of the European Commission. At a Brussels summit, EU leaders voted 26-2 to nominate Mr Juncker after Mr Cameron demanded an unprecedented formal vote on a post traditionally settled by consensus. Hungary’s Viktor Orban was the only leader to back the Prime Minister.

Asked if the crushing setback had taken the UK closer to an EU exit, Mr Cameron told a press conference: “The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed Europe. The stakes are higher. Do I think it is an impossible job? No.” Continue reading

EU wants stronger military industry

BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Tuesday (24 June) laid out plans on how to boost the EU’s military and defence industries.

It wants to create a single market on defence, make it more profitable, and intensify and merge research with the civil sector.

Antonio Tajani, the EU industry commissioner, said greater defence collaboration is needed between member states to enable the EU to “adequately face its security challenges”. Continue reading

Brussels job rotation

The probable nomination of the President of the European Commission at the European Council in late June is only the first stage in a process that will renew the leadership of European institutions — a political and diplomatic game of musical chairs marked by rituals and secrets that is played out between the capitals of the continent. Excerpts.

How do you come out on top in the grand reshuffle in Brussels? There is no single strategy. This is one conclusion that we can draw from a series of interviews with European civil servants, ambassadors and former ambassadors to Brussels. The second conclusion is that strategy alone is insufficient: “Chance and the luck of the draw also play their role,” explains the former ambassador of one small member state. Continue reading

EU keen to fund military research

The European Commission has proposed using EU funds for research into new military technology as part of a plan to reform Europe’s defence sector. It already helps fund “dual-use” research on components for military items. It said the new scheme will help Europe remain a “world-leading centre” for defence manufacturing.

Article source: EU keen to fund military research (EUobserver)

Energy as a Weapon (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading

Italy to push for ‘United States of Europe’ when it holds the EU presidency

In addition to a push for a ‘United States of Europe’ lead by Germany via the EU and its control over the ‘Troika’, calls for a ‘European Army’ have already been made in the past by member nations such as Poland and Italy. What may seem like science fiction or a joke nobody will take serious today is tomorrow’s reality, and as the addage goes: the truth is stranger than fiction. Although a lot of EU nations don’t like each other at the moment, the further integration of iron and clay (Daniel 2:43) continues to be their only solution. With Italy’s high involvement, and even with the Vatican, it’s reminiscent of the WWII era connection between the church and the German leadership. Or better yet, the Holy Roman Empire of the past.

Look for calls of a European Army to grow, especially as resurgent Russia is on the doorstep and the United States is suicidally fading away from the world stage. As with all nation building, the political structure comes first, then the economy. After the economy comes the military. The Fourth Reich is coming.

 

Italy will use its presidency of the European Union to push for a “United States of Europe,” the prime minister has said

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.

Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time“, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.

He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission.

Continue reading

EU wants ‘Mediterranean hub’ for Azeri gas

Key policy ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, supplied by Azeri state corporation SOCAR

The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.

The European Commission released an EU energy security strategy earlier this week, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine which is threatening gas supplies from Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless the latter starts to pay off its gas debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says stands at €2.5 billion. Continue reading

EU is ‘sleepwalking into a crisis’ warns senior diplomat who believes appointment of arch-federalist as president will hasten Britain’s exit

The appointment of an arch-federalist as the European Commission president risks creating a ‘dramatic’ backlash that will hasten Britain’s exit from the EU, one of the country’s most senior diplomats has warned.

A leaked document said Ivan Rogers, the UK’s permanent representative to the EU, believes the ‘die is cast’ in favour of Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg.

His proposed elevation to Europe’s top job has been fiercely opposed by David Cameron, who says Britain rejects the founding EU principle of ‘ever closer union’, which Mr Juncker supports. Continue reading

‘Ukraine is bankrupt’ – Gazprom CEO

Despite all claims to the contrary made by American politicians, European media and Ukrainian officials, the problem is not the price of gas itself, it is the systemic crisis of Ukrainian economy. Gazprom CEO is sure that no matter the price, Kiev won’t pay, because it simply can’t do it: “Ukraine doesn’t pay at any price. With or without reductions. It must be understood that the situation is getting worse every month. The reason is the low solvency of Ukrainian consumers and what’s more concerning, the degrading payment discipline of consumers.” Continue reading

EU pact to ‘seal Moldova’s European path’

BRUSSELS – European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has said the signature, next month, of a trade treaty with Chisinau will “seal Moldova’s European path”.

He stopped short of promising it can one day join the EU.

But he added: “We see it not as the end of the road. I can say that the association agreement will not constitute the end goal in European Union-Moldova relations. I want to tell you that we believe in the European perspective of Moldova.” Continue reading