Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has a simple message for the millions young people in the eurozone who are out of work – move.
In an interview, Mrs Merkel said the high levels of youth unemployment in Europe represent a “huge crisis”, comparing the eurozone’s difficulties with post-Communist eastern Germany.
Speaking to the BBC, she said that when unemployment soared after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “many young people … only had jobs because they moved to the south.” Mrs Merkel said: “I think it’s unfair that it is the young people especially who have to pay the bill for something they didn’t do. Continue reading
For three or four months, European leaders have been confidently proclaiming the crisis essentially over. It seems they spoke too soon, as indeed they always seem to in this long-running euro-soap.
Last time a political crisis threatened to undermine the euro, the response was to impose unelected technocratic governments on the offending nations. It won’t be so easy this time around. Italians are in open rebellion, with Mario Monti’s pro-reform Civic Choice finishing a distant fourth in the elections. Italians have voted en masse against Berlin’s prescriptive austerity agenda.
The left-leaning Pier Luigi Bersani is still hoping to form a minority government, possibly with support from the comedian Beppe Grillo. Please don’t laugh: this is serious. They’ll make odd partners. The dull Mr Bersani could hardly be more different, yet to him almost anything would be preferable to leaping into bed with Silvio Berlusconi, which is the alternative. Whatever. Continue reading
While the Swiss call to take up arms, the Red Cross independently through its own observations, now echos the sentiment and prospect of violent riots taking place throughout Europe, sparked by economic fallout.
Millions of Europeans who were relatively prosperous, now so difficult to get food on the table, that Europe must be prepared for popular uprisings similar to those in North Africa.
The conclusion one is reached the International Red Cross because of the economic crisis in the EU.
The world’s largest humanitarian organization is therefore to establish a strategy for the first time in recent history to equip especially the Red Cross in southern Europe to to handle deep distress and conflict on an unprecedented level. Continue reading
As destructive as it may be, the “Europhorics” will push for it and get it, regardless of what the people think and want. A European superstate project, or “United States of Europe”, is coming.
There are the “Eurosceptics”, and there are “Eurohaters”. And then there are the “Europhorics”, who are to be found among both intellectuals and politicians and who are at least as dangerous as the former. To them the EU is not a union, but a worldview – and they are abusing it.
First and foremost, after all, old Europe is a creation of great delicacy, dignified with age and at the same time so fragile – and this right in the middle of the crisis. In the second Europe, the European Union, The continent has found a framework for its history and its future, and that framework is being continuously revamped. The crisis has transformed it too, and a little more than usual, not least following the Brussels crisis summit. And now it’s time to replace the provisional scaffolding with a solid frame. How exactly that new frame should look is – as is usual in Europe – much disputed. So far, so good. Continue reading
“This year is going to be a bad one,” said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a press conference. He reaffirmed the previous forecast of a 1.7 percent shrink in GDP in 2012. The country forecast 24.3 percent unemployment in March, and Spainiards under 25 have a 52 percent unemployment rate.
Rajoy has cut government programs and raised taxes to combat the deficit, leading to protests.
Spain is the fourth and largest country in the euro zone to accept financial assistance, joining Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Rajoy stressed that the aid was limited to the country’s banks, which have been weighed down by the global recession and toxic real estate holdings, and avoided the term “bailout.”
Full article: Spain’s Prime Minister: “This Year Is Going To Be A Bad One” (International Business Times)
Newly released papers show the German government knew the euro would fail and lied to the Constitutional Court about it.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was warned that the euro was doomed to fail, according to secret documents obtained by Spiegel.
“Documents from the Kohl administration, kept confidential until now, indicate that the euro’s founding fathers were well aware of its deficits,” it wrote May 8.
The Trumpet has long warned that European leaders knew exactly what they were doing when they created the euro. The current crisis is not a mistake. They knew that, as Spiegel writes, “a common currency cannot survive on the long term if it is not backed by a political union.” They pushed ahead because they believed a common currency would force the unwilling European people to form a political union.
The documents released to Spiegel give yet more evidence of this.
Italy was allowed to join the euro after some deceptive accounting meant it fulfilled the entrance criteria. “However, the Kohl administration cannot plead ignorance,” writes Spiegel. “In fact, the documents show that it was extremely well informed about the state of Italy’s finances.”
Not only did Kohl ignore warnings that Italy’s debt was way too high, but “the documents that have now been released suggest that the Kohl administration misled both the public and Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court,” it writes.
Kohl’s government told the court that Italy’s breaking of the euro’s financial rules was “neither recognizable nor to be expected.” Meanwhile, the government’s economic advisers were saying that Italy’s “high debt levels” carried “enormous risks.”
Kohl’s government lied to the equivalent of Germany’s supreme court to make sure the euro went ahead. He knew that then Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi was fiddling the books to make Italy look ready for the euro.
JP Morgan Asset Management calculated last week that the eurozone was one of the worst possible common currency zones. The economies involved are too different. In fact, it found that a currency zone made up of countries whose names start with the letter M would make a better currency union than the euro.
As former EU civil servant and author of The Rotten Heart of Europe Bernard Connolly warned in 2007: “And, whereas the mission of the Fed is to avoid a financial crisis, the mission of the ecb [European Central Bank] is to provoke one. The purpose of the crisis will be, as Prodi, then Commission president, said in 2002, to allow the EU to take more power for itself.”
The key leaders knew the euro wasn’t an optimal currency zone. They knew the only way it would work would be to centralize even more power in Brussels. But they couldn’t get voters to agree to this.
Now, as Spiegel observes, all possible solutions to the crisis “boil down to individual countries relinquishing more authority and the central government in Brussels acquiring more in return.”
This is exactly what the euro’s founders wanted.
Full article: German Government Knew Euro Would Fail (The Trumpet)
Stop for a moment and think about this crisis from the perspective of the average German. Since 2008, his nation has been saddled with the unpopular, high-risk, hugely expensive task of rescuing Europe. The Germans didn’t ask for this. And they certainly aren’t responsible for the chaos. Neither the German government nor its people have taken on suffocating debt or spent profligately on frivolous comforts. The Germans don’t take long siestas, work six-hour days or pay themselves annual bonuses for simply turning up to work. To the contrary, the Germans have worked hard, saved their money and wisely lived within their means. Yet,Germany is expected to endure tremendous risk and make major sacrifices to rescue its neighbors. It’s already forked out tens of billions in bailouts, and is on the hook for tens of billions more. By the time it’s all said and done, Germany will cover more than one quarter of the total bailout.
For what? Germany’s European counterparts are thankless, frustrated, unrepentant—and in many cases, openly hostile.
Viewed from this perspective, one can understand why Germans are frustrated and resentful.
The troubling question is, where will the anger and resentment lead?
Just a few weeks ago, no mainstream German politician openly spoke about the possibility of Greece defaulting and exiting the eurozone. That has now changed. Following Sunday’s election in Greece, where anti-austerity, anti-German parties made huge gains, German hostility has boiled to the surface. On Monday, Klaus-Peter Willsch, the budgetary expert for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu), stated that Brussels needs to “make Greece the offer to leave the eurozone in an orderly fashion, without leaving the European Union.”
The disdain of the German public is less diplomatic. “Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the eurozone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “Nothing is in writing,” said Guntram B. Wolff, deputy director at Brussels research group Bruegel, “but people really are clearly and openly talking about” Greece leaving.
Sense the frustration and resentment.
Herribert Dieter, an analyst with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, says preparations are already being made in Germany for Greece to default. “The mood in German government circles has become a little less enthusiastic, to put it mildly,” he stated. Dieter cited the example of Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who stated last Friday that membership in the EU “is not compulsory, it’s voluntary, and Greek society has a choice.” Schäuble’s remarks are a “good reflection of the changing mood of German policy makers,” stated Dieter.
“You can’t be a member of the club and disregard the rules,” he said. The Germans love rules and organization, structure and discipline—it’s one of their many admirable national traits. Problem is, the rest of Europe doesn’t have the same penchant for discipline and structure, at least not with finances. This is a recipe for confrontation, especially considering Germany has the political and economic might to air its frustration with meaningful actions.
The Germans are tired of bailing out Europe and getting nothing but complaints and hostility in return.
Die Welt continued: “Every country still only debates within its own national borders, because there is no European public sphere. Germany’s joint liability for the precarious finances of the countries in crisis remains a one-way street because the Germans can’t manage to adequately assert their positions, interests or the significant efforts they’ve made.” There’s a justified yet highly dangerous tone of resentment in that last sentence. Germany wants European integration. But it’s realizing that the EU in its present constitutiondoes not work.
“Whoever ends up governing Athens, it must be made unmistakably clear to the new leaders that they’re welcome to venture out on their own, but if they want to take advantage of the financial help from the donor countries and remain within the eurozone, then they must adhere to the stipulations already laid out” (ibid). In others words, Germany should not compromise substantially. “The German citizens are certainly not prepared to finance Greece’s vacation from reality,” warned Die Welt.
To the contrary, many Germans increasingly desire to give Greece a harsh lesson in reality!
Understand. This is not a personal assault on the German people. As I’ve noted, one can easily identify with their frustration over their reckless, thankless neighbors. Nevertheless, their welling resentment is an alarming, deeply sobering trend. You’re human; you know where resentment and anger ends. It culminates in rash, emotional decisions, in fractured, contemptuous relationships, and, often, in violence and conflict. And when it comes to Germany, history reveals a unique tendency for deep-seated national resentment to end in intense conflict.
The more intense the resentment among Germans toward their European counterparts, the more they’ll condone Germany getting tougher and stricter with Europe.
The more upset the Germans grow with Europe’s dissension, the likelier they are to demand a strong, decisive leader to whip the Continent into line.
Watch closely, and remember. It’s not the anger and resentment of the Greeks or French or Portuguese that ought to overly concern us. The nation we need to be most concerned about—and watching constantly with a critical eye—is Germany. Together, history and Bible prophecy warn that there is nothing more frightening than a German nation experiencing the convergence of deep-seated national resentment and unchecked political, financial and military power.
And Germany today has both, in excess.
Full article: Beware: Germany Is Growing Resentful and Angry (The Trumpet)
It appears the current phase of Europe’s debt crisis is entering its last hour. We’ll know soon, but it’s possible the weekend of May 5, 2012, will be remembered as a transformative moment in the history of Europe.
Once again, the nation at the center of it all is Germany.
Finally, there’s the run-off presidential election in France, which could have enormous impact on Germany and Europe. From the moment the debt crisis began in 2008, the responsibility of fixing it has rested primarily on the German-French axis. Truth be told, President Sarkozy’s main responsibility has been to embrace the solutions coming from Berlin, giving them added legitimacy in the eyes of Europe and the rest of the world.
If Socialist candidate Francois Hollande is elected, Germany loses its French toady.
That’s not all. When it comes to solving Europe’s debt woes, Hollande’s view is the antithesis of that of Angela Merkel and German public opinion. He’s already stated that he won’t support the fiscal pact as it currently exists. When it comes to Europe’s finances, he said last week, “It’s not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe.” He also believes that instead of austerity, the solution to Europe’s debt woes is printing and spending more money. “So many people in Europe are waiting for our victory,” he said recently, “I don’t want a Europe of austerity, where nations are forced on their knees.”
Read between the lines of that statement. This man isn’t merely campaigning for leadership of France, he’s making a play for leadership of Europe. In another recent address, Hollande told supporters that “the people of Europe expect that we, the people of France, will provide Europe with another perspective, another direction, another orientation.”
They say Hollande lacks personality and charisma. Well, he makes up for it in audacity. He sincerely believes the rest of Europe wants him elected so France can replace Germany at the helm of Europe!
That’s never going to happen. France lacks both the financial health and political muscle to replace Germany as the arbiter of this crisis. Nevertheless, France’s dissension under Hollande could throw Europe into financial and political turmoil. Der Spiegel reported recently that “for France’s neighbors and the fight against the sovereign debt crisis in Europe,” Hollande’s election “will set everything back to square one.”
As you can see, Europe’s financial crisis isn’t even close to being over—though it is likely entering a new, more exciting, more dramatic, more sobering chapter!
It’s possible, likely even, that the convergence of these events—the widespread resistance to German-imposed austerity, the renaissance of nationalism, Spain’s imminent default, the collapse of the Dutch government, and the inconveniently timed national elections in Greece and France—will produce a moment of historic importance. As this unfolds, don’t take your eyes off the nation at the center of it all.
As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote, “The epicenter of Europe’s political crisis may soon be Germany itself.”
We must watch for Germany’s response. It will have a colossal impact on Europe, and on the rest of the world.
Full article: This is Germany’s Moment! (The Trumpet)
Being that Germany is the EU, look for the major influences of future change and reform to come from Berlin — as well as increased power in Berlin’s favor.
The unprecedented and sweeping powers for creditors would indeed deal a huge blow to Greece’s sovereignty, but they could help mobilize more support for the government in Athens from its European partners.
Several German lawmakers have repeatedly said that giving more money to Greece is unthinkable without stricter enforcement and control of the conditions attached to the rescue packages.
Greece is currently locked in a twin effort, seeking to secure a crucial debt relief deal with private investors while also tackling the pressing demands from its European partners and the IMF for more austerity measures and deeper reforms.
Failure on either front would force the country to default on its debt in less than two months, pouring new fuel on the fires of Europe’s debt crisis.
Continue reading article: Germans float direct EU control over Greek budget (AP)