On 29 Jan 2012 at 7:27pm jrsussex wrote:
This is rather long but very interesting, come from the BBC front news page today.
Did Germany sow the seeds of the eurozone debt crisis?
Who is to blame for starting the current crisis in the eurozone? Greece? Italy? The real answer may lie further north. It was not the behaviour of the eurozone's southern members that first plunged the single currency into crisis.
There was, from the beginning, a way for the EU to police the economies of member states by following the rules that had been laid down for the single currency in the Maastricht Treaty. It was called the Stability and Growth Pact, and it was not Italy or Greece that torpedoed it - it was Germany. In 2003, France and Germany had both overspent, and their budget deficits had exceeded the 3% of GDP limit to which they were legally bound.
The Commission - then led by the former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi - had the power to fine them. But the finance ministers of what was then the 15 eurozone member countries gathered in Brussels and voted the Commission down. They voted to let France and Germany off. They voted not to enforce the rules they had signed-up to and which were designed to protect the stability of the single currency. Britain's then-Chancellor, Gordon Brown - still at this stage committing sterling to its love affair with prudence - voted with the French and German position.
The EU is often criticised for the power wielded by the unelected and allegedly unaccountable European Commission. The view was that, ok, if the big boys won't adhere and impose discipline on themselves, they're going to be more relaxed in enforcing the treaty [on us]. End Quote Peter Doukas Former deputy finance minister of Greece
On this vital and, as it would turn out, pivotal occasion, the Commission ran up against something much more powerful - the combined will of the democratically elected governments. "Clearly," Romano Prodi told me, "I had not enough power. "I tried and they [the finance ministers] told me to shut up."
Jacques Lafitte was a young French finance ministry official seconded to Brussels in the 1990s to help construct the single currency. He said the technocrats working on the project knew that some central mechanism was needed to make sure member governments complied with the rules. "We made a number of suggestions to the member states at the time," says Mr Lafitte. "But these were all rejected, because they would have involved transferring sovereignty from national governments to Brussels or maybe Frankfurt." "We knew deep inside. Again we could not say so publicly. "We were mere technocrats. We were supposed to shut up and listen to the member states who, almost by definition, knew better. I was convinced it was not enough."
Sir John Grant was Britain's ambassador to the EU at the meeting of finance ministers. "The credibility of the Commission and the readiness of the members states to accept the authority of the Commission as the independent enforcer of the Maastricht criteria was obviously gravely undermined," he says.
‚?Ę Inflation: No more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the average of the three best performing (lowest inflation) EU member states
‚?Ę Annual government deficit: No more than 3% of GDP
‚?Ę Government debt: No more than 60% of GDP
‚?Ę Exchange rate: Must be a member of the European Exchange Mechanism for at least two consecutive years, with no devaluations during that time
‚?Ę Long-term interest rates: No more than 2 percentage points higher than in the three lowest inflation member states
It was also a signal to everyone else in Europe. "The view was that, ok, if the big boys won't adhere and impose discipline on themselves, they're going to be more relaxed in enforcing the treaty [on us]," recalls the former Deputy Finance Minister for Greece, Peter Doukas. "I mean, no-one can impose sanctions on Germany and France. They are the European superpowers. So they won't adhere. "The pressure was simply not there," Mr Doukas adds.
Europe is wise after the event. The power the nations retained to police their own budgets - which, as we now know, included the power, in some cases, to cook the books - is being stripped away. Governments in the eurozone will, in future, be required to submit their budgets in advance to Brussels for approval.
But how long before national populations revolt, in the name of democracy? From Helsinki to Athens revolt is already stirring - and often it is shot through with anti-German sentiment.
"Germany is the locomotive of pain for other people's problems," says Peter Doukas. "It will ask to have a much bigger say in what's happening in Greece and Italy and Spain. "The centre of gravity of Europe is rapidly moving towards Berlin," he added. "In the fiscal union they will be the ones dictating the terms, with France as a junior partner." The historical resonance of a powerful Germany throwing its weight around in Europe spooks the Germans themselves. They do not seek, and do not want, leadership in Europe.
On 30 Jan 2012 at 10:51am bastian wrote:
people have been hedge funding for years..but never on whole countries ecomomies until now...it has been tried in far flung asia, an area most people have never heard of and don't much care about..but now it is being done in europe.
In the independant last week there was a front page article, I already knew because I had seen Adam Curtis' film about it. You won't find it publicly explained, last weeks headline was the first front page I have seen on the matter.
If it turned out that our government had any thing to do with it what should we do?
even if it was on an individual basis, ie did any one of our front bench cabinate have money in the companies that hedge fund.here are some names of companies possibly/allegedly involved:vega asset management,och ziff,york capital,grey lockasset management,and marathon asset management.these are quoted from the article..Theae people are forcing greeces gov bonds to crash so they can buy them up at rock bottom prices which leaves greece unable to make up the vast amount of money it owes becuae its bonds are so worthless, meanwhile the imf is trying to force them into a deal that they cannot do because it relys on maturing bonds.
could this happen here? don't see why not
On 30 Jan 2012 at 11:48am bastian wrote:
I will look inot it but from what I can gather, Germany has a far better grasp of money than Britain,how ever the fist needs to be on the side of the small business and the ordinary man if growth is to be possible...something that eludes our government.