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6/30/15

Europe’s Attack On Greek Democracy - by Joseph Stiglitz

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.

Read more: Europe’s Attack On Greek Democracy

6/28/15

EU politicians should take their head out of the sand and start smelling the roses - by RM

It's decision time for the EU
Europe must stop waffling in its attempts to move ahead towards more political and economic integration. It needs to do so if if it wants to project an image of a more credible and united entity.

Turning the clock back to individual statehood status, with every nation its own  borders and currency would mean instant suicide in today's world of Super Powers, including, China, the USA, and to a certain extend also Russia. These countries are all lying at the doorstep of EU's "weakling countries", ready to "gobble" them up.

If the EU falls apart, so would the present influence of each member state which they presently have under the powerful combined "nations umbrella" of the EU. Prosperity as EU citizen's now have enjoyed for many years would end not only abruptly, but also in a brutal fashion.

A solution, to solidify and further strengthen the European Union as a major world power, and to create even more economic prosperity for its citizens will require, not only for some of the member nation states politicians to abandon nationalistic pipe-dreams and look at the "big picture", but also to encourage them into making some dramatic changes to the structure of the EU. This would also include abolishing policies and treaties which have been unproductive, costly and caused more harm than good.

These changes could be achieved based on the following outline:

1) By referendum on a new EU constitution, which incorporates the following provisions:

a) establish the EU citizen as a full partner and decission-maker in all matters of government - by increasing the powers of the EU parliament, giving them the political authority to appoint the EU commission, based on the outcome of election results of the European parliamentary elections.

b) establishing a second chamber in the European parliament where all chairmen of local member state parliaments would be represented, having the power by majority vote to approve or oppose any resolution or proposal submitted by the EU Parliament or EU President.

c) the election of a EU President by universal vote, covering every member state of the European Union.

2) establishment of a permanent and strong European defense force

a) the defense force budget based on the proportional contribution in money and manpower (GDP and population) of all EU member states

b) review of all present military alliances by the EU (including those of individual member states) and establish a common EU defense force policy

3) establishing a common EU foreign policy based on:

a) the EU's economic and political interests and alliances with countries supporting EU's policies

b)  the projection of a neutral position in relation to the geopolitical policies and interests of other nations

c) seeking economic alliances instead of military alliances

It is high time European politicians take their head out of the sand and start smelling the roses.

EU-Digest



6/27/15

EU-US Trade Pact: Poll shows majority of Europeans not in favor of all aspects potential EU - US trade agreement

A recent EU-Digest poll conducted from  May through June as to EU citizens concerns related to a potential Trans Atlantic Trade Pact  (TTIP) between the EU and the EU shows that all respondents in this poll voiced concerns about the possibility that this EU-US trade pact could be providing US corporations access/controls over EU Public Health, Communications, Education, Insurance, Water and Energy services.

A new EU-Digest poll, which runs from the 27th of June till the end of July focuses on the overall state of "health" of the EU, given the challenges it faces and its ability to tackle these problems,

The new EU-Digest poll is also quite relevant, given the possibility of a Greek economic default and the impact it could have on the EMU and the EU as a whole.

EU-Digest 

Greece debt crisis: Tsipras announces bailout referendum

Is the party over for Greece?
Greece will hold a referendum on 5 July on a controversial bailout deal with foreign creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced. 

In a televised address, he described the plan as "humiliation" and condemned "unbearable" austerity measures demanded by creditors.

The Greek government earlier rejected the proposals, aimed at avoiding the country defaulting on its debt.

Greece has to make a €1.5bn ($1.7bn; £1.06bn) IMF debt repayment on 30 June.

In the speech, Mr Tsipras said: "These proposals, which clearly violate the European rules and the basic rights to work, equality and dignity show that the purpose of some of the partners and institutions was not a viable agreement for all parties, but possibly the humiliation of an entire people."

"The people must decide free of any blackmail," he added.

Read more: Greece debt crisis: Tsipras announces bailout referendum - BBC News