Into the Fire sends a powerful message about the xenophobia and violence faced by immigrants in Greece struggling to survive against steep odds. A large percentage were driven to seek asylum not as a matter of choice but because of war and other problems in their countries of origin. Many have been forced to live on the street with no legal papers. Too often they are targets of harassment and physical assault, not only by fascist thugs linked to the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn but even in some cases by police who have been filmed either actively participating in attacks on (Read more…)
The European Union has banned the selling of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. This will make the lives of many animals better and may encourage innovations in cosmetic testing .
The ban applies to all new cosmetics and their ingredients sold in the EU, regardless of where in the world testing on animals was carried out.
The 27 EU countries have had a ban on such tests in place since 2009. But the EU Commission is now asking the EU’s trading partners to do the same.
Read more at the BBC.
Merkel and dominoes …
One of the fascinating things about high level crises like the eurozone one, is the role played by the men and women who have the power or lack the power to influence events. And the key person in the past five years or so is a woman some nicknamed The Iron Lady – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Der Spiegel has a fascinating article describing her practical approach to the eurozine crisis, which includes this:
For months, Merkel wavered over whether or not Greece should remain in the euro zone. As recently as summer, she couldn’t decide
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory
United States of Europe?
Financial integration is one major step along the road towards eventual political integration into one massive new federal state, the USE (United States of Europe), and yesterday a significant move was made in this direction: Europe’s finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.
The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks. But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe
According to Internet freedom group European Digital Rights, provisions that would criminalize our Internet use may be dropped from the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA)! While the battle isn’t… . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: European Parliament Opposes Restrictive Measures in Both CETA and ITU
The European Union
A struggle for the future of Europe is being waged right now by the politicians of the EU.
Most of the fighting is being done by the leaders of France, Germany and Britain (the Big Three of Europe), with the other medium sized states putting the boot in every now and then but largely shouting encouragement from the sidelines. The big battle that is shaping up is over the contours of the future Europe. Germany: A tighter Union or Else: And the issue has been framed as a choice between two stark contracts: a move towards . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?
Despite all the hype in much of the Canadian media about this Harper-Merkel meeting featuring Canada-EU trade talks, the Germans are playing it right down: Mr. Jürgens said he doesn’t expect Mr. Harper and Ms. Merkel to have much detailed discussion about the ongoing trade talks between Canada and the European Union. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was briefly touched upon, but it definitely is a thing that belongs to a multilateral arena and is not of main interest if you have bilateral talks,” he said. “We cannot talk for 26 other countries, that’s kind of the mandate
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: The German view of the Harper-Merkel bunfest
At last we see a serious move in Europe to start the much needed process of reining in the many useless financial transactions that are part of the unregulated morass that landed us in the 2008 financial meltdown. James Tobin
Hollande’s first budget is introducing a Tobin tax on trading and swap transactions:
The 0.2 percent tax, loosely modeled on the ideas of the U.S. economist James Tobin, will be applied to the purchase of shares in 109 French companies with market capitalizations of more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). A similar levy will be . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: President Hollande of France leads the way with a Tobin tax
Whenever social and economic crises develop, those in power always try to blame somebody else. For example, what caused the recession in the U.S. in 2008? Simple, it was the selfish poor who had the gall to think that they could afford to own their own homes. (And don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain, aka Wall Street).
It’s the same kind of lie told about Greece today. Supposedly, the problem is that Greeks are lazy and spoiled by an elaborate and unaffordable welfare system. (The tone is sometimes close to racist.) The solution, therefore,
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Blaming the People
From democracy to banking, Europe has launched institutions that have shaped the world; with its recent financial crisis, Europe might be about to do it again.
The European financial crisis is only giving further legitimacy and urgency to greater European political integration. It is argued that with many economies dependent on each other, with a shared currency and shared markets, political decisions regarding spending and financial regulations need to be centralized or at least centrally moderated.
But if that argument has force, it stands to reason that a world financial crisis could justify a similar system of political integration, only
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Europe’s Export of Political Integration
It’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good, and the eurozone euro crisis is not such a wind, it seems. Having taken major steps in past decades to set up the European Union, including the euro and eurozone, the European states are now being asked to take a giant leap forward. European authorities have unveiled their vision for the future, which gives them much greater powers. It includes the creation of a European treasury, which would have powers over national budgets… The 10-year plan is designed to strengthen the eurozone and prevent future crises, but critics say it will . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The New Roadmap to The United States of Europe (USE)
This is audio from an interview Mulcair did with Michael Enright on CBC radio this weekend where the eurozone financial crisis came up:
That is a brief excerpt but I think it might indicate that the Conservative p.r. effort on Europe against the NDP may have worked. Mulcair mocks the Conservatives as having made the question of contributing to the IMF funds into a domestic partisan political game, rightly so. But he nevertheless refuses to take a position on it by stating it’s not about a “bailout,” it’s about being at the table. A central question though, of the
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Mulcair on the euro crisis
Yeah they did: “Tories made a ‘major mistake’ in their approach to the euro crisis, Paul Martin says.” “The major mistake that the government has made is the way that it’s characterized this,” Mr. Martin said.
“The role of the G20 is to strengthen the financial institutions and the other global institutions that exist. And so, for Canada to turn its back on the IMF when the IMF is saying ‘we want more money, not simply for Europe, we want to be able to deal with the huge imbalances that exist around the world,’ I think that was a
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: You go, Paul Martin
From the “Today’s Must Reads” on the Globe’s Politics page, an op-ed from Conservative Senator and former Harper campaign chair Doug Finley with a familiar refrain: “Europe needs to take responsibility for its own mistakes.” This is what we’ve been hearing from the PM, from Jim Flaherty and various other government supporters. It is interesting that they feel the need to keep saying it.
So what does Senator Finley have to add to the conversation? Well, not unexpectedly, he punches back at European Commissioner José Manuel Barroso who got a lot of attention in Canadian media this week when
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: More Europe bashing from the Harper crew
The IMF released this table at the end of the G20 yesterday showing pledges received over the past few months by countries around the world to increase IMF resources:
That’s quite a list. 37 countries including 15 of the G20 have now contributed to the IMF fund seeking to build resources at a time of great Eurozone financial uncertainty. A bunch of nations made their contributions at this G20 meeting. As we know, Canada has not contributed and that position was not widely followed among the leading nations of the world.
We also know that the Harper government has made
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: The world ponies up to the IMF
Well this seems to have gone well, what with the takeaway platitudes of agreement between Hollande and Harper about the need for growth and for there to be stability in order to have growth.
But wait! “After Harper meets socialist president, Tories take ‘sumptuous’ Europe to task.” Well, I’m sure the French ambassador to Canada wouldn’t have taken offence to the good cop-bad cop two step thing the Conservatives had going on yesterday. Do these ambassador types ever notice such things anyway? Then relay such comments back to the mother ship?
Let’s ask the German one. Ouf.
A few thoughts on the big interview last night between Harper and Peter Mansbridge on the National…
This interview seemed to have two parts to it. The primary focus was Europe, as it rightly should be. This took up more than half the interview. The European situation is a reflection of the years we’re living in. We’re in post-2008/2009 recession times that, as Harper notes, are turning toward recession once more. What happens in Europe in the near future could shock the world economies again. There’s a good analysis in the New York Times today on what could happen in
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: The Harper interview
…that the European Union is dead… Or at best, on life-support. Discuss. Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario
Thank heavens for democracy!
In a world taken to the brink of financial implosion because of lax regulations of financial institutions, incompetence of regulatory authorities, pure greed on the part of the stakeholders in our investment banking industries (banks, merchant banks, regulatory agencies, regulatory authorities, lawyers, auditors and the like) and politicians effectively bought by the financial industry (in the USA especially, and to a slightly lesser extent in the UK), and a reluctance by politicians to buck the system and institute proper reforms, the voters in France and Greece have taken a stand. They have said No to . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Eurozone: The coming New Deal
The reason is that France seems destined for a new Socialist President this Sunday, replacing the feisty Sarkozy, and dramatically changing the permissible dialogue in every capital of every democratic country in the world, as thisarticle explains: Sarkozy and the other Hooverites
The French Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, challenging outgoing right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy, leads in the opinion polls and has made the emphasis on growth a central campaign policy. This, analysts say, puts Hollande in a strong position as austerity fatigue takes hold in countries worst hit by the debt crisis and as calls grow for action on . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: French Presidential election holds out hope for millions of Europeans
Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl warns today’s crop of European leaders not to forget the lessons of Europe’s bloody past.
“The current discussion in Europe and the crisis in Greece mustn’t lead us to lose sight of or even question or retreat from the goal of a united Europe,” Kohl wrote in a guest commentary published in Germany’s best-selling daily, Bild, on Tuesday.
Kohl repeated his mantra that the euro was about nothing less than preventing war. That view, he argued, still applied despite the decades of peace Europe has enjoyed. “The evil spirits of the past
. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Europe Remains "A Question of War and Peace"
(Found this on Google but no attribution. Looks like Montreal Simon’s work, though.)
Harper has served notice on seniors, potheads, the youth, internet users, the environment, scientists and just about every other group not profitable to his party. Now, he’s threatened to go to war with the EU over nomenclature.
Canada has threatened a trade war with European Union over the bloc’s plan to
Being a chicken who’s sole purpose is egg-laying can be hard because of the horrible living conditions. Too many animals, in this case chickens, are held in enclosures that don’t allow for movement. This is starting to change for chickens in Europe as they have now been granted better enclosures thanks to some ethical activists!
On the first day of 2012, keeping hens in such cages became illegal, in all 27 countries of the European Union. Hens can still be kept in cages, but they must have more space, and the cages must have nest boxes and a scratching post.
. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Victory for Chickens in Europe