Posts tagged ‘European Commission’

June 6, 2011

European Union’s own public expenditure goes up by a staggering 5% in 2012 whilst it orders member states to put theirs in reverse

[Tammy Jones, UK Financial News Contributor]

In a gesture, breathtaking by its sheer slime-oozing texture, MailOnline reports that UK Tax Minister, George Osborne, joined the ranks of the EU slithering elite which are bringing the economy of Britain to a shuddering halt, by pronouncing that the government’s austerity measures imposed by the IMF and the EU in return for the country’s bailout loans are: ‘essential’ for Britain’s recovery.

The Tax Minister’s pronouncement spawns from the emptiness of the IMF and EU’s failure to produce any model for austerity measures (which essentially entail a dramatic cessation in public spending) ever bringing back any country in Europe from ruin to prosperity, coupled with the PIGS countries clear inability to not only sustain any kind of prolonged public expenditure cuts, but now clearly to pay back their bailouts.

And in a dramatic failure to lead from the front on public expenditure cuts, whilst the EU Commissioners are so busy championing ‘austerity measures’ to member states, they are in shopping mode with member states’ taxpayer’s contributions as the EU’s own public spending/ administration costs are set to go up by 5% in 2012.

As such, the clear-cut strategy for the EU Commissioners seems to be:-

a) transfer public spending from member states to the EU (which has never been audited)
b) EU Commissioners will then control and eventually dominate all member states
c) member states, via economic and political union, become ‘prefectures’/ ‘regions’ of the European Union.

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May 18, 2011

European Union Commissioners passed secret emergency law to increase radiation contamination in food to 20 times higher than before

[BRUSSELS: Becky Griffiths, Food Safety Contributor]

On 27th March, the European Union Commissioners secretly implemented Emergency Ordinance 297/2011 which upped the amount of permitted radioactive contamination in food to more that 20 times higher than the previous standard.

Such laws are designed to prevent food shortages in Europe during nuclear emergency situations.  However, this one was directed towards Japan to aid its food export trade which has been severely damaged by the Fukushima disaster which has resulted in high levels of radioactive contamination in most of Japan which now has spread worldwide.

Before the secret law was implemented, a maximum of 600 becquerels of radioactivity (cesium 134 and cesium 137) per kilogram had been permitted.  However, the law had permitted food supplies from Japan recording more than 12,500 becquerels per kilogram to be safe for importation and consumption in Europe.  Emergency Ordinance 297/2011 is still in force.

It was the valiant effort of the European foreign news agencies like Kopp Online and Xander News which had alerted the public to the Commissioners’ secret “emergency” law which had gone ahead without informing members of the public and which had not been directed towards the safety of Europeans, but for the convenience of a sovereign foreign power.

Due to the anger emanating from ordinary people living in Europe over the secret law when there appeared to be no threat to food in Europe from the Fukushima disaster and following intense lobbying from consumer safety groups, such as Food Watch, the European Commission has revised its policy and is now applying more stringent limits:-

Friday, 8 April 2011:  most foods from Japan cesium values ​​are allowed up to 500 becquerels per kilogram down from the Emergency Ordinance’s 600 to 12,500 becquerels per kilogram;

Update 14th April 2011:  Commissioners announce the radiation limits again to be moved downward – see implementing Regulation 351/2011 and Annex.

In the meantime, the US Department of Energy has recently reported that the radioactive contamination situation in Japan is severe and getting worse. Over 800 square kilometers of the area surrounding the Fukushima plant is now heavily contaminated with cesium and deadly plutonium. The Pacific ocean is also seriously contaminated and high radioactive readings have been reported in food and water in France, other European countries, China and the USA.  Read more…..

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April 23, 2011

European Union’s EUR500m foreign public spending grants

[Anne Marwick, EU Finance & Economy Contributor]

Whilst the ‘bailout’ funds injected by the EU into their failing member states’ economies during the financial crisis will need to be paid back by them and in the meantime, their public spending programs remain severely restricted by the EU, the EU has  committed more than EUR 500m in free grants to foreign states to boost the foreign countries’ public spending programs.

As a result, the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) countries and others in the European Union like Latvia, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, struggling to keep their citizens from dire straits during the financial crisis as a result of the EU’s clampdown on their public spending, are becoming increasingly angry over the EU’s public spending double standards.

New Europe reports that the European Commission is to spend more than €500 million in non-repayable grants  under its Vulnerability FLEX mechanism which is a program for helping African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries  deal with the effects of the global financial crisis. The funds are targeted as assisting the countries to maintain their public spending programs.  Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development said: “Developing countries continue to face important difficulties, including funding gaps in their government’s budgets, as a direct consequence of the global financial crisis. This year, this EU mechanism will help 19 ACP countries maintain their level of public spending in priority areas, and therefore mitigate the social impact of the economic downturn”.

The countries that have benefited from the program so far include:  Benin, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Malawi, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Island, and Zambia.

In addition, Dominica Central Newspaper reported last week that the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) received over €32 million from the European Union to assist governments in developing the private sector in CARIFORUM countries.

Analysts are asking that if the EU, by its foreign grants program policy, like the IMF, recognises that a country’s public spending is vital to its economic recovery, it is not logical, nor financially viable for the member states in the long run  for it to require  them to enforce austerity measures in their public spending programs.

April 7, 2011

As for Ireland, EU Commissioners warn Portugal that democracy must wait

[Robert van Dijk, EU News Contributor]

EUOBSERVER: The European Commission says that Portugal‘s caretaker government is able to bind the country in its negotiation of a bail-out package and the resulting impositions of stark austerity and economic reshaping programs.

However, the caretaker government is disputing this as its spokesman, Pedro Silva Pereira, announced that it would not be commiting the country to any long-term goals.  But, EU Economy spokesperson, Amadeu Altafaj, is reported to have insisted: Democratic legitimacy? It’s not necessary. Apparently they had some mandate when they made the request last night. So if they were empowered last night to make the request, they are empowered to progress with negotiations…..they simply cannot wait”.

Analysts are saying that following the Portuguese government‘s resignation on 23 March, a temporary caretaker administration does not really have the legitimacy to negotiate and agree such wide-ranging changes to the economy of the country. In addition,  bearing in mind the experience of Greece and Ireland, the Portuguese are frightened of what the future will hold for them if they accept the pressured bailout measures which could amount to an injection of over EUR 90 billion into the economy.

The EU Commissioners have said that the new government that will be in place after the June elections will not be able to change any aspects of the bailout plan, nor can a temporary bailout be agreed pending validation by the new government.  According to EU Observer, Mr Altafaj said:

“It’s not their programme any more. It’s ours …..it’s being negotiated with the EU. Now we’re negotiating it together. It’s our programme as well. It’s not the same as Socrates’ programme of a few weeks ago”.

However, EU Observer reports that according to Andre Freire, a political scientist from Lisbon University Institute, the caretaker government can only sign a temporary agreement under emergency powers, but cannot bind the country to it long term:  “The problem the caretaker government has is not a constitutional one. It’s a transitory government and they have transitory powers …..it is an extreme situation because of the downgrades and so on, so they certainly have the power to take action in this emergency…the problem is that they have no political support to sign an agreement for more than one month or three months or something like that…any long-term agreement should be left open for the incoming government to change”.

Interesting times are ahead, it seems, for Portugal and the Commissioners.

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April 5, 2011

Microsoft sues Google

[Lauren Stalford, Technology Contributor]

GMA News: Software giant, Microsoft, which had been in trouble with the European Union (‘EU’) for monopolistic strategies, is taking all that out on Google in the EU now, which it is accusing of ‘search biasing’.

Analysts are saying that the timing for the lawsuit is to do with Microsoft’s difficulty in improving its market share despite its huge and expensive efforts to popularize  the Bing search engine, which it owns. Development work for Bing is reputed to have cost it over 1 billion USD.

However, that Google is agressively ‘optimising’ its search results, it may have a case according to Mike Davis of Ovum who explains that 97 % of Google’s income is from Internet advertising. He says though that Microsoft has been doing the same thing with Bing which he suggests merely replicates search results on Google.  According to him, despite an EU ruling on the case, the war between the rivals is set to go on.

March 30, 2011

Public Spending Cut-backs in Europe, but EU Invests in the Caribbean

[John Besic, EU Affairs Contributor]

According to a report by Dominica Central Newspaper, the Dominica Water & Sewage Co ltd (Dowasco) with part-funding from the European Union, is forecasting that 2011 will be a very good year for it.  Water storage and distribution projects throughout the island are being funded in the region of some EC$30 million of which a significant part is being provided by the European Union.   However, these kinds of investments by the EU, outside Europe, when it is calling for its member states to exercise austerity in public spending, are bound to provoke controversy among EU citizens feeling the pinch of the prevailing bad times.

With mass protests taking place in London in recent weeks about the country’s EU-imposed austerity program, should the EU be continuing to invest outside Europe even at times when it is ‘bailing’ out its member states in dire financial difficulty and insisting on sharp reductions in public spending in member states which are impacting severely on EU citizens?  Also, as the EU in its history has never passed any public audit of its finances, what are the implications for transparency in respect to the donors of the funds invested by the EU?

March 29, 2011

Under the noses of Europeans – a creeping and sinister menace

Click on the picture to play the video

[Jooles Klines, EU Affairs Contributor]

MEP and UK Independence Party Leader, Nigel Farage, on the warpath again with the bureaucrats of the European Union. He accuses the drivers of the governmental system to be ‘dangerous people’ who are driving their dream of an integrated Europe at the expense of the ordinary masses.

‘Who the hell are you people?  Who do you think you are? – he says passionately to the blank, empty faces of the onlooking bureaucrats, “…to dictate to (a sovereign state) Ireland when it should have a general election?”.

A wonderful and inspiring performance by this shining light of democratic freedom of the European people. Watch the video and make up your mind. But if you liked the concept of the EU before watching it, you will not be the same after – guaranteed!

March 29, 2011

Shocking controversy in European Union’s employment policy

Click on the picture to view the video

[Jooles Klines, EU Affairs Contributor]

Many are becoming increasingly concerned about the double standards obtaining in the European Union’s employment policies.

That is because, whilst it is impossible to get a job in the European Commission if you have a criminal record, this does not seem to apply to the EU’s Commissioners, most of whom appear to have criminal records, or censures for fraud or misconduct in their previous offices.

The Commissioners are the power behind the EU as they initiate EU legislation, pass it and enforce it. However, they are unelected and unrepresentative of all EU citizens.

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party gives a summary of the not-so-squeaky-clean resumes of the EU Commissioners. This account is not for the squeamish, or easily offended – you have been warned!

March 26, 2011

European Union to underwrite project funding risks

European law firm Eversheds reports that in February 2011 the European Commission started an open discussions about supporting commercial projects of long-term returns in Member States, by sharing the risks with the major investors and insurance companies involved and thus help the hard-hit by the financial crisis investment market get back on track.

The initiative is planned to attract private funders as well, by developing a special cash-return system, whereby  investors’ claims will be satisfied before those of  shareholders.

The plan is attractive to both sides in investment events as: 1) investors will have more confidence in getting their money  back and their own credit ratings; 2) whilst applicants for funding will get more interest from funders as the EU will underwrite their project’s risks.

However, not all project funding applicants will be able to count on benefitting from the scheme as preference will be given to the best projects which will be mainly in the energy and contruction field. To qualify, the projects will need to present sound economic and technical footings together with advantageous long-term returns.

[EU and Financial News Contributor]

March 10, 2011

EU Commission steamrollers in EU patent despite adverse court ruling

EU Observer reports that despite the recent adverse rulings of the European Court of Justice on the matter, the European Commission is steamrollering in its plans for a single EU patent.

The Commission’s plan to save costs and unify national patent standards by creating a single European patent had been met with a stony response from EU member states right from the start.  Spain and Italy, concerned about their patents being discriminated against from the other member states on a language basis,  had rejected the idea.  All the more, in its judgment the European Court of Justice had supported the widely-held concerns among member states concerning unfair competition from outsiders, particularly because the Commission’s plans included joining in Switzerland, Turkey and a number of other countries outside the EU.

According to the ruling, ‘the agreement would alter the essential character of the powers conferred on the institutions of the European Union and on the member states,’ to which the Commission replied with an equivocal “now that the opinion is available, the commission will analyse it very carefully with a view to identifying appropriate solutions”. In the meantime, Zoltán Cséfalvay on behalf of the EU Presiding State of Hungary, made it clear that notwithstanding the decision the ‘work will continue’.

[European Affairs Contributor]