Uniting democracies has been the key international political trend of the last hundred years. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.
The United Kingdom has assumed the presidency of the G8, which will meet in Northern Ireland from June 17-18, 2013. Two thematic challenges that the G8 must address are: economic difficulties in developed and developing countries, and violent conflicts that demand the attention of the international community. For more information on this year’s agenda, click here.
Get to know the Irish Presidency of the EU. Ireland will host the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January 1, 2013 until June 30, 2013, the first to hold the presidency in the 2013-2014 trio. Including its current term, Ireland has held the presidency seven times since becoming a Member State in 1973. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of its membership, Ireland hopes its seventh term is as successful in brokering difficult agreements and pushing legislation forward. For background information on its agenda and priorities, click here.
Streit Council Board Member Steve Hanke receives third doctorate, Honoris Causa, at Istanbul Kultur University on April 16, 2012. He served as a Senior Economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, engineered more major currency reforms than any living economist, and has written over 20 books and hundreds of articles on currency reform and currency boards. Hanke currently holds numerous positions, including that of Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. For additional information on Hanke's achievements, click here.
Streit Council Board Member Steve Hanke’s new article “The U.S.A. and Europe: A Graphical Status Report” has been published in the March 2012 issue of GlobeAsia. In this article, Hanke argues that important economic indices are not providing a rosy picture of America’s immediate economic future. He also notes that “what happens in the U.S. and elsewhere will be conditioned by what occurs in Europe” and provides evidence that shows that Europe is headed toward a deflationary slump due to events in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Hanke does note, however, that President Obama’s reelection chances have improved by about 10% since September 2011. To read this article in full, click here.
Streit Council Board Members Steve Hanke and Richard Conn Henry Propose a NEW CALENDAR in an article published in the January 2012 issue of GlobeAsia. In "Changing Times" the authors explore the adoption of a new modern calendar and the use of Universal Time rather than time zones to realize economic benefits such as banks and businesses (if desired) being open at the same time around the world and unambiguous scheduling of conference calls. In addition, the adoption of a modern calendar would allow school, sports and business schedules to be the same every year. To view the proposed Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, click here. To read this article in full, please click here.
The Streit Council is now publishing the Washington Watch, a weekly round-up of events hosted by members of the Washington DC policy and academic community that focus on issues related to transatlantic relations and inter-democracy cooperation. Updated weekly, the Washington Watch provides a listing of local events of interest to the Council and likeminded thinkers.
G20 Summit 2011 - Major Issues and Our Perspective
The next G20 summit will be held in Cannes, France, on November 3rd and 4th, 2011. The Eurozone crisis, unemployment and social unrest, the international monetary system, fluctuating commodity prices, financial regulation, and development are set to rank high on the agenda. Additional details can be found here. For the Streit Council's position on the summit, click here.
Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan’s new article “The War on Terror and Transatlantic Relations” has been published in the September 2011 issue of Atlantisch Perspectief (Atlantic Perspective). In this article, Sloan explores both the unifying and divisive pressures that the War on Terror has placed on transatlantic relations. On balance, he argues that the divisive pressures which the War on Terror has placed on the transatlantic relationship have overshadowed the unifying pressures. This might begin to change, however, now that American public opinion has shifted away from support for the war in Afghanistan and closer to European opinion. To read this article in full, click here.
Paul Findley's new book on U.S. foreign policy - Speaking Out: A Congressman's Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War
In his twenty-two years as an Illinois congressman and in the years since he left office, Paul Findley has fought to eradicate famine, end wars, and eliminate bigotry in U.S. foreign policy. This sweeping political memoir opens with Findley’s early days in rural Pittsfield, Illinois, and chronicles his service during six administrations in Washington. His many accomplishments in Congress include authoring the Famine Prevention Act, coauthoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution, leading agricultural trade missions to the Soviet Union and China, and strongly opposing the Vietnam War. This autobiography is also a no-holds-barred critique of Israel’s lobby and its toll on the national interests of the United States. Few politicians are so openly critical of their government, and Findley’s opinions on what he believes to be disastrous foreign policy provide a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the shaping of these policies in the latter half of the twentieth century. For a preview, click here. Additional information about this book can be found here.
On December 10, 2010, the Free University of Tbilisi awarded Steve H. Hanke, a Professor of Applied Economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a Doctorate of Economics, Honoris Causa for his pioneering work on currency boards and economic reforms in emerging-market countries. On the occasion of this award, Prof. Hanke’s new book, A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari, which he co-authored with his long-time collaborator and former Hopkins post-doctoral fellow Dr. Kurt Schuler, was released. For more information on Steve Hanke’s accolades, click here.
Streit Council Launches New Blog, Streit Talk
The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies is pleased to announce the launch of its new weblog, Streit Talk. This new site is designed to keep you informed on the latest transatlantic news, while offering expert opinion on our core areas of transatlantic study, including economy, energy and environment, security and global governance. Also feel free to interact with our staff and other transatlantic policy watchers in the comments section. You can head over to our new blog by clicking here.
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
Afghanistan Rejects Talks With Taliban and the U.S.
19 June 2013 – New York Times
The Afghan government has rejected talks with the Taliban and suspended talks on a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. that would allow American troops to stay after 2014. President Hamid Karzai has expressed anger over the fact that the Taliban is presenting itself as an alternate to the Western-backed Afghan government by referring to itself as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” He has also insisted that Afghans lead the peace process or the High Peace Council would not participate.
Euro zone single supervision launch may face three-month delay
18 June 2013 - Reuters
The launch of the single supervision mechanism for euro zone banks might be delayed from July to September 2014. The European Central Bank has agreed to take up the supervisory role only 12 months after the relevant laws are passed, as it will need time to set up the new institution. But now, because of scheduling problems involving the German Bundesrat, it appears that the European Parliament will not be able to vote on the legislation until September of this year.
EU-U.S. Trade Pact Hopes Rest on Obama-Merkel
18 June 2013 – The Wall Street Journal
After the formal launch of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and right before President Obama’s visit to Berlin to praise the intrinsic advantages of the agreement, German industry officials warned against the possibility of excluding some industries from the talks. This worries are the result of the cultural exception gained by France, which threatened to block the negotiations if the exclusion was not respected. Meanwhile, a group of 50 demonstrators are protesting in Berlin against the FTA saying that it could cause job losses and lower environmental standards.
Mixed reaction to AV exclusion from EU-U.S. trade agreement
18 June, 2013 – Screen Daily
The exclusion of the audiovisual sector from the U.S.-EU FTA talks elicited a non-uniform reaction from politicians and film-makers. Mr. Éric Garandeau, president of France’s CNC, described the cultural exception as “a historic victory for France, for Europe, for the world.” This was echoed by the European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) network, which called this decision as “well founded.” But EU Trade Commissioner Mr. De Gaucht’s consensus said the exclusion is only provisional.
OECD urges G8 to clamp down on tax evasion
18 June 2013 - BBC
A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calls for globally-applicable laws to combat tax evasion. According to the report, there is currently “unprecedented political support” for an international system of automatic information sharing. To avoid the shifting of funds away from bank accounts, the OECD stressed that exchanges of financial information should also include non-bank assets.
“Taliban is ready to talk peace” with Afghan state: Afghan official
18 June 2013 – Reuters
The Taliban is willing to consider peace talks with the Afghan High Peace Council following secret discussions, according to a senior Afghan official. Previously, the Taliban refused to talk with the Karzai government, which it regards as a “stooge” of the U.S. and Western nations. The announcement came on the same day that the Taliban opened their long-delayed office in Doha, Qatar. It also coincided with a ceremony to mark the beginning of the final phase of the security transition from the U.S.-led coalition to the Afghan state.
Euro zone ministers to discuss bail-in rules in bank rescues
17 June 2013 – Reuters
While working on the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), which establishes the order of losses that will be imposed on people who invested in a failing institutions, Eurozone finance ministers will meet this Thursday to discuss future bank rescues. Four options, described in the BRRD, will be presented, involving the use of EU rules to address failing institutions, the intervention of the EU Commission, the assignment of powers to decide which liabilities should be converted into equity, the composition of the European Stability Mechanism, and the determination of which bank's liabilities would be affected to Eurozone finance ministers.
EU has no respect for democracy says Turkish PM Erdogan
17 June 2013 – Hurriyet Daily News
In response to a resolution criticizing the Turkish government for its actions in opposing protests discussed in the European Parliament, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up his rhetoric against the European Union, calling it "undemocratic." At a series of mass rallies and other speeches, Ergodan stated that the EU, while skeptical of Turkish democratic institutions, continues to ignore ongoing issues in Western Europe. This position has caused more tension between Turkey and EU officials, who declined this week to send a previously announced delegation to Ankara.
U.S.-EU trade deal: how it affects you
17 June 2013 – BBC News
This article lists a variety of impacts that the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may have on individuals families, including shoe prices, gas supplies, and automobile production standards, among others. Because the free trade agreement between the United States and European Union would eliminate longstanding tariffs, many materials whose prices have been artificially raised by import fees would have their prices restored to market levels. The pharmaceutical industry would also be affected, with doctors able to prescribe new drugs that faced tough and expensive processes for approval previously.
Scottish independence: MEP claim over Scotland/EU
17 June 2013 – Scotsman
Scottish hopes for an easy transition into the European Union after potential independence from the United Kingdom in an upcoming referendum were dashed by Spanish and French representatives. Scotland, whose government wishes to keep Schengen Agreement
exemptions, the pound, and other opt-out factors available to Great Britain, found opposition from MEPs who called these expectations a “pure fantasy,” in line with other criticisms of desires for “Europe a la carte.”
EU-U.S. trade talks launched amidst French fury with Brussels
17 June 2013 – Financial Times
Today, President Obama and European leaders officially launched talks for an EU-U.S. free trade agreement. The agreement, to be concluded within two years, would cover half of the world’s economy and is expected to boost economic growth and job creation without increasing budget deficits. It could also improve transatlantic relations at a time when the U.S. is shifting its strategic focus to Asia, and allow the EU and the U.S. to set standards for the global economy. France, however, is still refusing to include audio-visual services in the negotiations.
Press Release: The U.S. and the entire EU would significantly benefit from a transatlantic free trade agreement
17 June 2013 - The Wall Street Journal
According to a recent Ifo Institute study, a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union would significantly benefit all nations party to the agreement. The key to large economic gains, however, is the removal of not only tariffs, but also non-tariff barriers to trade – such as quality standards, labeling requirements, and subsidies. According to the calculations, long-term domestic growth would be greatest in the U.S., but the UK and southern Europe would also see above-average gains.
France finally backs EU-U.S. trade talks
17 June 2013 – The Journal of Turkish weekly
Fellow EU members agreed to exclude the audio visual sector from the free trade agreement negotiations between the EU and the U.S. France, which refused to join the other 26 countries if movies and online entertainment were not taken off the negotiating table, finally cleared the EU to launch talks. With a mandate agreed by the 27 nations, European leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama are expected to use the G8 summit in Northern Ireland to launch negotiations.
EU, U.S. Focus on Launch of Trade Talks as G8 Leaders Meet
16 June 2013 – The Wall Street Journal
Before the formal G8 meeting begins, UK Prime Minister David Cameron will meet President Obama, the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and the European Council and Commission, to discuss the potential U.S.-EU trade deal. Talks for the agreement that could be worth billions of dollars to both sides are expected to be formally launched at the G8 meeting that will be held this Monday and Tuesday in Northern Ireland. Other issues in Mr. Cameron’s agenda are promoting global growth, fighting tax evasion, and increasing corporate transparency.
IMF says risks to successful Portugal bailout still high
13 June 2013 - Reuters
The International Monetary Fund announced on Wednesday that Lisbon met the latest targets in its bailout plan and will receive the next tranche of 657 million euros. However, in Thursday’s staff report it also expressed concern that political and social support for the bailout was weakening. With public debt in Portugal now expected to peak at nearly 124 percent of GDP in 2014, the IMF described the situation as “very fragile.”
Cameron plea on U.S.-EU trade deal
13 June 2013 - Shropshire Star
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is hoping that U.S.–EU free trade agreement talks will be formally launched at next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland. The start of negotiations for the agreement, expected to be worth £85 billion, depends for the most part on France, which threatened to block them if the so-called “exception culturelle” is not be respected. For Cameron, another priority will be to conclude an international deal on tax havens.
EU not trying to weaken U.S. financial services rules: aide
13 June, 2013 – Reuters
Peter Kerstens, a counselor at the European Commission's office in Washington, highlighted on Thursday that the EU does not aim to deregulate financial markets by including its regulation in the EU-U.S. FTA talks. In response to U.S. officials’ concern, he added that EU has already cracked down financial regulations after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. President Obama and EU officials are expected to start the first round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the G8 summit that will be held next week in Northern Ireland.
Germany Sees Immigration Surge From Southern Europe Amid Crisis
13 June 2013 - Bloomberg News
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported today that inflows of southern Europeans into Germany nearly doubled in 2011. The trend continued into 2012. Data from the first three quarters of last year show that inflows into Germany from Italy increased by 38 percent, while Spain (nearly 50 percent) and Greece (64 percent) recorded even greater increases.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Pakistan this month
13 June 2013 – Express Tribune
John Kerry is set to visit Pakistan in the last week of June, according to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry. It will be Kerry’s first visit since taking office and also the most senior foreign visit since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister. Relations between the two countries have been strained, most recently because of U.S. drone strikes targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives in northwest Pakistan. Kerry has defended the strikes, while Sharif has called for them to end.
Launch of U.S.-EU trade talks may be hitting snag
13 June 2013 – Associated Press
The start of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, expected to boost the economies on both sides of the Atlantic, is threatened once again by France, which is calling for the audiovisual sector to be taken off the negotiating table. The French threat, added to the leak about a secret U.S. surveillance programs, might postpone the start of talks scheduled for next week when President Obama meets with European leaders at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Euro zone industrial output shows surprise rise in April
12 June 2013 – Reuters
Eurostata data show that industrial output from Eurozone factories rose unexpectedly by 0.4% in April, while economists had foreseen a 0.2% fall. This data looks encouraging, but the Eurozone economy remains characterized by slow growth, high unemployment and growing debt - especially in some countries like Italy, which showed a third consecutive monthly decline. The ECB left the interest rates very low, and gave its forecast for the Eurozone economy, saying that it would shrink 0.6% in 2013 and grow again by 1.1% in 2014.
ECB's eurozone rescue scheme challenged in Germany
12 June 2013 – BBC News
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has started hearings on the legality of Mario Draghi's bond buying programme to alleviate pressure on Eurozone nations, a strategy opposed by the German Bundesbank as it is believed to lower the solvency risk premiums of individual countries. German ECB member Joerg Asmussen said the policy was within the ECB’s mandate, and that countries receiving help would have to sign up to a program of tighter discipline. The Constitutional Court, after today’s and tomorrow’s hearings, will take some months to decide if Eurozone's bailout system is legal.
U.S. General Dunford: “Fight for Afghan rights not over”
12 June 2013 – BBC News
General Joseph Dunford, head of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), has warned that the end of combat operations in 2014 could threaten democratic progress. NATO combat troops are scheduled to leave by the end of next year. Gen Dunford has praised the improving capabilities of Afghan force but stressed the necessity of talking with the Taliban. He also noted that they are not the only enemies, as many criminal groups have joined the complex insurgency.
France threatens veto of EU-U.S. trade deal
11 June, 2013 – Bloomberg Businessweek
French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq is calling for the so-called “cultural exception,” which implies the exclusion of the audiovisual sector from FTA negotiations to safeguard cultural products which are defined as a sign of European identity. The last draft of the negotiating mandate that will be presented to EU ministers this Friday still contains audiovisual sector, arousing concerns among European actors, writers and film directors. Even though EU culture ministers in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy agree with this exclusion, Minister Bricq is concerned that other nations will not go as far as France to block the negotiation if these conditions are not respected.
OECD says: “UK is back in growth”
10 June 2013 - Management Today
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the data for April of this year shows not only the UK, but also the Eurozone demonstrating growth just slightly above the projected trend. Despite less optimistic forecasts from the IMF and OECD in previous weeks, the most recent data may give some weight to Francois Hollande’s remark that the European debt crisis is over.
EU-U.S. free trade deal threatens public interest and democracy
10 June 2013 – Public Service Europe
A draft version of the EU-U.S. FTA negotiation mandate, expected to be signed this Friday, seems to allow American companies investing in EU (and EU companies investing in U.S.) to resort to international tribunals whenever they find that particular laws about environmental or social protection could impair their profits. This chapter of the mandate could lead companies to start investor-state claims via their affiliates abroad in order to force their own governments to refrain from regulations they dislike. These procedures could reduce the power governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
Prism scandal: European commission to seek privacy guarantees from U.S.
10 June 2013 – The Guardian
Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, will meet U.S. officials in Dublin on June 13-14 to personal data and privacy protection of EU citizens after the PRISM scandal. The worries of the Commissioner represent those of the entire Commission, which has raised concerns about privacy and data protection in its FTA talks with the U.S. Mina Andreeva, the Commissioner's spokeswoman, said that national security is very important for member states, but at the same time, protection of personal data is a fundamental right.
German Govt Softens Line on Stricter EU Emissions Limits – Source
10 June 2013 – Wall Street Journal
Germany has announced a compromise plan concerning emissions standards for car makers, allowing competitiveness to thrive within a major sector of the German economy. The plan calls for an allowances scheme, wherein the production of low carbon-producing vehicles will be able to offset the manufacturing of automobiles not meeting the European Parliament’s planned 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer standard. Although some evidence suggests that this compromise was well-received, some are more skeptical of its passage.
U.S. data scandal deepens EU-U.S. divide on privacy
10 June 2013 – EurActiv
The reported existence of a U.S. online surveillance tactic called Prism, that involves NSA and FBI access to the central servers of big internet companies like Google and Facebook, aroused the anger of Europeans. This “scoop” confirmed the worst fears of EU about privacy data held on U.S. servers, and happened at the most delicate moment of EU and U.S. talks for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The justice minister of the German state of Hesse, Joerg-Uwe Hahn, proposed to boycott the companies involved.
The Euro Zone's 2nd Chance to Clean Up Banks
9 June 2013 - New York Times
The European Central Bank is planning to carry out a second stress test of Europe’s 140 largest banks. Concerns abound, however, as to how the test will be conducted and who will provide a safety net for troubled banks. The first stress test is widely viewed as a failure, having resulted in asset sales and reduced lending that further hindered economic growth.
Data spying scandal threatens EU-U.S. trade talks
9 June 2013 – The Financial Times
The recent data spying scandal in the U.S. could threaten upcoming trade talks with the EU, according to certain European Union sources. With negotiations coming up, many critical European politicians have focused on the stricter data protection standards held by the European Union, noting the difficulties in passing an agreement if these, as well as cultural subsidies, are not addressed. Data storage systems, preferred to be local by U.S. small businesses in opposition to the centralized storage plan in the EU, will be one of the major discussions when planning for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership begins later this month.
EU Libor plan that ends era of self-regulation
6 June 2013 - Financial Times
On the heels of the recent rate-rigging scandal in London, the European Commission has drafted legislation that would hand oversight of Libor to an EU markets watchdog based in France. There is some concern, however, that stringent rules and legal liabilities might discourage participation in the price reporting process. Such fears are clearly warranted, given that six banks have already left the panel that sets Euribor, the Brussels-based interbank lending rate. Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, believes Libor and Euribor should be replaced.
EU-U.S. trade deal could boost North West exports
6 June 2013 – Bdaily
According to Kenneth Clarke, the UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will spur economic growth in the northwest of the country, given the high exports flow which reached £5.9bn in the first quarter of 2013. The U.S.–EU deal, expected to materialize in the next two years, is an opportunity to boost the economy on both sides of the Atlantic, and it is supposed to bring a 1.3% increase in UK exports, said Mr. Clarke.
EU Hits Back at IMF Report
6 June 2013 - The Wall Street Journal
In a report released on Wednesday, the IMF acknowledged that it misjudged the effect that austerity measures would have on the Greek economy, which now finds itself in its sixth consecutive year of recession. The IMF report also accused the European Commission of neglecting structural reforms and concluded that Greece should have restructured its debt before May 2012. Speaking on behalf of chief economist Olli Rehn, Simon O’Connor told reporters that the European Commission “fundamentally disagrees” with the IMF report and said that the commission will prepare its own retrospective report.
Centre-right MEPs take aim at report on Hungary
6 June 2013 – European Voice
A European Parliament report drafted by a left wing MEP from Portugal against the center-right Fidesz government of Hungary has raised controversy over potential civil liberties violations by the government. European People’s Party allies have been quick to defend their Hungarian ally against allegations, but liberals have discussed disciplining Hungary for the purported violations as authorized under the EU treaty. Fidesz, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has a supermajority in the Hungarian Parliament and has been able to amend the constitution at will, sparking concerns that the party has undermined the rule of law.
Euro zone GDP contraction slows in first quarter, April retail sales worse than forecast
5 Jun 2013 – Reuters
Eurozone data for the first quarter of 2013 published on Wednesday shows a GDP contraction of 0.2% for the 17 countries of the Eurozone, after the 0.6% fall in the previous quarter. April retail sales data, used as a proxy for consumer demand, fell more than expected due, according to some EU economists, to the high unemployment rate. EUROSTAT statistics also show that exports contributed positively to GDP, but not sufficiently to outweigh the fall in consumption and investment.
Anti-EU Sentiment Increases as Britons Demand Exit, Poll Shows
5 June 2013 – Bloomberg
A poll conducted by Gallup shows that the anti-EU sentiment spurred by the referendum proposal could strengthen nationalist candidates ahead of next year’s European Parliament elections. Gallup’s statistics showed that 55% in the UK would vote to leave EU, while in France the 62% would vote to stay in.
U.S., EU accuse Iran of nuclear defiance, worried about Tehran’s plutonium-producing reactor
5 June 2013 – Washington Post
United States and European Union officials have publicly condemned Iran for its nuclear program, accusing it of defying international agreements. Specifically, Iran has been targeted for its continued plans for a plutonium reactor, an instrument which can be utilized to arm nuclear weapons. While the IAEA has previously investigated Iran for potentially violating international nuclear treaties, the investigation is currently stalled, and a new analysis of blueprints and footage from the structure would need to be conducted in order to make a final determination.
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif urges end to U.S. drone strikes
5 June 2013 – BBC News
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an end to U.S. drone strikes in his first address since being reelected. He told MPs that it was necessary to work out a joint strategy with the U.S. on ending drone strikes, which Washington regards as a vital weapon but Pakistan sees as an affront to its sovereignty. Sharif has also been in favor of talks with the Pakistani Taliban but may now come around to the army’s view that the only option is to fight jihadis who attack domestic targets.
UPDATE: IMF's Lagarde: Global Economy May Be Entering “Softer Patch”
4 June 2013 - The Wall Street Journal
At a Brookings Institution event on Tuesday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that, following downgrades to both Germany and France, the IMF would likely downgrade its growth forecast for the entire Eurozone. Ms. Lagarde is particularly concerned about credit problems that are holding back the growth of small to medium-sized firms in the euro area and stressed the need to “sanitize” the Eurozone banking system. “The euro-area economy is still stuck in low gear," she said.
Union leaders question proposed U.S.-Europe “free trade” pact
4 June 2013 – People’s world
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the head of the European Trade Union Confederation Bernadette Segol agreed, after their meeting in Paris, that the new Free Trade and Investment Partnership between EU and U.S. must include enforceable worker rights. Trumka expressed concerns that multinationals could take advantage of the little worker protection present in some EU nations by shifting jobs from the U.S. to those countries.
EU Parliament to Delay Vote on Fund Manager Bonus Rules
4 June 2013, Bloomberg News
European Parliament lawmakers decided to postpone the vote on rules to limit bank managers’ bonuses. The actual draft implies a maximum bonus of not more than twice the fixed salary and a crackdown on performance fees. European asset-management companies are worried that this proposal could provoke a war for their best-performing employees, making the industry more vulnerable during a recession. The UK Conservative lawmaker representing London in the European Parliament, Syed Kamall, said that these rules are not fair as they will not allow asset managers to get fees and bonuses reflecting their performance.
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