In this chapter looking on the year that Latvia officially adopted the euro as its currency becoming the 18th member of the Eurozone we could see in the West that more people did not manage any more to come around with their income from their wages.
According to the World Bank published 2014 global poverty figures, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.25) has declined by 60% from 1990 to 2011, and now stands at 1 billion (down from 1.9 billion). As a percentage of the entire global population, this is down from 36% in 1990 to 14.5% in 2011. Currently, of the 26 countries where the rate of extreme poverty is over 40%, only two are NOT in sub-Saharan Africa.
2015 will be a crucial crossroad in the fight against extreme poverty. The world will agree to a new set of sustainable development goals. Over the last 20 years, extreme poverty has been reduced by half. If we take action next year, we can eliminate it in just 15 years and ensure no one is left behind.
But to achieve this, we need an equally ambitious financing strategy that delivers for the world’s poorest. While the effective mobilisation of all resources will be important, smart aid will be particularly crucial for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.
The 48 least-developed countries (LDCs) are the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world. They comprise more than 880 million people, but account for less than 2% of the world’s economic growth. Almost half of the population in LDCs live with less than $1.25 a day.
These countries are in vital need of development assistance as they have very little access to other financial resources, both domestic and international. > Aid reform: A step closer to focusing aid on those most in need
According to the ‘Global Wealth Report’, released by German insurance company Allianz, the average Belgian would have the third highest net financial assets in the world, only Switzerland and the United States score higher. The Netherlands ended up fourth. In Belgium, the average net financial assets per capita amounted to € 78,300 in 2013, a rise of 4.6 percent compared to 2012. The Swiss easily rise above everyone else with an average of € 146,540 per capita, followed by the Americans with € 119,570.
We may not forget that the Belgians do know they have to be very careful with their money and can not count on a retirement fund big enough to survive. Therefore its is very important that they put away some money as an apple for the thirst and as such seem, at the moment , to remain the “biggest savers”, just behind Norway and Sweden. When it comes to debt, Belgium has one of the lowest debt burdens in Europe: on average € 19,850 per capita, compared to an average of € 24,730 per capita elsewhere in the eurozone.
But even on a global scale, everyone has become richer.
The total assets of private households have risen by 9.9 per cent, good for a record high of € 118,000 billion.
Europe’s voters turned to the political fringes, bankers wrestled with economies and the rich headed for space.
$178bn Total fines paid by major global banks in the wake of the financial crisis
0,5% The European Central Bank’s latest estimate of 2014 inflation in the eurozone, well below its 2 per cent target.
Economic malaise and inflation
According to official inflation figures issued by the federal Economy Department (FOD Economie) the economy in Belgium does not seem to go so bad, though the inhabitants do not feel anything of the partitive figures and can only have the impression the rich have not to contribute to our economic malaise whilst the middle and lower class have to fill all the gaps and pay for all the stupidities of the higher placed people (bank-managers, politicians).
Belgium again posted a negative inflation in December: -0.38 percent compared to -0.11 percent the month before that. Inflation figures for the whole of 2014 are still positive, at 0.34 percent. The latest drop is mostly due to plummeting oil prices on the international markets, which results in cheaper petrol and diesel prices at filling stations. These went down down over 5 percent on a monthly basis.
Our daily food, bread and vegetables have become more expensive. With the government having decided to have an index-jump it will mean we shall be able even less food with our income, which shall decrease in value for the rest of our life. By deciding to skip the next index-jump (index-sprong), in order to give companies and employers more breathing space in an attempt to cut labour costs, once more the government gave in into the industry at the cost of its own citizens. Employees shouldn’t expect a pay rise just yet, except of course when they (or their trades union) made a specific deal with their private employer. At the same time, electricity prices are expected to see a sharp rise of up to 35 per cent from January, depending on the region where the people live. For the first time people were also threatened to be without electricity for some hours in a day, because terrorists had damaged a nuclear plant and some others where in a fall-out because of ‘maintenance’.
The share of national income that governments take as tax revenue in the world’s richest countries has risen to record heights not experienced since the global financial crash. In Belgium we can find ourselves being taxed on European, national, provincial, regional and communal level having the third highest tax levels in the OECD. Instead of getting more taxes from the companies or limiteds and from CEO‘s, of which some have to pay no tax on their gain from selling assets or where companies only have to pay 0,6% tax there are civilians who work hard who have to pay 45-65% tax. The share of national income that the Belgian government takes in tax rose to 44.6 percent last year. Tax levels in the 34 nations that are members of the OECD rose to 34.1 percent last year. The figure is 0.4% up on the year and comparable with figures recorded in 2007 (34.2 percent) and 2000 (34.3 percent). The figure is up 0.6 percent on the year. Only Denmark (48.6 percent) and France (45 percent) experience higher tax levels.
Compared to other OECD nations Belgium raises more through income tax, property taxes and social security contributions. Corporation tax, taxes on goods and services and VAT are lower here.
Capital gains tax
With all the pressure on the Belgian government minister of Finance Johan van Overtveldt (N-VA) closes the introduction of a capital gains tax no longer. In November in the name of the entire federal government he said in the House.
“We want to bring about a shift of the tax burden from labour to other types of taxes. How that shift actually shall take shape, will be the topic of discussion. But the discussion is open. “
The industrialisation strikes hard in Flanders. The share of industrial activity as part of the regional gross domestic product plummeted between 2003 and 2012 from 12.2 to 9.2 percent, a decrease of a quarter. According to a study by the consulting firm Roland Berger who might consult the Flemish Time (De Tijd).
A survey conducted by Germany’s Institut für Makroökonomie und Konjunkturforschung (IMK) claims that of all the countries of the European Union overall wage costs are only higher in Denmark. For industrial workers Belgium leads the pack with an hourly cost of € 42.7 per hour. But from the amount the employer has to pay the workman does not see much. The new government said also that salaries should be calculated on the basis of an employees’ productivity and skills rather than on seniority. Older employees got curtailed opportunities for to work half-time or a four day week, while receiving a top-up benefit. Other measures included: stricter checks for new recruits joining the armed forces to ensure members of the armed forces are fitter. The new government increased duty on DERV (diesel), spirits, wine and coffee.
China did become the world largest economy with $17,6 tn.
Starbucks and Costa among western brands accelerating expansion amid surging popularity.
Coffee chains brew robust future in China
It has been known for two years, but December 2014 the final curtain felt for Ford’s plant in Genk, Belgium. Car production at Ford was at its height in the 1990s. In 1994 Ford produced over 470,000 Ford Sierras and Ford Mondeos in Genk. At its height the plant employed 14,000 people. The last car was produced at the facility, marking the closure of the site which produced approximately 14 million vehicles over the past 50 years.
Genk mayor Wim Dries took part in the “Loudest Post” ceremony to mark the official closure of the Ford factory in Genk, Limburg, on Thursday December 18, at 12.30. Citizens, especially those who worked at Ford, had been called upon to hold a “moment of noise” with yelling, car horns, pots and pans and bicycle bells and looking at the images on television lots of people emotionally were very involved with this tragedy over Limburg.
Look at: Ford Genk: a history in images
It was in October 1962 that work first started on the Ford plant in Genk. At its height 14,000 people worked here but by the noughties the industry was facing massive overcapacity and in 2012 the company announced the closure of its last remaining Belgian plant.
The European Parliament has approved a €50 million package of support measures for Ford Genk, as part of the 2014-2020 budget. The money will go to a reconversion of the Ford site as part of the SALK relaunch plan set up by the government of Flanders to help the province of Limburg recover from the loss of about 5,000 jobs at the factory, and as many again in the local economy.
Limburg has already received €17.5 million from the European Social Fund. The new money comes from the European Fund for Regional Development, which funds the repurposing of former industrial sites.
The government of Flanders, meanwhile, has approved €139 million in aid for Limburg, as well as a line of credit guarantee of €100 million for the Limburg investment agency LRM to aid investment in growth sectors as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises. The city of Genk gave €20 million and the province of Limburg €50 million.
Last summer, Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters announced the government’s ambition to create 10,000 jobs in the province to replace those lost by the closure of Ford Genk, which shutted down definitively in December 2014.
The percentage of European workers covered by collective labour contracts had already dropped from 66% in 2007 to 60% in 2012, and 2013 saw many American factories, not fulfilling their contracts with the government’s, closing their plants in Europe to go to cheaper Eastern countries.
The 2014 Employment and Social Developments in Europe Review may have brought forward that countries providing high quality jobs and effective social protection as well as investment in human capital have proved to be more resilient to the economic crisis, people were not aware of it, constantly being bombarded by their governments crying they had to deliver up more, whilst the happy rich did not have to pay taxes on their income from share sales, though simple souls where taxed heavily and also had to pay enrichment tax, whilst they could not deduct their losses.
No wonder the people had enough of all the so called savings, they all had to make, whilst the ones who could earn more than 300 times more than them could walk free and would not have to contribute to the crisis’s which Belgians faces already one after the other from 1980. The working class and trade unions brought Belgium to a standstill several times and in December created a standstill and the biggest general strike in years which grounded flights, cut international rail links and shut sea ports in protest at the new government’s austerity plans.
In the climax to a month of industrial action against new Prime Minister Charles Michel‘s policies, striking workers stopped public transport while most schools, businesses and government offices shut down.
The tension boiled over in isolated incidents of violence as union members torched a car in the port city of Antwerp and clashed with riot police outside the Brussels offices of a hard-line Flemish nationalist party that is part of the coalition.
Pickets also blocked traffic outside the Brussels headquarters of the European Union. The 28-nation bloc has seen years of protests against austerity aimed at cutting debts that threatened the euro currency.
The December 24-hour Belgian strike came days after a day of protest in Italy against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s ambitious reform plans, while there have been similar demonstrations in Spain and Greece in recent months.
“There has never been a strike this strong,”
Marie-Helene Ska, the head of the Christian CSC union, was quoted as saying by the Belga news agency.
Belgian trade unions launched their movement in November with a march of more than 100,000 people in Brussels, which ended in violent protests that left dozens of police officers injured.
Unions went ahead with the strike after the right-of-centre government of Prime Minister Charles Michel refused to budge on plans to save 11 billion euros ($13.7 billion) over five years.
Strange that a lot of people do not realise how they are fooled by their own politicians, of which many, before the election said the proposed measures of the right wing N-VA were outrageous and they were never to allow such a thing like retirement on 67, an index-jump and financial cuts in projects that are necessary for the benevolence of people in need, also elements the liberals demanded.
The government was surprisingly formed much quicker than thought, but the ones who gained the election (N-VA) did not get the prime-minister seat. This was given to the liberals who presented the French-speaking Michel, who at 38 is Belgium’s youngest prime minister since 1840 to head a government coalition of three Flemish-speaking right-leaning parties and his own French-speaking liberals. In all Bart De Wever’s Flemish nationalist party has three ministers and two secretaries of state or junior ministers in the new administration headed by Francophone liberal Charles Michel. Jan Jambon is the new Belgian Interior Minister.
The formation of the government in October, five months after elections, was meant to bring some calm to a nation deeply divided between the richer Flanders and the poorer French-speaking Wallonia. But those in seat did not mind to adjust their sayings from before the elections and did not mind to knick their head on all the savings on the cap of the working class, saving their own position and the secure financial position of those who have money in abundance.
The majority of voters where fooled and the Belgian unions saw no alternative to play it hard this time. They opposed a decision by Michel’s coalition government to scrap plans for a usually automatic cost-of-living raise next year. They also reject public sector cutbacks and plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 from 2030.
The last national strike in Belgium was in 2012 against the government of socialist prime minister Elio di Rupo.
The Belgians, like a lot of British, brows their eyes concerning the unknown cost of their monarchy. Until last year nobody had a clue how much exactly is being spent on maintaining this institution in Belgium because many of the figures were not made public, but reforms introduced by the last government mean that the cost is now transparent.
The Belgian royal family, the Saxe-Coburg and Gothas, will receive 2.7 million less in 2015. Grants to members of the royal family included in this amount total € 13.8 million. The figure is only topped by expenditure on policing: nearly € 15.5 million.
Also CD & V Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Economy Kris Peeters, joining a call from former Prime Minister Leterme, got to see that people expect the governement to clearly ask efforts to capabilities.
In 2012, in response to the prolonged euro zone crisis, the Commission adopted an Employment Package for a job-rich recovery, aiming to boost the demand for labour and promoting balanced reforms in order to achieve dynamic and inclusive labour markets.
At the same time, the employment agenda has widened to confront new challenges including the need to manage better labour mobility and the need to deepen the social dimension of the EMU. These developments have all required new analytical and intellectual inputs from the expert community.
Now in the 2014, which is a transition year of the European institutions, the EU is emerging from the long crisis with reinforced coordination mechanisms. Their good functioning, however, cannot be taken for granted without clarifying and consolidating the theoretical conclusions of the crisis experience and the evolution of policies.
In mid-July, 2014, ideas on unemployment-based automatic fiscal stabilisers for the EMU were debated by EU Ministers for the first time, at the initiative of Italy’s Presidency of the Council. Most Ministers of Labour have been encouragingly open to such proposals and have called on the Commission to further work in this area (e.g. by delivering a Green Paper).
The European Commission proposed to provide Belgium with € 570,945 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 479 workers made redundant by Ford in Genk (Belgium) and its suppliers to find new jobs. Belgium applied for support from the EGF following the redundancies of 512 workers of Ford-Werke GmbH (Ford Genk) and ten of its suppliers. These redundancies were the result of a rapid decline of the EU’s market share in the production of passenger cars at worldwide level.
The European Commission also proposed to provide Germany with one million euros from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 476 former workers of Aleo Solar AG and two of its subsidiaries to find new jobs.
Launched in January 2014, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) is a potent symbol of European solidarity. Its main aim is to break the vicious circle of poverty and deprivation, by providing non-financial assistance to some of the EU’s most vulnerable citizens.
The FEAD is worth €3.8 billion in real terms in the 2014 to 2020 period.
The European Commission has approved the operational programmes for six EU countries to use the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). This includes Italy’s €670 million programme, the largest of all FEAD allocations across the EU. The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Malta and Slovakia will receive a total of €850 million to provide food and basic material assistance to those most in need. They join the ten EU countries that saw their national programmes approved in the last weeks and France, the first to have its national FEAD programme adopted in July.
With almost € 3,8 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund more than 2200 workers from Arcelor Mittal Liège, Caterpillar Belgium and the steel sector in the Hainaut region were helped to find new jobs.
The job losses at Arcelor and Caterpillar were the result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation, and for Caterpillar in particular the delocalisation to non-EU countries of substantial production capacity by the enterprise.
The redundancies in Hainaut were the result of a rapid decline of the EU’s market share in the sector of the production of crude steel at worldwide level; combined with a decrease in demand in steel in the automotive and construction sectors in the EU as a consequence of the economic crisis and a relative increase of production costs. The total estimated cost of the packages is respectively €2.6 million (of which the EGF would provide €1.6 million), €2 million (of which the EGF would provide €1.2 million) and €1.9 million (of which the EGF would provide half).
On 5 May 2014, the Commission adopted the Partnership Agreement with Denmark, which lays the basis for the use of all European Structural and Investment Funds in the country in 2014-20. Denmark was the first Member State to have its Partnership Agreement adopted. The ESF represents 50% of the total Cohesion Policy funding allocated to Denmark.
This programme outlines the priorities and objectives to spend €400 million (of which over 200 from the EU budget), or around 3 billion DKK, contributing to strengthening economic growth in all Danish regions and to achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Sabbath or Sunday law
In several countries in Europe we saw that the “sabbath law”, or the “holy Sunday” was under threat. For some years several Sundays were already allowed for opening the shops to the public, but more voices cried to have them open every Sunday. It became a matter of discussion also in Hungary’s parliament were a demand was made to cause sales disruption to larger, mostly foreign-owned, supermarket chains such as Tesco, Aldi and Auchan, not affecting family-owned shops and smaller retailers.
“We believe Hungary benefits from Sunday trading,”
“Customers can choose when and where to shop and our colleagues can benefit from the opportunity to earn more thanks to the Sunday supplement that we pay.”
The reform runs counter to a broader tendency in Europe to lift restrictions on retailers. Emmanuel Macron, French economy minister, begin December proposed to extend Sunday trading in France from five Sundays a year to 14. Although Mr Macron’s reform has been opposed within his Socialist party, an Ifop poll found that 75 per cent of Parisians favour the expansion of Sunday shopping.
In Belgium we can see that such a Sunday shopping will only bring the costs higher for the companies, dividing the same amount of buyers over one extra day, having to provide extra energy and personal for the extra opening hours, which should be accounted for by the customers, making the products only more expense. Though on the other hand for some might the Sunday be an easier or nicer day to do the shopping, because in the week no time can be found after working hours. From purchasing habits of Hungarian consumers but also from the consumers in the other European countries we can see that not only the Hungarians favour weekends.
Hungarian MPs approved a separate law that will force retailers to close if they do not make a profit in their first two years of operation. Critics say the law is designed to squeeze foreign operators, which often run large outlets at a loss in their early years and account for the bulk of the hypermarket sector.
Since 2010, the Hungarian government has subjected western banks, media and telecoms companies to an array of punishing sectoral taxes. In December Mihaly Varga, economy minister, said the government had “regained Hungary’s economic sovereignty” by buying out foreign lenders MKB and Budapest Bank from Bayerische Landesbank and GE Capital respectively.
Puilaetco Dewaay Private Bankers got instantly half bigger by taking over UBS Belgium. Assets under management thus increased by more than 3 billion euros to 10 billion euros.
Crowdfunding, the emerging alternative source of financing, went climbing up to € 2,18 million invested by Belgians. Neighbouring countries even got a better record in financing a project through either a donation, a monetary contribution in exchange for a reward, product pre-ordering, lending, or investment. Any type of project can launch a crowdfunding campaign: SMEs, artists, innovative start-ups, social entrepreneurs may all benefit from different forms of crowdfunding, but we can notice that the arts get the biggest share. The European Commission is exploring the potential and the risks of this relatively new and growing form of finance, as well as the national legal frameworks applicable to it, in order to identify whether there is value added in European level policy action in this field.
Problems to look at
In 6 months time € 33 billion damage was created by natural disasters. when people do nothing at the global warming more nature disasters would come over the world and increase the costs for living.
Greece stayed the problem child and more than once there were talks if it would not be better having Greece stepping out of the monetary union.
Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Hungary were the EU member-states where poverty and social exclusion increased the most during the economis crisis, according to the European Commission’s Annual Review on employment and social developments released on Thursday.
The review noted that the poverty and social exclusion percentages in those countries were already high before the crisis. The poverty stricken people could fill many television documentaries but did not stop social exclusion increasing from 28,1% in 2008 to 35,7% in 2013 and having lots of citizens in the country only the beautiful countryside to enjoy, while serious deprivation of basic goods increased in the country from 11.2% in 2008 to 20.3% in 2013. The rest of Europe could come to understand, like them, that there would not be a positive evolution in the short term concerning unemployment which rose from 3,7% in 2008 to an incredible 18,6% in 2013, while the employment rate of the economically active population (25-64 age group) dropped during that period from 61,9% to 49,3%.
In many European countries we could see that lots of people could not do it any more with one income to be able to survive. More and more youngsters where forced to stay longer at home with their parents and even those who had already close friends often had to stay at ‘hotel mama’ or ‘hotel papa’. In Ireland, Greece and Spain it became quite common to have more than one family staying together in one house to share the costs of living. In Greece this showed up 21° Century unworthy living conditions and showed also houses which were not in safe conditions any more, because people saved on maintenance costs and did try to be inventive to save on heating and electricity. Several house fires were caused by unsafe conditions.
Cutting in expenses
Very bad for 2014 was to see that several countries, including Belgium kept cutting in the expenses of education. Romania (40%) and Hungary (over 30%) as well as Greece, UK, Latvia, Italy and Portugal (roughly 20%) were most affected.
In Belgium lots of parents complained they could not afford the school meals any more, and many schools refused to keep giving meals to children whose parents had not paid for the meals or who had still standing open an unpaid bill.
In several European countries we could see that several parents, not having work started losing interest to send their kids to school or did not do a follow up of those who had to go to school, this making several children missing out several days at school, resulting in learning disabilities. “Hang jongeren” (hanging youth), youngster with nothing to do, hanging around the streets became a bigger problem and in tourist places police took care that they could not bother or rob the passers by.
Inequality (2), greed, income tax and European dream
The greed of many CEO’s, politicians and people in higher functions with the inequality of earnings and ways of taxations further made the position of the citizens of Europe infirm, making them losing trust in the European dream. Seeing all those rich becoming richer and they becoming poorer undermined the trust in the local as well as in European governments.
If the ones in charge are still going to think they should protect the rich and pamper the mighty factory owners they risk loosing contact and control of the main population, creating openings for extreme right and other groups to undermine the country further.
In 2014 there were different groups which wanted others to believe that it went so bad with economics because there was an entrance of too many cheap labour immigrants who flooded our regions.
Locals consider their prosperity brought in danger by all the Polish in the building sector and other immigrants. They also start having second thoughts about the benefits of the European project, certainly when so many politicians try to undermine it and for popular reasons spray their hatred on the system.
If we are not careful the growing number of citizens no longer feeling represented by mainstream political parties, unions and other traditional institutions will come into a fed up situation where they are going to turn against the system and than we could expect situations like in 1917 and the 1930ies.
Preceding reviews of 2014:
Next: 2014 Culture
- Belgian unions launch national strike against austerity
- Belgium hit by general strike
- National strike paralyses Belgium
- Cost of the monarchy
- Ook Peeters wil ‘inspanningen vragen aan vermogens’
- Van Overtveldt: ‘Discussie over vermogenswinstbelasting is open’
- Greece warned against ‘suicidal’ debt move
- Jobless Spaniards to receive new benefits
- Hungary to force supermarkets to close on Sundays
- Israel the Oil and Gas Opportunity
- Anniversary of the 19th Amendment still a long way to go
- Having to wear a coat inside the house against the cold, as a college graduate, is a sign for society
- Call to raise the wage
- Did the picture change for Working dads
- Belgian Ford factory closes
- Ford factory in Genk closes today with “minute of noise”
- Ford Produces Last Car in Genk, Closes the Plant
- Let’s Talk Happiness
- Do we need to keep the Sabbath
- Communion and day of worship
- Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
- People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
- Britain, Czech Republic seek hands-off EU energy policy (trust.org)
Britain and the Czech Republic are calling for less EU intervention in energy policy, putting them at odds with nations like Denmark and Germany as the EU prepares to publish policy proposals on an energy union in the next few weeks.A joint British-Czech position paper seen by Reuters says the European Commission’s efforts to enforce EU energy policy across the 28-member bloc must be “light-touch and non-legislative” and respect member state flexibility.
- Greece Among 5 Member-States With Highest Poverty Hikes During Crisis (greece.greekreporter.com)
According to the European Commission review, in Greece, Spain, France and Italy, the percentage of the transition from part-time to permanent job status was among the lowest in the EU during the economic crisis, while in Greece and Portugal, 25% of the people working part-time, were jobless or inactive within a year.Participation in education was a victim of the economic crisis, according to the European Commission, which in certain countries remained unchanged during the crisis (Greece, Italy, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia) or was reduced (Poland, Hungary).The high level of unemployment since 2008 had resulted in an increase in the number of households with no working family members, mainly in Greece, Spain, Lithuania and Ireland.Ireland, Spain and Greece had the highest percentage of young adults who continue to live with their parents or have moved back into their parents’ home due to financial problems, often with “no other choice than family solidarity.”
- European Commission to Set Up Working Group on Bulgaria’s Gas Hub Project (novinite.com)
European Union energy chief Maros Sefcovic has backed the idea of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to turn Bulgaria into a gas hub for EU countries.Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president for energy union, and Miguel Arias Canete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, met with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev in Brussels on January 12.The key points on the agenda of Monday’s meeting were the current energy challenges in Bulgaria, gas infrastructure development priorities for Central and South Eastern Europe, and their potential impact for European Union security of energy supplies, according to the press office of the European Commission.Bulgaria confirmed its commitment to building an Energy Union aiming at affordable, secure, renewable and sustainable energy for all.
- At a time when Euroscepticism is a hot topic, should the UK be looking beyond Europe for growth opportunities? (postdesk.com)
Henry Mitchell writes on how we must look outside of Europe for our future growth opportunities by investing in the BRIC counties and utilising our position of being the financial centre of Europe
- Jews Create Jews Only Parliament for Europe (dailyslave.com)
The recent inaugural meeting of the first ever “European Jewish Parliament”—which took place in the official European Union Parliamentary building complex—is a racially-based, Jews-only organization designed to serve the interests of that group only.All peoples, of all races and all nations, have the right to elect bodies which govern themselves and look after their own interests. This is the principle of self-determination, which is written into the United Nations’ Founding Charter.Yet, these very same Jewish extremists who openly flaunt their Jews-only parliament before the world, are at the forefront in denying that vey same right to all other people.In Palestine, ordinary Palestinian people have been robbed of their land, murdered, terrorized and abused for daring to try and elect am authority which represented their interests.In America, Jewish Supremacist extremists in the ADL, the “Southern Povery Law Center” and the Simon Wiesenthal Center” are at the forefront of suppressing any attempt by European-Americans or African-Americans to assert their political rights and to stand up for their communities.This vicious double standard applies equally to pro-European American politicians and activists such as David Duke as much as it does to Afro-American activists such as Louis Farrakhan.
- Europe rediscovers nationalism (mercatornet.com)
In his latest novel, French writer Michel Houellebecq presents a controversial situation: The year is 2022, and France has become an Islamicized country where universities have to teach the Koran, women have to wear the veil and polygamy is legal. The book, which created a stir in France, went on sale Jan. 7. That day, a group of terrorists killed 12 people at the headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.Also on Jan. 7, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met British Prime Minister David Cameron in London. Although the formal reason for the meeting was to discuss the upcoming G-7 summit, the two leaders also discussed Cameron’s proposals to limit migration in Europe. Finally, a much less publicized event took place in Germany that day: A group of politicians from the Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany party met with members of Pegida, the anti-Islam protest group that has staged large protests in Dresden and minor protests in other German cities.
- Switzerland’s currency chaos is a sideshow – only the euro matters (telegraph.co.uk)
Any eurozone eruption would coincide with the UK general election and would undoubtedly help the Tories and Ukip while damaging Labour
- Euro Hits Nine-Year Low (wsj.com)
The euro tumbled to a nine-year low against the highflying dollar Monday, struck by nerves over Greek politics and steadily building expectations that the European Central Bank will soon beef up its stimulus program.
- The Eurozone Economic Mess: Why It Will Impact the U.S. Economy (profitconfidential.com)
In 2014, I was able to travel to Europe on six different occasions. I just came back from England. These trips to Europe enable me to see how the countries there are faring economically. And I can tell you first-hand—take England and Germany out of the picture, and most European countries are in an outright depression. (Not good news for the U.S. economy, but more on why it will impact America and you, an American investor, in a moment.)For Italy, Spain, and Portugal, despite the European Central Bank (ECB) imposing negative interest rates on deposits and the lowering of its benchmark interest rate, nothing much has changed for these countries economically…and the social picture is now deteriorating.There’s increasing belief that the ECB will go through with quantitative easing (print money to buy bonds), but I doubt this exercise will change the economic picture in the eurozone.
- Stocks surge again (mobile.wnd.com)
“There is enough slack in the overall global economy and the U.S. economy to keep the Fed more inclined to keep rates low. They’ll probably feel the need for some time in 2015 because they’ve signaled that, but probably not until late in the year,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
- Italy PM Renzi: ‘My Dream Is Parity’ Between Euro and Dollar – Wall Street Journal (wsj.com)
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that he welcomed the recent decline in the euro and that he wished the eurozone’s single currency traded at the same level as the U.S. dollar.
- Oil prices dip ahead of looming ECB bond buying program (news.yahoo.com)
Brent crude oil fell below $49 a barrel on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would start buying government bonds, a move which could push the dollar to new highs and put downward pressure on commodities.
Exceeding market expectations, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank would buy 60 billion euro ($69.34 billion) of government bonds a month until the end of September 2016 to support the flagging euro zone economy.
- Asian shares buoyed by ECB easing hopes (firstpost.com)
Asian shares hit a six-week high and the euro stayed under pressure on Wednesday as investors counted on the European Central Bank to unveil a stimulus drive, while the yen jumped after the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.3 percent, with shares in India and New Zealand hitting record highs.European shares are expected to open higher with spreadbetters seeing higher opening of up to 0.2 percent in Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC 40.
- Belgium Government Agency Employees Stay Connected with ShoreTel Mobility (shoretel.com)
The Belgian Federal Social Security Administration is one of the country’s 14 federal public service agencies. It coordinates with government, employers, workers, and the social security institutions themselves to ensure the viability of Belgium’s social security system. The Social Security organization operates a dynamic, highly efficient paperless office and mobile work culture.With the improvements to create a technology-savvy work environment came the need for reliable, cost-efficient mobile connectivity.
- China tycoon in Atletico Madrid deal (bbc.co.uk)
Last season, Atletico Madrid won the title in Spain’s top football competition La Liga and reached the final of the Uefa Champions League.However, the club has struggled financially in recent years, accruing more than €500m in debts.The purchase by Mr Wang, who is one of China’s richest men, could help to bring in new fans from the lucrative Asian markets and Chinese sponsors.
- Video: What Are Federal Taxes? (turbotax.intuit.com)
Federal taxes are taxes a person pays directly to the government of the United States. Research federal taxes with help from TurboTax in this video clip.