Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

Analysis: What taxpayer bailouts? Euro crisis saves Germany money | Reuters

– Throughout Europe’s debt crisis, northern European leaders have often said they will not stand for taxpayers having to fork out for other countries’ problems, and the notion of “taxpayer-funded bailouts” has taken root.

Yet despite three-and-a-half years of debt and banking turmoil, with bailouts totaling more than 400 billion euros, northern euro zone taxpayers have not actually lost a cent.

What is more, governments in Germany, Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and France have saved billions of euros thanks to a sharp fall in how much they pay to raise money in financial markets since their borrowing costs have dropped steeply.

But that has not prevented the image taking root in voters’ minds of hard working northern Europeans putting money on the line to rescue profligate, work-shy southerners, fuelling resentment and undermining Europe’s unity.

In the run up to German elections in September, that resentment is only likely to grow, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, bidding for a third term in office, will have to reaffirm her commitment to protect voters from potential losses.

But the truth remains that German taxpayers, as well as those in Finland, the Netherlands and elsewhere, are no worse off at all, and their finance ministries have racked up savings.

“As an unintentional consequence of the crisis, Finland has benefited enormously,” said Martti Salmi, the head of international and EU affairs at Finland’s ministry of finance.

“We have not lost a cent so far,” he told Reuters. “The same as for Germany very much holds for Finland.”

In fact, German officials are well aware of their stronger financing position, the result of a more than two percentage point fall in borrowing costs, even as politicians continue to lament the risks being piled on German taxpayers.

When giving presentations in Germany, Klaus Regling, the German who heads the euro zone’s permanent bailout fund, often cites two studies that show that Berlin has reaped substantial savings as an unintended consequence of the crisis.

via Analysis: What taxpayer bailouts? Euro crisis saves Germany money | Reuters.

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About | MacroPolis

MacroPolis was launched on September 24th, 2013 with the aim of providing real insight through timely, accurate and independent analysis of the key political, economic and social developments in Greece.

Since then MacroPolis has covered all the key political and economic events in Greece, publishing hundreds of articles, systematically covering over 30 macroeconomic events through statistical releases and regularly updating close to 200 key macroeconomic indicators in chart format.

The economic crisis thrust Greece from relative obscurity to international prominence. One of the products of this sudden change has been a plethora of analysis about the country, some of which has been dictated by clichés or has not fully taken into account political, economic and societal complexities.

via About | MacroPolis.

«Europe trashed democracy»

According to a Greek official who doesn’t want to be named, the Greek delegation were yesterday subject to outright blackmail. Our ‘partners’ informed us that if Eurogroup doesn’t result in an agreement, on Tuesday the Greek government will be forced to implement capital controls. It seemed that they had taken the decision to strangle the Greek economy by cutting off funding to the banks through the ELA system. Furthermore, it seemed that the big Greek banks already knew this. Leaks from the ECB, after all, had suggested that they were preparing for a GREXIT.

Faced with this potential ‘Cyprus’ scenario, the Greek delegation made the decision to seek an agreement that would buy them some time (which in reality is all that yesterday’s agreement got them, since it doesn’t actually ensure the necessary cash flow).

via «Europe trashed democracy».

You’ve heard the Greek crisis myths, now here are some truths | MacroPolis

This package did indeed consist of actual cash injections from eurozone members with the exception of Slovakia, which refused to participate, and Germany that provided guarantees to its AAA-rated development bank KfW, which raised the money through bond issuance. This means that German and Slovak taxpayers have not been burdened by the Greek bailout so far. Other member states did offer actual cash to Greece.

As a result of these loans, Greece owes 185 euros to each Finn, 118 euros to every Slovenian and 141 euros to every Spaniard. Greece also owes 15.2 billion euros to KfW, the German bank, but not to the German taxpayer. Interestingly, though, there is rarely a public admission that some of these countries have benefited from the “unintentional consequence of the crisis.”

via You’ve heard the Greek crisis myths, now here are some truths | MacroPolis.

Greece: A debt colony with a bit of ‘home rule’ | Paul Mason | Paul Mason

But the timing is appalling. By late Friday, I and other journalists were aware of a rapid uptick in Greek deposit withdrawals. The ECB, which effectively controls the Greek banks, told Varoufakis he would have to limit both ATM withdrawals and movement of money abroad on Tuesday morning, after today’s bank holiday in Greece.

That’s why the substantive deal was designed to be done tonight. When I asked Varoufakis, at a late night press conference, if the banks would open Tuesday he said: “Tuesday, Wednesday and ad infinitem”.

If Friday’s deal holds then Greece – which Varoufakis describes as a “debt colony” will effectively be a debt colony with a bit more “home rule” – and, to continue the analogy, minus what development theorists used to call the “comprador bourgeoisie”.

via Greece: A debt colony with a bit of ‘home rule’ | Paul Mason | Paul Mason.

The 3 things Eurozone leaders refuse to acknowledge as Greece seeks a fairer deal – Hellenic American Leadership CouncilHellenic American Leadership Council

It was a bait and switch, Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said of the draft communique presented at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers yesterday. The meeting ended without a deal. Reports today suggest that Greece will ask for an extension of the loan program along the lines of a framework proposed by Pierre Moscovici, the European Commission economic chief, on Monday. In short, the plan calls for a short extension of the program, a commitment to repayment, but provides some breathing space for Greece on the reform front. This was the framework Greece thought it would be discussing and agreeing to at Monday’s meeting. Instead, a more strongly-worded and stringent proposal was offered.

via The 3 things Eurozone leaders refuse to acknowledge as Greece seeks a fairer deal – Hellenic American Leadership CouncilHellenic American Leadership Council.

BITCOIN: A flawed currency blueprint with a potentially useful application for the Eurozone | Yanis Varoufakis

As an FT-coin is about to ‘mature’ (i.e. to reach two years of ‘age’), the demand for it will obviously rise from those that do not possess FT-coins of that vintage (as it allows for a major reduction in their current taxes). FT-coin owners with equivalent tax liabilities will have no reason to sell (as they will want to use it themselves  to extinguish their own taxes) but those who have ‘stocked up’ on FT-coins (to a tune beyond what they need to pay their taxes), as an alternative to putting their money in the bank or in the stock exchange, will be selling; possibly with a view to buying freshly minted FT-coins.

The great advantages of such a scheme is that it creates:

  • a source of liquidity for the governments that is outside the bond markets, which does not involve the banks and which lies outside any of the restrictions imposed by Brussels or the various troikas
  • a national supply of euros that is perfectly legal in the context of the European Union’s Treaties, and which can be used to increase benefits to society’s weakest members or, indeed, as seed funding for some desperately needed public works
  • a mechanism that allows taxpayers to reduce their inter-temporal tax bill
  • a free and fully transparent payment system outside the banking system, that is monitored jointly by every citizen (and non-citizen) who participates in it.

via BITCOIN: A flawed currency blueprint with a potentially useful application for the Eurozone | Yanis Varoufakis.

Can a Bitcoin-style virtual currency solve the Greek financial crisis? | Comment is free | The Guardian

If you insert a parallel currency into this sequence, you can delay the moment of default and gain a lot of leeway.

Varoufakis outlined, in a detailed blog post 12 months ago, how a Bitcoin-like virtual currency could be used to get around the ECB’s refusal to boost demand through quantitative easing. Just like Bitcoin, it would be exchangeable one for one with euros. But it would be issued by the state – and if you were prepared to hold it for two years, you would earn a profit paid for by taxes. For this reason, Varoufakis called it “future-tax coin”.

If the Greek government issued a parallel digital currency, and forced banks and businesses to use it, this would boost the money supply in defiance of the policy of the European Central Bank, said Varoufakis. In addition, he predicted, the currency would provide “a source of liquidity for the governments that is outside the bond markets, which does not involve the banks and which lies outside any of the restrictions imposed by Brussels or the various troikas”.

via Can a Bitcoin-style virtual currency solve the Greek financial crisis? | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Γιατί οι Γερμανοί δεν έχουν υπογράψει ειρήνη με την Ελλάδα | Το Κουτί της Πανδώρας

Ο κ. Verhofstadt  προφανώς δεν μπορεί να σταθμίσει το βάρος που είχε ο Β΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος και η γερμανική κατοχή για την Ελλάδα. Η πολεμική και κατοχική εμπειρία του Βελγίου σύγκριση με την δική μας είναι επιεικώς αστεία. Δεν μπορεί να διανοηθεί ότι σε κάθε χωριό υπάρχει το μνημείο ενός νεαρού παιδιού που εκτελέστηκε από τους Γερμανούς. «Η Ελλάδα έχασε στον πόλεμο το 10% του πληθυσμού της, έναντι του 2,8% της Σοβιετικής Ένωσης και υπέστη ζημιές στο ετήσιο ΑΕΠ της τάξεως του 170%, έναντι του 135% που υπέστη η ηττημένη Γερμανία. Ανάλυση της εφημερίδας του Βερολίνου Tagesspiegel αναφέρει ότι καμιά άλλη χώρα κατοχής, όπως η Γερμανία, δεν κατέστρεψε τόσο, όσο την Ελλάδα: 130.000 άμαχοι, γυναίκες και παιδιά, εκτελέστηκαν ως αντίποινα για τις επιθέσεις των ανταρτών, 70.000 Έλληνες Εβραίοι οδηγήθηκαν σε στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης, 300.000 έπαθαν κρυοπαγήματα και πέθαναν από πείνα, επειδή οι Γερμανοί κατάσχεσαν τρόφιμα και καύσιμα. Το 50% των υποδομών της χώρας και το 75% της βιομηχανίας καταστράφηκαν» (1).

Ο Μανώλης Γλέζος υποστηρίζει (2) ότι επρόκειτο για μια «στρατηγική αφαίμαξη»: ο στρατός κατοχής κατάσχεσε το 51% των μετοχών των τραπεζών και των κρατικών επιχειρήσεων,  κατάσχεσε και έλιωσε 19 τόνους ασημένια 10δραχμα και 20δραχμα και 49 τόνους χάλκινα νομίσματα έναντι αποζημίωσης μόλις 340 λιρών Αγγλίας, έπαιρνε το 10% της αγροτικής παραγωγής και φυσικά, το περιβόητο το αναγκαστικό δάνειο και αρχαιολογικούς και καλλιτεχνικούς θησαυρούς.  Η ληστεία της Ελλάδος ήταν πρωτοφανής, ιδιαίτερα δε με τη χρήση πλαστών γερμανικών χαρτονομισμάτων των 50 μάρκων από τα στρατεύματα κατοχής. Μάλιστα, οι Γερμανοί στρατιώτες, αφηγείται ο Γλέζος, έδιναν το πλαστό 50μαρκο για να πάρουν τσιγάρα που έκαναν 6 δρχ. και ζητούσαν ρέστα σε επίσημα λεφτά, κάτι που είχε τρελάνει τους περιπτεράδες, κουρείς κ.ά.. Σημειωτέον ότι στην κατοχή κυκλοφορούσαν εκτός από τις δραχμές, τα νομίσματα των τριών κατακτητών και τα πλαστά!… γεγονός που υποχρέωσε την κυβέρνηση να αγοράσει τα πλαστά γερμανικά και ιταλικά χαρτονομίσματα προκειμένου να ελέγξει κάπως την κατάσταση.

via Γιατί οι Γερμανοί δεν έχουν υπογράψει ειρήνη με την Ελλάδα | Το Κουτί της Πανδώρας.

Απίστευτο: Η Ευρώπη χρηματοδοτεί μια στρατιά από ανώνυμα «trolls»… « Aixmi.gr

Υπό τον φόβο εκπροσώπησης των άκρων στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο, εν όψει των ευρωεκλογών του 2014, η ΕΕ με τον μειωμένο προϋπολογισμό για το 2014-2020 βρήκε πόρους για να χρηματοδοτήσει μια στρατιά από ανώνυμα ‘’Trolls’’, – σωστά διαβάσατε μια στρατιά από ανώνυμα ‘’Trolls’’ (Ευρωπαίους αξιωματούχους που δρουν ανώνυμα ) – που ήδη έχουν λάβει θέσεις στα διαδικτυακά φόρουμ συζητήσεων, στο FB και στο twitter. Αποστολή τους να αντικρούουν όποιον εκφέρει αντίθετη, από την επιθυμητή, άποψη για την ΕΕ – εκείνη δηλαδή των ευρωενθουσιαστών όπως αποκαλούνται στη Γαλλία – και σε γενικότερες γραμμές για την αντιμετώπιση του αυξανόμενου ευρωσκεπτικισμού .

via Απίστευτο: Η Ευρώπη χρηματοδοτεί μια στρατιά από ανώνυμα «trolls»… « Aixmi.gr.