Storm over bailout of Greece, EU’s most ailing economy

German Official: No EU, Bilateral Aid For Greece On EU Agenda (Wall Street Journal)


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Athens will be paralysed today by a 24-hour strike against a government trying to stave off bankruptcy ? as fellow members of the eurozone squabble over how best to solve Greece?s debt crisis

Angela Merkel tried to calm fevered speculation in financial markets yesterday that Germany was preparing to lead a bail-out of Greece amid a split in the EU on how to handle its most ailing member.

The German Chancellor denied reports that her Finance Minister was conducting secret talks with Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, and with other capitals on an EU rescue fund for Athens.

Mrs Merkel has staunchly resisted suggestions that the EU must swallow its pride and turn to the Washington-based IMF for a solution to the growing economic turmoil in Greece, with fears that its troubles in international finance markets will trigger a domino effect, toppling other weak members of the eurozone such as Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

But last night there were signs of a developing European split over calling in the International Monetary Fund, a move also strongly opposed by Brussels, with suggestions from Sweden’s Finance Minister and other officials that this might be better than the EU programme outlined last week.

Mrs Merkel has repeatedly rejected the idea that the 16-nation eurozone would need to look to the IMF, which is already overseeing recovery efforts in Latvia and Hungary – both EU members outside the single currency. Her insistence that the eurozone can keep its own house in order led to market speculation yesterday that an EU bail-out was imminent.

There were also reports yesterday that Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Finance Minister, was working bilaterally and at the European level on putting together a package to help Athens.

Read moreStorm over bailout of Greece, EU’s most ailing economy

Fears Rise of Euro Government Default, Euro And Stock Markets Slump

See also:

Trichet Says Greece, ‘All Countries’ Must Meet EU Deficit Rules (BusinessWeek)

Germany Warns of ‘Fatal’ Eurozone Crisis, Funds Flee Greece (Telegraph):

Germany has triggered a near-panic flight from southern European debt markets by warning that there will be no EU bail-outs, even though it fears the region’s economic crisis has turned dangerous and could prove “fatal” for the entire eurozone.


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Financial markets swooned Thursday amid rising fears of a government debt default in Europe, highlighting the seriousness of the challenges facing the euro currency as fiscally challenged countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain dig themselves out of debt.

After a brief respite early this week, the cost of insuring against default the debt of euro-zone members with large budget deficits jumped late Wednesday and rattled investors more broadly on Thursday.

While Greece and Portugal have felt investors’ fire in recent days, now even larger economies like Spain are starting to come under pressure from worries about their weakened public finances.

Blue-chip stock indexes in Spain and Portugal slumped nearly 6% and 5%, respectively, while an index of Europe’s 600 biggest companies dropped 2.7%. The euro sank more than 1% against the U.S. dollar to an eight-month low of $1.3727 and lost 3% of its value against the Japanese yen.

The global economic downturn, and extensive government spending to fight it, have led to major fiscal problems in Europe, especially for less-dynamic economies like Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. Such countries took advantage of their membership in the 16-nation euro bloc during the boom by borrowing at unusually low interest rates. But now, investors are worried about how they will reduce yawning budget deficits that exceed 12% of their economic output in the case of Greece and Ireland.

Read moreFears Rise of Euro Government Default, Euro And Stock Markets Slump

Germany Warns of ‘Fatal’ Eurozone Crisis, Funds Flee Greece

Germany has triggered a near-panic flight from southern European debt markets by warning that there will be no EU bail-outs, even though it fears the region’s economic crisis has turned dangerous and could prove “fatal” for the entire eurozone.

Wonders of the World: Parthenon, Greece
Funds flee Greece as Germany warns of “fatal” eurozone crisis

The yield on 10-year Greek bonds blasted upwards by over 40 basis points to 7.15pc in a day of wild trading. Spreads over German Bunds reached almost four percentage points, by far the highest since Greece joined the euro, and close to levels that risk a self-feeding spiral. Contagion hit Portuguese, Spanish, Irish, and Italian bonds.

George Papandreou, the Greek premier, said in Davos that his country had been singled out as the weak link in a “attack on the eurozone” by speculators and political foes. “We are being targeted, particularly by those with an ulterior motive.”

Marc Ostwald, from Monument Securities, said the botched bond issue of €8bn (£6.9bn) of Greek debt earlier this week has made matters worse. Many of the investors were “hot money” funds that bought on rumours that China was emerging as a buyer, offering them a chance for quick profit. When the China story was denied by Beijing and Athens, these funds rushed for the exit.

However, a key trigger yesterday was testimony in Germany’s parliament by economy minister Rainer Brüderle, who said there would be “no bail-outs” for struggling debtors and no move to a “European economic government”.

“A few European nations are exhibiting dangerous weaknesses. That could have fatal consequences for all countries in the eurozone,” he said. Despite the warning, he said each country must solve its own problems.

Read moreGermany Warns of ‘Fatal’ Eurozone Crisis, Funds Flee Greece

European health officials: ‘H1N1 pandemic false alarm, inquiry to expose the truth’

More from Dr. Wodarg:

German health expert’s swine flu warning; Does virus vaccine increase the risk of cancer?

Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg is a politician and a specialist in lungs, hygiene and environmental medicine. He is the chairman of the health committee in the German parliament and European Council.


European health officials have launched an investigation into whether the seriousness of the swine flu outbreak was exaggerated. They blame pharmaceutical giants for pressuring the World Health Organisation to declare it a pandemic.

This allowed drug companies to make huge profits even though the virus was not as deadly as regular seasonal flu. What outcome would there be for the drug companies at the centre of the investigation?

RT discusses this with Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg who initiated the probe.


Added: 13. Januar 2010

Read moreEuropean health officials: ‘H1N1 pandemic false alarm, inquiry to expose the truth’

Greece condemned by the European Commission for falsifying data

See also FT Alphaville on a “Greek tragedy“:

It’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to convince the market that you’re fiscally sound and responsible — a European Commission report condemning you for deliberately falsifying data.

But that’s just what happened to Greece on Tuesday afternoon. From the report:

On 2 and 21 October 2009, the Greek authorities transmitted two different sets of complete Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) notification tables to Eurostat, covering the government deficit and debt data for 2005-2008, and a forecast for 2009. In the 21 October notification, the Greek government deficit for 2008 was revised from 5.0% of GDP (the ratio reported by Greece, and published and validated by Eurostat in April 2009) to 7.7% of GDP. At the same time, the Greek authorities also revised the planned deficit ratio for 2009 from 3.7% of GDP (the figure reported in spring) to 12.5% of GDP, reflecting a number of factors (the impact of the economic crisis, budgetary slippages in an electoral year and accounting decisions). According to the appropriate regulations and practices, this report deals with estimates of past data only.1

Revisions of this magnitude in the estimated past government deficit ratios have been extremely rare in other EU Member States, but have taken place for Greece on several occasions. These most recent revisions are an illustration of the lack of quality of the Greek fiscal statistics (and of macroeconomic statistics in general) and show that the progress in the compilation of fiscal statistics in Greece, and the intense scrutiny of the Greek fiscal data by Eurostat since 2004 (including 10 EDP visits and 5 reservations on the notified data), have not sufficed to bring the quality of Greek fiscal data to the level reached by other EU Member States.

Ouch.

The above report deals with the past data only, the subtext being that the 2009 forecasts could well be off too. And that seems to be what’s worrying bond markets.

The yield on the Greek 10-year jumped about 15bps to 5.68 per cent earlier on Tuesday, and is currently hovering around 5.65 per cent:

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The full EC report is available here.


(Financial Times) — Greece was condemned by the European Commission on Tuesday for falsifying data about its public finances and allowing political pressures to obstruct the collection of accurate statistics.

In a damning report published as the eurozone grapples with its worst financial crisis since the euro’s launch in 1999, the Commission said figures from Greece’s were so unreliable that its budget deficit and public debt might be even higher than government had claimed last October.

At that time Greece estimated its 2009 deficit would be 12.5 per cent of gross domestic product, far above 3.7 per cent predicted in April. It revised its 2008 deficit up to 7.7 per cent from 5 per cent.

The data shocked and angered Greece’s 15 eurozone partners and prompted swift downgrades of Greek debt as well as an increase in the premium demanded by financial markets to buy Greek bonds.

The socialist government is promising to slash its deficit to 3 per cent or less by 2012, but financial markets question whether it can introduce the drastic austerity measures implied by such a target without sparking labour unrest and social disorder.

Read moreGreece condemned by the European Commission for falsifying data

ECB: No Bailout For Greece

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Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou holds a news conference at the end of a European Union heads of state and government summit in Brussels October 30, 2009 file photo. (REUTERS)

ATHENS/MILAN (Reuters) – EU officials arrived in Greece on Wednesday for an inspection visit, hours after ECB Executive Board member Juergen Stark was quoted as saying the bloc would not bail out Greece if its debt problem worsened.

The government’s broad outline of how it will get out of its fiscal mess has not impressed markets, making the talks with Brussels on the details of a long-term budgetary plan Greece must submit by end January a sensitive point for investors.

“The EU officials are here (at the finance ministry), they are looking at the draft of the plan,” a senior finance ministry official said. “They will meet in the coming days officials from the health, labour, defence, and economy ministries.”

In a sign of increasing pressure on Greece to get its finances back in order, Stark told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that EU states would not help out.

“The markets are deluding themselves when they think at a certain point the other member states will put their hands on their wallets to save Greece,” Stark said in the newspaper.

Read moreECB: No Bailout For Greece

New World Order Gordon Brown wants to police the entire world – how controlling can a freak get?

Related information:

new-world-order-london-summit-2009
Barack Obama, Silvio Berlusconi and Dmitri Medvedev celebrate after agreeing a set of measures designed to haul the world out of recession. Gordon Brown, who hosted the summit, said the deal heralded a “new world order”.
Source: The First Post

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown himself announced that the G20  heralded the creation of a “new world order” which would involve increased global regulation of economic markets.

Still think that the ‘New World Order’ is a conspiracy theory?

Now here is an interesting article from the Telegraph.


Quasimodo in Number 10, hunched, scowling over his desk, has devised yet another plan to police, to increase surveillance, to indulge his obsession with extending his short-lived control over as many people as possible. Gordon Brown, who now seems to have lost his last tenuous grip on reality, wants the European Union to police the carbon emissions of the whole world. That is the leitmotif of New Labour – and, by extension, all Westminster – government: control, bans, observation, intrusion, diktat.

Balked of a legal agreement on imaginary manmade global warming at Copenhagen, Quasimodo and Nicolas Sarkozy are working on plans to create a “European monitoring organisation” to oversee different countries’ actions on carbon emissions. Barack Obama – the leading control freak in the liberal pantheon – has suggested spy satellites could be used.

Quasimodo told reporters: “We’re in favour of transparency; we’re in favour of looking at what’s happening not just in our country and our own continent, but around the world.” That isn’t transparency: that is snooping. “We’re in favour of transparency” – from a New Labour Prime Minister! Goebbels, who always favoured the Big Lie, would have loved it.

Were Quasimodo and his colleagues in favour of transparency about weapons of mass destruction? Even now, are they in favour of transparency at the Iraq inquiry, where Tony Blair will give evidence in secret? Were they in favour of transparency when they voted to keep MPs’ expenses under wraps, until the courts overruled them?

The one fear the enforcers entertain is that their spy-in-the-sky snooping on carbon emissions might antagonise China, which resists surveillance (all those covert coal mines and other eco-naughties). When Red China begins to seem like an apostle of laissez-faire, relaxed freedom, we know that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Read moreNew World Order Gordon Brown wants to police the entire world – how controlling can a freak get?

The revolt has begun: Greece defies Europe as EMU crisis turns deadly serious

Euroland’s revolt has begun. Greece has become the first country on the distressed fringes of Europe’s monetary union to defy Brussels and reject the Dark Age leech-cure of wage deflation.

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George Papanderou, the Greek prime minister, faces potential riots if he cuts spending to address the deficit

While premier George Papandreou offered pro forma assurances at Friday’s EU summit that Greece would not default on its €298bn (£268bn) debt, his words to reporters afterwards had a different flavour.

“Salaried workers will not pay for this situation: we will not proceed with wage freezes or cuts. We did not come to power to tear down the social state,” he said.

Were we to believe that a country in the grip anarchist riots and prey to hard-Left unions would risk its democracy to please Brussels?

Mr Papandreou has good reason to throw the gauntlet at Europe’s feet. Greece is being told to adopt an IMF-style austerity package, without the devaluation so central to IMF plans. The prescription is ruinous and patently self-defeating. Public debt is already 113pc of GDP. The Commission says it will reach 125pc by late 2010. It may top 140pc by 2012.

If Greece were to impose the draconian pay cuts under way in Ireland (5pc for lower state workers, rising to 20pc for bosses), it would deepen depression and cause tax revenues to collapse further. It is already too late for such crude policies. Greece is past the tipping point of a compound debt spiral.

Ireland may just pull it off. It starts with lower debt. It has flexible labour markets, and has shown a Scandinavian discipline. Mr Papandreou faces circumstances more akin to those of Argentine leaders in 2001, when they tried to cut wages in the mistaken belief that ditching the dollar-peg would prove calamitous. Buenos Aires erupted in riots. The police lost control, killing 27 people. President De la Rua was rescued from the Casa Rosada by an air force helicopter. The peg collapsed, setting in train the biggest sovereign default in history.

Economists waited for the sky to fall. It refused to do so. Argentina achieved Chinese growth for half a decade: 8.8pc in 2003, 9pc in 2004, 9.2pc in 2005, 8.5pc in 2006, and 8.7pc in 2007.

Read moreThe revolt has begun: Greece defies Europe as EMU crisis turns deadly serious

EU finally tramples Magna Carta into the dust, it’s a return to the Star Chamber

From the article:
“By acting in this way, the EU has crossed a subtle line. It is no longer legitimate.”

Related info:
Lisbon Treaty: Now EU Takes Charge Of Britain

EU President Herman Van Rompuy Announces 2009 as ‘First Year of Global Governance’

Climategate: Hacked emails include calls for ‘Earth Government’ as foundation of new world order, splitting of America


If you have a spare evening, read the Magna Carta. It is a restraining document. What leaps out from the pages of Langton’s text is the intent to protect subjects from overweening authority (in this case, Norman-French despotism), by restoring ancient freedoms.

magna-carta

I have a copy dated MDCCLXVI (1766) left to me by my father, and to him by his father. The customary law is Saxon, Celtic, even Visigoth.

“All men in our Kingdom have and hold the aforesaid liberties and rights, well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for ever.”

“No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, unless by lawful judgment of his peers.”

“No constable or bailiff shall take another man’s corn or chattels without immediate payment, nor take any horses or any man’s timber for castles.”

“Any one may leave the Kingdom and return at will, unless in time of war, when he may be restrained for some short space for the common good”.

Here is a nice one, as the Square Mile falls under the control EU authorities with “binding powers”.

“The City of London shall have all its ancient liberties and free customs.” Merchants should be free from “evil tolls”.

The founding texts of the English Constitution – charter, petition, bill of rights – have one theme in common: they create nothing. They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony. In this they guided America’s Revolution, itself a codification of early colonial liberties.

Europe’s Constitution – the Lisbon Treaty, as we know it – began as a sort of Magna Carta. EU leaders agreed at Laeken in 2001 that the Project needed restraining after Danes and Swedes rejected EMU, the Irish rejected Nice, and youth torched Gothenburg in anti-EU riots.

People do not want Europe inveigling its way into “every nook and cranny of life”, they said. Needless to say, insiders hijacked the process. A Hegelian monstrosity emerged. The text says much about the heightened powers of EU bodies, but scarcely a word to restrain EU bailiffs and constables.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights – legally binding in the UK as of Tuesday, when Lisbon came into force – asserts that the EU has the authority to circumscribe all rights and freedoms.

The text was modified after I threw a tantrum in the Daily Telegraph during the drafting process, comparing it to the “general interest” clause used by Fascist regimes to crush dissent in the 1930s.

Article 52 now reads: “Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union.”

Don’t be misled by this inverted wording. What it states is that the EU may indeed limit rights in the “general interest”. In other words, our Magna Carta has been superceeded.

It is the European Court (ECJ) that decides what is “proportional” or “necessary”, and it cannot be trusted. The ECJ behaves like the Star Chamber of Charles I, as I learned following three cases where it rubber-stamped the abuse of state power against whistleblowers Bernard Connolly and Marta Andreasen, and German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack.

Read moreEU finally tramples Magna Carta into the dust, it’s a return to the Star Chamber

Fitch downgrades Greece’s debt rating to BBB+ with negative outlook

Related articles:

Greece Finance Minister Says No Risk of Default (Bloomberg)

Greece to Reporters: We’re Not Dubai or Iceland (Wall Street Journal)

Here is why Greece is not Dubai or Iceland:

Greece is a member of the European Union since 1981, which makes all the difference.

The EU: ‘Only ‘EUnited’ we fail!’


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(Click on image to enlarge.)

ATHENS, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Ratings agency Fitch cut Greece’s debt to BBB+ on Tuesday with a negative outlook, the latest blow to the troubled euro zone country, driving its bonds, bank shares and the euro itself lower.

The cut was the first time in 10 years a major ratings agency has dropped Greece below an A grade. Fitch cited fiscal deterioration in one of the 16-member currency bloc’s most indebted member states.

“The downgrade reflects concerns over the medium-term outlook for public finances given the weak credibility of fiscal institutions and the policy framework in Greece,” Fitch said in a statement, calling for austere fiscal policies.

“The lack of substantive structural policy measures reduces confidence that medium term consolidation efforts will be aggressive enough to ensure public debt ratios are stabilised and then reduced over the next three to five years,” it said.

Read moreFitch downgrades Greece’s debt rating to BBB+ with negative outlook