Category : Greece

(NPR) Old Greek Blasphemy Laws Stir Up Modern Drama

The police were not among [Elder] Loizos’ supporters. They said they received thousands of complaints about his “Elder Pastitsios” Facebook page… [that] criticized Elder Paisios as xenophobic and close-minded. [It also mocked the monk’s name ”” Paisios became Pastitsios, like the Greek pasta dish].

Last September, they arrested him and charged him with blasphemy, which carries up to six months in prison.

Many Greeks saw his case as a theocratic stifling of free speech. It was the first of two blasphemy arrests in recent months.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Greece, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Tax evasion costs Greece 5 pct of GDP : EU tax chief

Greece could generate budget revenues amounting to 5 percent of national output annually if it reforms tax collection and clamps down on tax cheats, the European Union’s tax chief told a Greek newspaper.

Athens plans reforms next year to combat rampant tax evasion as it struggles to shore up public finances and achieve a primary budget surplus, both necessary to continue receiving bailout aid from international lenders.

The euro zone agreed on Thursday to provide nearly 50 billion euros ($64 billion) in long-delayed aid to Greece, averting a catastrophic default and securing its survival in the zone after months of doubt and political turmoil.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Greece, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Taxes, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Global Anglican Future Conference planned for 2013 in Athens

At their meeting Dar es Salaam last month, the FCA primates council discussed the feasability of holding a second meeting five years after the inagural gathering in Jerusalem. African leaders proposed holding Gafcon II in Jerualem, but Arab Anglicans asked that another location be selected due to the political instability in the region.

One person present at the discussion said the criterium used by the primates in selecting the site that it be related to a place in the Bible, that Anglicans from the developing world be able to obtain visas to attend the meeting, and that the costs not be prohibitive.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Global South Churches & Primates, Greece

(CS Monitor) George Papandreou–Europe must overcome the politics of fear around the debt crisis

To those who were surprised that the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize, I say: “Think twice.” This was not only a deserved award for Europe’s contribution to bringing peace and stabilizing democracies in the recent past. The Nobel Committee was also sending a clear warning to contemporary leaders. I could almost hear them saying: “On this difficult odyssey, don’t abandon ship. In today’s world, the EU is too valuable to squander.”

It was an indirect but powerful rebuttal to the dangerous nationalist and populist rhetoric some politicians have adopted when describing the recent financial crisis.

This message couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Charisma) Spirit-Filled Immigrants Bring Revival to Germany

Ulf Bastian tramped into Christengemeinde Elim Pentecostal church in Hamburg, Germany, parading his punk-rocker duds: hair dyed a shocking bright color, black leather jacket, torn jeans and a T-shirt screaming the angry message, “Hate Mankind.” His ex-girlfriend, who had become a born-again Christian (and is now his wife), urged him to attend.

“I thought she was crazy,” he says. “I did not want to be part of Christian people.”

Still, the Holy Spirit coaxed him to return a second time. Arriving late, he grabbed a chair in the last row. The worship music and pastor’s preaching about sin and the cross of Christ hit home. Weeping, he rushed to the altar at the end of the service and told the pastor, “I need forgiveness.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Greece, Immigration, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Greek Prime Minister Warns his society will disintegrate without urgent financial aid

Greece is teetering on the edge of collapse with its society at risk of disintegrating unless the country’s near-empty public coffers are shored up with urgent financial aid, the country’s prime minister has warned.

Almost three years after the eruption of Europe’s debt drama in Athens, the economic crisis engulfing the nation has become so severe that democracy itself is now imperiled, Antonis Samaras said.

“Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge,” Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published hours before the announcement in Berlin that Angela Merkel will fly to Athens next week for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Bloomberg) Catalonia to Hold Election, Seizing Chance to Force Rajoy on Autonomy

…Rajoy is the victim of his electoral success: his majority government, ironically, is weaker for not including regionalist partners. The Catalan government sees the dissatisfaction with Madrid’s handling of the crisis as an opportunity: it may give the regionalists enough of a boost at the polls to force Madrid to hand them more autonomy, in other words, control of taxes. If Catalonia had control over its own taxes, the argument goes, the region would not have needed a bailout.

Rajoy’s choices are limited: he either refuses Catalan demands for more autonomy and risks enflaming Catalan nationalist sentiment, or agrees to increased autonomy, and risks enflaming Spanish nationalist sentiment.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Most Greeks feel new austerity measures are unfair: poll

An overwhelming majority of Greeks believe new austerity measures the government has promised its international lenders in exchange for more financial aid are unfair and hurt the poorest sections of society, a poll showed on Saturday.

Near-bankrupt Greece needs the European Union and International Monetary Fund’s blessing on measures worth nearly 12 billion euros ($16 billion) to unlock its next tranche of aid, without which it faces default and a potential exit from the euro zone.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Europe Pressures Intensify

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces one of the toughest choices of her career in the coming weeks: whether to risk the unraveling of the euro zone, or her government.

After a summer lull, Greece is again Ms. Merkel’s biggest headache.

The Greek government, struggling with depression-like conditions that have pushed the economy to the brink, is likely to need many billions of euros of additional aid to avoid bankruptcy.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Economist Leader–Should Angela Merkel Consider a Controlled Euro Break-up?

….for this very practical woman there is also a practical reason to start contingency planning for a break-up: it is looking ever more likely. Greece is buckling (see article). Much of southern Europe is also in pain, while the northern creditor countries are becoming ever less forgiving: in a recent poll a narrow majority of Germans favoured bringing back the Deutschmark. A chaotic disintegration would be a calamity. Even as Mrs Merkel struggles to find a solution, her aides are surely also sensibly drawing up a plan to prepare for the worst.

This week our briefing imagines what such a “Merkel memorandum” might say (see article). It takes a German point of view, but its logic would apply to the other creditor countries. Its conclusions are stark””not least in terms of which euro member it makes sense to keep or drop. But the main message is one of urgency. For the moment, breaking up the euro would be more expensive than trying to hold it together. But if Europe just keeps on arguing, that calculation will change….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

([London] Times) Alan Posener–Germany reaches its Eurosceptic Moment

The anger within the three parties of the ruling coalition is understandable. These are the parties of the German taxpayer, after all, and ever since the sovereign debt crisis began they have been reciting the mantra that the eurozone is not and will not become a “transfer union”; that there will be no mutualisation of debt; that Mediterranean sloth and tax evasion will not be rewarded by payments from hardworking, honest Nordic Germany.

If this sounds racist, it’s because the debate is tinged on all sides by nationalist stereotypes. The German middle class feels it has been had and the country is digesting Moody’s downgrading of its credit rating. “Is this what we get for saving the Greeks?” asks the tabloid Bild. Good question….

It is impossible to explain to a German who has had her retirement age upped to 67, or an unemployed German whose benefits have been cut to balance the budget, why billions of euros should go south to support governments that didn’t have the guts to slash social spending or who let their citizens retire to the beach at 55.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Psychology, Spain

(Der Spiegel) Berlin, IMF To Refuse Fresh Aid for Greece

Greece has fallen behind with its budget cuts and is asking lenders for more time to meet the conditions of the 130 billion euro aid package. But that would require fresh help of up to 50 billion euros, SPIEGEL has learned. Neither Berlin nor the IMF are prepared to make that money available.

Germany and other important international creditors are not prepared to extend further loans to Greece beyond what has already been agreed, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. In addition, SPIEGEL has learned that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) too has signalled it won’t take part in any additional financing for Greece.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Germany beats Greece 4-2 to reach the Euro 2012 Semifinals

With Chancellor Angela Merkel cheering every step of the way, Germany dominated Greece ”” on the soccer field.

The Germans reached the European Championship semifinals for a record seventh time by beating Greece 4-2 Friday in a match played amid the contentious political backdrop between the countries.

But just as in the real world, where Germany has been a major contributor to economic bailouts for Greece, the three-time champions were in control at the Arena Gdansk. And after the match, Merkel visited the players in the changing room.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Greece, Men, Sports

(WSJ) Pro-Europe Party Wins Greek Vote

Greece’s conservative New Democracy party eked out a slim victory in Sunday’s elections and will seek to form a pro-austerity coalition government with other parties to take the immediate steps needed to comply with strict financial targets set by its international lenders.

The outcome is likely to ease fears””at least temporarily””of a Greek exit from the 17-nation euro zone, but political uncertainty is likely to continue as parties embark on contentious coalition talks, which, even if successful, may not result in a lasting government.

Read it all and there is a lot more .

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General

Greece and the Czech Republic go through to the Euro 2012 Quarterfinals

Greece beat Russia 1-0 in Warsaw with a first-half goal from captain Giorgos Karagounis to reach the quarter-finals, a result that sent the Russians home after the Czech Republic beat co-hosts Poland on a similar scoreline in Wroclaw.

Greece, winning for the first time in the tournament, went through as runners-up and will play the winners of Group B in the last eight.

Midfielder Karagounis, winning his 120th cap to equal the record for his country, made Russia pay for a flurry of missed chances when he scored against the run of play deep into first-half stoppage time.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Czech Republic, Europe, Greece, Men, Sports

(WSJ) Sour Mood of Greeks Makes Vote a Cliffhanger

The mainstream parties “looted Greece, and afterward they took the Greek flag and they offered it to Angela Merkel,” the German chancellor, Mr. [Alexis] Tsipras said in a campaign rally in Athens Thursday.

Though Syriza’s message has caught on, not all of the disaffected are ready to embrace the party. Anna Konstantoulaki, a third-year Spanish-literature student at the University of Athens, voted in May for a tiny party. She doesn’t know what to do now. She is upset with mainstream parties but not sure Mr. Tsipras is capable of running the country.

“I am very confused,” she says. “The last few days, I can’t stop thinking about what is going to happen.” She adds: “I’m scared, actually.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) In Greece, the money flowed freely, until it didn’t

The hundreds of billions of dollars that banks, insurance companies and other international investors poured into this country after the advent of the euro financed roads and houses, raised wages and helped Constantine Choutlas sustain a 1,000-person construction firm with projects such as building the athletes’ village for the 2004 Olympics.

What it did not do was build a competitive economy, and when the rest of the world woke up to that fact and the money rushed away, so did Choutlas’s business.

“You could see it wouldn’t last. The country was just borrowing money,” Choutlas, whose Proodeftiki Technical has been scaled back to a handful of employees, said as he jabbed a finger in the air for emphasis. “Nobody, nobody, nobody, said lets take a look at where we are going.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, History, Politics in General, Psychology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Greece Warns of Going Broke as Tax Proceeds Dry Up

An essential element of Greece’s recovery plan has been to collect more taxes from a population that has long engaged in tax avoidance. The government is owed 45 billion euros in back taxes, tax officials in Athens said, only a fraction of which will ever be recovered.

To understand the difficulty, just talk to Nikos Maitos, a longtime official in Greece’s financial crimes investigation unit.

When he and a team of inspectors recently prowled the recession-hit island of Naxos for tax evaders, a local radio station broadcast his license plate number to warn residents.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector

(NY Times) Euro Zone Nears Moment of Truth on Staying Together

On consecutive days last week, two of the most powerful figures in Europe ”” Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Olli Rehn, the most senior economic official in Brussels ”” warned that the future of the euro zone was in doubt. In the words of Mr. Rehn, the union might well disintegrate unless policy makers took steps to bind the euro’s 17 nations closer together.

Coming as they did from two men at the very soul of the European project, the reprimands were a stark reminder of just how much the Spanish financial meltdown had shaken the confidence of the European brain trust, to say nothing of investors from New York to Beijing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(FT) Trade credit insurers balk at Greek risk

Two of the world’s biggest trade credit insurers have stopped providing cover for exporters to Greece in highly unusual moves reflecting their concern the country might leave the eurozone.

Brokers said the decisions by Euler Hermes and Coface were the only instances they could recall of trade credit insurers pulling out altogether from a European country.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Europe, Greece

The Economist on the Eurozone Crisis–limited federalism is a less miserable solution than break-up

What will become of the European Union? One road leads to the full break-up of the euro, with all its economic and political repercussions. The other involves an unprecedented transfer of wealth across Europe’s borders and, in return, a corresponding surrender of sovereignty. Separate or superstate: those seem to be the alternatives now.

For two crisis-plagued years Europe’s leaders have run away from this choice. They say that they want to keep the euro intact””except, perhaps, for Greece. But northern European creditors, led by Germany, will not pay out enough to assure the euro’s survival, and southern European debtors increasingly resent foreigners telling them how to run their lives.

This has become a test of over 60 years of European integration….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, History, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

IMF head Christine Lagarde: can she save the euro?

…while this might come as a surprise to Greeks suffering under extreme austerity, some say Lagarde’s approach to the eurozone is less draconian than the IMF’s traditional policy towards developing world economies. Is it easier to impose harsh demands upon small economies, but much harder to tell difficult truths to the big ones ”“ particularly fellow Europeans? “No,” she says firmly. “No, it’s not harder. No. Because it’s the mission of the fund, and it’s my job to say the truth, whoever it is across the table. And I tell you something: it’s sometimes harder to tell the government of low-income countries, where people live on $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 per capita per year, to actually strengthen the budget and reduce the deficit. Because I know what it means in terms of welfare programmes and support for the poor. It has much bigger ramifications.”

So when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won’t get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care ”“ does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General

Euro Zone Crisis Boils as Leaders Fail to Signal New Steps

With Greece’s membership in the euro zone teetering, fears of bank insolvency rising and Europe’s leaders bickering about what to do, the euro crisis is once again intensifying and threatening to undermine fragile growth globally.

At a summit meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, regional leaders failed to signal any significant new steps to stimulate the sputtering regional economy or resolve the competing agendas of President François Hollande of France, who favors stronger action to spur growth, and his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has opposed aggressive moves to ease the pressure on Europe’s weakest economies.

Yet, the urgency for a solution to the region’s debt crisis, now in its third year, may never have been greater.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(FT) Gideon Rachman–Time to plan a velvet divorce for the euro

…I do think that it would ultimately be better if the eurozone broke up. This might not involve a complete reversion to national currencies. A hard core of euro-users, centred on Germany, might survive. But the current euro will have to go.
It is true that the transition from here to there will be painful and dangerous. My colleague Martin Wolf laid out an updated version of the full horror scenario in Friday’s FT ”“ involving a breakdown of law and order in Greece, and financial collapse across Europe. How could anyone responsibly run that risk?

The answer is that the alternatives to eurozone break-up are inherently implausible and deeply unattractive.At the weekend G8 leaders called for Greece to stay in the eurozone. Their present plan seems to involve some magical mix of stimulus and austerity that restores both budgetary balance and growth. But even if they can agree a real plan and even if it works ”“ and neither outcome is likely ”“ the eurozone’s structural problems would remain…..

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(SMH) Tim Colebatch–The world holds its breath as Europe struggles in the quicksand

The immediate future of the global economy, including Australia, now depends on Europe, and whether it can restore confidence to markets. If European leaders can resolve their tangle of problems, growth is ahead of us. If they can’t, all bets are off.

Pessimism comes more naturally than optimism. It is now five years since we first heard the phrase ”the sub-prime crisis”, which rang the end of a golden era of debt-financed growth. Since then, we’ve had years of recurring crises, summits and resolutions that promised to solve the problems, but haven’t.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Australia / NZ, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) Greek Crisis Poses Unwanted Choices for Western Leaders

The leaders of the Group of 8, emphasizing growth as well as fiscal discipline at their meeting on Saturday, made a strong plea for Greece to stay in the euro zone and the European Union.

And no wonder.

Despite efforts at official reassurance, no one really knows the consequences of a Greek exit from the euro zone, or how rapidly big countries like Spain and Italy, and their banks, will feel the effects….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) Eduardo Porter–Leaving the Euro May Be Better Than the Alternative

Like the single market before, …[the Euro] was conceived primarily as glue to bind Europe more closely together, tie Germany’s prosperity to that of its neighbors and prevent a third world war from the Continent, which had brought us two. A few engineering flaws wouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of such an important project.

A little over a decade since the first euro bills hit the shops in Madrid and Berlin, the euro’s design flaws have pushed much of the European Union into a deep economic pit. And political imperative is again being deployed as a major reason to stick to the common currency. “This enormously important motivation is often underestimated by outsiders,” argued the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf, the most sober analyst of Europe’s economic maelstrom….
The main problem is that while leaders eagerly embraced the monetary bond, they rejected its necessary complement: a central budget that would transfer money from successful regions to underperforming ones, as the United States government sends tax dollars collected in Massachusetts to pay for unemployment benefits in Nevada.

The euro fed the illusion that Greece, Spain and Italy were as creditworthy as Germany or the Netherlands, propelling a decade-long credit boom in Europe’s less-developed periphery. And it was spectacularly ill-designed to deal with the shock when capital flows to those nations suddenly stopped. Weak countries not only had to rely on their own devices; they had to do so without a currency or a monetary policy of their own to absorb the blow….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) World on their shoulders, Greeks face epic choice

Homeward bound after the Trojan War, Odysseus of Greek myth had to pick a path through seas harboring a monster with six heads and a whirlpool that digested ships whole. Now, whether modern Greece exits the euro ”” potentially triggering global economic turmoil in the process ”” depends on the tough choices of Ivi Moreti and her 11 million countrymen.

Should the 60-year-old widow leave her nest egg of euros in a wobbly Greek bank and risk it being seized and converted into a devalued national currency? Or should she withdraw it all, joining what could become a panic forcing Greece out of the euro anyway by bringing down the financial system?

Who should she vote for June 17, when this nation mired in political chaos holds its second election in two months? A party willing to largely accept the crippling bailout conditions that have taken a bite out of her pension and run the economy into the ground? Or the rising rebels promising to buck the austerity imposed on Greece by its bigger neighbors, , a course that might cause total economic collapse?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector

(Telegraph) Europe admits Greece exit preparation

Brussels is preparing plans for Greece to quit the euro, a senior official has revealed, as analysts warned that the country’s exit would cost European taxpayers at least €225bn (£180bn).

European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said that both the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) were working behind the scenes on contingency plans for a break-up.

“Today there are in the European Central Bank, as well as in the Commission, services working on emergency scenarios if Greece shouldn’t make it. A Greek exit does not mean the end of the euro, as some claim,” he said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) Greek Euro exit would hit at home, but fallout could be global

There could be immediate risks to the Spanish and Italian economies: Tens of billions of dollars have left those nations in recent months as investors doubt their ability to both control rising public debt and boost their economies from recession. A Greek departure from the euro would, officials and analysts fear, push the lack of confidence in the euro zone to another level, accelerate that capital flight and leave one or both nations close to economic collapse.

It is a pattern reminiscent of what happened in Latin America and Asia in the 1990s, and it is the most likely way that a Greek exit from the euro could ignite a global round of financial contagion. The risks were highlighted Thursday when the Moody’s rating agency cut its assessment of Spanish banks, saying it had less confidence in the ability of the Spanish government to support the country’s financial system.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector