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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The state of the business in Europe, summer 2015

My comments are after the news excerpts. Enjoy!
Standard & Poor’s lowers outlook on the EU to negative Standard & Poor's has changed the outlook for the European Union from stable to negative after the bloc's support for Greece and following Britain's decision to vote on leaving the EU, S&P reported Monday (3 August).
The decision means the US ratings agency could lower its grade of the European Union -- now at AA+ -- in the next two years. (04 Aug 2015) - And from the Russian sanctions? And from the stupid rescue packages and austerity obsession not working? Of course, those will be missing in the final report. But the lives they destroyed all over the continent cannot be deleted. And sooner or later, they will come to haunt them. Like on elections time? PODEMOS! 

IMF says Western sanctions could cut 9% off Russia's GDP -  Sanctions linked to the Ukraine crisis could end up costing Russia 9% of its gross domestic product, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday. The Fund estimated the immediate effect of sanctions and counter-sanctions had been to wipe between 1 and 1.5%  off GDP, rising to 9% over the next few years. These model-driven results were subject to significant uncertainty, it cautioned.
The IMF also forecast "weak" economic growth of around 1.5% annually in the medium term. Russia's economy was growing around 7% a year before the 2008 global financial crisis. (04 Aug 2015) - But this was the idea, right?

 Russia prepares to seize Western assets -
The Russian government has approved a draft bill that would allow it to seize foreign state assets, without warning. The move is seen as a tit-for-tat gesture, following Western court cases involving Russian firms.
According to the new draft bill, Russia will be able to seize foreign state assets from countries which infringe on Russia's jurisdictional immunity, according to the Russian press.
The bill comes after several European countries seized Russian state assets in mid-June, following lawsuits from former Yukos shareholders. - So basically, under international law, any country can decide to seize up couple of billions, because another country is no longer in its Friends list. Right? Because this is what the EU did with Russian money. Well, in this case, I guess Russia can do the same. I mean they will surely find a legal basis for this, just like the EU did. Because big corporations always have dirty secrets. So nice, the trade war is now an asset war. If only they invested all this energy into fighting with hunger on the world. 

EU extends aid to farmers hit by Russian food ban - The European Commission has announced it will extend support measures for the dairy and fruit and vegetable sectors hit by Russia’s ban on food imports from Europe, which has been in place for a year.
Russia announced the extension of its ban on Western food imports for six months starting in early August, saying it could add new products to the list. The move came in retaliation for extended European sanctions against Moscow in the Ukraine conflict.
The Russian ban covers imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, milk and dairy.
Brussels described the Russian ban as “unjustified and illegal”. (30 Jul  2015) - Yes, Brussels! The Russian ban is unjustified and illegal. And profoundly not fair. Because when the EU imposes sanctions and bans, it's for the greater good and justice and you know, glory to the democracy. When Russia impose reciprocal sanctions, they are just evil! Grow up guys! Do you think people are idiots and they cannot connect the dots? Those farmers etc. had decent trade with Russia which you robbed! So yup, give our taxpayers money, to producers who were trading with Russia and paying taxes and creating richness, to compensate them for the idiotic sanctions you imposed from which we are all losing even more money. Make sense.

UK suspends ban on pesticides linked to serious harm in bees  -
Farmers will be able to use blacklisted pesticides linked to serious harm in bees after the UK government temporarily lifted an EU ban.
Bees and other pollinators are essential for many crops but are in decline due to pesticides, loss of habitat and disease. Over 500,000 people signed a petition opposing the suspension of the ban. Two neonicotinoid pesticides can now be used for 120 days on about 5% of England’s oil seed rape crop. Products from chemical giants Bayer and Syngenta will be deployed to ward off the cabbage stem flea beetle. (23 Jul 2015) - Bayer and Syngenta, YAY! Didn't they have some GMOs newly approved by the EC? Oh, well.

Trade should trump health concerns in hormone disruptor debate, US tells EU -
The European Union published its public consultation on hormone disrupters on Friday 24 July. Europe’s trading partners fear the economic impact of tighter regulation, Journal de l'environnement reports. (29 Jul 2015) - Of course, trade is above human health, what were you thinking people when you wanted hormone disruptors controlled. Come on! Think of the markets.

European automakers set to win lion’s share of TTIP gains -
Mutual recognition of auto regulations across the Atlantic could bring over €18 billion per year for the European Union and the United States economies, with the EU set to reap up to 90% of the total gains, according to a new study.
Greater regulatory harmonisation under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is expected to raise EU-US auto trade by at least 20%, according to a study by the Petersen Institute of International Economics, a US-based think tank. (30 Jul 2015) - Just in case you wonder what the EC is so resolved to make TTIP happen even though it will hurt almost all industries in the EU. Well, because the automakers will make big money. And my guess is that the same goes for others industries like chemistry, pharmacy, biotechnology,weapons. Conveniently, they are all based in Germany (and maybe France). Even more conveniently, the absolute lack of transparency or pubic discussion on the TTIP clauses is strongly backed by Germany. I wonder why. Oh, maybe because Germany will be the big (and probably the only) winner out of TTIP. All the other industries and countries will suffer huge losses, because of lowered standards and cheaper production in the USA. But hey, they already suffer them because of the sanctions war with Russia. I guess this is why they are perfectly capable of suffering some more. This time because of the TTIP and the USA.

Brussels denies Varoufakis' claims that troika controlled Greek tax agency -
The European Commission on Tuesday (28 July) sharply denied claims by Greece's ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that creditors overseeing Greece's bailout also controlled the country's tax agency.
Varoufakis made the claim in a leaked conference call with London investors, during which he said he had been secretly building a parallel money system that involved hacking into his ministry's computers because they were controlled by the creditors.
"On what Mr Varoufakis has been saying, the allegations that the troika was controlling the secretariat general of public revenues are false and unfounded," Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told a news briefing, referring to the creditor "troika" of the Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
"The secretariat general of public revenue is a quasi-independent entity, responsible for tax administration that is formally part of the ministry of finance," she said.
"The Commission and IMF only provide technical assistance to the tax administration but certainly do not control (the agency)," she added.
- Now it's hard for me not to comment here. So, why would a minister need to hack a system belonging to his own institutions and country then? Just for the fun of it? I doubt. So I'd rather believe mr. Varoufakis when he says the system is being controlled by the Troika. 
And btw, "technical assistance" is a very wide term. People who provide technical assistance, usually have remote control over the system. Which means that they monitor it constantly and can intervene if needed. So technically, this means "THEY CONTROL IT"!
And some oldies:
EU puts Georgia, Moldova on fast track to association -- Having learned the bitter lesson of procrastinating with Ukraine, which has put its EU association agreement (AA) on ice, EU leaders decided today (20 December) to put Georgia and Moldova on a fast track to sign theirs by August 2014. ( 20 Dec 2013) - So what happened with their fast track association? It's August 2015 now! I guess the same as what happened with Ukraine's association and EU membership. Not happening in the near future, right Mr. Tusk?

Norway backpedals on EU single market compliance pledge -
Though Norway promised in November it would live up to its obligations under the EU single market, the Liberal Party which supports the Norwegian government has changed its mind and said it would forge ahead with punitive taxes on imported EU goods. (15 Jan 2014) - It's hard to blame them...

Germany extends disputed renewable energy subsidies to industry - The value of exemptions to green energy charges Germany grants heavy industry will rise to €5.1 billion in 2014 from last year's 4 billion euros, even though the exemptions are subject to an anti-competition probe by the European Union. Germany's Federal Office of Economics and Export Control announced the 2014 figures on Tuesday. Due to the probe no exemptions will be paid in 2015.
Around 2,000 German heavy energy users such as BASF and ThyssenKrupp have been exempt from a surcharge ordinary consumers have to pay, but face the possibility of having to pay back discounts should the EU rule they were unfair (13 Feb 2014) - Try doing this if you're not Germany or if the companies are not BASF or ThyssenKrupp! And watch the EU sanctions pour down on you. But I guess if you're Germany, you can do whatever you want.

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