Tag Archives: EU

“Cash Must Not Be Made the Scapegoat”, by Don Quijones

The use of cash isn’t just an economic matter, it’s a matter of civil liberties, privacy, and for some, survival. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

The proposed EU-wide cash restrictions could come into effect as early as this year. But defenders of physical cash have an unexpected ally in their struggle: Yves Mersch, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board. In a speech hosted by the Bundesbank last week, the Luxembourgian central banker exalted cash’s value as legal tender and heaped scorn on the oft-heard argument that its anonymity only helps criminals.

“Protection of privacy matters to all of us. Privacy protects people from the risk of a surveillance state and thought police,” he told his audience. “No particular link can be established statistically between cash and criminal activities. The focus must be on the fight against crime. Cash must not be made the scapegoat.”

One of the world’s biggest issuers of notes and coins, the Bundesbank was a fitting location for a speech on the virtues of physical money. In total, €592 billion of the €1.1 trillion of banknotes in circulation at the end of 2016 were issued by the Bundesbank.

Judging by recent statements, the Bundesbank wants to preserve this arrangement. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann, who is hotly tipped to replace Mario Draghi as ECB president in 2019, has warned that it would be “disastrous” if people started to believe cash would be abolished — an oblique reference to the risk of negative interest rates and the escalating war on cash triggering a run on cash.

That didn’t stop five national governments — Cyprus, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal and Denmark — from approaching the ECB last year to consult on measures to limit the use of cash, according to Mersch. Meanwhile, Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. “No cash accepted” signs are a common sight in shops and eateries as payments go digital and mobile, Bloomberg reports. A full 36% of the population never use cash, or just pay with it once or twice a year.

To continue reading: “Cash Must Not Be Made the Scapegoat”

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US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Peter Korzun

President Trump is “squeezing” Europe on the Iranian nuclear deal, but he can’t really squeeze Iran, Russia, or China. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

President Trump said it was the final waiver extending Iran nuclear deal. He did it with strings attached. The president’s demands include: immediate inspections at sites by international inspectors and “denying Iran paths to nuclear weapons forever” (instead of 10 years as stipulated under current law). New sanctions were issued against 14 people and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on government protesters. The president wants the deal to cover Iran’s ballistic missile programs.

Restrictive measures were extended three times last year. And Donald Trump never certified the agreement. Senator Bob Corker, the current chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, said “significant progress” had been made on bipartisan congressional legislation to address “flaws in the agreement without violating US commitments.”

According to President Trump, there are only two options: either the deal is fixed or the US pulls out. This time he wants to pass the buck, emphasizing that the decision to do it the last time is explained by his desire to secure the agreement of US European allies to fix what he calls “the terrible flaws” of the Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal. Europeans have 120 days to define their position. From now on, Europe is facing a real hard choice: it’s either dancing to the US tune or being adamant in its support for the deal. The latter will bring it closer to Russia.

Germany said on Jan.12 that it remained committed to the deal and that it would consult with “European partners to find a common way forward”. The European Union remains committed to support the implementation of the JCPOA.

The US plan hardly has a chance of success. Even if Europe joins the US, which is not the case, at least for now, the introduction of any changes to the deal requires the consent of other participants: Russia, China and Iran. Tehran has taken a tough stance, flatly refusing any talks on changes.

To continue reading: US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place

EU “Empire” Plans to Grow Even Bigger Despite Brexit, Difficulties Keeping Eastern Members in Check, by Don Quijones

It’s a curious thing about big, failing organizations. They often strive to get even bigger. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

The “Non-Imperial Empire”

In 2007, just before the EU’s growth pains began, then European Commission president (and now non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and advisor to Goldman Sachs) Jose Manuel Barroso proudly proclaimed the EU to be the world’s first ever humanitarian empire. Asked by a journalist what kind of a structure the 28-nation bloc is, Mr Barroso said:

“We are a very special construction unique in the history of mankind. Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimension of empire.”

Whereas superstate empires of old were built on military conquest, the EU empire is built on voluntary pooling of power, Barroso gushed. “What we have is the first non-imperial empire.”

In a similar vein Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, recently urged the EU to become an “empire of the good and not of the bad” in a speech at the London School of Economics.

Whether imperial or not, good or bad, the EU empire, like all empires before it, has an insatiable thirst for expansion. The bloc’s last major enlargement was in 2004 when ten countries acceded, including seven from the former Eastern bloc (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), one from the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia), and two Mediterranean islands (Malta and Cyrpus), bringing the total number of EU Member States from 15 to 25. Since then only three new countries have joined, Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 and Croatia in 2013.

Now, instead of growing, the EU could be about to shrink for the first time in its history. If the UK government actually follows through on Brexit — a big “IF” that grows bigger by the day as pressure rises on the government to hold a second referendum on continued membership of the EU — the number of EU Member States will slip from 28 to 27 while the bloc’s population will shrink by 65 million, over one-tenth of its total.

To continue reading: EU “Empire” Plans to Grow Even Bigger Despite Brexit, Difficulties Keeping Eastern Members in Check

Merkel’s Last Stand – Article 7 For Poland, by Tom Luongo

Countries in Europe will do as the EU says, and the EU will do as Germany says. So says Angela Merkel. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

As she fights for her political life Soon-to-be-ex-Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel will go down swinging against her stiffest political opponents in the European Union, the Poles.  Merkel and French President Emmanual Macron publicly agreed to back Article 7 proceedings against Poland for refusing to comply with EU immigration quotas and changes to its judicial system.

Immigration quotas, I might add, that are becoming harder to defend as the war in Syria is mostly over and the flow of refugees from there has slowed to a trickle.   But, those brought in and stranded in camps in Italy and Greece apparently need to go somewhere else.

But, no one wants them.  And the rest of the EU is trying to bully Poland and the rest of the Visigrad countries – Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia – into taking on their ‘fair share.’  The problem with this is that Merkel made this decision unilaterally and foisted it on the rest of the EU.

And she is determined not to lose this fight to Poland, not because this is any kind of humanitarian issue at this point.

No, this is about the primacy of EU diktats being enforced at the expense of logic and political cohesion.  And, as I’ve been warning about all year, Merkel will put the EU before any practical consideration and bring Article 7 proceedings against Poland.

Because she has to.

Immigration and the destruction of individual European cultures is the guiding principle behind the EU’s biggest benefactors.  This policy is part of the long-term strategic goals of the EU.  It has created an army which will be used to quell secessionist movements in the name of ‘continental security.’

Because despite the fevered dreams of a few hundred Latvians, the Russians are not invading Europe anytime soon.

To continue reading: Merkel’s Last Stand – Article 7 For Poland

 

 

Welcome to the Hell Hole that is Brussels, by Drieu Godefridi

Being the center of the EU, you’d think Brussels would be paradise. Not so. From Drieu Godefridi at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Last month alone in Brussels, there were three separate outbreaks of rioting and looting on a major scale.
  • If you penetrate the thick cloud of professional indignation to scrutinize the reality of the “capital of Europe”, what you see in many respects is actually a hell hole, one where socialism, Islamism, riots and looting are the new normal.

When then-candidate Donald Trump noted in January 2016 that, thanks to mass immigration, Brussels was turning into a hell hole, Belgian and European politicians presented a united front at the (media) barricades: How dare he say such a thing? Brussels, capital of the European Union, the very quintessence of the post-modern world, the avant-garde of the coming new “global civilization,” a hell hole? Of course assimilating newcomers is not always easy, and there may be friction from time to time. But never mind, they said: Trump is a buffoon, and anyway, he has zero chance of getting elected. Such were the thoughts of those avid readers of The New York Times International Edition and regular watchers of CNN International.

However, Donald Trump, in his unmistakable, brash style, was quite simply right: Brussels is rapidly descending into chaos and anarchy. Exactly two months after that dramatic Trumpism, Brussels was eviscerated by a horrific Islamic terror attack that left 32 people dead. And that was only the tip of the monstrous iceberg that has built up over three decades of mass immigration and socialist madness.

Last month alone in Brussels, there were three separate outbreaks of rioting and looting on a major scale.

To continue reading: Welcome to the Hell Hole that is Brussels

Preparing For EU Collapse, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

The EU is once again demonstrating its incompetence, in the Catalonia-Spain stand off. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

If there is one thing the Spain vs Catalonia conflict reminds us of, it has got to be Turkey. And that is a much bigger problem for the EU than it realizes. First of all, Brussels can no longer insist that this is an internal, domestic, Spanish issue, since Catalan president Puidgemont is in…Brussels. So are 4 members of his government.

That moves decisions to be made about his situation from the Spanish legal system to its Belgian counterpart. And the two are not identical twins. Even if both countries are EU members. This may expose a very large European problem: the lack of equality among justice systems. Citizens of EU member countries are free to move and work across the Union, but they are subject to different laws and constitutions.

The way the Spanish government tries to go after Puidgemont is exactly the same as the way Turkish president Erdogan tries to get to his perceived archenemy, Fethullah Gülen, a longtime resident of Pennsylvania. But the US doesn’t want to extradite Gülen, not even now Turkey arrests US embassy personnel. The Americans have had enough of Erdogan.

Erdogan accuses Gülen of organizing a coup. Spanish PM Rajoy accuses the Catalan government of the same. But they are not the same kind of coup. The Turkish one saw violence and death. The Spanish one did not, at least not from the side of those who allegedly perpetrated the coup.

Brussels should have intervened in the Catalonia mess a long time ago, called a meeting, instead of claiming this had nothing to do with the EU, a claim as cowardly as it is cheap. You’re either a union or you’re not. And if you are, the well-being of all your citizens is your responsibility. You don’t get to cherry pick. You got to walk your talk.

Belgian news paper De Standaard today makes an interesting distinction. It says the Belgian judicial system is not asked to “extradite” Puidgemont to Spain (uitlevering), but to “surrender” him (overlevering). Legal gibberish.

To continue reading: Preparing For EU Collapse

 

The EU’s Anti-Brussels Dominos Keep Falling: AfD in Germany, Freedom Party in Austria, Babiš in the Czech Republic, by Alexander Mercouris

Many of the policies Europe’s powers that be have instituted that have angered so many Europeans have been at the behest of the US. From Alexander Mercouris at The Duran via lewrockwell.com:

On 25th June 2016, shortly after Britain’s Brexit referendum, I wrote an article for The Duran in which I pointed out that the British vote for Brexit was a symptom of growing disaffection across Europe with an EU project which has evolved into something very different from the community of European nation states which it had initially been.

The problem is less that the EU is evolving into some sort of pan-European superstate – in my opinion the EU is far too dysfunctional for that ever to happen – but that since the end of the Cold War the EU has become alongside NATO a vehicle of US control of Europe, and has therefore come increasingly to serve US geopolitical interests rather than the interests of the people of Europe

John Laughland in a recent RT Crosstalk called the EU more accurately a cartel of governments who conspire behind the scenes with each other to pass legislation without the need to consult with their democratically elected parliaments.  Whilst that is closer to the truth, it is not the whole truth.  Rather the EU, at least as it has become over the last decade, is best understood as a cabal of three governments, primarily those of the US and Germany, with France treated by the Germans (though not by the US) as a sort of junior partner, which make the decisions in secret that are binding on all the rest.

I appreciate that this description of the EU will meet with strong objections in some quarters, especially as by far the most powerful of these governments is that of the US which is not a member of the EU.  However what I say is well known by all the relevant insiders.  Indeed the facts speak for themselves and are hardly even concealed.  On key issues EU policy is nowadays decided in private bilateral discussions between the US and the Germans, often involving the US President and the German Chancellor, with the Germans then telling the other Europeans what they should do…..

In the same article I pointed out that this repeatedly results in policies being followed which whilst they serve US geopolitical interests European electorates have never agreed to and in many cases do not want.

To continue reading: The EU’s Anti-Brussels Dominos Keep Falling: AfD in Germany, Freedom Party in Austria, Babiš in the Czech Republic