Category - Europe

France’s Hollande Proposes Creation of Euro-Zone Government

Bloomberg Business, By Angeline Benoit, July 19

French President Francois Hollande said that the 19 countries using the euro need their own government complete with a budget and parliament to cooperate better and overcome the Greek crisis.

“Circumstances are leading us to accelerate,” Hollande said in an opinion piece published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “What threatens us is not too much Europe, but a lack of it.”

While the euro zone has a common currency, fiscal and economic policies remain mostly in the hands of each member state. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi made a plea this week for deeper cooperation between the euro members after political squabbles over Greece almost led to a rupture in the single currency.

Countries in favor of more integration should move ahead, forming an “avant-garde,” Hollande said.

Large Hadron Collider Discovers Long-Elusive ‘Pentaquark’ Particle

ABC, By Alyssa Newcomb, July 14

The world’s largest atom smasher has made a discovery that was five decades in the making.

Scientists with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (better known by its French acronym CERN) today announced the detection of a new kind of subatomic particle called the pentaquark, which essentially means a new form of matter has been discovered. The findings have now been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters [arxiv].

The pentaquark was first predicted in the 1960s but actual detection of the particle had eluded scientists for decades. A quark is the term for the building blocks that make up hadrons. (Protons and neutrons are among the best known hadrons.)

Before the discovery of five quarks bound together in a hadron, only hadrons with two or three quarks were known to exist, along with evidence of some subatomic particles made of four quarks.

“Every particle we’re aware of, except for a few oddballs, is made up of quark and anti-quark, or three quarks. That’s what builds up the mass of the universe, what makes you and me and the Earth and the sun,” Eric Swanson, a theoretical physicist at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Associated Press. “This, if verified, should be the beginning of a whole new form of matter.”

Extreme Tech: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider confirms newest particle: the pentaquark
BBC: Large Hadron Collider discovers new pentaquark particle
Wikipedia: Pentaquark

Archbishop of Canterbury promises sex abuse inquiry

The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to investigate sex abuse in the Church of England if the judge-led abuse inquiry does not look into it within six months.

BBC, July 12

Justin Welby made the promise during a private meeting with survivors of clerical abuse earlier this week.

The independent inquiry into child sex abuse led by Justice Lowell Goddard is expected to last five years.

Lambeth Palace said the archbishop wanted the Church to be reviewed first.

But it said if this did not happen within six months, the archbishop would instigate an “independently-led past cases review”.

Nuland: Macedonia, Bosnia to Toe US-EU Line or Face Decades in Isolation

The US government has told Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to sign up with the European Union (EU) on its terms, or be isolated in Europe for 20 years, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said.

Sputnik News, July 11

Washington – Nuland acknowledged that Bosnia-Herzegovina is seriously seeking association status with the EU and in June “activated its SAA [Stabilization and Association Agreement]” with the 28-nation Union.

“The United States joins the EU, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank in urging Bosnia-Herzegovina’s leaders to make crucial reform decisions now, or risk being left behind for another twenty years,” Nuland said in prepared remarks delivered in Dubrovnik, Croatia on Friday.

“Our message to Macedonia is equally tough,” Nuland said. “[T]he major political forces must stop squabbling and get on the path to democratic reform sketched out by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn with US support, and then move on to settle the name issue with Greece.”

However, Nuland continued, “politicians continue to put ethnic and party interests ahead of the basic social, economic and political reform needed to advance.”


US Steps-Up Pressure on Serbia to Sign Accord With Kosovo in 2015 – Nuland

The US government is putting new pressure on Serbia to cede more sovereignty to Kosovo by signing the Belgrade-Pristina Accord this year, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland stated on Friday.

Sputnik News, July 11

Washington — The Stabilization and Association Agreement is an international treaty, which when signed, will give Serbia the status of an associated state to the EU.

Among the obligations that Serbia will have to accept under the SAA will be the establishment of a free trade area and the harmonization of state laws with EU law.

“We want 2015 to be the year that advances the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue so the EU [European Union] can open chapters for Serbia and sign the SAA [Stabilization and Association Agreement] for Kosovo.”

Nuland acknowledged that the Serbian government would have to make potentially unpopular concessions to meet EU terms on the SAA, which the United States supports.

“But that will take courageous decisions in both Pristina and Belgrade. Again, together with the EU, America says: seize this moment and we will help.”

So the Greeks are holding a vote tomorrow. Paul Craig Roberts thinks it’s a big deal.

Sunday’s Vote Will Determine Liberty Or Serfdom — Paul Craig Roberts

According to history books, democracy originated in Greece. Of course, historians could be mistaken, but this is the prevailing view among Western populations with enough awareness to be interested to know.

What we are witnessing today, July 2, 2015, is that after 2,500 years in the Western World only the current Greek government is interested in democracy. The Greek government, to the surprise and consternation of every other European government, has called a referendum for the Greek people to decide the fate of Greece. For resorting to democracy, the Greek government has been universally denounced in the Western World.

So much for Western democracy.

The greatest and most successful propaganda scam in history is the one that convinces the world that they are nobody if they are not part of The West, the indispensable peoples, the exceptional peoples. If you are not part of The West you are nobody, nonexistent, a nothing.

This prevailing propaganda might prevail in Greece on Sunday, in which case a fearful and intimidated Greek population might vote against the only government that, instead of accepting a payoff from Greece’s enemies, fought for the welfare of the Greek people.

If the Greeks vote for their oppressors and against their own government, democracy in the EU will cease to exist.

2,500 years ago Greeks saved their independence from the Persian Empire. Sunday’s vote will tell us whether Greeks have again served liberty or whether they have succumbed to Washington’s Empire.

The fate of all Europeans and of Americans themselves will be settled on Sunday.

Zero Hedge: Greeks Split On Greferendum As Credit Suisse Says “No” Vote Defies “Rationality”
Zero Hedge: Massive “No” Demonstration Floods Athens’ Syntagma Square As Tsipras Speaks – Live Webcast
The Automatic Earth: The Troika Turns Europe Into A Warzone
Ian Welsh: How to Create a Viable Ideology

Defiant Varoufakis Says He’ll Quit If Greeks Endorse Austerity

Bloomberg Business, By Matthew Campbell & Guy Johnson, July 2

Yanis Varoufakis said Greece won’t “extend and pretend” that it can pay its debts, vowing to quit as finance minister if voters don’t support him in Sunday’s referendum.

With banks shuttered and Greece’s economy hobbled by capital controls, Varoufakis said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Athens that he would “rather cut my arm off” than sign a deal that fails to restructure Greece’s debt. The 54-year-old economics professor said he “will not” continue in his post if Greece endorses austerity in the plebiscite.

The minister’s comments illustrate the gulf between Greece’s government, which swept into office on a wave of discontent about budget cuts, and the creditors who are threatening to push it out of the euro. European governments led by Germany have condemned last weekend’s decision by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to pull out of talks and call a snap referendum on the conditions for financial aid. Polls suggest it’s too close to call.

“Maybe we’ll change the configuration of the government”

“We desperately want to stay in the euro,” Varoufakis said. “We are going to win on Sunday.”

Short video interview with Varoufakis at the link.

Via Zero Hedge: Varoufakis Will Resign If Referendum Passes, Says Would Rather “Cut Off Arm” Than Sign

Record 137,000 migrants crossed Mediterranean

Reuters, July 1

More than 135,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea in the first half of 2015, with most of the burden being borne by countries in southern Europe, according to a new report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Desperate people resort to desperate measures and unfortunately … the numbers are expected to continue to soar,” said Brian Hansford, a spokesperson for UNHCR.

The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe in the first six months of 2015 increased more than 80 percent increase from the same time period in 2014, the UNHCR report said.

Greece debt crisis: ECB ‘to end’ bank emergency lending

The European Central Bank is expected to end emergency lending to Greece’s banks on Sunday, the BBC understands.

BBC, June 28

Well-placed sources told BBC economics editor Robert Peston a decision to end the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) would be made by the ECB’s governing council later on Sunday.

Greek banks depend on ELA funds daily.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his government would consider overnight what measures to take “to minimise the burden on our people”.

Cutting the ECB lifeline could push Greece out of the euro.

Such an ECB cut would mean “Europe has failed”, Mr Varoufakis told the BBC’s World this Weekend.

Via Naked Capitalism: BBC: ECB to Stop Emergency Support of Greek Banks on Monday; Bank Holiday Likely

The Guardian: Greek crisis: Banks shut for a week as capital controls imposed – live updates

Greek banks will not open until July 7 in an attempt to avoid financial panic, after ECB capped the emergency funds keeping them running



Eurozone doomed whether Greece leaves or stays, study shows

The single currency is forcing its members further apart and cannot survive in its current form, new analysis shows

The Telegraph, By James Kirkup, June 21

The Eurozone is doomed and cannot survive in its current form, regardless of what happens to Greece, a major new study shows.

New research demonstrates that members of the single European currency are becoming more economically divergent, making a single rate of interest increasingly unsuitable for the bloc.

Political, social and cultural differences will also make it increasingly hard for the euro members to share a currency. Eventually, the Eurozone will have to either “integrate or disintegrate”, the analysis says.

The research, by economic consultants from the ECU Group, is part of Change, or Go, a wide-ranging study of Britain’s European Union membership and future prospects.

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns

Associated Press, By Elaine Ganley, June 21

Paris — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.

The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins.

In Britain the numbers are on the rise, too. Seven percent of Britain’s 1,740 mosques are run by Salafis, according to Mehmood Naqshbandi, an expert on Britain’s Muslims and counter-extremism adviser to the British government who keeps a database of the various currents of Islam in Britain. He says those numbers are steadily growing, especially among young people — and that a quarter to half of British Muslims under 30 “accept some parts or all of the Salafi theology.”

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