László Andor*: Dealing with divergence in the EMU

An article from the ATTAC Hungary webpage

Az ATTAC logója

The case for monetary reform and unemployment insurance

Introduction

The rejection of continued EU membership by the UK electorate at the June 23 referendum pushed Great Britain into a new type of political and economic crisis. However, the resulting uncertainty also creates a new challenge to the remaining 27 members of the European Union, which is now set to lose the larger of the two member states that have opted out of the single currency.

People in Great Britain, and especially in non-metropolitan England and Wales voted for leaving because they lost confidence in the EU being a win-win game. Similar feelings about the lack of fairness are even more widespread within the Eurozone, and especially in the more peripheral countries which went through a long recession and still struggle with high unemployment and rising poverty.

Following the UK referendum, various officials, including the French and German foreign ministers, called for reforming the EMU and making it more resilient and sustainable, including through the creation of a fiscal capacity for the Eurozone. This paper argues that creating a counter-cyclical fiscal capacity indeed is a crucial and urgent step to halt disintegration, and EMU unemployment insurance can be a pivotal instrument to strengthen economic as well as social cohesion in Europe.

László Andor*: Dealing with divergence in the EMU részletei…

Sungur Savran: The Syrianisation of Turkey

The Syrianisation of Turkey

Sungur Savran

The immense catastrophe that struck Turkey in the streets of Ankara, the capital city, on 10 October, when two bombs exploded in the midst of a thronging crowd of what would possibly turn out to be hundreds of thousands of people, leading to the death of an indefinite number of people, in any case exceeding one hundred, and the wounding of hundreds, some still under the risk of death, is a sharp reminder, if any were needed, that this is a country undergoing a severe political crisis. The tragic loss of life, ranging from a nine-year old boy to a seventy-year old woman and involving the deaths of a very high number of young people, has left the working class movement, the broad left, the community of Alevis, the minority religious denomination in Turkey, and the Kurdish people, all of whom were involved in the peace demonstration that was attacked, in profound grief and mourning. It is cause for consolation, however, to witness the fact that the main aim of this hideous attack has been thwarted since, despite the grief, the masses have not been intimidated and have come out in militant mood both to protest and to bury their dead.

Sungur Savran: The Syrianisation of Turkey részletei…

Stand with Greece

This week, Greece could be forced to accept grinding and failed austerity policies, or be forced to exit the Euro — causing chaos. Or we could help create the biggest people-powered push for social democracy ever, get Merkel and others to give up their austerity crusade, and allow Greece’s economy space to recover. The Chancellor is hugely influenced by public opinion. Let’s create a massive European call for people before banks — and plaster our voices all over the media. Join now:

Sign now

Dear friends across Europe,

This week, Greece could be forced to accept grinding and failed austerity policies, or be made to exit the Euro — causing chaos across Europe. Or we could help create the biggest people-powered push for social democracy ever, and pull this crisis back from the brink!

Let’s be clear, behind all the debate and jargon there are only two things we really need to know: 1) the most vulnerable Greek people have borne the brunt of brutal public spending cuts — 4 in 10 kids live in poverty, infant mortality rate has increased by 43%, and youth unemployment has nearly hit 50%! And 2) it’s been for nothing — the debt problem has got worse, not better. So more of the same will mean, well, more of the same — more pain and more debt.

Yet Chancellor Merkel and the creditors keep flogging this irresponsible policy, and claim that is what the public wants.

This week, Prime Minister Tsipras has courageously turned to democracy, and called on his country to say “No”. 70% of Greek Avaaz members say they will vote “No”. Now if enough of us stand with them, we can show our leaders that the public wants to stop inflicting harm and move instead to debt reduction. Sign now — when enough of us have joined, Avaaz will cover the media with our call:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_greece_loc_eu/?bbjAaab&v=61419

Chancellor Merkel listens to what the people say, and has been known to change course when the moment demanded it — after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and massive public protests against nuclear energy in Germany, she agreed to switch off Germany’s nuclear power plants.

Yes, political corruption, misgovernance and reckless borrowing by previous governments are ingredients of the cocktail that has brought Greece’s economy to its knees. But while 90% of the bailout funds have gone to foreign banks, the Greeks have complied with austerity, privatised and deregulated, cut pensions and salaries, and raised taxes. But, as many predicted, it hasn’t helped the debt problem. And the misery is hitting the poorest — rich Greeks have pulled a lot of their money out already.

This acrimonious standoff doesn’t need to be taken to a Greek referendum between two tough choices. A wide spectrum of economists, and powerful world leaders agree on the answer for Greece: a debt conference to restructure and reduce Greek debt, giving the economy breathing room to recover and gradually pay off the rest of its debt over time.

We have a tiny window of opportunity this week to show Merkel and other key leaders that the world supports a “No” to these failed policies. Join now —  let’s be the impetus for a critical transformation to put people before banks:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_greece_loc_eu/?bbjAaab&v=61419

Turning a crisis into an opportunity is what a community of our size and power does best. This could be a historic disaster, but if enough of us speak out, we could persuade Merkel to change course, and be European social democracy in action. Today, it’s up to all of us to stand up for a humane, people-centred economic system, and it can start in Greece.

With hope,

Alice, Ricken, Spyro, Alex, Marigona, Mike and the whole team at Avaaz

Sources:

Greece over the brink (New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/opinion/paul-krugman-greece-over-the-brink.html

Creditors’ economic plan for Greece is illiterate and doomed to fail (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/23/creditors-economic-plan-for-greece-is-illiterate-and-do

Europe’s Empress Stays Silent (Politico)
http://www.politico.eu/article/grexit-greece-merkel-empress-stays-silent-germany-debt-default/

Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty and Other World-Renowned Economists Demand End to Greek Austerity (In These Times)
http://inthesetimes.com/article/18020/joseph-stiglitz-thomas-piketty-greece-syriza-austerity

Child poverty up in more than half of developed world since 2008 (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/28/child-poverty-developed-world-unicef-report-global-recession

Crumbs of comfort don’t hide Europe’s employment divide (EU Observer)
https://euobserver.com/news/129396

Health cuts see new-born deaths jump 43% in Greece (Euractiv)
http://www.euractiv.com/health/troikas-pressure-greeces-healthc-news-533948