In Europe

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An alternative to austerity, 12 EU countries demand

The letter that the heads of government of twelve EU countries, including Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, sent to Brussels presented an eight point programme to promote economic growth in the European Union. It was addressed to the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and that of the Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, yet was not signed by either Germany or France, the two main economies of the euro zone…


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British economist Angus Deaton awarded by BBVA Foundation

MADRID | British economist Angus Deaton was chosen Tuesday for the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of Economics, Finance and Management in this fourth edition. Mr Deaton is professor at Princeton University (United States), and the jury selected him for “his fundamental contributions to the theory of consumption, savings and the measurement of economic wellbeing. “His research,” the jury added, “applies rigorous methods to important real world…


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Friday’s graphic: let’s compare unit labour costs between us

A working paper by professor José Luis Mechea on possible exit scenarios from the current international economic crisis brings this already known but not fully appreciated picture. Here you are how unit labour costs have evolved since 1999 in a few euro zone countries, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, in comparison to Germany. Obviously, there must be some link with this other graphic… Yes. Unemployment.


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Fiscal compact: read before signing

By Luis Martí, in Madrid | In an understandable effort to correct serious original defects, the European Union has decided to adopt the fiscal compact promised in the European Council declaration of last November 9. This now is presented to us as none other than the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, open for member countries to sign after the January 30 summit. For the German Chancellor this…


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Corruption: trending now in the EU

Three quarters of Europeans see corruption as a major problem at all levels of government, and 8pc of respondents to the latest Eurobarometer survey say that they have been asked or expected to pay a bribe in 2011. Not only corruptions remains a major problem in the European Union but levels are thought to have risen over the last three years. The picture of Europeans’ sentiment regarding abuse is compelling, to…


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The OECD gives a warning to Germany

By Julia Pastor, in Madrid | Every country in Europe is holding up against the neverending financial crisis as Germany does, but the country ‘cannot rest on its oars’ in order to keep its role as Europe’s biggest economy. This is the major conclusion from the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s economic survey of German, published in Berlin on Tuesday. It is true that Germany’s strength and economic…


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Germany and the fear crisis

By Lidia Conde, in Frankfort | ‘Is the world coming to an end?‘ That was the headline of a feature on the financial crisis published by the Hamburg intellectual weekly Die Zeit. The answer of the many experts and professionals consulted was: yes. Die Zeit quoted Karlheinz Kögel, an entrepreneur from Tyrol specialized in the sale of survival ration packages: powdered milk, cereal bars and tins of meat and chili with an expiry…


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Who cares Greece might be spinning out of control?

By Juan Pedro Marín Arrese, in Madrid | Europe seems to witness with sheer indifference the Greek slide into utter ruin. Not so long ago Ms Merkel used to stress her unshakeable resolve not to let down any euro country. But the German finance Minister is currently pushing the Hellenic government towards the exit door. What has happened for such a U-turn? To begin with, fears about financial system contagion…


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Who will untie the knot of the Quantitative Easing cash line?

LONDON | Even those who in principle appear at ease before the Bank of England’s new printing money operation have had but an apathetic attitude. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted this week to increase the size of its asset purchase programme, financed via issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion –to a grand yet still temporary total of £325 billion– and friends, and foes, saw it coming without quite seeing…


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Greek crisis: no tsunami at bay

By Juan Pedro Marín Arrese, in Madrid | When it comes to conditions imposed on Greece, they are not so fierce as usually depicted. Axing 25% of minimum wages might seem a harsh therapy. But salaries pegged to this standard would still be 15% higher than in Portugal. As to supplementary pension schemes and holidays bonuses, ask the Portuguese how they feel on that. Closure of more than 100 state-controlled entities…