The week of accusing, voting, and reporting. Berlusconi, French socialists, the Cypriot president as well as the government of Iceland wanted to say something to the world.
The Czech prime minister has been hit by a “police-tsunami“ and he should be glad if he survives the situation not only without his function, but without jail time as well. In these hard times, he could ask his European colleagues for advice. For example, the former prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, could tell him several funny stories, which he has already shared with Nečas’ predecessor. Investigations and trials involving Berlusconi are already a part of the Italian pop-culture.
His present trial could have a serious impact on the country. Berlusconi has probably forgotten to give a receipt to his sponsors, and now he is threatened by a four-year imprisonment and a five-year ban on political activity on tax evasion charges. This could have an impact on the whole Italian government. Berlusconi’s departure could lead to the disintegration of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government.
Problems of such a large economy with such a high national debt could bring the euro crisis back into the spotlight. Berlusconi, who has got through all the accusations, is satisfied. He is preparing for big enunciations. Allegedly, Italy has problems due to bad budget cuts and it should forget about the Fiscal Compact and 3% rule. “Do you want us to leave the euro zone? So go ahead! Do you want us out to leave the EU? Well, we would like to remind you that we pay to the EU budget 18 billion per year and receive only 10 billion.” Berlusconi concluded the description of the reality of European fiscal rule enforcement in an elegant way. While speaking about the Italian fiscal position, he just forgot to mention that Italy did not go bankrupt thanks to tens of billions euros used by the ECB for purchasing Italian bonds.
After a short break, also Cypriots have begun to draw attention once again. The Cypriot president has sharply criticised conditions of the foreign aid, which could have negative consequences on the Cypriot economy. When deposits of over 100,000 euros were frozen, no differences were made between operating expenses and long-term deposits and this is harmful to Cypriot business. Similarly, the ongoing capital controls are slowing down the re-establishment of trust in the banking sector.
François Hollande’s Socialist Party members are repeating themselves. In their opinion, the euro is too strong (when was it not?) and it is decreasing the competitiveness of the EU products. And, naturally, strict budget rules are the cause of all problems. If the government was allowed to spend more taxpayers’ money, everything would be much better.
Eurocrats are threatening us with a strike. Their unions dislike the 5% reduction of staff and the lengthening of the working hours to the usual 40 hours per week. Maybe you have not noticed (probably not), but there has already been a strike for this reason. Even though eurocrats went on strike on June 6, calculations of cucumber curvature were not endangered.
In the relay race called “the EU budget” the baton has been passed into others’ hands. However, we still have to wait for the final version of the 2014-2020 budget to be adopted. The report of the Court of Auditors focusing on wastage and ineffectiveness is a Brusselian bad conscious. Recently, the Court has audited a one-billion-euro aid to the Egyptian government to “improve respect for human rights and democracy”. The authors of the report have concluded that the aid had good intentions but bad results. The new government was even less interested in this sort of programs than the previous one. Who would say that conservative Islamists will not be interested in women or gay rights?
The apprehension about democracy is rising even in the EU itself. The EU parliamentary committee on human rights has criticised Orbán’s Hungary for its actions against the media, for the elimination of the independent judiciary, and for attacks on minorities. The committee voted they do not like it and that maybe sometime they will penalize Hungary, possibly by taking away its voting rights.
The conflict with China continues. Due to alleged Chinese dumping, European representatives have already voted for import duties on Chinese solar panels. The Chinese side has answered with a threat of duties on European wine. As a matter of fact the EU subsidizes (i.e. dumps) wine producers by 2.8 billion euro.
China is the fastest growing wine-consuming market in the world, thus a possible hole in the market will be gladly filled by producers from South America. This would have an impact especially on traditional producers like Spain, which is, as usual, in a bad economic mood. Due to the transfer of a part of bad credits to the newly established “bad“ SAREB bank, the amount of unpaid debts has been decreased by 10% immediately. However, after 3 months, the unpaid debts amount is on its original level of 11%, i.e. more than 1 loan out of 10 is not paid properly. If you are afraid of 100 billion that we sent, you are a terrible eurosceptic and a peace breaker!
The EU has lost a member – a potential one. While Croats are counting down the days to their official entry, a decisive “NO“ has been enunciated by the new Icelandic government. The Commission had some hardship to understand such a decision, so Icelandic foreign minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, had to remind them that this is the way democracy works.
Unfortunately, he does not know that Brussels works on the basis of “repetitive democracy“, i.e. voting will be repeated until the result will be correct.
Currently, there is no voting, so you can go to cool down in some pool.
Translated by Roman Ujbányai