To be precise: the Eurozone’s (and the wider EU’s) debt-to-GDP is apparently declining, falling 0.5 points to 92.2% between the first and second quarters of this year. Apparently this was thanks to growth in Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, and especially Germany.
Speaking at an Interparliamentary Conference “Towards a Progressive Europe” organized by the German Social Democrats (presumably an event with MPs from different countries), the European Central Bank’s Benoît Cœuré has fleshed out his vision of the Eurozone some more.
Cœuré was candid about his “frustration” in attending high-level Eurozone meetings and urged the politicians (which presumably included MPs from different countries) to come up with a positive narrative for a kind of Eurozone Federation – as opposed to a reactive, negative narrative focused on greater Eurozone powers for narrow crisis management – as “an opportunity for Europe to move forward in the Weberian sense.” Sic!
Eurostat has published some interesting data on women and age in teaching.
In 2013, 8.3 million persons worked as teaching staff (from pre-primary to tertiary level) in the European Union (EU), of which 5.8 million (70%) were women. Women were largely predominant in the early stages of education, representing 95% of all teachers at pre-primary education level and 85% at primary level. In contrast, the majority of teaching staff at tertiary education level were men (59%).
According to the most-recently published statistics, there were 185,000 first-time asylum-seekers in the EU in the first quarter of this year. Contrary to what you might think, the biggest group was not the highly-publicized Syrians or Eritreans, but Kosovars, whom we purportedly liberated in 1999.
Who are these 49,000 Kosovars? Are they ethnic Serbs suffering under ethnic Albanian rule? Or are they ethnic Albanians, because being ruled by a corrupt ethnic mafia of terrorists and organ-traffickers is sufficient grounds for seeking asylum? How many are seeking Western European goodies rather than “fleeing persecution”?
Eurostat is launching “a series of publications on migrant integration.” A first press release shows that non-EU migrants are quarter less likely to be higher-educated, almost two times as likely to be idle “NEETs,” and over 2.5 times as likely to not have a high-school diploma as the native-born. This is considerably worse in all spheres than EU migrants.
In November 2012, then-European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding (mainly known to the general public for her tiff with France over Roma deportations and her advocacy of feminine quotas on corporate boards) gave a noted speech advocating a “United States of Europe.” The speech presents a history of the idea of a European federal State (mainly citing Victor Hugo, but also mentioning Washington, Bonaparte, Mazzini, Coudenhove-Kalergi, and Spinelli), and the (now common) rationale for a quasi-federal economic government to stabilize and democratize the Eurozone.
I have to admit that when Reding first made her speech I did not read it. Having been a reporter in Brussels for EurActiv, I was put off by too many moralistic exhortations for “more Europe” from the Guy Verhofstadts, the Daniel Cohn-Bendits, and other professional moralizers. This was a mistake, as Reding’s speech is interesting in presenting an account of Germanic (Luxembourgish/German) ambition and reasoning for a United States of Europe in the 1990s, and for an interesting critique of the existing European Treaties’ failures (“neoliberalism” and “national sovereignty”).
In short, the (West) Germans and a significant portion of the center-right European People’s Party (the grouping of national Christian-Democratic parties) believed that the creation of a common currency, the euro, was a prelude to a “political union,” a notoriously vague term which for them referred very specifically to a federal Europe. Reding was refreshingly frank on the weaknesses of “the rickety construction of Maastricht” and the inadequacy of Europeanists’ failure to present a clear vision of the EU’s nature and finality, arguing against the use of vague and evasive expressions like “sui generis.” Instead, she presented a clear point of view (which one can of course disagree with) meant to stoke democratic debate on where Europe should go, and that is clearly a good thing.
The admission of “neoliberalism” is important as certain prominent pro-EU authorities, such as French journalist Jean Quatremer, have thought it there role to deny left-wing and nationalist claims that the EU has a “libéral” bias. In addition to Reding’s concession of “neoliberalism,” European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has argued that his institution has remained true to its German “ordoliberal” heritage. This neo-/ordo-liberalism makes the adoption of Listian and especially Keynesian economic policies legally difficult, as pro-EU leftists like François Hollande and Alexis Tsipras have learned to their detriment.
As craigwilly.info is getting a new lease on life, what better time to consult the People on which direction to go? As such I have decided to indulge in a rare exercise of democracy. You get three (3) votes. Use them wisely!
Fine print: Results are non-binding and may be abrogated at any time should the People vote wrongly.
European Central Bank Executive Board Member Benoît Cœuré has made another highly-interesting speech on the future of the Eurozone (également disponible en français, und auf Deutsch) to the annual assembly of French ambassadors in Paris (see previously his interview with Le Monde). Cœuré covers a lot of the problems, paradoxes, and subtleties of the current situation well, and does not sugarcoat things. (Presumably because, as an unelected expert taking taking almost monarchical sovereign decisions, he doesn’t have to pander or simplify like your average politician, nor, apparently, do ECB speeches require as many OKs and approvals as do Commission speeches.) A few money quotes.