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Old 10-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #181
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wow... if the euro was devalued throughout Europe it would be a total nightmare dealing with non-euro countries as we do (with the UK for instance - the exchange rate has been pretty awful as it is and it is getting very expensive to buy from/pay debts in the UK now on a euro wage - many people live between the UK and euro-zones and rely on wages paid in euros - devaluation would be disasterous for them)... maybe a two-tiered euro could be a solution - i think this has already been discussed by the powers that be? or ditch the euro completely and let individual countries devalue their currencies as necessary

ps- the factories certainly aren't coming to France - France is losing its production capacity as well - factories are closing down all over - massive French firms, Citroen, Renault, etc. - it's unprecedented actually
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:59 AM   #182
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the thing i don't understand - here in France, everyone is morose, saying how difficult everything is, yet, half-term holidays have just started and nearly everyone i know here, and practically all of my kids' schoolfriends have pissed off somewhere for a two-week holiday! this happens every holiday, people go off for a whole month in the summer, and during EVERY school holiday throughout the year - and these are just regular French families who claim that they scrape by and aren't even eligible to pay income tax - i honestly don't know how they can afford it - we rarely can afford holidays even though i regularly work 50+ hour weeks and have a relatively good job...

what i mean is, i think France is still in cloud cuckoo land... you have villages here where the mayors still think they can spend silly amounts of money on flowers and frivolous things while more serious issues are swept under the carpet... i can't see how it can continue, but people still seem to be living in a bubble (for now)
I payed some attention to the yet recent french presidential election and its campaign and I was negatively amazed because, for example, in the debates, almost no one talked about Europe. Europe took just a few minutes of a long debate. I was like "WTF?!"...
Now Hollande has been saying some things. Last week he clearly said Portugal and Spain shouldn't be paying this and like this. But I think that's also fear of the contagion... Which I think it has already happened.
You probably noticed that 2013's French budget is also heavier than ever. I personally think that Hollande is well intentioned, and I even think, in economical terms, he did well in raising the salaries (instead of decreasing like the rest of Europe), for example, so money still circulates in french economy. But I think austerity will arrive to France next year because Hollande is hands tied and he cannot much to avoid it.
What I like to see is that Hollande and Mario Monti (together with Mariano Rajoy) have already stopped a few of Merkel's ideas. Which means that Merkel is losing strenght, but it's not because of Hollande alone, I feel it's mostly because of Draghi.

Do you want to know what our PM, Passos Coelho, thinks about this? He's against Hollande, Mario Monti... And even against Rajoy who comes from his political family and has his social points of view.
Passos Coelho wants to blindly follow Merkel, he nods yes to every single thing that Merkel/Schauble says and if they say the opposite next week, he'll nod yes as well.
For example, he affirmed (with no shame at all) that in last week's european summit, he entered, participated and left without saying a word about our country in that meeting. Which is anothet proof that he wants all this.

Some people say that this Government is as fanatic as (ideologically different) diehard communists. And I think that's true. I start to believe that they want the so-called Regenerating Destruction, which is destroying, razing the country, the economy and the social tissue, to "rebuild" it again with their ideological model. And today's situation if their opportunity.
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:02 AM   #183
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Do you want to know what our PM, Passos Coelho, thinks about this? He's against Hollande, Mario Monti... And even against Rajoy who comes from his political family and has his social points of view.
Passos Coelho wants to blindly follow Merkel, he nods yes to every single thing that Merkel/Schauble says and if they say the opposite next week, he'll nod yes as well.
For example, he affirmed (with no shame at all) that in last week's european summit, he entered, participated and left without saying a word about our country in that meeting. Which is anothet proof that he wants all this.

Some people say that this Government is as fanatic as (ideologically different) diehard communists. And I think that's true. I start to believe that they want the so-called Regenerating Destruction, which is destroying, razing the country, the economy and the social tissue, to "rebuild" it again with their ideological model. And today's situation if their opportunity.
it's petrifying, Aygo - i swear they are trying to "Shock Doctrine" us all (as per Naomi Klein) - i.e. bring us to our knees and "rebuild" on their terms according to their ideology... terrifying times really...
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:03 AM   #184
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wow... if the euro was devalued throughout Europe it would be a total nightmare dealing with non-euro countries as we do (with the UK for instance - the exchange rate has been pretty awful as it is and it is getting very expensive to buy from/pay debts in the UK now on a euro wage - many people live between the UK and euro-zones and rely on wages paid in euros - devaluation would be disasterous for them)... maybe a two-tiered euro could be a solution - i think this has already been discussed by the powers that be? or ditch the euro completely and let individual countries devalue their currencies as necessary

ps- the factories certainly aren't coming to France - France is losing its production capacity as well - factories are closing down all over - massive French firms, Citroen, Renault, etc. - it's unprecedented actually
I think that making two different Euro's would accentuate the difference and the racism North vs South and it separates it in "different kinds of europeans", like 1st class Europeans and 2nd class Europeans. I'm against it because of the political and social impact.

I heard that PSA/Peugeot-Citroën and Renault are shutting down their factories in France. But didn't that happen too in the 1970's/1980's? Isn't Renault partially nationalized and controled by the Government? What can Hollande do about that?
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:11 AM   #185
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Isn't Renault partially nationalized and controled by the Government? What can Hollande do about that?
i'm not sure off the top of my head - would have to check...

Hollande seems to be at a loss right now - there is no money - the budget deficit is enormous... there's been a bit of a scandal here recently - a report was leaked a few days ago, on an investigation Hollande had commissioned into solving the deficit, and the "Socialist" economist who did the report recommended the same solutions (i.e. VAT rise to 21.60%) as Sarkozy had planned for this October but which Hollande reversed when he came to power - so it's pretty embarrassing really...

i read the analogy the other day, that France is like a ship which is rapidly taking on water, and everyone is just standing there looking helplessly at the captain hoping he will do something... pretty accurate i reckon! (though extremely worrying!)

i like Hollande, i think it's great he's standing up to Merkel, and he has a more human side to him - such a relief after the personality disaster that was Sarkozy! but i worry about whether he is up to the task ahead... guess we just have to fasten our seatbelts and prepare for the rocky ride ahead!
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #186
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i'm not sure off the top of my head - would have to check...

Hollande seems to be at a loss right now - there is no money - the budget deficit is enormous... there's been a bit of a scandal here recently - a report was leaked a few days ago, on an investigation Hollande had commissioned into solving the deficit, and the "Socialist" economist who did the report recommended the same solutions (i.e. VAT rise to 21.60%) as Sarkozy had planned for this October but which Hollande reversed when he came to power - so it's pretty embarrassing really...

i read the analogy the other day, that France is like a ship which is rapidly taking on water, and everyone is just standing there looking helplessly at the captain hoping he will do something... pretty accurate i reckon! (though extremely worrying!)

i like Hollande, i think it's great he's standing up to Merkel, and he has a more human side to him - such a relief after the personality disaster that was Sarkozy! but i worry about whether he is up to the task ahead... guess we just have to fasten our seatbelts and prepare for the rocky ride ahead!
That's the impression I have about Hollande. I think he's well intentioned. But he's got his hands tied and there's not much he can do.

I wish portuguese PS leader, Seguro, was like that. Seguro is so plastic, so unconvincing, so weak, such a scary doggie, such a follower, his speeches and so dead and cliché. That's why, although PPD/PSD dropped from 38% in the elections to 24% in pollings, PS only went from 28% to 31%.

Do you think Strauss-Khan would've been a good (better) president or he would do the same thing?

I have family living in France (yes, some of those portuguese than ran away from the dictatorship and poverty to France in the 1960/70's) and their children, now grown up, came to visit us this summer. I asked about the european issues, if they were aware about what's happening here, and they were pretty much unaware of it all. They told me that in France these issues don't have much discussion or attention. I was surprised about it...
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:51 PM   #187
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Today was the vote of the General State Budget for 2013 here. There was a demonstration in front of the Parliment, at the time of the votation, 3 p.m.
The deputees of the right-wing parties (the parties that support the government) were so scared that asked for the votation to occur a few hours earlier.
At the end of the afternoon, the few deputees who dared leaving that Parliment were insulted and had to go back because some of the protesters tried to surround and block the several exits of Parliament.
I have been hearing for months, several times, that some people want to invade the Parliment, but it has never really happened... Yet. If things continue this way, I suspect that this will happen sooner or later, due to the hatred that people have of politicians, mainly from deputees and ministers these days.

Yesterday a journalist said that the most recent Nestlé report for Portugal says that despite the crisis, even though people have less money, although domestic consumption has fallen "freefall style", despite the consumption of essential goods has decreased (including food, where people now buy mostly house brands)... Surprisingly, the consumption of edible flour low cost increased. What this means is that now there are people famine, with hunger, and that, not having money, they are replacing meals with these type of products which are substantially cheaper.

The biggest difference I see between Portugal and (for instance) Spain or Greece is that, besides the fact that we've been a little more pacific (don't know until when), portuguese repeat a behaviour that's been part of our culture: people hidethe misery. There is an increse of hidden and ashamed poverty.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:16 PM   #188
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I heard about the budget being passed on NPR today... wow. This is scary, and sad, stuff.

Aygo, do you think there is any chance of revolutions in Southern Europe, given prolonged economic stagnation or further contraction?

I tend to be extremely cautious about thinking in revolutionary terms, but from all that I can tell, this is the stuff of revolutions.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:38 PM   #189
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I heard about the budget being passed on NPR today... wow. This is scary, and sad, stuff.

Aygo, do you think there is any chance of revolutions in Southern Europe, given prolonged economic stagnation or further contraction?

I tend to be extremely cautious about thinking in revolutionary terms, but from all that I can tell, this is the stuff of revolutions.
I seriously believe that something will happen soon (and "soon" can be tomorrow or within 2/3 years, but yes, I do think it will).
What's happening now in Southern Europe (and soon in France and other countries of Central Europe because everyone's contaminated) is not socially sustainable for a long time.
It is not socially sustainable throw out the window, in the blink of an eye, a construction of decades, especially with regard to the concept of welfare state and to what it means in terms of prosperity and peace. The welfare state has been for decades the "social glue" in all European countries and for Europe it self. Ending it suddenly, to require sacrifices that people know it will not have another result besides impoverish them seriously and by force, to tell people this is all them fault, to have people like Merkel (people they have not chosen or elected) to dictate it all... All this is to ask people to rebel.

Spain and Greece are with unemployment rates of 25%, and of the total unemployed population 50-55% are younger than 30 years (16% total, 37% under 30). What country and society that is able to handle this? None.

Do not forget, moreover, that the Arab Revolts / The Arab Spring began the very same reason (despite having different political regimes at the time): absence of prosperity, unemployment (especially among young people) high, the absence of a light at the end of the tunnel.
I have no doubts that portuguese, italian, spanish, greek (and even french) are mediterranean peoples and, for that reason, we're all culturally way closer to northen african countries than to central/northern european countries (even if they're mostly muslim and we're heavily catholic, there cultural similarities are huge).
It wouldn't surprise me if, within the next 5 years, something similar (or with the same importance) with the Arab Spring would happen in Southern Europe... With all the consequences to the EU project.

You have the case of Hungary. It's scary, very scary, but no one talks about Hungary. And the EU doesn't care about it.
Hungary is today a fascist regime. Orbán's party changed the Constitution [and, frighteningly, the motto of the new Constitution is exactly equal to that of the Portuguese Constitution during the Salazar regime: God, Country and Family]. Orbán's party criminalized socialist and communist parties; they arrested the leaders of the opposition parties in demonstrations; to be homeless on the streets is forbidden and they use homeless for free/forced jobs in public works; they did shut down radios and other media related with the biggest opposition party. In Hungary an opinion polling revealed that one 30% of the Hungarians eventually(!) thinks about going to vote, because they don't care about politics anymore.

P.S.: We're not having economical stagnation. We're having a prolonged recession. For you to have an idea, in 5 years Greece lost almost 25% of their GDP. Portugal almost didn't grow since 2000 and between 2010 and 2013 we're gonna lose 10% of our GDP, going back to the levels of the late 1990's. How can we pay a debt of 124% of our GDP (next year) - a debt most of it not created by us - if the economy is being killed and doesn't generate richness to pay a single coin?
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:45 AM   #190
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I heard about the budget being passed on NPR today... wow. This is scary, and sad, stuff.

Aygo, do you think there is any chance of revolutions in Southern Europe, given prolonged economic stagnation or further contraction?

I tend to be extremely cautious about thinking in revolutionary terms, but from all that I can tell, this is the stuff of revolutions.
A Golden Dawn fascistic/militaristic reactionary acquiring of power seems more likely than a genuine revolution, but the workers should never be underestimated. Hoping for a worker's revolution, and Greece is one of the most likely places for it to happen.

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You have the case of Hungary. It's scary, very scary, but no one talks about Hungary. And the EU doesn't care about it.
Hungary is today a fascist regime. Orbán's party changed the Constitution [and, frighteningly, the motto of the new Constitution is exactly equal to that of the Portuguese Constitution during the Salazar regime: God, Country and Family]. Orbán's party criminalized socialist and communist parties; they arrested the leaders of the opposition parties in demonstrations; to be homeless on the streets is forbidden and they use homeless for free/forced jobs in public works; they did shut down radios and other media related with the biggest opposition party. In Hungary an opinion polling revealed that one 30% of the Hungarians eventually(!) thinks about going to vote, because they don't care about politics anymore.
Hungary scares me quite a bit, read not too long ago about a law put into practice which would restrict university students from leaving the country which is the typical authoritarian practice of limiting freedom of movement. I read about paramilitary squads (including teenagers I believe) that are trained to harrass immigrants and Roma people and, unsurprisingly, the police never do anything to help them. Not to mention the party Jobbik are more or less on par with Golden Dawn in terms of influence and danger. Generally, it doesn't seem like the West care about how right wing or fascistic a state is just as long as that state supports them.

I wouldn't necessarily label Hungary as fascist, but it's drifting through the right wing authoritarianism area pretty swiftly.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:48 AM   #191
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A Golden Dawn fascistic/militaristic reactionary acquiring of power seems more likely than a genuine revolution, but the workers should never be underestimated. Hoping for a worker's revolution, and Greece is one of the most likely places for it to happen.



Hungary scares me quite a bit, read not too long ago about a law put into practice which would restrict university students from leaving the country which is the typical authoritarian practice of limiting freedom of movement. I read about paramilitary squads (including teenagers I believe) that are trained to harrass immigrants and Roma people and, unsurprisingly, the police never do anything to help them. Not to mention the party Jobbik are more or less on par with Golden Dawn in terms of influence and danger. Generally, it doesn't seem like the West care about how right wing or fascistic a state is just as long as that state supports them.

I wouldn't necessarily label Hungary as fascist, but it's drifting through the right wing authoritarianism area pretty swiftly.
I think that the most likely scenario in Greece is the repetition of the 1967's events, which is the seizure of power by the military and a new "dictatorship of colonels" for a few years. Do not forget that Greece has a conflict with the neighbour Turkey and it's convienient for both to have military strenght.

In the case of Portugal, this Government is not gonna last 9 months. It'll fall after the local power elections in September, which matches the date of the end of the troika memorandum. After that, the interests will still be criminal, economy is already in a recessive spiral, and we'll have to require financial assistance again, a second memorandum. Which means this government will have no legitimacy at all (I think it already doesn't have, but that's another story).
In the elections, PS is likely to be far from an absolute majority, the right-wing parties will be smashed, and I think the solution will be like Italy: a Prime-Minister no one elected, with a fragile government, supported by PS/PSD/CDS, the three parties who signed the first memorandum in 2011.
After that it'll be the spiral to the political caos.

I wouldn't be surprised too if Spain would enter in a similar political scenario, but ending in the usual inner-nationalist crescent tensions.

Today I have no doubt at all that something important will happen in these societies "soon", I just don't know how soon and what kind of events.

What you read about Hungary is right. Add this the persecution to gypsies (which I think it'll happen in Portugal too when the easy scapegoats have to be found soon), to homeless people, to jews, to unemployed... Not only by the government, but also by people who are looking for their social scapegoats too. In fact, Orbán claimed that the model to follow is the chinese model. I recomend the reading of the articles published in the Presseurop website. They're very good about this subject.
I put the "Fascist" label on the hungarian case because it has lots of similarities with the beggining of Salazar's rise and regime implementation... And which is happening in Portugal again too. The kind of speech of «there's one and only one way out / everyone must stick together for this national purpose / it's for our own good / those who are against it are betrayals», this is the kind of fascist used in the 1920's, more sophisticated, and applied to today's reality, but it's the same.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:55 AM   #192
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Yikes, its scary to read about Hungary's descent into madness, so to speak. This does sound like what happened to Germany in the early 20th century, minus losing their colonial possessions. Do you think other countries will spiral downwards too?
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #193
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Not only it sounds like 1920's Germany as it is. The paralelism between the present situation and the 1920/1930's is huge.
There's no other way but down for Europe. The EU (well, people who's been on the top of the EU) as well as the weak present european leaders/PM's/presidents highly underestimated the History and the dymanics of Europe. They thought that the EU would build a new Europe from a blank sheet, forgetting the cultures, the nationalisms and regionalisms, the mutual hatreds, the inner behaviours of the different peoples. Why should we be different just because we now have goods like internet, good cars and food?
I have no doubt that there're be conflicts in a short-term period... And not only in Southern Europe.
For example, the tension between Hungary and Austria was never fully resolved.
The Balcains (the good old Balcains) will always be a barrel of powder, with all those different ethnies, beliefs, cultures and people in such a small space.
Germany, as the present proofs, will always be Germany with its innate, unconscious and proud tendency of wanting to Europe for itself and to dominate it (sorry for the germans who are reading this, but it's what I personally think).
The UK will always want to stand with one foot inside and one outside.
A portuguese and a finish will never feel they belong to the same culture. The same between a czech and a belgian, for instance. It simply doesn't.
Why should it be different now?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:01 AM   #194
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In regards to other European countries, I don't think the Baltics are travelling all that well at the moment. Not to mention countries like Ukraine and Russia are never really heading in positive directions, notably the latter and I think it's commonly known that Russia is home to a staggering amount of fascists, on the streets and in the government. But then again, you can't really think positively of a country which has a political situation which has people like Zhirinovsky still somehow relevant.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #195
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Not only it sounds like 1920's Germany as it is. The paralelism between the present situation and the 1920/1930's is huge.
There's no other way but down for Europe. The EU (well, people who's been on the top of the EU) as well as the weak present european leaders/PM's/presidents highly underestimated the History and the dymanics of Europe. They thought that the EU would build a new Europe from a blank sheet, forgetting the cultures, the nationalisms and regionalisms, the mutual hatreds, the inner behaviours of the different peoples. Why should we be different just because we now have goods like internet, good cars and food?
I have no doubt that there're be conflicts in a short-term period... And not only in Southern Europe.
For example, the tension between Hungary and Austria was never fully resolved.
The Balcains (the good old Balcains) will always be a barrel of powder, with all those different ethnies, beliefs, cultures and people in such a small space.
Germany, as the present proofs, will always be Germany with its innate, unconscious and proud tendency of wanting to Europe for itself and to dominate it (sorry for the germans who are reading this, but it's what I personally think).
The UK will always want to stand with one foot inside and one outside.
A portuguese and a finish will never feel they belong to the same culture. The same between a czech and a belgian, for instance. It simply doesn't.
Why should it be different now?
I agree with this. A single government-like institution can't force people to forget about their history and culture in a short time span. If it could ever happen, it would take many generations. And even then, there will still be a pocket of people who remember their background.
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