With Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou agreeing to step down in order to secure more bailout funds from the ECB, attention turned immediately to Italy’s financial problems that dwarf those of Greece’s. The Greek PM’s decision now clears the way for an interim government to agree formally to the new austerity measures demanded by the European Union as a condition of receiving additional financing by the end of the month. Those funds are needed to pay Greece’s bills through January 2012.
Rosen Plevneliev managed a narrow victory in Bulgaria's recent presidential elections on a reform platform pledging to clean up the country's corruption-plagued government, one of the most notorious in Europe. On November 3, Plevneliev was certified as the official winner in Bulgaria’s presidential race. The President-elect immediately declared that the first thing he plans to do after assuming office is fire all Bulgarian diplomats abroad who have been exposed as former agents of the communist Committee of State Security (CSS).
The European Commission has requested information on patents from smartphone powerhouses Apple (makers of the immensely popular iPhone) and Samsung. While Apple is not itself a target of the EC’s patent protectors, it has been asked to voluntarily submit critical information regarding its use of 3G technology. Samsung, on the other hand, is being investigated.
Prime Minister George Papandreou’s surprise call for a referendum on the new austerity measures demanded by last week’s eurozone “deal” caught everyone off guard, including his own finance minister. Analysts immediately accused Papandreou of seeking political cover for the increasingly unpopular increased austerity measures to be imposed as a condition for the next insertion of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in two weeks. Knowing that citizens would likely vote against the measures if given the chance, the PM could then pass the blame for failure onto the citizens, leaving himself and his party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), absolved from blame as the new measures failed.
This week the European Parliament awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to key participants in the Arab Spring.
The five recipients were chosen “in recognition and support of their drive for freedom and human rights.” The five are described in a press release announcing the award as “representatives of the Arab people.”
If the decline in the Portuguese money supply for September is annualized, it will shrink by more than 20 percent, presaging more economic difficulties for a country already reeling from austerity measures imposed by the European Union. Measures of money supply are watched carefully by economists as a portent for economic behavior over the coming six to 12 months.
Following the Eurozone summit meeting in Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced the results of the late-night negotiations: "From a series of national debt crises, the situation was evolving into a systemic concern, threatening the stability of the Eurozone as a whole. This threat has been contained."
A housing manager in Britain has been demoted for speaking out against homosexual marriage. So now, aside from not being able to speak about the danger of Islam, Britons may not mention any problems with the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
According to London’s Daily Mail, the Trafford Housing Trust (logo at left) socked manager Adrian Smith, a Christian, with a demotion and $22,000 pay cut for crossing what it says is the line between free speech and homophobia.
A “global political authority” and a “central world bank”: These are the solutions that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace recommends for the worldwide financial crisis. “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” the document outlining the council’s recommendations, is, in the words of author and Roman Catholic Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “deeply confused,” at once recognizing that central bank-driven inflation and easy credit are at the root of the world’s financial woes and prescribing even bigger government and more highly centralized banking as the cure.
Are the days of the European Union coming to an end? The riots in Athens, the popularity of the True Finns Party in Helsinki, and the growing tension between Paris and Berlin all indicate that more and more Europeans are seeing themselves as citizens of nations, rather than members of an amorphous bureaucracy headquartered in Brussels. In fact, the folks in Brussels are looking at a nation unable to form a government at all and teetering on the brink of splitting into the two logical nationalities — Flemish and Walloon — which language, religion, and custom divide more than unite.