This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- We have Jean-Claude Juncker to kick around again
- Britain’s David Cameron hints at leaving EU because of Juncker
- The financial crisis in Greece continues
- USS Bataan with 1000 marines to join six other warships in the Persian Gulf
We have Jean-Claude Juncker to kick around again
Jean-Claude Jüncker is to become the next president of the EuropeanCommission, the roughly weaker equivalent of the president of the UnitedStates, after the European Council backed his nomination thisafternoon in Brussels. The European Council, the leaders of the 28nations of European Union, voted 26-2 in favor of Jüncker. OnlyBritain and Hungary were opposed.
Jean-Claude Jüncker is a total politician. Almost everything he saysis completely full of crap, but his political skills are so great thathe can sell it to a credulous press that acts to him the like the NYTimes and NBC News act toward President Obama.
It was always great having Jüncker around. He was head of theEurogroup, the eurozone finance ministers, so he was in charge ofthe efforts to bail out Greece. At every point in the bailout, hewould make a statement that the Greek fiscal crisis had been solved, andhe would back it up with some figure that was completely ridiculous.But the mainstream press would lap it up the way they lap upeverything Obama says, and it’s up to someone like me to point outwhat’s going on.
The most amusing moment occurred in May 2011, when Jüncker was caughtin a lie so obvious that even he couldn’t wriggle his way out of it.Finally he said, “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” to explain why he lied. From that pointon, we could always assume that everything he said was a lie, sinceeverything was always serious.
Jüncker was prime minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2003, and whenhe retired, it was assumed that he would go off to a Swiss chalet andwrite his memoirs. But he wanted the job of President of the EuropeanUnion, and when the European Parliament ratifies the nomination onJuly 16, he’ll have what he wanted. And we’ll have him back tokick around again. Irish Times and Reuters
Britain’s David Cameron hints at leaving EU because of Juncker
Britain’s prime minister called Jean-Claude Jüncker the wrong manfor the job of EU president, and said:
There are times when it’s very important that youstick to your principles and you stick to your convictions even ifthe odds are heavily stacked against you rather than going alongwith something that you believe is profoundly wrong. And today isone of those days…
If the European Council, the elected heads of government, aregoing to allow the European Parliament to choose the nextpresident of the European Commission in this way I wanted it onthe record that Britain opposed that.
He added that support in Britain to remain in the EU is “wafer-thin,”and Jüncker’s accession would harden the opposition.
The dispute is bitter and personal. There have even been reports ofCameron meeting with other leaders earlier in the week to discussJüncker’s heavy drinking and smoking problems. Jüncker’s liking forsaid: “His alcohol consumption has been raised by a number of leaderssince the (European) parliamentary elections.”
However, this was not the first bitter, personal disagreement betweenJüncker and a British prime minister. In June 2005, at an EU budgetsummit, Jüncker was demanding of Britain’s PM Tony Blair to agree togive up a $5 billion rebate that Margaret Thatcher had negotiated in1984. Blair refused, unless France’s president Jacques Chirac agreedto reduce the large agricultural subsidies that were given to Frenchfarmers. Jüncker shook his fist at Blair, and at a post-midnightpress conference, a furious Jean-Claude Jüncker clearly condemnedBlair and the UK, saying he felt ashamed that “certain people did nothave the will to reach agreement when some poorer other countries werewilling to do so.”
Britain and Jüncker represent opposite poles on the spectrum of EUfederalism. Jüncker wants to give as much power as possible to thepoliticians in Brussels, while Cameron, and Blair before him, wantBritain to retain as much individual sovereignty as possible. Theappointment of Jüncker to the EU presidency is a real thumb in the eyeof Cameron and Britain, and this story is not yet over. BBC and Daily Mail (London) and Telegraph (London)
The financial crisis in Greece continues
Jean-Claude Jüncker led the way in the bailout of Greece.Greece’s financial crisis hasn’t been in the news much recently,so it’s appropriate to ask how Greece is doing today.
In October 2011, European leaders announced a new plan to bail outGreece. For details, see my article at the time, “28-Oct-11 News — Markets explode on crazy Rube Goldberg eurozone deal”. The heart of theannouncement was that investors holding Greek bonds would(It later turned out to be 75%). In return, Greece would go on anausterity program that would lower its deficit to GDP ration from 160%to 120% by 2020.
That turned out not to be enough, and in November, 2012, Jünckerannounced to the world what was to be the final bailout of Greece.(See “28-Nov-12 World View — Europe’s new charade in Greece’s bailout announcement”) At the2 AM press conference, here was Jüncker’s announcement:
This is not just about money. This is the promise ofa better future for the Greek people and for the euro area as awhole, a break from the era of missed targets and looseimplementation towards a new paradigm of steadfast reformmomentum, declining debt ratios and a return togrowth.
Since the situation was serious, we can assume that Juncker waslying, and indeed he was.
Where’s Greece today? The unemployment rate is 27%, the highest inthe eurozone. Greece’s inflation rate is -2%, putting it into theworst deflationary spiral in the eurozone. And its debt-to-GDP ratiohas gone up to 175%. In other words, instead of going from 160%DOWN to 120%, the debt ratio has gone further UP, to 175%.
So Jüncker’s fatuous babble about “a new paradigm of steadfast reformmomentum, declining debt ratios and a return to growth” was completelywrong on all counts. And Greece’s financial crisis is far fromover.
In May, I wrote about Europe’s ‘political earthquake’ election.
USS Bataan with 1,000 marines to join six other warships in the Persian Gulf
CNN is reporting that the USS Bataan is being sent to the Persian Gulfwith 1,000 marines on board. There is no word of a planned invasion.That will make seven warships there — the USS Arleigh Burke, the USSTruxton, the USS Gunston Hall, the USS George HW Bush, the USS O’Kane,the USS Philippine Sea, and the USS Mesa Verde — along with helicopters andwarplanes that can be used for an invasion or for an evacuation of UScitizens.
There have been US drones flying over Iraq for severaldays, but now it’s been confirmed that the drones are armed withHellfire missiles to provide air support and force protection in casethe 180 or so US military advisors currently in Baghdad come underattack. CNN and Politico
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Jean-Claude Jüncker, Luxembourg, European Commission,David Cameron, Britain, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher,France, Jacques Chirac, Greece, Syriza, Golden Dawn,USS Bataan, Iraq