Thursday, April 30, 2009

Open Europe press summary: 30 April 2009


Hedge fund industry warns new EU regulation will drive business away and cause job losses;
Socialist MEPs vow to toughen up proposal: We will not accept such an ineffective regulation
The alternative funds industry has reacted with anger at the Commission's proposal for stricter regulations of hedge funds and private equity groups.

The Commission's proposal, tabled yesterday, would require alternative fund managers, rather than funds themselves, to register and seek government authorisation for the first time. Fund managers would also have to meet reporting, governance and risk management standards, including minimum capital requirements.

The law would apply to all managers of alternative investments that use borrowed money and control at least €100m of assets, covering 30 per cent of hedge fund managers and 90 per cent of hedge fund assets. It would also apply to private equity groups that do not use borrowed money in their funds if they manage minimum assets of €500m and have a five-year lock-in period for their investors.

The Telegraph quotes Antonio Borges, Chairman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board, warning: "This is a blatant attack on the UK and US financial systems by continental countries...With the European elections coming up this is clearly political." The paper notes that over 80% of Europe's alternative investment industry is based in the UK.

The FT quotes Stuart Fraser, Chairman of the Regulatory and Policy Committee of the City of London, saying, "The disclosure requirements would certainly drive the businesses away."

Florence Lombard, Executive Director of the Alternative Investment Management Association, is quoted on Bloomberg warning, "The unintended consequences of these measures may put thousands of jobs in several major European industries under threat and slow down any economic recovery."

Lombard added: "It's perplexing that Brussels is focusing on hedge funds and private equity first. If you were making a priority list of systemically important financial institutions, based on the evidence of recent catastrophes, the hedgies would be low down and the buy-out specialists might not be on it at all."

Meanwhile, City Minister Paul Myners yesterday told a House of Lords committee that he had raised objections to the plans with the Commission. "I have a fear that we are going to see something coming from Europe which leaps on hedge funds and private equity as a source of instability that is not necessarily as well informed as it should be," he said.

However, MEPs - who in practice have a veto over national government in the negotiations - have vowed to toughen up the proposal. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the Party of European Socialists, said "What we have today is regulation that is inadequate", adding that he would not accept the exemption for private equity group in the current proposal: "Private equity can pop the champagne today but they may not be celebrating for long as we will not accept such an ineffective regulation," he said. The centre-right group in the European Parliament said in a statement that the proposal is "perhaps not enough.

In previous draft proposals, the Commission had suggested an across-the-board de minimis exemption for managers handling less than €250m. Yesterday it emerged that the threshold will be €100m, suggesting that the Commission is beginning to give in to pressure from socialist factions in Brussels.

The proposed legislation needs the backing of both the European Parliament and member states. According to media reports, the proposal is unlikely to get approved before the middle of next year at the earliest. Since the decision is subject to so-called Qualified Majority Voting, the UK doesn't have a veto over the final decision. In the FT, Andrew Hill warns that, "When the debate in Brussels gets political, Britain can simply be outvoted."
WSJ Telegraph Bloomberg FT FT2 FT-Lombard FT-leader Guardian EUobserver Euractiv European Socialists EPP-ED Coulisses de Bruxelles Le Monde

Open Europe debate - European Monetary Union: Second honeymoon or pending divorce?
On Tuesday, Open Europe held a panel debate in Brussels looking at European Monetary Union and the challenges it faces. Open Europe's vice-Chairman and former economic advisor to Tony Blair, Derek Scott, stated that: "Economic and Monetary Union was a major mistake". He said that although it is true that countries have avoided currency crises by being in the euro, currencies, as well as interest rates, are important signals of things going wrong: "When the patient gets sick, all that means is the symptoms get to come out in other areas, and we are beginning to see that in very high levels of unemployment, higher debt and so on."

He concluded that a monetary union "cannot exist without having a political union and you cannot impose a political union."

Ignazio Angeloni, Advisor to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank warned Eastern European countries not to join the euro area too soon, saying "the decision to join the euro area is very similar to marrying. Do it only if you are convinced. Not only your partner should be right, but also you should be ready to marry. Don't also do it because of other problems that you have".

David Marsh, author of "The Euro: The politics of the new global currency", said that Germany will pay a very high price to keep EMU together, whether it will be through the back door or not. EMU is about preserving Germany's export markets, and is something like a holy grail". He concluded, "The only way for the euro to survive is to have a political union. Without that, sooner or later the eurozone will break up."
No link

France secures EU support for controversial 'three strikes and out' internet piracy law
El Mundo reports that France has secured EU support for its controversial internet piracy law, after an agreement was reached yesterday between the European Parliament and member states. The French 'Hadopi' law enables authorities to disconnect internet users who are guilty of illegal downloading after 'three strikes', without a court hearing. Previously the European Parliament had insisted that a court order was necessary to limit internet access.

The Commission, Parliament and Council have all declared that they wanted to conclude negotiations on this legislation prior to the European elections. There will be a second reading of the proposed legislation and a final vote in the European Parliament next week. Meanwhile, the French National Assembly began debating the legislation for the second time yesterday, after it was rejected in early April.
El Mundo Le Figaro Irish Independent Le Point Le Point

Finnish Trade Minister: "The Euro was a mistake for Finland"
Finnish Foreign Trade and Development Minister and former MEP, Paavo Väyrynen, is quoted in Helsingin Sanomat saying that "joining the EMU without Sweden was a mistake". Referring to the drastic downfall of the forestry industry in Finland in the past few years, he said that, in comparison, the Swedish forestry industry which is outside the "expensive Euro is blooming, as it gets a lot of revenue from the expensive euro".

Commission tables proposals on banker's pay and bonuses
The Telegraph reports that Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy yesterday announced plans to clamp down on banker's pay and bonuses. The article notes that the draft law would give financial regulators the power to intervene in bank remuneration policies deemed to pose risks to the market.

The BBC reports that the Commission's proposals recommend that firms should be able to claim back bonuses already paid. The article quotes McCreevy saying, "It is neither sensible nor sane that pay incentives encourage excessive risk taking for short-term gain. Incentives need to be aligned with long-term, firm-wide profitability."
BBC Telegraph El Mundo El País

French farmers receive 8 billion euros in European subsidies each year
Le Monde reports that a website will be launched today which enables people to search for an individual, company or village and find out the amount of farming subsidies they receive.

However, the article notes that the system is still not completely transparent as individuals can disguise the amount they receive by hiding behind companies. The article emphasises that amongst those who receive the most financial assistance are not farmers but companies from the dairy, poultry and pig farming industries. In total, France receives 8 billion euros in EU CAP subsidies annually.

Meanwhile, Le Monde notes that Germany is still refusing to publish information on the list of recipients of Common Agricultural Policy subsidies despite mounting pressure from the European Commission.
Le Monde Le Monde

Commission proposes EU's budget for 2010
EUobserver reports that the European Commission yesterday proposed its €139 billion budget for 2010. 40% of the budget will be paid to the EU's farmers, while 45% will be spent on regional projects. EU Commissioner Siim Kallas said, "The budget targets measures to help avert an even sharper downturn."

The article notes that an increase of 12 percent has been proposed for programmes linked to research and energy while, while the EU's satellite navigation programme, Galileo, is set to receive an extra 8 percent next year.

Commission weighs whether Germany can maintain migration restrictions for Eastern European workers
Süddeutsche reports that the Commission is scrutinising the German Federal Government's request to maintain labour market restrictions on migrants from the EU's new member states. The article notes that Germany and Austria are the only two member states still applying these restrictions, while Belgium and Denmark have agreed to open their borders on 1 May.

Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla is quoted saying: "We respect the right of all member states to maintain transitional rules in the case of serious disruptions of the employment market." Handelsblatt quotes Saxony's Minister President Stanislaw Tillich saying, "Saxony pleads for targeted migration of skilled labour from Eastern Europe".
No link

Speakers from five EU parliaments express joint concern over 'uncertain' future of the EU without Lisbon Treaty
Yesterday, speakers from the parliaments of five EU member states warned about an uncertain future for the EU without the Lisbon Treaty. Representatives from Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Hungary joined forces to encourage member states to ratify the Treaty, calling it "an indispensable solution for the action capacity of the EU", DPA reports.

Ageing population will raise public expenditure in the EU by 4.7% of GDP up to 2060
FTD reports that the EU Commission is demanding member states to undertake reforms to combat demographic change. FAZ reports that Commissioners Joaquín Almunia and Vladimir Spidla presented a report on Wednesday, which says that the EU's ageing population will raise public expenditure by 4.7% of GDP until 2060.

Writing in the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes that, "The EU's working age population will peak next year before tipping into decline for half a century".
Telegraph: Evans-Pritchard FTD

Israel threatens to end EU's role in Middle East peace talks
EUobserver reports that Israel is deeply unhappy with public comments made by EU officials regarding its government and the Palestinian peace process and has threatened to end the EU's mediation role in the region.

Deputy Director for Europe at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, reportedly told European ambassadors, "if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to be part of the diplomatic process, and both sides will lose."

Open Europe's research on the EU's structural and regional funds was cited on Czech website Ekonom and Polish website Parkiet.
Ekonom Parkiet Open Europe briefing

FT: The EU faces a tough year in 2010
An article in the FT notes that "a combination of soaring budget deficits and feeble economic recovery threatens to make 2010 a year of challenges no less demanding than those of the past 12 months." The article notes that 13 of the eurozone's 16 countries are expected to have budget deficits above 3 per cent of GDP and that Barclays Capital estimates that 11 of the 16 eurozone states will have debt-to-GDP ratios of more than 60 per cent, the ceiling set for countries wishing to adopt the euro.

Garton Ash: We are not going to have a single, united European democracy any time soon
Writing for the Guardian's Comment Is Free site, Timothy Garton Ash argues, "The people of Europe vote by not voting. They speak about Europe by not speaking about Europe. So let's face it: we do not have a functioning, legitimate and effective Europe-wide direct democracy, nor will we any time soon."
Guardian: Garton Ash

Germany has cut its growth forecast, admitting that its economy will contract by 6 percent this year in the worst recession of any major country in the Western world.

In a letter to European People's Party (EPP) group leader Joseph Daul, Conservative leader David Cameron has confirmed the party will leave the EPP group in the European Parliament after the June elections.
The Parliament

A leader in the Sun writes that "William Hague's pledge that a Conservative government would try to kill off the EU Lisbon Treaty is welcome."
Sun: Leader

In an article looking at the European Court of Justice's ruling on the property rights of Britons in Cyprus, FAZ comments that "the times when decisions of the European Court of Justice were undervalued are over", adding that "Many of the court's judgements have huge political significance".

Silvio Berlusconi's wife has condemned his attempts to get a beauty queen, showgirl and reality TV star to stand as candidates in the European elections.
Independent Times

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What can Dachau teach us?

What can Dachau teach us?
By Wyatt Ciesielka
Sabbath, April 25, 2009

This month is the anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. The Auschwitz death camp was the largest but Dachau was the first, the “model,” concentration camp. The Dachau concentration camp liberation took place sixty-four years ago on April 29, 1945.

Rabbi Eli. A. Bohnen was the first Jewish United States Army chaplain to arrive at the concentration camp. Seeing the otherworldly horror, the Rabbi recorded: "I had the feeling that I had to make excuses to my dog, who was walking next to us, that we were part of the human race. And as we walked on into the camp and saw the prisoners with their skeletons barely covered by skin, and took note of the facilities that made this a death camp, I felt more and more inferior to the dog, because as a human, I belonged to a species that was responsible for Dachau.”

Dachau Concentration Camp Photo (© Comstock images 2009)

Dachau, the concentration camp was built in 1933, immediately after Hitler rose to power. It was at Dachau where the SS perfected their techniques. Soon, there were 22 Nazi concentration camps and 165 smaller work camps. 7,200,000 people would eventually be imprisoned in this system. Men, women and youth were worked like animals. Grotesque Nazi medical experiments were performed. Beatings were numerous and daily. Humiliation and unspeakable torture were common.

Some of those who survived, who willed to raise their skeletal, frost-bitten bodies each winter morning to face another day of long marches through icy snow on bloody feet, who survived the summer vermin and the regular epidemic outbreaks, who escaped being selected for medical experimentation and torture, who avoided the gas ovens by tricking the guards into believing they had enough strength left to work another day, who retained their sanity through it all—some of them came to learn something in Dachau.

Dachau Concentration Camp Photo (© Comstock images 2009)

Doctor Victor Frankle survived both the Auschwitz death camp and Dachau. After his liberation he wrote:

“But for every one of the liberated prisoners, the day comes when, looking back on his camp experiences, he can no longer understand how he endured it all. As the day of his liberation eventually came, when everything seemed to him like a beautiful dream, so also the day comes when all his camp experiences seem to him nothing but a nightmare.

The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear any more – except his God” (Man’s Search for Meaning, 1984 edition, pages 114 & 115).

What can we learn from Dachau?

Dachau can teach us many lessons. It teaches us that we belong to a species that is capable of creating Dachau. It teaches us that Satan can use modern man for extreme evil. But Dachau can also teach us something else.

There is “a sword” coming of greater magnitude than Dachau (Ezekiel 33:6, Matthew 24:21, Revelation 3:10), and Satan will again be behind it (Revelation 12:12)! At this future time, when the world is on the verge of cosmocide, God will intervene. Jesus Christ, the returning King of kings, will smash this arrogant and evil, end-time Satanic system and humanity will learn to fear God and only God.

While nowhere on earth will be spared, Ezekiel 34:28-30 and Deuteronomy 30:1-4 foretell modern Jacob’s pitiful condition at the time of Christ’s return. But, thankfully Christ will return. Then, the whole world will be truly liberated and Christ will rule the entire earth in righteousness. Humanity will learn what Dr. Frankle learned. After global horror, there will be nothing left to fear, but to fear and to love and to obey the Eternal God.

But you do not need to learn to fear God through terrible suffering. There is a way of escape (Luke 21:36, Revelation 3:10).

Please watch Why Must Christ Come Again? and Armageddon and Beyond. Choose to fear and to follow the God of the Bible now…because we can choose to fear God now, or we can learn to fear God later.

Southern Corridor (German Energy Policy)

Newsletter 2009/04/24 - Southern Corridor

ESSEN/ASHGABAT/BERLIN (Own report) - The RWE Company will have access to Turkmenistan's natural gas, thereby strengthening the German position in international competition for Central Asian energy resources. According to the memorandum signed a few days ago, RWE will participate in the exploration and development of natural gas resources in Turkmenistan's western Caspian Sea. Berlin is also seeking to enhance its cooperation with other Central Asian countries. Angry reactions are being heard from Moscow, fearing impingement on its hegemony over the region. The memorandum was signed immediately preceding a series of international meetings to discuss the flow of Central Asian oil and gas. The RWE deal will strengthen Germany's position at these talks. It is becoming evident that German energy companies have a division of labor in their approach. The Eon Company, focusing mainly on Russian natural gas, is cooperating with Moscow, while RWE is concentrating on the Central Asian gas and its transport via the Nabucco-Pipeline bypassing Russian territory, a central element of Berlin's energy strategy.


South Africa (articles)

Father was slaughtered like an animal - judge
‘Hulle was geskok dat ons terugveg’
Man ernstig in rug gewond toe ‘rowers’ op hom losbrand
Gewonde skiet rower met sý wapen
Wounded victim turns gun on armed robber
Farewell to 'quick to smile' dad
Beeld Peiling: Loop SA die Zim-pad?
Galg-poppe skok by hof
Son's dire prediction comes true
Wife: God saved me from killers

$25 million reward for Obama's Birth Certificate!

Help spread the word about our $25 million reward to Barack Hussein Obama for him to produce his “real” long-form birth certificate...we will continue to increase the amount of the reward until it is so huge that the American people will begin to question why he has sealed all his background info to hide something...his nationality, his religion, his commie background...what is he trying to hide...we want to know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reward for Obama's Birth

Open Europe press summary: 29 April 2009


Hague will not rule out retrospective referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
In an interview with the Times, Shadow Foreign Minister William Hague left the door open to the possibility of the Conservatives promising a referendum in their general election manifesto even if the Lisbon Treaty had already been ratified by the EU's 27 member states by then. He also repeated his promise for immediate legislation on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if it had not been ratified by the whole of the EU by the time that the Conservatives took power.

He said the chances of the Lisbon Treaty not being approved by next year, with difficulties in the Czech Republic and Poland and Ireland still to hold a second referendum, were 50-50.

Mr Hague said that, if the Treaty had been ratified before a Conservative victory, the party would, nevertheless, spell out in its manifesto what action it would take to reverse European integration. Pressed on whether in those circumstances a referendum could still be promised in a Conservative manifesto, he said: "We would not rule anything in or out."

When speaking about the Conservatives' policy towards the EU, he said that on issues such as climate change, energy liberalisation and the single market they were "great enthusiasts". "Our difference is that we are not in favour of the institutional aggrandisement of Brussels," he said.

The Spectator's Coffee House blog argues that, "If they are thinking about a post-ratification referendum, then I think the key thing is that their manifesto makes it clear whether the result will be binding on the government."
Times Spectator: Coffee House blog Open Europe blog

Working Time Directive: Commission to press ahead with legal challenge against the UK over failure to apply EU rules for on-call time
There's further coverage of the breakdown in the negotiations between MEPs and ministers over the right to opt out of the EU's 48 hour working week. The break-down means that the opt-out remains in place until a new proposal is tabled by the Commission. However, the Telegraph reports that all 26 other EU member states are now expected to start making use of the opt-out, in order to avoid legal challenges being brought against them by the Commission. Most of these countries will use the opt-out to get around EU rules which count all time spent on-call as active working time - rules that have caused massive problems across Europe, especially for health and emergency staff working long hours of on-call duty. MEPs managed to block a proposal which would have revised these rules.

The article reports that up to 20 legal challenges against member states for failure to implement the on-call time rules will now proceed, after being frozen since 2004, including one case against Britain.

Euractiv reports that the new Commission has the option of drafting a new proposal from scratch when it takes office in the autumn. German Socialist MEP Mechtild Rothe is quoted saying, "We can only hope that the new Commission makes a new proposal very soon", adding that during the confirmation hearings of the new commissioners, working time was sure to play a prominent role.
WSJ Mail Telegraph Independent EUobserver BBC

EP committee approves proposal for harmonising rules for asylum seekers across EU
The Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament has approved a far-reaching proposal aimed at harmonising rules for asylum seekers across the EU. The proposal lays down standards on "reception condition", including guarantees that asylum seekers will recieve housing, food, clothing, health care, financial benefits, freedom of movement and access to work within six months of their arrival. In addition, migrants can only be detained as a last resort and must not be held in secure accommodation for more than 72 hours without a judge's approval. MEPs said the proposal is needed to improve the way the EU asylum system works and strengthen asylum seekers' rights.

According to the Express, under the proposal, member states would be compelled to accept a percentage of applicants in accordance with their population. This would mean the UK taking in 13 percent of all refugees arriving in the EU - or 22,500 of the 322,000 average arrivals over the last 10 years. Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn is quoted saying, "Economic migrants posing as asylum seekers would have an easy ride under these plans."

The full proposal will be voted on by the whole Parliament next week in Strasbourg.
European Parliament press release Express

Open Europe's Mats Persson appeared on BBC Northern Ireland's Talk Back show, discussing the need for reform of the EU.
BBC Northern Ireland

UK hedge fund industry calls on UK Treasury to intervene against new EU regulation
The Telegraph reports that the European Commission is due to unveil its draft directive on regulation of hedge funds tomorrow, but industry leaders of hedge funds and private equity funds are demanding an intervention from the UK Treasury to force a delay and re-draft the regulations.

The article quotes a 'well-placed source' saying: "The Treasury is being asked to intervene as this is emerging as a classic "EU vs the UK" stitch-up." The paper reports that the industry in London want the directive to be based on the recommendations outlined at the G20 summit a few weeks ago, but leaks of the directive have suggested that it may be more onerous and along the lines demanded by critics in the European Parliament's Socialist group.

The WSJ reports that Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy is to separately make nonbinding recommendations on how EU nations should regulate bankers' pay, for example that bonuses be linked to financial performance over a number of years.
Telegraph WSJ

ECJ ruling on compensation for Greek Cypriots means that British courts must enforce Cypriot law
The Telegraph reports that the ECJ has ruled that British Courts must enforce judicial decisions made in Cyprus, which uphold the property rights of Greek Cypriots who were forced out of the northern half of the island when Turkish troops invaded in 1974. The ruling means that thousands of Britons with property in Northern Cyprus could be forced to return their properties, or pay compensation to the original Cypriot landholders.
WSJ Mail

Czech Senate to vote on Lisbon Treaty in May
Javno reports that the Czech Senate is due to vote on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty on the 6-7 May. It is expected to be a close vote, following the collapse of the Czech government, but outgoing PM Mirek Topolanek said he expects the Upper House to approve the document.

Meanwhile, Le Figaro reports that in the Czech Republic 150 speakers will embark on a non-stop 7 hour reading marathon of the entire Lisbon Treaty in order to demonstrate that it is readable, despite its complexity. The event will be held several days before the Czech Senate is due to vote on the Treaty.

According to Le Monde, during a press conference in Prague, outgoing Czech PM Mirek Topolanek has cast doubt over the ability of the new government to lead the EU, saying "It is evident that with the end of this government and its departure it is also the Czech Presidency (of the EU) which is coming to an end".
No Link

European Parliament amendment would render French internet piracy law illegal
Le Monde reports that on 6 May the European Parliament will vote on a text which contradicts the internet piracy draft law in France. If approved, the amendment would mean that "no restrictions can be imposed on the fundamental rights and liberties of consumers without a judicial decision". Numerous groups and member states support this amendment, but France's UMP party remains strongly opposed as it would completely contradict the Hadopi law they are currently trying to pass. The French National Assembly is due to re-vote on the draft law today, following its rejection on 9 April due to abstentions.
Le Monde WSJ

Banking secrecy within EU could be coming to an end
EUobserver reports that the deadline for the end of the transitional agreement which allows Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria to opt out of automatic sharing of banking information with other member state tax authorities is approaching.
EUobserver Deutsche Welle Wiener Zeitung Baseler Zeitung Handelsblatt Standaard

Barber: MEPs risk shooting EU-Canada free trade talks in the foot
On his FT Brussels blog, Tony Barber argues that the European Parliament's impending decision to introduce a blanket ban on the trading of seal products throughout the EU is "not exactly the best climate in which to pursue a liberalising trade deal, one might think." He notes that, "If the European Parliament goes ahead with the ban, the Canadians have made it clear that they will start an action at the World Trade Organisation."

Barber concludes that "the EU is presenting a picture of itself that looks suspiciously as if the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing."
FT: Brussels blog

Sarkozy gives Zapatero some advice on how to lead the EU
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has advised Zapatero not to be naïve with regard to Europe, during a bilateral summit in Madrid on Tuesday, El Pais reports. During a speech to the Spanish Parliament, Sarkozy emphasised the need to protect farmers and not allow products into Europe from countries which "do not respect environmental, moral and social rules", which in his opinion "is not protectionism".

According to the Guardian, Sarkozy also advised Zapatero that one of his priorities should be to ensure that Europe has a stronger economic government. Zapatero said "I can't see a single market, a single currency, then not see an economic government with powers, with tools".
El Pais Le Monde Guardian EUobserver

Commission reluctant to chase up member states' budget deficits
Handelsblatt reports that although the economic crisis has caused high budget deficits in several countries, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Alumia will not impose any penalties, at least until the autumn. The article notes that, on top of the countries which already exceeded a deficit of 3% in 2008, five further member states will violate the threshold of the Stability and Growth Pact in the next two years, namely Austria, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Germany. The article notes that Almunia may be forced in to taking action against nearly all the EU's member states.

Telecommunications companies challenge EU roaming decision
The Irish Times reports that a group of mobile phone companies are challenging a 2007 EU decision which caps the cost of calls when customers are using their phone abroad. The article notes that if the firms are successful, "it would also cast doubt over a similar law capping the cost of mobile internet and data services when travelling, which was only passed in Strasbourg last week."
Irish Times

Lithuania's economy has shrunk by 12.6 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2008.

The Guardian reports that former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain has warned that the BNP could qualify for up to £2 million in funding from the EU if it wins six seats in the European elections in June.
Guardian Guardian: Hain

Sri Lanka has refused to allow the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, to enter the country today on a joint mission with his British and French counterparts, sparking a diplomatic row with the EU.

Prospect Magazine's Brussels diary notes that June's European elections may give a boost to Tony Blair's chances of becoming EU president, "if he's willing to discover his socialist roots."
No link

Albania has formally submitted an application to join the European Union despite a call from the European Commission to wait until after the European elections in June.
Deutsche Welle

In the Times, Brownen Maddox argues that Iceland should explore all alternatives to full EU membership in order to strengthen its hand in potentially "painful" accession talks.
Times: Maddox

An article in the WSJ looks at European fiscal stimulus measures and suggests that social unrest in the EU could rise if the measures fail to show effect.

In an interview with Le Monde, French Socialist MEP Catherine Trautmann argues that "the European Parliament cannot be a place for recycling national politicians who are searching for a job". The comment was made in reference to Rachida Dati, the former French Justice Minister who is now standing in a safe seat for the UMP in the European elections.
Le Monde

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

United States in Prophecy!

United States in Prophecy!
The United States is mentioned in the Bible! We're descendants from Joseph and are Joes. The Jews are from the tribe of Judah. We need to get away from counterfeit Christianity and back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and keep His Sabbath and biblical holy days.

Articles about the Hebrew roots of the American and British peoples, our Israelite identity:

Joseph isn't Jewish!

The Plain Truth About British Israelism

What is British Israelism and is it Biblical?

Articles warning about counterfeit Christianity:

Death to America?

Apostate Christians

Will God Curse Our Countries For Easter?

Open Europe press summary: 28 April 2009


Opt-out from EU's working week remains after negotiations between MEPs and ministers collapse;
MEPs vow to make new attempt to end opt-out in the autumn
PA reports that negotiations between ministers and the European Parliament over a proposal which would end the possibility to opt out of EU rules which limit the maximum working week to 48 hours have collapsed without any agreement being reached. This means that the opt-out remains, after the latest round of talks broke down last night.

Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla is quoted saying that he is "sorely disappointed" by the failure to agree revised working time rules. "I will now need to reflect (with fellow Commissioners) on this result, and decide what, if anything, we do next," he said.

Conservative Employment Spokesman in the European Parliament, Philip Bushill-Matthews said, "The result of the breakdown of negotiations is that the opt-out remains secure - until the next attempt to undermine it. The current Commission proposal for review automatically lapses, and it will be up to the Commission to come up with a new proposal."

Meanwhile, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Minister Petr Necas, whose country holds the EU Presidency and who represented the other EU governments in the talks, slammed MEPs for blocking an accord which he said would have given employees greater protection. "The MEPs were not willing to accept a deal that would improve the employees' situation and, at the same time, lead to a more flexible labour market," he said.

In a press release from the European Parliament, Spanish socialist MEP Alejandro Cercas, who led the EP's drive to end the opt-out, is quoted saying "We have left the future open and hope to have a solution with the new Commission and the new Parliament." German MEP Mechtild Rothe added, "The opt-out cannot be forever."

PA quotes Open Europe Research Director Mats Persson saying, "The Working Time Directive as it currently applies in the UK is already costing the economy almost £4 billion every year. This would have risen to between £9.2 billion and £11.9 billion if the opt-out was lost. The Government should be applauded for not accepting such unreasonably high cost." Persson is also quoted warning that the new Commission taking office in the autumn could table another proposal.
BBC Open Europe blog EP press release El Mundo Open Europe research

Plans afoot to postpone decisions on Lisbon Treaty until after Czech's EU Presidency
The Irish Times reports that the Irish government has dismissed suggestions that the 'guarantees' it is seeking on the Lisbon Treaty could be agreed in July rather than June to avoid a potential showdown with Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said yesterday it was "imperative" a deal is struck between EU leaders at the June European Council to maintain the tight timetable the government has set for organising a second referendum on the Treaty.

The article notes however that several EU diplomats privately expressed concern about the potentially damaging role the Czech President could play if he is allowed to chair June's EU leaders' summit in Brussels. "There are speculative conversations here about the possibility of holding an EU summit in July to deal with the Lisbon clarifications in case of a problem in June," said one EU diplomat.

On his Telegraph blog, Bruno Waterfield notes that it is likely that the EU will wait until the Czech's EU Presidency has ended on 30 June. Sweden, which takes over the EU presidency, will instead hold a special summit, probably on 23 July.
Irish Times Telegraph: Waterfield blog Irish Times 2

French Finance Minister criticises Commission proposals to regulate hedge funds
The FT reports that Christine Lagarde, French Finance Minister, yesterday hit out at proposed legislation to regulate hedge funds being prepared by the European Commission, saying that it did not go far enough. Paris has objected to the Commission's proposal that the EU should be able to hand out passports to trade in Europe to offshore funds. "The Commission wants to create a system of mutual recognition," Ms Lagarde said in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro. "This is the kind of system that will open the door to a fund from the Cayman Islands that has never been regulated by Europe. The danger is that this could become the Trojan horse of offshore funds."

The FT article notes that Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy will unveil the new regime tomorrow, which will focus on regulating managers of "alternative investment funds" (AIFs), rather than the funds directly. AIFs would cover hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as commodity funds and real estate funds.
FT FT: Leader WSJ

Cameron: You are "honour-bound" to keep your manifesto promises
The Telegraph reports on the launch of the Conservative Party's campaign calling for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and quotes David Cameron saying, "Where you stand on the referendum says a lot about your politics. It says a lot about how much you value trust between the government and the governed. I believe that if you make a promise in your manifesto, and the country votes on that manifesto, then you are honour-bound to keep that promise".
EU Referendum blog Telegraph EUobserver Irish Times Spectator: Coffee House blog Times

EU health ministers to meet to discuss swine flu
The Czech Presidency has announced an emergency meeting of EU health ministers on Thursday, in response to cases of swine flu in Spain and the UK. EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has said that people "should avoid travelling to Mexico or the United States unless it is very urgent for them" in order to minimise the risk of spreading the flu. However, the statement has received a lot of criticism, with many arguing it could have severe consequences on the transatlantic travel industry, while others have reminded that it is not the EU, but national governments that should issue travel advice.
EUobserver WSJ Irish Times Guardian El Mundo El País Le Figaro Times FT

European Socialists: Barroso will stay on even if we win
The FTD reports that Socialist group leader in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz MEP, has said that even if the Socialists were to win the European elections, there would be no Socialist or Social Democrat Commission President. FTD notes that Schulz's statement was unusual since in the past the Commission President was from the political block of the largest faction in the European Parliament.
FTD EurActiv

New study: French support for EU falling
Le Figaro and Cevipof have undertaken a study on the changing attitudes of the French population towards the EU. The study emphasises that France and Greece have experienced the sharpest decline in confidence in the EU and also cites the Eurobarometer survey, in which only 49% of French people said that France being a member of the EU was a positive thing. In 1987, 74% said that it was a positive thing.
No link

Peel: Icelanders want the euro without full EU membership
Writing in the FT, Quentin Peel looks at Iceland's potential membership of the EU and argues that "the potential sticking points on fisheries and farming could yet prove fatal." He goes on to say that "Opinion polls suggest that what Icelanders really want is to join the single currency, but not to sign up for full EU membership."
FT: Peel Telegraph: Hannan blog

An article in Handelsblatt notes that the EU's subsidy system for dairy farmers is backfiring. The EU is producing too much milk and so-called 'milk lakes' have returned.
No link

EU Ombudsman's annual report reveals lack of transparency within European institutions remains first concern
The annual report of the European Ombudsman reveals that the most common allegations examined concern a lack of transparency within the EU institutions. 3406 complaints have been received. One third involved transparency, while others were about refusal of information, unfairness, abuse of power, unsatisfactory procedures, negligence, avoidable delay, legal error, discrimination, and failure to ensure fulfilment of obligations. Most of the inquiries in 2008 concerned the European Commission (66%), followed by the European Parliament, the European Personnel Selection Office, and the Council.Europarl Tagesspiegel HLN Press release Ombudsman Report Ombudsman

Mary Ellen Synon's Mail blog looks at the cost of EU membership to Britain and cites figures from Open Europe's recent research on the cost of regulation.
Mail: Synon blog Open Europe research

Dutch governing party calls for EU budget cuts
According to De Volkskrant, the Christian democrat CDA party, which is leading the government, has said that the EU budget should be reduced by €23.2 billion, that there should be 15 percent less bureaucrats in Brussels (6,700 jobs) and that the EP's travelling circus to Strasbourg should be abolished.Volkskrant

The Brussels Sprouts column in Private Eye looks at MEPs' expenses and the report from former MEP assistant Flavien Deltort, which found that some MEPs do not even attend half the parliamentary sessions in the European Parliament.
No link

Gazeta Wyborcza reports that, on a visit to Poland today, Gordon Brown may try to secure Polish support for the candidacy of Tony Blair for the post of an EU President, which would be created if the Lisbon Treaty came into force.
Gazeta Wyborcza

The European Parliament has adopted an own-initiative report calling for the European Commission to tighten up how it deals with nanomaterials - materials less than a tenth of a micrometre in dimension, reports EurActiv.
EurActiv EUobserver

The Irish Independent reports that the Irish Department of Agriculture will publish on Thursday the details of EU grant payments to farmers made between October 2007 and October 2008.
Irish Independent

Writing on Labour List, Jon Worth argues the case for nominating Ken Livingstone as the UK's next EU Commissioner.
Labourlist: Worth

The Sun reports that Tom Wise MEP yesterday appeared in court on charges of money laundering and false accounting regarding his expenses claims.

The Mail reports that the European Council yesterday issued guidance to the UK over its deficit levels, and said that it expected the UK to take longer to get its deficit under control than Ireland, Spain and France.
Mail El Mundo

El Mundo reports that the Council of Foreign Ministers yesterday approved a proposal by the European Commission to establish a tribunal in order to resolve the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia.
El Mundo


The FT reports that plans for a flat-rate attendance allowance for MPs have now been abandoned and reform of MPs' expenses will now wait until after a report by Sir Christopher Kelly, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
FT Mail Times

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Vatican, Germany and Global Regulation

The Vatican, Germany and Global Regulation
April 13, 2009 From
There’s something sinister about the linkage between the Vatican, certain German elites and the regulatory power that Anglo-Americans have yielded up to the EU-controlled Financial Stability Board.
By Ron Fraser

We are not conspiracy theorists. We don’t believe in the rapture. Nor do we have any affiliation with any of the sects that claim knowledge of underground dealings of secret societies working to establish a new world order.

We are simply realists who have proven the existence of God, proven the veracity of His Word in the Bible, and have a record established for over 70 years in proving the progressive fulfillment of Bible prophecy for these times.

One of the prophecies that we have persistently pointed to as rapidly becoming a reality over the 20 years of the Trumpet’s existence, consistent with the same predictions made by Herbert Armstrong for the over 50 years that he published the Plain Truth magazine, relates to the rise of a powerful European economic bloc, dominated by the Vatican and the German nation, that is destined, for a very brief period, to gain global dominance.

Certain actions by Vatican loyalists and German corporatists involved in the European and global banking community have recently consummated in establishing a regulatory power that will oversee all major corporate, financial and banking decisions around the globe. That institution is the Financial Stability Board (FSB), headed by Italian banking guru Mario Draghi.

Draghi, a committed Europhile and dedicated Roman Catholic with connections that run deep within the global banking and finance community, and having historic Vatican Bank and European Central Bank connections, has suddenly become the most powerful regulator of banking, finance and commerce in the world. His overnight elevation to international prominence came in the wake of the 20 most powerful economies in the world signing over their individual sovereign powers regulating their economies to the fsb at the recent G-20 conference in London.
Perhaps Mr. Draghi would have escaped our notice if it were not for the intriguing history that he possesses connecting him with the Vatican, Vatican banking, major financial enterprises that have strong connections with German banking and commercial interests, and both the Italian and the European central banks, and the fact of his Jesuit training. That all amounts to an extremely interesting package when one is considering the CV of the individual who now heads up the most powerful regulatory body within the global economy.

Our longtime readers will be aware that we have been looking for some time for the European Union, the greatest single trading entity in the world, to show its muscle to the point that it would eventually dictate economic policy to most of the globe, in particular the Anglo-Saxon nations. Such a development is guaranteed by certain prophecies embedded in Scripture, especially in the 13th and the 17th chapters of the book of Revelation. The capitulation by the 20 most powerful economies in the world, including the United States and Britain, to the regulatory authority of the fsb gives the European Union that very power potential!

Speaking shortly after the conclusion of the recent G-20 conference in London, “Draghi, who is also a member of the European Central Bank Governing Council, said certain decisions agreed at the G-20 were good but would take time to implement,” Reuters reported.

“The reform of remuneration systems or the setting up of colleges of supervisors for banks or insurers can be done immediately,” he said. “But in other cases, like the reinforcement of capital bases, we all agree on the way to go but it will take a year or two to work out the details.”
However, certain negative systemic factors lie deeply embedded within the global economy that could accelerate the fsb agenda very rapidly. Signs show that by year’s end the global economy will have so worsened that social instability will be causing governments wide concern. In particular, the prospect of escalating inflation in the wake of the financial policies being pursued by Anglo-Saxon governments could even lead to the collapse of whole national economies. Such a state of events could very well impel the powers behind the FSB to use its regulatory authority to the political and economic advantage of its principal controller, the European Union!

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has already warned that the world is even now in depression and that it “risked a slide into social disorder and military conflict” (, April 7).

Those who have tracked the old European collectivist vision through its “Holy” Roman history, translated into the Hitlerian nightmare of the 1940s, then its perpetuation underground from the conclusion of World War ii to its resurrection via the Treaty of Rome in 1957, on to the growth of the European collective in its present form as the European Union, should not be surprised by the extent of the powers now invested in this EU clone, the Financial Stability Board.

The Trumpet will keep you abreast of developments as this latest extension of EU power begins to impose its regulatory power on the global economy to the very point that “no man might buy or sell” without yielding to its authority (Revelation 13:16-17).

In a future article we will explore the ramifications of the fsb and its historic connections, and give more detail as to how it is destined to affect the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet! In the meantime, tune in to our Key of David television program and follow the news behind the news through to keep abreast of those current events, generally ignored by the press and mass media, that will have powerful impact on society in the near future. •