Monday, November 12, 2012

Ave Angela, morituri te salutant

The spotlight is back on Greece today with the release of the much anticipated Troika report (read our daily press summary or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates), meaning that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Portugal has been pushed to the background.

However, clearly not everyone in Portugal is enthusiastic about Merkel's arrival. After the open letter signed by over 100 academics and intellectuals, arguing that the German Chancellor "has to be considered persona non grata in Portuguese territory", this is the front page of today's edition of Portuguese newspaper I Informação,

Another Latin expression, this one translates as, "Hail Angela, those who are going to die salute you" - a paraphrase of the famous salute made by gladiators to the Roman Emperor before the fights in the arena started. And another example that tensions can run high in Portugal too - even if the country does not usually receive the same degree of foreign media coverage as Greece or Spain.  


Rik said...

1. If she is willing to 'invest' 60 Bn taxpayer money in Greece for what likely is 6-9 months can kicking Portugal will not have to worry. 30 Bn term and 30 Bn extra package. Seen in the sort of strategy she is apparently following a few Bn for Portugal has several times the return of that investment in Greece.
Would have been better to invest the money dropped in the Greek blackhole in Portugal could have stopped the rot there. Allthough too far behind with core EZ to make it also in the future a viable membership.

2. Also ideal moment for Cameron to increase pressure behind closed doors. Having an UK exit all over the world's financial press is likely a much bigger problem than a Grexit. At the moment it is not really seen as an issue, but that can change pretty fast.
Merkel if she got her facts right and within her strategy cannot afford UK problems, certainly not when these can relatively easily be avoided by giving Cameron a reneg (behind closed doors mainly) which he can show to his people. AngloSaxons (and Asians as well)for who EU is pretty close to Euro will likley interpreted a Brixit as things falling apart.
Cameron tuesday (or wednesday) meeting with Rutte of Holland (if he (Rutte that is) is still PM at that time).

3. Portugal knowing that Greece get another banker-size bonus might start to contemplate Greek-style blackmail. Another consequence of giving in to a hopeless case other see the borderline moved. Portugal is probably too decent for that unless they come really under pressure. Spain more likley to do that imho. But see who will start with it.

christina speight said...

That Newspaper's front page and the 100 Academics have it right. Merkel has become a sadist rejoicing in enforcing suffering on all weaker than her country.

And - remind me - Which is that country? "Germany" you say. Well Why is it that you don't surprise me?

Scrap tbe euro everywhere but certainly in all the countries loosely called Mediterranean. - France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece. There's no hope for Europe otherwise.

Bugsy said...

Is anyone keeping account of all this "bail out money", who keeps the running total? Christina is right the euro needs to be scrapped in the PIIGS and Cyprus, either that or in Germany.

Anonymous said...

Christina and Bugsy - you're forgetting about Finland, the Netherlands, and Austria. What you call "enforcing suffering" is really her and those other states - as well as their populations - asking for modest reforms in countries to ensure that the money THEY are providing doesn't go into some deficit sinkhole.

Point me to one single public sector job that has been lost in any of the Mediterranean states. Point me to anything similar to Schroeder's 2003 reforms that have occurred in any of those countries. The people "inflicting suffering" are the public sector unions who refuse to have their privilege revoked, so the state must instead reduce pensions and tax the poor.

Bugsy said...

@ Anonymous - I think we are probably past the stage where anything other than the most extreme cuts in the public sectors of these countries will have anything like the desired effect. The effect of such cuts would probably also be terrible on the management of the countries.

With regard to the role of Finland, Netherlands and Austria although they support Merkel, they also defer to her in the scale of the retribution being used.

christina speight said...

Anonymous - The people in Greece and Portugal KNOW that it's Merkel that calls the tune and when she turned up in both countries there were riots ABOUT HER.

Don't belittle the scale of the devastation being wrought. With unemployment at 25% overall and vastly more for the young and relief kitchens in the streets the suffering is there alright, and Merkel keeps saying 'There is no other way'.

Anonymous said...

As a former college teacher still in Portugal but now unemployed(and lookgin for a job outside EU), I'm an example of the more than 10k teachers that were dismissed along 5k higher education professionals. Do you want more eaxmples of public sector cuts?
How about 23% custs on average for the annual income in the public sector personnel?
And severel nurses and doctors moving out of the country due to strong reduction on hourly pay, more than 20% of the active population unemployed and living on some kind of food stamps.
One day, all the EU Northeners will be sorry for this uncontrolled austerity in the South. Too bad it is not soon enough.

Idris Francis said...

Merkel's attitude to Greeks and others suffering under her rule of their couuntries rather reminds me of the infamous quotation about that unrepentant Marxist who died the other daY. He was asked, relatively recently whether the deaths of tens of millions under the Communist regimes would have been justified if their Promised Land had been achieved - he thought for only a moment and replied "Yes".

What else does anyone need to know about the EU and those who control it.

Rik said...

@Anonymous teacher
Your own respective governments simply have let you down:
-by joining the Euro, while you didnot fit in and iso using it for education and R&D and stuff like that use if for cheap credit/ consumption and an overblown state);
-by first going for totally unsustainable growth (growth that one way or another was most likely to be reversed); and
-when the thing collapsed being not able to manage an adjustment process properly.

Now you are forced by market forces back into a position that will be sustainable (and market forces are usually not doing that in a nice way). And the worst will still have to come.

Your remark is typically European if I may say so. Put the blaim somewhere else and wait for other people's money to finance the solution.
You voted incompetents in and as they say people get the government they deserve. So live with it, it is first of all your problem.

Getting out of the Euro might help, but simply will not do the total job. You have been moving forward as a country as far as competitiveness goes much slower than your current competitition. They were far behind one or two decades ago, but by hard work, saving and investing in things like education they caught up. And they work for 400 USD a month. So that won't be easy.

You as a person might not be blaimed but as a society as a whole countries like Portugal messed up completely and now as a country you pay the price for that. A welfarestate is not something that comes attached to being European, somebody will have to pay for that. And the truth simply is countries like yours could never afford one (huge inefficiencies, massive corruption, under educated for Western wages and overall too expensive to compete).

Rollo said...

It is cruel to blame the Germans. It is the EU that is destroying these countries; and their own politicians asked for it and still support it. Their own speculators overborrowed and overspent. Their own 'civil servants' who lived well at the expense of the private sector.