The unemployment rate across the Eurozone hit a new high in November 2012. According to the BBC it climbed to 11.8%.
In October it was 11.7% but although the rise is small in November it is bad news. Pre-Christmas employment figures are often boosted by seasonal jobs. The fact that across the 17 Eurozone member nations an increase was experienced, however small, is not good news. It is not bad news. It is terrible news
Spain which is in the economic doldrums reported a 26.6%.unemployment rate. The change of government, from left to right, has not had any positive impact. Youth unemployment is running high in the Eurozone.
Officially there are now 26 million people unemployed across the EU. Such figures though rarely take into account those in temporary work or who have for one reason or another opted not to register as unemployed. In the Eurozone as a whole the figure is 18.8 million. The BBC reported,
Greece had the second-highest unemployment rate in November, at 20%.
The youth unemployment rate was 24.4% in the eurozone, and 23.7% in the wider European Union. Youth unemployment - among people under 25 - was highest in Greece (57.6%), followed by Spain (56.5%).
Overall unemployment was lowest in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%) and Germany (5.4%).
As European countries trade with each other one man's high unemployment becomes another man's. It is like being in quicksand being puilled under to a certain death. The only unknown factor in the EU is when and how past death will come.Opinion:
The figures are not set to improve at any time in the near future. As countries such as the UK try to balance the books by hitting those on welfare, many people will be resigned to a life in poverty. If there are not enough jobs to go around unemployment is a fact of life.The obscene cost of the new ECB building, widely called the EU palace, in Germany, is one more slap in the face for citizens of Europe. The MEPs and bureautcrats continue to spned money as if it was going out of fsahion whils hitting the poorest in European countries and preaching austerity. By the time riots and revolution is on the streets of course that elusive 1% will be holed up somewhere, well out of reac,h counting their jewels and gold.
Aris Messinis / AFP - Getty Images
Listen to some and you might believe that the people of Greece have a life of riley. They will tell you that Greek's retire early, do not pay their proper taxes and more. In truth though many Greeks are experiencing tough financial times. There have been reports of children being abandoned
and even the bereaved being unable to afford to bury their dead
. With the price of medicines beyond many people's reach, plus medical shortages, the health of Greeks is set to worsen.Understandably in Greece many people now live in fear. What will the future hold for the young? Will the elderly be forgotten as austerity measures bite? When will the pain end for Greeks?There is no end in sight. It is a case of tighten your belts further Greeks in order to receive the next financial hand out from the EU. This however cannot continue. It makes no sense.
You can only cut so far.If your household budget needs to be cut you make changes, reducing costs when and where possible, but there must be something left or you will not survive.Today, November 7, 2012, there have once again been violent protests on the streets of the Greek capital Athens. Petrol bombs have been thrown by protesters and tear gas canisters fired by the police.
For the first time in many years water cannons have been used against the protesters. 80,000 people have protested outside of the Greek Parliament ensuring that their representatives know that the people are at breaking point. Parliament is set to vote on the latest cutbacks deemed necessary by the EU to secure the next bail out. Today the government has been debating the cuts needed. They will involve cuts of €13.5 billion ($17 billion) over the next two years, If it was not such a sad situation it would be laughable. German leader Angela Merkel will be visiting David Cameron in the UK to reassure him that Britain is needed in the EU. She will tell him that whilst she understands British concerns regarding a proposed increase in the EU budget but that such an increase is necessary.How ironic, idiotic and obscene.
Austerity for the people but not the leaders who must be held responsible for this dire mess.People in Greece and parts of the EU are being told that they must sign up to austerity measures but not the EU chiefs. For them it is spend as usual if not more.
In the UK there has been an angry response to news that the country will be expected to pay more into the failed EU. An increase in a budget when the people are basically being told "tough" we have no money.Parliamentary leaders in Greece are stating that they must vote for the austerity measures in order to get the funding needed. They have been told it is their duty to do so. Perhaps their duty to the people who elected them should be their first priority.When will the EU dismantle? It is long overdue. As Germany
tightens the reins on Europe it will soon be the only country with a chance of coming out of this mess unscathed, It will have its future assured with or without the EU. The rest of us will sink.In the Greek parliament today
employees went on strike to protest cuts to their wages. These were brought in by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in an amendment to the austerity bill. Within minutes he withdrew the amendment. One law for some it would seem.A country and government in disarray, but no-one cares.Related reading - Greek Barter systemGreek judges want MP salaries cut
The Greek economy is spiralling out of control. It is in a caught up in negativity and there will be no easy way back to economic stability.
Financial bail outs for Greece are vital yet they are self destructive. The way money is being handled in Europe lately is undermining its worth. We are now running a serious risk of devaluing our assets.Today Greece has received more bad economic news. Firstly there are the unemployment figures. Greece has had record high levels of unemployment for some time now. If you thought these figures coulkd not get worse then you were mistaken.
In July 2012 thelevel of unemployment in Greece rose to 25.1% from 24.8% More than a quarter of the working age population of Greece have no job and few prospects for the foreseeable future. As we all know the devil makes work for idle hands and such high levels of unemployment will lead to trouble.Here are some of the shocking statistics:
- During the past year more than one thosand jobs were lost each day.
- Sadly young people are the worst hit group with the 15-24 age group accounting for 54.2% of all unemployed.
- Yet in Greece and other countries of Europe the retirement age is increasing, meaning less jobs are available for the young generation of workers.
- 1.26 million Greek people were unemployed in July 2012.
- In July 2008 only about 364,000 Greeks were registered unemployed. A nassive increase then in just 4 years.
- Greece faces another year of recession in 2013.
- Greece is caught in a web of bailojts with strict austerity strings attached.
Reporting on these latest shocking figures some in the media have stated that more people in Germany want Greece to stay in the EU than want the country to leave. Perhaps more to the point should be what the Greek people want. They are being treat as the whipping nation of the EU and sooner or later they woll have had enough. What have they got to lose from an exit?Germany and other EU countries of course wiill have a lot to lose should Greeve exit the Eurozone. The best bet would surel;y be scrapping the EU and starting again from scratch. Somethings break and are not able to be repaired. Fact. Sometimes it is time for a more modern model.Rubbing salt into the debt wound of Greece Coca Cola Hellenic has announced today that it is moving ots operations from Greece to Switzerland. CCH was Greece's largest bottling company and its exit from Greece will herald more job cuts. Some have claimed however that this will have a limited impact on the Greek economy. CCH have said that plants will still operate as normal in Greece and ot is more about the companyand its tax burden.It will however be another pyschological blow to Greeks and their economy.
Greece's financial mess continues unabated. Austerity measures are the order of the day with those in high office in the EU demanding ever more stringent measures. People can only take so much. They have already passed the point when they have little left to give. Bartering is on the increase
as cash disappears. For those who want to perpetuate the current banking infrastructure this could be bad news. As people fend for themselves much needed revenues will slip away and the spiral into bankruptcy will be assured.As we have so often said austerity has to be fair. For those who say "why does it have to be fair?" take a look back into history.
Sooner or later the proverbial will hit the fan. The Elite who created all of this mess will not be allowed to sit back and live on the fat of the land. They too must take a hit. In truth they should be hit the most having done nothing to prevent this ongling fiasco.In Greece judges have been protesting since the middle of September. Their gripe is pay cuts. Those in high office tend to care not one iota for the ordinary man and woman on the street. They are told to get on with it when their incomes are slashed. Once austerity starts to attack higher up the chain all hell breaks lose.Currently the judges action has taken the form of a work to rule. This guarantees the protesters a minimum loss of income, if any, whilst hitting the service hard. Backlogs of work tend to be hard to shift ever.The judges work to rule has meant they have only worked in the mornings. Their action is due to end on October 20. They have now issued a warning to Politicians.
One judge spoke anonymously to the media saying, "Since June 2011, parliamentarians earn on average 5,934.87 euros a month.“But these earnings are augmented by appearances on parliamentary committees for which they earn 150 to 350 euros.”
He went on to say, "judges would seek to ensure that MPs are taxed for the benefits they receive, which include 935 euros a month for offices expenses, 1,136 euros for postal services and 364 euros for travel costs."
Greek judges have now peldged to cut the salaries of MPs. You may argue that without a hefty pay packet people would not bother to stand for election and serve the country. There are always a few though who do so for the right reasons not to simply feather their own nests. If Parliament wants to implement austerity measures it should be prepared to take a hit. Leadership should be about leading by example.
Shame on them.
Greece went to the polls last weekend for the second time in six weeks. This time however the New Democracy Party won a majority and its leader quickly began trying to forge a coalition government.
The New Democracy majority may have been small but with willing political partners it is expected to be enough to form a workable government. Today June 20, 2012, Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy party, will be sworn in as prime minister. At time of writing the Greek coalition talks were ongoing but reportedly close to a finalised deal.
The people of Greece need a government but whether a coalition can bring stability to Greece is not known. Their debt crisis continues and too many people in Greece are suffering. As they struggle on in poverty tax dodgers and system abusers in the country prosper. These two issues will need urgently addressing by the new government.
The Markets around the world are still faltering as Greece forms its new parliament. There was no huge surge in the markets on the back of the Greek election, as the situation remains unstable. Angela Merkel the German Chancellor and leading light in Europe right now, has made it plain that the Greek bailout will not be renegotiated.
Yesterday President Obama speaking, as the G20 summit in Mexico drew to a close, said that Europe knows what it has to do. The talk is of leaders having to make tough choices and decisions. Of course those tough choices rarely affect those who make the decisions. It is easy to play politics when it is someone else who will experience a massive drop in income, or the loss of a home, for example.
President Obama should also publicly acknowledge that Europe's financial woes stem in so many ways from the USA.
Samaras is meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias prior to being sworn in as Prime Minster. Updates will follow....
Latest: Samaras has been sworn in as PM. "The ceremony came shortly after he agreed a coalition government with the Socialists (Pasok) and the smaller leftist party, the Democratic Left. Mr Samaras took the oath at a Greek Orthodox ceremony in Athens."
In May 2012 the Greek people went to the polls. The national election was not due until 2013 but the resignation of former leader George Papandreou meant an early election was necessary. The post of leader was filled temporarily by a technocrat, Mr Lucas Papademos, and he led an interim government,The Greek people have endured a terrible few years and it looks like it will get worse, before if ever it gets better. In May the people failed to return a majority government. The main players were unable to form a coalition government and so a further election was scheduled for June 2012.
This weekend the people will vote once more. Has enough changed to return a majority government this time?It will be a hard one to call. The Greek people could choose to elect and support a pro-bailout government or an anti-austerity one.
It is not a straight forward choice however between the right and the left of politics. The Greek political front runners include communists, the extreme right, socialists, neo nazis and conservatives.If the vote is split again it will be hard for any party to win through. However
since the failed election in May the political front runners have been campaigning hard. Up until the death each party has been trying to win over voters and make that one last push.Currently many are predicting a win for the liberal conservatives, the New Democracy Party. However some see these politicians at the heart of Greek woes. As the party in office during the economic crisis the New Democracy Party failed to resolve the situation. When it comes to it though will the majority of Greeks see them as the only sensible way forward?Behind the scenes preparations are underway for an EU exit by Greece, if it is deemed necessary. To the cameras people maintain that Greece will not leave the
Eurozone and no EU countries want them to leave. Whether that is what is said behind closed doors is doubtfulShould Greec
e leave the EU it will be a protracted affair. It will not be easy for any country in Europe and possibly beyond. The economic fall-out will reach far and wide, but what of if they stay? How much longer can the Eurozone farce continue? One that demands the people suffer whilst the banking sector continues to crumble. One that increases unemployment to disastrous levels? Related reading regarding the USA and their involvement with the EU crisis since 2008 hereTags: Greek election 2012, EU crisis, Greek New Democracy party, second election in Greece, Eurozone exit, Greek politics, Greece
Greece is facing a general election this coming weekend. The Greek people have been pushed from pillar to post this year and with more austerity measures on the cards who will they elect to power? Many Greeks will feel a distinct distrust of all their politicians but someone will have to rule the country. Without a democratically elected government they are at the mercy of technocrats and the EU.
The social democratic Pasok and the conservative New Democracy (ND) have traditionally been the main political parties of Greece since 1975. Countries with economic problems right now are tending to rightly or not lay the blame at the door of the elected politicians. Those in power right now.This could by why both the Pasok and the ND are keeping a very low profile. No public electioneering for them but rather a quiet presence behind the scenes.
Greece's recent financial woes have led to the formation of many splinter groups and political parties. It could be that a rag tag of many parties ends up forming a coalition government in Greece.
Although World News has not detailed Greece's debt problems lately that does not mean that they have miraculously vanished. Greeks face more cuts, austerity and a sinking standard of living for many years to come. One fairly new Party is the Independent Greeks which is currently led by Panos Kammenos. This party like other new ones wants to turn its back on Greek Debt and austerity and start again.
This may be the only way forward for Greece and its people but it will have those such as Angela Merkel breaking out in a cold sweat. Independent Greeks has said they will abandon the bailout agreement. Kammenos said, "In Greece we have a democracy. In the democracy we have a constitution. The constitution of Greece doesn't accept this kind of agreement."
Pollsters do not expect Independent Greeks to poll enough votes for a clear mandate to govern nor are many of the smaller, newer parties likely to want to work together. This means that it could be the year of the ND party, but elections are funny affairs.
Tags: Greece, Greek people, Pasok party, ND, Greek austerity, Greek election
Finally in the early hours of today, February, 21, 2012, EU ministers thrashed out a new debt deal for Greece. Earlier deals did not go far enough for lenders in the EU, plus lenders wanted firm assurances that Greece would stick to any terms agreed.
Of course the problem is that whilst politicians may agree such a deal, the Greek people may not. With an election on the horizon there are reports that extremist groups are on the rise in Greek politics.
The national election has been delayed but it will be held in April 2012. Who would want to try and head this country during some its darkest financial days? Can a newly elected parliament improve the lot of the Greek people?
Greece and its population rely heavily on tourism for economic growth but sadly tourists are turning their backs on Greece. Wth media reports of a volatile situation some seeking Mediterranean Sunshine are looking elsewhere. Add to this the precarious nature of the European currency, the Euro, and you have a recipe for disaster. Yet without tourism and tourists Greece will be a much poorer place.
Currently opinion polls in Greece suggest that it would be a hung Parliament if an election were held NOW. Coalition governments may work sometimes, as long as the political bedfellows have some common ground, but a Greek coalition of the socialist and new conservatives, for example, would be doomed from the start.
The changing face of Greek politics means that just which political parties will stand in an election is hard to determine. The Socialist party is out of favour with some of its traditional voters, being blamed for the mess that Greece is now in. If only life and politics was that simple or that black or white.Sky News
has a report of the debt deal that was thrashed out. In one fell swoop a debt of 89 billion Euros, owed by Greece, was wiped away as payback for promised cuts. To a lay person such as this blogger this makes no sense. It all smacks of "jiggery pokery" as they say. Of course whilst countries such as France have said they would be happy for Greece to exit the Eurozone there is no easy mechanism to enable them to do so. So Greece is left battered and bruised to say the least. The latest package it is claimed will in the long term improve the economic prospects of Greece. Only time will tell if that is true.
As Communist and Militant groups grow in numbers in Greece you have to wonder where this will all end Laura Davidescu, Euronews
correspondent in Athens, said: “Pushing for still more austerity, as demanded by the creditors’ Troika, amounts to suicide for Greece’s political parties. Not pushing looks like shirking responsibility, since without an international transfusion, Greece faces social chaos.”
Yes a no won situation.Reuters
has reported on the latest deal but is less enthusiastic than some stating that there are still many doubts. Perhaps Reuters quote from a man on the street in Greece is most telling, "Anastasis Chrisopoulos, a 31-year-old Athens taxi driver, saw no reason to cheer the deal."So what?" he asked. "Things will only get worse. We have reached a point where we're trying to figure out how to survive just the next day, let alone the next 10 days, the next month, the next year."
Of course in true style the markets responded positively which is their own form of blackmail.
The Greek tragedy continues to play out on the World stage. The next huge problem though could be the Greek election and what political course Greece takes.
The leading lights of Europe have been meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this weekend to discuss a way forward for the Eurozone. As they seem to be constantly demanding we all tighten our belts perhaps the days of such expensive forums should be numbered. Protesters were out in force meaning a heavy police presence, more expense and more conflict. There was even a feminist protest by topless females. It might be as well that they were arrested given the freezing cold conditions.
It must surely be about time though that the forums were held by way of conference calls or other such 21st Century technology. Hell the money they could save would go a long way to curing the ills of Europe. The World Economic Forums, WEF, may be useful but can leaders justify the cost?
Germany has been ruffling feathers again apparently demanding that Greece hands over its budget control. Of late German demands have been a cause for concern on more than one occasion. This has caused bad feeling resulting in some saying that rich Germany should now payback some of the money that was used to rebuild that country. And on it goes.Old wounds reopened.
The fact that Germany could even consider asking that Greece hand over control of its budget says a lot. Germany seems to see itself as the B all and end all of the EU right now. This in part is due to the money it stands to lose if Greece crumbles.
However Greece, in line, with Italy no longer has a democratically elected leader but rather technocrats. In some ways it is laughable. The West keeps interfering in countries such as those in the Middle East demanding they follow a democratic path whilst is is dismantling democray in the EU. Hypocrisy seems to be the name of the game.
As Greek people face an ever shrinking income they are looking toward old methods of trade.
Russia Today has reported that the ""barter system" is undergoing a surge in popularity in Greece. This early form of trade served the world well centuries ago. As trade and skills developed it became more cost effective to create a different form of payment, that is money. Now for some money has had its day.
Currencies have come a long way since those ancient times but perhaps it is still the "root of all evil" No matter what you feel there is no denying that the global economy is in trouble.Of course this is not the first time it has struggled but people are rather different these days. Most are not prepared to have their one life ruined by the actions of others. That is unless there are no alternatives.
So some Greeks are finding that "time" can have as much value as cash. Goods, services and skills are being exchanged and for some it seems to work. Those who have little money are finding that their skills may get them what they want.
The Greek Time Bank is one Greek venture that is utilising the barter system. A spokesperson said, “In the Time Bank we exchange voluntary services.Sometimes I give painting lessons for free but I take yoga for free also. It’s huge, it’s everything we do without money. It’s looking after people and making things ourselves.”
Kudos to those taking part who are attempting to survive well in spite of the country's austerity measures.As the Greek economic downturn bites Greek society is finding divisions which will be hard to heal. Barter may not solve everyone's problems but for some it is offering a huge helping hand, without the involvement of the government, the banks and the fat cats.