• Category Archives Politics
  • Politics, local (Austria) as well as European or global politics

  • Brexit – UK referendum to leave the EU

    Dear all out there,

    Today we may have witnessed an historical day, comparable maybe only to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 or 9/11. I stated both these events on purpose, as we do not yet know if this will turn out to be an historical good or an historical bad day in the history books of the future. My guess: it will be more comparable to 9/11 than to the Berlin Wall. Already, a lot of right-wing leaders within the EU announced that similar referendums should be held in their countries, and an independent Scotland willing to join the EU will not be able to make up on all the future events that may have triggered by the UK vote.

    Let me get things straight: I adore the UK people for such a bold move, and it is their good right to vote for such a change. Nevertheless I consider the UK as an important part of the EU. A EU without the UK loses a lot of strength, as does the UK, if it comes to that. I hope, the future will prove me wrong, but I see this as a bad thing for both EU and UK. As a big fan of the UK as a whole (except, maybe, for the Irish, you will nowhere in Europe find people more friendly, welcoming and open, that’s why this vote especially shocked me), I am afraid there will be sorrowful days ahead of us all.

    So, I wish you all the best in the coming days, also to David Cameron, even if he’s probably to blame for playing poker not only with his country, but with the whole continent, if not the world as a whole, just for the sake of securing another 4 years in the government.

    BTW: Just as a warning for people in other countries falling for big fake people asking their people to leave the EU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0ktojE6WQA


  • TTIP – Or: The miracle of mining money without losers

    Hello everybody,

    Today’s topic is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (short: TTIP): Basically, it is an agreement between the USA and the EU regarding lifting some obstacles that appeared when selling from the USA to the EU or vice versa. On the whole, one should think that this is a good idea. Well, maybe it is, who knows? Nevertheless, there are some points, that made me thinking:

    • Politicians (even the ones in the EU, that we did not actually vote for) are working for the people. So I do not understand, why these negotiations have to be so secretive, without openly dealing with it. What do they have to hide?
    • Investor-state dispute settlement: Well, so we do not want genetically manipulated foods in Austria (thanks Monsanto, we actually do not want to buy new seed every year, because we are not allowed – if their goods are still able to reproduce anyway – to use the seeds to sow it next year without buying licences). Nevertheless, there is a chance, that they will be able to force states to allow them selling their products.

    And the biggest point, that does in my opinion need a special attention: Money is not created out of nothing. There is never such kind of agreement, where everybody wins (not even in the EU, see the countries with weaker production). If it is easier to export from the USA to the EU, products where the EU is less productive (so less competitive, because more expensive) will vanish from our markets. So, if everybody would win, where would the money to buy the new products come from? If local products vanish, also the people producing them will lose their jobs and have less money. And one thing is for sure: The countries in the EU have a very good (but expensive) social security system, other than the USA.

    So, where will the production of goods be more expensive? Definitely in the EU. Do we invest in education in the EU currently? Not as much as we should, because we are fighting the crisis of 2008 and there is not enough money to concentrate on small topics like “will our people be competetive on the market regarding education?”. Well, so where can we win in such an agreement? I am afraid, that the answer is nowhere – such an agreement does definitely lead to people living in the EU being losers of globalisation in the long run. Our only chance would be to invest in people, but we are far behind Asia and the USA if it comes to the education quality.


  • Asylum seekers in Europe

    Hi,

    Well another topic where Europe is currently failing:  Asylum seekers. There is no question, that it is somehow in our genes to be careful when dealing with something new, hence I can fully understand, that there is some doubt about taking up a lot of asylum seekers.

    On the other hand: Only a few decades ago, a lot of Austrian/European Continental people were very happy when they were taken up by UK or USA to be able to flee from World War II. Therefore, I see it as our duty, now to help people as well. What the EU and Austria currently are doing, could be called a kindergarden-behaviour, if it was not so tragic. The problem for the EU currently is, that it is hung – neither is is a real community in regards of politics, nor can we be seen as separate countries any more. So one country is pointing to the next one if it is coming to taking up the refugees, instead of trying to help as much as possible. So there are 2 solutions in my opinion: Either we are growing to be one or the EU will be falling apart as a whole with all consequences (which will probably result in World War III).

    I think, we should not sacrifice our humanity and values on trying to keep them away, because one thing is for sure: If we like it or not, the refugees will come. We can deal with it or we may do nothing and to the EU will happen what happened to the Roman empire in the 5th century during the Migration Period!


  • Greece, Greece, Greece…

    Hi everybody,

    Long time no see :-). But then again, a lot has happened, Greece is in or out of the Eurozone (who knows?). I really wonder, what the European countries are thinking that they are doing currently. What will happen to most of the money they get the next time? Actually, most of it will probably go back immediately to the IMF or some banks or other countries… So, I do not think that the money will help the Greek people. What Europe should really do is set up a long-time plan, where money goes directly to the people of Greece.

    Yeah, you are right, dear reader: The Greek people probably lived on debt for a very long time. But then again, who doesn’t? We in Austria definitely do, but we are lucky that our economy is still up. As soon as this would really go down, I am quite sure we will probably soon be in a similar position (actually, a rather good report, though in German, with a comparison of myths about Greek and reality in Austria can be found here: http://derstandard.at/2000017803149/Griechenland-Von-wegen-nur-faul-und-verschwenderisch).

    So, as the IMF already found out, making the rich richer does nothing for the poor, but giving money to the poor really helps the economy. So, Europe, do it now!


  • Is Cutting Interest Rates in Europe a Good Idea?

    Hi all,

    Last week, the European Central Bank cut the interest rates for loans from them to 0.25 % (from 0.50 %). Do the really think that this is a good idea? I realise that they want to raise inflation, however, flooding the market is not the right tool for this any more – instead of raising inflation they are raising stock exchange indexes.

    If we want to raise inflation, we have to give money to the people who really need to buy something from the real economy – the poor ones. So, instead of flooding the markets with more and more money, give it to the states so they are able to afford infrastructure projects. They will have to contract companies who have to take up people -> That’s the way we raise inflation!


  • Life Ball in Vienna: The Girl Effect

    Hi there,

    About a week ago the annual Life Ball took place in Vienna – besides a lot of celebrities, there also was presented an initiative called ‘The Girl Effect’, which, in my opinion, is quite worth sharing.

    Actually, it seems to be quite easy: If you improve the life of 12 year old girls, the chance is quite high that our world is becoming a better place within the next 50 years, as it will not only affect the girls, but also their children. It was presented as part of the initiative ‘Zero’ about no new HIV infections. Part of the presentation was a little video:

    You can find out more on www.girleffect.org


  • Cyprus is saved… Is it?

    Hi folks,

    Politicians in Europe are quite proud at the moment that they saved Cyprus… have they? Imagine… You have a bank account, savings account – whatever. It has about 2,000 EUR on it. On first sight, be happy, you are quite far below the 30%-extra-tax-value of 100,000 EUR. But then you begin to think ‘This was only the first round’ and remind yourself that it took several steps to save Greece (if it has already been saved!). That’s why you start to think about the next steps, the European politicians could think, if the first step was not enough. And then you come to a conclusio: Get your money off the bank! The next step might be to do the extra-rate for every account amounting to more than 50,000 EUR – and then? Third step: Everybody has to pay this (it always comes down to the poorest in the end) – so it might be much more safe for the money to be under the cushion of your bed. You don’t get a too high interest rate anyway.

    If it comes to Austrian bank managers like Andreas Treichl, you shouldn’t  be safe by only putting money on a savings account where you think there is no risk (there can’t be a risk can it? – see http://derstandard.at/1287099604945/Erste-Chef-Treichl-will-hohen-Selbstbehalt-fuer-Einlagensicherung – page in German). So it might definitly be more safe for your money to keep it at home instead of putting it on a savings account and receiving 0.125 % or so interest rate (it does not weigh up the risk).

    Well, so far for my black-painting for Cyprus, I still hope, when banks are opening there today, people don’t think like that and do not storm the bank and withdraw all their money (at least, that would be more safe for my money on a non-Cyprus bank account ;-)).