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Europe now !

Roger · 39 · 2015

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The UK has started to acknowedge the problem by increasing the qualifying age for State pensions but much more needs to be done - certainly the trimming of public service pensions will have to be tackled.

When I retired, the average public service pension was 8k per year.

Actually, I take a completely different approach on this. What is needed is more pensions and how to fund them. What's the point of pitiful pensions, where the recipients then need state support just to get by. That costs billions. That money should be used in different ways. There are still more reforms to public sector pensions to come, long term plans created by Labour and then added to by the Tories. Retirement age has raised, final salary pensions being changed to average earnings pensions, civil servants now pay conts to their pensions which will gradually increase (local authority and many others have always contributed) and the fact is that some schemes are better than others cost wise.


Online Roger

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Hi Caller, your figure of GBP8K pa sounds low to me but I daresay, all lengths of service are included. Thanks for drawing attention to all those excellent reforms which are much needed - the burden of Pensions has to be borne in future by a smaller Bank of taxpayers. And a pat on the UK back for moving towards a more realistic situation without, so far, anarchy in the streets . . .

Actually I agree with you that a higher % of personal income needs to be diverted into Pensions during working lives to attain a better provision and this will inevitably mean less expenditure in other directions for younger Folks, (struggling to pay high house prices and rentals).

Without getting specific, some early retirement pensions, particularly senior ones, are too generous IMO and that will need to be addressed. But it seems the UK is on it's way to reform. I hope this will continue without mayhem !
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online caller

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Hi Caller, your figure of GBP8K pa sounds low to me but I daresay, all lengths of service are included. Thanks for drawing attention to all those excellent reforms which are much needed

This is 9 years old now, but helps explain some of the issues and confusion over public sector pensions. I doubt much has changed.

https://fullfact.org/news/what-average-public-sector-pension/

Also I see Judges and Teachers (I believe) won a case against the Govt. changing final salary pension schemes to average salary ones, so that probably means that won't now happen in the format currently planned, but they'll tweak it and rearrange it in due course.

Contrary to general belief, most public sector unions are actually quite sensible and understand the pressure local authority in particular are under. Where I worked, I was actually a test case! After my 1st redundancy, I secured further employment at 4 levels lower than my current grade (I had created the role and wrote the JD and PS), there were no restrictions about how far you dropped. The significance? Because I was in the same line of work, I was able to retain the salary of my previous grade pre-redundancy,, then after 2 years it dropped by x% but would have taken about 5 years for me to drop down to my new grade. The unions agreed that once the then current cuts had ended, they would agree to someone like myself only being able to apply for re-deployment at up to 2 grades lower. And so it came to pass.


Online Roger

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Austria is one of my favourite places, (skiing, scenery, oh and Gluvine). I remember maybe 15 years ago in the Hotel Mitterrregger in Kaprun, near Zell Am Zee, 7.30 am in the morning, a crowd of Guys in Nazi uniforms, gathering under our 1st floor window, and playing/singing. I'm guessing it was Hitler's birthday or something like that. Our great European Friends deeply complicit in the 3rd Reich. I apologise if this comes over 'passe' but, just watched, 'The Sorrow and the Pity', about Vichy France. A new film discussed in the DT :-

"In July 1943, Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic, was sentenced to death for refusing to fight for the Nazis. Two months later, and just hours before Jägerstätter was marched to his execution, Father Albert Jochmann visited Jägerstätter’s cell. Upon the cell table, as Fr Jochmann reminded him, was a document that, if signed, would allow Jägerstätter to leave prison and join the army.

But even under the shadow of the guillotine, Jägerstätter refused to surrender his faith to Nazism. “I cannot and may not take an oath in favour of a government that is fighting an unjust war,” Jägerstätter said. Fr Jochmann would later call Jägerstätter "the only saint that I have ever met in my lifetime
.” "

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/hidden-life-true-story-austrian-rebel-farmer-died-defying-hitler/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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4 thoughts on news from Europe :-

In France, I see that Macron's pension reforms have finally passed into Law despite massive opposition from the "Yellow Vests'. Well done Macron for having the fortitude to see that through - many other Western nations will have to address the same matter of expensive and entrenched public service pensions, in due course. 

A terrible situation on the EU's borders as Turkey no longer restrains refugees. Scenes from Greece illustrate clearly that Europe is 100% correct in resisting another flood of Immigration. Who would want this mob entering 'Europe' ? As an aside, apparently the 'refugees' on this front line are just 2% from Syria, most are Afghan and Pakistani . . . . . plus 3,500,000 million refugees from the Syrian civil war with nowhere to go atm. An unspeakable tragedy - Syria was once a well developed and sophisticated society - how long will it be before these people can return to rebuild or will they even want to ? A Friend suggested that Russia and America should each accept half the Refugees in view of their 'help' in the situation. One despairs   :'(

Creaking EU economies (e.g. Italy already on it's financial knees before Corona) somehow have to bridge a Budget gap - the North EU States abhor the idea of bailing out the 'Euro-imprisoned' South EU States so how can this Budget stand-off end ?

I have a solution to help Boris's trade negotiations with the EU. Fishing is the start point but in International Law, these are UK waters. The figure of Euro 39 billion comes to mind for the UK to charge the EU, for fishing in UK waters, with a quota reducing by 30% in 2021 and a further 20% in 2022, reducing thereafter by 10% pa for another 4 years - leaving a residual 10% of current levels ongoing, (offsetting shell fish catches etc,. by the UK in EU waters). Job done !    ;)

The EU Countries have a lot to sort out and so does the UK. Interesting times.   
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Last week I noticed Ursula van der Leyen posturing about the need for a unified EU approach to tackle Corona virus - 6 weeks too late ?   >:(

A Pal has been posting this elsewhere . . .

"The EU waste of space - Last month, when COVID-19 began spreading rapidly in Italy, the country appealed for help via the Emergency Response Coordination Centre. “We asked for supplies of medical equipment, and the European Commission forwarded the appeal to the member states,” Italy’s permanent representative to the EU, Maurizio Massari, told me. “But it didn’t work.” So far, not a single EU member state has sent Italy the needed supplies. That’s tragic for a country with 21,157 coronavirus infections and 1,441 deaths as of March 14, and with medical staff working under severe shortages of supplies.

However China .... In the meantime, a partial and flawed savior has arrived. Close to midnight on March 12, a Chinese aircraft landed in Rome carrying nine medical experts and 31 tons of medical supplies including intensive care unit equipment, medical protective equipment, and antiviral drugs. Around the same time, a Chinese truck arrived in Italy bringing more than 230 boxes of medical equipment. It was less than Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi had promised Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio of Italy in a phone call on Tuesday, but two days after the phone call the supplies were on their way
."

MMMmmmmmm
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 05:59:43 AM by Roger »
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Michel Barnier has got Corona virus and says he is fine. Some of his Advisors visted London last week

Although is a right s** of a b, just have to wish him well. AND hope he retires before taking further part in duffing up the UK   ;)

Get well soon Michel (never thought I'd say that) . . .
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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A fine story of Govt. and community working in concert - the German City of Jena - in contrast to the UK Govt's blundering around   >:(   >:(

A short video but well worth a look   :)

https://www.france24.com/en/video/20200424-germany-to-oblige-mandatory-face-masks-from-monday
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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"Macron issues ultimatum to Europe's German bloc: cough up Covid trillions or lose the single market

The northern bloc rejected any serious move towards joint debt issuance or fiscal transfers.  Aid will come in the form of loans and must be repaid. Any extra debt will be subject to the surveillance and contractionary ideology of the EU Fiscal Compact once the pandemic is over."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/04/24/macron-issues-ultimatum-europes-german-bloc-cough-covid-trillions/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Robert

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Hi Roger,

so your "wish" of EU collapsing might come true after all, only needed a worldwide disease. Luckily Germany and The Netherlands, which were specifially mentioned in the article, stood their ground. There is really a big difference in attidtude between the Northern and the Southern countries.  Southern countries wanted Eurobonds in order to solve their local problems thus sharing their losses with countries who cut down costs and raised taxes, increased age for retirement etc. La Dolce Vita or La douce France cannot be continued like before.


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The problem as ever - is not only what type of EU is wanted, by both politicians and the public, but how it is funded.

I think monetary union in it's current format, is reaching the end of the road. it was always a bad idea.

The World moves on and times change. The original concept of the EU is past it's sell by date now. That's what they should be addressing. The nation state is now in the ascendency and Brussels now seems surplus to requirements. Aided and abetted by the fact the two main presidents are nonentities and Lagarde has never succeeded in anything she does, other than in securing top jobs. Love him of hate him,  but at least Juncker had presence, at least for public consumption.

They need to map out a new way forward. I would suggest soft borders and revert to national currencies - at least for the club med members, current financial contributions can be used for their own economies instead. Scale down the rest and have it's main aim as a trading bloc, but supported politically and with a sizeable force to secure strong external borders. Basically keep the good and pragmatic, scale down the rest. Reduce the cost, control, ambition and administration.


Online Roger

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Hi Robert. Now the UK has left the EU, I have no 'wish' other than for the UK to have continuing good trade and relations. CV-19 could have proved the strength of the EU but rather, it seems to have played on it's weakness - we'll have to wait and see.

It's evident from your post you don't want Holland to transfer it's hard earned wealth to the errant southern Members and that's a potential problem for the Euro and the EU itself. Just MO but I think Germany and Holland will capitulate in the end to some degree, to save the EU project.

Caller - just seen your post - spot on for me  8)  IF Germany, Holland and others resist debt relief there will surely be changes as you describe.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 02:15:34 PM by Roger »
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Robert

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Hi Caller and Roger,

as I have stated more than often I did not think United States of Europe would ever materialize like the U.S.A. Just for the simple reason that Europian countries have their own custom and culture. In the U.S.A. immigrants went everywhere (okay some stayed together like the Amish) so they had to adapt and create new culture and legislation. However bare in mind that (for example) when a truck drove from The Netherlands (sorry Roger Holland cannot be used anymore accrording to my government  ;D) to Italy they needed to change currency in all countries passed. Also customs checks at borders were very time consuming. Result was buckets full of coins which could not be used anymore as banks did not want to change them for Dutch guilders. The idea of have one currency in large area is convenient for the trade. But by introducing this with a fixed exchange rate was the biggest mistake ever. IMHO each country should return to their own currency and for trade use Euro with floating exchange rate per currency. When doing this each country can devaluate its own currency without putting the burden on countries which are doing well. The same method( using exchange rates) when trading with U.S.A. and China. The people in many European countries do not like all the rules coming from Brussels, be sure about this. We have a saying in The Netherlands: better turn halffway then get lost at the end.

Only thing I do not have influence and to me it seems politicians sometimes lack logic  ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 04:51:02 PM by Robert »


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IMHO each country should return to their own currency and for trade use Euro with floating exchange rate per currency. When doing this each country can devaluate its own currency without putting the burden on countries which are doing well. The same method( using exchange rates) when trading with U.S.A. and China.

Almost similar to what Varoufakis (who has now turned anti-EU) was proposing for Greece before the Germans smashed them and Salvini floated as an idea for Italy.

Interesting.



Online Robert

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I have a little bit more hair then Varoufakis  ;D ;D ;D but  a lot older. Have been saying this before he even mentioned it because to me it is simple logic and nothing more.


Online Roger

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Not content with murders in Georgia and Salisbury, Putin wanted access to Angela Merkel's emails :-

There is a hybrid warfare strategy by Russia we can’t ignore that includes cyber attacks, disorientation and manipulation of facts. “I will work for a good relationship with Russia because I think there’s good reason to continue these diplomatic efforts. But of course this doesn’t make it easy.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/13/merkel-cites-hard-evidence-target-russian-hacking/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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I didn't realise this change was coming  :-\  Not sure what I think about it - is this common around Europe ?

"Patients awaiting transplants have hailed a 'game-changing' new law which from today means that every adult is automatically considered an organ donor. Under the legislation everyone in England will be deemed to have given consent for their organs to be donated when they die – unless they specifically opt out or are in an excluded group. It is believed this method will lead to an additional 700 transplants each year by 2023."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8338101/New-law-comes-effect-TODAY-means-adult-organ-donor-unless-opt-out.html
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Robert

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Will be effective in The Netherlands as of July 1, 2020. But only for persons living/registered in townships in The Netherlands. If not already in the existing donorsystem they all will receive a letter about this new law. If they do not want to be a donor they can change that.
For me not registered in any township in The Netherlands anymore this new law does not apply.


Online Roger

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:o  A landslide 800m long and 40m high takes 8 houses into the sea in Norway - no lives lost fortunately. The extended video worth a watch . . .

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8387665/Moment-landslide-sweeps-eight-buildings-sea-Norway-chunk-coast-vanishes-underwater.html
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein