It is official: The European Union now owns Cyprus

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 25, 2013

The agonizing struggle between Cyprus and the euro zone is coming to an end. Cornered by the European Central Bank’s ultimatum to sign a bailout before midnight Sunday, the President of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, tried to turn the situation to its European partners threatening to resign, leaving in the air the possibility of an uncontrolled outflow of euro zone countries.

The blackmail, the threat of failure, was the only card left to Cyprus after the help they expected to receive from Russia never materialized. But the cracking has not softened its European partners. Last night again the Eurozone put on the table the same requirements as a week ago: make banks depositors pay for debt created by the banks themselves (investors and depositors who had over 100,000 euros in their bank accounts will pay 40% of those savings to the EU) for the mistakes that had the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

Just a week ago, the Cypriot government refused to apply such punishment to its people after the streets of Nicosia and other cities was taken over by thousands of depositors who wanted their money back in full. So the Cypriot government decided to impose an exceptional rate on all bank deposits, a move that Parliament refused to approve and which had caused great concern throughout Europe.

Last night, however, the Cypriot government agreed to return to the original plan: pass a severe restructuring of its banking sector to force investors and depositors of troubled institutions to take massive losses. Those who had investments or savings below 100,000 euros seem to have been spared for now.

Time was short. The ECB had announced that it would cut the tap of liquidity to Cypriot banks if the government did not accept the proposal from Brussels in its entirety.

Without that artificial respiration tank, Cyprus would have fallen into bankruptcy, which as we have informed before, it is the route chosen by Iceland, the only country that refused to bend the knee before the bankers’ requirements. Instead, Cypriot President Anastasiades broke down during the negotiations with the troika, a group composed by technocrats like Jorg Asmussen and Mario Draghi from the ECB, Barroso and Olli Rehn from the European Commission and Christine Lagarde from the IMF.

The evening did not start well. The Cypriot government, far from returning to Brussels resigned to assume the conditions of the troika, tried to play back the blackmail letter. The International Monetary Fund tightened its requirements on the bank restructuring plan, calling for the closure not only of Laiki Bank -second most important entity in the country- but also the number one, Bank of Cyprus.

“You’re pushing me to resign”, said Cypriot President Anastasiades to Christine Lagarde, according to sources. The IMF director did not flinch.

Before landing in the EU capital, the president had made a stop in Athens to halt the sale of the subsidiaries of Cypriot banks in Greece, reversing a decision made over the weekend, and cut the risk of transmission of the crisis to the neighboring country.

Germany also was insensitive to pressure from Cyprus’ maneuvers. “We can reach an agreement but that requires that Cyprus sees the situation with some realism”, claimed the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. “It doesn’t depend on us, but on Cyprus”.

His allies in the North (Netherlands, Finland, Austria) reiterated that the conditions in the euro area have not changed over the last week: They would lend Cyprus 10,000 million euros only if the nation pledged 7,000 million euros. How does this work, you may ask. In reality, the EU isn’t lending Cyprus any money. Cyprus is confiscating money from its citizens -7,000 million euros- to bribe its way out of an European liquidation of its banking system, and in doing do, it is prolonging the pay for its financial system and its people.

Any solution to increase public debt, Cyprus argues, reduces the chances that the country can return the loan, hence the refusal to offer more money or accept a lower contribution.

The Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, however, stressed the need to reach an agreement that guarantees the stability of Cyprus and the rest of the Eurozone. Although he considers that there is no risk of contagion, he also admitted that this possibility “would be revealed if the monetary union, the Eurogroup, was not able to make a decision that was conclusive.”

According to sources present at the meetings the European Union has also mandated that the plan negotiated with the country is not submitted for approval in the Cypriot Parliament.

In Cyprus your money is not really yours

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 24, 2013

Banks in Cyprus has imposed a daily limit of cash withdrawal of 100 euros at ATMs, reports Reuters. The measure, advanced by the Laiki Bank, which allowed out until now 260 euros, will now blocking customers from accessing their savings should they decide to withdraw more than 100 euros at a time.

According to some sources, this decision, which hardens the playpen that seeks to prevent a bank run, remains in effect until the banks reopen, which is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, but could even be kept afterwards negotiations between Cyprus and the EU which will continue past Sunday’s meeting (ECB).

The measure has been taken as the Cypriot government is negotiating with the EU, IMF and the troika to obtain a bailout in a parallel meeting at the Eurogroup finance ministers.

In this situation, the Eurogroup will try to close a deal on the Cypriot bailout to avoid financial collapse in the Mediterranean country, whose president, Nikos Anastasiades, negotiated with the leaders of the European institutions and the IMF to pave the way for a consensus.

The Cypriot leader arrived at the headquarters of the European Council at 13.00 GMT from Nicosia to meet with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission (EC) Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso. The purpose of the meeting is to find a path for negotiations that unlock alternative rescue conditions for Cyprus ahead of the meeting of finance ministers of the Eurozone.

Finance ministers from the eurozone try to refine the elements of the rescue plan, which is expected to take intense and long discussions about the pressing needs to close a program before Monday.

The negotiations between Cyprus and the troika -the EC, the ECB and the IMF have moved to Brussels and, after a Saturday night failed attempt to achieve a definitive agreement in Nicosia on an alternative rescue, putting the Eurozone in “a delicate situation and with very little leeway,” according to the Cypriot government.

 

European Union Imposes hefty fine on Microsoft for ‘abusing its dominant position’

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 6, 2013

The European Commission imposed a new huge fine against U.S. software giant Microsoft for failing to fulfill its commitment to include in its Windows operating system an option screen that allows users to install other alternative browsers besides Internet Explorer.

The Vice President of the Commission responsible for Competition, Joaquin Almunia, announced it would charge Microsoft a fine of 561 million euros for ignoring its own decision to correct the problem in its operating system. The fine, reports said, could reach up to 10 percent of the turnover made by Microsoft from its operating system Windows and its web browser Internet Explorer, but the Commission settled at just over half a billion euros.

Almunia’s spokesman had eluded confirmation of such a fine. Perhaps the reason is that it is the first time the EU executive punishes a company for breaking its commitments to correct an abuse of dominant position.

The display options in Windows to allow users to choose alternative web browsers was one of the ‘remedies’ promised by the Redmond company in 2009 as part of a case opened by Brussels for abuse the company’s dominant position in the market.

The aim was to prevent that Microsoft imposed its own Explorer browser on users as a way to expel its rivals from the market. The company was mandated to have this feature up until 2014.

In the statement of objections sent in October, the EU executive claimed that Microsoft did not include the options screen in Windows 7, Service Pack 1, which went on sale in February 2011.

“Between February 2011 and July 2012, millions of Windows users in the EU could have been deprived of the options screen,” said the Commission.

The company has already acknowledged the facts and has attributed the issue to a technical error.

The EU executive has already imposed three fines on Microsoft for abuse of dominant position since 2004 amounting to a total of almost 1,700 million euros.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

European bureaucrats take a haircut after budgetary negotiations

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 11, 2013

European officials are preparing to apply extreme cuts to their budgets beginning next year. The budget negotiations held last week resulted in a reduction in administrative costs, slightly more than the latest estimates, although lower than what had been proposed by British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Budgetary cuts only include a cut of 2,500 million euros compared to the initial scenario envisaged by the European Commission. This reflects the lack of agreement among members and the realization that cutting any further would have left the EU with even more unhappy bureaucrats. The 2.5 billion cut is peanuts when compared to the 1 billion euros.

The Commission is upset with the prominence acquired by the cuts during the debate and warns that it will be difficult to take on more responsibilities and welcome new countries in the EU family.

What European negotiators had no trouble agreeing on was on the maintenance of the 61.629 million euros budget dedicated to the administration of the European institutions, which represent an advance of nearly 8% over the current budget framework.

Much of that budget is used to pay fat retirement packages to European bureaucrats which is the reason why the Commission will begin to implement its own austerity plan, which has been taken by European leaders and agreed with Parliament.

Those supposed austerity measures will represent a 5% cut in public employment until 2017, representing 2,500 jobs lost through that will not be replaced. In addition, staff working 40 hours a week, will retire at age 65 — now can do it at 63 — and the so called solidarity tax will grow to 6% of the workers’ salaries.

In addition, the lowest wages and the highest among the administrative staff will fall between 20% and 45%. And there will be more possibilities of temporary contracts. Finally, annual travel will be restricted.

With the wave of austerity sweeping across Europe, these measures still leave Europe’s 55,000 public employees well above average, with  salaries ranging from 2,000 to 16,000 per month –. The comparison is less favorable if the riches in Europe are taken into consideration, who will obviously not seek work in Brussels.

But that will not be enough to accommodate the numbers agreed. So the Commission explores other hypotheses. One of them is to lower the bill of translation, which absorbs 15% of the EU administrative expenditure. It also proposes to reduce (or eliminate) the maintenance of national experts who travel to the EU capital, so that each country pays for their own. None of this measures will make any significant changes to the European budget, though. They are simply petty decisions made in an attempt to show willingness to cut, but not much as needed or on the matters that really need to be slashed.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Rich European nations meet to plot against the poor

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 7, 2013

In the twentieth century, political Summits were seen as meetings to achieve common ground for the benefit of one or two nations. Then came globalism, a movement that intended to transform the world into one slave system governed by the fewest people possible. Summits turned into opportunities to confabulate against those who were not aligned.

This scenario is reflected at its best in Europe, where politicians and their masters create and manage their dream power-grabbing projects. In the 21st century, Summits have been all about imposing austerity and financial control on all member nations in Europe through Brussels and the rest of the world through existing supranational entities such as the IMF and the World Bank.

Right now, the UK is demanding more austerity while ensuring that it will keep intact the rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher back in the day with her battle cry, “I want my money back”: the ensign of the British, and of many others. France, which is in favor of growth policies, has not gotten a single one of his proposals looked at, which demonstrates that the continent is in the middle of a fight for political power among the different factions that aim to control the world.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government starts today in Brussels to decide the EU budget for 2014 to 2020. It is marked by three principles: austerity, lack of solidarity — which the controllers use as a way to impose austerity on anyone who does not want it — and political crisis. Rich Europe will again conspire to cut budgets for all its members.

This time the deal is possible, many believe. All members, without exception, agree that the EU budget can not be alien to the culture that permeates the European economic policy. For the first time in the relatively young history of the Union, the budget will be lower than the previous period, 2007-2013, some experts predict. But lower budgets will not be the only issue to be negotiated during the Summit.

The President of the Council, Herman Van Rompuy, a globalism advocate, was close to closing the deal in November. He introduced a cut of 80,000 million compared to the Commission’s proposal — about 1 billion euros for seven years, which is equal to a 1% of European GDP and twenty times less than the U.S. budget. In Germany, the UK, Holland and Sweden seemed little. So there was no sign the agreement and the cuts, which will have an extra 15,000 million in cuts.

With those numbers, budgets can not serve as an impetus to go anywhere. They won’t help to fight youth unemployment either, even though it supposedly adds some patches to work on it. It will not stimulate growth, as it has been proven by the inefficacy of the measures approved in June. The results obtained after politicians aligned with bankers to transfer public and private money to their coffers as supposed to helping solve the crisis, is not an accident. As we have explained many times before, the technocrats who are in charge of guarding against their own policies never intended to have a recovery. They are attempting to collapse the world economy as slowly and seamlessly as possible, achieving the largest creation of debt imaginable before flushing the system to leave taxpayers ‘holding the bag’.

The theater is assured: “It is now or never,” said a senior participant of the Summit. The meeting will be as dramatic to the public as the main stream media is able to portray it. At the end, it is likely that each representative will accept the bribe offered by the European cabal so it can go back home praising the wonders of the agreement signed in the wee hours of the night and whose details will probably not be fully known.

The new austerity measures will not only affect the amount of money countries can depend on as members of the EU, it will also include deep cuts to expenditures for maintenance. The thesis of the rich countries led by Van Rompuy calls for deep cuts on infrastructure (mainly telecommunications and energy. This is a chapter called Connecting Europe, which will suffer cuts for 10,000 million. The result of this measure can be easily seen years into the future: collapsing infrastructure everywhere except in the large mega-cities, where the new world order wants people to be packed into so they can be controlled and spied on more easily.

Austerity, however, is not valid for everything. For example, the globalist led World Economic Forum, called for massive austerity all over the planet, except for programs that directly affect globalist organizations. Another example is the British rebate cheque, which remains more or less shielded with 3.000 million a year. Some exceptions are untouchable: the check would remain intact even if there was agreement among the leaders.

And what if there is no agreement? There will always be a plan B. For example a controlled acceleration of the financial decay, a world war or an unknown, invisible threat that justifies cutting budgets or enrolling the military industrial complex to once again drive the continent’s economy out of shambles. Anything that helps impose austerity, erode national interests and sacrifice growth, especially in the poorest regions will be adopted, passes, approved; even if a tunnel needs to be dug from one side of the Earth to the other.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.