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.

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EU Ministers agree on framework to create New World Order Bank

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 13, 2012

Ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union reached an agreement early Thursday on the  legal framework that will allow Europe to create a single banking supervisor. The pact is the first step towards joining the euro zone bank and comes hours before the EU summit on Thursday, which will  ratify the commitment. It is expected that the bank becomes operational in March 2014.

During the hours leading up to the agreement, the main hurdle was the distribution of power and scope of the supervising entity, which as explained in previous reports published during 2012, will become the economic and financial beast the bankers have always dreamed about. Germany wanted to exempt regional banks and savings banks from the control of the supervisor, while France, like Spain, defended the institution to supervise all institutions without exception.

The bank union is full of technicalities, but in reality it comes down to one detail: who has the power. Germany has convinced others that the ECB will only oversee the nationalized banks and the largest institutions; those with assets in excess of 30,000 million or 20% of GDP, about 100 entities, to leave others in the hands of national supervisors.

Although initially it was thought that the supervisor could only have the power to control, at any given time, any entity in difficulty, Germany blocked that option, leaving out of the ECB’s orbit Länder banks, which are supposedly loaded up with toxic assets. These banks will remain under the supervision of the German Bundesbank.

Germany also imposes a watered down solution for the common guarantee fund (consisting simply of standardized national funds) and a considerable delay to the bank resolution fund (a mechanism to close banks if necessary), which at some point could be a form of mutualisation of euro problems to be done through back door deals. And almost everything else gets delayed from the original schedule, against the advice of Italy, France and especially Spain, the country most affected by the financial cliff.

The bankers are already salivating due to the agreement. “Historic agreement on the supervisor!” said the  European Commissioner for Internal Market and Financial Services, Michel Barnier, after 14 hours of meetings. In his Twitter account, Barnier judged that the creation of this entity is “a big step for a coherent supervision of all banks in the euro area.”

The objective is that the complete control of the European Central Bank (ECB) over all entities will serve to recapitalize troubled banks and break the vicious circle between the financial crisis and debt, but that kind of power will also undermine the sovereignty of the each of the member nations to a considerable degree in regards to their economic and financial policies. Everyone has seen in the last two years what happens when a complete continent is managed by a group of technocrats whose only goal is to consolidate power.

The supervising entity will be open not only to the euro zone, but all European countries that seek to yield their independence to a centralized, unaccountable banking system. So far only three countries have indicated that they are not interested in joining the single banking supervisor: the UK, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The Cypriot Minister of Finance, Vassos Shiarly, announced at a press conference that the agreement will allow the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament, which will begin early next week.

According Shiarly, the Twenty member states have reached an agreement on cooperation between the European Central Bank (ECB) and national regulators, the voting systems in the supervisory board of the entity and the European Banking Authority (EBA), the degree of enforceability of decisions made for countries outside the euro which are participating and the different phases of direct supervision.

Of course, it is clear that an entity that holds as much power as the supervisor will not share any kind of power to regulate how member nations direct their policies. Centralization of power and control is the reason why the bankers created this monster in the first place. From now on, it will be take it or leave it.

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European Parliament requests that Palestine be named Observer member of the U.N.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 22, 2012

The full European Parliament (EP) today approved a joint resolution of the major political groups in the House that calls on the twenty-seven members and the international community to support the Palestinian Authority’s request to be member observer at the United Nations (UN).

This new dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and the UN “would be an important step for the visibility, strength and effectiveness of Palestinian claims,” ​​says the text adopted by the EP.

The EP urges, as on previous occasions, the EU governments and the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, to “play a more active political role in efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

In this regard, the EP supports diplomatic efforts to “create a credible prospect for the resumption of the peace process.” The Parliament, agreeing with Ashton, was in favor of the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital of both.

This would be achieved, according to the text, “a State of Israel and an independent Palestinian state, democratic and viable Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security.”

Furthermore, the EP reiterated their call for the end of the blockade on the Gaza Strip through an “effective control mechanism to prevent arms smuggling
into Gaza, in recognition of the legitimate security needs of Israel.”

The document also asked “to take measures for the reconstruction and economic recovery of Gaza.”

After eight days of bombing, in which the Israeli military offensive in Gaza caused 163 dead and 1,225 wounded, while on the Israeli side five people
died and fifty were injured by the impact of projectiles fired from Gaza, the Egyptian Minister Foreign Mohamed Kamel Amr, announced a ceasefire on Wednesday. EP members welcomed the ceasefire and called for its full implementation.

Egypt will be the guarantor of compliance with the ceasefire agreement and will assess any comments submitted by the parties in this regard.

The EP expressly supported the resolution “the mediation efforts of Egypt and other agents for a quick ceasefire and lasting.”

The resolution was supported by European Conservatives, Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens. Only progressive and progressive left groups abstained from voting.

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Europe to destroy traditional family and sexual identity

by Svetlana Smetanina
Pravda
October 14, 2011

Traditional words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ will be replaced with official terms Parent 1 and Parent 2 in Britain. The terms will be used in official documents. The authorities decided to make such a “politically correct” move to accommodate same-sex couples. Experts are sure, though, that the matter is not about the requirements of certain social groups. The decision is another step towards the destruction of traditional families.

The words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ will be removed from British passport applications before December 2011. This became an achievement of Stonewall group, which defends the rights of sex minorities. The US State Department tried to do the same before, but it was eventually decided not to remove the two words from US passport applications.

The subject about novelties in the field of gender relations has been getting more and more popular recently. Not so long ago, Pravda.Ru wrote about the kindergarten in Sweden, which became world-famous after its administration decided to simply abolish the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ pronouns.

Last year, the European Parliament published the brochure, which recommended not to use the words ‘Missus’ and ‘Miss’, ‘Mademoiselle’, ‘Seniora’ and ‘Seniorita’.  From the point of view of the European parliament, the use of such words was discriminating against women because they directly indicated their sexual identity.

One does not have to be an expert to realize that such novelties in various countries are not just a coincidence. It is a trend, the goal of which is to change the public perception of the role of the sexes in the society.

Pavel Parfentyev, the chairman of the inter-regional public organization “For Family Rights” also shares this point of view.

“Indeed, this is a serious international trend. It started back in the seventies and the eighties as a powerful movement to defend the rights of sexual minorities. There were organizations that tried to defend even the rights of pedophiles, who, as they believed, also had the rights for their own sexual preferences.

“The organizations publicly said that their goal was to destroy family. Afterwards, under the pressure of public opinion, many activists decided to refuse from the openly sexual bias in their activities. They proceeded towards the protection of human rights. This is how they approach children’s rights today. They think that children must be protected from the despotism of their parents – from any forms of traditional upbringing, that is to say. In order to accomplish that, one has to destroy the traditional family first and to make the family become a form that enslaves and binds children,” the expert said.

In order to be more efficient, representatives of such movements began to cooperate with large international organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe. This led to the creation of a small, albeit a very strong lobby for the protection of the rights of sexual minorities on the international level, Pavel Parfentyev believes. The lobby intends to distort the perception of traditional family in the modern society.

As a result, European officials already try to avoid the use of the word ‘family’ in top-level international documents. Instead, they use “family in all of its forms” expression, which implies all forms of cohabitation. As a matter of fact, they deliberately erode and expand the notion of family. The family as we know it has virtually disappeared from the new term.

“The lobby prefers to move in small steps. At first they say that one should not discriminate human beings on their gender rights and sexual orientation. It is hard to argue with this indeed. In Russia, there is no discrimination of real human rights on the base of sexual preferences. At the same time, they create special, previously unseen “rights” and preferences for homosexuals on the international level. As a result, they attach special importance to sexual orientation, which distinguishes a person and makes them stand higher than others,” Pavel Parfentyev said.

The words indicating the sexual identity of people gradually disappear from official speech and documents. If they abolish ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘father’ and ‘mother’ they will not be able to abolish the gender per se. However, it can be possible to undermine the traditional perception of gender.

“A family is much more than a marital union of two people. It is a reproduction mechanism for the whole society. The movements for the protection of rights of sexual minorities are trying to undermine the traditional or natural family, as we call it. They want to take it beyond the scope of public values. More importantly, they want to separate the process of procreation and childcare from marriage and family. According to them, children and parents are two different things that must exist separately from each other. They cast doubts on the special role of parents in raising children,” the expert added.

Many people in Britain claimed that the above-mentioned novelties undermine family grounds in the country.

Medicinal Herbs to be Illegal in European Union

Heidi Stevenson

Big Pharma has almost reached the finish line of its decades-long battle to wipe out all competition. As of 1 April 2011—less than eight months from now—virtually all medicinal herbs will become illegal in the European Union. The approach in the United States is a bit different, but it’s having the same devastating effect. The people have become nothing more than sinks for whatever swill Big Pharma and Agribusiness choose to send our way, and we have no option but to pay whatever rates they want.

Big Pharma and Agribusiness have almost completed their march to take over every aspect of health, from the food we eat to the way we care for ourselves when we’re ill. Have no doubt about it: this takeover will steal what health remains to us.

It Begins Next April Fools Day

In the nastiest April Fool’s Joke of all time, the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products (THMPD) was enacted back on 31 March 2004.(1) It laid down rules and regulations for the use of herbal products that had previously been freely traded.

This directive requires that all herbal preparations must be put through the same kind of procedure as pharmaceuticals. It makes no difference whether a herb has been in common use for thousands of years. The costs for this are far higher than most manufacturers, other than Big Pharma, can bear, with estimates ranging from £80,000 to £120,000 per herb, and with each herb of a compound having to be treated separately.

It matters not that a herb has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years. It will be treated as if it were a drug. Of course, herbs are far from that. They’re preparations made from biological sources. They aren’t necessarily purified, as that can change their nature and efficacy, just as it can in food. It’s a distortion of their nature and the nature of herbalism to treat them like drugs. That, of course, makes no difference in the Big Pharma-ruled edifice of the EU, which has enshrined corporatism in its constitution.

Dr. Robert Verkerk of the Alliance for Natural Health, International (ANH) describes the problem of requiring drug-like compliance on herbal preparations:

Getting a classical herbal medicine from a non-European traditional medicinal culture through the EU registration scheme is akin to putting a square peg into a round hole. The regulatory regime ignores and thus has not been adapted to the specific traditions. Such adaptation is required urgently if the directive is not to discriminate against non-European cultures and consequently violate human rights.(2)

Trade Law

To best understand how this can be happening, one needs to see that trade laws have been at the center of the moves to place all aspects of food and medicine under the control of Big Pharma and Agribusiness.

If you’ve followed what’s been happening in the United States regarding raw milk and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) claims that foods magically become drugs when health claims are made, you may have noted that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been part of the process.

Rather than treating food and traditional medicines as human rights issues, they have been treated as trade issues. That makes the desires of large corporations the focus of food and herbal law, rather than the needs and desires of people. It’s this twisting that has resulted in the FDA’s making outrageously absurd statements, such as claiming that Cheerios and walnuts quite literally become drugs simply because of health claims made for them.

The goal of it all is to make the world safe for the megacorporations to trade freely. The needs and health of the people simply are not a factor in their considerations.

How to Fight This Encroachment on Our Health and Welfare

It’s not a done-deal, at least, not quite. If you value your access to herbs, or if you care about access to vitamins and other supplements, please take action. Even if these issues seem meaningless to you, consider the people who do care. Should they be denied the right to the medical treatment and health maintenance of their choice?

The ANH has been active in fighting these encroachments. They are currently going to court in an attempt to stop the implementation of THMPD. We can hope that they’ll succeed, but recent history shows that no legal maneuver is likely to stop this juggernaut. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for the results of their efforts. We need to see their endeavor as part of a whole, one in which each of us plays a role.

It’s up to us—each and every one of us—to take action. If you live in Europe, please, send a letter or message to your Member of European Parliament. Go to this page to find out who is your MEP and the contact information. Then, send a letter that states, in no uncertain terms, that you strongly support the ANH’s actions in trying to suspend the implementation of THMPD and that you hope they will also take a stand in support of the people’s right to choose herbal treatments.

If you find it difficult to write such a letter, click here for a sample (in the universal .rtf format) suggested by ANH. Feel free to use it.

Try to imagine facing your children or grandchildren when they ask why you didn’t. How will you tell them that you really weren’t that interested in their welfare? How will you tell them that it was more important to watch the latest fake reality show on television than to take the time to write a simple letter?

It is only by actively protesting that this travesty against our welfare can be stopped. If we sit back in apathy, then it will happen. Our right to protect our health and that of our children is hanging in the balance. If you care for your child’s or grandchild’s welfare, then you must act. Speak out, for now is the moment of truth. You can sit back and do nothing, or you can speak out.

And then, once you have, talk to everyone you know. Tell them that it’s time to act. There truly is no time to waste.