At the End of the Day

Our glorious and beloved EU at Ground Level

As even German newspaper OpEds begin to ask if the MerkeSchäuble ist von der Apfelküchentrolley untergangen, what is gradually becoming clear – albeit far too slowly – is just what a dictatorial, law-breaking scam the European Union is. At its heart are two institutions: the European Commission – an organisation so steeped in corruption, nobody will sign off its accounts; and the European Central Bank – run by a Goldman alumnus whose career suggests that removing the ‘lum’ from the Latin sums him up perfectly. It is, in brief, an authoritarian scam.

For the average citizen, however, it is a sham….and in their everyday lives, that’s a far bigger failing. No supranational organisation in world history has quite managed managed to put the sham into shambolic like the EU.

I took up residence here in France 20 months ago, having moved from the UK. Even something as simple as switching from the British NHS to the gallic CPAM for healthcare has been a nightmare of lost formules, confusing instructions, and near-zero coordination between UK and French officials. Switching from UK car ownership to French immatriculation was a similar Hell of incomprehension…and don’t get me started on changing from one insurance regime to another.

I’m beginning to realise that – in order to once-and-for-all join the French tax system – I shall have to kidnap senior officials from each side and demand that functionaries take note of my changed status….otherwise beheading videos must surely follow. There is no way beyond a jihadist approach that will get through to these dozy creatures.

As for the legal system, well: if you thought British lawyers were slow, you will marvel at the Eternal Now in which most French avocats exist. They have two speeds – All Stop & Full Reverse Both – and for them, an impasse is not so much an obstacle to be circumvented as something from which only retreat is possible.

But this isn’t a gallic thing, it’s the EU. When you try to “take advantage” of This Great Project of Ours, there is no coming together. Mainly, there is coming apart. Such laws as get passed by the Eunatics in the Commission are ignored or otherwise depending on the interests of each Member State. In many areas, there is simply no coordination at all. Pharmacy rules about OTC v prescription drugs offer a supreme example. In Greece, you can walk into a chemist and ask for a kilo of heroin: the only response will be “Certainly, would you like that in 100gm or 200 gm packs?” In France, requesting a pack of Tagamet over the counter may involve you in an intimate body search, plus full-scale Interpol investigation.

The European Union has added nothing to the quality of life in our continent. However, it has added an enormous layer of pointless, busybody bureaucracy, a single currency that let Germany out of its richly-deserved cage, unimaginable levels of debt encouraged by Trichet’s ECB, former Soviet States whose ability to undercut the Western members is frightening, and – above all – moved the supreme source of power away from legislatures to fractional reserve banker criminality.

Mind you, the one thing from the start that the fluffy creators of the EU and the eurozone managed to subtract was one, genuine point of sovereignty that might reassure debt-bond creditors.

You can either interpret that uncomfortable fact as the infinite desire of every unaccountable bureaucrat to avoid any responsibility for anything, ever; or as just an utter lack of foresight based on commercial and fiscal incompetence.

I voted to stay in the EEC as it then was in the 1970s because I believed it possible to take the best from all cultures, and meld them into one Rule of Law. But since then, the most obvious (if that’s the right word) tactics of the EU have involved subterfuge, laws passed under the radar, voter rejections ignored, Nation objections bullied into submission, and now (under Draghi) blatant mobsterism in pursuit of the ends of unfeeling currency blocs.

I’m not sure this will come to pass, but I will rest easy in my grave if our grandchildren are brought up not to admire Syriza politics, but to see the shrewdness and courage of Varoufakis and Tsipras as a vital force that got off the sofa and chose to tackle evil greed head-on.

Earlier at The Slog: Grexit will only be possible if Brussels, Berlin & Frankfurt openly break the law

53 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. John I drove thru France last Whit. We were en route to Spain/Dordogne but broke down near Lake Paladru nr Genoble. Jesus Touring Secours on the French Autoroute is the pits! Might help if they chaned those ridiculous Inspector Clouseau uniforms!

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  2. Student Loan repayments are a another fine example the disfunctional EU. The UK must grant loans for fees to all degree level students from anywhere in the EU. While I normally dislike quoting Wikipedia…this is a worthy exception.

    “Almost as problematic is the non-collection of money due. Because loans are collected through the UK tax system, there is no efficacious system of collecting them from eligible non-UK students who have returned to their home country (mostly in the EU) and the SLC has never attempted to sue through a foreign court for the money they are owed. In January 2012, more than 45% of such loans were in arrears and apparently had been effectively written off, at a cost to the Treasury of over £20 million.[37] In December 2013, the Public Accounts Committee described the repayments system as ‘blatantly inadequate’ and its chairman Margaret Hodge advised the Chief Executive that when it came to systems for ensuring repayment, ‘These are very simple things you are not doing.'[55] Only nine foreign nationals had ever been taken to court for non-payment, and just three had been convicted for non-repayment. In the same year, 92 applications for funding from abroad were found to be fraudulent, but no arrests or prosecutions had been instituted.”

    We the UK taxpayers are the Mugs of Europe when it comes to giving the youth of 27 nations a free Higher Education Degree here with no possible hope of ever recovering any fees. Many EU countries do not even have a tax system to collect it.

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  3. As a wise woman once said long ago,***the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money***, Varoufakis on the up-scale is a con artist and on the down side, probably schizophrenic, certainly hes not in touch with reality, and the tripper…is he really for real, am I dreaming are there still people like that in society?

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  4. As it stands Greece needs the Eurozone much more than the Eurozone needs Greece. Successive governments, through fiscal largesse and corruption, have bankrupted the country. As a consequence of that , Greece now fully depends on the generosity of their European friends.
    Greece must live within its means. There is no choice, and the resultant cut in expenditure — being weaned off excessive debt consumption — is going to cause pain either way. With that in mind, remaining within the Eurozone and adhering to the reform program is the least painful route for Greek citizens — and the fastest way toward a more a sustainable growth model.

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  5. Wel well…….ist von der Apfel Küchentrolley untergegangen …. really Mr ” Lee…”. Stop trying so hard it s bad for the aorta and could lead to its explosion. I suppose to your convoluted way of thinking this was an attempted translation of the English ” falling off their trolleys”.close but no cigar. I would equate it more to your Albionic saying regarding throwing toys out of prams . Whilst more accurate in its derivation both Wolfie and I would contest its purport .
    Firstly we have no trolleys any more in Germany but robots who ferry us about in the vein of a Mr H W Bush golf cart . Sadly Wolfie has no need for trolley or robot . He has a bespoke manufactured wheelchair which includes a self cleaning commode for his many overseas trips.. On my side I have no toys at all these days as Wolfgang has usurped them all given his lack of mobikity limits him to playing with train sets and dinkytoy models as his only form of escapism.

    For the rest I agree with you , We are slowly building ” The Union” inexorably in the image of my native country — Esst Germany , soon may she rise from the ashes of history to reclaim her New Reich !

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  6. Tony
    First up, I’ve met Varoufakis. Have you?
    Second can’t see any logic in why ‘Greece needs the Eurozone much more than the Eurozone needs Greece’. But each to his own?

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  7. Ain’t been to Greece but seen the wasted olive terraces of Croatia and asked why they don’t do this all over the Med Zone. Easy money. get those olive trees growing again!

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  8. Hi John….Nope, but Ive met many who have, some of his pupils are now working in the RBA here in oz, so they are bright, and many journalists I know tell me hes bright, he taught game theory, so I looked at some of his published papers and found a lot of crap, I asked my daughter to look at it too….she agreed…now I should tell you, my kids are very very bright, my lass teaches maths ( shes a maths Prof.) and her team leader in her youth before she went up to Oxford Prof Terry Tao won the equivalent of the NOBEL, the field, so trust me we can spot a con when we see one. I suppose Im talking about the BEST in Australia however, and you must accept Varoufakis talks a good game on a soft subject, which routinely lacks rigour and is wide open to spivs.

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  9. The Federal Reserve was left out of your rulers of the EU. Their’s is the guiding hand. What makes me laugh in wide wonder is the acceptance of a reputedly national socialist Stasi trained Stalinist being voted in as was Mutti Merkel on the christian democratic ticket. No writer of fiction would ever be able to get away with that, except maybe Douglas.

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  10. About one thing there is no doubt. The current German attitude guarantees it will be dealing with Golden dawn after the next Greek election. As Ian Drury observed “There ain’t half been some clever bastards”.

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  11. Which government’s Cabinet, what would you rather have – 23 millionaires, some of them with reely hard-working experience in PR….., or 9 university professors of economics, law, etc…? Choose! As currently in UK or as currently in Greece…..

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  12. So, here we are then, standing on the edge of a very slippery slope that could easily become a precipice with just a little extra grease.

    We all suspected that the Euro might cause serious trouble, but maybe not this much and not this soon. If they can’t pull something out of the hat in short order then John’s bear trap may well snare Merkel fatally.

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  13. Living up the road aways in the Perigord the secret is to learn how to swerve in the French way. Once you have sussed that there are no end of scams to be had………..

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  14. @Tony – a quote from Professor Varoufakis:
    “In seeking to placate credit rating agencies (the very agencies whose triple-A ratings of bank-generated toxic debt drove the financial sector into insolvency), the governments of the eurozone are undermining Europe’s credibility with electorates, markets, and, ironically, the credit rating agencies themselves, which no longer believe that the European Union (EU) can resolve its sovereign debt crisis. Instead of closing what was already recognized as a democratic deficit, member-state governments are deepening it and, in the process, reinforcing the eurozone’s unfolding predicament. Eager to please the markets, Europe’s leaders have ignored Treaty commitments to maintain economic and social cohesion and, indeed, undermined them, with a series of decisions (or lack thereof) that have attached a major legitimation crisis onto an already vicious economic crisis. Thus, not only the EU’s economic future but that of European democracy is endangered as well.”
    What’s to disagree with that?

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  15. John, you mention that the EU has brought us some former Soviet states. I used to believe in the European Union and considered myself European, as well as being English, especially because I live in Spain. Then the EU expanded, taking in umpteen countries at a time and I no longer knew what “Europe” meant. Then the scales fell from my eyes and I realised the EU is nothing but a huge power bloc, right up to the borders of Russia. This was clearly its purpose and not the wellbeing and happiness of its people. Now I think of Hitler, who even in his last days in the bunker, still said that Germany should “look to the east”.

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  16. Hi Wearedoomed….the point you are missing is a simple one: The EU started by trying to define a partnership agreement that all EU participants could agree with, and then when they got together as partners to solve a problem, talked ways around the signed agreements. This is the way partners work. Its ok when things are good, but in the case of Greece, they are now coming onto other partners for money to prop up thier lazy good for nothing life styles.
    And partners are saying hey look at the treaty or our partnership agreements we are excluded from doing that…Now Varoufakis is simply pointing out customs and practice of the EU to date and trying to get more based on that..and others are pointing out why Greece has to stick with written agreements.
    and why one partner can fuk another if he does something the other partners

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  17. Thank you Tony for telling us all how clever your family and yourself are.Instead of thinking how the particular representatives of Greece are going to fail under pressure think how the lazy,indolent,pissed of populace would react to your bullshit face to face.

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  18. Hi Tenerife….I fully endorse what you say, try as I may, I dont make many friends, but it does gall me somewhat, to see how those lazy, indolent, lying pieces of scum can get freebies for soo long..and they do it soo well..Ive even seen them defecate when the con story they present with isnt getting up, boy those lazy indolent types sure can present a sob story worthy of a TV soap.

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  19. Tony – we all have to read beyond our ideologies. Lefties need to read Hayek, Righties need to read Marx. Both had sense yet their followers here on earth were less than their leaders.

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  20. Hi Tenerife…My feelings on partnership are if one partner wants out, then out they go, in this case, Greeks dont want out and you know my reasons why the dont, and the others dont want to say it as bluntly as I do, but by their actions, they show it, of 18 EU members sharing the Euro 12 were not putting any money into the pot to support Greece, and 6 have positioned their accounts or Parliaments to allow a good excuse not to support Greece.
    The Greek bluff laziness, lying ways has been well and truly called. Like all scum they want to blame someone else tho.

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  21. With Greece I think the argument that they were mislead into borrowing too much is a tricky one and not winnable on an academic or legal basis. That’s not to say I don’t think that for everyone’s best interests they should continue in the present direction….

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  22. Hi Jeremy….I was born on a slum, raised in a slum kicked out of home at 14 and lived on waste land for 2 yrs, no one helped me, or offered me a free place to live or gave me a hand out. At 25 yrs old I became a millionaire. Hard work and talent old sport will out every time.

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  23. Tony
    And boy, does it show. You know nothing of Greeks, nothing about EU or eurozone membership, and even less about how to influence people.
    ‘ if one partner wants out, then out they go’. Along with most of the Western media Tony, this is what you can’t be bothered to research: they can’t go, and nobody can make them.
    I’m very glad you’re a millionaire. And that you live in Australia.

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  24. Hey John…dont get mad, think of the most common partnership you know a married couple, its a partnership, and trust me I know a lot about Greeks..and the way they get bad backs take a dis ability pension and retire at 23..some are soo bright they get 2 or three pension from different countries for the same injury, the really competent Greek however manages to grab a pension for his/her dead relatives from different countries….and if you have ever had to check out Greek Qualifications..aren’t they all ***Professors***…some even manage an O level or 2. Now I agree they have 1 great industry..olive oil.
    Trust me on partnership law…..the paper you rely on to keep Greece inside the Euro isn’t work a cracker, you cant keep your wife when she decides to go.. She walks, now if Greece defaults, its a breach which others have specifically ring fenced so they aren’t liable. The default means that Greece will be officially bankrupt ((no pretence any more)). And every single EU country will be obliged to walk away from her, otherwise they themselves will be dragged down and forced to pay Greece’s debt. Now John, Im sure you can put 2 and 2 together, no one wants to give Greece any money..ergo sum quad…geez thats latin. Its not Greece walking, but all the others walking away from Greece…God Im good arent I..and trust me England isnt aplace Id want to be.

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  25. Just for you John….the basic rule of a partnership, is that each partner is responsible for the other partners actions..unless its specifically stated not to be, something pre nups try to enforce..but aren’t always successful at..but remember we are talking about a sovereign debt now..so not much chance of Greece making any claims on any country like say Germany for instance should pay Greek debt. Was it you who told me Varoufakis was a bright guy? .

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  26. From my viewpoint, this could be the biggest story this century unveiling before our very eyes. A David and Goliath story.
    On one hand, you have the powerful giant, the neoliberal agenda that has been working diligently and quietly the past few decades acquiring control of each country’s political and judicial systems and reward its masters with riches stolen from the people and using its powers to control the people.
    The U.S. and the banks and large corporations are largely behind this push, and are desperately trying to ram through these trade agreements to gain further worldwide domination.
    No one has yet dared to challenge this on a large scale, until now. In fact, many of us are still waking up to see that we’ve been had.
    Now, little Syriza and Tsipras are taking on this ugly giant. How dare they! They must be taught a lesson, so the Germans think. Well, if Greece capitulates and gains nothing, it will be back to business as usual. But if Greece — whose people have not seen any benefits from the bailouts — has some success in spite of the losses headed its way, watch out.
    There is more here at stake than just a Greece vs. EU-ECB story line.

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  27. Greece may not be the most productive people in the world but to call them lazy good for nothing life styles shows you have no grasp of the flat earth neoliberal extortionist economics that has brought the whole world to this point in our history,your ignorance, bigotry & stupidity shines through your comments

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  28. Sorry John..on reflection, I can see you think that its the others who are trying to force Greece out. And of course that has been the focus of dumb journos, and some poor pollies like the Tripper and Vakoufakis….when u get people like G’estaing saying Greece should leave quietly..and dickheads like Vakoufakis saying he wont leave…its sorta hard to c what can happen next if Greece dont get what they want…especially if you rely on others for ur intellectual input.
    Let me make it easy for you John….you cant carry on business with a partner who is bankrupt. Can you understand that? The Euro institutions wont be able to function, all EU countries will have to isolate Greece, in effect kick them out and they dont want to be seen doing that..hell its only $300 b..but its $300b to much for lazy lying cheating bast**ds. The entire EU group dont like being conned any more.

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  29. Well said Kimsarah. I totally agree with you and have huge admiration for Varoufakis and Tsipras – brave men. As for those spouting ghastly stereotypes and disinformation, these are always part of a process to demonise or move support away from those deserving of it. I can only but hope that the massive public support across Europe will assist them against an unscrupulous, dishonest and criminal ruling bureaucracy that should be stopped before causing further chaos.

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  30. From what I read, the Germans loaned money to the Greeks, who bought arms they didn’t need from the Germans (after the Greek elite skimmed what they could), who now demand their money back. I don’t think a job creation scheme for Germans is something that the allegedly lazy Greeks should overwork and bankrupt themselves for; and as for corruption, grift and graft, remember that “a fish rots from the head”. Isn’t the new Greek government about addressing these issues?

    That’s before we start asking what life is for, if not workworkwork and imagining that becoming a millionaire is solely down to that and that it’s possible for everyone – all of us – to enter that blessed state. together.

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  31. Top summary, JW.
    The EU is an exercise in tying countries together in bonds of debt. This is the bankster way.
    Here in the UK, our muppet govts have run this poor country at a deficit, ie deeper into debt, for 30 of the last 34 years (The Cobden Institute). The interest on this debt benefits only the banksters & their cronies, eg, the Royals & the multinational corporations. Taxes to pay this interest come mainly from the middle/working class, as the big boys minimise their payments by various means.

    Regards democracy, 3 separate unelected EU committees frame the laws, directives etc, before passing them to a supine, purely for show “parliament” to not look at them for ~ 15 minutes, before rubber-stamping them. 5/6 of our laws are now generated thus, to Cameron’s reported surprise. I have come to despise democracy, especially with an ill-educated populace, regarding it as a route through bread & circuses to bankruptcy, where all major Western Central Bankster dominated nations now reside.

    As you,JW, so rightly say, the EU is a bankster project, a stepping stone to One World Govt of the worst Totalitarian stamp.
    We should all hope & pray for Varoufakis & Tsipras. They play for huge stakes here.

    Was it Thomas Jefferson who said that if bankers are allowed to create money, they & the corporations that grow up around them will eventually own the world? Look around you, the rich get obscenely richer, while people die of starvation. They have built Hell around us.

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  32. Well it looks like it comes down to who is going to blink first, Varoufakis and Tsipras or Merkel and Schauble. My money is that Merkel and Schauble will blink first and come out with a form of words that will give the Greeks what they want while Merkel and Schauble being able to claim that they got what they needed. Champagne and flowers all around and Merkel and Schauble keep their jobs while the Greeks get the money. Then we see Spain, Portugal, Italy and France line up

    If this does not happen, well there is and accelerated default. all around.

    Yup, looks like a no win situation for Germany no matter which way you look at it.

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  33. John, fine piece: “the EU has added nothing to the quality of life of its citizens” sums it up with SMS clarity. I speak with 35 years experience and an amusing career ‘over there’. France is a different world, but deep down, everything works – their way.

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  34. But judging from the opinion polls and vox pops, most Greeks want not only to stay in the EU but to stay in the euro.
    Which suggests that how ever bad the EU institutions may be, they are better than the Greek government, in the opinion of the voters.
    Syriza, in my opinion, are leading the Greek people up the garden path. They are further destroying the economy and leaving the inevitable task of rebuilding it within the euro all the harder.

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  35. I’ve never seen a clearer overview than this most succinct article:
    charleshughsmith.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/greece-and-endgame-of-neocolonial-model.html

    “Greek bailouts rescued European Bankers, not the people”

    “Greece has received $ 284 Billion since 2010. 92% went to Greek & European financial institutions. 8% went to the Greek people.”

    “This is not just the perfection of neocolonialism, but of neofeudalism as well.”

    Well worth a read.

    I stumbled on this after reading Mike “Mish” Shedlock’s interesting article on the Debaltseve debacle which John Kerry is dispensing such large lies about.

    globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.co.uk

    Never forget that the essence of the bank crash in 2008 is that our muppet politicians put the Banksters’ debts on the shoulders of us & our children. Neofeudalism indeed.

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  36. As JW pointed out a couple of days ago there is a massive amount of Media crap out there about Grexit. This is not a light read, but makes some very clear points http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn06342.pdf

    Fundamentally, there is no provision in the Lisbon treaty for any country to leave the Eurozone (or be thrown out, no matter what). The only way that a country can leave the Eurozone is for it to request to leave the European Union….(which Greece surely is never going to do…..Think Turkey as a neighbour, oil-fields, shipping and tourism for a start ).

    Therefore my conclusion is that either Germany agrees to the latest Greek compromise (that many other countries FinMins were already OK with) or fairly shortly, the Greek Government and Greek Banks will totally default while the country is still signed up as a full blown Eurozone member……And btw if Greek Banks loose all their ECB support and go broke, please explain to me how, (both with elections this Autumn), this does not cause massive Portuguese and Spanish Bank runs from this Spring onwards ? Both countries have rapidly rising anti Austerity Left wing parties.

    Mind you, many of my Greek friends and I are keeping an eye open for Sprout Skulduggery with a Greek Bank Holiday on Monday next…..Think what happened to Cyprus over a BH…..But I don’t think that the Greeks are going to be so easy to bully in their present mood, and I share their belief that they can let of plenty of time-bombs in the Eurozone financial system over the rest of 2015, if Germany continues to mess with them.

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  37. Isn’t it the case that if a member state defaults then the liabilities are covered pro rata by the other members , many of whom would also be pushed into default if forced to pay up.
    Shirley the loans will be reinsured with credit default swaps so the institutions that are holding those are the ones looking for the “brine trisers” right now. Oh how we laughed.

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  38. John, has it ever occurred to you that your problems with bureaucracy, technology and so on might just be down to you and your attitude to people you clearly regard as intellectually inferior to yourself? ‘Knuckledragger’ is an unfortunate expression you seem to be fond of. Thousands of other people have moved to France and – while perhaps becoming exasperated with some elements of a wholly different culture – had no problems at all with switching health care, insurance, car registration, domestic and computer technology or whatever.

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  39. Pingback: John Ward – Greece Exclusive: EC/ECB Dirty Tricks At Eurobank – 20 February 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  40. Pingback: European Union at Ground Level | Doomstead Diner

  41. Id love to respond to this dick head Graham D above..2 Comment
    There appears to be a majority opinion that if Greece wanted to leave the Euro it would have
    to leave the EU first. A report in BBC News on 10 May 2012 implied this was a simple
    procedure under Article 50 TEU: “Leaving is straightforward: it involves a member state
    notifying the European Council – that is, the leaders of EU countries – that it wants to go. The
    Council then agrees the terms of the exit via a qualified majority”.
    While Article 50 does provide for a Member State to leave the Uni
    He very kindly publishes a briefing paper to the Hse of Parlamament..which in my opinion is week..but it does include the above..now our fearless dickhead say the paper is heavy reading..so presumably he didn’t get to section 2 above…Geez what am I involved with.

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