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A minha foto
Lisboa, Portugal
Nasci no dia 11 de Junho de 1964 na cidade da Beira, MOÇAMBIQUE.

A Estação dos CFM, Beira

A Estação dos CFM, Beira
Ex-libris da cidade, 1966

The Euro, as a single currency, should be abolished

Another black and white motion statement leaving me no option but to choose No.
While I agree to the first part I am not prepared to contemplate the idea that the Euro should get abolished.
Abolished? Then what?
All 17 countries now sharing the single currency would revert back to their old monies?
Or a new version of yesteryear's currencies?

Simplistic as I made it out to be packed in a few odd questions, every single serious economic, financial and social consequence is inextricably wrapped up within each.
That is where the stakes are high enough to ensure that the Euro is given a new lease on life.
It calls for closer European integration.
What form and shape this will take is for policymakers and far-sighted politicians to grasp and propose.

It would seem to me that the Euro has many underlying strengths but will not - contrary to the founder's beliefs - assure convergence between all the economies it services. How could it?
The divide has been felt acutely lately (1-2 years) the logical consequence of relevant economic under-performance among member-countries.

There has obviously got to be a political solution rooted in realistic economic fundamentals.
The road traveled so far proved artificially smooth during the first 10 years I dare say but unsurprisingly very bumpy in the last 1-2.
It could not have been otherwise given the structural differences setting these countries apart. And excessive spending pursued mostly by a few Southern European States who could not see beyond the present.
Adherence to the Maastricht criteria never again seemed to be taken seriously once countries landed themselves inside the Euro club. Not to mention Greece that never fulfilled the criteria in the first place or ever bothered to balance its books.

Very disappointing to admit but the Euro Zone is indeed right in the middle of a storm testing its main crews to the limit.
The latest summit decisions seem to indicate that where there is a will there is a way.
It may have just been one first small step in the right direction.

The specifics are very hard to work on.
Yet it would seem to me that the 17-member Euro Zone and the larger EU can hardly afford shooting down the Euro.
The broader picture needs to come into full view.
An hypothetical demise of the single currency would deal another severe blow to Europe's economic fortunes.
Its relative decline vis-a-vis the rest of the world would get a further boost.

I do not like misplaced calls for solidarity from Southerners but would rather see the stronger half of the dividing line realize where their medium-to-long interest lies.
To that end many balances across the Euro Zone need to be restored at the earliest.

Europe agrees a "shock and awe" bailout for Greece

A rescue package of epic proportions, epic challenges for the Greek government and people, epic uncertainties and epic stakes for the single-currency.

It was the Euro's defence that ultimately forced politicians from Germany to Malta to perform a hard balancing act whose overall success is far from assured.Each finance minister has enough reasons to fret and grumble about.It being the Euro as a common currency, because of Greece despite Greece.
Up to now every 'least damaging' approach failed miserably to cool down the financial markets that remained as unimpressed as ever throughout.
For its part Greece is effectively the main winner in this high-finance gamble.The country bought time the markets were not willing to give it once confidence vanished.Precious time desperately needed to restore credibility and good governance at home.
A daunting internal fix with daunting external implications.
Three full years is what the government and Greek society top-down and bottom-up now have to set the record straight in so many ways.
Literally and figuratively.

For the other 15 Eurozone countries - each facing own troubles to varying degrees - keeping fingers crossed would be mild to describe the monitoring of Greece's performance over the coming 36 months.Potentially they are all losers, starting out by losing simply to avoid bigger losses!
There are so many relevant questions that might be asked to which full answers ought to be provided.
They won't get asked or get answered.
Tellingly, each and every single one of them would now seem rhetorical or at best an exercise for academia.

The spectre that haunts Europe

I am still hopeful that Greece will not require a bail-out in whatever form pinning my hopes on the PM's own words.

He did sound very bold and brave in the face of such overwhelming odds but until a deal is actually in place I would rather believe the Greeks can and will take care of themselves.

My stance is wholly based not on immediate needs triggered by the Western financial meltdown that led to the economic downturn.This in turn led to a collapse in tax revenues across countries caused by economies shrinking badly.

To a large extent Greece is indeed a one-off case-study for the worst reasons, its latest fiscal deficit the sum total of profligate spending, widespread cultural-rooted tax evasion, underbudgeting, creative accounting, weak notion of public service and duty, etc - all conspiring over decades to bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

I am sure many Greeks will have seen it coming and warned their governments in years past.To no avail as even the present government was elected as recently as late 2009 on a platform to increase spending.

According to EMU rules public finances were clearly to remain national responsibilities.A considerable chunk of sovereignty for States to manage through their democratically-elected governments of the day.
Would the Greeks have liked their Finance Ministry to be ruled or dictated to from Brussels or Frankfurt just so the Maastricht-agreed criteria could not have been so despondently ignored?

Current turmoil is the Euro's hardest test ever but one that will also represent a defining moment in the single-currency's future.

It is a fact that Southern European countries are faced with similar issues though not on the same scale and urgency.Others in Northern Europe, the US and Japan also recorded their biggest fiscal deficits and added up noticeably to their debts in 2009.
Each one has its own track-record, however.
This is exactly what sets Greece apart from the rest.
Each country is unique in its own way, there being obviously overlapping between them.

International rating agencies must make the effort to closely monitor and register those differences and then advise financial markets.

After all it is sovereign countries and sovereign debt one is dealing with.

There is much more at stake than strictly soulless bundling of nations.

Arquivo do blogue

sábado, 5 de dezembro de 2015

TEc - "Light at the end of a long, dark tunnel" - Misleading heading

A fellow reader has named the article's title a misnomer. I fully agree.
Glancing through the edition's highlights I came upon this title and thought to myself there must be some optimism here. Disappointed I was and remained at the end of it!

There is none whatsoever. Zimbabwe is vividly described as a land of hell on earth where the only bright spot is the ruler's old-age-related frailty and what it entails into the near future. The power struggle already raging to find his successor is reported as vicious and unscrupulous. The omens are not good.
Therefore the tunnel may only grow longer if not darker still!
Zimbabwe's path to its current plight has been long and tortuous. Indeed the country has remained in a seemingly never-ending tunnel that is darker than most. For all the regime's rhetoric since 1980, but especially from 1990, there appears to be little it can show for itself.
Or am I utterly misled by my news sources(?) - I have wondered time and again...
Whatever the case, an entire country and its people face continued hardship and political turmoil. The only beneficiaries being a tiny minority of a few thousand who disproportionately split the spoils among themselves despite their lofty public speeches.
I can only hope that a point in time will be reached when Western economic sanctions in place will be reviewed - have they achieved their aims? - every issue properly put in context, genuine African grievances taken into account and a new start attempted, at the very least.
Wishful thinking?
Or is a failed State allowed to fail ever more in a downward spiral that effectively blights the future of millions?

sábado, 19 de setembro de 2015

TEc - Migration creates a deepening gulf between East and West - issue is much broader in scope

I beg to strongly disagree. This is not about a gulf between East and West or North and South within the EU.
This is a much wider, bigger, far more complex issue than many would have us believe.
There is the obvious humanitarian concern more or less binding us all in the face of heartbreaking images that need no further comment.
Yet there are many more facets to what is an eminently humanitarian crisis with many implications into the future.
A pattern is now in full view in the countries that have so far been directly affected. Once authorities, and I believe silent majorities, watch helplessly as their soil is disorderly invaded by thousands in a few hours, albeit peacefully, a new mode immediately kicks in.
It suddenly dawns on many that it becomes a quantitative, logistical, cultural, economic, practical, religious, political, you name it, nightmare as well. Mayhem at the borders calls for something much much bigger than lofty rhetoric or unending generosity.
Throwing the doors wide open as Germany (apparently)did initially may be as irresponsible as slamming them tight as Hungary is attempting to do.
There being no definitive solution except ending war and strife in Syria and Iraq, the current inflow has the potential to swell beyond control or remain a problem that is hardly manageable anyway.
Indeed, the millions of internally or externally displaced people - specifically in the Middle East - is so staggeringly high that the world's major countries through the United Nations should figure out a permanent infrastructured homeland for the countless innocent victims of multiple conflicts. Such a UN administered territory might provide temporary shelter to refugees from all nations seeking safety and security, the very basic preconditions for life to exist. It would have to be a bold move costing billions but one to address what has become a permanent feature of our world.
Ultimately it may be the only solution for European nations closest to trouble spots but especially for kin-countries that have long been hard-pressed as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey.
How have they been coping is now a mandatory question?

quarta-feira, 16 de setembro de 2015

TEc - Staying bright in the shadow of a slowdown in China - perhaps unsurprisingly.

No wonder carmakers remain upbeat on China.
The country has skyrocketed nearly from nowhere to become the world's number one producer and consumer of motors in little over a decade.
The current slowdown may be seen down the line as a plateau reached from where the next flight is perhaps being planned. The level hit is high enough that any single-digit growth, however small, equals or surpasses the entire car market of many a country.
Besides, China's GDP growth remains impressive even if halved from the last 30 years' average.
Western car makers have already installed massive production capacity in China over the years in a clear indication of unremitting faith in that country's present and future. Indeed they account - on their own or in joint-ventures - for the better part of China's motor-vehicle production.
Given the still huge unrealized potential of Chinese society, today's slowdown is only the first hiccup in a curve that had only been seen speeding upwards up until now.

quinta-feira, 16 de julho de 2015

TEc - From rage to resignation - Hard-pressed by friends

Greece caved in after finding that it had been all but cornered and then boxed in. To add insult to injury the country was presented, by partners(!) not foes, with a clearly vindictive to-do list topped by near-impossible deadlines. A day of humiliation it was for the geographic territory that is the cradle of European civilization.

Words flow easily or read flowery, the meaning of which we may or may not agree with. Yet, on substance there are any number of question marks hanging over a program akin to two previous failed ones. Both further disorganised a country badly missing common sense reforms.
Whatever gains were made towards the end of 2014 have now been set back. Some will choose the easy way placing blame squarely on Syriza. Others may only just take a more lenient view.

What Greece needs is a new start that combines internal specificities with a debt burden it can carry while growing out of 5 years of severe economic contraction.
Non-Greek Institutions are finally beginning to acknowledge, again, what common-sense should have told them long ago.

But the medium-to-long-term sustainability of Greece has to be dealt with right now. This is where Politics is direly called for.
The alternative is for bail-outs to follow in rapid succession and a proud nation falling into poverty and despair.

terça-feira, 14 de julho de 2015

The humiliation of GREECE

No, it is not about Varoufakis or Tsipras or Samarras or Papandreou. Despite them or because of them.
As the full picture emerges there is no fair present or fair future in a European Union beset by imbalance and a lack of political righteousness or, worse still, a pale notion of it.

Greece may eventually be pushed out of the EZ, the EU – as it happens the country is again allowed to muddle through pending further punishment - after 5 traumatic years exposed multiple internal faults, profitably overlooked by many over decades, only matched by the monumental failure of the original idea of what Europe stands for.
It  came to a head because a radical left political platform was elected to office?
And then won a referendum against all odds?
An entity awarded double legitimacy by a majority of Greeks that breaks the center-left, center-right mould of European politics.
Its approach and ways too bold to even begin to contemplate, let alone negotiate with?

Such questions and more will never be asked or, in the event they are, never be answered.
A debtor-nation standing on its knees is instead being intellectually ravaged, materially blackmailed, financially strangled in exchange for a lifeline that keeps the country afloat for some time. This is done not by foes but by purported in-house friends represented by governments and institutions now hell-bent on exacting as high a price for Greek defiance.
How dare a beggar nation make demands?
Or simply upset the commonly accepted idea that he who has the money wields the sword to decide who lives and who dies.

Shame on the European Union that has long ceased to be a political project binding the 28-member States that make it up.
Greece is being kicked around tonight like I never ever imagined possible.
There is absolutely no Politics whatsoever, only the pervasive views of Eurogroup finance ministers – especially the powerful few, the powerful one more to the point   whose upper hand on the de facto daily running of the EU has long been plain to see.
Europe’s heads of state are evidently at a loss, their statements constrained by the logic of an appaling system of governance badly missing balance, tools and a common goal. 
In fact they were constantly seen hiding behind the Eurogroup throughout the ongoing Greek saga.

Despite its reportedly messy internal set-up commoners in Greece deserve a great deal more respect just as commoners elsewhere.

segunda-feira, 6 de julho de 2015

TEc - "NO" to what? - Easy question, easy answer

There's no need to make it difficult when the answer is pretty straightforward:
NO to all that is wrong with EU governance, Eurozone governance and, of course, Greece governance too.
We shouldn't dwell on semantics and interpretation when the Greek saga has unfolded itself before our very eyes day in day out for the past 5 years at least.
Much longer to my mind, if the rootcause/s to current troubles are to be sought.
Greece and its Syriza government have taught us all a major lesson in Democracy and Politics as both being key to addressing the needs of the many. Everyone should acknowledge this basic fact regardless of ideology and the nitty gritty of how best to overcome the long drawn-out expensive Eurozone stalemate.

If a country squeezed between a rock and a hard place rises up and says NO people of goodwill across Europe, especially the leadership, should listen very carefully. Unless the enlightened few ruling today's finance-dominated economies/politics/countries are forever prepared to make a mockery of all that was previously reported as being cherished and invaluable to Europe. 
The consequences are beginning to show.

Greece does require a fix within the Eurozone.
So does the Eurozone as a whole for the benefit of every member country.
It is high time for European Politics to kick in reining in the institutions (and their actors-of-the-day) from overreaching their mandates and legitimacy, and for all to show some respect for common folk from Greece to Germany, from Finland to Portugal.

domingo, 28 de junho de 2015

FT - Greece must be saved from political, economic and social collapse - I fully agree

Greece has long become a case study for the right reasons as well as the wrong. The more thought that's put into the case since it started unfolding long ago the greater the complexity and number of variables involved. 
I have seen any number of opinions, judgments, evaluations, assessments, attitudes, views based on political leanings, economic and financial interest, stakeholder objectivity and subjectivity, grandstanding, personal and institutional hubris, etc, etc, etc.

Nothing disguises the fact that Politics is failing miserably just about everywhere. Such massive failure is bringing misery, disquiet and human suffering in so many places at any one time!
Entire nations, nation-States - failed, on course to failure or otherwise - have fallen prey to the workings of a financial system that knows no limits. Their guarantors-of-the-day mere stooges who deliver verdicts/decisions irrespective of anything other than the rule of 'who is the more powerful?'...
It does not bode well for the future of humanity, writings are on the wall or have been that common people need and deserve something different. Better balanced, simply put.

As for the FT/TBarber's current article that triggered my short comment, will not add or detract a single word. His are incredibly wisely put together conveying the full urgency of the hour set against the grand background that brought Greece  to the brink. What is beyond the brink?
Those who can make a difference don't care to know.

Unless Politics is again made to rule over the world of finance and much-needed balance is finally restored, the world of common folk is headed for ever greater levels of uncertainty and doom.

segunda-feira, 22 de junho de 2015

TEc - Down but not yet out - Greece on the brink

Mismanagement at its worst would be an understatement to define all that went wrong with Greece.
The country has long been a costly affair in the making to which many powerful interests in creditor nations repeatedly turned a blind eye to.
Why did they ever provide Greek leadership - not common folk - with enough rope for them to hang their country for at least two generations? And then expect commoners to pick up the full tab irrespective of all else?
In an incomplete monetary union that would become a massive cage excessively indebted nations eventually found themselves trapped in?
Governments in the North never signalled any worry about overspending in Southern Europe, particularly in Greece where, on top of it all, issues of governance appear to be harder than in most places across the EU.
In brief, this is why the whole issue has long shifted from mere bankruptcy to a deeply political one.
Far too many questions have remained and will remain unanswered for the simple reason that they are ingrained in the system.
A system that demands fixing if ever politics is to play the central role of addressing the needs of a large number of people.
The alternative is a measure of chaos that will rapidly engulf other nations in more ways than one.

domingo, 21 de junho de 2015

GREECE, the European Union and the West

Greece as a nation-State has been 'l'enfant terrible' of the EEC/EU since joining in 1981. 
However, there are today far wider issues at stake concerning a pivotal country whose social fabric and structures have been weakened to levels unacceptable to anyone who understands the central role of politics. Theirs is only part of the overall responsibility in a world dangerously adrift even in what was supposed to be a relatively compact bloc of rich nations.
Issues of relevance demand much greater insight, in-depth analysis many who've dominated much of the public debate and institutions in our time hardly care about.

Everyone is busy pursuing their careers to private gain - political or professional or whatever - that nations/countries/States as a collective are paying too heavy a price in so many ways.
Oftentimes dwelling on the tertiary rather than on the essence of things.

I prefer not to begin to think of Greece cutting loose from Europe to find solace elsewhere. Just yet.
Greece's presence in the Western value system - democracy, defense, economy, culture - is invaluable.
If the country is forced to go down the drain for faults not entirely its own, it will be a bad omen for the West at large.

sexta-feira, 19 de junho de 2015

TEc - My big fat Greek divorce - is D-Day just around the corner?

Every time I read on Greece I am sickened by the extent of the rot that has permeated all levels of a long troubled relationship with the EU.
I can't put it down to a set of reasons that would explain the current mess. What is beyond dispute is that it has consistently built up and hardened.
Words do not deliver the full picture any longer.
A lot has been said of Greece's internal disconnects but the so-called institutions - ECB, ECommission, IMF - deserve solid criticism for their recipe and posturing since long.
To my mind there were at least three levels/layers of issues to be forthrightly addressed from day one by those in charge: Greek governance, European Union governance (including EMU/ECB) and IMF rule-book (applied to a changed context). Broadly speaking it may be stated that all failed miserably...
Now, no one seems to know what the ultimate outcome will be.
The immediate fate of Greeks and that of the EuroZone as we know it(and larger EU) is being devolved to politicians. They are expected to make a political evaluation of it all and decide.
Perhaps that which they should never have so blatantly backed away from.
Accounts are absolutely critical as a reflection of good government at all times.
So is Politics, especially in extraordinary times.

segunda-feira, 15 de junho de 2015

FT - "Greece has nothing to lose by saying no to creditors" by Wolfgang Munchau - a game it is?

It is a disgraceful state of affairs that has known no new developments since long. Unimpressed I was, unimpressed I remain at the lack of progress to shift Greece's plight one way or the other. Which brings me to WM's current article, likely the most enlightening I've read on the matter. 
On the one hand there is the official talk that all are trying hard to overcome differences because nobody wants Grexit. On the other, every bungled meeting is followed by bitterness and mutual recrimination. Where is the overlapping, if any?
That a nation-State should be pushed around like a toddler in need of parental guidance is bewildering enough. Something  has been lost to the Eurozone crisis within the EUnion(!?) that makes relations between countries look like little more than a game of chess.
I trust that on both sides - especiallly the stakeholders who stand to lose the most if push comes to shove - all calculations have been worked out, so what's the fuss all about?
Dragging Greece to the pit's edge wishing for a last-second surrender is as obnoxious as the Greek government gambling on a last-minute demand drop/reversal by creditors. I still haven't seen the Politics searching for the middle ground - broadgauged European politics - in this unbelievably long saga. The main losers being common folk in Greece but also in major creditor nations and in all whose governments have lent money to the Greek State. 
Besides every other loss that cannot be readily counted up!

quinta-feira, 4 de junho de 2015

TEc - Austerity without the anger - Portugal faces general elections

Portugal's predicament remains dire, a condition the country will have to live with into the future.
Years of tough policies, as demanded by creditors in exchange for the bailout money, worsened the social fabric of the nation. The Portuguese - a significant share of them - instinctively know that their country has been driven to its plight by what they broadly perceive as an inept political class.
Many have given up on voting altogether, others simply could not care less about politics.
Nonetheless a majority, grudgingly or not, still cast their ballot on election day. They do so along remarkably consolidated lines, elections decided at the center by a shifting electorate who swing votes between the two major parties.
The upcoming general election will be no different.
The opposition Socialists may only just win enough votes to oust the ruling coalition. The months ahead will be critical for the outcome depending on how these parties present their case. Importantly, on how the economy is seen to be headed to.
Going forward challenges are many and varied.
To my mind they need to be addressed, as they always have anyway, by the country's leadership - a far larger group than the much derided political establishment. Many appear at last to realize structural frailties are mainly to blame for Portugal going to the wall thrice in a mere 40 years. Internal adjustments/reforms are long overdue but will they ever occur?
The upside is the momentous changes that took place in as many years in a country that has basically overreached itself.

segunda-feira, 13 de abril de 2015

Germany has gained the upper hand

Funny world would be mild irony!
Surplus economies settled in blissfully content with their stellar performance oblivious to matching deficit economies. In the Eurozone, the larger EU and the world. 
China, Germany, the Netherlands on one side, most remaining major economies on the other.

Germany has outwitted just about everybody else on its own domestic strengths.
What is striking pretty much squaring everything else is the relative industrial weakness - therefore economic - of each of the other three European majors, the UK, France and Italy - and the USA across the Atlantic. Even where military hardware is concerned Germany is now outselling the UK and France in arms exports, to recently claim the 3rd./4th. spot of international rankings. This comes on top of capital goods, consumer goods, high-technology precision equipment and machinery, pharmaceuticals, etc. The country has over the years not-so-subtly achieved leadership of just about every sector where the other 3 led until recently, isolated or combined.
Mighty(!) Germany has become, on own merit but on the lack of it by many too.

Bottom line is, where others relocated or simply lost out to the global economy Germany stayed the course.
Such decisions that built up its success were made at company boardrooms meeting behind closed doors, politicians having to deal with the consequences later. Trade surpluses or ballooning trade deficits pointing which way a country's overall economic output and strength was heading.
Germany relocated too but moderately and smartly: low-to-mid-end production to neighbours around it or further afield where industries thought it suited them best. To break into fast expanding new markets quick to absorb production redirected from Europe's severe downturn. 
Never letting go of high-value-added production and much, much more.

Stability across sectors from the country's powerful mittelstand has been their watchword.
A winning combination in the enlarged EU, in North America, in emerging markets - China top of the game..., just about everywhere. All achieved keeping a tight lid on internal consumption that can be boosted as soon as the government of the day so decides.

Voilá...this is a German dominated Europe into the foreseeable future(???)

sexta-feira, 6 de março de 2015

TEc - Greece's economy; Running on empty - Why a longer timeline is called for

Disheartening charts pointing to a deeply depressed economy and society whose rock bottom has so far not seemed deep enough.
Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the the curves clearly point to gains made over 2014 until political change swept across the land. What to make of it all then?
Easy enough, most Greeks simply grew tired and fed up after five years of decline that they were now ready to bet on a new horse with an altogether different approach to the race.
Too late for the incumbents New Democracy to state their case that finally the country was beginning to upswing. Democracy exacted its cost, one might say. There does exist a lengthy time lag between what macroeconomic variables tell and what real people, the constituents, feel. Especially in a context that built up over many years since 2009/10.
The solid question remains as to how much improved is the Greek State now in the broadest sense, or if it can be made to improve further quickly enough by the new government.
I am in no doubt that Greek society (and economy) does have strengths that have been grossly overshadowed by a punishing policy of pressure and contraction.
The country must painstakingly rebuild the economy on a much sounder footing of individual and collective responsibility across the board.
Not a job that may be accomplished overnight by any government.
Perhaps negative perceptions abroad are overblown, misconceptions rife in the midst of the larger EuroZone conundrum whose structural fix is far from receiving the attention it ultimately requires.
Should Greece pull financially through 2015 while enforcing basic rules of good government and governance and bringing hope to average people, then only its rightful place in the EuroZone and the EU will be permanently assured.
Ideology in the form of traditional left/right bias should not come in the way of doing what it takes to set Greece right.
If anything, the new government hit the ground running.
A promising start, a breathing space conquered to tackle internal weaknesses and trigger wider debate in the EuroZone about its future(?).
All charts need be looked at against a long-enough timeline.
Over 2015 much will emerge to show whether the short-term losses now incurred are offset by improved overall prospects for Greece in the medium-to-long-term.
The new government in Athens faces tremendous odds and has a very tall order to fulfil.

quarta-feira, 4 de março de 2015

FT - Athens faces uphill struggle despite eurozone deal - Steep incline indeed

However disheartening these charts may be they all point to a deeply depressed economy and society whose rock bottom has so far not seemed deep enough.

Nonetheless it is fair to say that the right endings of the curves clearly point to gains made over 2014 until political change swept across the land. How to explain it then?
Easy enough, most Greeks simply grew tired and felt humiliated after five years of decline that they were now ready to bet on a new horse with an altogether different approach to the race. Too late for the incumbents New Democracy to state their case that finally the country was beginning to upswing. Democracy exacted its cost, one might say. There does exist a lengthy time lag between what macroeconomic variables tell and what real people, the constituents, feel. Especially in a context  that built up over many years since 2009/10.
More and informative charts are amiss but the solid question remains as to how much improved is the Greek State now in the broadest sense, or can it be made to improve further quickly enough by the new government.
I am in no doubt that GreeK society (and economy) does have its strengths that have been overshadowed by an overwhelming policy of pressure and contraction.
The country must painstakingly rebuild the economy on a much sounder footing of individual and collective responsibility across the board. Perhaps negative perceptions abroad are overblown, misconceptions rife in the midst of  the larger EuroZone conundrum whose structural fix is still far from receiving the attention it ultimately requires.
If financially Greece can pull through 2015 while enforcing basic rules of good government and governance and bringing hope to the people, then only its rightful place in the EuroZone and the EU will be permanently assured.
Ideology in the form of traditional left/right bias should not come in the way of doing what it takes to set Greece right.
If anything, the new government hit the ground running. 
A promising start, a breathing space conquered to tackle internal weaknesses and trigger wider debate in the EuroZone about its future(?).

sábado, 21 de fevereiro de 2015


A Grécia é notícia na CEE/UE praticamente desde 1981, ano da sua adesão, e em regra pelas razões erradas.
Custa a acreditar que tanto desvario variado possa originar numa única sociedade/nação/país/Estado. Francamente, teria ainda assim de aprofundar alguns dados objectivos para concluir de forma definitiva sobre a viabilidade da sua presença na Zona Euro.
O povo grego, o grego comum não há-de ser tão original que se destaque pela negativa dos demais povos europeus. Lá como em Portugal, como em muita outra sociedade, são as redes mais ou menos anónimas de interesses legítimos e ilegítimos que justamente produzem efeitos desastrosos. Estes grupos são necessariamente pequenos e que depois revelam-se determinantes no output do país e na imagem que outros têm desse país...

Feita a avaliação do funcionamento da Grécia com base no seu histórico desde 1981, entra o enquadramento e a política da UE onde muito de relevante se poderia dizer.
Quais os verdadeiros objectivos da União Europeia hoje enquanto bloco de 28 Estados-nação soberanos e diversos e com diferentes estádios de desenvolvimento?
Para o actual PR, no tempo da sua governação, o objectivo nacional comparativo era ultrapassar a Grécia - e para consumo interno tal objectivo terá sido conseguido momentaneamente.
Fast forward para a caixa de Pandora aberta com a crise das dívidas soberanas.....

Foi o excesso de endividamento e a construção incompleta da união monetária que abriu aquela caixa accionada pela crise financeira dos EUA. A resposta das instituições europeias foi a que se conhece, com assistência financeira e técnica do FMI, gerida com o predomínio absoluto de uma linha de pensamento único avançado e consolidado pela Alemanha. O ascendente germânico foi conquistando terreno e adeptos que de forma por vezes primária diabolizou o Sul gastador...
Transformando percepções relativas e subjectivas em generalizações infundadas.
Isso podem fazer o Zé da Grécia e o Zé da Itália no Sul, o Zé da Alemanha e o Zé da Holanda no Norte, de forma inocente e inconsequente.
Não podem fazer dirigentes políticos com discurso público.
Em Portugal, o actual vice-presidente do BCE, durante os anos iniciais da moeda única defendeu que a questão dos excessos macro-económicos (variáveis determinantes fortemente desequilibradas) seriam um problema menor no novo contexto. Seria interessante saber o que pensa hoje após as traumatizantes experiências vividas no Sul da Europa.

Há aqui muita coisa que fica no ar mas esta história tem definição cronológica recente e responsáveis directos, individuais, colectivos e institucionais.
A moeda única foi o resultado de uma negociação franco-alemã, a concessão alemã exigida pela França para anuir à reunificação entre a DDR/RDA e a BRD/RFA - desde que, o EURO fosse moeda forte a replicar o DM e a inflação residual. A Alemanha, de novo agigantada, manteria sempre um peso no BCE e na definição da política monetária proporcional ao tamanho da sua economia e demografia reforçada em 17-19M em 1990. 
Mas a união monetária era para evoluir no sentido de uma crescente integração económica e política entre as nações da UE.

A Grécia quer, através do novo governo, interromper o ciclo da bebedeira que muitos ganhos trouxe a muitos no Norte e a alguns no Sul, abrindo um novo caminho para o país. Dou-lhes o benefício da dúvida que fizeram por merecer.
Varoufakis é um tipo brilhante e o seu cachecol ou camisa de fora e sem gravata são pormenores que apenas provocam esta onda mediática porque vivemos um tempo árido de ideias compensado pelo vazio das aparências.
É o que menos interessa, este tipo cultiva a informalidade desde sempre não vendo necessidade de a alterar por ser agora o MF do seu país.

quinta-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2015

FT - The stand-off that may sink the Euro - Syriza's wake-up call

Philip Stephens holds a very moderate and sensible view of Eurozone's unaddressed woes seen in light of the political process. There's hard evidence all over, gained from traction following 4/5 years of dealing with a financial/economic/social/cultural European crisis that has effectively derailed the EU. Words may be easy to flow to describe what has happened, why, who, where and how best to resolve but at the end of every single day since the outset of a predictably messy affair there remained stubborn unwillingness to do what it takes. 

That said, there have been some real developments few and far between. The latest and single most important one being the ECB's QE program which has already folded elsewhere. QE produced clear outcomes particularly in the US and the UK but will it work in a 19-member monetary bloc with such a diverse set of economies and societies?

Indeed, every structural option available is known to the few who can choose from them except that they won't use them for whatever reason.
Beyond the events of the day from Berlin to Athens, the future of the EU and the Eurozone as its boldest experiment is still uncertain. 

A political and economic bloc that is unresponsive to large sections of citizens in many countries for opposing arguments is surely threatened from within.

National governments should always get their act together.
The supranational EU institutions in the making too with stronger countries adopting much broader latitude in their approach to ongoing problems.
Obviously both should go first!

quarta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2015

FT - The Euro - gains for Germany, brought unimaginable pains to Greece

The closing line is wholly unwarranted. If anything Germany is the one Eurozone country that has benefited the most from the advent of the single currency. 
In actual fact German companies and the products they make were quick to tap into every single one of the EU's 27 markets from a position of strength. The ever larger single market created more consumers to sell their goods to. Within the now 19-member Eurozone the Euro further improved gains for the region's leading economy.
On balance, no matter the liabilities that Germany has taken on - largely overblown in the German public's perception - the country added up to internal strengths and national wealth. 
The European Union was supposed to be a bloc of sovereign States pooling some of their former internal power for the greater advantage of all. It would never be easy to get such a diverse set of countries and societies to work together gainfully. Yet that remains the single most important challenge that needs fulfilling. Indeed the only one that objectively justifies the existence of a European Union in the first place. 
From Germany to Greece, people must grasp in their daily lives that the EU works for them despite every shortcoming and failure of each national government. Unfortunately this has not been the case to the extent that far too many citizens across Europe feel deeply disillusioned with the current workings of a dysfunctional economic union unable or unwilling to bring meaningful hope to Main Street across every capital.
Greece has to reform its society as much as Germany needs to review its hardened stance on the common monetary area, stress put on 'common'. There is now some traction and experience to go by of the path pursued thus far and outcomes produced. If anything they show there has got to be a new approach of some sort...

domingo, 25 de janeiro de 2015

TEc - The day after - ECB steps out of the closet to boldly put cash on the table

The ECB has acted to ultimately kickstart the Eurozone's floundering economy picking its own timing to do so.
It is not at all clear how the new approach will improve the plight of the real economy. Checking deflationary pressure while seeking to take inflation up to the upper bound of 2% has got to translate into a better economic context for companies at large.
Unlike the Eurozone QE was timely applied both in the US and the UK.It may now be acknowledged that it played no small part boosting growth there. In Japan outcomes have been mixed but the country faces a different set of challenges calling for Japan-specific answers to them.
The Eurozone faces a very difficult uphill struggle to resume meaningful growth to a widely-varied set of diverging economies and societies. The aftershocks of the financial crisis proved to be - rather unsurprisingly - deeply asymmetrical leaving Germany to benefit from them early on while other countries took the pain one after the other especially in Southern Europe.
Perhaps a new time is now dawning in the EU - funny coincidence(?) the announcement was made only days before Greece's landmark general election - whereby the European Central Bank takes center stage deciding monetary policy and the tools to pursue it.
National politics in each member-State may also acquire a higher profile, with Greece leading the way.