Thursday, December 2, 2010

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The dynamics of the debt crisis

over Ireland, the so-called parachute is stretched, Portugal could be the next candidate. With the crisis of the euro and the austerity measures of the threatened bankruptcy of the state governments also created the biggest wave of strikes in recent decades in Europe.

Lutz Getzschmann

Published in: Jungle World, 2 December 2010

EU finance ministers agreed late on Sunday evening at their special meeting in Brussels that Ireland 50 billion euros for the rehabilitation of should receive budget and 35 billion euros to support the banking system. The Irish government is on the bailout 17.5 billion EUR contribute from their own resources. These are the reserves are used for pensions. The interest on the loans will be 6 to 6.5 percent, significantly higher than in the case of Greece (5.2 percent). Irish government bonds have risen to just under 9.3 percent interest. And by the Irish government from bankruptcy banks kept tumbling facing an uncertain future. The rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded on Friday, the Anglo Irish Bank on the junk-bond level B down. A similar fate befell the Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank, which were downgraded to BBB + or BBB notes.

The bank failures and recession the Irish people have been hit hard. The times of Ireland's boom is over. »60 000 people have left, between April 2009 and April 2010 in Ireland, a third of them are Irishmen, two thirds of" non-Irishman, Thomas Conefrey says of Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. Unemployment, which is five percent in 2007 to more than 13 percent have increased this year, have made many Irishmen before the election, with no prospect of a job stay in the country or to leave. In the construction sector alone 150 000 people were unemployed. 90 000 houses that were built in 2007 alone, there are now 33 000 empty. On Saturday demonstrated, according to the organizers 150 000 people in Dublin against measures to put public finances, according to police there were about 50 000 This was called the trade union confederation ICTU. The VAT is expected to increase from 21 to 23 percent, the minimum wage to fall to 7.65 € a €. Nearly 25 000 jobs in the public sector are eliminated each year to study fee of 2000 € will be charged. For the first time to the Irishmen pay for drinking water. The chairman of the largest trade union SIPTU, Jack O'Connor, described the savings plans as a "declaration of war" to the lowest paid workers. At the same time the government coalition of Fianna Fail and the Greens in Parliament is becoming increasingly unstable after Fianna Fail has lost a by-election for a vacant seat to become the opposition Sinn Fein. The government has thus only a slim majority of two seats in Parliament. Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced to dissolve parliament and pave the way for early elections in February or March. However, he was only willing to elections, if the planned spending cuts and tax increases are passed by Parliament. Unions and the Irish opposition, however, demand that the elections are to take place before the implementation of austerity.

In Portugal, there was vehement protests against the austerity policies of the government. The one-day general strike on 24 November was the largest in decades, and the first strike for over 20 years, at which the two largest trade union confederations, the UGT and the Socialists close to the Communist Party had close CGTP, called together. About 90 percent of employees took part. 12 000 schools were closed that day. No aircraft could land or start and 85 percent of trains were canceled. Parts of the police strike, the garbage also, most shops remained closed.

is in some ways, Portugal is in a worse position than other countries with sovereign debt crises. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is even just 16 200 euros, compared with 30 570 Euro in Ireland and 23 100 euros in Greece. The Portuguese population is one of the poorest in Western Europe. is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the Portuguese economy will grow this year by an estimated 1.5 percent decline in 2011 by 0.2 percent. The unemployment rate now stands at eleven percent. Now, as part of the austerity package passed on Friday will be reduced unemployment benefits, the unemployed are forced to accept any job if they do not lose their right to support. Provided is also raising the income tax for a stay up to 1.5 percentage points by the end of 2011, only people with an income below 475 € spared. Companies with profits of more than two million euros will pay an additional "emergency tax" of 2.5 percent. The VAT will rise from 20 to 21 percent, in return, the salaries of ministers and the lines of public enterprises to be reduced by five percent. In addition, the subsidies fall for state enterprises.

Meanwhile, speculation in financial markets to an impending state bankruptcy Portugal. The bond markets, interest rates, which Portugal has to offer, at a historic high driven. The interest rate on ten years of Portuguese bonds has risen to almost seven percent and rising yields on government bonds could bring the Portuguese government in a short time into a similar trouble as the Irish. Currently, Portugal's public debt amounted to 165 billion euros, peanuts in comparison to Germany, but at least this amount corresponds to almost the entire Portuguese GDP in 2009. The measures adopted to reduce government spending only about twelve billion euros. In addition, the private debt of 239 percent in Portugal one of the highest. Creditors are mostly foreign banks.

the weekend, the EU finance ministers also debated whether any taking in Portugal and Spain in the Euro-rescue. An important result is called the advice was to develop a contingency plan for € bankrupt countries, the European stability mechanism (ESM). While the position of the German Federal Government, private creditors in the debt restructuring included, could not prevail, this way in the future will then be followed when short-term assistance are unsuccessful. This occurs when a state of the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the euro countries as "judged insolvent" is what comes close to a classical state bankruptcy law. In this case, the affected state would have with its private creditors' restructuring negotiate "to continue to receive support from EU and IMF.

generally increases the pressure on governments and the European institutions, the public finances of the euro countries to regain control.

The current situation in Germany in particular re-registered some economic growth, is no more than a breath, the next phase of the crisis should come from much poorer states and expand the race to unexpected dynamics. It will hardly be possible to reduce the debt substantially, until the next depressive episode begins which is emerging now in the U.S.. The governments and the capital to combat the crisis with cuts in social services, with reductions of pensions, health care, spending on education, privatization of public goods, the reduction of wages and precarious. And objectively, they have little choice.

The previously announced reduction measures have resulted in the largest strike waves decades. From Spain and Portugal to Italy and above all shake France to Ireland mass social protests Europe. Germany, where the protests pose to the project Stuttgart 21 and the Castor transport not only a return totgeglaubte movements of the eighties, but can also be viewed in some respects as a substitute for action for the paralysis of trade unions is, in this respect to the lowest in the European protest.

a more than symbolic significance could get the strikes and protests, but only if they exceed the scope of ritualized and institutionalized forms of struggle. Signs of which were on display recently as France, where the escalation of strikes and protests against pension reform in part to the rather reluctance of the union bureaucracy was.

lacks the same time, yet any serious European coordination of the fighting that would be an essential step in the site-nationalist and corporatist narrow-mindedness of union crisis Mitverwalter as well as well to overcome some of the base.


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