Politeía Digest

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Daily News – April, 26th.

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Basescu, sceptical about EU 2020 Strategy targets

President Traian Basescu on Friday voiced scepticism that Romania can reach some of the Europe 2020 Strategy targets, more specifically the allocation of 3 per cent GDP to research and innovation. During a debate called “Looking towards the future” Romania and Europe 2020 Strategy,” Basescu said the EU document asks for one percent of GDP be allocated for research by the government and the other 2 per cent come from the private business environment.

If the government doesn’t have a problem allocating 1 per cent, at least on paper, it will be very hard for the private sector to come up with a 2 per cent contribution,” he said, quoted by Mediafax news agency. Moreover, Basescu wondered if Romanian research is able to efficiently use 3 per cent of the GDP. “Is our research able to focus on major objectives and have results in due time if the state and private sector make such an effort? This is a question that we have to answer by April 29,” the head of state said.

To make sure strategy objectives are politically assumed, Romania has decided to set up a high-level working group whose first mission will be to establish the national objectives within Europe 2020 Strategy. The group will have to agree on the targets by Thursday, as on May 3, a Romanian delegation will have talks with European Commission representatives to clearly establish the national objectives that result from European level objectives, Basescu explained.

He added that objectives agreed on European level do not necessarily coincide with national objectives. “They will be distributed based on how much responsibility each state takes to contribute and based on the possibilities each state has to reach a level above or below the EU general objective level,” he said.

In the context, he called on EU states to support efforts to reduce differences between old and new members of the bloc so that everybody reaches the European Strategy’s objectives. “We cannot increase competitiveness on entire EU level if major differences between north and south, east and west, are maintained. Without internal cohesion you are not competitive, without internal cohesion you don’t matter in the global competition,” he said, adding that this is the message he will try to convey at this summer’s European Council summit.

As for Romania’s possibility of reaching Europe 2020 Strategy objectives, Basescu said the country’s representatives will try to negotiate realistic, accessible objectives during the May 3 talks. “In spite of difficulties, Romania will be able to set national ambitious targets, even if they do not reach the maximum level established by the EU. What we will do in the May 3 talks will be to have a realistic approach, to negotiate or establish national objectives that we can actually reach by 2020,” he said.

Friday’s debate was organised by the European Commission’s Representation in Romania and the Group of Applied Economics. It was attended by several officials, including special guest Dacian Ciolos, Romania’s Agriculture Commissioner.

In his speech, Ciolos said many reforms initiated by Romania on economic, administrative and agricultural level, will go very well with the 2020 Strategy. He underlined however that the reform process will have to be assumed by everybody, starting from the central administration and going to local level administrations. The commissioner also said that a better coordination of European institutions and policies would be the key to success of the strategy. The Europe 2020 Strategy consists of five main targets which mostly refer to employment opportunities and economic growth. The strategy was presented to the European Council in last month’s summit and will be officially approved at the June meeting. Source: Nine ‘O Clock.

Germany, France signal hard line with Greece

BERLIN – European heavyweights Germany and France vowed yesterday to take a hard line with Greece in exchange for financial support as doubts emerged over whether a 45 billion euro aid package was sufficient to prevent a default. Greece bowed to intense pressure from financial markets on Friday, requesting funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in what would be the first bailout of a member of the 11-year-old single currency bloc.

The debt-saddled country has announced billions of euros in austerity measures, including tax hikes and public sector wage cuts, but must now agree additional steps to satisfy the EU and IMF, and ensure the aid flows.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Greece that a tough restructuring of its economy was “unavoidable and an absolute prerequisite” if Berlin and the EU were to approve the aid Greece has requested. “The fact that neither the EU nor the German government have taken a decision (on providing aid) means the response can be positive as well as negative,” Schaeuble told the Sunday edition of German daily Bild. “This depends entirely on whether Greece continues in the coming years with the strict savings course it has launched. I have made this clear to the Greek finance minister.”

Schaeuble’s French counterpart Christine Lagarde promised to hold Greece accountable for “unsuitable economic policies” that pushed its 2009 budget deficit to 13.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its debt to 115 percent of economic output. She described the aid package as a “cocktail of indulgence and great strictness”, telling the Journal du Dimanche weekly that Greece’s partners would closely monitor its progress in restoring order to its creaking finances.

Germany and France are due to provide about half of the 30 billion euros in aid the EU has tentatively pledged for Greece. The IMF is expected to put up the remaining 15 billion. Only days after Greece requested the aid, however, doubts were emerging over whether the package was large enough to calm market fears of a debt default. Speaking to reporters in Washington at the weekend, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty acknowledged that some European and G20 countries believed the aid was inadequate. “There is concern about making sure that the package is enough so that it’s a one-time event,” he said.

There are also worries about public opposition to further austerity steps in Greece. Greek riot police fired teargas at protesters who held an impromptu march through central Athens on Friday to protest austerity. A poll released on Saturday showed that roughly two-thirds of Greeks believe Prime Minister George Papandreou’s socialist government was either too slow to react or handled the economy poorly as the country’s fiscal crisis deepened. Source:Reuters.

SEC gathered range of experts for Goldman case

Late into the night, they darted from office to office, carrying thick reams of documents, building the most prominent legal case to grow out of the financial crisis. On the fifth floor of the headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission, five men and one woman, fueled by Sbarro pizza and Subway sandwiches, worked marathon hours over three months to finalize a case alleging that Goldman Sachs had defrauded clients.

Led by a former federal prosecutor and a pair of veteran SEC investigators, the team was preparing to take legal action against America’s most storied financial firm. On the line was the promise made by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, appointed by President Obama last year, that the agency would restore its traditional role as an aggressive check on Wall Street abuses.

The team consists of three old hands and three more junior lawyers. Together, former colleagues say, they bring a mix of backgrounds suited for the many dimensions of the Goldman case. They can understand the details of very complex financial products, grasp the nuances of law and simplify complicated issues for a lay jury.

Lorin Reisner, 48, is a former federal prosecutor who was handpicked last year by the new enforcement director Robert Khuzami as his deputy. Under Reisner were agency veterans Ken Lench, 47, and Reid Muoio, 43, who lead a new agency group specializing in the types of exotic investments that nearly wrecked the financial system.

The men face keen challenges. Goldman Sachs, which has denied the fraud allegations, is assembling a powerful defense team led by Richard Klapper, who has spent 30 years at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the country’s most prestigious law firms, whose partners have played an influential role shaping financial regulation in Washington over the years. Goldman also recruited Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, for advice.

After a year and a half of preparation, the SEC filed a civil fraud suit against Goldman earlier this month. The crux of the case alleges that Paulson & Co., a hedge fund, was looking for a way to bet on a drop in the housing market and that it asked Goldman to help create a financial product that would allow such a wager. Then, Paulson helped assemble that product by selecting individual securities to include in it. These were mortgage-related securities that Paulson thought were likely to lose value. Read more on Washington Post.

Iran Fires Short-Range Missiles in Gulf War Games

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s state television says the country has fired a series of missiles as part of an ongoing large-scale military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.   

The TV report Sunday said five ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles were simultaneously fired. It did not elaborate on the specifications of the missiles or say whether they are new.   

However, the semiofficial Fars news agency said on Saturday that four types of short-range missiles would be launched Sunday in the war games, including Nasr 1, a short-range cruise capable of destroying targets up to 3,000 tons in size.   

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard began Thursday the war games, an annual show of military strength that often leads to heightened tension in the region. Source: Wall Street Journal / Associated Press

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Written by Theophyle

April 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

One Response

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  1. […] un articol de exceptie pe Politea Digest, preluat din Washington Post. 0.000000 […]


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