1st Issue - September 2012 - Brussels
Is Mario Draghi our Super Mario? - Opinion article // News // Fiscal Treaty Review // Vox-pop // Report on Alternative Currencies // Agenda // Interviews: Nigel Farage - Ruben L. Oppenheimer // News Analysis on Greece and Argentina // Quiz
Project developed in the framework of the Executive Master in European Journalism 2011/2012 Haute Ecole GalilĂŠe - Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales
helped us in the project by sharing politically/economically oriented with us their views on the €uro. youth. It is something that affects €you aspires to be not only everyone which consequently a media project, but also a social means it is something that everyanalysis of what it is like being one is able to build their own ideas young and living in the European on and express them openly. Union with all its pros and cons of We are glad to discover sharing a common currency. that the European Youth is not fiImagined and conceived on the nancially illiterate. On the con €uro 10th anniversary the trary, European Youth is potenBy Sofia Trindade €you aims to dissect the European tially intellectually richer when Youth position towards the Euro- compared to the €uros they have in zone crisis and the use of the com- their pockets. mon currency, as well as, under- you is, as the name as- stand how the common currency €you started to be a magapires to simplify, a magazine about helps the process of building an zine project developed as our Euyouth and economics, done with European sense of belonging for ropean Journalism master thesis, your help. European youngsters. but nowadays it’s more than that!
I couldn’t start this editorial As editors we want to dein another way than by thanking all mystify the stereotype that this the 25 European youngsters that issue is only appealing to a more
attempting to drown its readers with biblical terminologies and EU inspired tongue twisters. We are all in part responsible for the current crisis that has swept the Eurozone because we did not give ourselves the necessary tools to fully grasp the circumstances of the world Being part of the creation we have chosen to live in. Let us of this magazine made me real- not make that mistake again and ize how so much is going on the take this opportunity to encourage euro bubble with big decisions awareness, develop a collective that have been taken and that will pro-active stance on matters that be taken, not translating to much affect us and truly become memwith the average EU citizen. With bers of a European Union. the right platform and a clear communicative message, we can not “Knowledge is like money: to be only inform but empower fellow of value it must circulate, and citizens, with the knowledge that in circulating it can increase in their voice is as important to the quantity and, hopefully, in value” decision making processes as they - Louis L’amour want it to be. FC This magazine’s objective Brussels, 2012 is to create awareness while NOT stemming from the educational system to the fact that factions of the media themselves either do not totally comprehend or have difficulties in translating complicated EU matters into a language that the average viewer understands.
By Floyd Cutinha
he current problem in the euro zone is the “miseducation” of its people. There seems to be a lack of understanding as to what is going on the euro, who the major players are and why we are in the mess that we are in. This is down to the simple fact that not enough has been done to inform the people
ST Brussels, 2012
Opinion – Mario Draghi
10 On the Streets 12 On the Streets Special 14 Special Fiscal Treaty Review 17 Agenda 18 Reportage – Alternative Currencies 20 Interview – Nigel Farage 22 News: Europe’s Future in whose words?
Page 4 Is Mario Draghi Europe’s Super Mario? A sensitve question posed by Floyd Cutinha on the €uro’s 10th anniversary.
Page 20 Interview with Nigel Farage, the world’s most famous Eurosceptic, about the €uro’s 10th anniversary.
24 News Analysis – Greece/Argentina 27 Quiz 28 Interview – Ruben L. Oppenheimer 30 Closing editorial
The Team Editors/Journalists Sofia Trindade Floyd Cutinha Proofreader Floyd Cutinha Graphic Editor of the project Sofia Trindade Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Page 14 Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, is one of the most recent cause of another political scandal involving the Fiscal Compact Treaty. Page 28 Interview with Ruben L. Oppenheimer. The Dutch cartoonist that “paints” a funny picture of the €uro crisis. 3
Is Mario Draghi another graduate of the Goldman Sachs lineage or will he be as good to us as Super Mario was to the 90s? ..a chronicle by Floyd Cutinha
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P B EC
new arrivals, hope and change are two words that come hand in hand. Around three quarters of a year later and the economic situation through Draghi’s ECB hasn’t really unravelled like most optimists would have liked. The similar pattern we have found ourselves in shows that first the market panics, then the ECB or politicians come out with commitments or actions that lack concrete precision that could show that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel. This seems enough to calm nerves for a moment but as the scenario repeats itself the moments of calm start getting shorter. Fair an It is true that these are unpopular enough, we are allowed times for bankers especially as Obama-like anti-climax. The they seem to be popping up from difference being that he is in the the shadows to take more visibly spotlight portraying someone relevant positions on political looking to ease Europe’s concerns. matters but maybe he’s different, His ECB bond-buying plan is maybe he’s just done a better job of maintaining a respectable the equivalent to Obama’s health image than the rest of his peers. care proposition in a way as a lot of things (and I put an emphasis He wasn’t first choice it must on “a lot”) need to go right for be said. But when Germany’s it to work. The ECB has bought main candidate Axel Weber no bonds before which was the case longer wanted the job, he was with Spain and Italy last summer given backing by the Financial for example but the particularity Times and The Economist while is that this plan focuses on bonds contrary to French reports, Nicolas that have short durations instead Sarkozy also gave him his support. of the typical longer to mature German newspaper Bild called ones. For countries to be granted him “the most German of all this helping hand from the ECB, O novo Ferrari F-60 remaining candidates”. With most they should first apply for the 4 ario Draghi is currently the man at the helm of the European Central Bank. Upon Jean-Claude Trichet’s departure, the media were hyping the arrival of a man who was celebrated in his own country for his ability to navigate in the quirky waters of Italian politics with the national press dubbing him “Super Mario”. It is no doubt an impressive feat from the former MIT graduate and professor of Harvard University (two destinations taken by his American equal Ben Bernanke interestingly enough) but what does this say about him as an individual?
Vítor Constâncio (left), Vice-President o euro-zone rescue funds which already have a limited budget with the Institute of International Finance saying that funds are most probably insufficient. The difference between these funds and the ECB are that these funds are allowed to buy bonds upon their issuance but at the same time they are only unlocked if the countries are in line with the strict terms. The limited resources in the bailout funds works to the advantage of the ECB as it provides cover for the secondary markets. Added to this, central banks and their purchases cannot ease the pressure on their troubled governments if they are to meet the terms. In this scenario, ECB’s will to intervene for shorter periods is another way of putting pressure as countries prefer longer maturity levels in
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German financial sector that the direction the ECB has taken under Draghi might lead to the indirect funding of faltering governments which is illegal under European constitutional law. They are worried that Germany is being transformed into a provider of relief inducing drugs whether they like it or not because they are the last source of a good that Europe seldom remembers. There are strong calls in Germany that reforms should be made in the ECB voting council because they do not agree that countries of the magnitude of Cyprus and Malta have the same amount of votes as Germany.
i s e Pr
of the ECB, and Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, at a press conference (Photo ECB) order to avoid having to refinance debt into new deals with higher rates otherwise known as roll over. Another obstacle is the fact that there is a sense that reform can only mean bad things from the point of view of countries in need of the bail-out funds with citizens seemingly against the possibility of more austerity measures being applied with the fear that it will lead to even more intense recessions testing the conceptual limits of the metaphor: “we can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness”. Draghi will probably make himself highly unpopular with Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, with its strong and trustworthy position in the eyes of its citizens while also realizing
Nigel Farage, British MEP, is in agreement and said on his opinion of Draghi: “No different to the other EU politicians. He is simply looking after his own well paid job, position and power at the expense of democracy and the people”. The more creative critics said that this was Draghi’s code to international financial traders to do what they always do when a central bank hints at printing money and firmly stick their finger on the “Buy” button. One trader has already claimed that Draghi is providing “excellent gains in share prices” if these plans do go ahead.
that Germany is covering quite a significant chunk of the risk involving the common European currency meaning that any transaction of bonds made by the ECB will most probably be smaller than what the markets would be expecting. This puts Mario Draghi is a banker, is him in an unenviable position of president of the European Central having to reassure the creditors while providing leeway for Bank, is Germany’s worst enemy, countries in need of funding. and is not on most people’s Christmas greetings’ list but For the moment these his position was never going to plans have not been received prove otherwise. The decisions he with overwhelming positivity. chooses to makes will eventually The markets were expecting either make him a genius or another more direct action instead of a banker who played with the plan which obviously needs a market. He was never in a winning considerable amount of study to be position but if his plans do come to done in order to create a blueprint fruition and become a success, we that highlights every detail. But might notice a stark rise in sales of it has already caused such a stir paella, feta and pasta, pun intended. that there is speculation from the FC 5
The Berlaymont building with the sign announcing the entry of Estonia into the euro area (Photo by EBS)
the €uro baby with a giant economic boom
n the 1st of January 2011, the Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip withdrew the first euros in Estonia in a special ATM installed in front of the Tallinn Opera House. Estonia officially became the 17th country to join the Eurozone, making it the €uro newcomer. Nowadays to withdraw money and to make payments in euros in Estonia is more than normal. The Estonian kroon disappeared step by step, however it was not forgotten. It was a social imposition for a better future as Anti Haugas defends when questioned if he missed the old national currency: “No, I’ve always had an opinion 6
that all European countries should have euros as a currency”. The 19 year old argues that “the kroon was too weak a currency” adding that “joining the Eurozone opens up new opportunities for Estonian citizens. Our money is now safer”. Estonia’s economy grew 7.6 percent last year, a remarkable growth that is 5 times higher than the Eurozone average. “Estonia is a small country and what happens with the Eurozone affects us either way, whether we are part of it or not. But being in the Eurozone is a good sign for foreign investors, as the Euro, even if it’s as weak as it is now, is still a more reliable currency than the kroons ever could be” argues the Public Administration student,
By Sofia Trindade
Andry Silla. Nowadays Estonia’s National debt is just 6% of GDP while Germany reaches the 81%. However, this achievement is more remarkable when we consider that Estonia was one of the countries most affected by the financial crisis in 2008. Estonia is often pointed out as an inspiring case that handled the austerity measures in the best way. “A few months ago our Prime Minister visited the US to give advice to the leaders of America. Unfortunately Europe has not taken many steps towards the changes we have in Estonia” says Anti, adding “There is no better example”. ST
€uro, the currency of peace? It is complicated – much more than just a Facebook status.
eople usually link the €uro to the European Member States, but the common currency is also used abroad, solving problems while outside the EU yet triggering them when inside, such as nationalistic revivals.
Montenegro the euro symbolizes more closeness to members of the EU, “it connects us with some other European countries. It facilitates our international trade. Also it is much easier to travel now because you do not have to change money in some other currency”. Luka Veljovic, 17 years old, But Montenegro was not the only says he no longer remembers the country where the €uro was imold national currency: “My parents plemented after the breakup of told me that when they used marks, Yugoslavia and the Balkans war. two marks were like one euro”. Hard math for the then 7 year old Kosovo, a region under NATO Luka when the currency was in- protection, also uses the €uro troduced in Montenegro. as official currency on its territory, but in this case it is more Like other youngsters from “complicated” says Zana Cana, European flag (Photo by EBS)
By Sofia Trindade a 21 year old Kosovar student. “Before the establishment of UNMIK [the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo], Kosovo (as part of Serbia) was bound to the Yugoslav monetary policy. War-time, inflation and tensions with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had severely discredited the Yugoslav Dinar in Kosovo. In the immediate post-conflict period, people of Kosovo preferred to use and hoard foreign currencies instead of relying on the Dinar. The most frequently used foreign currency was the German Mark”, explains the sociology student. ST
Who to blame for the nationalist revival?
ll over Europe right wing and conservative parties are becoming more popular. The latest example, and the most expressive of this tendency in the last few years, happened at the 2012 Presidential French elections.
by SofiaTrindade right wing parties, there are non- from the population because we official proposals of exiting the are becoming poorer and poorer”. ST Eurozone. I predict some criticism
On the 22nd of April, Marine Le Pen polled 17.90% of the electoral votes in the first round. During her electoral campaign Marine Le Pen defended, among other things, the opt-out of the Euro. The rejection of what is happening with the common currency in the European Union has been triggering the revival of right wing movements in Europe as the 22 year old French student Alice Vandekerkhove argues “The extreme right is actually using the anti-European argument and people don’t understand what is happening in the European Parliament, they don’t understand what is happening in the European Union and that is a little bit scary for them because they think they are not deciding for anything that is happening to them”. But France is not the only setting the example for anti-European tendencies. In all over Europe, these movements are emerging and Italy is following the flow as Maria Fossarello explains: “Although all of this I think Italy has always been a very pro-European member state and I believe Italians are still very much pro-Europeans. They understand the struggle they are going through and that the measures are necessary at this point”. However the 22 years-old Italian student also adds that “especially in the 8
Releasing balloons in front of the Council was the way to celebrate the meet held to mark the fixing of exchange rates between the euro and currencies Member States in the eurozone (Photo EB
ting s of BS)
Is Crisis over if you want to?!
By Sofia Trindade
risis is over – if you want it”. You probably have already seen this simple image with the black and white bold message on the social networks. The campaign, launched in July on the European Federalist Party (EFP) Facebook page “became an instant hit on Facebook and Twitter and was shared, liked and discussed hundreds of times and turned viral within hours” argues Bengt Beier, the campaign designer. “The key message of this
fore up to the citizens - and those political parties that are willing to listen to them – to speak up and put forward a vision for their future and that of our continent” defends the co-President of the EFP adding that with this campaign the party aims to “achieve a fully democratic and federal Europe and we push our heads of state and government to take policy decisions that go in The EFP expects the European that direction, we believe that will citizens to take a more politically automatically solve this crisis”. ST active role in society. “It is therecampaign is to say that it is up to each one of us to decide whether we want to overcome the current crisis” explains Pietro De Matteis, co-President of the EFP. The concept of the campaign is based on the fact that the EFP analyse this crisis as a confidence crisis in the future of Europe and not only as an economic crisis.
Who wants to join the Euro, raise your hands?
A steady decrease in the Euro’s attractiveness
atvia has backtracked on previous statements indicating their intention to adopt Europe’s common currency by 2014 by now pointing to the creation of a timetable during the spring of 2013. Lithuania has followed suit by also making it clear that they are not sure as they used to be. This
By Floyd Cutinha
highlights that the sovereign debt crisis is making the euro less of an attractive option with Baltic States now, choosing to observe before actively making the switch. Maintaining their long term plan to eventually adopt the euro, Lithuanian Prime Minister Lietuvos Radijas said “The euro remains
our strategic goal. Nevertheless, we’d like to see a clearer and more stable situation in the euro zone at the time when we adopt the euro.” Lithuania was the only country rejected in 2006 for the adoption of the euro. FC 9
On the streets
€you was out on the streets to get to know if the European youngsters miss th join the Eurozone. Check some of their answers: Spain’s old currency: Peseta
José Valls, 25 years-old Was it a good decision from Spain to join the Eurozone?
Leire Ariz Sarasketa, 22 yearsold Do you miss the old national currency?
Well if we only look at the last 4 years of course we might think it was not such a good idea because we cannot devaluate our currency and so on and we have to do an internal devaluation which is really painful. But if you look at why the common currency was created it was pretty much the common solution if we wanted to have a common market and if Spain wanted to be “in the world” it had to be inside that common market. I don’t think is fair to make a judgment based on a single moment of the history – I think it’s not fair.
Missing the peseta I think economically I don’t miss it at all. I think that the euro did bring many good things for Spain but then there’s also this kind of emotional connotation about it and I was very little when the euro arrived but I remember this 25 peseta coins and I used to use it to play with the whipping-top.
Diana Jevcakova, 23 years-old Do you miss the old national currency? I don’t miss it as an exchange unit, but I miss the physical appearance because there was diversity between national currencies and I still remember the colors of the 20 crones, the 100 crones and I really liked the appearance. But still it happens to me that checking the prices in Slovak Crones and I’m comparing it because in Euros it’s still difficult to evaluate the prices.
Slovakia’s old currency: Slovak Crone
Simona Micjanova, 23 years-old Was it a good or a bad thing for Slovakia to join the Eurozone? There are pros and cons. People don’t have worries in exchanging the euro when they go abroad, but goods are more expensive.
Cyrpus’ old currency: Cypriot Pound or the Cypriot Lira Elena Georgalla, 21 years-old Do you miss the old national currency from Cyprus? Was it a good thing to join the Eurozone? It had quite funky shapes, the 5 cents was an octagon and it had really cool colors, but otherwise I think it was a very good strategic decision to join the Euro because Cyprus wouldn’t have survived the economic crisis. The fact that we have joined the €uros despite the fact of being affected by the economic crisis gave us more unity with the rest of Europe. 10
Alice Vandekerkhove, 23 years-old Was it a good decision for France to join the Eurozone? B D It was a good decision. First it makes the Europe more concert for I’ people living on it. And for me liv- th ing in the Belgium border it makes re sense. There was no border anyway so why have different currencies when shopping in Belgium or French stores it didn’t make sense H at all. D I c Netherlands’ old currency: D Dutch Gulden to I m Ludo Keizer, 29 yearsis old Do you miss the Netherlands’ national old currency? No. Do you think it was a good thing for the Netherlands to join the Eurozone? Yes, because it made international business and living easier.
Italy’s old currency: Lira Maria Fossarello, 23 years-old Do you miss the old national currency? No, I don’t really miss the lira because I’m a strong believer in the European project and without a common monetary union system the European project cannot be achieved completely. Was it a good thing for Italy to join the Eurozone? Yes, it was a really good thing for Italy to join the €urozone because first of all Italy needs to be in the monetary union to be more competitive in the common market. Perhaps we had to rush too hard to meet the deadlines and requirements to enter the Eurozone in the first round but other than that we managed to solve the situation quite well.
On the streets
heir old national currency and if they think it was a good or bad decision to A reportage by Sofia Trindade France’s old currency: Franc
Bénédicte Le Galliot, 23 years-old Do you miss the old national currency?
’ve been more than half of my life with he €uro rather than with the franc so no I eally don’t miss it at all.
Alexandros Vigkos, 22 years-old Was it a good or a bad thing for Greece to join the Eurozone and why?
Greece old currency: Drachmas Christina Sotiriou, 25 years-old Do you miss the Greek national old currency?
In the beginning almost everyI think generally it’s a good body was unhappy with the thing for a country to enter choice of euro as our currency the Eurozone but specifically because we could compare the for Greece at the time and prices before it and they were Belgium’s old currency: Belgian franc under the circumstances we more expensive. But now I canhave entered I think it was not not imagine us being out of the Hélène Davaux, 22 years-old Do you miss your country’s old national currency? the best decision at that mo- euro zone and without the euro, I think it will be a disaster. do not because I was too young in 2001 to use the ment. currency and get to appreciate it. Do you think it was a good thing for your country Débora Coelho, 23 years-old Portugal’s old currency: Do you miss the old national Escudos o join the Eurozone? believe so because traveling to our country was currency? made easier and some of our cities depend on tourAndrea Venda, 22 years-old Yes, I miss it because I re- Was it a good thing or a bad sm. member when I was younger thing to join the Eurozone? things were less expensive. I remember I gave 5 escudos Yes because you don’t have to Ebba von Ahlen, 25 for a gum and now I have to change currencies when you go years-old buy it for 10 cents which is abroad! Do you think it was four times more. a good thing for the Germany to join the Ireland’s old currency: Eurozone? Clara Aoife Maxwell, 25 years-old Irish pound Being a member of the Eurozone defi- Do you miss Ireland’s national old currency? Yes, because it was really nitely is an advan- part of the culture and I feel that tourists do not get the full effect of Ireland uro (Photo ECB) tage for Germany as with the euro and most Irish are not so into the Euro (not me personally). a whole. Our econ- Do you think it was a good thing for Ireland to join the Eurozone? Yes, I omy is export driv- do! For many reasons: education, health/hospitals and of infrastructure for en and as our main which without the EU Ireland’s roads would still be in terrible condition. Germany’s trade partners are EU old national ne to o h p Member States, the currency: e bile r mo u did on th u o Deutsche Mark Eurozone allows us to y Use eo €yo d i conduct exports easv e see th ily and cheap. s! Kristina Schönbrunn, 24 years-old Do you miss the Germany’s national old currency? Why?
First: Most Germans miss the old currency because it was much cheaper before the euro came. Since 1 DM (old currency) is 0,50 € it was not difficult to change but most retailers and restaurants just switched the DM and the € and so doubled the price. That’s why many Germans don’t like the Euro. When it comes to holidays though, we really like not to have to exchange money all the time.
On the streets special
Is it too late to add a social component to the
012 does not only mark the 10th Euro anniversary. It is also the year of the 20th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty that stated the frame for the economic and monetary union. But will it be also the year of changes in the criteria that determine whether an EU country is ready to adopt the euro? Jacques Delors, one of the EU founding fathers, advocates that need.
by Sofia Trindade the euro “recipe”? This is the one million “€uros” question! The Maastricht criteria owe their name to the Maastricht Treaty, where they were written down for the first time.
The price stability, the budget deficit, the debt, the interest rates and the exchange rate stability are the 5 criteria, all purely related to macro-economics. These 5 criteria are the only ones mentioned “Many people still think of the in history books and taught at prices in the old currency. Like: Oh, school but they were not the that sandwich costs 2.50 €?? That’s only ones negotiated to regulate 5 DM! No way!” says the 24 years- which country enters or not the old German Kristina Schönbrunn Eurozone, when the Economic adding that it is still a generational and Monetary Union was drafted trend and adds “especially What if social criteria people over 30 do that a lot”. had been made part of Maastricht criteria? “Things became more the expensive but the salaries just “I proposed that the five stayed the same” points out the Portuguese student Débora Coelho. budgetary and monetary criteria be supplemented by two other The €uro is seen as part of criteria, namely young people’s young Europeans’ daily routine unemployment and long-term explained and old national currencies are unemployment” Delors during his no longer missed, but it is also Jacque undeniable that the prices of speech about the Maastricht services and goods have rose up. Treaty’s 20th anniversary at the However people complain about beginning of this year in Brussels. inflation and it is no longer the Spain was the first country biggest problem in the Eurozone, but what is missing to complete to oppose to these parameters, 12
arguing that there were no serious data on unemployment in all of the member states. Member States like Germany and the Netherlands silently approved the Spanish move. Jacque Delors classifies his proposal as his last attempt, as the President of the European Commission, to achieve a balance between the economic and monetary factors. However Delors suggests that “this imbalance explains at least in part the difficulties being encountered by the EMU [European Monetary Union]”. Nowadays the economic situation of the Eurozone doesn’t leave space to predictions of a better future if other criteria have been approved. The present is lived with uncertainty and the future expected to be better. Delors defends that “the rest, as they say, is history”. ST
On the streets special
Maastricht criteria: Price stability: The inflation rate should be no more than 1.5 percentage points above the rate for the three EU countries with the lowest inflation over the previous year; Budget deficit: This must generally be below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP); Debt: The national debt should not exceed 60% of GDP, but a country with a higher level of debt can still adopt the euro provided its debt level are falling steadily; Interest rates: The long-term rate should be no more than two percentage points above the rate in the three EU countries with the lowest inflation over the previous year; Exchange rate stability: The national currencyâ€™s exchange rate should have stayed within certain pre-set margins of fluctuation for two years.
al event promoted by the EU institutions at Cinquantenaire in Brussels (Photo by EBS)
- This information was collected from the EU official website
Discussion between Jacques Delors, on the left, and JosĂŠ Manuel Barroso. This meeting took place the same day as the 20th anniversary of the signature of the Treaty of Maastricht on 07/02/1992. (Photo by EBS)
Special Fiscal Treaty review
Fiscal Compact treaty or Treaty of Controversy? Many manes, “one” treaty and a lot of controversy.
by Sofia Trindade
iscal Treaty or Intergovernmental Treaty are just two of many ways to call the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in Economy and Monetary Union (TSCG).
spreads, but nobody was listening. Everybody was saying in central Europe that Greece was an isolated case. Then we had Portugal, then we had Spain and now we have Italy. We have massive downgrades of faith in Eurozone members. And now we realize in Europe, after 2 years and a half that the problem is collective and obviously we need a collective solution” argues Greek journalist, Sarantis Michalopoulos.
The TSCG is a document that puts down a political agreement to tighter fiscal discipline and deeper economic integration. In other words, the treaty is a confidence vote between the countries facing On the 2nd of March 2012, it economic problems and the countries of the European Union was signed by all the members of that were hesitating to help the the European Union,except two. The treaty is promoted for being a others. common problem solver but right “First of all it is clearly a way after it was signed more problems to regain trust in most Nordic were generated by it. countries where the fiscal situation of other members of the Eurozone is worrying. So in actual fact it is a way of reinforcing European Spirit in Germany, the Netherlands, in Finland and so on” defends the economics journalist Guido Romano underlining that he also expects the treaty to respond to the financial and economic crisis where countries with a strong economy will have accept great financial transfers to countries hit by the crisis. However presented as “the” solution to face the crisis some people defend that the action is too late. “At the end of 2008 Greeks were shouting about the 14
The problems started by the idea of the treaty not being appealing for everyone. Two of the 27 countries of the European Union: United Kingdom and Czech Republic decided to stay out of it and not sign the German led Fiscal Treaty. The fact that the treaty was pushed by the old Sarkozy-Merkel alliance created a lot of suspicions towards a fiscal compact that controlled the national debt but didn’t promote the investment in a crisis period. “I don’t know if Germany is a winner, but I know that Europeans will be losers if this is applied as it is” defended
the Italian Brussels correspondent journalist Lorenzo Consoli, by the time the treaty was signed. But the bigger misunderstanding happened after the treaty was signed when Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, announced that his government wouldn’t be able to meet its official budget deficit target for this year. Mariano Rajoy announced that Madrid wouldn’t be able to lower its budget deficit to 4.4% of GDP in 2012 and targeted it to a level of 5.8%. This situation led to a rash media response from the European Central Bank Chief. “It is clear to everybody that if countries don’t release some of their sovereignty over fiscal policy, there is no way they can be together, because there is no way we can have a situation where there are one or two countries that pay for everyone else” stated Mario Draghi as well as other comments directly implicit to Spain’s behavior. However the Rajoy’s scandal was not the only problem related to the budget deficit limits targeted on the 8th article of the new Fiscal Compact Treaty. The article itself was under public scrutiny and it was said to be illegal. “The idea of having this balanced budget in the constitution or in the primary law of each
Special Fiscal Treaty review Member State, this is actually new, and the mechanism for automatic correction in case there is a deviation of the balanced budget. So this is what is really new!” argues Lorenzo Consoli. The Brussels correspondent journalist, Mr. Consoli, also questions the illegality of the 8th article concerning the roles of the Commission and the Court of Justice. “There is one thing that I think, it’s even almost illegal. It doesn’t respect the community law” adding that the illegality offers “the possibility to the Court of Justice to sanction Member States that don’t apply this balanced budget rule in their constitution, in their primary law. A sanction that can rise up to 0.1 of the GDP. And this is something that in my opinion, but not only in my opinion in the Parliament many people have said it also, it’s not compatible with the EU Law because the Court of Justice can only impose sanctions about infringements of the EU law. And the Fiscal compact is not EU Law”. However after being ratified by the majority of the member states, Greece being the first to do it, the treaty is still involved in some political drama – the 2012 French Presidencial campaign: when the now elected French President, François Hollande, used in his campaign the suggestion to change the basis of it even if it was seen as a move against the presented solution to solve the Eurozone. However it has everything to be a difficult process as the majority of the member states have already
ratified the Fiscal Compact Treaty in their national parliaments. The European Council acted early on for it not to happen, doing a huge effort to avoid the renegotiation of fiscal treaty.
But, what do the European Youth think is needed to solve the crisis?
€you magazine talked to representatives of youth political movements to better understand their position towards the Fiscal Herman Van Rompuy, the Compact. president of the European Council, wants in his own words to “show Roccu Garobi, President of the to the rest of the world and to European free Alliance Youth, is the markets that the euro and cleary against the new treaty. the Eurozone is an irreversible project”. The young French politician defends that the lack of investment Some specialized media even and the implementation of austerity published, under an anonymous measures to solve the problem source, that Van Rompuy defends will only lead to castration of EU that “the aim is to bring Hollande economic development arguing into the fold [on the fiscal compact that “it is just a fiscal compact treaty]”. and we cannot resolve and get out of the crisis if we do not include “Only deeper European sustainable growth”. unification can save the Eurozone” defends the German sociologist Pauline Gessant, president of and philosophe Jürgen Habermas the European Young Federalists, on his regular publications on the shares some arguments and sees newspaper The Guardian adding the process as a glass that is half also that “Europe needs a new empty and half full. “It goes in direction. A restructuring of the the right direction, but at the Eurozone, including a transfer of same time we are really missing a sovereignty, is essential to end the sustainable approach. We miss the crisis”. union of solidarity. We miss a plan
The “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union” (Photo EBS) 15
Special Fiscal Treaty review
Official photo of the December 9th meeting of the European Council at Brussels (Photo EBS) for economic development and growth and the government means to do this treaty, I mean it was done without the citizens and it’s really time to involve the citizens” says Miss Gessant. However another argument against it is pointed out by Roccu Garobi that states that the lack of citizens involvement in the drafting process of the treaty by the EU Institutions is shamful. “We as an organization, we are against this new fiscal compact because first of all it was not democratic, it was signed and discussed behind closed doors”. It wasn’t exactly under closed doors but while 100 national officials, several legal experts from Council and Commission plus 3 members of the European Parliament were negotiating the document the European Parliament seemed to be a mere visitor in the process. And also 16
the public opinion wasn’t taken as an important factor, making the democracy of the European Union go a few steps down.
the Parliamentary system and direct elections is one of the basic elements of democracy” adding that “without social dialogue it is not the European model anymore, The so called “old continent” it is another society!”. did not take youth as a relevant ST stakeholder when it came to the draft of the treaty, an undemocratic and ironical process that followed the political trend. “What few are To read the full admitting is that the first victims of Treaty on Stability, Coorthe current European crisis is the dination and Governance European youth, which is being in Economy and Monetary expropriated of its right to hope Union use this RQ ! for a better future” argues Pietro de Matteis, Co-President of the European Federalist Party. Jacques Delors, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, used the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty to express his disappointment “I always thought that the social dialogue is one of the pillars of democracy. I don’t mean the co-decision. What I mean is: the social dialogue with
€you suggestions... October
When: 11 October 2012 Where: Brussels
What: The State of Europe: Escaping the doldrums is the ninth annual high-level roundtable on the State of Europe organized by the think tank Friends of Europe. The “State of Europe” VIP roundtable will feature José Manuel Barroso, Martin Schulz MEP, and Herman Van Rompuy, and will be chaired by our president Viscount Étienne Davignon.
November When: 1-3 November (2days) Where: Athens What: The Institute of Neohellenic Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the Faculty of Education of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens are organizing the 5th International Conference of the European Society
When: Friday Oct 12, 2012, 09:00 AM to Saturday of History of Science – this year topic is the Scientific cosmopolitanism and local culOct 13, 2012, 07:00 PM (2 days) Where: School of Economics and Business in Sara- tures: religions, ideologies, societies. jevo What: Organized by the School of Economics and Business in Sarajevo the 6th edition of the International Conference of the School of Economics and Business Beyond the Economics Crisis: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead takes place in Sarajevo.
When: days to be confirmed Where: University of Sussex, United Kingdom
When: Wednesday Nov 14, 2012, 12:00 AM to Wednesday Nov 28, 2012, 12:00 AM (15 days) Where: IHECS Formation Continue - Rue des Grands Carmes 27, 1000 Brussels, Belgium What: IHECS is organizing a 15 days’ workshop Ensuring European media coverage
- Knowing the constraints on European journalists in Brussels. A program made for
managers, press officers working for interest groups (companies, associations, local and regional authorities, unions) and wishing to get their message What: University of Sussex will co-chair the Annual across to European media based in Brussels. Conference of the European International Business Academy (EIBA). This year topic is the International Business and Sustainable Development, a When: 22-23 November (2days) mix of international business and develop- Where: Florence, Italy
ment in emerging and transition economies.
What: Organized by The European Union DeWhen: 4th to the 8th of December mocracy Observatory (EUDO) and the European Where: Nuremberg, Germany University Institute the EUDO DISSEMINATION CONFERENCE: The Euro Crisis and the What: The European Youth Parliament is organizing State of European Democracy will take place the European Youth Conference on Human Rights – in Florence, Italy, late November this year. an opportunity for young Europeans to jointly debate
Europe’s future and to strengthen the position of human rights in today’s society.
Euro crisis cartoon by the international know cartoonist and illustrator Ruben L. Oppenheimer
Reportage Alternative Currencies
A pressão por resultados, os patrocinadores, um mundo de olhos posto neles, são estas as mas habituais justificações para um atleta ceder Por FÁBIO LIMA à tentação do Doping.
What if monopoly money was valid also?
A look into the world of alternative currencies
ow that the Euro dream isn’t going according to planned, certain citizens have taken action by deciding on creating alternative currencies. This isn’t the first time in history that the members of society have chosen to make due with other tools when money dried up while getting more creative at doing so as time has progressed. As we all know, Europe (or most of the world in that case) is not going through its 18
by Floyd Cutinha
finest moments financially but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its citizens have reduced their needs and desires, it just means that they have been forced to figure out other ways to achieve them. Symbolically alternative currencies have found themselves appearing within a regional or communal limitation as a sign of community and togetherness. It can also be considered a stand
against how globalization has replaced regional commerce, how outsourcing to considerably lower costs has replaced strengthening one’s own backyard. A currency at the end of the day by definition is an agreed mechanism in order to trade goods and services and the Argentinians in the crisis at the beginning of the second millennium were in a situation where mass barter was observed in order to fight off famine.
Reportage Alternative Currencies In Greece, with their future being either as part of the EU or not, alternative currency initiatives are prospering as a more feasible way to obtain goods and services in certain communities. In the port city of Volos, a modified version of barter is used to purchase goods or services in which you make a transaction by putting a value in a currency named TEM in which one TEM equals to one Euro. By putting a TEM value on a good or a service, you can exchange it for another good or service for that value. In Germany there are already 40 alternative currencies in circulation within the different regions which have been very successful as the money circulates quickly within the region but only benefits those within the limitations of that region. France too has adopted the tool quickly even though much later than its European neighbours. Whether it is the “Occitan” in Pézenas or “L’Abeille” in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, the French call these emerging alternative currencies “fondants” which basically means melting for the simple reason that alternative currencies go through depreciation quickly over time as their only use is to stimulate consumption on a limited geographic scale which means it must circulated very quickly. Paul Alliès, professor of Law at the University of Montpellier had this to say about the alternative currencies in his country: “Either we have a monetary system that is based on reality and controlled by the state but this is not the case of the Euro. The Greek crisis today shows us that there is indeed no state control. I am not for a “Nation State” but for a Federation of European States. So either we have money “that takes charge” considering the
world’s problems, and this could “Returning to a national be the Euro, but it needs a political structure behind it. Or we create currency is an absurd proposition, a local currency which is a valid if for nothing else but because it will benefit exclusively those that option”. tax evade and are price setters In Italy, Federico Pizzarotti therefore destroying completely recently won the mayoral elections the income distribution. For in Parma with the creation of a example, it is a frequent argument local currency being one of his that we should promote tourism. winning arguments. His advisor OK, sounds good. However how on the subject is Pierluigi Paoletti, many Greeks are being employed the current president of Arcipelago in the tourism sector compared SCEC which consists of a network to the rest of the working force? of 15,000 members and 2,000 According to many reports tax participating retailers and for the evasion on the tourism industry moment they are currently visible is huge! If we return to a national on 14 of Italy’s 20 regions. The idea currency those working in the is that more SCEC vouchers grow tourism industry will still be in line with the growth of its users getting paid in euros while we will with the concept revolving around be getting paid in monopoly money the idea that boosting wealth is the - not a good policy proposition to only way to help the economy and get re-elected!” not just convert a currency which Alternative currencies have is why they have now brought together the local exchange trading many uses: a symbolic gesture, a system in the country which has substitute exchange tool to facilitate bloomed in popularity making it one’s conditions or even a local more successful in terms of reach economic stimulator. It certainly does have its limitations too but compared to its peers. maybe, with the right conditions For all the positives that come and a large collective intention of with alternative currencies, there individuals to make one of these are obviously its limitations. Dr. currencies mainstream, we might Dimitrios Thomakos, Professor just give a reason for bankers to of Applied Econometrics at the wake up just a little more bemused in the morning than usual. University of Peloponnese, says
Euro crisis illustration by renowned cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer 19
On the €uro’s 10th anniversary the €you
interviewed Nigel Farage, one of the most rec- change in our trading relationship. There are two orognized Eurosceptics “if not, the most recog- ganizations that we could slip in to immediately afnized”, to get to know his predictions for the ter leaving the EU: the EFTA (European Free Trade common currency project. Area) or EEA (European Economic area) both of €you - Now that you’ve seen how events have un- which are defacto trading areas which cover not only folded within the EU countries, do you think it was EU states but also non-EU states in Europe. a good decision for the UK to have not used the Mexico has managed to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, why couldn’t we as the 5th largest common currency? Nigel Farage - Absolutely. Had we joined the single trading nation in the world? currency we would be in an awful mess and not only that we would be paying billions more than we have done already to other struggling countries! The conservatives did try it though back in the 90's known as the "Exchange Rate Mechanism". We look back at it now and it was absolute disaster. They attempted to peg the Pound against the Deutschmark ready for Euro entry and by the end it was called Black Wednesday. We crashed out of the ERM, almost overnight a million people lost their jobs and the economy was severely weakened. Never again I hope!
€you - From your political perspective, what is lacking in the solutions proposed by the ECB to solve the Eurozone crisis? Nigel Farage - The main problems as I have already pointed is that they want more control, more supervision over elected governments and will not allow countries to devalue and become competitive. All we are doing is throwing good money after bad with the bailouts. There is a big bang coming but the sooner we get it out of the way the easier it will be. By throwing more money at the problem all we are doing €you - How politically and economically important is making the debt crisis worse and storing up bigger is the referendum in the UK towards the EU going problems for the future. to be? Nigel Farage - Vital. The public must be allowed to €you - You’ve voiced out a lot of criticism towards have a say on this issue, on who should govern Britain. the way the Eurozone is run, could you give us Unfortunately there is no referendum to look forward some proposals that could lead toward solutions to. All we have had is vague mentions by political par- in your opinion? ties about maybe having a referendum on an undefined Nigel Farage - Dissolve the EU for a start and hand date, on an ambiguous question about renegotiation. back power to national governments accountable to The Lib Dems (Liberal Democrats) said they wanted their own electorates through the ballot box. That is a referendum a few years ago but immediately voted a good start. I have already spoken about devaluation against it. The Conservatives gave us a cast iron guar- and removing the EU red tape to allow countries to antee on the Lisbon Treaty, but then didn't give us one. grow. We don’t need the EU - There is a body called the Council of Europe in which countries in Europe Why should we believe them now? (both in and out of the EU) sit round a table to dis€you - What can we expect after the referendum? cuss issues, agree on things and disagree on things. Nigel Farage - It’s hard to say, as I stated before it Elected governments sat round a table in this model all depends on the wording, and no doubt it will be an is the way things should be done. ambiguous question which will suit the political estab€you - How do you predict the future of Eurozone? lishment. Nigel Farage - It will fail in its current form, which €you - Taking into consideration that the British is fairly obvious from what is playing out. There don’t believe in the economic projects of the EU, maybe a northern Europe currency zone created, why will they be willing to create bilateral agree- however this too seems fairly impractical as losing the southern states would price such a single currency ments (if they opt out of the EU) with the EU? Nigel Farage - Of course. In fact, it will be the EU out of the market. that will want to trade with us more because we have a trade deficit with them. We buy more than we sell, so economically we are vital to their job creation. Outside the EU we would still get cars from Germany, we would still get wine from France - nothing would 20
€you - This year is the 10th anniversary of the Euro, does the EU have reasons to celebrate? Nigel Farage - Absolutely not, but I’m sure it will anyway!
N i g e l F a r a g e Nigel Farage is probably one of the most famous British MEPs in the European Parliament.
The 48 years-old British MEP, member of the Europe of freedom and democracy Group and also Co-Chair of the United Kingdom Independence Party, is also a member of the Conference of Presidents and the Committee on Fisheries. However it was thought his comments on the Common Market and his catastrophic predictions concerning the end of the Eurozone as well as the European Union that granted him media attention.
Nigel Farage (Photo EP audiovisual services)
Interview by Sofia Trindade & Floyd Cutinha 21
t’s not a rhetorical question, but the answer scares even the best mathematicians. All in all, that makes 754 MEPs, Commissioners and spokespersons. The calculation is not arithmetical for the simple fact that there is no single voice for the European Union. (lead) “Rise of the Fourth Reich, how Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe?” (Daily Mail) and “Swindlers in the euro family” (Germany’s Focus) are just two examples of the fact that there are as many voices to report Europe as there are representatives of the EU Institutions, but the first group has been more constant and 22
Europe’s future i straight forward with the message they want to pass compared to official EU scripts in the last few years concerning the €uro crisis.
there are fewer international reporters in Brussels, but the media are using other sources. And this is one of the problems: people who are away from Brussels use as their “Most media have reported sources of information mainly EU affairs recently with a sense British and American media of urgency and drama, as if the which are not the closest friends world was going to collapse of the euro!” defends Maria-Laura. soon; the Euro dismantled and the whole EU project thrown There is a national tendency to the pigs” advocates Maria- from the media to create Laura Franciosi, President of stereotype trends concerning the the Association Journalists lesser developed member states @ Your Service in Brussels. of the European Union. “PIGS” and “the Club Med” are popular But who can be blamed for this examples ironically used to refer almost anti-European position in to countries of Southern Europe the national media? “Nowadays experiencing difficult economic
in whose words
General view of the press room of the Justus Lipsius building (Photo EBS)
by Sofia Trindade
moments. “The stereotypes are loved by the media because they suit the average knowledge of their readers and they can use them to underline concepts that they know will be well received by the public” argues Ms Franciosi.
but it is more understandable from the perspective of citizens than the perspective of the media because media players should promote understanding rather than promote fights no matter how understandable those fights can be”.
Leire Ariz Sarasketa, a Spanish former Journalism student, thinks the irresponsible role media plays also occurs in countries facing economic difficulties like hers. She exemplifies it saying when the national media contributed with “stereotypes especially against the Germans and referring to Merkel with funny names, which I think is very understandable
Also from another country in crisis, Cyprus, the 25 yearsold Maria Strati, defends that the media played an important role contributing to the instability of the markets in Greece. “Cyprus and Greece are strongly connected due to historical and political reasons. The media influenced the position of the markets towards the Greek economic crisis due to
the highly negative messages for Greece. There is corruption in the Greek state but the problem of corruption and economic instability is not only in Greece” says Maria, the Eurodesk Cyprus’ Officer and Youth Journalist at the Higher Education Portal. “Media tend to be nationalistic in order to defend the statusquo and the governments of a country” sums up Maria-Laura Franciosi, who finishes with the idea that “this is confirmed by the fact that a truly European media does not and will never exist”. ST 23
News Analysis - Greece/Argentina
Will history repeat itself?
A Greek tragedy or a tale of survival
By Floyd Cutinha
lot has been made of Greece’s current plight, with behind the curtain talks about its lack of credibility when faced with having to demonstrate its leaders’ capacity to uphold the needed reforms while making the conditions for its population bearable. The final objective, basically being able to combat the debt crisis and to remain in the Eurozone, is taking its toll on the country’s people and trying to keep both the population and the EU happy will ultimately bring about the next steps Greece will have to undergo. This is not the first time Greece has had to face such challenging economic reforms. After World War II, the country was in tatters having been occupied by the Axis forces which were then followed by a civil war that lasted until 1949. Their economy deteriorated to such a point that the income per capita in purchasing power terms dropped from 62% compared to that of France in 1938 to around 40% in 1949 based on studies by Angus Maddison, regarded by many as the world’s most prominent scholar in the field of the construction of national accounts (in which a country’s accounts are calculated back in periods of several decades all the way to the year 1 linking GDP per capita of particular countries and economic history to be able to create a fair comparative base). After the civil War, 1949 signaled a change in fortunes for Greece 24
with what is now being called the Greek economic miracle. To add to the stimulus provided through the Marshall Plan, the devaluation of the Greek drachma, its attractiveness in the eyes of foreign investors, the development of the tourism and chemical sectors and the significant construction activities that were launched in order to rebuild the major Greek cities contributed to its rebirth. Greece’s growth rates exceeded 10% for several years which for all its benefits created a stronger rift between the rich and poor creating political tension along the way. Between 1950 and 1973 the average growth was estimated at 7% second only to Japan during that period and the stagnation in 1973 was only due to the collapse of their military junta. Greece’s annual growth outperformed that of most of its European counterparts consistently from 1950 until 2008.
the EU with their figures to prove their legitimacy as entrants, the high figures for the budget deficit disappeared. This meant that by the year 2000 they were granted membership as they had fulfilled all the requirements.
Eurostat, the Directorate General of provide statistical information to the institutions of the European Union refused to validate the figures provided by the auditing done in 2002 and 2004 which led to recalculations from the Greek government each time. After calculations made by Eurostat in order to harmonize the different accounting methods used, the reference number for the budget deficit of 1999 was 3.38% which meant it did not meet all the requirements after all. It has to be stated though that many other states were also using creative accounting in order to meet the requirements but Greece’s entry into the Greece’s case was the one put on Eurozone and its early years as trial. a member of the EU might have been an indicator of things to In 2008, recession struck come. They become part of the Greece and it struck them real Economic and Monetary Union on hard. For years there was talk the 19th of June 2000 based on a about how their infrastructure number of criteria including infla- had many cracks and all it needed tion rate, budget deficit and public was a spark to send them crashdebt. Requirements to gain entry ing and that is exactly what the included a budget deficit below global economic crisis did. This 3% of their GDP and debt below put all the country’s flaws in the 60% of GDP. The problem with headlines. They were already those requirements is that Greece perceived as the second most corhad budget deficits sometimes rupt country in the EU based on amounting to more than 10% until the Corruption Perception index 1995 and by 2000 upon providing which is defined as the misuse of
News Analysis - Greece/Argentina public power for private benefit with accusations that the government covered up the actual extent of the budget deficit which led to an investigation which in turn brought budget revisions. Another related problem focused on the atrocious levels of tax collection in the country which has been going almost seemingly unmonitored for quite some time which is seen as one of the main reasons for its cur-
cators in 2008 such as the trend of over-lending in recent years showing that the ratio of loans to savings exceeded 100% during the first half of the year.
rent plight and as one of its governments major obstacles if they need to correct and enforce if they are to overcome the crisis. Further dissections to further see the internal problems of the country brought about more mismanagement indi-
line with the EU’s monetary union guidelines which meant their government could spend more than they could actually afford to while avoiding being caught by EU monitors. Saying that investors’ confidence is low would be an under-
Euro crisis cartoon by the international know cartoonist and illustrator Ruben L. Oppenheimer
statement. The austerity measures that have been put in place have led to riots and social displeasure. And with the current global economy being what it is, it is hard for Greece to reduce their budget defi Four years later, things cit in accordance with the austerhaven’t improved. Revelations ity package which means that the have come out about how sub- country’s debt to GDP continues to sequent Greek governments pur- flare up. posely modified the country’s economic statistics in order to keep in One would think that
seeking a solution to such a situation from Greece’s stand point would be almost impossible. But history has shown us in the past that many countries have made it through similar hard times. It can be said that one of the best cases 25
News Analysis - Greece/Argentina in recent memory would be that of Argentina. At some point the Argentine banking sector was close to a collapse and withdrawals were banned and that might be the stage in which Greece finds itself. In the case of the Argentine crisis, they defaulted on its public debt in 2001; unemployment at the time was at 22% while the government contracted 18% which is very close to the levels in Greece right now. Opponents of the euro regularly point to Argentina as an example to follow when it comes to showing the benefits of free flowing compared to that of fixed exchange rate functioning states. To get a more in deep analysis of the comparison between both countries €you interviewed Doctor Dimitrios Thomakis, professor of Econometrics at the University of Peloponnese in Greece & the Rimini Center of Economic Analysis in Italy, on his position towards the media suggestion that Greece might be better off if it followed Argentina’s example. On comparing both countries experiences he said: “Argentina has a very different economic structure than Greece, not to mention the sheer size of its economy. The proexport argument, which allowed Argentina to fly to a post-crisis growth, does not apply verbatim for Greece - if it applies at all. That is, we cannot rely only on the export sector as it stands now to provide for future growth. Relying on the export model alone will increase income disparities and will not enhance the motives for further productive activities”. He further highlights the divide by asking what Greece would export were it to leave the EU stating that Argentina’s main exports come from the agricultural sector such as soybeans, corn 26
and wheat and it also has oil from which natural gas is also produced. “Could someone please make the comparison with what Greece is able to produce that will take us out of our misery? Olive oil and wines are not items of such magnitude as soybeans, wheat and corn, we have no oil and we make no cars”, he adds.
stuffs and other household materials have risen during the crisis while clothing, cars and other retail items have gone cheaper.
Maybe in the end Greece’s destiny lies within the EU and all that can be done from the most simplistic angle is to show compromise and solidarity between nations to create a stronger collective Having made his point front while facing what looks to be about the limitations Greece have the sternest challenge the EU has to achieve what Argentina did, faced yet. it could be said that there would have to be a major cleaning up in- Mario Blejer, the former ternally if pushing for a more posi- governor of Argentina’s central tive outlook is to become a reality bank had this to say about the curanytime soon. Greece’s first step in rent scheme of things: achieving growth is to disengage from the corrupted practices of the “The euro could still be past (both in the public and private saved with meaningful burden sector) and to boost competition. sharing. All share the same aim. If private companies rely on the The Greeks want to remain in the state as their bigger customer and eurozone, but are unwilling to do the state relies on the subsidies that what it takes, since what it takes EU gives (a strange phenomenon, today is too much. The Germans to subsidize private risk!) then we want the euro to survive, but are cannot see sustainable growth. The reluctant to pay the price. If both results of the monopolistic struc- compromised, the euro would have ture of the Greek markets show a better chance of survival”. this: the prices of the vital foodFC
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (Photo ECB)
€uro quiz Test your knowledge about the common currency. You won’t be rich by the end of the quiz, but we promise you good fun! 1) When was the €uro launched?
2) In how many European Member States is the Euro used?
a) b) c)
a) b) c)
1st January 1999 19th January 1999 1st January 2002
3) Is the €uro used in other countries? a) Yes b) No c) I don’t know 5) How many different denominations do the euro banknotes come in? a) 5 b) 6 c) 7 7) How many people use the euro? a) b) c)
4) How many different denominations do the euro coins come in? a) 5 b) 6 c) 8 6) Where are the €uro notes printed? a) b) c)
A top secret bank in Germany The European Central Bank Not even the authors of the quiz know
8) Who designed the common side of the euro? a) b) c)
Over 300 million Around 20 million 30 billions
9) Which country is not in the Eurozone? a) UK b) Denmark c) Both mentioned above
13 Member States 15 Member States 17 Member States
Emily Fingon Michael Tytiine Luc Luycx
10) The euro got its name at an EU summit conference in? a) Paris b) Rome c) Madrid
*The answers from the quiz were based on official information from the European Central Bank and collected on the ECB official website.
1)C ; 2)C ; 3)A ; 4)C ; 5)C ; 6)B ; 7)A ; 8)C ; 9)C ; 10)C Correct answers:
Score from 0 to 3 correct answers: €urosceptic or you just have a bad memory! Go back to the first page of the magazine and read it all again!
Score from 4 to 7 correct answers: Well if you read the magazine your score isn’t outstanding, but nevertheless congrats!
Score from 8 to 10 correct answers: €uro-genius! Well done! You obviously know the €uro history very well! We hope you will continue to follow us!
Interview €you interviewed
Ruben L. Oppenheimer,
a Dutch cartoonist, to get to know the other side of the Euro crisis - a more colorful one, but not necessarily less politically active and critical. RLO is a regular contributor for De Standaard, NRC Handelsblad and Dagblad De Limburger, and he won
the BeNe prize in 2005 for the best political cartoon in the Belgium and the Netherlands.
€you - When did you start feeling you would like to express your political ideas trough draw? Ruben L. Oppenheimer - I have been politically aware as long as I can remember: following the news as a kid, discussing politics and world affairs with my older brother. I felt the need to express my own views and soon discovered that by means of cartoons, I was able to share those ideas with a larger audience. €you -Why do you think your art work that focuses on politics is successful? RLO - A strong visual image can reach many people, even the ones less interested or educated, almost instantly, where an article or documentary needs more time and more focus of the audience. I think that cartoons which are focused on politics have the potential to reach a large audience; possibly make people think, hopefully change a way of looking at the world. €you -Would you say that you are able to notice a difference between the public response you receive before and during the economic crisis (do you receive more attention now with the crisis than when we were under more stable times)? RLO - Not really; there are always topics that are in the focus of media and public. The crisis of course reaches people in a direct way, but the same can be said about for example the fear of terrorism or immigration problems; two topics that used to be the main concern before the crisis. €you - Is it fair to say that portraying politicians in a comical fashion humanizes them more to your readers? RLO - I would think the opposite: In my work I try not to make them haha-funny, but tend to deconstruct them, show their (human) ugliness and their untrustworthiness. It is not my task to humanize politicians, they have spin-doctors who are much more better equipped to do so. 28
€you - Have you ever received a complaint or threat from a politician for the way you have portrayed him/her? RLO - Yes. Geert Wilders once wrote a complaint about a cartoon in a on-line column (in dutch of course, third paragraph) http://www.pvv.nl/index. php/in-de-media/opinie/350-column-wilders-stopdemonisering-geenstijlnl.html Former Liberal Party (VVD) leader Van Aartsen wrote an angry letter to NRC after publication of one of my cartoons. But I never received a threat (till now). €you - Because you work on regular bases for Belgium and Dutch newspapers your signature is Rubenl.nl but it could easily be a .eu signature. Do you sometimes feel like you represent several people political fears and hopes? RLO - I mainly represent my own fears, hopes and angers. If others identify with them, that is only better, but not my main goal. €you - How’s your creative process in terms of content and shape (as you drawn and use the pc to create the same cartoon)? RLO - I think in images, associations and punchlines. The creative process follows the thought, no matter if that process is followed by digital or any other means. €you - Are cartoons a political weapon too? RLO - They can be. They can be misused or used. I don’t believe any of my cartoons ever made a politician change his or her point of view, but by portraying them the way I see them, by stating my opinion, I am part of the media that might be able to at least influence the public opinion. And THAT might at least change the way politicians respond to their potential electorate (I hope).
Two-headed monster: a visual critic of the olf European political duo – Sarkozy & Merkel. By Ruben L. Oppenheimer Ruben L. Oppenheimer draws with a strong line although what makes his work so popular is his humoristic sensibility taken to the top. His everyday man’s view on the €uro crisis, which people can relate to, combined with the analytical view of his politically critical attitude has won him numerous awards. To view more on Ruben’s art work go to his official website: http://www.rubenoppenheimer.com/
A reference to the Euro crisis: Greece finding the Euro in a bad luck By Sofia Trindade & Floyd Cutinha game. By Ruben L. Oppenheimer 29
t is going to be essential for whatever future the EU will be part of to make this generation of young people its priority. If today’s youth is characterized by the uncertainty of what tomorrow can afford us, a sense of hopelessness driven by the silent assassin in the form of ignorance and a dismal understanding of how their very own existence is influenced on a political level, then we might as well put on the soundtrack of Les Misérables. Some have already dubbed this current group of European youths as the
“lost generation”. Be-
ing a twenty something year old hasn’t been this stressful in quite some time with unemployment in the euro zone reaching a record high while others are having to manage getting through with unpaid internships or jobs that pay but a measly sum in exchange for long hours. And with cuts being made in the educational sector in countries such as Greece and Spain, this in turn creates little space for young people to maneuver. Dreams must seem like a thing of the past for many of the individuals fully struck by this crisis. Seemingly faced with a loss of identity and certainly 30
value, today’s Europe is currently not able to respond to the global and local threats its citizens are dealing with but rather create divided short term potential bandages. Furthermore, Europe has been engaged in increasing migration due to the fact that it is an ageing territory and the generation of today is having difficulties finding a medium of communication to interact with the former generation who are evidently at the helm of the European institutions. For that reason they lack the ability to make their voice resonate with decision makers who themselves might be so far away from comprehending the on-thefield issues that they might be disconnected. It shouldn’t be up to the youth to figure out how to create a platform to be heard and it should be given leverage first on a local level and go from there. Let us not forget though that times were not always as bleak as they are now. We succeeded in actually uniting countries of Europe, we shared a common currency, and we broke down barriers and frontiers and became citizens of Europe rather than of a specific country. This crisis was a global one and reaching
Europe was just the result of a domino effect that started on another continent. Facilitating the understanding of the complexities of how the EU’s blueprint works with all its strengths and most importantly its flaws, is already a step closer to arming one’s self with knowledge to answer the question “why am I not
where I thought I would be ten years ago?” or even
“why does everyone not understand how we are knee deep in dirty waters and do absolutely nothing constructive or combative about it?”.
The heads of states and European Institutions should start thinking about what can be done to provide young Europeans with the needed assets to make it through these hard times while closing the gap on the intergenerational division which sees communication lost in translation at best and blindly ignored at worst. We should stop sobbing and start doing something about this obstacle, so follow us, increase your knowledge and let’s make a change before it’s too late. by Sofia Trindade & Floyd Cutinha
€you would like to thank to: Andry Silla, Estonia, 19 years-old Anti Haugas, Estonia, 19 years-old Abubakr Anwar, UK, 20 years-old Alexandre Egger, France, 27 years-old Alexandros Vigkos, Greece, 22 years-old Alice Vandekerkhove, France, 23 years-old Andrea Venda, Portugal, 22 years-old Bénédicte Le Galliot, France, 23 years-old, Clara Aoife Maxwell, Ireland, 25 years-old Christina Sotiriou, Greece, 25 years-old Débora Coelho, Portugal, 23 years-old Diana Jevcakova, Slovakia, 23 years-old Ebba von Ahlen, Germany, 25 years-old Elena Georgalla, Cyrpus, 21 years-old Hélène Davaux, Belgium, 22 years-old Javier Ruiz Soler, Spain, 26 years-old José Valls, Spain, 25 years-old Kristina Schönbrunn, Germany, 24 years-old Leire Ariz Sarasketa, Spain, 22 years-old Ludo Keizer, Netherlands, 29 years-old Luka Veljovic, Montenegro, 17 years-old Maria Fossarello, Italy, 23 years-old Maria Strati, Cyprus, 25 years-old Simona Micjanova, Slovakia, 23 years-old Zana Cana, Kosovo, 21 years-old Special thanks to: Mr. Dimitrios D. Thomakos, Professor, Professor of Applied Econometrics at the School of Management and Economics, Greece, and Senior Fellow at the Rimini Center for Economic Analysis Mr. Guido Romano, Economic journalist Mr. Lorenzo Consoli, Journalist and Academic Expert in EU Affairs Ms. Maria Laura Franciosi, Journalists @ Your Service, President Mr Nigel Farage, MEP Ms. Pauline Gessant, President of the European Young Federalists Mr. Pietro de Matteis, Co-President of the European Federalist Party and Policy Analyst at the European Commission Mr. Roccu Garobi, President of the European free Alliance Youth Mr. Ruben L. Oppenheimer, Cartoonist and illustrator 31
by Sofia Trindade & Floyd Cutinha