Tag Archives: EU


No return.

Liam writes:

Northern driver (spotted in Dublin today) fudging the whole nationality thing by having EU instead of GB on the number plate. May not be Brexit-proof…



That low.

A new Structure of Earnings Survey by Eurostat finds:

The proportion of low-wage earners among employees amounted to 17.2% in 2014 in the European Union (EU). This means that they earned two-thirds or less of their national median gross hourly earnings.

The proportion of low-wage earners continued to vary significantly between Member States in 2014. The highest percentages were observed in Latvia (25.5%), Romania (24.4%), Lithuania (24.0%) and Poland (23.6%), followed by Estonia (22.8%), Germany (22.5%), Ireland (21.6%) and the United Kingdom (21.3%). In contrast, less than 10% of employees were low wage earners in Sweden (2.6%), Belgium (3.8%), Finland (5.3%), Denmark (8.6%), France (8.8%) and Italy (9.4%).

Read the report in full here


From the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 – State of Health in the EU Cycle report.

EC Rep Ireland tweetz:

Irish teenagers almost at the top of the class for daily consumption of fruit and veg…

Take that, Dr Eva


Read the report in full here

Thanks Fact Checker



Bray Refugee Solidarity Group writes:

Children as young as six are travelling alone in Europe. They have fled war and famine, witnessed the bloody murder of family and friends.

Yet 10,000 of these children are currently missing in Europe – many trafficked into sex slavery and other forms of exploitation. Tens of thousands more are at risk of a similar fate.

We demand that the EU takes immediate action to protect this most vulnerable group of people.

By signing our petition [below], you are putting pressure on the EU to take immediate action to ensure that unaccompanied and separated children are guaranteed safety and protection for their basic rights.

You are demanding that they receive access to basic nutrition, health care, education and legal assistance.

You are imploring the EU states to treat cases of missing unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children with the urgency and seriousness they would any other child.

You are refusing to look the other way, while this ethically indefensible human rights breach of the most vulnerable people on the continent takes place.

Read the detailed petition and its demands here

10,000 Missing Children (Facebook)

Thanks Caroline Reid



Deutsche Bank AG is the riskiest financial institution in the world as a potential source of external shocks to the financial system, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“Among the G-SIBs (globally systemically important banks), Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks, followed by HSBC and Credit Suisse,” the IMF said in its Financial Sector Assessment Program. The IMF also said the German banking system poses a higher degree of possible outward contagion compared with the risks it poses internally…

Deutsche Bank Poses Greatest Risk to Financial System, IMF Says — 2nd Update (Nasdaq)

Thanks Nelly Bergman

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 00.56.53


Update: El Photoshop!



European Central bank president Mario Draghi at Dublin Castle, June 2013

The far right are leaving.

And the left should  join them.

Nigel Wilmott, letters editor of The Guardian, writes:

Tomorrow despite a wobble over the horrible killing of Jo Cox and Ukip’s appalling poster, I shall be voting to leave the EU – the same way I voted in the 1975 referendum.

However, there is no straight line from one to the other. I have been for many years a strong supporter of the EU and am slightly surprised to be making this choice.

But an EU that is now based on mass unemployment and mass migration is not one worth supporting.

Of course Ukip plays the race card. But I’m still voting for Brexit

Official unemployment is 9% across the union and over 10% in the euro area. And those figures are flattered by unemployment rates of just over 4% in the EU’s biggest country, Germany, and the UK’s rather dubious 5%, which excludes the millions on zero-hours, part-time and temporary contracts.

In Greece, 24% are unemployed and 20% in Spain.

Youth unemployment (under-25s) is 51% in Greece, 45% in Spain, around 40% in Croatia and Italy, and over 30% in Portugal, with an average of 19% across the EU.

The only response in an austerity-bound EU is migration. It was somewhat odd to hear Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the party of which I am a member, explaining this matter-of-factly and with obvious approval, given the overtones of Norman Tebbit’s “on yer bike”.

And it needs to be remembered that this is not a temporary phenomenon at the bottom of an economic cycle.

This has been the situation more or less since the financial crash in 2008. If anything, we are probably near the top of a cycle with a downturn more likely than a new burst of economic growth.

Apart from the obvious impacts of unemployment on those immediately affected – poverty, lack of status and sense of worth – it keeps down wages generally for those sectors of the labour market affected.

It is this widespread sense of insecurity and fear that drives the growing rightwing populism across the continent, just as it did in the 1930s

Remain and reform is wishful thinking – the left should vote leave (Nigel Wilmot, Guardian)



Bonkers writes:

There was a Eurostat report out yesterday that showed Ireland is now the most expensive country in the EU to buy alcohol with costs here running at 175% of the EU average.

We are the second most expensive for tobacco (behind the UK) and third most expensive country in which to buy milk, cheese and eggs (all produced in vast quantities within our borders)

On alcohol we’ve recently seen former Minister for Health Leo Varadkar try to introduce a Minimum Alcohol Pricing bill which would undoubtedly make prices of alcohol rise to over double the EU average.

We’ve had politicians persistently tell us that ‘cheap alchohol’ in supermarkets is to blame for all sorts of societal problems. Instead of education our politicians use taxation.

Publicans have come out in favour of minimum unit pricing, on public health grounds, they say.

They even went so far as to lobby the Dept of Health and the Dept of Justice to get Minimum Unit Pricing introduced

I find it a bit strange then for publicans to be claiming that off-licence sales are ‘too cheap’ and need to be raised on public health grounds while at the very same time they were lobbying the Dept of Finance for “Maintaining the current hospitality VAT Rate; Increasing the VAT Threshold from €75,000 to €110,000; Reducing the Excise level on alcohol”.

So they want the government to increase the price of alcohol in supermarkets on health grounds but at the same time they want alcohol excise reduced to help decrease the price of alcohol in their own premises.

Does not compute, surely Irish publicans would never pull a stroke?



Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 16.54.48

A report by Paul Sweeney, of TASC, in December

Paul Sweeney writes:

The leak in [yesterday’s] Irish Times that the Taoiseach has written to Mr Juncker, President of the EU Commisson, on the need for greater investment in Ireland is welcome, but appears somewhat disingeneous.

His letter appears to quote the report published by TASC last December which ponted out that Ireland’s level of investment was at its lowest level ever and was the lowest in the Union.

Mr Kenny said investment in infrastructure in Ireland was at its “lowest level for many years, and also represents the lowest level of any member state at present” – the two points emphasised by TASC.

That Mr Kenny has now recognised this is welcome, but it was his government which set out the investment plan last autumn which proposed to cut investment even lower than the lowest level ever, from 1.8% of GDP in 2013 to 1.7% in 2016.

…So has Mr Kenny finally woken up to the need for greater direct public investment? For example, is he seeking permission from Europe to directly invest some of the banks’ proceeds in Ireland, instead of making the error of using them to accellerate repayment of the national debt?

It seems not. He appears to be looking for new ways of avoiding direct public investment and to increase private investment in public infrastructure. It seems he wants leeway to have more Public Private Partnerships, even though they cost more in the long run and take much longer to execute, than direct public funding.

“Mr Kenny said he felt sufficiently concerned about how Eurostat was classifying public-private partnerships – widely used to fund infrastructural projects – that he felt the need to ‘raise the matter at the highest political level’”, according to the Irish Times.

But he also said, “We are also acutely conscious of the constraints and obligations of the fiscal rules, and the need to broaden sources of investment as widely as possible within those constraints and obligations.”

Clearly using some of the bank proceeds for investment is not even being discussed. The flavour still is “broader sources of finance.”

Taoiseach appears to seek Increased Public Investment, as does OECD (TASC)

Kenny concerned by hazard posed from EU investment rules (Irish Times, June 13, 2016)

H/T: Rory Hearne


This morning.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP writes:

European parliament’s Budget Control Committee. Committee that controls EU spending. Meeting began at 9am. Where are the MEPs?

Thanks Ronan Emmett