by S.G. Kazolias: President Emmanuel Macron campaigned to put an end to what he called “Social Dumping” —- the practice of temporarily hiring workers from poorer EU countries at the minimum wage and paying their much lower social security in their home country. On March 1, EU delegates in Brussels agreed to revise the 1996 accord allowing this. But getting all EU countries to agree may be harder.
When the then 12 EU members approved the 1996 ‘Posted Workers’ directive, labor costs between the different countries was one to three. As the EU enlarged to 28 with the former Soviet Block countries, that differential became one to ten and employers took advantage of it. Skilled labor was brought in from countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Poland at a fraction of the cost.
Social-media platforms are increasingly under attack for the content they carry and face heavy fines in some European countries. What is under question here is the legal responsibility of a platform for the content users post as well as how much freedom is to be given to speech. It is like a return to the XVth and XVIth century when the Church tried to control philosophy and science.
Migrants continue to make their way to Europe and Europeans are showing their discontent more and more at the ballot boxes. Yet, many in Europe still argue more are welcome. The European experiment of integrating those from other cultures is a failure and more will make matters worse.
The French presidential elections to be held in two-rounds on April 23 and May 7 are unlike any France has seen since the Fifth Republic Constitution went into effect in 1959. And if polls are right, the winner of the second round will have a hostile majority in Parliament. France may well become ungovernable. If France slips into anarchy, it could well take the European Union down with it.
The Berlin Christmas Market attack should never have happened. How could the German police get it so wrong? German voters will decide in September who can best protect them and the freedom they love.
Stuttgart, January 15, 2016: Germany is already in full campaign mode with nine months to go until the elections and the public want to know who will keep them safe? After a year of terror attacks and terror threats and other forms of migrant violence, politicians are falling over themselves to reassure the public. But all agree, the Berlin Christmas Market attack could have been prevented; that “mistakes were made,” and “we must learn from our errors.”
Paris: France is bankrupt. In terms of the Maastricht criteria, French public debt is 97% of GDP, or roughly two trillion euros. But add to this, the off-balance-sheet debt (estimated at over three trillion euros) such as pensions (19 billion euros a year deficit), unemployment insurance (over five billion/year deficit), health care system (15 billion/year deficit) and other social guaranties supposed to finance themselves and the real debt of France is an astronomical 242% of GDP. Yet, labor in France refuses to hear of reform. Students, who have never worked a day in their lives, are marching with public service employees and fighting police in the streets.
Tübingen, Germany: When German comedian, Jan Böhmermann, did a satirical sketch on state run ZDF TV this month, accusing the Turkish president of “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians” as well as suggesting he has “sex with sheep and goats,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan went ballistic and called for the satirist to be prosecuted under a little known German defamation law. The row has opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for German Chancellor Angela Merkel: should the law be scrapped; how far does free speech and satire go; what grip does the Turkish president have around the Chancellor’s throat?
The EU must pressure foreign governments to punish parents who send their children on the perilous and illegal journey to Europe or face financial consequences. All too many parents in poverty stricken countries readily send their under-age children on the dangerous trek to Europe knowing that, if they make it, Europeans will care for them. These parents hope their children get papers and that they can join them in Europe later under Europe’s liberal family regroupment rules and that one day they get work and send money home. Europeans are alarmed that about 10,000 of these children are unaccounted for.