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Saturday, December 22

22nd Dec - Weekender: The World

Some deeper thoughts on Europe, USA and Asia for the holidays

Previously on MoreLiver’s:

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Brussels blog round-up for 15 – 21 December: Cyprus close to insolvency, Cameron hints at ‘Brixit’ and Depardieu departs to Belgium over taxeuropp / LSE

Kenen on the
Barry Eichengreen, Charles Wyplosz: One of the world’s most influence international economists, Peter Kenen, passed this week. This column highlights the key role his insights played in the construction of the Eurozone and the problems that arose when his insights were ignored.

The Netherlands remains divided on the future of European integration between those wanting a ‘German’ federal Europe, and those in favour of an enlarged, but looser unioneuropp / LSE

The European Union and the Habsburg Monarchyeurozine
The threat that the EU now faces is as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago, writes British diplomat Robert Cooper, one of the intellectual architects of EU foreign policy. But getting it right does not need a miracle.

The OECD, bearer of bad news at Christmas?Open Europe
The OECD released it latest assessment of unit labour costs (ULCs) in the eurozone a couple of days ago and they do not make pretty reading for Italy or France and only slightly better for Spain

Fortress Europe: a Greek wall close upeuobserver
A 12.5km fence rolled with barbwire along the Greek Turkish border is part of a larger initiative to secure Europe from migrants seeking a better life.

An EU without the UK would be one step closer to a genuine political unioneuropp / LSE
If the EU is to survive in the years to come it must start making a genuine difference for its citizens and become not only a champion for free markets and peace, but also for solidarity, social justice and welfare. This may not be achievable with the UK continuing as a currently unwilling member of the club.

Sweden: Brussels, hands off our snus!Aftonbladet, Expressen / presseurop
The proposed revision of the European directive on tobacco, presented on December 19 in Brussels, has provoked strong reactions in Sweden.

Explaining EU Citizens’ Trust in the ECB in Normal and Crisis TimesECB / The Big Picture

EU cyber directive 'nearly finished'euobserver
The EU executive will release a draft directive on cyber security in 2013, in the latest indication that the bloc is moving towards a harmonised online rulebook.

True independence for the ECB: Triggering power - no more, no
As governments and the EU wring their hands over banking reform, a fragile system remains in place. This column argues that the ECB’s current role undermines its independence. What Europe needs is a new Restructuring Authority in which the ECB has the power to restructure banks as it sees fit, but under a system with two authorities, reducing undue forbearance. If enacted, the Eurozone is set to gain much from bold policy change.

Swiss, facing EU tax pressure, ponder how to attract firmsReuters

EU-Russia: Brussels and Moscow’s frosty relationspresseurop
The 30th EU-Russia Summit, held in Brussels on December 20-21 highlighted the differences opposing the two partners.

France: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2012 Article IV ConsultationIMF
France: 2012 Article IV ConsultationIMF
France: Financial System Stability AssessmentIMF

Special Report: Greece's triangle of powerReuters
A nexus of media, business and politics lies behind the country's crisis, say critics.

Portugal: How the Troika stole Christmas!El PaĆ­s / presseurop
The "Men in Black," or Troika of lenders from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union, who offer bailouts in exchange for austerity, have become a source of humour. It is the basis of a new card game and advertisement, but the laughter hides fears that the situation will deteriorate in 2013.

Despite Tiny Economy, Cyprus Bailout Talks Are Euro Zone TestWSJ
The Cypriot economy is so small that bailout talks don't really matter. Except they do: as a litmus test for euro zone credibility.

Greece: A therapist’s worst nightmarepresseurop
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: A German trauma therapist journeys to Greece. What he sees there surpasses his worst fears. Greek society is crumbling under the pressure of the crisis.

Foreign aid: EU money only benefits the corruptDe Standaard / presseurop
According to the European Court of Auditors, it’s almost impossible to check how EU aid money is spent by developing countries. As a major EU aid fraud scandal hits Uganda, commentators in Kampala wonder why European donors continue to funnel cash into a corrupt country.

The Unequal State of America: How Uncle Sam widens the income divideReuters
This is the first in a three-part series, "The Unequal State of America"

US: Merry CliffmasDanske Bank (pdf)
Despite progress in negotiations, the US Congress has failed to pass legislation before Christmas that averts the substantial fiscal tightening about to hit the US economy on 1 January. The Congress has now left for Christmas holiday but will return on 27 December. This means that President Obama, House speaker Boehner and the Congress have four days after the Christmas holiday to strike a deal.

What going over the ‘fiscal cliff’ meansThe Big Picture

The Decline of the "Great Equalizer"Reuters
Massachusetts, home to America's best schools and best-educated workforce, has seen income inequality soar. Why? The poor are losing an academic arms race with the rich.

Why are Cash-Rich Companies Being Subsidized by Tax-Poor Governments?The Big Picture

Next of Kim: North Korea, One Year LaterForeign Affairs
Last December, the chubby and blubbering soon-to-be leader of the hermit kingdom seemed too inexperienced and unqualified to ever consolidate his rule. Today, Kim Jong Un is riding high, having become the first Korean to launch a domestically designed satellite into orbit on the back of a domestically designed rocket. North Korean society, though, is changing all around him, and lobbing missiles might not be enough to keep him in power.

What China really wantsalphaville / FT
China announced last week that its State Administration of Foreign Exchange would remove the $1bn limit for foreign sovereign wealth funds, central banks and monetary authorities buying Chinese assets through the Qualified Institutional Investor Programme (QFII).

Asia AdriftProject Syndicate
The year 2012 began with festering Chinese sovereignty claims in the South and East China Seas, but also with hope that a code of conduct brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would enable them to be resolved peacefully. The year is ending, however, with those hopes dashed and ASEAN more divided than it has ever been.

A Sobering AssessmentThe Diplomat
National Intelligence Council's 2030 report on global futures, titled Alternative Worlds is full of thoughtful and in many instances worrying assessments about where the Asian strategic order is going, and about the risks of instability and conflict in the years ahead. 

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