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Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Archive for 30. Mai 2019

Why Margrethe Vestager ticks all the boxes

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Date: 29-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

The steely Danish politician should lead the next European Commission

Charlemagne’s notebook

EUROPEAN POLITICS is turning more febrile after voters in elections for the European Parliament broke the old duopoly of the two main political “families”: the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and old centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

The two “big tent” groups, which have dominated the parliament since direct elections were introduced in 1979, were the biggest losers as European politics fragments. By the latest count, the two groups between them lost 87 seats in the 751-seat parliament. That, in turn, is re-opening the debate about who should run the European Commission, the powerful bureaucratic machine at the heart of the European Union, which acts as an executive, a civil service and a market regulator.

The president of the commission is nominated by national leaders, with approval from the parliament. Leaders will meet in Brussels tonight to begin discussing who should fill this and a host of senior EU jobs, among them the president of the European Council (representing leaders) and the president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

At the last European elections in 2014, the parliament tried to institutionalise the idea of the Spitzenkandidat, whereby leaders would be compelled to choose the “leading candidate” for commission president selected by the parliament on the basis of who can command a majority. Under a gentleman’s agreement in 2014, the S&D made way for Jean-Claude Juncker of the EPP, whose group was the largest. The leaders acquiesced despite misgivings by Britain and Hungary. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ein Leitfaden für Finanzkrisenmanager

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Howard Davies, the first chairman of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (1997-2003), is Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was Director of the London School of Economics (2003-11) and served as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry.

EDINBURGH – Journalisten, so heißt es, verfassen „eine erste grobe Version der Geschichte”. Es ist ein großer Anspruch, aber die Besten unter ihnen kommen dem nahe. Während der Großen Finanzkrise 2008 gelang es Andrew Ross Sorkin von der New York Times mit seinem Buch Die Unfehlbaren. Es ist noch immer eine zutreffende Beschreibung dessen, was an der Wall Street los war, als die Märkte zusammenbrachen. Sorkin hatte einen guten Zugang zu den beteiligten Schlüsselpersonen. 

Die zweite Version der Geschichte wird oft von den wichtigsten Beteiligten selbst geschrieben. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war Winston Churchill zuversichtlich, die Geschichte würde ihn freundlich behandeln, weil er beabsichtigte, „diese Geschichte selbst zu schreiben”. Als die Finanzkrise ausbrach, könnte derselbe Gedanke auch Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke und Tim Geithner angetrieben haben, die US-Finanzminister, Vorsitzender der Federal Reserve Bank und Präsident der New York Fed waren. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Beyond Unemployment

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, an international body that from 2006-2010 analyzed opportunities for global economic growth, and is the author of The Next Convergence – The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World.

In modern economies, people may have jobs, but they still harbor major concerns in a wide range of areas, including security, health and work-life balance, income and distribution, training, mobility, and opportunity. By focusing solely on the unemployment rate, policymakers are ignoring the many dimensions of employment that affect welfare.

MILAN – For much of the post-World War II period, economic policy has focused on unemployment. The massive job losses of the Great Depression – reversed only when World War II, and the massive debt accumulated to finance it, kick-started economic growth – had a lasting impact on at least two generations. But employment is just one facet of welfare, and in today’s world, it is not enough.

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Will Merkel Be Followed by Darkness?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Date: 29-05-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL.By René Pfister
Subject: A Dim View of the World

Will Merkel Be Followed by Darkness?

As the end of her tenure approaches, Angela Merkel has a view of the world that couldn’t be much grimmer. She sees the pillars of the world order collapsing and yet, strangely, she doesn’t seem to be doing much about it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

For a few seconds, her face brightened with pleasure, she rejoices in the moment. And why not? It’s an evening in January, and Angela Merkel is sitting in a festively illuminated glass building at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, with CNN superstar Christiane Amanpour in front of her.

„What can I say about a woman named Angela Merkel?“ Amanpour asks the audience.

That she’s the first female chancellor?
The first chancellor from former East Germany?

Merkel is much more than that, Amanpour continues, a scientist who still believes in the value of facts in this post-factual world; a woman who fights against nationalism and climate change. She describes how the chancellor has set a high standard for how to deal with the desperate people of the world.

It’s all laid on a bit thick, a mixture of Oscar ceremony and political seminar, but Merkel has a smile on her face. It’s only now and then, when the camera zooms in on her, that she puts on a more neutral, chancellor-like face. Despite all that she has achieved, she still has a reputation to defend as the West’s most modest politician. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why the EU Election Was a Win for Macron

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Although the far-right National Rally edged out La République en Marche ! in the European Parliament election, broader trends in European politics now look favorable for French President Emmanuel Macron. His party will now lead a pivotal centrist bloc, and will be able to work closely with the newly reinforced Greens on crucial reforms.

PARIS – Though the final vote tally might seem to suggest otherwise, the European Parliament elections were a strategic success for French President Emmanuel Macron. There are four reasons why this is so.

First, Macron succeeded in framing the election as a contest between progressives and populists. Though he has been assailed at home in recent months – including by some on his own “side” – it is worth remembering that this message did not emerge out of thin air. Rather, it harks back to Macron’s 2017 presidential campaign, which itself tapped into a broader political sea change taking place across Europe. In that election, he overcame the traditional right-left divide. Two years later, this was replicated in the European Parliament elections. Historically, the Republicans on the right and the Socialists on the left have dominated French politics. Yet these parties’ combined share of the popular vote was under 15%, whereas Macron’s La République en Marche ! won 22.4%, and the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front) picked up 23.3%. Behind these figures is an unprecedented collapse of the mainstream French right, which has failed to reconcile identity politics with traditional liberalism. Though some French conservatives have migrated to the National Rally, much of the center-right electorate has gravitated toward Macron’s party, owing to efforts by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe (formerly of the Republicans).Moreover, most of those who switched to La République en Marche ! are pensioners who did so despite being hit hard by Macron’s tax reforms (some of which have been reversed). This suggests that Macron’s progressive-versus-populist narrative helped to re-mobilize France’s – and perhaps Europe’s – pro-European electorate. While the National Rally performed well and Italy’s right-wing League party made gains, they failed to trigger the EU-wide political earthquake that many had come to expect.The second reason the election represents a victory for Macron is that his party will now be able to claim leadership over a pivotal centrist parliamentary group of 110 members. The relative losses suffered by the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), combined with the surge in support for the Greens, means that the European Parliament is entering a period of quadripartite governance. Provided these groups are able to compromise, the new arrangement will probably be an improvement on the old one, wherein the EPP and S&D divvied up all of the jobs. For the first time in the European Parliament’s history, the number of MEPs affiliated with the two main parties represents only 44% of the total.A more fluid parliamentary composition will allow for more ad hoc majorities to emerge in support of various policy proposals, given that there is so much common ground between La République en Marche !, the S&D, and the Greens. And, as an added bonus, the end of the EPP/S&D duopoly also marks the end of German hegemony in the Parliament.

Third, the Spitzenkandidaten process – whereby the largest party grouping selects the president of the European Commission – is likely to collapse, and this may also work to Macron’s advantage. The system is a first-past-the-post mechanism in a proportionally elected Parliament, and has more to do with partisanship than with democracy, because it gives automatic power to the largest group.

But while the EPP won the most parliamentary seats, its Spitzenkandidat, Manfred Weber, is very controversial. Just before the election, he was weakened by the political demise of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose government was by the release of a video in which his vice chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party, appears to offer a quid pro quo for electoral help from Russia. But Merkel still defends Weber, and, apart from Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, most EU leaders are reluctant to confront the European Parliament on the Spitzenkandidaten issue. That may shorten the odds for Margrethe Vestager – who is not from the EPP, but who is, in a sense, a liberal Spitzenkandidat – while while lengthening them for Michel Barnier, who is from the EPP but is not a Spitzenkandidat. If the Council succeeds in ruling out Weber and his populist supporters, Macron will claim it as a success.Finally, the election provides a check on German hegemony within the EU more broadly. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been weakened, and the country’s Greens have grown stronger. For his part, Macron will find the Greens much easier to work with on eurozone reform, especially if they end up joining a new German coalition government.Taken together, these post-election considerations paint a rather positive picture for Macron. The question now is whether he can use his strength at the EU level to shore up his domestic position. This will not happen automatically. With the fall of the French right, there may be a temptation to position La République en Marche ! as a new home for right-wing French voters. But while this might capture Paris’s bourgeois 16th arrondissement, doing so would be a mistake. Instead, Macron should focus on securing more of the atomized left, particularly those who have moved to the National Rally.As matters stand, La République en Marche !’s base remains limited to the “winners” of globalization. Rural, alienated, and economically vulnerable voters remain in the National Rally’s camp. To win them over, Macron must reduce the polarization between the two parties.

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