18 March 2015, Frankfurt - Rebel clowns clash with cops during a violent anti-capitalist protest opposing the European Central Bank (ECB), on the day its new
headquarters were being inaugurated in the German city.
European Central Bank chief Draghi stays positive on negative rates
Negative interest rates are working despite the squeeze on banking profits, Europe’s most powerful central banker insisted on Thursday.
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi defended the controversial policy in a Frankfurt speech Thursday, claiming negative rates “have turned out to be powerful in terms of easing financial conditions”.
The ECB first cut its deposit rate below zero in 2014, effectively charging banks to park cash at the ECB overnight.
The rate has since been cut further to minus 0.4%, along with a package of other stimulus measures including an €80 billion (£68 billion) a month money-printing programme, to ward off deflation.
Draghi said: “The potential negative side-effects have so far been limited. As household deposit rates have been sticky at zero, banks’ net interest rate margins have fallen somewhat.
“But the impact on bank profitability has been offset by the positive effects of easier financial conditions on the volume of lending, and the reduction in loan-loss provisions, as monetary policy has lifted economic prospects.”
A parody of the Europe Central Bank recruitment video’s “The ECB
Experience” and “Living in Frankfurt. Working for the ECB” mashed up
with footage from the massive protest against the opening of the new
base of the ECB in Frankfurt, Germany, on the 18th of March 2015.
The betting odds for an anti-euro candidate winning the French election are eerily similar to Brexit
(From L-R, campaign posters for candidates Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN), Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Parti de Gauche, and Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party who run in the 2017 French presidential election are seen in Paris, France.Reuters/Charles Platiau) France is going to the polls on Sunday to vote in what is likely to be a highly contested presidential election. Four candidates, Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon, and Jean-Luc Melenchon — are within percentage points of one another in the polls, but only two will advance to the run-off in May.
The election has markets on edge as two of the candidates, Le Pen and Melenchon, have campaigned on euro-skeptic platforms.
Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front party has said she would ask European leaders and the European Central Bank to replace the euro with a basket of new national currencies, in effect breaking up the single currency.
“The euro is not a currency,” Le Pen said in February. “It is a political weapon to force countries to implement the policies decided by the [European Union] and keep them on a leash.
I can understand how people may get confused on what’s going on in Greece and why it’s such a big deal. The articles I’ve read on it have been very complex and hard to understand so you sort of give up on trying to get it, even I’m still having troubles getting it but I’ll try to explain as simply and best as I can, bear with me. Greece entered the euro in 2001 but the whole shared currency idea was a bad idea in the first place because if you have a poorer countries like Greece who have high unemployment rates, well they need to print more money making the euro less valuable and making exports cheaper so countries will buy from them and tourism increases because it’s cheaper but this is a problem when you have richer countries like Germany who have a low unemployment rate, want export prices to be higher and print less money so the euro would be more valuable, this is a problem because there’s only one currency that can’t accommodate for both ends of the scale. That’s the first problem. For some time Greece flourished although before 2008 there was a lot of spending going on by the Greek government (military, public sector jobs, pensions, the 2004 Olympics and other social benefits), so to begin with, the Greek government was spending more then they were receiving. After the 2008 financial crisis, Greece owed a lot of money. In 2010 Greece was locked out of financial markets and the only way thought back in was borrowing money of the European Central Bank, euro zone countries and the IMF. Greece was given two bailouts, one of 110 billion euros and the second was 130 billion euros. These bailouts were not without consequences. These countries and banks and whatnot made the Greek government force austerity on the people. This means higher taxes, lower incomes, pensions, health care and social services were reduced and it created devastation among the Greek population. Unemployment and suicide rates are at an all time high because people can’t afford to live. This austerity plan only made things worse for Greece and the people of Greece. Greece now owes about 320 billion euros. Countries and funds and banks and what not are refusing debt relief even though Greece has no way to pay off the debt. Now the government is making the people vote either yes or no in this referendum. Yes is to keep going with this austerity plan and keep growing this debt basically and no is to possibly (not certainly) go back to the old currency the drachma and maybe leave the eurozone (none of this is 100% certain). No one has really been told what will happen 100% whatever the outcome so that’s what people fear. There are fears of civil unrest and poverty (even more so then now). Either way both outcomes of the referendum aren’t good, it’s like choosing out of two evils. It’s a little more complex then this explanation and I urge people to go look into it more because I know I would have left bits out but it’s just to get a basic understanding of this issue.