The EP calls on Switzerland to cancel your veto ‘illegal’ to Europeans

By Isidoro Arriola, Rafael Lopez, Alejandra Rojo and Patricia Martínez.

The European Parliament on Thursday urged the Swiss government to reverse the decision “discriminatory and illegal” you have taken in imposing fees for residence permits long-term citizens from eight European countries.

In a resolution adopted with 486 votes in favor, 30 against and 27 abstentions, the European Parliament “deeply regrets” the restoration in Switzerland quota restricting the free movement of citizens, in this case from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia , Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The measure is “discriminatory and illegal,” MEPs consider as it is directed against European citizens based on their nationality and has no legal basis under existing agreements between the EU and Switzerland.
MEPs have expressed concern that the Swiss government is considering imposing more restrictive measures and believe that the EU and the Helvetic

Confederation should enhance cooperation to facilitate the free movement of persons.

The European Parliament has asked the European Commission to address this issue urgently with the Swiss government.

On the other hand, MEPs reiterate their concern that Switzerland’s refusal to allow German and Austrian taxis pick up passengers at Swiss airports and ask the Commission to verify whether this measure is consistent with the agreement signed between the EU and Switzerland in 1999.

London 2012: Sport, economic crisis and missiles on residential flats.

Two months left to the beginning of the 2012 London Olympic Games. England’s capital is ready to receive the thousands of athlets and millions of tourists who will enjoy with the Olympic Games. The biggest miltary deployment since World War II will ensure their safety and the citizens. However do the citizens of London, want to convert their city into an Olympic city? Are the Olympic Games appropiate in this moment of a huge global economic crisis? How does this affect the daily lives of the people of London?

It is difficult to find the exact number, but it is estimated that the total cost of the Olympic Games could exceed 11 billion pounds. Only the construction of the Olympic stadium has exceeded 537 million pounds, wich makes it the most expensive stadium in the world. This year the Londoners have seen their taxes go up 20 pounds per citizen to finance the Games. Thousands of citizens are against the holding of the olimpyc games and remaind that they were not consulted and that Greece´s financial crisis started after the celebration of the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. Another concerns Londoners have is what is going to happen with the facilities when the Olympic Games have finished. Unfortunately the “madrileños” can understand the fears of  Londoners because Madrid has tried to be an Olympic City two consecutives times and not happy with their failure are competiting to be Olympic City for 2020.The citizens of Madrid are going to be paying for the ambitions of a Mayor for decades because the facilities that were built are now empty, deserted. Those constructions have not helped at all, only to put the city and the citizens in debt. They will pay the debt through added taxes. How it is it possible that the council with the most debt in Spain wants to be an Olympic City? Should not be the citizens who decided?

Security during the Olympics is an other factor wich furiates the citizens. The army is going to instal batteries of missiles on the roofs of family residences, there will be an aircraft carrier on the River Thames, 13, 500 soldiers will be deployed (a number higher than the British detachment in Afghanistan) will be among 30,000 and 50,000 troops adding policies, security officers and intelligence. All of this in times of austerity. The use of force has been authorized against uncomfortable protests towards the government such as “15M” or “Occupy Wall Street” movements and 300 new security cameras have been installed across London.Monitored citizens, citizens affected by road cutoffs and on public transport too, indiscriminate security controls, families with rockets on their roofs and citizens paying more taxes through the fault of the politician´s egos. While the city becomes poorer political and security companies get richer.

 

By: Isidoro Arriola, Rafael López, Patricia Martínez and Alejandra Rojo.

Interview to Enrique Calvet Chambon

Enrique Calvet Chambon is the delegate for the European economic and social committee

 

 

What function does the European economic and social committee have?

And what do you do in it?

It was created in the Treaty of Rome as an advisory body to the civil society to think about the major themes of the European construction. It has been reinforced by the various reforms of all the treaties, in particular, the last one in Lisbon.

There are some topics that inevitably the committee will have to see and render an opinion and possibly an initiative in any field, especially in the social area. It is composed of businessmen, trade unionists and what are called third activities (environmentalists, farmers, professional associations, chamber of commerce)

What was the old ECSC,when it was dissolves it had a series of structures and supports which are included as another section more than economic committee, which is called consultative commission on the restructuring of the industry. There is where I am and I am “monopolistically a defender of the interests of European fields, but also in many rulings that have to do with the crisis, with the funding, with the future of the social dialogue, loss of sovereignty of Europe, the future of the banking guidance, etc…

How is the future in Europe? And the Euro´s future?

The attempt to move toward greater European Union began with a series of steps and a single currency. Then the currency is created with too few political anchors and it has failed. It was like putting the carts in front of the oxen, which is an old French proverb. It has been allowed to enter countries which were known to not actually have no reliability.

If we are talking about the euro zone, there is the problem of Greece that was not important, that it would have been able to fix in 3 months with the intervention of the international monetary fund,(IMF) which  European leaders saw that it did not do so well, in particular Mrs Merkel and that has affected  many countries, And today in Spain because its financial system is  dependent of the of the European financial system  ,derived from Greece, although what has happened to Greece has not affected us directly ,it has ended with the fact that the Germans are infected and  and then tighten many restrictions.

My prognosis, it seems to me and Mrs. Merkel has just said again, it is very reasonable to think that Greece cannot be maintained in the euro, but I don’t think that this is a catastrophe, unlike with other countries would be much worse. It would be intelligent especially now after the last elections, to prevent   the suspension more orderly fashion as much as possible of Greece into the euro. I believe that in 2013 this will happen and the fact probably the euro can be maintain, if we save the hurdle in Spain which I think is savable, with a lot of sacrifice.

What is the problem of the two-party system countries?

Social democracy has a greater willingness to move toward a political Europe and the conservative party like the English and the German UDC(The Christian Democratic Union)have a greater willingness to leave it at the level of common market ,free movement rather than a political Europe. This is a bit the difference that there is but with nuances.

Where do you  think the policy in Europe must go? More austerity or more growth?

It is a debate that is taking place now. Austerity is essential and will continue to be under any circumstances, but growth is becoming indispensable and it will also be in the future, I believe that there is no such dichotomy; the two things will have to live together.

There are countries such as Spain that can´t think about not to implement austerity, we owe money but to grow they have to give us money, Spain is a country that has grown on credit and lives on credit, but they don’t lend money. Then you say that you want grow but it has to be paid, it is  the case of France, which has more autonomy and also Germany , even if Germany  has a calendar to put rigor in the accounts because the debt overhang is  excessive. And putting in jeopardy the euro, I believe that  until Germany  realizes that we need  more dynamism, launch ,this is something that Europe are considering and there is a conscience in the European central bank about  that , give a bit of optimism, without leaving the rigor, but creating dynamism. Now the relaunch that was indispensable will arrive.

Spain needs some activity, it would need  that credit   reach the companies and  consumers and for that, you need a little bit of austerity, if such austerity is accompanied with a foreign financing of activities, will much better.

What do you think about the political measures that the governments, the committee and the central European bank have taken?

The Commission unfortunately doesn´t have much role here. One of the footpaths that unfortunately   followed Europe was, I think when the treaties like Rome etc. …were created, it was born like an institution that was not originally foreseen, which is the European Council, but it is the Commission, it would be as a manager of Europe, but the Council is created as the meeting of sovereign states to share interests and without European point of view, however it is  right now taking on all the decisions in this field.

The ECB has a difficult role, it is not doing wrong, for example the decision to provide for 3 years without limit to European banks is the key, if that’s had not been done a year ago more or less it would have been even worse and what the ECB did was good, and that is why, ECB is doing a little at the expense of weakening its own role. ECB is responsible of that the euro continues to have credibility and strength and is not doing badly within their difficulties.

We have returned to a recession and I think the ECB   should be given the possibility to lend directly to states, although it is not their role, but the ECB must be able to finance specific projects to relaunch and multiply the initiatives to alleviate the ¨credict crunch¨, the total paralysis of credit that have some European countries have.

And for the rest of European authorities always in favor for more Europe, a more social Europe, to launch the growth and maintain an austerity socially sustainable. For example the reduction of the public deficit which this government in Spain has proposed  in two years that has never been done in the history, what Europe  asks from Spain it is not rational, it generates more frustration and mistrust.

Are adequated the economic measures of the Spanish government?

Are out of season, are incomplete and there is no direct plan, we have many structural problems, we should make a fiscal reform in depth and gives a confidence plan. It is a government that has discredited itself very quickly, Rajoy has lied, everything he said that he wouldn´t do, Merkel is what is forcing to do. In crisis situations, a measure that must be taken, is to explain the population where we are, which is going to require sacrifices, because, and have credibility when exposed.

What is your believe about the origin of this crisis of a big magnitude?

There are two international crises that have two origins:

The first is the financial system and in particular the financial system in the US, then ,that a financial system such as the American bursting, since immediately panic spread, because gone are the credits…

it has a second phase that is the sovereign debt in Europe, such as to meet the social needs of the countries, due to the crisis and the lack of movement of the credit and general impoverishment, to meet the social consequences, the seduced the government, already starts to lose confidence in the own debts of governments and in Europe means that you lose confidence in the euro, in the case of Spain has more unemployment and more debts by its own internal crisis.

 There is a lot of hope place on Francois Hollande? Do you think he is going to do a good job?

Hollande is one of the 7 most brilliant students of the most prestige school since the age of Napoleon went is the most brilliant of the French entire elite. Then he is not going to do stupid things ,has been placed a lot of hope place in him, something that he has sought a little in his campaign, but he does not have his hands so free.

Hollande is going to try to take advantage of a new cycle that opens, where we will have to give it a little bit of dynamism in the economy, on everything he will take social measures, the first that has to be taken is a 30% reduction their salary and his ministers also. That, it seems to me pure demagogy, but in France you can do that, in Spain you cannot, because the salary of the ministers is ridiculous and that is also dangerous because it can lead to corruption.

Another measure, fuel prices have been blocked for 3 months, irrespective the price of oil in the world, to maintain the purchasing power, although it is only to give a good image. And another measure that seems to me to be very good, is an aid to the families with children below a certain level that is called ¨Helps the school year¨.

And all this is going to carry out the opposition or establish a particular war with Merkel, compromising the strength of Europe is only propaganda. Hollande will continue to respect to the axis Franco- German in the constitution of Europe and not going to break any deck of cards.

Thank you for your attention

By: Alejandra Rojo Ortego

Interview with Miriam Maldonado, Italy

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Miriam is an Italian woman that came to Spain searching for a better salary, she had a job at her country, a family, but the dream of buying a new home made her come to Spain, where indeed, she managed to have that extra amount of money, the last year she finished the new home at Italy. Now, she wants to have the money saved for her childrens high school. Since she has been in Spain working, her family has abtaines a better level of life, being able to buy a new car. Miriam was born in Naples, Italy in 1961. There she lived with her parents, later she got married, had children and started working in a hospital, until 2006, at which time she came to Spain and work since then as a house maid in Madrid. On weekends she works as treasurer of an association of immigrants, which covers various nationalities, in a church in Madrid.
A year after she came, her daughter Jessica came to Spain, Jessica also works in the same sector as her mother, and also in the same family as her.
On several occasions she has returned to Italy to see her family. Also, last year she become grandmother, as one of her sons married and has a child.

Questions.

Q1) Did you have any problems adapting to get here?
Well, actually, no, I felt very comfortable, it was quick the adaptation. I think that’s because of the similar cultures that both countries have, being mediterranean and being very similar.

Q2) And there was no rejection of xenophobia or racism?                                                                                           No, I had no such problems. I personally know some stories about this kind of things happening, but normally they do not involve people coming from Europe.

Q3) Then you think that Spain welcomes immigrants well?
It depends. Although I think overall it has availed itself. If you know adapt to their customs and way of life there is no problem.

Q4) Did you have trouble getting started here or are you happy with how has all gone?
No, I had no problems, everything went well, I feel like at home.           

Q5) How did you get work if you did not have papers?
No, when you are European you do not need those documents,, with a European passport you can work legally, and you just need the contract.

Q6) Do you think that an immigrant may have more trouble getting a job?
Depends on the company and who you will interview. But I think what influences are your capabilities and not the fact of being an immigrant or not. At least, that was my case, of course I know there are other cases in which they have preferences, and discrimination.

Q7) Do you think there are immigrants who come from a similar situation to yours, do not act correctly?
Yes, as everywhere, there are people who do things right, sometimes not, but that happens regardless of where you are from.

Q8) Your life is better in Spain than in Italy?
My life in Spain is practically the same as in Italy, some aspects have changed, but overall I do the same, and my routine has not changed drastically.

Q9) Would you like, to go back to Italy?
Yeah, when I came here I had the intentions of returning, initially at 3 years, but I’m going now for 6. But even so, I intend to return to my country some day.

Q10) You want to stay in Spain?
No. It is not that I have something against it. But I’d like to reconnect with my roots and return to Italy.

Q11) Is the situation so bad in Italy to have such a large influx of people into Spain?
The truth is that both really are now at same level, and when I came so were not sure if the influx is so or not, I came for work, the truth is that I have not much interest in the subject.

Q12) How are you at work?
Well, quiet good and without any problem. They treat me well and I have great flexibility in schedules.

Q13) Have you worked on something else before?
Yes, in Italy, I worked in a hospital.

By Rafael López San Martín.

Interview to Juan March

Little biography:

– Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alicante in 1986.
– Preparation for three years of opposition to notary.
– Incorporation in 1990 at Banco Urquijo SA, where he developed commercial management role until 1993. In that year he joined as director of Banco Urquijo to the office located in Alicante.
– In late 1994, he became part of La Caixa, office number 2354 in San Blas
since 2008 he is director of the Office 1534 by Playa de San Juan (Alicante)

1. Could you describe your job?

Since 2008 I hold the position of director of La Caixa’s at Playa de San Juan (Alicante).

2. How did you obtain this job and how has been your career in the firm?

They appointed me to the position when the former director of that office was given the position of area manager. Before that I was director of another office of the same firm since 1994.

3. Has the company change since you go in?

Yes, the firm has change enormously since 1994, but it has also change the financial system.

4.Has the financial crisis directly affected your job? And the company? In which way?

Obviously, the position of director of a financial institution has suffered a radical change since the start of the financial crisis. When the crisis started, with the explosion of the USA mortgage crisis, the job of director of Savings Banks changed. In that moment the bank was called Caixabank, it had connotations of attention to the small thrifty and it was thrown in to the market of the private saving. Where the majority of the clients work with saving passbook and the fixed term deposit when they had

a leverage of the medium-term money. The family economy predominated with their mortgage on the family home as the only debt and the social labour was an added value and characteristic of the company. The Savings Banks, in general, throw an important percentage of their credit activity around the mortgages and everything related to it. The Crisis and its consolidation have brought to the sector an evolution since 2008 which was not know off in centuries. The Savings Banks have disappeared and they become Banks, almost with no time to assume the change and what it means. They have change to segment their base of costumers and to increase the roll of the medium and small enterprise, and also to augment the commercial factor and the sales. Until now, the perfectly know to manage the Banks, because they know what was to respond before the owner and the actionists.

5. How has the housing bubble affected Spain? And, especially to the zone where you work?

The Housing Bubble has affected Spain much more than other countries, mainly because our country has thrown its growth in the lasts years in the property sector, now known as the brick sector.

I develop my job in the Comunidad Valenciana, and this region has suffered the financial crisis much more than the rest, because the building has been one of the main stands of the regional economy during the last fifteen year which has given rise to Valencia, Alicante and Castellon to experience in its economy an important decline and a shocking rise in unemployment, with a high rate of arrears.

6. Do you think that is possible to get out of the crisis?

It will be possible but also slowly. The problem of the crisis in Europe is different to the one produced in United States. In the USA exists a unique policy in the different states while in the Euro Zone there as many fiscal and economic policies as there are countries that set it up. This gives place to a process of slowing down in every aspect and this makes things more difficult and slowly to every improvement in economic matters. Because the countries don’t realize that we have to do things all together to evolve positively in the different economies.

7. Do you think that Spain will exit of the Crisis sooner than other countries? Why?

I think that our country will take longer that in other countries like France and Germany, because the exposition of construction is much higher. The majority of the unemployment comes directly from construction or dependent sectors of it.

8. Do you consider that is advisable to continue with the euro?

I understand that it is advisable to continue with the Euro, but I also think that for this to continue is necessary a common policy and that Europe is not managed by a country own wants. If the governments doesn’t realize this and put it into practice, the better solution will be to eliminate the Euro and for each country to go back to its original currency, with its own fiscal and economic policies.

9. The measures that the Spanish government has adopt, do you think that are correct? In which way?

I think that they are correct, but they have been implemented too late. I also think that we must be patience to see the effects. However the reduction of the public deficit is not the solution of the crisis. It is necessary a philosophy of growth and for this we need to increase the expenses the enough for this.

10.Do you think that the economic aids to the financial institution will be enough?

I think that they should be enough, but we don’t have to forget that there are good, medium and bad Banks. And we don’t have to put them in the same basket. Because sometimes a rotten apple could affect the whole batch.

By Patricia Martínez Vicent

First meeting between Merkel and the new French president François Hollande

Patricia Martínez,Rafael López, Alejandra Rojo and Isidoro Arriola

 

The president of France has been received in his first state visit after his investiture , by Angela Merkel in Berlin today, after he arrived, they have a meeting to deal the most important matter of their mandate, for example the Greek  situation has been the most common theme.

The meeting has been preceded by several tensions between the different parties, the socialist political parties think that Merkel can’t decide the future of Europe, and Merkel think that Europe have a single currency and this leads a series of common responsibilities.

It was thought that after 17 years without being elected the French socialist party, maybe Hollande will take advantage of this new cycle in Europe and could make a particular ¨war¨ with Merkel, although it could be a little risky ,but despite the problems that it had been raised about the differences between them, finally they have agreed in many  things, for example that Greece should be continue in the euro zone and they are going to help in order to grow back the country, because Greece is a country that belongs to the European Union and the other countries have to help and find solutions, despite of what happened in Greece few days go about  the failure intention in the negotiations to form a new government, after the elections of may 6 .

They are aware that their countries are major powers ,and this have responsibilities in order  to be able to find among all , solutions to support the growth, in order to  gain more dynamism without leaving the rigor.

Few days ago Merkel has already declared again that the fiscal policy will remain unchanged, but Hollande won the elections with other opposite thought, in favor the growth and he opposes the austerity, and Merkel preached.

After all this Merkel has received to Hollande in Berlin, with all the formalities, where Hollande has been willing to negotiate the fiscal pact, although it won´t change, but he wants to add something more, to support the growth, that will be studied in more detail the next May 23.

The two powers have always been for decades the shaft of the European Union and also the initiator of its integration, like when Sarkozy and Merkel began, they had serious differences but more later they were be able to cooperate as a ¨team¨. And is following the same line with Hollande in the power.

Despite the rejection of change the fiscal pact that was signed by 25 countries of the European Union and already ratified by Portugal and Greece, Merkel has ceded to complete the pact a little bit with stimulus measures to boost growth, but without being subsidized with new credits.

Hollande has been proposed several point in order to resolve the crisis like strengthen the role of the European bank in terms of investment, issuing European debt to finance projects on infrastructure, also include a tax in financial transactions and encourage the payment of the structural funds that are still pending.

After all the expectancy generated, has not been so bad, nobody expected or almost nobody expected that the first meeting between Merkel and Hollande was so productive.

Interviewing Maria Christodolou

I have interviewed Maria Christodolou, 30 years old, Greek backgrounds, an English teacher that is working in an academy (Windsor Idiomas, Mirasierra, Madrid) in Madrid since 2009. She left London to come here and she would like to be an English teacher in a public school. We talked about education in Spain, her expectations of the future and her difficulties to adapt to the Spanish way of life.

Why are you living in Spain?Image

Because I don’t like the work mentality in London and I prefer a more relaxed mentality. Also, I believe there is a better quality of life here in Spain. And I prefer to get paid less and live better. Sun, food, lots of holidays (puentes , fiestas etc…)

Why did you choose Madrid?

I was going to go to Barcelona originally but I didn’t know anyone there. I knew a couple people in Madrid and as I don’t drive the transport seem fairly easy to use when I came on holiday here to visit friends. Furthermore, when I came on holiday here I liked it and could see my self living here.

Did you find it hard to integrate with Spanish people?

Yes and No. It took me a while to make close friends but I found it easy to meet people.

What obstacles have you come across?

The language barrier. As I work so much, I don’t have time for classes and I find that sometimes the Spanish can be a bit intimidating when trying to speak Spanish to them if you don’t speak it very well. I felt a little judged. But that could also be a character defect of mine and maybe I should have been more confident at the start.

Do you want to be a teacher or are you doing it just because of language limitations for other jobs?

I realised I wanted to be a teacher when I was 23. I really enjoy it and I hate the cooperate world. Even if my Spanish was perfect I would still be a teacher.

Is this a good moment to be a teacher in Spain?

Yes, it is. Everybody is finding is difficult to find work so they are all taking up English classes so they can look for jobs abroad.

Do you think the economic crisis is helping teachers?

Yes I believe so, people are being forced to develop their skills as there is very little work out there. I’m not sure if teachers would make so much money when the crisis is over but maybe it wouldn’t affect them in the future as people will have more money and more free time to have English classes.

 What were you doing in England before you came?

I worked for DEFRA ( Department for Food and Rural Affairs) and DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) I was not politically involved I was just a Facilities Manager. Which means I ran a government building.

What did you study?

I am a three time college drop out. However, when I was 23 and realised I wanted to teach. I did the CELTA course which is ‘to teach English as a foreign Language.’ This would enable me to work anywhere in the world without speaking the language of the country I would be in and at the time I wanted to travel too.

How do you see the future of education in Spain?

It is very good compared to the rest. They are definitely taking a step in the right direction by making all their high schools bilingual. However, in regards to universities, I believe the standard is great but they are reducing there standards and adapting to and international system. On the one hand this is good because internationally this will work so that everyone is on the same page but on the other hand Spain is reducing their level of education which means the students do less years and study less things. This, I don’t is a good thing. In fact, through out history, I believe education is being ‘dumbed down’ year after year.

What do you think about the pay cuts in the educational system?

Spanish students have a lot of help in comparation to England. However should be another area to deduct money from. If these pay cuts are implemented less people would be able to study and others would leave the universities because they can afford it. The state has the responsabilty of support the good students motivating them in this difficult times.

Do you think that the Spanish educational systems makes it easy for people like your self to become a teacher in the public sector?

Well, in my case it has been very difficult as I do not have a degree. In England if I wanted to go to uni and I’m over 30, I could enter with the experience I have but in Spain I have to do the bachillerato first before entering which makes it very difficult. And if I want to do the oposiciones I’ve been told it’s near impossible to pass and then find a placement, even for a Spanish person. Nevertheless I will take my chance and still do my best to succeed and do the oposiciones.

Why do you think Spanish people are not interested in learning English?

Well, First of all, I disagree with the question, I think many people in Spain want to learn English and it’s becoming compulsory if you want to get a job these days due to the crisis we are living in. Even people who had no interest in English what so ever, are starting to study English.

How did you find your job in the academy?

I applied to many advertisements online and in newspapers etc…. I had a couple interview and got this one which I’m very happy with. It’s a little far out but worth the travel as I’ve heard many horror stories about other academies.

Is it stable?

Not really, As we go by the timetable of the students we don’t have work in the summer and have to save up to survive. Now I can do this, but when I am 50 I don’t think It will  be able to do all the hours I do now. Which is why I need to study more.

By: Isidoro Arriola