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Posted on on October 6th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

From: Emma Ruby-Sachs –  —-  avaaz at

The World vs Wall Street.

Thousands of Americans have non-violently occupied Wall St — an epicentre of global financial power and corruption. They are the latest ray of light in a new movement for social justice that is catching fire from Madrid to Jerusalem to NY, but they need our help to succeed.

The protesters are calling for real democracy that serves the people instead of corrupt interests who have captured the government. But they are under severe pressure from authorities, and the media is dismissing them as a small group of young extremists. If millions of us from across the world stand with them, we’ll boost their resolve and show the media that they represent a massive global movement for change.

This year could be our century’s 1968, but this time it must be a movement of all citizens, not just a few. Click to join the call for real democracy — a giant live counter of every one of us who signs the petition will be erected in the center of the occupation in New York, and live webcasted on the petition page:

The Wall Street protests, and others emerging across the US and the world are the latest chapter in this year’s global people power story. In Egypt, people took over Tahrir Square and toppled their dictator. In India, one man’s fast brought millions onto the streets and the government to its knees — winning real action to end corruption. For months, Greek citizens relentlessly protested unfair cuts to public spending. In Spain, thousands of “indignados” defied a ban on pre-election demonstrations and mounted a protest camp in Sol square to speak out against political corruption and the government’s handling of the economic crisis. And this summer across Israel, people have built “tent cities” to protest against the rising costs of housing and for social justice.

From a distance, these national stories of dissent may seem disconnected. But when you look closely, it’s undeniable that a common thread is slowly weaving its way across the planet — people are worn down by a global economic crisis and have had enough of bad government and even worse policies devised by the corporations that pull their strings. Right now, their is a symphony for change echoing across the world.

Let’s join and build this movement today and bring all of our national stories together behind each country’s call for real democracy.  Avaaz will bring a giant live counter to the tent city in New York:

In every uprising, from Cairo to New York, the call for an accountable government that serves the people is clear, and our global community has backed that people power across the world wherever it has broken out. We know how powerful we are when we unite across borders with one voice. It’s time for an end to captured leaders who answer to the richest tiny few, it’s time for a global movement for real leadership, real accountability and real democracy.

With hope,
the Avaaz team



Demonstrations in Spain protest political parties and economic crisis (Washington Post)

Israel uprising: Beginning of an end (Press TV)”>

Greece protests austerity measures (Washington Post)

Occupy Wall St – online resources for the occupation

Occupy Wall St primer (Washington Post)


Posted on on September 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Analysis / Crises with Turkey and Egypt represent a political tsunami for Israel. The political crisis has become a reality well before the Palestinians declare their independent state, writes Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn, leaving Israel isolated in facing Iran, Turkey and Egypt.
By Aluf Benn
HAARETZ online, September 10, 2010
The anxiety caused by the Arab Spring among the Israeli public became a reality this weekend, when protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and expelled the Israeli diplomats from their country.
The embassy staff’s urgent evacuation in a special IAF plane in the wake of President Obama’s intervention is a stark reminder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Seven months after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egyptian protesters tore to shreds the Israeli flag, a symbol of peace between Egypt and its eastern neighbor, after 31 years. It seems that the flag will not return to the flagstaff anytime soon.
The historians who will write about the collapse of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty will start their stories during the twilight years of the Mubarak regime, when the government gradually lost control over the Sinai Peninsula, turning the desert into an abandoned frontier of weapons smuggling, human trafficking, and African refugees.
The demilitarization agreements, which removed the Egyptian army from Sinai and were slowly eroded following Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, have accelerated sharply in the last several months. Time after time, Egypt requested and received permission to “temporarily” deploy more troops and weaponry along the border, in order to restore order and security in the region.
For the Egyptians, this was an opportunity to shake off the limitations imposed on them by the peace agreement, and regain their full sovereignty over the buffer zone that lies between the Suez Canal and the Negev.
In the 70s, when the peace accords were signed, the Egyptian military’s presence in Sinai posed a great security threat. Now, Egyptian soldiers seem like the lesser evil and an antidote to the much larger threat of a political and security vacuum across the border.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned that the Sinai Peninsula will turn into a larger version of the Gaza Strip, full of weapons and launching pads aimed at Israeli territory. The fence that Israel is building along the Egyptian border is intended to ensure routine security measures aimed at preventing terrorists and refugees from spilling over the border. Israel will not be able to handle the strategic dangers that are bound to unfold on the other side.
The “embassy crisis” exploded in the wake of the killing of five Egyptian soldiers on August 18 during a border skirmish that came on the heels of a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians on their way to Eilat.
The Tahrir protesters and Egyptian politicians, frustrated with the slow pace of regime change, have directed their anger toward the most hated target in Cairo – the Israeli Embassy. Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s public expression of regret, and the Israeli promises to cooperate with Egypt in investigating the incident did not interest the Egyptian public.
The protests continued, and a week after the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Ankara on similar grounds – anger stemming from the killing of Turkish citizens aboard last year’s Gaza flotilla – the Israeli ambassador was expelled from Cairo. The only difference is that in Turkey, the government initiated the downgrading of ties, while in Egypt the people did so against the will of their rulers.
Netanyahu and his government have prided themselves on their steadfast commitment to national ideals, and the prime minster is convinced that he was right in refusing to apologize to the Turks for killing their citizens. According to his perspective, the Arab world scrutinizes Israel’s actions, and an apology to Turkey would be interpreted as a sign of unforgivable weakness.
But Netanyahu was not content with merely refusing to apologize. Instead of attempting to calm the conflict with Turkey, Israel was dragged into a dangerous battle with Ankara.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to send a Turkish naval fleet to accompany the next flotillas to Gaza, and Netanyahu responded with a widely-covered visit to an Israeli naval base. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who consistently outflanks Netanyahu from the right, suggests, publicly, that Israel aid the PKK Kurdish insurgency, in order to balance out Turkey’s support for Hamas.
Netanyahu and Lieberman are heroes of the media, but when the chips are down, it turns out that Israel has direct influence on Egypt. Thus, Netanyahu must resort to asking for help from Obama, his great opponent, in order to evacuate the embassy employees. Once again, it becomes clear that Israel cannot manage without help from the United States.
Netanyahu now hopes that Israel might be able to get close with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who also seek to block the possibility of an Arab Spring in the region. In the West, Netanyahu is hoping to circumvent Turkey by strengthening ties with Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. During his visit to the Balkans, he was shown photos and statues of national heros, sent to their deaths by the Ottoman Empire. A real basis for friendship.
These are but minor comforts. The political tsunami that Ehud Barak foresaw has come true prior to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in the UN. Israel is left isolated facing Iran, Turkey and Egypt, which in the past were considered close allies. Netanyahu is convinced that the Arab Spring uprisings are a decree of fate, leaving Israel with little to do but to stand firmly in its place.
Israel cannot prevent the rise of Erdogan or the fall of Mubarak, the same way that it cannot halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The fall of the American superpower is not Netanyahu’s fault. But he has not done a thing to mitigate the fallout from the aforementioned developments. Israel’s political and strategic positions are far worse under his leadership.

“Beyond Cairo, Israel Sensing a Wider Siege”

With its Cairo embassy ransacked, its ambassador to Turkey expelled and the Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the United Nations, Israel found itself on Saturday increasingly isolated and grappling with a radically transformed Middle East where it believes its options are limited and poor. The diplomatic crisis, in which winds unleashed by the Arab Spring are now casting a chill over the region, was crystallized by the scene of Israeli military jets sweeping into Cairo at dawn on Saturday to evacuate diplomats after the Israeli Embassy had been besieged by thousands of protesters.

It was an image that reminded some Israelis of Iran in 1979, when Israel evacuated its embassy in Tehran after the revolution there replaced an ally with an implacable foe.


Posted on on September 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

We were informed of a Press Briefing

at the Vienna International Cenre, Thursday, September 8, 2011, 1:30 p.m. on

Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alps.

This was to be about: The main results and outcomes achieved under the CLISP Project “Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alpine area” will be discussed at the CLISP international final conference organized by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Federal Environment Agency Austria, held at the Vienna International Centre at that date – on 8 September 2011, at which the Head of the UNEP Vienna Office, Harald Egerer, stressed the importance of the particular study as a platform for the development of an integrated, transnational approach toward adaptation to impacts of climate change in the highly sensitive area of the Alps.

It also said  at the margins of the Conference, high level representatives from the European Union, the Alpine Convention and Austrian agencies will take part at the Press Briefing with the purpose of illustrating present and future strategies to tackle negative effect of climate change in the Alpine space.
Speakers include:

Rosario Bento Pais
DG Climate Action, European Commission

Andre Jol
Head of vulnerability group, European Environment Agency

Marco Onida
Secretary General, Alpine Convention

George Reberning
Managing Director, Federal Environment Agency Austria


Having shown interest, later we also received a Press Release:

Climate Change Adaptation by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space.

VIENNA, 8 September (UN Information Service) – One hundred participants from the Alpine States have gathered today at the Vienna International Centre to discuss the main results and outcomes achieved under the Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space Project (CLISP). Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Federal Environment Agency Austria, the CLISP Final Conference was opened with a video-message from UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.
Climate change is expected to affect spatial development in the Alpine Space, including land use, socio-economic activities and life-sustaining ecosystems services more severely than in other European regions. Temperature increase, decreasing snow cover and more severe weather extremes could cause a variety of adverse climate change impacts. Growing risks from water scarcity, heat waves and natural
hazards might threaten settlements, physical infrastructure, utilities, material assets and human lives.
Vulnerability assessment:
Funded under the EU Alpine Space Programme, the CLISP Project in its three years focused on the challenges to spatial planning in the face of climate change. The 16 CLISP partner organizations have analyzed ten Alpine model regions according to their vulnerability to climate change. Results have shown that regions, which are already sensitive to the climate extremes, are expected to be the most vulnerable regions also in the future. Even though technical measures are mostly well implemented “soft” adaptation strategies like a proper “climate-proof” spatial planning, better coordination of actions within institutions, and better risk-communication are often missing.
Climate change fitness of spatial planning systems analyzed:
The investigation of the “climate change fitness” of spatial planning systems has shown that there are already strong formal planning instruments and important informal practices at hand that could be used to respond to climate change and to coordinate cross-sectoral adaptation activities. Nevertheless, climate adaptation needs to be addressed more directly and defined as an objective of spatial planning in legislation and other frameworks.
Transnational Planning Strategy:
One of the main outcomes of the CLISP project is the Transnational Planning Strategy (TPS) that is mainly aimed at policymakers, decision-makers and political actors in spatial planning in the Alpine space as a decision-making tool for the development of suitable adaptation strategies and actions in response to climate change.
Strategic project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning:
The findings of the CLISP project as well as the pan-European perspectives of climate change adaptation have been discussed with representatives from the European Commission – Directorate General for Regional Policy, Directorate General for Climate Action, the Alpine Convention, the European Environment Agency as well as with participants from other international institutions attending the CLISP final conference.
CLISP Project is a pioneering project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning. Its outcomes are not only of strategic relevance for the coordinated development of climate change adaptation policies in the Alpine region, but with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme the CLISP results and experience can also be shared with other mountain regions, such as the Carpathians, Balkans and the Himalaya region.
The CLISP project can be found at
For more information please contact:

Giulia Sechi
UNEP Vienna – Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060 – 4454
Email: giulia.sechi[at]


At the Press Conference there were just two journalists – myself and the Vienna editor for an industry magazine 4C, Ms. Margarette Endl who came as a guest of the organizers of what turned out to have been the “graduating” event – the release of the final documents of this stage inthe CLISP Project.

Other people in the room were part of the conference and thus asked no questions. Ms. Endl asked questions on the basis of her attendance at the morning session.
I ended up asking on the base of my general interest in the subject, and learned that since the three poles concept the subject has evolved, and I have now much more to learn about the mountain regions. As evidence of this large area – I already posted several items today based on other sources of information.

Coincidently, years ago, I was present when Ambassador Dr. Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl  introduced for Austria and UNIDO the subject of Mountain Regions to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. At the UN Mountains were always a synonym to the Himalayas like deserts, arid and semiarid lands are a synonym to Africa – but she was already then speaking about Austria and the Alps. Now the subject has evolved and we speak of regions within this large area previously included in the Alpine region.

I mentioned the three poles where the Himalayas are the third pole – and asked if we should talk now of five poles – including the Alps and the Andes – while leaving out the lesser areas like the mountains of New Zealand – because the region is rather small or Africa where the melting of the snows of Kilimanjaro has sort of eliminated the problem. I knew this was a rather provocative question and got a very good answer from Mr. Pier Carlo Sandei where he explained that the mountain regions are not just about the disappearance of the glaciers – but rather about the moving up of vegetation lines – thus a general  changing in the nature in the mountains because of Climate Change and other reasons. This is a general UNEP interest and the subject has progressed through a series of Conventions.

I stayed for the afternoon sessions that were chaired by Ms. Sabine McCallum, the department head for the subjects of Environment Impact Assessment & Climate Change of the Austrian Department of the Environment. she was actually the head of the project and her Minister – Helmut Hojesky, Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, and Water Management, was the main speaker at the High-Level Panel Discussion: “Taking action towards climate-proof spatial development – What is the way forward?”

Others on the panel were Thomas Probst, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment; Rosario Benito Pais and Jose Ruiz de Casas, both from the European Commission one from  Climate Action and the other from Regions; Andre Jol, Head of group Vulnerability and Adaptation, European Environment Agency; and Marco Onida, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention.

What happened here was that the area of the Alpine Convention has been divided into 10 regions that the study dealt with separately. It is obvious that the problems of the Swiss Alps that are dedicated mainly to tourism are very different from the problems in the newer members of the EU from the Balkans and the Carpathian regions where there are also States that do not belong to the EU altogether. The project did not just reshuffle data – but produced data and starts proposing plans of action – this being the ultimate goal of the project that after being absorbed by the States involved – will then be continued in order to come up with further plans of action.

We were told not to forget mitigation. While adaptation is a defense for the countries here – if there are no tangible results on mitigation here and elsewhere – there will be need for more adaptation in the future.

The European Commission told us that CLIMATE ACTION is now a new DG (that means a Department with Department Head and Stuff and a mandate to act). All these studies and Plans of Axtion will be under this department.

THE minister said that his people learn the Swiss and German experience – AND WE HAVE TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE – BECAUSE IT WILL HAPPEN – WHATEVER WE DO.

UNEP declared that they are here because they want to learn from the A-B-C … the Alps, Balkans, Carpathian regions. The countries that were parts of Yugoslavia and Albania have lot of historic experience but having become independent of each other, whatever centralized poiicy there was it is now worse – there is no communication between them. Cooperation is needed and this project provides a unified platform and future regional adaptation. The Balkan region is actually a Balkan and Dinaric Arc Region that covers the Adriatic Coast.

So far as Vienna goes – as always – it finds itself in the middle – this time in the middle between the Alps and the Carpatians with the “B” region to the South.

There was the need for a Carpathian Convention in addition to the Alpine Convention. The Carpathian Convention includes The Ukraine and Serbia that are not part of the EU. 66% of the Carpathian region is still covered with forests – this provides extra-potential to preserve biodiversity, landscape and quality of air.

Pier Carlo Sandei spoke of SUSTAINABLE GROWTH in the context of the 21st Century – rather then the 20th Century. He gave me the feeling that Sustainable Growth as understood earlier is a no=no today when we must think of TRANSNATIONAL REGIONS that will aim by 2020 to be sustained by 20% Sustainable Energy.

He also used in the summary the conclusion: MITIGATION IS GLOBAL – ADAPTATION IS LOCAL & REGIONAL. One will have to look at climate costs – if you invest or you do not invest. This reminds us of the situation that compares the way industry looks at their strategy to answer CO2 emissions decrease requirements.

If you do something overseas – you get the credits and you can apply the full amount right now – but if you reduce your own emissions at home, you do not get the immediate full credit – you rather get the credit apportioned for the long range of the project – and that is what sends corporations to buy credits overseas. AHA! You Kyoto Protocol; affectionados – hear it from us = we warned you that the system never made sense!


Looking at the nice collection of material I took along – I would like to give here references for the benefit of our readers:

A – ALPINE CONVENTION, 2nd efition, January 2011, Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria with a branch office in Bolzano-Bosen, Italy.

B – BALKAN VITAL GRAPHICS – Environment Without Borders. Published by UNEP/GRID=Arendal in 2007. It was backed by Austria and canada and was used as part of the Belgrade October 10-12, 2001 Ministerial Conference on Building Bridges To The Future Environment For Europe. It deals with mining, water and nature.

C – A COLLECTION ON THE CARPATHIAN CONVENTION, material prepared for the Second Convention of the Parties, Bucharest, June 17-19, 2008. Published in
Bolzano, Italy.  —– This material was followed by the Carpathian Project headed by Mr. Harald Egerer of UNEP Vienna. … Harald.Egerer@unvienna  … The Partners to the project are institutions from Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, The Ukraine.


Posted on on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

AP – Turkish PM to visit Egypt, Tunisia, Libya.

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press – September 7, 2011.

An official says Turkey’s prime minister is planning to visit Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, where popular uprisings have ousted autocratic leaders.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was already scheduled to visit Egypt, starting on Sept. 12. But a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday trips to Tunisia and Libya “are also on the agenda.” He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the ministry’s rules.

Erdogan has said he intends to also cross into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, but it was not clear if that trip would go ahead.

Erdogan’s tour comes at a time as ties between Turkey and its former ally Israel have deteriorated further over Israel’s refusal to apologize for last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.


Turkey: Warships Will Back Next Gaza Flotilla – Sami Aboudi
“Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Prime Minister Erdogan said in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Thursday.
Erdogan also vowed to stop Israel from exploiting natural resources in the Mediterranean. “You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas in the Mediterranean….You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and holding fast to the right to monitor international waters in the east Mediterranean,” he said. (Reuters)


Posted on on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

You cannot leave the EURO but you can be expelled from the EURO says a
European Central Bank Legal Study from 2009. The Spanish European
Commissioner lashes out at Germany and The Netherlands leaders of the
CORE EUROZONE States that invoked recently this sort of ideas.

a. Brussels: ‘No one can leave the euro’ – 08/09/2011 17:34:05
The European Commission has insisted that no member of the eurozone can
leave the single currency. However, a European Central Bank legal study
from 2009 argues that while voluntary withdrawal is legally not possible,
expulsion remains “conceivable”.


b.  Spanish commissioner lashes out at core eurozone states –
09/09/2011 09:18:14
Spain’s European commissioner has lashed out at core eurozone states in the
wake of suggestions from the Netherlands and Germany that heavily indebted
members of the single currency could be booted out of the club.


The International Herald Tribune as distributed in Europe – on September 6, 2011 had two large front page articles dealing with the Euro zone that make it clear that the deep belief is that Europe willl not solve its problems without looking like the USA. So – to solve the EUROZONE there must be a structural change that will bring the EU to have something like the US Constitution that replaced the weak Articles of Confederation that were not enough as it was shown by the civil war and the demise of the initial union of the 13.

The articles are:

(1)  the News Analysis – “To Break Logjam, E.U. veers towards U.S. model” – by Louise Story and Matthew Saltmarsh.

(2) from Paris – “Euro Zone admonished to act with one voice” – by Liz Alderman and James Kanter.


Posted on on September 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Greece: Desperately Seeking Solar

The sun-soaked, cash-poor country sees solar as an economic salve.


The USSMI Logo

Please look at the link for figures from the The Helenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies…

Greece just unveiled an audacious plan to make the country a haven for the installation of solar systems with a robust interconnection to the rest of the continent. Debt-laden Greece would lease out state land to investors in order to generate cash.

Greece’s Environment Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said the plan would cost approximately $28 billion for a targeted capacity of 10 gigawatts of solar power generation, according to an articlein ekathimerini covering the Minister’s speech at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany this week. A Reuters article laid out the timeline for “Project Helios” as 2.2 gigawatts by 2020 and 10 gigawatts by 2050 with Greece eventually becoming an exporter of renewable energy.

Papaconstantinou said that return on investment would be more rapid because of Greece’s strong sun and that the government would speed installation by easing licensing obstacles.

According to The Helenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, Greece had 150 megawatts of solar installed in 2010 and expects that to double that in 2011. The country has some of the highest feed-in-tariffs in the world.


Posted on on July 20th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Can Greeks Become Germans?
Thomas L. Friedman
Published in The New York Times, July 19, 2011
Katerina Sokou, 37, a Greek financial journalist at Kathimerini, a daily newspaper, told me this story: A group of German members of the Bavarian Parliament came to Athens shortly after the economic crisis erupted here and met with some Greek politicians, academics, journalists and lawyers at a taverna to evaluate the Greek economy. Sokou said her impression was that the Germans were trying to figure out whether they should be lending money to Greece for a bailout. It was like one nation interviewing another for a loan. “They were not here as tourists; we were giving data on how many hours we work,” recalled Sokou. “It really felt like we had to persuade them about our values.”
Sokou’s observation reminded me of a point made to me by Dov Seidman, the author of the book “How” and the C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies build ethical business cultures. The globalization of markets and people has intensified to a new degree in the last five years, with the emergence of social networking, Skype, derivatives, fast wireless connectivity, cheap smartphones and cloud computing. “When the world is bound together this tightly,” argued Seidman, “everyone’s values and behavior matter more than ever, because they impact so many more people than ever. …We’ve gone from connected to interconnected to ethically interdependent.”
As it becomes harder to shield yourself from the other guy’s irresponsible behavior, added Seidman, both he and you had better behave more responsibly — or you both will suffer the consequences, whether you did anything wrong or not. This is doubly true when two different countries share the same currency but not the same government.
That’s why this story is not just about interest rates. It’s about values. Germans are now telling Greeks: “We’ll loan you more money, provided that you behave like Germans in how you save, how many hours a week you work, how long a vacation you take, and how consistently you pay your taxes.”
Alas, though, these two countries are so culturally different. They remind you of a couple about whom you ask after their divorce: “How did the two of them ever think they could be married?”
Germany is the epitome of a country that made itself rich by making stuff. Greece, alas, after it joined the European Union in 1981, actually became just another Middle East petro-state — only instead of an oil well, it had Brussels, which steadily pumped out subsidies, aid and euros with low interest rates to Athens.
Natural resources create corruption, as groups compete for who controls the tap. That is exactly what happened in Greece when it got access to huge Euro-loans and subsidies. The natural entrepreneurship of Greeks was channeled in the wrong direction — in a competition for government funds and contracts. To be sure, it wasn’t all squandered. Greece had a real modernization spurt in the 1990s. But after 2002, it put its feet up, thinking it had arrived, and too much “Euro-oil” from the European Union went back to financing a corrupt, patrimonial system whereby politicians dispensed government jobs and projects to localities in return for votes. This reinforced a huge welfare state, where young people dreamed of a cushy government job and everyone from cabdrivers to truckers to pharmacists to lawyers was allowed to erect barriers to entry that artificially inflated prices.

European Union membership “was a big opportunity for development, and we wasted it,” explained Dimitris Bourantas, a professor of management at Athens University. “We also did not take advantage of the markets of the [formerly] socialist countries around Greece. And we also did not take advantage of the growth of the global economy. We lost them all because the political system was focused on growing public administration — not on [fostering] entrepreneurship, competition or industrial strategy or competitive advantages. We created a state with big inefficiencies, corruption and a very large bureaucracy. We were the last Soviet country in Europe.”
That is why, he added, that Greeks, when they move to the U.S., “unleash their skills and entrepreneurship” in ways that enable them to thrive in commerce. But here in Greece, the system encourages just the opposite. Investors here tell you that the red tape involved in starting a new business is overwhelming. It’s crazy; Greece is the only country in the world where Greeks don’t behave like Greeks. Their welfare state, financed by Euro-oil, has bred it out of them.
With the decline of Beirut and Dubai, Athens should have become the service center of the Eastern Mediterranean. Instead, Cyprus and Istanbul seized that role. Greece must not waste this crisis. While it has instituted some reforms in the last year, Prime Minister George Papandreou said to me, “What is most frustrating is the resistance in the system. How do you produce a change in culture?”
It will take a cultural revolution. And that can happen only if Greece’s two major parties come together, hold hands, and collectively force through a radical change in the governing culture from the top down. Without that, Greece will never be able to pay back its loans.


Posted on on July 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

The banks are squeezing their profits from vulnerable citizens; the drug companies pushing addiction to fatten their profits; the cable monopoly and phone company rip-off artists; the defense contractors who want us to be constantly at war. Sure it is easy to be pessimistic. But only when we know how serious things are, the depth of corporate corruption, and adopt a kick-ass attitude toward it all, do we stand a chance. That’s the new optimism  – the optimism of outrage.

Is it this what sends the Greeks to the streets, the Wisconsin firemen to speak up, the US and Europe public to simmer, and a local form of this OPTIMISM OF OUTRAGE  started the Arab Middle Class revolt?
In the Consortium News of June 28, 2011 we found the following by  Robert Parry:
If Ayn Rand and the Free Market Fetishists Were Right, We’d be Living in a Golden Age — Does This Look Like a Golden Age to You? The lavish rewards flowing to the titans of industry have not exactly transformed society into a vibrant force for beneficial progress.
After all, it has been faith in “free-market economics” as a kind of secular religion that has driven U.S. government policies – from the emergence of Ronald Reagan through the neo-liberalism of Bill Clinton into the brave new world of House Republican budget chairman Paul Ryan….
To read this in full – please go to:


Posted on on June 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

This lady replaces her country-man the disgraced Dominique Gaston André StraussKahn. She got prepared for the job while handling Euro’s crisis with Greece which is indeed the crises of Europe’s banks that are over-exposed to debt of the members of the EU.

The news these days in Europe is China’s move to buy Euro-debt and thus buy up European assets as well. This makes China a growing player in Europe’s financial system, as they already are in Latin America and Africa, not talking about the US itself. China will thus play the role of the IMF directly, and by gaining increasing power at the IMF as well.

China does this for many reasons but it is not the least of these reasons its Attempt to strengthen the world financial boat just to make sure that european banks do not go under. China needs them in order to keep growing worldwide while develop its own country internally.

With Ms. Lagarde’s appointment for 5 years, and doing what is needed while backing EU laggards, it seems just reasonable that next time around, or even at next year’s election of a new head of the World Bank, the major emerging States might feel strong enough to pick a choice that is different from what the old Transatlantic Alliance heads of State have in their   traditional minds formed at San Francisco in 1945 and later at Lake Success on Long Island, just outside New York City.


Posted on on June 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

The World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia will be held in Vienna, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday June 7-9, 2011.

Vienna, Austria: venue for Euro World Economic Forum

Above is the Vienna venue for the WEF meeting – the place will be surrounded by security forces to make it sure the place does not turn into a demonstrators haven. Vienna just survived attacks by German hooligans that came over to accompany the German soccer team playing the Austrians. Papers called them neo-Nazis making the Hitler salute. But those were just one segment of a possible barrage by protesters invoking financial reasons for disaffection with the EU, the US, and the results of government sponsored capitalism. Seattle comes to mind of what Vienna might look in a few days.

So, Schengen or no Schengen Austria took note of Denmark closing its borders for immigration reasons and closed its borders as well for Global Economics reasons as per this conference. In the Europe of today – what this means is that vehicles at border crossings will form long lines and have delays with border police checking papers. Same at airports, train crossings and boat landings. What do you do with those crossing on foot on village roads? Oh well – solutions will be found for them too and the idea of a united Europe is out the window because of mutual mistrust. How do you decide that someone is unwanted? Do you check their tatoos or haircuts? Do you have a policy discussion with them or take the example from Turkey and look up past records that made them deny to former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik her job as head of the OSCE – Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Will they let in UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, if he decides to show up, considering his leniency on UN member States positions on Human Rights? He will have declared his running for reappointment to his position for a new term by the beginning of the week and might indeed find this conference as a good venue for a revisit. He was years ago Korea’s Ambassador to Vienna and has friendly relations to Austria.

The Kronen Zeitung of Sunday June 5th carries two revealing pieces of “Readers Mail” that stress the difference between Denmark and Austria. In both cases the argument goes that Denmark is closing its borders in order to safeguard its own citizens from the effects of migration caused by the events in the Arab World, in the Austrian case this happens always – the Austrian taxpayers’ money is used in order to safeguard foreign political and economic leaders and nothing is done when the issue is the security of the Austrian citizen. This comment hides the fact that Austria is suffering from bands of EU citizens from Eastern countries that come to enrich themselves from break-ins here but nothing is done to check their entree. Oh well, what do you do with the fiction of this Union?

The above mention of the closing of Austria’s borders officially is because of the  June meeting of the World Economic Forum will convene more than 500 leaders from business, government and civil society to discuss policies and reforms aimed at their views of rebalancing the global economy.

The diverse yet highly interdependent economies of Europe and Central Asia have reached a critical juncture, according to experts at the World Economic Forum.

While the advanced economies of the European Union are experiencing fiscal austerity and slower growth, emerging economies further east and in Central Asia are grappling with the pressures of rapid growth.

In addition to these regional challenges, Europe and Central Asia must respond to far-reaching global events such as the ‘Arab Spring’ and the earthquake in Japan.

The objective of the Vienna meeting is set out in the statement from the European Commission’s Communication on Innovation Union: “Europe’s competitiveness, our capacity to create millions of new jobs to replace those lost in the financial crisis and, overall, our future standard of living depend on our ability to drive innovation in products, services, business and social processes and models,” it says.

Will the Washington of President Obama push for a similar meeting between the USA and the fast growing economies of Latin America – the backyard in the Western Hemisphere ?


The Underground open protests are being organized:

Attack WEF summit in Vienna, Austria, June 2011!
Smash imperialism and all its institutions!

please see:…


Posted on on June 5th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

I went today to XANADU as per an email invitation that promised this is a Chinese restaurant – and so it was.

The place is frequented by Chinese people and the food is General Asian. It has a well stocked Teppanyaki self-choice buffet, soup, vegetables, fruit, and a good choice of deserts. It is beyond the Naschmarkt at the U4 stop at Kettenbruekengasse 13, 1060 Wien.

From there I took the subway to the Am Hoff Square to see those preparations for events next week that will be open to the public. It promises fun.

XANADU to me had magical-mystic connotations. After all the name had meanings with the Citizen Caine – his fictitious mansion, with Bill Gates – Xanadu 2.0, the nickname of his futuristic private estate, as well as Mandrake the Magician‘s fictitious home. XANADU is also  a mountain in the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska and an enigmatic bright feature on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

XANADU/XANGDU thus migrated to all sorts of places, to Spain, Brazil, and outer space but what I learned looking up the internet it actually originated from China – Xanadu, or more accurately Shangdu, was the summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan empire – so, to my honest surprise – it really has Chinese connotations – a reference to the past and a guide to the future ?


From Wikipedia at :

Xanadu (Chinese??pinyinShàngd?) was the summer capital of Kublai Khan‘s Yuan Dynasty in China, before he decided to move the seat of his dynasty to the Jin Dynasty capital of Zh?ngd? (Chinese??), which he renamed Dàd?the present-day Beijing. The city was located in what is now called Inner Mongolia, 275 kilometres (171 miles) north of Beijing, about 28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of the modern town of Duolun. The layout of the capital is roughly square shaped with sides of about 2,200m; it consists of an “Outer City”, and an “Inner City” in the southeast of the capital which has also roughly a square layout with sides about 1,400m, and the palace, where Kublai Khan stayed in summer. The palace has sides of roughly 550m, covering an area of around 40% the size of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The most visible modern-day remnants are the earthen walls though there is also a ground-level, circular brick platform in the centre of the inner enclosure.

The city, originally named K?ipíng (??), was designed by Chinese architect Liu Bingzhong and built from 1252 to 1256 during the Mongol invasion.[1] In 1264 it was renamed Shàngd?, the “Supreme Capital”.[2] At its zenith, over 100,000 people lived within its walls. In 1369 Shàngd? was occupied by the Ming army and put to the torch. The last reigning Khan, Toghun Temür, fled the city.

Today, only ruins remain, surrounded by a grassy mound that was once the city walls. Since 2002 a reconstruction effort has been undertaken.

In March 2008, China submitted a proposal to UNESCO to make the ruin a World Heritage Site under the title “Sites of the Yuan Dynasty Upper Capital (Xanadu) and Middle Capital”.[3]

  1. ^ Shangdu city uncovered
  2. ^ Frederick W. Mote, Imperial China 900-1800,Harvard University Press, 2003 p.457
  3. ^


Whatever the story – I thought that the fill of Chinese food this Sunday will do me good this coming week.

As we posted already –…

Whatever will be decided there – it is clear that China will be called to finance it. In this context we found funny the news that 31 Chinese weddings were performed to couples at the Ludwig Castle in Bavaria – a neat inflow of money from China to Germany.
This in context of 20 times 10 to the 12th in EU and US Government debt (20 trillion) EURO – you guess how much of this to China. Will the Vienna meeting try to co-opt the Central Asian former Soviet Republics to stand with their oil at the EU side? We think that the best the economists will find in Vienna this coming week will be the Am Hoff activities including the Burgenland Wines and Beers.
In regard to what the papers started to call the “VERGURKUNG” of Europe – this is what happens when the internal disagreements about everything – from basic ideology to money  – is bursting in the open because of a serious series of infections by a mutant of Escherichia Coli. The situation is serious indeed and the New York Times editorial of today (…) is witness, but the articles in European Press are ridiculous because rather then trying to find the reason for the outbreak, we see attempts at trading blames and in seeking advantage for this or the other agriculture interest. Spain was crucified, but who looks into genetic engineering that might occur right under your own nose at home? Are there any transgressions when switching to Bio-products?

After talking Greece out of the Union – will some local interests want preventively to talk out of the union also Spain and Italy who indeed might pose much higher financial strains on the Union when their turn comes to default? Oh well – we will opt for XANADU.

Even though Matteo Ricci and Bento de Góis had already proven that Cathay is simply another name for China, the English cartographer John Speed in 1626 continued the tradition of showing “Cathaya, the Chief Kingdome of Great Cam” to the northeast of China. On his map, he placed Xandu east of the “Cathayan metropolis” Cambalu


Posted on on June 5th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Five reasons why Europe is cracking up.

by José Ignacio Torreblanca3 June 2011 on Open DEmocracy as…

This article was first published in the El Pais daily newspaper, 15/05/11

José Ignacio Torreblanca joined the European Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Madrid Office in September 2007.

He found that:

In Germany, France and Italy, but also in many other places, we find ourselves confronted with a generation of leaders ever more shortsighted and given over to electioneering: among them, none speak to Europe nor for Europe.

Denmark has reintroduced border controls with the populist excuse of controlling crime. By taking the step, the country that was once a model of democracy, tolerance and social justice has placed itself on the frontlines of a Europe that is increasingly surrendering to fear and xenophobia.

Greece, meanwhile, has spent more than a year teetering on a cliff edge and few fellow European governments seem disappointed that it may abandon the euro – some of them are even secretly supporting the markets against Athens.

Finland has thrown itself into the arms of xenophobic populism and, following in the footsteps of Slovakia, has refused to finance the bailout of Portugal.

With elections around the corner, France and Italy have taken advantage of the Tunisian uprising to restrict the free movement of people within the European Union.

And Germany, unhappy at managing the euro crisis amid regional elections, has broken ranks with France and the United Kingdom in the United Nations Security Council, ignoring the Libya crisis and undermining 10 years of European security policy.

With the future of the euro in doubt and the Arab world erupting, European leaders are governing on the basis of opinion polls and electoral processes, hanging on to power through any means possible even if that results in undoing the Europe that it took so much time and so many sacrifices to build. Few times in the past has the European project been so questioned and its disgraces so publicly exposed. It would seem that in the Europe of today, having a large xenophobic political party is obligatory.

The truth is that Europe is cracking up along four fault lines: its values, the euro, foreign policy and leadership.

If there is no radical change, the integration process could collapse, leaving the future of Europe as an economically and politically relevant entity up in the air.

If interested to read further on issues like:

A project without fuel

Crisis of values and political shortsightedness

The end of solidarity

Absent from the world

The rebellion of the elites

please go to the original:…

With every passing day, the sensation that Europe is fragmenting is more real and more justified. Can Europe break apart? The answer is evident: yes, of course it can. At the end of the day, the European Union is a human construction, not a celestial body. That it is necessary and beneficial justifies its existence, but that will not prevent it from disappearing. Just as a series of favorable circumstances led to the risky launch of this grand project, the unleashing of a series of adverse circumstances could very easily make it disappear, especially if those responsible for defending it shirk their responsibilities. Many committed pro-Europeans are conscious that the danger of Europe unravelling is very real, and they are duly worried about the course of events. However, at the same time, they fear that feeding pessimism with warnings of this nature could only serve to accelerate the collapse. But when, day after day, we see the red lines of decency and the values that Europe embodies being crossed by bigoted politicians who unscrupulously fuel the fears of citizens, it is impossible to continue looking the other way. Seeing the clarity of ideas and the determination with which the anti-Europeans pursue their objectives, it is hard to believe that mere optimism will be sufficient by itself to save Europe from the ghosts of doggedness, egoism and xenophobia that are haunting it at present. Without an equal level of determination and clarity of ideas from the other side, Europe will fail.


Posted on on May 30th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

I took advantage of the great Vienna summer weather and on Saturday jogged for 95 minutes to the end of a subway line, then took the subway back home. On my chair of the subway car I found the four pages print out of TANTE JOLESH.

Aunt Jolesh could be everybody’s aunt – you know her – the lovely person that speaks the truth and asks the nastiest questions – the person you try to avoid. Actually there is more to it and the web knows to tell us:

“From the turn of the century until 1938, the Viennese literary coffeehouse was known to foster a liberal, intellectual, and creative environment; a kind of “ersatz-home” for members of society seeking refuge from the establishment and its parochial mores. Most of all, it owed its renown to its Jewish literary denizens, who not only wrote and conducted affairs in the coffeehouse but also celebrated its unique atmosphere in their literature. Among these writers, including Peter Altenberg and Joseph Roth, it is Friedrich Torberg who stands out for having created the most thorough tribute to the coffeehouse world in his Tante Jolesch or the Decline of the West in Anecdotes, published for the first time in English this year (Ariadne Press, ISBN: 9781572411499).
In Austria, Tante Jolesch has already become a classic, beloved for its descriptions of a world with a slower pace than our own, one imbued with the cultural vestiges of the Habsburg Empire and its vibrant Jewish cultural elite.”

You will not be surprised that I looked over the four pages that I found in my seat and am following up now in all seriousness. is an Austrian “online-Magazin   gegen dummheit & depression” – that is an
on-line magazine against stupidity and depression – that can be read in almost all languages – from Afrikaans to Yiddishbut not in English – I wonder why not in English?

Anyway – what attracted my attention does not need a language – it is just listing of plain figures – and it hurts to the bone. If you are otherwise inclined – the figures are eye openers and you start understanding that when it comes to the economy – nothing you read in the papers makes any sense – absolutely nothing!

You read how all of the EU is ganging on Greece because they Greeks decided to live beyond their means – but the figures you see here show that they are irrelevant tl the big picture of things – the truth is that the big economies are totally broke and shove their dirty facts under various rugs. Near all carpets covering national news have under them rot much worse then that of tiny Greek economy.

The half page of the TANTE JOLESCH “INFOGRAFIK” is enough to keep you think for a long time and sour your day.

If above was not enough, Sunday night, watching my obligatory Fareed Zakaria CNN/GPS program, I was now completely receptive to what  Mr. Thomas Hoenig, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (*) had to say. It boiled down to:

There are structural imbalances in the US after generations of exploding credit without real growth.    In other countries there are reasonable saving ratios and they do not consume so much.     Under Alan Greenspan interest rates were too low in the 2002-2003 years and the US lived beyond its means, credit cards were thrown at consumers and now public debt is monstrous having downed the economy at large while bloated the power of the banks.
Now – please – this evaluation of the system at large comes from an insider – not a rebellious character from the left.
 So what did I see in that “Infografik?”

First let me note that the data are from the Economist, Zeit, and WKO of 2009. These are actually the best data available to the public today.

The Country figures for Total Debt – including Private and Government (State) debt are in EURO money:

The USA – 21.070 Billion of which over 70% is private debt

Japan       –  8.320 Billion of which some 95% is State debt

the UK      –  4.010 Billion  with a private/public configuration similar to the US.

Germany  –  2.040 Billion of which some 90% are State debt

Italy           –  2.250  Billion of which some 80% are State debt

Greece        –     370 Billion of which  about 95% State debt

Austria     –       230 Billion of which some 60% are State debt

Looking now at the figures per capita debt and in terms of percentage of the Gross National Product we get:
in the same order –

The USA  –          68.000              210%

Japan       –          60.000             230%

the UK      –              250%

Germany  –          26.000               90%

Italy           –          38.000           150%

Greece       –             150%

Austria     –          25.000              85%

What does this all mean? Why do the folks at the G8 not see the truth?

THE UK AND THE US ARE BANKRUPT ALREADY FOR QUITE SOME TIME AT A TOTAL DEBT OF 250% and 210% for quite some time – and with most of that debt pilled up by the private sector – so if there is any kind of trouble the government will move in and bail out the banks while having less money to spend on what a government is supposed to make money available for. This is clearly a recipe for continuing national downturn. But, please remember that both – the US and the UK – print their own money and some might think paper is cheap. This will thus lead to devaluation of their currency and an eventual further growth in the rift between the richest and the majorities of their populations.

Japan is a different take. There the Government or State is already the heavy debtor having opted in the past to take over ailing banks and whatever else was performing badly. They should have been judged as bad credits a long time ago, With the implosion of their nuclear sector now, and much of the economy as well, they will be heading for some money sanatorium in the not so distant future. Will neighboring China stretch out an arm to help?

Germany has a sizable economy, Austria has a small economy, but both are doing comparatively very well.
The question opens up – for how long will Germany be ready to carry on the no-performers that are part of the EU? Germany has an economic policy and a fiscal policy, the rules of the EURO are such that you have a common currency but not a common fiscal policy. This set up was bound to fail and is being pushed to fail. What makes things even worse is the fact that the UK is in but out – they are the worst so far as the EU is concerned.

This brings us to Italy and Greece – both non performers within the EURO Belonging EU circle. Italy is actually worse off then Greece – but they are bigger so the EU is more lenient on them while keep on the wipping scene when talking to the Greeks. Now this is laughable. What has pulled down the Greeks was not just their own performance, but the global activities of the mightier US, Japan, UK, and even Italy.

Will the wise men (and future woman) of the IMF have a look at the big four mentioned her rather then tiny Greece?

Poland was in line to join the EURO circle but under US watching eye is stepping back from this brink. We will be watching closely Poland as it seems to have evolved into an EU member with more independent mind, just in time for their half year chairmanship of the EU Presidency – to start at the end of June 2011.

Tante Jolisch has hilarious observations and the world economy better not think that she is funny!


(*) Thomas Michael Hoenig (born in 1946) took office October 1, 1991, as the eighth chief executive of the Tenth District Federal Reserve Bank, in Kansas City, United States. He was in 1910 serving as a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, as one of five of the twelve Federal Reserve Bank presidents that sit on the Committee on a yearly rotating basis. He is known as an inflation hawk.



Posted on on April 25th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (


We just had a peaceful day today, Monday April 25, 2011 – a floating brunch on the Admiral Tegethoff of the  – upstream from Vienna on the Danube – and in the evening we saw the great new release of a 3D – real life size documentary – about the work of the great Wupperthal, Germany, modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch who picked up from where Martha Graham left us by moving from the classics to ourselves. With Pima it was what we feel rather then what Oedipus felt – and what we saw was a cyber-monument to that lady.

The documentary started with Pina showing how she boils down life to the cycle of the Four Seasons. With her Spring is rather the fourth Season – the one when life bursts into explosion and starts anew. The other three seasons are just the preparation for the Spring when we get into a full renewal made after evolutionary developments in our feelings – important as they are in themselves – but springs frees the energies that were pent in until this season arrives.

Having explained herself and brought her dancers into a line-up demonstrating they got the message, she moved to renew the Sacres de Printemps of Igor Stravinsky and created by Vaslav Nijinski for the Parisian Serge Dijagilev Les Ballets Rousses, and even without having at hand a  Nijinsky dancer she manages to express raw emotions that make her version even stronger then the original.(Others that tried their hand on the “Rites of Spring” were: Maurice Brjart, Angelin Prelocjaj, Martha Graham, Uwe Scholz and Emanuel Gat.)

Think of Pina’s Wuperthal Arts Center, a real United Nations of talent, and the German Government and people backing she got, and you start thinking that High Standards of Living require culture and expenditures.

My mention in the title of Easter and Passover relates to the fact that this is still the Passover week. The Seder we participate in was at the Vienna Reform Congregation led Rabbi Walter Rothchild from Liverpool, Berlin and Vienna. It was a memorable, humorous and delicious event – as far as public Sedarim this was the best we ever participated in. It was relaxed, all inclusive, and delicious.


Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I went to “Heaven” – that is the Austrian place called Am Himmel. There, next to the “Oktogon” which is at the corner of the Hights Street (Hoehengasse) and the Heaven Street (Himmelgasse) I found the Lebensbaumkreis – that is the big eco-circle where 40 trees arranged in a circle, and from all over the world, tell us about themselves having been wired to microphones. There are also four trees in an inner circle. These are the trees of life that help us understand how our lives can be made more pleasant if we just accept nature and the way our natural world functions.  Actually, the whole thing is not plain environmentalism, but also a mixture with spiritualism and some inputs of ethics that can be acceptable to any religion. I found this noteworthy considering the David Brooks piece we will see later in this posting.

After the visit at the Circle of Life, and watching the families picnicking around the circle or sitting in the Octogon Restaurant,  I continued to walk in the Vienna forest for several hours with the help of my trekking sticks and ended up at the Little Haus in Heaven where I ate a Pongauer Wedding soup and drank the semi-obligatory quarter liter of Austrian wine – this time the one made from local Blue Portuguese grapes grown on the slopes of the Vienna woods.

To make sure I did make it clear – all the above was described to prove we know – Vienna and Austria are now at the front of quality of life – the global leader.

In between yesterday’s activities and today’s there was my obligatory Sunday night activity of watching CNN – to be exact 10:00 pm local Vienna time – the Fareed Zakaria GPS program. As always it was an eye opener with extreme relevance to global concerns – where does the global economy go from here and what will this mean to the possibility to continue good life in Austria or changes for the better to life in the USA.

We all know that the US has overspent itself and like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, is in effect bankrupt. We also know that Finland Has just voted for a new government that wants to stop the payments to bail out weaker EU partner governments. This ethic of work and do not come to ask for our hand-outs is spreading in the EU. Even Austria is not immune to this sort of demagoguery – or if you wish sound thinking. The third largest party in Austria – the “Blues” – may yet overcome next elections the “Blacks” and even the “Reds” by bringing up  conservative arguments and finding voters’ agreement. The result will obviously be the weakening of the future of the Euro-currency. Today the Euro is doing very well compared to the US dollar because of the US debt, but if the Euro itself becomes questionable, it will not be in position to replace the US dollar as world currency. So what is the world economic truth?

The bottom-line becomes thus that in short term the US has now nothing to fear from, does believe that it can muddle through, and increases its problems, and the world’s problems, in the long term.

The Euro or the Yen cannot become a competitor to the US as for now, the Chinese, Brazilians, Indians, will continue for the time being to buy US short term debt, and the US might let its own debt rise to heaven and be exposed to a situation when things do indeed change and the US is allowed to plummet if this short term loans via the buying of short term securities ends. Further, this fake US economy does not create US jobs and without jobs US consumers will also decrease their spending. The real economy declines and standard of living declines rather then improves – it is only a sliver of the US citizenry that benefits from the fake economy. High quality immigration to the US declines, and from where will come the innovators that the economy needs? Now we hear the wheels of the real danger squeak. Not the short term danger the politicians talk about, but the long term danger they refuse to do something about – the funding for education and the positive reforms in health and social security programs – and we add to the list the change to innovative and more sustainable technologies.  

Fareed Zakharia had Messrs. Robert Rubin and Paul  O’Neill – both former Secretaries of the Treasury – the one under President Clinton and the other during the first year of the  G.W. Bush presidency (a question that never came about in the program could have been – why really was his tenure with the Bush Government so short?). Both agreed to the need to come up with ideas to start now programs to decrease the debt in the future, but were in agreement to raise the debt ceilling for the present – as nothing can be changed right now with the 2012 election on the horizon. 

The Secretaries were not the real stars of this CNN/GPS Program – that honor in our opinion went to the Journalist David Brooks who just came out with a book analyzing the US problems and reached the conclusion that it is the education system that did in the US. He is known for his conservatism when  it comes to economics planning but he also backs values that are different from what America calls success. Brooks says that pushing youth to go to best colleges and move up the ladder according to lines prescribed by conventions creates success but limits innovation. It is rather the C+ students with networking skills that work outside the accepted common norms that come up with creative ideas, and he has the real people-cases to prove his point. Now that is another block to America progress under the present landscape of Washington. He speaks of a new form of spirituality – the recognition of the value of your fellow man. The fact that every person has experiences from which you can learn something. It is the networker who does this sort of learning who eventually wins – not just that he becomes successful in the conventional capitalist sense, but he innovates in his own terms in league with his fellow men and thus becomes the real leader of progress. He has examples of real success stories – seemingly including also a chapter on Fareed Zakaria and a chapter on innovators we met on our US State Department sponsored trip to Idaho. We have not read the book yet and are not willing to go further then what we learned from this recent Global Public Square (GPS) program. We also intend to pick up the TIME Magazine of this week that has more about these topics.

The new book by David Brooks is titled – “THE SOCIAL ANIMAL: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.” Please see –……

Brooks explains how the dry push for achievements by the Washington political elite has destroyed education – this because one learns from someone he loves and respects – but love is not something that legislators are ready to budget for.

So let me now summarize – that today Europe is ahead of the US in many areas even though young Austrians say the words “it is cool” as often as they find an occasion to use them, listen to American music and adore everything American, while enjoying the highest quality of life right here in Vienna.

So far as the US is concerned, the lack of a European Healthcare system and of a good education system is stressing American families and lowering their standard of living to the point that something will have to give.

On the other hand, in the short term, the collapse of the economy of some EU States will cause a weakening in the trust in the Euro which will help the US get foreign short term loans as a safe heaven for accrued surplus of trade funds that will create a fake belief that all is well with the US. The internal imballance in the US will increase, and may lead to very serious upheavals in the future that will benefit nobody.


Posted on on January 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times of January 27, 2011:
“President Obama’s State of the Union address was a ho-hum affair. But the official Republican response, from Representative Paul Ryan, was really interesting. And I don’t mean that in a good way.”
His Title is:

“Their Own Private Europe.”

and he means – The Republican´s own imagination of Europe – and if you are less kind – the Republican´s manufactured lies about Europe conviniently produced so they can make for arguments in their internal American political battles.

Not very nice!

I write this from Vienna having observed that none of what Mr. Ryan said is actually the case – Professor Krugman is right!

Europe has problems but they are different from what Mr. Ryan says. The problems are because the EU is not united – as such the EU cannot stand up to US intrusions in its affairs. The UK is of split personality – it is in the EU but seems to like it better being in the US. That is something that we would like Mr. Krugman would pick up someday. He could ask Mr. Ryan if he would like to suggest an expansion of the US to include the UK?

Anyway – please see the link to the excellent Krugman collumn:


Posted on on December 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Pincas– Israel was struck by disaster on Thursday – four days ago: A forest fire blazed out of control outside of Haifa. More than 40 people were killed. Israel’s firefighters didn’t have the manpower or the equipment to put out the blaze.

Today the fire is under control thanks to assistance Israel received from the United States, European countries, Turkey, and its Arab neighbors.

That’s right. Egypt, Jordan, and even the Palestinian Authority sent men and equipment to help Israel put out the flames.

Skeptics believe that the Israelis and Palestinians harbor so much hate and pain that peace is impossible. The events of the past week show that they are wrong.

The image of Palestinian firefighters standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their Israeli counterparts shows us that both peoples understand that they have a common humanity and a shared future.

This week, in the midst of tragedy, we saw a glimpse of the future that we’re fighting for.

Thank you for being a part of our movement.

Noam Shelef
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now

PS — Israeli security expert Yossi Alpher penned a column for APN with insights on the strategic ramifications of the fire.

To read the Alpher article – please – Check it out here.


Posted on on November 23rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

We saw an announcement in The Forward – put there by The American Friends of Israel Civic Action Forum.

It spoke of two meetings in New York City, with Rabbi Michael Melchior, a political figure from Israel, as well as Chief Rabbi in the oil-state of Norway.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2010, 6 pm, at the Anshe Chesed Synagogue at 252 West 100 Street, near Columbia University, NYC.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 22, 2010, 7 pm, at The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life, New York University, 53 Washington Square South, between Thompson & Sulivan Streets, NYC Downtown.






We clearly subscribe to every word in above manifesto – I had only the question in my mind about the involvement in this by the distinguished Rabbi-turned-politician who has a strong ego that interferes sometimes with his visions.

In effect, it was Rabbi Melchior who in 2008 joined a group of University Professors from the Ben Gurion University led by Professor Alon Tal in a new Green Movement and bad-mouthed Peer Visner, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, the head of the existing Green Party – with the foreseeable result that the vote was split and neither faction entered the Knesset. Had they instead joined forces, there would have been a three member green faction in the Israeli Parliament and Israel would have had a different Government. Why did this happen? Clearly – the egos involved.

Further, in December 2009, in Copenhagen at the Climate Change convention, I looked for Rabbi Melchior – who is Danish, his father the former Chief Rabbi lives there, he was born there, and in disbelief, the new Chief Rabbi, at an event with global religious Greens, told me that Michael Melchior did not come home.

So, I went to the advertised events, first to the one organized by Professor Jonathan Shorsch of Columbia University, listened to the amiable Rabbi – and could not agree more.

I will not get involved with the figures and history of the drilling beyond saying that the quantities found will make the entrepreneurs multi-billionaires beyond their present status. Further, the way they skinned the State of Israel is nothing short of what is done to any third world country. In effect much worse. To top this there is the overhanging cloud of US oil interests – and to this purpose Noble calls itself a US company. Sure, there are hints of Israeli government favoritism that allowed concessions to individuals who sold them to the two major partners – The Noble Company interests or the Tshuva Group. There is a spaghetty structure to all of it – untouchable and hard to unravel – not different then any third world country that oil was found in its territory.

OK, some of the money – it would involve in practice 10.5% in royalties and taxes that in theory are 22% but with terrible loopholes. This instead of Government income  that in the US are in theory at a 70% level and in the World at large move between 50% and 90%.

But then even if Israel gets 33% of the income – in light of the Dutch disease that showed how easy money from oil and gas was a course that destroyed the country’s agriculture and some manufacturing industries by pushing up the currency, something that was avoided later by Norway, a country that understood the income is better placed in a fund and only the interest from that Fund is used to cover the Country’s expenses. What the Rabbi suggests is that Israel establish such a fund, as he learned from his Norway experience, and uses the money only for education, pensions, and the environment. Thus we talk here about raising the Israeli government take from the oil income to 80% and use the money for above noted social and future oriented purposes. GREAT!

He amassed a serious coalition – stretching from the Communist member of the Knesset Dov Khenin who is another person in Parliament with Green and Social real credentials – to some of the leaders of the Settler movement who regard this as a National issue, and individuals from the religious parties.

On the other side there are Knesset members from the Foreign Minister’s Russian immigrants party and an army of lawyers and oil lobbyists. The Government decided to create a Commission headed by Hebrew University economist Professor  Eytan Sheshinsky.…)

Committee members:

Prof. Eytan Sheshinski Committee chairman

Prof. Eugene Kandel head of the National Economic Council

Mr. Shaul Tzemach director general of the Ministry of National Infrastructures

Dr. Yaakov Mimran petroleum commissioner, Ministry of National Infrastructures

Mr. Yehuda Nasradishi director of the Tax Authority

Dr. Udi Nissan budget director, Ministry of Finance


Attorney Avi Licht assistant attorney general (economic fiscal)

Dr. Amit Friedman Bank of Israel

and according to… of November 17, 2010.

They concluded: “The Committee found that the oil and gas exploration industry was given significant tax benefits that are not consistent with international practice. The main tax benefit is the depletion deduction, which offsets and neutralizes the remuneration demanded by the state by virtue of its ownership of the oil and gas deposits, which, at present, is comprised solely of royalties. Depletion deduction is a tax break that enables holders of oil and gas rights to significantly reduce their taxable income. The depletion deduction was intended to reflect the depletion of the resources in the deposits, and thus a decrease in the value of the asset. However, since no payment for the resource in the deposit was made, and the depleting asset is owned by the state, this cannot be used as a justification for the deduction and, therefore, it is actually a subsidy that is given for operations in the industry by means of a tax benefit.”

According to Rabbi Melchior, the recalculated part the government should receive according to the conclusions is 66% – or double the amount at present – this is still low considering other OECD countries – well bellow the 80% figure.


Considering the Intervention by the US Ambassador, and the fact that the US is backing Israel on other levels, above becomes a political football with serious implications and the Rabbi is here to bring this to the attention of the Jewish lobby – with the possibility to bring about a clash of right vs. the American Right. Strange indeed if you do not understand how countries stay in the Third World for ever – even when money is on the horizon.


The two meetings Rabbi Melchior had in New York brought out a mainly older religious crowd – obviously more so at the Synagogue Synagogue site then at the NYU student site. As the students were already away for the Thanksgiving week – only about 5-6 students out of a total of 20 attendees, showed up – most others older people – nevertheless the questioning was very much to the point. At the NYU site there were also questions involving the environment, US interests, geopolitics, the European market for the gas and how this will play with Russian interests whose gas sales to Europe will be hurt. One young lady asked afterwards the Rabbi about how all of this plays out in Jewish law. At the Synagogue the questions were mostly about Israel internal politics.


Rabbi Michael Melchior is a DanishNorwegian rabbi, an Israeli politician – leader of the left-wing religious party Meimad, which he represented in the Knesset.

Melchior was born in Denmark into a family whose members had served as the country’s chief rabbis for seven generations. He studied in Jerusalem and in 1980 received rabbinic ordination after which he returned to Scandinavia to serve as Chief Rabbi of the Norwegian Jewish Community. In 1986, he Immigrated to Israel where he served as International Relations Director for the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He is still Chief Rabbi in Oslo, and his son is filling in as he spends most his time in Israel.

Melchior became involved in politics when the Meimad party was formed shortly before the 1999 elections from the movement founded by Yehuda Amital in 1988. The party joined Labor (with which it was friendly, Amital having served as a non-parliamentary minister under Shimon Peres in the early 1990s) and Gesher in forming an alliance called One Israel. In 2000, he hosted the Pope John Paul II‘s visit to Israel and said he was “very moved” by the Pope’s gesture.

The alliance won 26 seats, with Melchior taking the one reserved for Meimad. He was appointed Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs in Ehud Barak‘s government. After Barak lost a special election for Prime Minister to Ariel Sharon in 2001, Melchior lost his post, but was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, though he lost his new job in November 2002 when Labor pulled out of the national unity government Sharon had formed.

He was re-elected to the Knesset in the 2003 elections as Meimad’s sole representative, and was appointed Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport when Labor joined the coalition government in January 2005. In June 2006 he became Deputy Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs, but again lost his position when Labor pulled out of the coalition.

He retained his seat again in the 2006 elections and chaired the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee and the Social-Environmental lobby in the 17th Knesset.

After Meimad left its alliance with the Labor Party, it ran a joined list with The Green Movement in the 2009 elections, with Melchior at the head of the list. However, the party failed to cross the electoral threshold of 1.5% and Melchoir lost his seat.



The web pages as suggested by Rabbi Melchior are: and

Further –

The Noble Corporation: By the early 2000s, Noble Drilling changed its name to Noble Corporation as a result of its change in domicile from the United States to the Cayman Islands.

On December 19, 2008, Noble, incorporated in the Cayman Islands and operated from Sugar Land, Texas, announced plans to reincorporate in Switzerland. In March 2009, Noble Corporation redomesticated to Switzerland. At that time it was removed from the S&P500 Index.

In June 2010, Noble Corporation entered into a definitive agreement to buy Frontier Drilling for US$2.16 billion.

Noble completed the purchase of Frontier in late July 2010. As a result, Noble’s fleet grew by seven units to a total of 69 offshore drilling units (including five drilling rigs currently under construction), which are located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates the dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel, FPSO Seillean.

Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. is doing the drilling in the sea area between Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus and Noble Energy Mediterranean is the operating company based in Israel.

Delek and Noble Energy are part of the Yam Tethys consortium, which has discovered natural gas in commercial quantities offshore Israel. The partners in Yam Tethys are Noble Energy (47%), Delek Drilling (25.5%), Avner (23%), and Delek Group Ltd. (4.44%).

In July 2009, Israel’s state-owned Israel Electric Corp said its directors had approved a plan to buy 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Yam Thetis consortium for $1 billion over the next five years.

Delek-controlled companies and partners led by Noble Energy in January 2009 announced a find at the Tamar prospect that may hold 7.7 trillion cubic feet of gas (218 billion cubic meters), according to a survey by Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc. That’s more than twice the annual output of Norway, the world’s second-largest gas exporter. The partners have secured about $11 billion in domestic gas commitments and expect output by 2012.

In August 2010 the consortium announced even a larger find – the Leviathan gas field discovery that might hold also 4.2 billion barrels of oil.

The legend has it that when the Noble interests started their first search for oil in Israel, they did this with the Bible in their hands and that it was the Bible-belt in Texas that spurred their interest in the Holy land.

The Levant Basin, where he original Tamar is located, and which stretches the length of Israel and Lebanon, may hold 227 trillion cubic feet of gas, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report released April 8, 2010, its first review of the region.

Yitzhak Tshuva, a self-made Israeli billionaire  whose father immigrated from Libya, was listed at No. 214 on the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people in 2007 with $4 billion, but in the 2010 listing he comes up only as 463 and $2.1 billion. He owns real estate in the US including the old Plaza Hotel in New York City, but also the Delek Oil company in Israel which owns 4% of Noble Energy Company. He owns gas filling stations in the US, Israel and Europe. In France he bought up recently  the BP stations. His recent losses were in real estate.


Developments in Natural Gas and Oil Explorations. – From an Israeli Government site.
See more: USGC report – The Land of “Milk and Honey”… and Natural Gas.

Following the developments in the last few months, Israel is on the verge of absorbing impressive amounts of local extracted natural gas into its energy market. The updated map of Israel’s offshore gas potential include 3 major fields: Mari-B field located offshore the towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon, Dalit and Tamar fields located offshore the city of Haifa and the town of Hadera, and the Leviathan field, south-east of Tamar.

The Mari-B field is operated by Yam Tethys, a consortium comprised of Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), since 2004. The Tamar field is operated by Noble Energy, which was given in August an approval by the state to develop and deploy gas from Tamar via Yam Tethys’ infrastructures on Mari-B. The third big field is Leviathan, which received major optimistic assessments for its huge potential this late May, enough to probably transform Israel into a natural gas exporter.

Noble Energy owns 36% of Tamar, Delek Group subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) each own 15.625%, Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L) owns 28.7%, and Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE:DRAL) unit Dor Alon Energy Exploration Ltd. owns 4%. Noble Energy and Delek Group jointly own Yam Tethys, and both companies are partners in the Leviathan structure, together with Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L).

Regulation and the Sheshinsky Committee:

Due to these encouraging findings and calls from the public to reassess the tax regulation on profits from these natural resources, the ministry of finance assembled a committee to examine this issue, headed by Prof. Eytan Sheshinsky. The committee is due to hand in its conclusions this October.

Oil Explorations:
In addition to latest developments in the natural gas market, there are also signs for oil in Israel. Givot Olam is a public partnership devoted to oil search in Israel. Positive signs for oil were found in Givot’s search areas, near the towns of Rosh Haayin and Kfar Saba in Central Israel.

All this hullabaloo is strange to Israel, a country not known for its natural resources. Being placed between the great water sources of Mesopotamia and the Nile, Israel had to pray for water throughout history and until new technologies for drilling for gas and oil came about – had neither. Will it insist now to live up to its intellectual power, or it will bow to the oil curse? Will the World Bank and the UN institutions tell the African countries to learn also from the Norwegian example and use funds for their National Development? Could this be a case in point for OPEC countries also? Is here a new world in the making – based on fossil fuels – no less? The stranger it gets?

In answer to my two public questions to Rabbi Melchior at the Sunday meeting, one dealing with his being instrumental in splitting the Green movement in Israel, and the other why he did not come to the Copenhagen meeting, the honorable Rabbi was kind to answer in what amounts to his having been interested in the social movement he was trying to establish as an extension of his Meimad party. In effect this is not a Green Movement as such, and as he knew that nothing was going to come out from the Copenhagen meeting he decided against coming to Copenhagen.

He likes rather to go to places that turn out results, and that is why one months before Copenhagen, part of the tun-up to Copenhagen, he went to the Windsor Castle religious-leaders meeting that was organized by the UN Secretary-General, and where he represented the Jewish Green leadership.

We clearly understand his feelings about Copenhagen, but are hard pressed about his evaluation of the Royal Windsor/UN pomp. I wish he spent some learning days at the UN in New York. Also, I was astonished how the Lady Rabbi of the Synagogue where Rabbi Melchior spoke on Sunday did not grasp that the questions and answers had significant value indeed. We hope that the present effort will have more positive results.


Noble Energy CEO: Will Lobby Vs Israel Raising Energy Taxes …
Nov 12, 2010 … HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) Chief Executive Charles D. Davidson said Friday he will lobby against the possibility of ……

Noble Energy Moves Forward With Israeli Project
Nov 1, 2010 … Noble Energy made good progress on its Israeli offshore portfolio of assets and increased its acreage position in a key onshore play in the ……

News for noble energy
Noble Energy (NBL) Approaches New Downside Target of $80.33? – 5 minutes ago – November 23, 2010
SmarTrend has detected shares of Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL) have bearishly opened below the pivot of $82.26 today and have reached the first level of support …


Posted on on September 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


Posted on on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

from Kreisky Forum <>
date Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010
subject Vortrag Franz Walter,

Montag, 6. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

Reihe: GENIAL DAGEGEN/ kuratiert von Robert Misik

Montag, 6. September, 19.00 Uhr

Bruno Kreisky Forum für internationalen Dialog | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

Anmeldungen unter: Tel.: 3188260/20 | Fax: 318 82 60/10 | e-mail:


Institut für Demokratieforschung Göttingen


Hat die Sozialdemokratie noch eine Zukunft?

Moderation:   Robert Misik, Journalist und Autor

Vorwärts oder Abwärts?: Zur Transformation der Sozialdemokratie (edition suhrkamp)

Jospin, Blair, Schröder: 1998 sah es so aus, als stünde die europäische Sozialdemokratie vor einem goldenen Zeitalter. Elf Jahre später hat die SPD 10.192.426 Millionen Stimmen verloren und sechs Parteivorsitzende verschlissen, die niederländische Partij van de Arbeid fuhr 2002 das schlechteste Ergebnis ihrer Geschichte ein, die schwedischen Sozialdemokraten 2006, die österreichischen 2008. Der »Dritte Weg« erwies sich als Weg ins Abseits, längst ist vom Ende einer Volkspartei die Rede.

Es sieht so aus, als hätten die Sozialdemokraten keine überzeugende Antwort auf den radikalen Wandel der Arbeitswelt, auf Individualisierung und Globalisierung.

Franz Walter, einer der profiliertesten deutschen Parteienforscher, untersucht die Ursachen für den Niedergang der SPD. Er wirft einen Blick über die Grenzen Deutschlands und fragt, was Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität in unserer Zeit bedeuten.

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna
tel.: ++43 1 3188260/11
fax: ++43 1 3188260/10


Posted on on July 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Media freedom threatened in most European countries, says OSCE

“Authorities have yet to understand that media are not their private property,” says the OSCE



July 30, 2010 –

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Media freedom is threatened in most European countries, warns the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe, highlighting incidences in several of its member states including EU countries France, Italy and Greece.

In a report published Thursday (29 July), the 56-member OSCE, a loose gathering of states monitoring regional security, says that “freedom of the media concerns arise in most OSCE participating States. They only manifest themselves differently.”

The report, published annually, says the “freedom to express ourselves is questioned and challenged from many sides” and the threats manifest themselves through “traditional methods” to silence free speech as well as “new technologies to suppress and restrict the free flow of information and media pluralism.”

The breaches, either existing or potential, to media freedom range from a draft law on electronic surveillance and electronic eavesdropping law in Italy which could “seriously hinder investigative journalism” to a draft law in Estonia that may allow too many exemptions to the right to protect the identity of sources, to the fact that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is head of the public service broadcaster, France Televisions.

“The presidential nomination of the head of a country’s public service broadcaster is an obstacle to its independence and contradicts OSCE commitments,” said the body’s Dunja Mijatovic, in charge of monitoring media freedom.

Other areas of concern include the recent adoption by the Hungarian Parliament of parts of a media package with elements threatening media freedom and a possible threat in Greece to a minority radio station that broadcasts in Turkish, while the organisation expresses hope that Germany will adopt a law protecting investigative journalists.

Beyond the EU, the “brutal attack” against a Serbian journalist known for his outspokenness against nationalism was highlighted as was the the “high number of criminal prosecutions” against journalists in Turkey covering sensitive issues as well “serious infringements” on media pluralism in Kyrgyzstan and a series of attacks against journalists in Russia.

“Many argue that media freedom is in decline across the OSCE region. In some aspects, I can subscribe to that,” said Ms Mitjatovic.

“Authorities have yet to understand that media are not their private property and that journalists have the right to scrutinize those who are elected.”

“Violence against journalists equals violence against society and democracy and should be met with harsh condemnation and prosecution of the perpetrators,” she added.

With the internet changing the nature and scope of reporting, Ms Mijatovi also promised a study into the various internet laws in place across the OSCE countries.

“My office is currently working on the compilation of the first comprehensive matrix on internet legislation which will include an overview of legal provisions related to freedom of the media, the free flow of information and media pluralism on the internet in the OSCE region.”