South African budget raises taxes and cuts spending

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BBC – South Africans were told on Wednesday to prepare for higher taxes, cutbacks in spending and three more years of power cuts. The government’s annual budget outlined a 1% increase in personal income tax and spending cuts of 25bn rand (£1.4bn; $2.2bn) over the next two years Projected economic growth for 2015 is 2%, down from 2.5% forecast last year. ... Read More »

IMF: Morocco expected to reach a 4.4% growth rate in 2015

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF), headed by Christine Lagarde, published today the results of its bilateral consultations with Morocco. The Moroccan Times – By staff member The international monetary body said that “Morocco has made important strides in maintaining macroeconomic stability in a difficult environment, but challenges remain to reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities, strengthen growth, create jobs and tackle poverty.” ... Read More »

Oil-exporter Azerbaijan devalues currency 33.5 percent

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Hurriyet - BAKU – Associated Press / Azerbaijan’s Central Bank has suddenly devalued the country’s currency by 33.5 percent against the dollar. Like Russia, Azerbaijan has been hurt by the sharp decline in the price of oil, its main export. Russia’s currency has lost more than half of its value in the past year. In announcing the devaluation on Feb. ... Read More »

Greece and the EU: a question of trust

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I have been mulling over the terms of the agreement between Greece and the Eurogoup. Initially, I thought that Greece had ended up with an appalling deal, getting almost none of its aims and losing control of EFSF funding for its banks. Coppola Comment - Frances Coppola The retention of future primary surplus targets under the November 2012 agreement – only ... Read More »

How Greece Got Outmaneuvered

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To the surprise of nobody except a few alarmists, the finance ministers of the European Union reached a deal with Greece on Friday, extending the country’s existing bailout until the early summer. The New Yorker – BY JOHN CASSIDY Greece’s new left-wing Syriza government had been telling everyone for weeks that it wouldn’t agree to extend the bailout, and that it wanted ... Read More »

What Germany Owes Greece

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How much does it matter, if at all, that Greece’s demand for a new bailout program with softer terms is being pressed by a new government, elected for that very purpose — a government that retains solid support even as its standoff with other European Union governments drags on? How much does democracy matter in a situation like this? Bloomberg ... Read More »

Greece Should Not Give In to Germany’s Bullying

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It’s not just a question of being morally right — it’s sound economics. And Athens has a lot more leverage than anyone thinks. FP - BY PHILIPPE LEGRAIN Ever since the initial bargain in the 1950s between post-Nazi West Germany and its wartime victims, European integration has been built on compromise. So there is huge pressure on Greece’s new Syriza government to ... Read More »

Ironman Varoufakis’s Revolutionary Plan for Europe

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Don’t Tell Anyone in Berlin By Mike Whitney, Global Research, CounterPunch “The ongoing dispute between the German and Greek governments is nothing less than a democratic revolution against German hegemony and the attempt of the Germans and their paladins in the EU to dictate Greek domestic policy.” –Mathew D. Rose, It’s a revolution, Stupid! Naked Capitalism “Germany is eating itself over Greece. ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist

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Before he entered politics, Yanis Varoufakis, the iconoclastic Greek finance minister at the centre of the latest eurozone standoff, wrote this searing account of European capitalism and and how the left can learn from Marx’s mistakes The Guardian – Yanis Varoufakis In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into ... Read More »

Ireland ‘ignored EC advice’ to stop economy overheating

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Marco Buti and Dónal Donovan speak at Banking Inquiry The Irish Times – Dan Griffin The International Monetary Fund’s surveillance programme failed in Ireland during the years 2000 to 2007, according to the former deputy director of the fund. Although the IMF noted some vulnerabilities in Ireland in the time leading up to the banking collapse, its assessments “gave no inkling” ... Read More »