“Junker’s Stimulus Plan Is Unrealistic On Many Fronts”

Dimitri B. Papadimitriou is a leading scholar and policy-maker, President of the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College in New York. Himself as well as the Levy Institute have invested during the last couple of years in the explanation of sovereign debt crisis in Eurozone and Greece, endeavoring to enrich the debate with policy proposals that could efficiently address austerity and put Europe back on track of development and growth. In the context of Bridging Dialogue Initiative, Dimitris Rapidis discussed with Dimitri B. Papadimitriou on ECB interest rates policy, deflation, Junkers’s fiscal stimulus plan, debt management and the Stability Pact, US economy, and the economic crisis in Greece.

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The Immigration Quagmire In Greece: What The European Commissioner Can Do?

The immigration process is divided into three plus (+) one steps: Reception, accommodation / legalization, and the right to return. There is additionally a fourth step that includes integration –i.e. social, labor, political integration – but we are far behind this condition, especially in Greece. In an ideal context, the state receives newcomers and the relevant authorities decide whether the immigrant is granted with legalization or he/she is eligible to return back in due time.

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Russia is a Strategic Ally of the EU

It is only about commerce or energy, Ukraine or Georgia, or even the perception of Putin’s authoritative leadership by the Westerners that are lately put under scrutiny. To the contrary, it is something more than that that has kept Western Europe-Russia ties so close all along the previous centuries. And these are the historical and political ties, the joint alliance and fights against the common threats. From the mid-19th century onwards Western Europe has developed a strong relationship with Saint Petersburg against the Ottoman expansion in the Balkans and the Nazis in Germany. The Cold War came to imbalance this relationship, but even after that the new era in Russia and the post-communist steps helped towards overcoming these burdens and distrust first appeared in the 1960s. And the story goes on.

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#Greece: A Dissolving Country

Four years of harsh economic austerity are certainly not a fundamental factor for a country to dissolve. Austerity can be a major factor for social unrest, political instability, extreme poverty and unemployment, growing grievances – but certainly not the departing point for a complete collapse. At least the collapse we have in mind when we think of civil wars, ethnic clashes, or internal conflicts.

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Again and again the same play in Eurozone?

Mr Pierre Moscovici takes office in less than 10 days, after a tumultuous hearing a couple of weeks earlier. During this month, stock markets were shockingly destabilized with distrust over Eurozone to put again into the spotlight. Recent reports unveiled the weaknesses of the German economy, while Britain is heading into the sixth day of protests due to constant income squeezing. In the meantime, the Greek government has declared its will to exit from IMF’s surveillance into its public finances and policy, with international reports focusing on the next day in Greece, after the almost-proclaimed national elections in the first months of 2015. In this respect, it Eurozone recovering?

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Closed Doors: The ECB’s New Strategy

The draft report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament over the regulations and powers of the European Central Bank to impose sanctions (EC No 2532/98), issued on September 17, includes a rather ambiguous, to be polite, provision, entitling the ECB to decide whether to publish or not decisions of its board that could jeopardize the stability of the financial markets. In other words, and with reference to bail-out member-states like Greece, the ECB can delay a publication of a certain sanction or administrative pecuniary penalty up to three (3) years after the date on which the decision was taken.

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Greece is the poorest country in the EU

Since 2008 the Greek state has experienced one of the deepest and persistent financial and economic crisis in its short history. A crisis that has dismantled its social nets, increased unemployment to unprecedented levels, broken out extreme right parties, lowered trust to the entire political and banking system. In contrary to other countries in the EU that implement programs against social inequality, Greece is way long behind reaching the minimum levels of a so-called “welfare state”. People vie for social care more than ever, but state’s reaction to increasing demands is considered inconsistent and burdened with bureaucratic dysfunctions. Meanwhile, there are no prospects for recapturing income losses in the near future.

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Turkey is EU’s stronghold against the ISIS

The Islamic Caliphate (i.e. and not “State” as many refer to it, as it is neither sovereign nor recognized) has been regarded as one of the biggest threats for the Western world and for the always-fragile stability in Middle East. With incomparable organization, power, execution pace, and strong influence, and with funding from unknown sources, the Islamic Caliphate seems drawn from history books referred to the crusades of tens of thousands of Christian knights crossing Europe to fight against and conquer Jerusalem from Saladin and his Muslim fighters.

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Hopefully the Scots said “NO”

Since the debate over Scotland stirred up and the insinuations with similar cases started to formulate (e.g. Catalunia, Corse, or even Transnistria) I could hardly see any positive relation with the Scotland being completely independent as a sovereign state – and therefore as candidate member-state for the EU, the possible turbulence of British and Scottish pound in the global market, the way these two separate states would live with each other in a number of issues that would surface. Especially in this period of time for the European Union, such a development would possibly be destructive in various ways for the EU, Britain and Scotland itself – even if the YES side had a strong saying on Scotland’s sufficiency on building its future alone.

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Interview with Mr Abdullayev, President of SOCAR

The President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), Mr Rovnag Ibrahim Abdullayev, discussed with Dimitris Rapidis, Director and Project Coordinator at  Bridging Europe, on a string of issues ranging from energy supply and production, regional cooperation, ongoing and forthcoming projects and partnerships, to the risks of climate change, corporate social responsibility, and the special relationship with Greece as the linking corridor towards the expansion of the company in the Western Mediterranean Basin and the European Union.

*The interview was first published by Bridging Europe. It is republished here.

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