E.U. Ambassador

Monday, April 30, 2012

João Vale de Almeida, E.U. ambassador to the U.S., talks about the financial crisis in Europe, as well as the overall E.U./U.S. relationship.


João Vale de Almeida

Comments [31]


Now, just when WILL that dang Confidence Fairy show up?

And how many more years must ordinary people pay for trying to lure her into view?

Apr. 30 2012 04:18 PM

This guy sounds like a man who must spout the Powers That Be's line of BS, no matter what.

And, if he were to say that the way austerity is being used is completely counterproductive, he would no longer have his nice job as head of the EU delegation to the USA.

Threat of losing employment concentrates the mind wonderfully, whether on a good idea or a bad one. In this case, very bad idea.

Apr. 30 2012 04:13 PM
Leo from Queens

jgarbuz fromQueens: I do agree that there is a lot of blame to go around. But you can't have a capitalist system that depends and can only exist based on borrowing and specualation turn around and blame borrowers or others who participate responsibly in the capitalist system (let's say I responsibly take a mortage for a home or a country borrows to improve infrastructure) for being caught on the wave of the onslaught and overreaction of these 'banks' and financial institutions for austerity. it is counter productive and it penalized and scares away responsible participants in the capitalist system since they are paying for the excesses and greed of some bankers and other organized crime enterprises. Sure, the Greek government is responsible for over borrowing for theo lympics and Britan is responsible for not regulating the financial sector. The same as Ireland is responsible for not regulating the Irish banks. But both Ireland, Spain and Portugal were not irresponsible in their finances. They were responsibly operating in the capitalist system. The problem is why the Irish government chose to take on the debt of its banks that were being run by organized crime.Who got paid off there. Why did local governments in Spain allow the over building of real estate? Why did the banks push for these developments and lend money for all this housing in Spain? - Again, a serious problem, but not caused by the Spanish governmetn and this problem on its own would not have caused the problems we are seeing if it were not for the 'markets' deciding extract billions from Spain so they can cover the huge losses in their gambling operations.
People need to be aware that organized crime does not operate the same way as when we were growing up - there is no money in shaking down a local store owner. The money is in the finance and real estate sector as technology has made it easier for crimininal syndicates to operate in the shadows and with impunity while operating a 'legitimate' business.

Apr. 30 2012 12:13 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon of Brooklyn

The Rise of Asia meant competition for RESOURCES, such as OIL, minerals, food, water, etc. Now, we can find new resources up to a point, and eventually develop "renewable" replacements, but meanwhile ENERGY COSTS increase, and the cost of many other commodities increase, and that is why the average standared of living as we had on debt has to come down considerably. Americans use twice as much energy as Europeans, have twice as much living space in their homes, and that is and will contiue to change in the downward direction. It's as inevitable as the sun doing down tonight. But then there is always tomorrow :)

Apr. 30 2012 11:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

to Leo

The attempt to scapegoat banks and investors as the reason for all these problems is just nonsense. Sure, out of control speculation and gambling always causes problems but the fundamental problem is that the entire West has been living beyond its means just as 3 billion Asians began to compete and take away production from the West, and just as the "baby boomers" were beginning to switch from being productive taxpayers to becoming consumers of government largesse.

One can whip and beat the banks and speculators all one wants to, but it is not going to change the FACT that when you live on debt, you are living on quicksand,and will sink if you don't get out.

Apr. 30 2012 11:37 AM
Arthur Vincie from Astoria, NY

If I hear the word "job creator" one more time I'm going to throw up. Wake up folks! Big investors don't create jobs unless (a) the expense of wages are so negligible as to be worth the investment (slave labor, indentured servitude, or sweatshops); (b) they like whatever business opportunities are presented to them or want to start a business themselves; (c) they are brought to the table by government, businesses and labor bodies. In other words, government regulation and incentivization, labor pressure, businesspeople with good ideas, and investors with capital create jobs together. Why should one group be privileged over the others? Why should labor bear the costs and governments be slashed so that the investors can do whatever they want? Austerity in the long run only means that someone else will be picking up the tab for social services.

Apr. 30 2012 11:34 AM
Miguel Vives from Rye, NY

I would like to make a comment.
They say (Europeans)they want to make labor reforms. In France there is talk about going back to 35 hours/week.
People are being "forcefully" retired in their mid 50's. At least here in the USA you may continue working after you start receiving Social Security benefits. Not so in Europe. You mast do nothing. Literally.
Anyway, today is a long week-end in Spain (today and tomorrow is holiday!)

Apr. 30 2012 11:33 AM
rai from ny, ny

The banks were the enablers of the European debt crisis!

Apr. 30 2012 11:33 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - That means bigger government, as not even the most "right-wing" republican or tory, has the balls to tell people of who they need their votes, exactly that.

I would also disagree with some of your premise - capitalism is not a zero sum game, the rise of Asia and Latin America should not mean lower living standards for the west. If western workers were better educated or trained in anticipation of globalization

Apr. 30 2012 11:32 AM
Leo from queens

I agre with you JakeR. I'm tired of people repeating the lie - including another NPR program this morning - that the problem is national debt where these countries kept borrowing money when they could not pay - That is not the case. The governments in Ireland and Spain were very responsible fiscally - The problems were caused by speculation by the banks and by the 'markets' deiciding to create panic and destabilize the economy of certain European companies.

Ireland's problem was due to the decision to assume the debt of the money laundering operations of the main Irish bank when their gambling failed.
Both Spain and Ireland had a private housing bubble from Germans and other Northen Europeans buying lots of property. These would have had a negative impact on their economies. But this should not have had the traumatic impact is having if it had not been for these bankers.
Also, we forget that the Spanish banks back in 2008 were actually doing pretty well and were almost unscathed after the market crash in 2008 because they were well regulated. They were doing the right thing but these countries are owned by the multinational mafias operating as banks in Europe and the US.
These countries have lost their independence and the intense of the theft and assault on the well beings of the people in these countries will cause a violent backlash against the banking mafia and their Euro bureocrats. Let's hope the blame is correctly assigned.

Apr. 30 2012 11:29 AM
George from Manhattan

It's easy to talk about austerity when you have a secure job with a nice salary. Why should the Greek people have to suffer so much because of the irresponsible acts of a handful of government officials and the banks who lent to the government? Why shouldn't Greece initiate a controlled bankruptcy, leave the Euro Zone, and work it out themselves?

Apr. 30 2012 11:28 AM
Marco from nyc

why ECB is not printing money and lowering interest rates like america succesfully did? At least partially doing so more money would circulate and crisis would improve

Apr. 30 2012 11:26 AM

Does anyone really believe this shill? Banks and investors are putting pressure on europe to adapt strict austerity measures to force countries into becoming more dependent on the World Bank/centalized banking loans for financial aid. Once that happens, the world bank can dictate any terms it wants. Happens all the time in third world countries.

Apr. 30 2012 11:26 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The Euro was invented to reward bankers and their interests. Thatcher, as conserative as she was - saw right through it. The UK not joining the euro helped end her career. I'm sure the British, eventhough they are in the union - are glad they never gave up the pound.

Apr. 30 2012 11:26 AM

Why did the EU let Greece in the Eurozone? I have been to Greece and corruption and backdeals are common. Why not cut it off untill they get their act together?

Apr. 30 2012 11:25 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Martin Chuzzlewit -

Poor _Martin_ (!!!) isn't hearing what he wanted to hear......that "austerity is all _good_".

You've been swallowing _Ryan/Hayek_ too much, _Martin_.

From the always pro-market Economist:

/The perils of prudence: More evidence that austerity can backfire/ (

"Mr Cottarelli and Ms Jaramillo advise caution in interpreting these results: they may reflect circumstances unique to 2011. Their findings do not mean austerity should be avoided at all costs; but they do suggest it should be accompanied by steps to protect growth. And the study explains why the IMF is urging many countries with a choice not to press austerity further this year. “Decreasing debt is a marathon, not a sprint,” Olivier Blanchard, the fund’s chief economist, has observed. Pace yourselves.

Apr. 30 2012 11:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The entire West, including the EU and the US, have to accept the reality that the rise of Asia (again) means a restructuring of Western economies, which means smaller, not bigger, government. It means lower real wages, smaller homes and cars, and going back to the pre-1960s standard of living. We can no longer spend more than we produce, and we cannot live at a standard of living we cannot pay for. And we cannot expect the government to create jobs and livelihoods for everybody. Those days are FINISHED. Finito! Kaput!

Apr. 30 2012 11:22 AM
TravellerThruKalpas from nyc

people worldwide have lost confidence in capitalism, in their very real ability to see through it in the last few dire years… meanwhile, the ambassador is still positing everything in terms of resuscitating a working capitalism. everyone trying to hang on to that dying system should realize that it can't be fixed, and it isn't going to survive. let's not mourn its demise but move towards creating a truly better world, one which treats everyone equally.

Apr. 30 2012 11:22 AM
andy from manhattan

if so many governments are in flux, particularly in the direction of parties against austerity measures, as it seems, how can one have confidence the austerity policy will continue to be exercised?

i am not convinced it works in the first case, but i definitely see issues of its execution in the near future.

Apr. 30 2012 11:21 AM

Who informed Brian that the "problem" is national debt?

Was that the problem in Spain? In Ireland? Clearly not. Greece is only one case.

Apr. 30 2012 11:20 AM
martha from Gpt

The man exemplifies the heart of the problem. A man who clearly represents global business who is literally spouting boilerplate — neoliberal boilerplate.
The man sadly sounds rigid as a robo call. So it is true that the EU leadership really is driving the European Union countries into the sea. And of course Krugman is right. (Note that Britain following the insanely counterproductive policy under Mr. Osborne, is again in recession and not even in the Eurozone.)
He is also overplaying any new banking regulations.
Let's hope that France at least rids itself of people who also follow these policies.

Apr. 30 2012 11:19 AM

Two questions:

1. Mr. Almeida said that Europe is going out of its way, even against bankers' wishes, to reform finance. I wonder how that is going to happen with all these former Goldman Sachs executives in the highest positions of authority in Europe. A quick recap of Goldman's tentacles in Europe:

Peter Sutherland: former attorney General Ireland, non-executive director of Goldman

Papademos and Monti: Greek and Italian prime ministers and former Goldman executives

Draghi: ECB head and former managing director, Goldman

2. Does Mr. Almeida believe that installing prime ministers in Greece and Italy without a vote and preventing a referendum in Greece democratic?

Apr. 30 2012 11:18 AM

This guy is obviously a shill for the European financial sector. Austerity is a confidence *trick*, that's all. Look at Britain: austerity = double dip recession, but the rich keep getting richer.

Stop talking about the "markets" as though they're gods we have to sacrifice to. We don't buy it. We're all becoming economic atheists thanks to the high priests of Wall Street.

Apr. 30 2012 11:18 AM
Leo from queens

Your guests seems to be a radical right wing Republican (with a different accent of course) that believes in the religion that all jobs and economic development is driven by 1-2% of extremely wealthy individuas and 60-70% of the masses living in destitution. How many jobs are European 'job creators' going to create in Portugal and Spain when these people can't even afford to eat or buy clothes?
How are they going to buy a house or an Audi or Opel from a German factory?

Apr. 30 2012 11:18 AM
Eugenie Bietry, Ph.D. from New York City

Here again, we have an individual working for a government organization, who turns around and says that governments don't create jobs. I am a professor of economics at two government institutions of higher education, a city university and a state university. They pay me -- so I have a job with the government.

Apr. 30 2012 11:17 AM
george from Astoria

I just got back from Greece and i'll tell you the austerity measures are horrible for the greek people. Very horrible.

The people are being taxed and their salaries are being lowered. The affect this is having on the country is that money is not circulating and there is less money to tax to pay off the debt.

The economy is continuing to drop and people are getting poorer and poorer, suicide has gone up and peolple are leaving.

How is austerity helping Greece? Its not

Apr. 30 2012 11:17 AM

Why is it that some countries like Poland are doing well while others like Spain Greece and Portugal so poorly? Why can't them just eliminate the debt, its all a shell game of numbers on computer screens?

Apr. 30 2012 11:16 AM

Martin, you've completely given up on honest debate, and all you seem to have left these days is perennial flame throwing. sad.

Apr. 30 2012 11:16 AM

Ah diplomatic speak.

Apr. 30 2012 11:16 AM

did this guy just say that they need to get the $ to the job creators and govt does not create jobs??? wow, this guy would fit in well with our republican party. does he have is own version of the Bush tax cuts? yikes!

Apr. 30 2012 11:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Poor Brian (!!!) isn't hearing what he wanted to hear......that "austerity is all bad".

You've been swallowing Krugman too much, Brian.

Apr. 30 2012 11:11 AM

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