Tag Archives: crisis

Ukraine conflict – the main issue on the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council agenda

The 21st OSCE Ministerial Council, gathering some 50 foreign ministers, will take place on 4 and 5 December 2014, at the Basel Exhibition Centre, in Basel, Switzerland at the invitation of the 2014 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

1073303The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE. The meeting, held annually, provides foreign ministers and more than 70 delegations of OSCE participating States, partner countries and several international organizations an opportunity to review and assess the Organization’s activities during the past year and offer national viewpoints on security matters.

The foreign ministers were discussed the Ukraine crisis and common challenges within and beyond the OSCE area. The Council will set the course for the future work of the organization with Serbia taking the chair from 1 January.

It is essential to preserve the OSCE as a platform for inclusive discussions and as an effective responder despite divisions in Europe over the situation in Ukraine, said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter in his opening address at the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel.

Opening session of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel, 4 December 2014. (OSCE/FDFA/Béatrice Devènes)

Opening session of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel, 4 December 2014. (OSCE/FDFA/Béatrice Devènes)

Acknowledging the OSCE as a bridge which can be used by both sides, Burkhalter said that a strong OSCE would bring peace, stability and security for everyone living in the OSCE region. He said political leaders had a responsibility to ensure that Europe does not become a divided continent again 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Burkhalter described the situation in Ukraine as fragile. He called on all participating States to fully support the initiatives the OSCE has launched to de-escalate and normalise the situation in Ukraine, such as the Trilateral Contact Group negotiations and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

Notice that next round of Minsk talks may be held next week. The former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma who represents Kiev in the Contact Group told TASS reporters about the plans. The Minsk agreement is a basic document supported by the world, he said, noting that a positive result of the agreement was the fact that mass killing of people was stopped.
On September 20 in Minsk, the Contact Group on Ukraine signed a nine-point memorandum on a ceasefire. The OSCE monitors the compliance with the document, which was signed by OSCE envoy to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko and head of the Lugansk People’s Republic Igor Plotnitsky.

Swiss Foreign Minister  added that Switzerland will support the Special Monitoring Mission with a further two million Swiss francs (1.7 million Euros), and remains committed to supporting the Mission beyond the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE.

The OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference 2014, with a focus on tolerance and non-discrimination, concluded on 3 December at Hotel Pullman with outcomes being presented to the Chairperson-in-Office. Chairperson Burkhalter was held a press conference with incoming Chairperson, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, where the civil society recommendations were presented by Civic Solidarity Platform members Yuri Dzhibladze and Izabela Kisic.

UPDATE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have supported the efforts of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Mission to Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov and Kerry also stressed the growing importance of soonest deescalation in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry added. It is necessary to make efforts to ensure lasting truce in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions, Lavrov said at a meeting with Kerry on the sidelines of a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of member states of the OSCE in Switzerland’s Basel. “Lavrov focused attention on the necessity of the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, ensuring stable truce and continuation of direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk,” the ministry said.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on a number of pressing international and regional problems, including the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and prospects for the settlement of the intra-Syrian conflict.

“Europe lacks political will to solve the crisis” says former Russian finance minister Alexey Kudrin

Romanian version here.

Participating at the works of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, the former finance minister of Russia, Alexei Kudrin, said for nasdaq.com online platform that a serious  revival of economic crisis in Europe will take place probably within a year or less.

Kudrin (appreciated as the most effective finance minister of Russia in the last 20 years, despite the differences with Dmitry Medvedev that led to his resignation) noted that a possible way to avoid the dark clouds that are looming on the horizon of the EU economy “may be a partial write-off of the Spain’s and Italy’s debt, but it will not happen because Europe lacks political will to make fast and adequate decisions”. Declaring himself as a pessimist about the chances to solution economic crisis, the Russian financier added that in his view “we are beginning a full crisis. Greece will be unable to fulfill its obligations. Greece’s problem was not solved and most likely will not be. Greece output from the Euro Zone for me is almost inevitable. A serious financial and economic crisis will hit Europe next year… and the next victim will be Spain and, possibly, Italy” said Kudrin. He said the disaster may be postponed or delayed if a partial default and restructuring of Italian and Spanish debts is accepted, with the governments to agree on recapitalizing the banks.

No on Russia the things are not entirely happy. Alexei Kudrin says that Russia will face in the next year, with the second wave of economic crisis, noting that experts believe that Russian authorities are not prepared to face this new crisis. Kudrin believes that the crisis may be deeper and last longer. He suggested that Russia should increase its safety net in the face of the coming crisis and oil prices drop. “We should borrow now, while we can” Kudrin said, adding that one shouldn’t hope for a large budget income from privatization, as the time has already passed for the state stakes sale to garner high prices.

His view is confirmed by other voices. “The second wave of crisis will mean a real decline in external demand, which will be accompanied by a reduction of prices of products exported by Russia, in special price of oil. We expect a fall in production of Europe and of Russian exports, a slowdown of growth in China and India. Therefore Russia should rely on stimulating domestic demand” said director of strategic analysis of Audit company  FKB, Igor Nikolaev.

Update: Today, ratings agency Moody’s has cut the ratings of 28 Spanish banks following a June 13 downgrade of Spain’s sovereign rating by three notches. The banks’ long-term debt and deposit ratings have been downgraded by one to four notches. The rating of Bankia, one the country’s largest banks, has been cut to junk status. Spanish banking problems have become the major problem for the euro zone after the collapse of the Spanish housing sector in 2008 created a huge number of bad debts. The Spanish government has formally requested European aid of up to €100 billion for its troubled banking sector.

Davos Forum and the messengers of Apocalypse

Edition 42 number of World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos takes place from 25-29 January 2012. Among the participants (over 2000) in the debate, as usual, are heads of state, central bank governors and several presidents of the leading companies in the world. With protesters camped at an igloo near the snowy meeting venue, pressure is on the VIPs at this year’s forum to take workers’ fears into account as they discuss the world’s economic problems. The Occupy movement and other protests have drawn global attention to anger over inequality, stubbornly high unemployment in many areas, and increasing poverty. The Occupy movement, which went global after protests against Wall Street last year, is camping in igloos to bring its argument with the super-rich “1 percent” to Davos. “At meetings the rest of society is excluded from, this powerful ‘1 percent’ negotiates and decides about the fate of the other 99 percent of this world,” says David Roth, “Camp Igloo” organiser and head of the Swiss centre-left’s youth wing. “The economic and financial concentration of power in a small, privileged minority leads to a dictatorship over the rest of us. The motto ‘one person, one vote’ is no longer valid, but ‘one dollar, one vote’. We want to change that” he added, quoted by Huffington Post. Using the weather to their advantage, protesters are carving out blocks of snow and shaping them into igloos. Not missing any banners: Occupy World Economic Forum !

While the bigwigs debated at Davos, key Greek bondholders were holding closed-door meetings in Paris to discuss how — and whether — to continue talks central to Europe’s debt crisis, a person close to the bondholders said, quoted by Reuters.

Euro area sovereign debt crisis and its impact on the world economy will be the main topic of debates. Also, on agenda of talks is likely to be China’s economic rise, the rules imposed on financial systems and practical effects of the protests that have affected the whole country during the previous year and the begin of 2012. Despite the fact that Germany reported a greater then expected rise in bussines confidence, prospects are bleak (later Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel may chart her course for Europe’s crisis in her keynote speech at the Davos forum). Surveys ahead of the meeting showed pessimism among world CEOs and plunging levels of public trust in business and government leaders, feeding the overall sense of fragility in the U.S. and European economies, and concerns that it will bring the whole world’s economy down. Fear among international experts of a major geopolitical disruption over the next 12 months has risen significantly to 54%, just as confidence in the state of global cooperation has dropped, according to the World Economic Forum’s third Global Confidence Index.

From composition of this horror and funambulistic landscape could not miss the messangers of Apocalypse. U.S. billionaire George Soros warns that in the next period will follow a financial disaster and will lead a fierce struggle between the political classes, according to journalists in Bussines Insider. The financial system is collapsing, and the developed world is fast falling into a “deflationary debt trap” he reiterated. At a lunch on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Soros told journalists that European authorities “had done everything wrong” in their response to the financial crisis that struck in 2007, with a confused policy response that betrayed widespread ignorance of how financial markets work. The financier compared the crisis to the collapse of the Soviet empire and the Great Depression, adding that the old belief in the power of the market to prevent turmoil could no longer be relied upon. “The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system. We need to move from the Age of Reason to the Age of Fallibility in order to have a proper understanding of the problems” said Soros. Another usual shocking statements were made by “Doctor Doom”, Nouriel Roubini. “There is no real decoupling… there is a recession right now in the periphery euro zone” Roubini said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “There’s a recession throughout Europe, US growth is very anemic. There is a slowdown right now in China” he added.

The Open Forum Davos 2012 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the World Economic Forum’s open debate with the general public, with a programme this year that includes a timely discussion on the future of capitalism. The Open Forum runs parallel to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (26 – 28 January) and aims to share the spirit of collaboration and constructive debate with the broadest possible audience.
In many occasions, the Forum in Davos has been criticized forlack of concrete solutions. How worried are guests at Davos forum for protesters that are on the streets and are faced with the specter of poverty, lack of jobs, the tax increase and how worried for their bussines ?
Is good to know: A non-VIP invitation costs at least 71,000 dollars, while access toprivate meetings, the cost starts at 156,000 dollars, writesReuters.
“Strategic partnership” of the event, such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, paid 527,000 dollars for membership and19,000 dollars for each call, up to five.
Among the “strategic partners” are found ArcelorMittal, ABB, Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola, Deutsche Bank, GDF Suez, Google, Intel, JPMorgan, Lukoil, Microsoft, Metro, Nike, PepsiCo, Renault-Nissan, Sberbank, Thomson Reuters and Volkswagen.
Since the launch event in the early ’70s there were four global recession and six recession in the United States.