Who controls ECB (European Central Bank)?

This is a strange story. We were having a chat after the project meeting finished and somehow the subject of European Central Bank (ECB) came up. I don’t remember why or how but the question was raised: who controls the ECB? Well, I knew that ECB was a company but I did not know details. So I had to have a look. The results are … well, this could have been expected.

Okay, so ECB is a bank, a commercial entity with all European Central Banks as shareholders. No surprises there. So whoever controls the Central Banks of the EU countries – controls the ECB. Now the next question is, of course, who controls the Central Banks?

I did not check them all but I suspect they are all organized the same way: the government (I could not find out how) is the shareholder and owner of the Central Bank. It seems that even where the Central Banks were private, they were nationalized some time ago. So they are all publicly owned. But there is a catch.

You see, the Central Banks have a note on their pages and in the documents that effectively says: “we are not controlled by the government”. I cannot imagine why, but all right, so the Central Banks are not controlled by the government, that’s just the way they are set up. So the owners actually do not control the banks. Who controls them then?

In this case, since there is no other obvious control mechanism, the Board of Directors and, in the first place, the Governor, will be controlling the Central Bank. Again, it seems that all banks in Europe are set up identically. So their management actually controls the Central Banks and therefore controls the ECB. A financial empire, no less. Very well. Who are the management and can we see any clear affiliations there?

And that’s where it got messy. Some countries’ Central Banks do not disclose any information about the governors – those are double suspicious. But all of the others show affiliation with U.S. one way or another. Here is the list of governors and those of their past affiliations that could be easily found.

  • ECB: Mario Draghi, President – Goldman Sachs, World Bank
  • Bank of England: Mark Carney, Governor – Goldman Sachs
  • Bank of France: Christian Noyer, Governor  – IMF, World Bank
  • Deutsche Bundesbank: Jens Weidmann, President – IMF
  • Bank of Greece: Yannis Stournaras, Governor – IMF
  • De Nederlandsche Bank: Klaas
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Negotiations and lobbies: Merkel visits Obama

US president spoke of the “extraordinary” Russia’s military power, extent of Russia’s border with Ukraine and even mentioned Russian history. Propaganda myth of a massive Russian intervention in Ukraine is now used against its authors at full steam: you can not do something in Ukraine without taking into account the reaction of the Kremlin. Therefore, the U.S. administration will do nothing there – and that’s exactly what Merkel wants. I do not mean that Russia did not intervene; the whole myth was based on hiding the American control of Ukraine and silencing the fact that Russia never took initiative but only ever reacted, and rather sluggishly at that.

Now the Ukrainian issue will be resolved (or not resolved) through diplomacy, and the White House even invented a variant solution: heads of Donetsk and Lugansk will be elected in accordance with the Ukrainian (what’s the difference, why not Chinese?) constitution – and Kiev would be forced to stop the fight and carry on with the negotiations. Obama “has not yet decided” about weapons shipments to Ukraine  – and “will not decide” before the election of the new president. In fact everything will be solved by Putin, whom Merkel persuaded in the Kremlin. He, however, did not put up a fight: if America will mind their own business, and if it you are so good to ask, then so be it.

Angela Merkel looked completely different than during previous visits. If before she felt a bit alien to this celebration of life, and a bit awkward compared to the elegant Michelle Obama, not to mention the women of French presidents, by now she has acquired the character stiffness of the “Iron Lady” Thatcher, perhaps a tad more clear and discreet.

Obama talked about the usual: climate and all the good against the bad things, but in the end he even began to recover. It must have cost him a lot of effort, but he managed. In reality, the talks centered around two issues. Only one of them was on the official agenda, and journalists (unsuccessfully) tried to clarify the details.

The first item really concerned Ukraine. Angela Merkel has brought to the attention of her American counterpart the “Ukrainian dossier” prepared by BND and explained: Germany did not intervene in the American game in Iraq, Libya and Syria; nobody cares… -->

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EU research peddles feminist nonsense

A reply I got today from one of the research coordinators on the subject of hiring PhD students for an EU funded research project:

“The only thing that EU re-inforce is to achieve a good gender balance, with an aim at 40% female ESRs (very tough in our field). This means that we might need to be slightly more in favor of good female candidates”

Look how this discrimination against men is cynically presented as “good gender balance” to sound, oh, so politically correct. If you forego the niceties, this simply means that EU officially enforces discrimination against men in the computer science research that it funds. Congratulations.

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Medvedev called on U.S. to improve relations with Russia

First steps for improving the relationship between U.S. and Russia belong to U.S. They must take the initiative this time, said Dmitri Medvedev.

“In order to overcome the existing problems, you just need to abandon the sanctions and put the relations on the working plane. It is necessary to return to normal calm, productive negotiations – then everything is stabilized,” – he said after the ASEAN Summit in Myanmar.

Medvedev found it difficult to say when the relationship between the two countries will be able to improve. “It does not depend on us, because we are not the ones who imposed the sanctions,” – he explained.

As usual, CNN is playing fools by trying to ridicule Medvedev in their report and comparing his quiet life style to Putin. Obviously, they have nothing better to say on the subject.

On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal reports a mounting pressure from the European businesses on the governments to lift the sanctions as the businesses suffer severe losses and have to cut jobs to survive the loss of a lucrative market.

U.S. is probably more interested in weakening Europe than taking initiative to repair the relationship with Russia. So the words of Medvedev are likely to fall on deaf ears this time. It is more reasonable to expect that Europe might take an initiative this time under the pressure of its suffering business.… -->

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EU is becoming disillusioned with Ukraine

The European Union was thrilled to see its blue flag flown on the streets of Kiev during the protests last year, portraying EU as a symbol and a safe haven of democracy. But nearly a year on from the first “EuroMaidan” protests that would topple the last legitimate president of Ukraine, some in Brussels are disillusioned by the experience of helping Ukraine. EU generosity in waiving import duties and funding gas supplies from Russia may be being abused, they say.

“The Ukrainians are manipulating the EU,” a senior EU official involved in negotiations told Reuters, saying the bloc was “waking up” to a need to better defend its own interests.

Such views are dismissed as “absolute nonsense” by Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev. He condemned talk of secret deals to exploit Western fears for profit as part of “anti-Russian propaganda” and said he had full confidence in continued cooperation with the European Union.

In public, there is solid EU support despite the undemocratic president and parliament elections amid continuing civil war in Ukraine. Yet in private, endemic corruption and the power of business “oligarchs” lead some in Brussels to question the future of current levels of EU backing.

“Maybe people fell for this ‘poor little Ukraine’ line,” one EU diplomat said. “But they’re not so naive. They’re waking up.”

The EU has lifted duties on imports from Ukraine but let Kiev keep tariff protections for its own businesses, which also trade freely with Russia. But, EU officials warn, that one-sided favor cannot last long and Ukraine must honor its commitments.

“Ukrainian oligarchs have the best of both worlds,” said the senior EU official, adding that businesses from Polish factories to French wheat farmers had begun to grumble about unfair trade.

“Whether we will end up with full implementation of the EU agreement as it was signed, I have my doubts,” he said. “I think that within six months, the EU will be negotiating again with the Ukrainians and the Russians, with them sitting at the same side of the table … The EU will wake up.”

Amid widespread regret at the way the EU’s drive to conclude its Association Agreement with Ukraine ended… -->

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EU budget fraud steady at €7 billion

The European Court of Auditors published their audit report for 2013. EU budget  totaled €148.5 billion in 2013, or around €290 for every citizen. The average fraud level across all spending areas is estimated at 4.7%, or €7 billion total. In some areas, like energy, transport, fishing, environment and health, fraud level reaches nearly 7% of the budget.

Interestingly, the auditors claim that these numbers are “not a measure of fraud, inefficiency or waste.” What then? Ah, well, they do not say. They just call it an “error”. So no court cases are forthcoming, I guess.

The definition of fraud from the legal dictionary:

A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.

That does not ring a bell? I think this is precisely what we are dealing with here and they just refuse to admit it.

Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant’s actions involved five separate elements: (1) a false statement of a material fact,(2) knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result.

Let’s see. The officials and businessmen submitting false reports to EU are definitely making a false statement. They certainly know what they claim is untrue: how could a land owner not know that the land he is asking funds for the development of is officially identified as unsuitable for agricultural development? The intent to deceive is naturally there for they submit false reports for financial gain. The victim – the EU – relies on those false statements to send funds to the fraudsters resulting in a substantial financial injury to the EU and its citizens.

Just look at the types of “errors”: false cost claims, ineligible projects and beneficiary organizations, shady public procurement, false declarations… None of those hint at “just an honest error”, do they?

I think the case is quite clear. The fraud is widespread in EU. Most of those cases are likely to be criminal … -->

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Grandson of a Nazi SS member to head EU from December 1

From December 1, 2014 Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk will lead the European Council in Brussels and preside over the summits of the eurozone.

Tusk’s appointment to key positions was confirmed last Saturday at the extraordinary meeting of the European Union. He promised to act decisively in the “Ukrainian question”. On this occasion, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry Pavlo Klimkin even joked that the appointment of Donald Tusk is the “most significant sanction against Russia.”

What lies behind the determination of the new head of the European Union, the world has yet to learn. However, the determination of the grandfather of Donald Tusk, Joseph, is known in Europe firsthand. He was an accomplice of Adolf Hitler and served in a reserve SS death squad. This information was leaked to the media during the so-called “war of compromising materials”, which began during the presidential elections in Poland in 2005.

At that time Lech Kaczynski won the election. Later, he even apologized for his election headquarters employee  Jacek Kursk who provided allegedly false information about the pedigree of the opponent. But it was too late for Donald Tusk.

The hot topic became the subject of journalist investigation. Information about the fascist roots of Donald Tusk has been confirmed. The severity of the scandal was augmented by the fact that during the pre-election campaign Tusk said repeatedly that both of his grandfathers were in concentration camps for resisting the Nazis.

Thus the appointment of a man, whose ancestors were members of the dreaded fascist SS punitive battalions, as the new head of the European Council can be considered a landmark. After all, Europe does not condemn but openly supports modern fascist crimes in Ukraine.… -->

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Fidel Castro: U.S. decided to settle scores with Russia and China

Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro compared NATO’s recent statements to that of Nazi SS and accused US and its allies of igniting conflicts abroad in an article published in Cuban media. Castro slammed John McCain for backing Israel and accused both of being involved in the creation of ISIS.

Apparently referring to the pressure the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been trying to exert on Moscow in connection with the Ukrainian crisis, which coincides with calls for the ramping up of military budgets of NATO member countries, Cuba’s iconic leader accused Western politicians of hypocrisy and aggression.

“Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for NATO when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS,” Castro wrote in a column published in Cuban state media.

The statements of the 88-year-old leader came after NATO announced it will create a 4,000-strong “spearhead” high-readiness force that can be deployed rapidly in eastern Europe and the Baltic states to help protect member nations against potential Russian aggression.

“Adolf Hitler’s greed-based empire went down in history with no more glory than the encouragement provided to NATO’s aggressive and bourgeois governments, which makes them the laughing stock of Europe and the world.”

Castro attacked the West for its “cynicism” and said that it became “a symbol of imperialist policy.”

“The world has seen no respite in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the strict and unconditional leadership of the United States, decided the time had come to settle scores with what was left of two great nations – Russia and China – that… had carried out the heroic deed of putting an end to the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States,” Castro said.

Instead of promoting conflicts, the governments should “introduce more food, build hospitals and schools for the billions of human beings who desperately need them,” the Cuban leader believes.

Castro stressed that Cuba will continue to resist the US, despite the costs to the Cuban economy due to the US embargo, saying that “there is no worse price than capitulating before an enemy who attacks you without any right to do so.”

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NATO: Ukraine is a good excuse for military bases in Eastern Europe

The Guardian reports that NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations’s summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders.

“We will adopt what we call a readiness action plan with the aim to be able to act swiftly in this completely new security environment in Europe. We have something already called the Nato response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed. Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very high readiness.

“In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations. So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters. The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible Nato presence in the east.”

NATO plans to establish a permanent network of operational military bases across Eastern Europe trampling the pledges of the West not to expand the military presence to the East. NATO continues its march towards the Russia’s borders demonstrating a total absence of free will and clearly exhibiting the intentions of escalating the military standoff with Russia.

Ironically, NATO’s latest enlargement plans are being opposed not just by Russia, but by its very members, some of whom do not see the point in aggravating tensions with Moscow. The most outspoken support for the expansion plans comes from the most distant members – U.S. and UK. Other members, like France, Spain and Italy, clearly expressed serious concerns with the military plans. Germany remains noncommittal for the moment.

Remarkably, Rasmussen asserted that Russia “does not consider NATO a partner,” when it was NATO that flat-out refused Russian participation in the controversial US missile defense system, also planned for Eastern Europe. Such cooperation could bring to end years of mutual suspicion and antagonism between the cold-war era foes. Instead, the US and NATO opted to try to keep Russia isolated, ensuring nothing less than another full-blown arms race.

Meanwhile, there is no question as to how Russia views NATO’s relentless eastward encroachment.

“No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we … -->

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European Union refused to pay Ukraine gas debts

The EU does not intend to repay the debts of Ukraine for Russian gas, according to the head of the European Commission’s Directorate for Energy Dominique Ristori, reports RIA Novosti.

Responding to a question about whether the EU is considering the possibility of paying debts for Ukraine Ristori shook his head and said that the EU has rendered an important macro-financial assistance. “We are also in close contact with the International Monetary Fund, to promote the reform of the energy market of Ukraine. That’s important,” – he said.

In mid-June the Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said that the situation with Russian gas supplies to Ukraine requires a political solution, including the possible payment of Ukrainian debts by EU. The Minister then said that the EU could eventually cover the debts of Ukraine due to the current economic weakness of the country.

Debt of the Ukrainian “Naftogaz” to Russia’s “Gazprom” has reached $ 5.3 billion including supplies delivered until June 16, when the country was transferred to prepay policy. EU-brokered talks ended in failure. Now the Ukrainian gas transport system only receives transit volumes of gas intended for Europe. This jeopardizes uninterrupted gas transit in the winter as Ukraine is likely to steal gas as its reserves dry up.

European Union in the current year has already transferred 600 million euro macro-financial assistance for Ukraine from the total 1.6 billion euros, promising remaining payments before year end. IMF on April 30 approved the allocation to Ukraine of more than $ 17 billion within two years of the stabilization program on stand by. The first tranche of this program – $ 3.16 billion was received by Kiev in early May.… -->

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