Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - December 08, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Dec 8, 2014 - 3:09 PM

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Irish Independent

The eurozone is experiencing a massive weakening in its economy not least due to a slowdown in its biggest member, Germany, a senior ECB policy maker said today.

"We see a massive weakening in the euro zone economy," Ewald Nowotny, a member of the ECB's Governing Council, told a conference in Frankfurt.

Nowotny said that the European Central Bank had struck a middle ground in its monetary policy, between extremes in the United States that called for full-blown money printing and others that wanted the ECB to take a less expansive path.

ALMOST 1,800 Waterford Crystal workers are in line for payments of up to €40,000 as the Government prepares to sign off on a pension compensation deal this week.

Sources revealed the new package to be presented to staff includes a lump sum payment of €1,000 per year of service.

They said annual pension payments will be based on tiered arrangements, which will offer the greatest protection to those on lower level pensions.

The package will be based on a calculation related to a percentage of a worker's pension entitlements, together with their years of service.

MORE than half of consumers expect to end up in debt to pay for the Christmas spending splurge.

People expect to shell out an average of €600 on the festive celebrations, with €180 alone to be spent on presents for children by parents.

Irish people have consistently emerged as among the highest spenders at Christmas compared with the rest of the EU in a range of different surveys.

But the financial pressure to spend is stretching household budgets, a survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions shows.

And most people say they find it harder to manage household bills over the mid-winter holiday, the credit union survey found.

Irish Times

As recently as August, barely four months ago, it was possible to describe Ireland’s economic recovery as “tentative”. Two pieces by this columnist – in August – suggesting that the recovery was for real were, for the most part, derided.

Typical were the tweets from an academic economist at the London School of Economics who accused me of Bertie Ahern-style boosterism (younger readers may not recall his diagnosis that the boom was getting boomier).

I mention this not to claim victory (forecasting really isn’t my thing) but to observe just how many people seem to have invested themselves in the idea that we are in some kind of permanent slump.

Mortgage insurance, stress tests, a freeze on current lending practices and a longer lead-in time are some of the suggestions being proposed as an alternative to the Central Bank’s proposed rules to restrict mortgage lending.

The deadline for the consultation is midnight on Monday, December 8th, and according to a spokeswoman for the Central Bank, the regulator has already received a greater than usual number of submissions for the consultation.

The proposals, which are designed to prevent future shocks to the Irish property market, were published in October, and if implemented, will mean that borrowers will be required to have a 20 per cent deposit before being approved for a home loan, although exceptions can be made by banks in 15 per cent of cases. In addition, lenders must limit mortgages to three and a half times incomes, with the exception of 20 per cent of cases.

Christoph Mueller will embark on one of the toughest jobs in aviation, turning around an airline that has lost two jets and 537 lives this year.

The 52-year-old outgoing chief executive officer of Aer Lingus has been named to lead Malaysia Airlines amid a slump in traffic and widening losses. He will need to restore confidence in the airline while cutting 6,000 jobs.

“It’s got to be one of the biggest challenges in the airline business today,” said John Strickland, an aviation specialist at JLS consulting Ltd. “It’s a job that needs a tough nerve, patience and a few deep breaths to take it forward. They’ve got to get back to a point of credibility and respect.”

Irish Examiner

It is expected that advisers on the sale of AIB will be appointed before the end of this year.

The Department of Finance is in talks with a number of domestic and international firms to advise on the part privatisation of the 99.8% State-owned bank.

The Department of Finance said the selection process was ongoing and there was no current timeframe on when the successful candidates would be picked. However, a person with knowledge of the situation said that Finance Minister Michael Noonan would unveil the advisory team before the Government breaks for Christmas.

It is then expected that a package of measures on the restructuring of AIB will be announced following the release of its 2014 full-year results at the end of February.

The first task facing the new advisory team will be what to do with the €3.5bn preference shares held by the Government.


Euro Topics: Demonstrations against police violence and racism have now reached the west coast of the US. The protests were sparked on Wednesday when a court decided not to indict the white police officer allegedly responsible for the death of the black man Eric Garner. Commentators see this as the end of the dream of a post-racist society in the US, and hope the fight for civil rights will be revived.

Post-racism just an illusion: It seems that in the US it really is skin colour that determines whether a crime is investigated or not, the conservative Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten writes: "The outcry that is resonating all the way from New York to Seattle can't be loud enough. According to the colour psychology of the US law enforcement agents and also that of the US judiciary, black makes you a suspect. Also in the case of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old family father who died in mid-July, choked by a police officer, the jury decided not to press charges against the policeman. The latter suspected Garner of selling cigarettes illegally. The illusion of a post-racist society in the US is disintegrating, revealing what we thought had been relegated to the past; the mask of a society dominated by distrust. The danger in the four cases did not emanate from the victims. It is the police who have turned into the enemy against which no one protects you."

Time to revive the fight for civil rights: The most recent cases of police brutality in the US show that the fight for civil rights hasn't been won yet, the left-liberal Dutch daily De Volkskrant warns: "Black Americans believe police brutality is linked to racism. Studies confirm this suspicion: blacks are not only more frequently victims of police brutality, they are also punished more severely than whites for the same crimes. Many black people's trust in the US judicial system has also been undermined because several police officers have either been acquitted of charges of using disproportional violence or never even had to appear in court. So it's good news that US Attorney General Eric Holder has now announced that the FBI will investigate Garner's death. Holder believes these incidents must prompt America to revive the fight for civil rights in the US. That's a hopeful sign."

Valls has no choice but to do nothing: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced in an interview on Sunday that he wanted to remain in office until the end of François Hollande's term as president in 2017, and defended the 'responsibility pact' reform package. The conservative daily Le Figaro fears the worst: "Manuel Valls himself has no doubt understood that the political reality does not offer him any other choice but to keep a low profile. If he shifts to the left, Brussels and Berlin will redouble their criticism. If he really pushes for reform, all the opponents in his own camp will put him in the pillory. What should he do or say? François Hollande has the answer: not much. The prime minister assured us yesterday that he wants to remain in office until the end of the president's five-year term. His words and his expressions suggest a total standstill. If Valls puts a brake on what remains of his will for reform, France will continue wasting time and wallowing in the quagmire."

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