France sets new budget, rejecting German austerity plan – Revolt in the Eurozone

 French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (Reuters / Philippe Wojazer)


French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (Reuters / Philippe Wojazer)

RT News

France’s new budget plan brings the deficit to below the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP by 2017, defying Germany’s austerity program.

Adoption of the document comes as there is new evidence of the country’s disagreement over the austerity policy led by Europe’s strongest economy, Germany.

Paris has taken the decision “to adapt the pace of deficit reduction to the economic situation of the country,” Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters on Wednesday.

“Our economic policy is not changing, but the deficit will be reduced more slowly than planned due to economic circumstances – very weak growth and very weak inflation,” he said.

Under the new budget plan, the public deficit is set to fall from 4.4 percent of output this year to 4.3 percent next year, 3.8 percent in 2016 and 2.8 percent in 2017.

The new budget plan still runs counter to earlier promises by Paris to lower the deficit to less than 3 percent by the second deadline set for next year. The first deadline was previously set for 2013, but extended.

“No further effort will be demanded of the French, because the government – while taking the fiscal responsibility needed to put the country on the right track – rejects austerity,” the budget statement made by Paris read.

However, Paris has committed to government cuts of public spending 21 billion euro by next year and 50 billion euro by 2017 on Wednesday. Still, Sapin said that France will not further extend the cuts as it would badly hit the economy.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged at a media conference in Berlin “everyone to fulfill their commitments and obligations in a credible way,” saying that Europe is still “not at the point where we can say the crisis is fully behind us.”

While Merkel did not particularly point at Paris, Germany’s main exporters’ association, the BGA, accused France of putting the European economy at risk.

“If that country doesn’t figure a way out of the downward spiral, the euro and therefore Europe are at risk,” BGA president Anton Boerner said, according to his statement cited by Reuters.

In August, Hollande asked French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ to form a new government following tensions within his cabinet over the country’s economic policy.

The decision came after strong criticism of the country’s economic direction which, according to former Economics Minister Arnaud Montebourg, has hindered France’s development.

He frontally attacked Merkel for imposing “austerity policy” across Europe calling for a “major shift.”

“My responsibility as economy minister is to tell the truth, and observe…that not only are these austerity policies not working but they are also unfair,” Montebourg said in a statement at a media conference on August 25.

Germany’s attempts to resurrect the EU’s economy after the 2008 financial crisis have been marked by cutbacks and taxation. The austerity plan has proven to be severely unpopular in the eurozone, still struggling with economic weakness.

Occupy Wall Street more popular than Obama

Demonstrators associated with the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement face off with police in the streets of the financial district after the deadline for their removal from Zuccotti park. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Demonstrators associated with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement face off with police in the streets of the financial district after the deadline for their removal from Zuccotti park. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

RT news

While politicians and the mainstream media waited weeks to acknowledge Occupy Wall Street, it looks as though the public hasn’t ignored the movement. A new poll shows that more Americans favor the protests than they do President Obama.

A new poll released on Thursday from Time assessed Americans’ opinions of all things current events, only to reveal that the general public’s favor of the continuing Occupy Wall Street movements exceed that of their own commander-in-chief. Approaching its fifth week now, the ongoing protests that originated out of New York’s Zuccotti Park that have since spread internationally have managed to garner more support than Barack Obama himself, with 54 percent of those polled favoring the demonstrations to the president’s measly 44 percent.

And although conservative critics have largely shunned the Occupy Wall Street protests as being an disorganized and chaotic attempt to recapitalize on the Tea Party’s success from yesteryear, the same poll from Time shows that the approval rating of the populist-geared GOP gang is only half that of Occupy Wall Street.

Speaking to RT yesterday, The Market Ticker’s Karl Denninger, one of the co-founders of the Tea Party movement, said that the protesters with Occupy Wall Street can learn from the mistakes that Palin and pals encountered when they waged demonstrations of their own.

“One of the things that the Occupy movement seems to have going for it is it has not turned around and issued a set of formal demands,” Denninger said. “This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Everyone is looking for a set of demands.”

Denninger added that in the case of the Tea Party, organization was largely to blame for the movement’s downfall. “One of the things we wanted was the end to bailouts and an end to government deficit spending, and as you can see that didn’t happen,” said Denninger.

Elsewhere in the poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans (81 percent) say that the country has “seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” While many Americans say that they are in support of the Occupy Wall street movement, a majority of participants in the poll also add that the gap between the rich and poor in the US has grown too large and that banks should be held accountable and prosecuted for their role in the financial collapse.

In support of Obama, the poll suggests that more Americans favor his job as president when pitted against the George W Bush administration.

Time’s poll was conducted between on October 9 and 10, 2011, and pulls data taken from 1,001 adults surveyed.

Professor Cornel West arrested in DC

Prof Cornell West @ a protest

Prof Cornell West @ Occupy Wall Street protest

RT news

Acclaimed professor and activist Dr. Cornel West was arrested with 18 others on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington DC on Saturday during a local demonstration with the growing Occupy Wall Street movement.

Dr. West says that he was in Washington earlier in the day to witness President Barak Obama’s dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, only to join protesters hours later at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is there that activists have been congregating for over a week down as part of the October 2011 Stop the Machine protest that hopes to draw attention to the ongoing war in Afghanistan — which earlier this month reached the 10-year mark, making it the longest-going American war ever.

Once at Freedom Plaza, West and dozens others marched through Washington to the Supreme Court building. A spokesperson for the high court confirmed that West was one of 19 people arrested for refusing to the leave the grounds. Video shows that protesters remained peaceful as they sat on the steps of the courthouse awaiting arrest.

Speaking from the steps of the building, West told a crowd of protesters and reporters, “We want to bear witness today that we know the relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in the Supreme Court decision. We want to send a lesson to ourselves, to our loved ones, our families, our communities, our nation and the world that out of deep love for working and poor people that we are willing to put whatever it takes, even if we get arrested today, and say, we will not allow this day of Martin Luther King Jr’s memorial to go without somebody going to jail.”

Before his arrest, Dr. West told a reporter with NoCureForThat.org that the ongoing movement, approaching a full month of protests, has already reached historical status. “The question is where it will continue and what form it will take. We just don’t know at this point.”

Dr West added that “Martin King would be here right with us, willing to throw down out of deep love.”

“We love poor people, we love working people and we want Martin Luther King Jr to smile from the grave that we haven’t forgot him,” said Dr West.

The Princeton University professor that formerly taught at Harvard has spoken publically of the ongoing protests for several weeks now. To CNN earlier this month, Dr. West asked, “Who’s going to really speak for poor people? Who’s going to really speak for working people? That’s very much what I think the . . . ‘Occupying Wall Street’ movement is all about.”

In an interview earlier this year, Dr West accused President Obama as being “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

Cornel West will be arraigned at the Supreme Court this afternoon.