• Europe had nothing to offer to Mr. Aquino except its own misery

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    As he traveled across the European continent, President Aquino told people back home that he was on a fruitful trip of economic significance. The man on the street, who had seen the ancientness and grandeur of Paris and Madrid on TV screens, largely agreed. Europe, the major destination of our hardworking domestic helpers, is, by our reckoning the other land of milk and honey. The US, of course, is first and foremost.

    Yet, Europe, from where Mr. Aquino promised to return with  “a long list of accomplishments” is no longer the Europe of prosperity and economic stability. He can’t bring home anything from there, given the region’s prostrate economy. “Europe is at risk of secular stagnation,” Lawrence Summers, one of the world’s top economic minds, wrote recently. Summers was treasury secretary to Bill Clinton, former top economic adviser to President Obama and former president of the World Bank and Harvard University.

    Summers has called for dramatic solutions to the woes of Europe so as to prevent vicious cycles of sluggish growth.

    Unemployment across the continent remains at a tough 11 plus, a double-digit menace that is higher in Spain and Greece. In the second quarter, the 18 nations that use the Euro as a common currency failed to register any growth while the largest economy of the continent, Germany, an economic powerhouse, contracted. Angela Markel, who leads the largest economy, has stubbornly clung to her position that only austerity and fiscal restraint will save Europe.

    Eurozone GDP has yet to get back to the level in 2007, before the lesser depression struck.
    In contrast, the US, which implemented a timid stimulus package and has continued with monetary easing through its QE, has trimmed down its double-digit unemployment rate to just above 6 percent. While the US economy has been posting growth rates, though insignificant, Europe, according to economists, is about to plunge into a dangerous deflation. Luckily, the so-called “austerians” or the advocates of tight money and fiscal cuts are out of power.

    “At this point, Europe is doing worse than it did at a comparable stage of the Great Depression. And even more bad news may lie ahead, as Europe shows every sign of sliding into a Japanese-style deflationary trap,” wrote Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who has also criticized the austerity policies that has dominated the economic policies across the region.

    In July, inflation was down to 0.4 percent and industrial production was down 0.3 percent in June. Portugal, part of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), the Eurozone countries hard hit by the meltdown, had to bail out one of its largest banks recently.

    With all these data, it is just right to ask this question. What precisely will Mr. Aquino get from a region on the throes of deflation and in which youth unemployment is over 20 percent in many of the 18-bloc Euro nations?

    Given that our strongest economic suit is manpower export, it is imperative for any Philippine president to push for the placement of Filipino skilled, non-skilled and sea-based workers during their foreign travels. Preferably through bilateral labor agreements which give both employment and protection—once employed—to Filipino workers.

    But how can any leader do that in Spain, which right now has one of the most horrific unemployment rate in the developed world? Before 2008, getting workers into Spain was possible as the economy was booming and unemployment was low. Right now that is not the case. Natives are pounding the streets to get menial jobs and the unemployed youth are restless and aggrieved.

    The tensions in Europe are mostly fueled by restless and angry natives who feel that immigration should be restricted and that the immigrants have been stealing jobs from them, or destroying their traditional way of life.

    The rise of the right-wing parties in Europe such as France’s National Front (FN) is partly due to the sense of intolerance that is now gripping these formerly welcoming member-nations. Right-wing figures previously dismissed as clowns have made their amazing comeback due to the meltdown that is roiling the region.

    The welcome for Mr. Aquino in Paris might had been “rousing.” But France had nothing to offer to Mr. Aquino except its own misery.
    Other questions.

    With manufacturing down in the continent, what products and raw materials can we hopefully export to them? What goods and services from us could probably enter their markets with consumer spending at record-low?

    In France, the economy is as messy as the personal life of its president, Francois Hollande.

    His socialist government has caved in to the pressure from Merkel on the adoption of austerity measures and it is only at this late stage that he is reconsidering on the brutal wages of his austerity policies.

    There is no way Mr. Aquino could have squeezed economic concessions from either Spain or France.

    We don’t mind the P31.9 million spent by Mr. Aquino and his party for the 8-day trip to Europe. Presidents have to travel to broaden their worldview and they have to have delegations in these travels.

    But it would be the height of insensitivity on his part to proclaim that he went there for his “ bosses,” which means the ordinary people like me and my neighbors. Telling the people that he would bring home the bacon from Europe was an outright lie as you cannot, under any circumstance, squeeze concessions from an economy about to plunge into a deflationary trap.

    He should have simply said that presidents have to travel and that they have to see sights and hobnob with other leaders. That is something that we can fully understand and accept.

    mvrong@yahoo.com

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    17 Comments

    1. Chief Executive on

      Ang presidente ng Pilipinas na kumukundena sa kapwa niyang Pinoy ay mapanaginipin! Si positive president (na puro pambobola ang alam) ay hindi lamang mapanaginipin kundi mababangutin, hindi na nativgilan sa pambobola ang tanga…
      Hindi nga nega bulero naman, mas mabuting negative dahil alam ang problema at di tulad nitong presidenteng ito na di marunong mag-discern na may problema: yun ang malaking problema! Na hindi alam na may problema OR kunwari’y walang problema kasi nga mambobola. Kaawa awa ang mga tangang tagapakinig niya, yun din ay mga tanga lalo na kung maniniwala…ay naku talaga naman oo.

    2. Mr Clean ay mahilig magkwento ng ALAMAT ng Panot ala, “Ramon Revilla”
      laging nagsasalaysay ng mga Kababalaghan at mga story telling a lie sa
      mga TANGA pakinig niya na siya lagi ang bida. At bago magwakas ang
      salaysay sisiHIN ang kung sino sino lalo na yung pinalitan niya na si Gloria,
      sa mga bagay na sanay’ dapat niyang ginawa para ayusin kung ano man
      ang Kamalian ng nakaraan, Bagkus dinagdagan pa ni Mr Clean ng mas
      malalaking problema kaysa Dati.
      Sa kaniya mga talumpati hindi man siya bumigkas tungkol sa team slogan
      nga adminstrayon ng Tuwad na Daan na “ITS MORE FUN IN THE PHILS.”
      para lalo niya mabighani ang mga negosyante ng europa. tulad ng:
      Imbensyon nilang holDAP ni A bad man, holDAPin ang ibat ibang pondo
      may kalaanan gamit, para gawing savings BANK ni mr Clean at magamit
      panuhol at pangKONTROL ng mga KURAKOT na mambabatas, at
      pampatalsik sa mga KALABAN. mabuting maituro mo sana ito sa mga
      nag aaral na syensya ng gobyerno. Ipaalam mo ang kagalingan ni mr
      A bad sa pnaghoholDAP sa PONDO ng MRT na nakalaan sana sa rehab
      and repair at pambili ng bagong tren pero nauwing pansuhol sa mga
      tongresmen at senatong para iimpeach si corona. Ikwento mo rin ang galing
      at talino ng mga kalihim mo na sina, Alcala, Soliman, Abwaya, Gasmin,
      Patilla, Ochoa, roxas, A bad ang ang kaniya mga kaanak, na pawang matapat
      sa bayan at hindi nagnanakaw sa Kaban ng Bayan. Si heneral alan
      de madrid y palpak PULISAMA. na tumulong sayo ng malaki para sa
      TUWID NA DAAN MO.

    3. so it means nothing gain from his travel except naggala lang siya ginastos ang 32 million na sana ginamit nya sa yolanda victims baka mas natuwa pa ang mga boss nya ay talagang inutil puro

      • So, true, that 32million is a waste of Tax Payer’s money. It was probably used just to boost his worsening image. You know? Paying for false prize and so on.

      • Looking at what happened in the past… after Davos Pnoy said “pipilahan tayo ng mga investors” na hangang ngayon ay di pa maaninag, I doubt na may ibubunga ang visit ni Pnoy sa Europe.

    4. You forgot to mention that Europe is very, very, very, hesitant to invest here considering that BSA himself screwed up some deals that they made here in the past…

    5. & there is nothing wrong in the people of europe wanting to protect jobs for their own people. Look at the philippines it always put its own people before any others. Foreigners in the philippines arnt allowed to buy a house ( because they cant own the land its built on ) but in all of europe you filipinas are allowed to buy houses. If every country started stopping migrant workers the philippines would have a huge problem as its the remittances from those ofw’s that fuels the economy here. Without them your economy would collapse & every government would be forced to find work for its people or they might be murdered by them,. As long as countries accept filipino migrant workers this or any successive government doesnt really care about the unemployment.

    6. You wrote He can’t bring home anything from there, given the region’s prostrate economy.
      But France had nothing to offer to Mr. Aquino except its own misery.
      With manufacturing down in the continent, what products and raw materials can we hopefully export to them?

      Chinese seem to do very well with the Europeans.
      Europe China bilateral trade in 2013 stood at 555 billion dollars. 1.5 billion dollars a DAY

      When President Xi of China went to France earlier this year he signed trade deals worth 25 billion USD. He also signed another 5 billion dollars worth of deals in Greece.

      Angela Merkel has visited China 7 times since she became President of Germany and earlier this year she signed 20+ billion dollars worth of trade deals with China. Volkswagen alone signed a deal to build a new factory in China worth 2. 5 billion USD.

      Premier Li of China went to the U.K for a 3 day state visit and the Brits rolled out the red carpet. He met the Queen, P.M and signed 25 billion dollars worth of deals. The pound and sterling started direct trading and London become a clearing hub for the Yuan.

      Aquino went to London for a 2 day visit met no ofw’s and walked around the Imperial War museum for the day.

    7. You are correct. BS Aquino is on a tour. To say he will get economic benefits from this trip is just another spinning of the truth. I believe a President should travel to gain a broader perspective and that could change government plans. In the BS Aquino case it is okay for him to travel just to tell everyone he visited the EU. Ok course there is no government plan. So the trip cannot change that. We will spend the P31.9 million and know that at least it helped the economies of EU members.

    8. So where is this $2.3 billion investments to the Philippines coming from that he brags about? Another lie on our face?

    9. Better he should had traveled around the country to check the impact of the recent calamities and to hobnob with the local leaders in the far flung areas and see how to uplift their living conditions.

    10. “We don’t mind the P31.9 million spent by Mr. Aquino and his party for the 8-day trip to Europe. Presidents have to travel to broaden their worldview and they have to have delegations in these travels.”

      Unfortunately, it’s useless for PNoy for lack of perspective and character of a leader!

    11. As an ordinary citizen, I think that President Aquino knows about the economic situation of the countries he visited. It’s one way for him to project to the Filipinos that he’s not in a lameduck position;that he and his favored men can still do a lot to improve our economy. But a former UP Diliman student from the crowd where he held his conference in France stood up and asked him 2 very important questions which roused him up to reality in that particular conference. Meantime, he and his men will have to contend with the realities of the damage from Luis and Mario when he comes back. Let’s include prayers in the equation so that our resolve and determination to solve various problems in the different sectors of our society will be the priority.

    12. I agree with your analysis, Mr. Ronquillo. As a Europe watcher, I know that the Abnoy will be lying to us again. He is after all the master liar of all in the history of Phil. governments. Hollande got elected on a platform of more government spending instead of austerity like Angela Merkel, but obviously this did not work. Europe’s Euro has not been doing well. I am a member of various European organizations and I have been getting emails lately from my organizations asking me for more membership donations in Euros at that, to keep our organizations going. How’s that for economic sufficiency?

      No doubt the Abnoy will not be able to deliver what he will be trumpeting about. Let us anticipate more astounding lies from him!