Friday, April 06, 2007

Brussels Journal

Two recent articles: Estonia's former ambassador to Russia discusses the shifts in power in the world in response to Russia's and China's recent actions.
Having used his prior bully tactics – gas attacks, political assassinations, obstruction in the Middle-East, etc. – to demonstrate his brutality, resolve and fearlessness in the face of the New Cold War, Putin set the European Union on a crossroads: either Russia or America, either gas and Europe’s readiness for deals or confrontation over economy and security issues with obvious consequences.

The fact that “old Europe” is in a depressing silence shows that Putin’s message has hit home. Only the representatives of the United States and some of the Northern and Mid-European countries, i.e those who feel that they will have to face Russia’s threats anyway, have raised their voices in protest.

Secondly, there is some discussion how the Swedish welfare model is changing.
If the salary of this worker including employer’s tax is said to be around 14 Euros an hour and he or she worked a typical 8 hour work day, the reward for going to work would be less than 16 Euros per day. But there are also costs associated with working. Going out to lunch rather than staying at home to eat might cost an extra 4 Euros per day. Travel to work might bring on an additional expense of 5 Euros. The reward to the individual for a hard days’ labour would thus shrink to only some 7 Euros for each day spent working.

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