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Sunday, February 27, 2011


There's Another Huge Government Debt Issue In Europe, And Even Germany Is In Trouble  (clicking on the title we are redirected to this interesting article)

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”

The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.

What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.

For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.

And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?

The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage — aided by the maneuvering of Democrats in the State Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum — has slowed the bum’s rush. If Mr. Walker’s plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves.

But don’t expect either Mr. Walker or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain G.O.P. priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.






Sunday, February 20, 2011


(clicking at the titled link we are redirected to the official view)


Below are given some results of studies of global environmental changes expressed by the statistics and the scale of various natural disasters, both atmospheric and geological in nature. On the basis of statistical data analysis for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, drift of the magnetic poles and other geological processes it has been demonstrated that the Earth’s geodynamic activity has been continuously increasing over the past 100 years, with this tendency substantially growing in recent decades. This is reflected in the number of casualties and the extent of economic damage caused by natural disasters. The global “energy spike” in endogenous and exogenous processes of the Earth started in the late 1990’s.
A similar trend can be observed in atmospheric processes, specifically the increased number of tornados, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, etc. The global environmental changes caused by anthropogenic and natural factors combine to amplify the negative effect on humanity.
It has to be acknowledged that humankind is not prepared to enter the era of global natural cataclysms, either technologically, economically, legally, or psychologically. A joint effort by scientists, international organizations and governments of different countries under the aegis of the UN is needed to take effective measures to counter natural disasters and to minimize the casualties and damage they cause to humanity.


The time has come when accumulated earth science data make it possible to take a deeper look into the nature’s global changes, and reconsider their extent and their role in the sustainable development of civilization. Many world scientists realize that not only do these changes affect the climate, but they have an impact on virtually the entire volume of the Earth, from its core to the atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Global Changes of the Environment, “GEOCHANGE”, means natural, planet-wide changes in nature, influenced by endogenous, exogenous and cosmic factors occurring within the solar system and having negative implications for the sustainable development of humankind.
This summarizing scientific work by IC GCGE, “GEOCHANGE”, is our attempt to demonstrate the extent of these processes and how they influence the development of humankind. Those processes may destabilize the progress of civilization unless some preemptive and effective joint action is taken by the international community to ensure the maximum possible reduction in the number of casualties and economic damage caused by natural disasters.
The first report by the Chairman of IC GCGE is a fundamental initial document justifying the International Communiqué on issues of Global Changes of the Geological Environment, “GEOCHANGE”. In the next IC GCGE reports, greater involvement of scientists from different countries as well as consideration of aspects and issues not covered in the first report is planned.
All IC GCGE reports will be published in an international scientific journal titled “GEOCHANGE: Problems of Global Changes of the Geological Environment”.
When preparing this report, the following basic principles have been observed:
- All data provided in the report are verifiable based on references to literary sources or databases available on the Internet.
- The report primarily uses databases of various countries’ public bodies or authoritative international organizations.
- To avoid subjectivity, the report provides raw data without any special mathematical treatment. In some cases, for visualization purposes, minimal mathematical processing is employed, for instance, when drafting various trends or averaging data.
- The text has been written in a popular science style so as to be understood by non-specialists.
- The report contains a lot of illustrative material to maximize the reader’s perception of the information.
- Because the report addresses some issues covering various fields of science and issues at the interface between different disciplines, the text provides basic concepts of the most important terms used.
We observe that, along with the rise of our planet’s average temperature, there is a simultaneous increase not only in the activity of extreme weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, etc., but also of the number of strong earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, with the movement of the magnetic poles accelerating and the Earth’s shape and rotation rate changing. Therefore, it is evident that global climate change is only a part of global environmental changes.

Fig. 1. Casualty breakdown by natural disaster
types for the period between 1947 and 1997

(According to data by K. Y. Kondratiev et al, 2005)

1 – Tornadoes, typhoons, storms (1,500,000 dead);
2 – Earthquakes (400,000 dead);

3 – Floods (360,000 dead);

4 – Thunderstorms (40,000 dead);

5 – Tsunamis (30,000 dead);

6 – Volcanic eruptions (15,000 dead)

Natural disasters cause enormous economic damage to many countries, but the most tragic consequence of their manifestation is numerous casualties. According to research by K. Y. Kondratiev (Kondratiev, 2005), the majority of human lives worldwide are claimed by tornadoes, typhoons (hurricanes) and storms (64%). Earthquakes, in terms of casualty toll, rank second (17%), followed by floods (15%), thunderstorms (2%), tsunamis (1%), and volcanic eruptions (1%).
Nevertheless, in our opinion, these statistics do not so much represent a stable persistent pattern as they are a particular case associated with the specific time period being considered. Alternatively, during the period from 1999 to 2010, earthquakes would be in the lead, followed by tornadoes, typhoons, and storms ranking second, and tsunamis being third.
Below are given some actual data and their brief analysis, the conclusions of which are disappointing and articulate humankind’s entering an era of global cataclysms for which people are not ready yet, either technologically, economically, legally or psychologically.
While writing this first IC GCGE report, we tried to minimize subjective approaches and opinions, relying solely on the facts and primary conclusions that are evident or the most well-grounded. That is why the last section of this report, “Possible forecasts of some natural disasters and cosmic processes” is placed beyond this report as Appendix 1. That section is attached as additional information for discussion.
This report has been published in the international scientific journal “GEOCHANGE: Problems of Global Changes of the Geological Environment” (№ 1, 2010) and is available for open discussion on www.geochange-report.org website. All proposals, recommendations, and comments will be considered and posted on IC GCGE website.
It is also planned to discuss the report during IC GCGE General Assembly and at the International Conference on Global Changes of the Environment (2011).
In the next IC GCGE reports, we plan to address the following issues not covered in the first report:
- Near-earth space;
- Impact of cosmic processes on the Earth;
- Problems of global desertification;
- Land degradation;
- Melting of glaciers;
- Natural causes of ozone layer depletion;
- Global changes of the geological environment contributing to disturbance of the natural ecosystem.


                                          Horrifying statistics!

Below is a graph showing numbers of casualties during major earthquakes, covering the period from August 1999 to January 2010. As one can see from the graph, the straight-line trend indicates the tendency to a sharp increase in fatalities over the past decade.
Meanwhile, a kind of cyclicity associated with specific events that have significantly influenced the statistics can be observed. For instance, the sharp increase in the number of casualties since 2003 was caused by the disastrous magnitude 9.1 earthquake with an epicenter north of Sumatra Island on Dec. 26, 2004, which resulted in a very powerful tsunami affecting the coasts of 14 countries. Some 230,000 people died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
The second maximum occurred in January 2010 and is associated with the catastrophic Haiti magnitude 7,1 earthquake (12.01.2010), claiming lives of 222,570 people.

Fig. 2. Casualty breakdown by natural disaster
types for the period between 1947 and 1997
(by E. Khalilov, 2010, according to USGS data)
Graph for numbers of fatalities during major earthquakes
for certain years is marked in blue.

Straight-line trend reflecting tendency of fatalities to grow in numbers
over last decade is marked in red.
So, certain natural disasters can make a significant contribution to the overall statistics, and such events have a special place in the history of the world civilization. Below is a table indicating the number of people killed during large earthquakes from August 1999 to February 2010. Table 1 mentions only the earthquakes with over 10,000 fatalities.
Number of casualties during major earthquakes
for the period between August 1999 and February 2010

The table demonstrates that the number of casualties caused by strong earthquakes is growing year by year, this tendency being distinctly displayed by the fatality graph (Fig. 2) and the straight-line trend showing the general tendency.
Meanwhile, the pernicious effects of natural disasters are not limited to human victims only. Major natural disasters may, in a short time, make a substantial impact on the Earth’s global characteristics: its shape, angular velocity of rotation, and variations of the spatial position of its axis. These factors, in their turn, can cause global climate change.
For instance, the catastrophic magnitude 9.1 earthquake of December 26, 2004 near northern Sumatra generated a very large tsunami and became a cause of death of about 300 thousand people, entering into the history of humankind as one of the most immense natural disasters ever. It is not merely about the monstrous number of people fallen victim to the earthquake and the tsunami it caused. It is, above all, about an amazing geological event with a scope so large that it influenced planet-wide processes. The catastrophic earthquake in the Southeast Asia changed the Earth’s geophysical characteristics. As the Spaceflight Now website reports, NASA scientists have established that the underground shocks have affected the planet’s rotation rate, lengthened the day, and slightly altered the planet’s shape. Moreover, the earthquake changed the position of the Geographic North Pole. It shifted by 2.5 cm towards 145° east longitude. The alteration of the planet’s rotation rate caused lengthening of the 24-hour day by 2.68 microseconds, and the movement of masses led to a change in the planet’s shape.
Catastrophic Indonesian tsunami of December 26, 2004
The catastrophic earthquake of December 26, 2004 occurred as an upthrust at the convergent boundary between the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates in the northern Sumatra region. Within about 2 minutes, the rupture activated elastic deformation that had been accumulating in that focal area for centuries as a result of the continuing subduction (sliding) of the Indo-Australian plate under the Eurasian plate. The aftershock zone on December 26 had a length of about 1300 km. Even if we assume that only some of the aftershocks reflected the rupture plane of the main shock, then, according to a number of researchers, its length is considerably more than 500 km. As Chen Ji indicates in his work (2005), geodetic observations and computer simulations enabled scientists to conclude that the maximum underthrust during the earthquake was about 20 m at the depth of 18 km. It was accompanied by seabed shift – about 5 m vertically and 11 m horizontally.

GEOCHANGE: Problems of Global Changes of the Geological Environment. Vol.1, London, 2010,  ISSN 2218-5798


Relation between solar activity and seismic and volcanic activity
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    External link

Relation between solar activity and global climate change
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    № 3, p. 5-11.

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  • Khain V.Y., Khalilov E.N. Space-Time regularities of seismic and volcanic activity. Burgas, SWB, 2008, 304 p.

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Accelerating of Earth's Magnetic Poles
  • Dr.Tony Phillips. Responsible NASA official: John M. Horack. Earth's Inconstant Magnetic Field. Our planet's magnetic field is in a constant state of change, say researchers who are beginning to understand how it behaves and why. The Science and Technology Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space FlightCenter. http://science.nasa.gov

  • V.V. Kuznetsov, Geomagnetism. North Magnetic Pole

  • 2006, published in Geomagnetizm i Aeronomiya, 2006, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 280–288.

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  • Kerton, Adrian K. Climate Change and the Earth's Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection. Energy & Environment, Volume 20, Numbers 1-2, January 2009 , pp. 75-83(9) Publisher: Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd.

  • Earth's North Magnetic Pole Drifting Quickly. American Geophysical Union: http://www.agu.org

  • By Mark Floyd. Movement of Earth's North Magnetic Pole Accelerating Rapidly. Source: Joe Stoner. http://oregonstate.edu

  • Link found between tropical rainfall and Earth's magnetic field.

  • Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager. Is there a link between Earth's magnetic field and low-latitude precipitation? Geology; January 2009; v. 37; no. 1; p. 71-74; DOI:10.1130/G25238A.1
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Sunday, February 13, 2011


From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU
Research and Innovation funding

Brussels, 9.2.2011
COM(2011) 48

This Green Paper launches a public debate on the key issues to be taken into account for
future EU research and innovation funding programmes. These programmes will be part
of the Commission's proposals for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) to be
presented in June 2011. Specific proposals for funding programmes are due to be adopted by
the end of 2011. The research, business, government and civil society communities and
citizens are called upon to engage in this important debate.
Delivering on the widely supported Europe 20201 objectives of smart, sustainable and
inclusive growth depends on research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic
prosperity and of environmental sustainability. This is why the European Union has set itself,
in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, the objective to increase spending on R&D to
reach 3 % GDP by 2020. The Innovation Union flagship initiative2 advocates a strategic and
integrated approach to research and innovation. This sets the framework and objectives to
which future EU research and innovation funding should contribute, based on the provisions
of the Treaties3.
The Council4 called for future EU funding programmes to focus more on Europe 2020
priorities, address societal challenges and key technologies, facilitate collaborative and
industry-driven research, streamline the instruments, radically simplify access, reduce time to
market and further strengthen excellence.
The Budget Review5 put forward key principles which should underpin the future EU budget:
focussing on instruments with proven European added value, becoming more results-driven
and leveraging other public and private sources of funding. The Budget Review proposed that
the full range of EU instruments for research and innovation work together in a Common
Strategic Framework. At its meeting on 4 February 2011, the European Council discussed
innovation and supported the concept of the Common Strategic Framework to improve the
efficiency of research and innovation funding at national and EU levels. This Green Paper
identifies key questions on how to achieve these ambitious objectives.
While this Green Paper focuses on research and innovation, there are important links to other
EU programmes, as identified in the Budget Review, and notably with the future Cohesion
policy Funds and Education programmes.

EU research and innovation funding and initiatives in the current programming period
• The Seventh Framework Programme6 (FP7) with its budget of 53.3 billion euro supports
research, technological development and demonstration activities across the EU. Its
activities are implemented under four Specific Programmes: Cooperation, Ideas, People
and Capacities; it also supports research in nuclear energy (Euratom) and the Joint
Research Centre (JRC)7.
• The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme8 (CIP) has a budget of 3.6
billion euro and aims to encourage the competitiveness of European industry, with SMEs
as its main target. It promotes access to finance and supports the development of better
innovation support services and policies. It funds trans-national business and innovation
support services. It addresses clusters, public procurement and non-technological
barriers to innovation. It helps developing the information society by stimulating take-up
and use of ICT and promotes the increased use of renewable energies and energy
• The European Institute of Innovation and Technology9 (EIT) is an autonomous EU body
bringing together the higher education, research and business sectors to stimulate worldleading
innovation. Through its highly integrated Knowledge and Innovation
Communities (KICs) it strengthens links across the knowledge triangle. The EIT's
flexibility aims at making it attractive to the business sector. A contribution of 309 million
euro was provided to the EIT from the EU budget.
• Through the Cohesion policy10, about 86 billion euro (almost 25% of the total Structural
Funds budget) is allocated to enhancing the capacity of regional economies to change and
innovate. This investment focuses on four key elements: R&D and innovation,
entrepreneurship, ICT and human capital development.

Europe and the world are faced with unprecedented challenges requiring innovative solutions.
Returning to growth and higher levels of employment, combating climate change and moving
towards a low-carbon society require urgent and coordinated action. The impact of
demographic developments is increasing and our natural resources need to be used more
wisely. Our societies face security challenges which are growing in scale and sophistication.
Challenges such as our ageing population or our dependence on fossil fuel do, however, also
provide powerful opportunities to develop innovative products and services, creating growth
and jobs in Europe.
Europe also needs to meet the challenge of retaining and reinforcing its competitive position
in the face of globalisation. The emerging economies are moving from cost competition and imitation towards strategies based on innovation. Other countries are investing more than ever
to safeguard their future. On the other hand, rising living standards in these countries open
new markets for European products and services and their growing capabilities create new
opportunities for collaboration.
We need to grasp these opportunities, build on our strengths and act swiftly and decisively to
build our future, enhance the welfare of our citizens and secure the competitiveness of our
businesses. Research and innovation are key drivers of this process, yet Europe is often
outperformed by its competitors in these domains11.
Europe needs to make a step change in its research and innovation performance. As the
Innovation Union pointed out, this requires research and innovation to be better linked. We
should break away from traditional compartmentalised approaches and focus more on
challenges and outcomes to be achieved, linking our research and innovation funding closer to
our policy objectives. Developing a simplified set of instruments and rules is equally crucial,
while leaving room for flexibility where it is needed.
At a time of severely constrained public budgets, the most needs to be made out of every euro.
Public research and innovation funding in Europe is primarily organised at the national level.
Despite some progress, national and regional governments still largely work according to their
separate strategies. This leads to costly duplication and fragmentation. EU level actions
provide the opportunity to generate greater efficiencies and impact. This could build on the
current joint efforts between Member States, industry and the EU, as for instance in the
Strategic Energy Technologies (SET)-Plan12, the ICT Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs)13
and the upcoming Strategic Transport Technology Plan.
EU wide programmes are also critical for closing our gaps with international competitors.
Europe's underinvestment in research and innovation, particularly by the private sector, is a
major weakness. EU programmes should leverage private investment and make Europe a
more attractive investment location.
EU programmes are needed to generate a higher number of world class scientific
breakthroughs as they help generate excellence through European wide competition. An
integration of policies and EU funding from research to market (as in the European
Innovation Partnerships) will make Europe better at turning knowledge into innovation. The
provision of services to support innovation processes beyond technological innovation will
help seizing market opportunities for innovative solutions.

The landscape of EU research and innovation programmes has developed over recent decades
and now constitutes a significant share of the EU budget14.
The FP7 interim evaluation15 confirmed its vital role in building and sustaining European
networks, including the positive role played by the Marie Curie and research infrastructure
actions and the success of novel instruments such as the European Research Council (ERC)
and the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF). It also confirmed the unique contribution of
FP7 in funding cross-border collaborative research. It called for better linkage between
research and innovation and for a clearer focus on excellence, competitiveness and societal
The interim evaluation of the CIP16 confirmed its highly relevant objectives for EU-level
intervention. It highlighted the important role of the financial instruments in support of SMEs,
the Enterprise Europe Network, the eco-innovation market replication projects and the
demand-driven pilots for ICT innovation. It also pointed to the need for further interlinking
with other EU programmes, including the Cohesion policy Funds.
The EIT, through its first KICs, is addressing societal challenges (climate change, energy and
ICT) and pioneering new innovation governance models. The EIT is due to present its
Strategic Innovation Agenda by mid-2011, through which it plans to expand its activities as a
showcase for innovation in Europe and map out its future activities.
However, the various evaluations have also identified a number of shortcomings and
deficiencies, in particular the lack of a whole chain approach to research and innovation, the
complexity of instruments, over-bureaucratic rules and procedures and a lack of transparency.
Improvements for future programmes should focus on:
– Clarifying objectives and how they are translated into the supported activities, while
maintaining flexibility to respond to emerging policy needs.
– Reducing complexity. Over time, EU research and innovation programmes have expanded
the set of instruments leaving an impression of catering to too many objectives and
spreading funding too thinly. A lack of coordination between EU and Member State
funding adds to the complexity and leaves a potential for overlap and duplication, for
instance as regards State Aid measures to support SMEs or to provide risk capital.
 – Increasing added value and leverage and avoiding duplication and fragmentation. EU
research and innovation funding should provide more added value, increase its leverage
effect on other public and private resources and be used more effectively to support the
strategic alignment and pooling of national and regional funds to avoid duplication and
achieve scope and critical mass.
 – Simplifying participation by lowering administrative burdens, reducing time to grant and
time to payment and achieving a better balance between cost and trust based approaches.
The approach used in the CIP could serve as an example.
– Broadening participation in EU programmes. While there is important SME
participation in the CIP, the FP7 interim evaluation highlighted the need to further
stimulate industry and SME involvement. It also pointed at the need to boost participation
of female researchers and participants from newer Member States. A stronger involvement
of third countries would offer opportunities to capture the benefits of knowledge produced
outside the EU.
– Increasing the competitiveness and societal impact from EU support. This would
require better uptake and use of results by companies, investors, public authorities, other
researchers and policy makers. It also involves supporting broader innovations (including
non-technological and social innovation) which are not the result of research activities.
Better communication of our objectives and the relevance of our actions to a wider
audience is also needed. The ultimate users of innovations (be they citizens, businesses or
the public sector) should be involved much earlier in our actions to accelerate and broaden
the exploitation of results and to encourage greater public acceptance in sensitive fields
such as security or nanotechnology.

In line with the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and the provisions of the Treaties, the
Common Strategic Framework will focus on addressing societal challenges, encouraging the
competitiveness of Europe's industries and the excellence of its scientific and technological
4.1. Working together to deliver on Europe 2020
At EU level, various programmes support research and innovation, covering activities across
the innovation cycle, yet often operating independently of each other. The Budget Review
identified a way forward in this respect through the development of a Common Strategic
Framework. This would cover all relevant EU research and innovation funding currently
provided through FP7 and CIP and EU innovation initiatives such as the EIT on the basis of
coherent goals and shared strategic objectives.
The Common Strategic Framework offers large potential for making EU funding more
attractive and easy to access for participants. It would allow the development of a single entry
point with common IT tools17 or a one stop shop for providing advice and support to
participants. Furthermore, it would enable the development of a simpler and more efficient
structure and a streamlined set of funding instruments covering the full innovation chain in a
seamless manner.
The Common Strategic Framework also offers clear possibilities for administrative
simplification through the development of a more standardised set of rules covering all
participants in EU research and innovation programmes. These rules should seek
commonalities between the different types of activities whenever possible. This should build
on ongoing progress towards simplification18, yet consider additional measures such as a
wider use of lump sums or the general acceptance of beneficiaries' own accounting
Allowing for flexibility will be necessary to cater for the diversity of funding needed to cover
the full innovation cycle or for requirements linked to specific conditions. Flexibility and
speed of delivery are also essential to attract business stakeholders (in particular SMEs). This
may justify distinctive mechanisms and implementing rules as, for example, in the case of the
EU programmes operate in an environment in which most public funding for research and
innovation is administered by Member States. Yet still too often this fails to take proper
account of the trans-national nature of research and innovation, leaving synergies with the
programmes of other Member States or those of the EU largely unexploited.
Experiences with pooling Member State resources (through the Article 185 Initiatives, ERANets
and the first steps towards Joint Programming Initiatives) have demonstrated the
potential impact and efficiencies offered by leveraging other public sources of funding. Their
effectiveness does, however, depend on strong commitments, also in financial terms, from
national and regional public authorities.
An important role needs to be played by the future Cohesion policy, which serves to build
research and innovation capabilities at the regional level through smart specialisation
strategies, yet within the context of the EU's broader policy objectives. The Commission
Communication on the future of Cohesion policy20 points to reinforced strategic
programming, increased concentration of resources and greater use of conditionality and
incentives to enable a stronger impact on Europe 2020 priorities including research and
innovation. The Common Strategic Framework for EU research and innovation funding
should therefore build strong complementarities with the future Common Strategic
Framework for cohesion policy.
In addition, Rural Development funding currently provides for a broad range of measures
fostering innovation in agriculture. The Communication 'The CAP towards 2020: meeting
food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future'21 points to innovation as one of
the guiding themes of rural development besides environment and climate change.

The Commission believes that the issues and questions raised above are the key aspects to be
considered in further developing a common strategic framework for EU research and
innovation funding and its related instruments.
Member States, the Parliament, and other countries are invited to promote the debate with
their stakeholders. To support the debate on these questions, a variety of social media will be
used, including a public consultation website (http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union).
The Commission asks organisations who wish to submit comments in the context of public
consultations to provide the Commission and the public at large with information about whom
and what they represent. If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the
Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions.
(Consultation Standards, see COM(2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see
COM(2007) 127 of 21.3.2007)
The consultation will close on 20 May 2011. The broad debate on this Green Paper will be
complemented by targeted consultations, such as on the ERA framework and the EIT's
strategic innovation agenda. It will also draw on the results of the public consultation on the
future of the CIP.
On 10 June 2011, an event will be organised to wrap up the public consultation and discuss
the results with the stakeholder community. The Commission plans to put forward its formal
legislative proposals for a Common Strategic Framework for EU research and innovation
funding by the end of 2011. These proposals will be accompanied by ex-ante impact
assessments, providing the necessary evidence base for the proposed options.
The Commission believes that research and innovation are central to people's future
livelihoods, and thus require better public understanding and debate. It will therefore pursue a
broad communication strategy to accompany this public consultation and the subsequent
inter-institutional debate and ultimately the implementation of the next EU funding
This should show to the public at large how EU funding matters to them, making use of
audiovisual and written media, organising public events, and exploiting to the full the
possibilities offered by new social media.


1 'Europe 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth' - COM(2010) 2020.
2 'Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union' - COM(2010) 546.
3 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Titles XVII 'Industry' and Title XIX 'Research and
Technological Development and Space'; Euratom Treaty, Title II, Chapter 1 'Promotion of research'.
4 Council conclusions on Europe 2020 flagship initiative: Innovation Union. 26.11.2010.
5 'The EU Budget Review' - COM(2010) 700.
6 http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm
7 The JRC is a Commission service providing scientific and technical support for the development and
implementation of EU policies.
8 http://ec.europa.eu/cip/
9 http://eit.europa.eu/
10 http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/themes/research/index_en.htm
 11 EU-27 R&D intensity in 2009 was 2.01 % GDP, compared to 2.77 % in US (2008) and 3.44 % in JP
(2007). Further information is available in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2010, available at
12 'A European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan)' - COM(2007) 723 - and 'Investing in the
development of low carbon technologies (SET-Plan)' - COM(2009) 519.
13 As evidenced for instance in the interim evaluation of the ENIAC and ARTEMIS JTIs - COM(2010)
14 7.41 % of the EU Budget will be devoted to research and innovation in 2013
15 FP7 interim evaluation available at http://ec.europa.eu/research/evaluations/index_en.cfm?pg=fp7
16 CIP interim evaluation available at
17 Building on the development of the FP7 Participant Portal:
18 'Simplifying the implementation of the research Framework Programmes' - COM(2010) 187 and
Commission Decision C(2011) 174 of 24 January 2011
19 The Commission has proposed a review of the Financial Regulation - COM(2010) 815 - that allows for
more radical simplification in the next financial framework, including an extended use of lumps,
reimbursement based on accounting practices of the beneficiary and an 'ideal house' for public-private
20 'Conclusions of the fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: the future of cohesion
policy' - COM (2010) 642.
21 COM(2010) 672

SOURCE  http://ec.europa.eu/



Friday, February 04, 2011


(CLICKING AT THE TITLE WE ARE REDIRECTED TO  Give States a Way to Go Bankrupt  )
PHOTO SOURCE  the American Enterprise Institute 
WE POST TODAY  three MAIN ARTICLES ,APART FROM THE LINKS (at the title and at the end of the last photograph-diagram  ) ,AS THE THEME IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE CITIZENS.
( HERE IS AN EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE LAID ,FIRST DIAGRAM :  All these debts are expressed as a percentage of state gross domestic product, as a way of showing each state’s ability to service the debt.When combined, the picture is grim. The average state has a combined debt of 104 percent of GDP, with the 10 worst states each having total debts exceeding 128 percent of GDP. That’s around where Greece was when the music stopped.What separates states, and the United States in general, from Greece is that while we clearly have a solvency problem—our total liabilities far exceed our total assets—we don’t yet have a liquidity problem, where we can’t produce the dollars today needed to fund current obligations. But that state of affairs won’t go on forever. As the Times story notes, states like California are speeding up tax collections and delaying payments in order to keep current on their payments. And this won’t necessarily get easier over time. SOURCE  the American Enterprise Institute ,Andrew Biggs ) AS A THIRD ,IT IS PUBLISHED PARTIALLY  ANOTHER  ,ABOUT PENSIONS AND HEALTH IN USA,BEING INFLUENCED BY THE STATE DEBTS.

Tax the Rich! State Budget Crisis Deepens: Humanitarian Crisis Emerges
Social catastrophes are poorly expressed by statistics. A recent study by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities revealed that 41 states are facing severe budget shortfalls for 2009. Some states are worse off than others, with California ($31.7 billion) and Florida ($5.1 billion) leading the deficit pack. In all, the 41 states are currently facing a $71.9 billion budget shortfall. The key word here is “currently,” since a similar study was conducted by the same group only three months earlier, at which time “only” 29 states were predicted to face shortfalls of a “mere” $48 billion. As the recession deepens, so will the state’s budget problems, turning this “budget crisis” into a humanitarian disaster. Projections have already been made for a $200 billion shortfall by 2010.
These deficits have already transcended the computer screen of the statistician into real suffering of the most vulnerable sections of society. In dozens of states across the country, vital services are being cut to the elderly, disabled, the poor, and recently unemployed. Teachers are being cut from schools and tuitions are rising. Workers from state construction sites are being laid off, while social service employees suffer a similar fate. Non profits are closing their doors.
Most likely, these pains only mark the beginning. Many states have a “rainy day fund” of some kind that they use to plan for such crises. These funds are already depleted, or certain to dry up quickly, with “hard decisions” now having to be made. This is especially troubling when one considers that, in many cases, state cutbacks made from the 2001 recession remained in place. Not to mention that successive presidents have successfully plundered federal social programs. The new, extraordinary state budgets that are being drawn up to address the current deficit crisis will essentially destroy the social safety net for millions of people, including access to daycare, food stamps, welfare, and basic medical services.  The fact that the federal budget is in even worse shape, and will likely choose to follow a similar route of massive cuts, makes future predictions of social calamity all but certain.
The options available to states to respond to budget crises are limited since states are not allowed to run deficits; they must solve their budget problems immediately. Nearly every state government is reacting to the crisis in essentially the same way: by cutting essential services and raising “secondary” taxes (alcohol, cigarettes, gas, etc). In reality, after spending their reserve funds, states have only two viable options: cutting spending and raising taxes.
Raising taxes is counterproductive for two reasons: it can cause social unrest and it takes money out of people’s pockets who would otherwise be “aiding” the economy by purchasing things.
However, there is a class of people whom this does not apply to: the very wealthy. By taxing them instead, money will not be taken out of the economy since it lays idle in banks (especially since they’ve temporarily stopped gambling in the stock market). Also, there can be no fear of social unrest when this group is taxed, since they constitute a very, very small section of society.
Rather than opting for this common sense solution, states are instead raising taxes on gas, alcohol, cigarettes, sales taxes, among other things that affect working and poor people disproportionately more than the rich, at a time when the working class is already financially desperate.
And yet another grim way that states are responding to the crisis is building prisons and focusing on “law and order.” The money spent on building these prisons will likely house many people who have recently had their social services terminated.
Perhaps most disturbing about this crisis is that it could not have been planned for. In a market economy, a state’s budget depends on income generated by “market forces”, determining the ability of corporations to sell their products and employ workers. When there is a crisis in the markets—  as when more goods are produced than can be bought— society as a whole is dragged down; a“glut” in the labor market emerges, followed by mass layoffs. The states cannot plan their budget, including how many services they need to provide, nor how many roads they can build, because the market is completely unpredictable. Every projection the states made about the future was completely off: instead of building towards a better future they are destroying what had already existed.
The first step in addressing the current crisis is to confront those who benefit most from the current social arrangement. It is not by accident that most corporations pay far less taxes than the average worker, while the rich continue to have their taxes lowered. In fact, according to a recent study, two-thirds of all corporations did not pay any taxes during the past year. These same interests sparked the current crisis by not only driving down the wages of workers to the point they were unable to purchase goods, but by creating and profiting from the pyramid scheme that created the housing crisis.
The vast profits made by the rich and corporations in the previous boom must be funneled back to the states and local governments to pay for the current crisis. Because this solution is a threat to the corporate elite who control government, it will not happen merely by request.
To accomplish this, a broad-based coalition is needed of working and poor people affected by the current crisis, led by the organized labor of the teachers, health care workers, and public employees, united around the demands of ending corporate bailout and for a progressive tax policy— one aimed at taxing the rich, not working people.  Such a coalition, because of the vast numbers of people it represented, would have the potential to unite all workers, both in the public and private sectors.  It would therefore have the strength to transform this "request" into a demand:  TAX THE RICH!
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com
source  Global Research, December 6, 2008

State bankruptcy bill imminent, Gingrich says
Legislation that would allow U.S. states to file for bankruptcy will likely be introduced in Congress within the next month, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives and a powerful Republican party figure, told Reuters on Friday.
Although Gingrich, considered responsible for the "Republican Revolution" of the 1990's, is no longer in office, he has deep ties to Congress and is frequently named as a potential presidential contender in 2012.
For months he has championed letting states file for bankruptcy in order to handle their long-term budget problems despite resistance from states and investors in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market.
"We're faced with the danger that the states are going to try to show up and say to Washington: You have to give us money," Gingrich said. "And I think we have to have an alternative that allows us to say no."
While he declined to comment on who might introduce legislation, Gingrich said there was support in both the House and the Senate. He said lawmakers have been looking into the idea for three or four months.
Gingrich first publicly broached the idea in November, the same month the Republican party won control of the House in mid-term elections, largely on promises of reducing spending.
But the legislation will likely face an uphill battle with Democrats still in control of the Senate and the White House.
Because states are sovereign, they cannot declare bankruptcy as cities can, and most have provisions in their constitutions that make defaulting on debt next to impossible.
And California -- a state which Gingrich said would likely turn to Congress for financial help along with New York and Illinois -- said on Friday it has no interest in using bankruptcy to solve its fiscal problems.
California, the eighth largest economy in the world, would not benefit from the legislation, Treasurer Bill Lockyer said.
"States didn't ask for it. We don't want it. We don't need it," Lockyer said. "Bankruptcy would devastate states' ability to recover from the recession and make the infrastructure investments that create good jobs."
Struggling to close a $25 billion budget gap, California already holds Moody's Investors Service's lowest state credit rating -- a distinction it shares with Illinois.
"Just the availability of a bankruptcy option and the potential bond default could severely damage state credit ratings and destroy the trust of bondholders," said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Last week, the municipal bond market suffered a sharp sell-off on fears of defaults by cities and other issuers.
Representative Xavier Becerra, a member of the House Democratic leadership, said the bankruptcy idea is not new.
"But it has never been taken seriously until now because Republicans are insistent on doing nothing to help the states," he told reporters on Friday. "I don't think that is a realistic solution. I don't believe it is a necessary solution."
Hit hard by the deepest recession since the Great Depression, states' economies remain weak, even though the recession ended in mid-2009. State revenues are well below the levels reached before the recession, and high unemployment has driven up spending on public services.
Lawmakers from both parties are concerned Congress may have to step in again with an expensive fix. There is little appetite on Capitol Hill for a repeat of the $814 billion economic stimulus plan passed in 2009.
But along with the recession states are faced with permanent budget problems, including pension obligations they cannot cover estimated to total at least $700 billion.
Filing for bankruptcy would allow them to renege on their pension promises and other obligations to state employees.
"The very fact of the bill existing... allows governors to sit down with unions and say: 'Look you, negotiate with us or I'm taking the state into bankruptcy,'" Gingrich said.
Under bankruptcy an employer can negate labor contract provisions, and state bankruptcy "may be a way to put additional pressure on public employee service unions to negotiate," said Howard Cure, director of municipal research at Evercore Wealth Management in New York.
Still, said National Governors Association Executive Director Raymond Scheppach, no state is asking for the option of filing for bankruptcy in court.
"The state would be tied up in terms of its own budgeting and running of state government. And who wants to give the responsibility of running state government to the courts?" he said.
By Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON | Fri Jan 21  2011
(Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro in Cambridge, Maryland, Jim Christie in San Francisco and Joan Gralla in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler )
SOURCE   Reuters

 Misunderstandings Regarding State Debt, Pensions, and Retiree Health Costs Create Unnecessary Alarm
A spate of recent articles regarding the fiscal situation of states and localities have lumped together their current fiscal problems, stemming largely from the recession, with longer-term issues relating to debt, pension obligations, and retiree health costs, to create the mistaken impression that drastic and immediate measures are needed to avoid an imminent fiscal meltdown.
The large operating deficits that most states are projecting for the 2012 fiscal year, which they have to close before the fiscal year begins (on July 1 in most states), are caused largely by the weak economy.  State revenues have stabilized after record losses but remain 12 percent below pre-recession levels, and localities also are experiencing diminished revenues.  At the same time that revenues have declined, the need for public services has increased due to the rise in poverty and unemployment.  Over the past three years, states and localities have used a combination of reserve funds and federal stimulus funds, along with budget cuts and tax increases, to close these recession-induced deficits.  While these deficits have caused severe problems and states and localities are struggling to maintain needed services, this is a cyclical problem that ultimately will ease as the economy recovers.
Unlike the projected operating deficits for fiscal year 2012, which require near-term solutions to meet states’ and localities’ balanced-budget requirements, longer-term issues related to bond indebtedness, pension obligations, and retiree health insurance — discussed more fully below — can be addressed over the next several decades.  It is not appropriate to add these longer-term costs to projected operating deficits.  Nor should the size and implications of these longer-term costs be exaggerated, as some recent discussions have done.  Such mistakes can lead to inappropriate policy prescriptions.
Basics  for USA ,local policies.
State and local governments are the main source of funding for K-12 education, public colleges and universities, health care, transportation, public safety, and many other services — including services for low-income and other vulnerable residents.  They finance these services mostly through taxes and fees, primarily income and sales taxes.  (Not every state has an income and sales tax.)  Unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets on an annual basis.

A Path Is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens