Political Briefing #3/2016

POLITICS & POLICY

Ireland: Strikes – General elections’ panic

With the upcoming general elections, Ireland is facing an increasing number of strikes. Indeed, in areas such as education, health and transport, more than half a dozen strikes or possible industrial disputes are taking place. Represented by the Teachers’Union of Ireland, on February 3, more than 4,000 lecturers will undertake a one-day strike at the institutes of technology. They are protesting, among other things, against inadequate income and resources, and are asking that before the elections, significant progress is made in these areas.

Source: Irish times, 19/01/2016

Greece: Debt agreements – balancing responsibilities

After President Prokopis Pavlopoulos met with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt, he declared that Greece will maintain its bailout obligations but that, on the other hand, its lenders must honour the promise of restructuring the country’s debt. As such, the president expects the ECB to establish a waiver on greek bonds.

Source: Ekathimerini, 19/01/2016

Ireland: EU funds – Urban restructuring

According to Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy, nineteen Irish cities will benefit from €40 million in EU funds for urban regeneration projects. These places, which were in precedence categorised as ‘gateways’ or ‘hubs’ will all receive a share (apart from Cavan town, Monaghan town, Tuam, Ballina and Castlebar). The money will be used to ameliorate public infrastructure, ranging from bridge restructuring to the redevelopment of disused baths.

Source: Irish times, 19/01/2016


THE STATEMENT

“The Guardian’s decision to focus its ‘wide journalistic expertise’ on the current state of the NHS is welcome and timely. In an article describing this project as ‘probably the most ambitious we have ever attempted’, it is therefore extraordinary to find, among the “broad range of issues”to be explored, no mention of the greatest threat that confronts the NHS –the impact of the commercialised model forced on it by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The consequence is that private companies are awarded huge health contracts, at an ever-increasing rate, for core services previously run by the NHS. The result is fragmentation of services, loss of accountability and billions of pounds spent on contracting out services to private companies which pocket the profits”.

Mavis Zutshi, The Guardian

Source: The Guardian, 18/01/2016


NUMBERS

11%

The percentage under which Slovakia’s jobless rate dropped in 2015.

Source: Spectator, 20/01/2016

61%

The percentage of Bulgarian firms that indicate corruption as a problem for them when they do business.

Source: Novinite, 19/01/2016


Photo credits CC: Simon Bleasdale


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