Red Reading - Spectrezine's reviews of the latest the radical press

EU Commissioner calls for end to sanctions against Cuba

The European Union's top development aid official recently visited Cuba and left the island convinced that EU diplomatic sanctions against the country should be dropped. Read the report

The Story of a Dutch Letterbox which Could Cost Bolivia a Fortune

Running their business via a letterbox company in the Netherlands, transnational corporations profit from the corporate-friendly Dutch tax regime and bilateral investment treaties the Netherlands has with third countries. Euro Telecom Italia (ETI), a subsidiary of Italian telecoms giant ENTEL, is one such letterbox company. ETI recently lodged a complaint with the World Bank tribunal ICSID against Bolivia for compensation, after the Bolivian government had launched a review the company?s much-criticised performance and attempted to negotiate a buy back of what used to be a public telecommunications company. Although ENTEL continues to operate with profit in Bolivia, it claims the government has 'destroyed' the
company's investments and its earning potential. Will the World Bank tribunal reward corporate greed at the expense of the public interest in reliable and affordable public services? Find out from Corporate Europe Observatory

Dollarization, Euro-ization and Financial Instability

IPE Vienna has published the book Dollarization, Euroization and Financial Instability. Central and Eastern European Countries between Stagnation and Financial Crisis?

The book that grew out of a series of seminars which formed part of an international educational project "New Instruments and New Musicians in the Globalization Scenario: Promoting and Strengthening New Actors and New Perspectives on Civil Society Facing Globalization."

Central and Eastern European (CEE) states which joined the EU in 2004 are now on the verge of entering the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and adopting the Euro as their currency. Slovenia is an exception in many ways, having become a member of EMU in 2007. But is this a logical, necessary, or unavoidable next step towards deeper integration for the other new members as well? Will the people in the CEE-member states benefit from this development?

This book focuses on the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, countries that appear to be caught between the faltering economic effects of the Maastricht Treaty, and the possibilities of a financial crisis: EMU appears as a safe haven against currency speculation but with the adoption of the strict rules of the Maastricht Treaty, states and governments are abandoning and ceding measures to intervene into economic policy.

To better understand the current situation of CEE countries, the authors draw on the experiences of other countries. Can a financial crisis such as that of Latin America of the 1990s occur in Central and Eastern Europe as well? Will the Dollarization of the Latin American experience be followed by a Euro-ization in Europe? What are the similarities and what the differences of the experiences?

This book tries to answer these questions in a way which is accessible to non-economists. For more info or to buy the book, go to the publishers' website.