REPORT ON DISCUSSION GROUP MEETING HELD ON 12TH APRIL 2013
Initially, with Cyprus in mind, we asked whether Angela Merkel’s power politics lead to Germany being labelled the bully boy of Europe?
The general view was that Cyprus had had a raw deal compared with others, (Ireland and Portugal), who had also been forced into seeking a bail out within the Euro zone. We thought that Mrs Merkel was indeed developing a reputation as the “Iron Lady” of the Euro zone which we felt may well rebound on Germany in the future.
However, Gisela was able to give us valuable insight into current German opinion. I don’t think the rest of us appreciated how much prolonged austerity the Germans’ had suffered since re-unification. As a result, Germans asked why after decades of austerity themselves the ECB should continue to prop up profligate states within the Euro zone without being a hard taskmaster themselves.
Much to our surprise it would seem that Mrs Merkel is personally popular whereas the government is not.
Will David Cameron’s Welfare Tax Reforms such as the Bedroom Tax prove to be unworkable or counter productive?
It is certain that Welfare Tax Reforms are very much overdue and welcome if we are to ensure that abuse be minimised in the future. However, we felt that the Bedroom Tax will hit many vulnerable claimants unacceptably. It was also thought harsh to penalise people in over occupied housing when, (due to successive government’s failure to increase the housing stock), there was now no alternative less occupied housing available.
As North Europeans is there anything we miss, (Other than food, drink or shopping), in being resident in Spain?
Much to my surprise I was alone in missing anything much. I miss Morris Dancing, good local theatre and trad jazz.
Spanish Speed Limits : Should they be lower or higher than 120kph as currently existent on Autovias?
It would seem that Central Government is actively considering increasing the limit, (even though it has been proven that reducing the limit actually saved lives!).
Generally, it was felt that the current limit is ok and that there is no sense in increasing it.