Friday, May 31, 2013

The undemocratic EU

UK's Hague wants 'red card' to challenge EU laws

The EU needs a "red card" system for national parliaments to block laws passed in Brussels if they think EU officials are going too far, the UK foreign secretary has said in a speech.
William Hague set out some of the UK's ideas on reforming the EU at a policy conference outside Berlin.
He said a "crisis of legitimacy" is undermining EU institutions.
National parliaments can currently raise a "yellow card" to make the European Commission reconsider laws.
Mr Hague proposed extending this principle by creating a "red card" system
This would "give national parliaments the right to block legislation that need not be agreed at the European level", Mr Hague said.
As with the yellow card system, this proposal would require a minimum number of national parliaments to agree in order to take effect, so a single government would not be able to ignore directives it disagreed with.
Mats Persson, of the Open Europe think-tank, welcomed the move.
Mr Persson said: "Allowing national parliaments to block unwanted EU law would go a long way to bring back democratic accountability over EU decisions."
"However, whilst it's encouraging that the UK government is looking at this, it must press ahead with this reform now to avoid the impression that it has no immediate strategy in Europe - a charge that's becoming more frequent."
Mr Hague was addressing the Koenigswinter Conference, a think-tank which aims to improve British-German relations.
He called on Britain and Germany to co-operate to "build a more competitive, flexible, democratically accountable European Union."
Crisis of legitimacy
Mr Hague argued some British people were concerned that they had little say about how the European Union affected their lives.
He said: "Too often, the British people feel that Europe is something that happens to them, not something they have enough of a say over. That the EU is happy speaking but does not seem interested in listening. That the EU is sometimes part of the problem, not the solution."
He added: "Trust in the institutions is at an all time low. The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy."
The foreign secretary claimed the solution to this crisis was to give national parliaments more power, because "they are the democratic levers voters know how to pull."
He argued that the EU would not be "democratically sustainable" without this "decentralisation" of powers.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron plans to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU. That would pave the way for an in-out UK referendum on EU membership, to be held by the end of 2017 if his party wins the next election.

This will make the anti nuclear energy crowd quite mad

No rise in cancer rates after Fukushima disaster - UN

Cancer rates are not expected to rise as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, UN scientists say.
The evacuation of thousands of people shortly after the accident in 2011 sharply lowered their exposure to radiation, a draft report concluded.
The World Health Organisation has said local residents have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers.
Reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant were crippled by an earthquake and tsunami that killed some 19,000 people.
'No radiation-related deaths'
The findings of the draft report were presented by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (Unscear) in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Committee member Wolfgang Weiss said the decision by the Japanese authorities to evacuate large numbers of people had proved to be the right one.
"If that had not been the case, we might have seen the cancer rates rising and other health problems emerging over the next several decades," he added.
Unscear's report also stated that "no radiation-related deaths have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers involved at the accident site".
Studies after Chernobyl linked cases of thyroid cancer to radioactive iodine that contaminated milk. But Mr Weiss said that had not been the case in Japan.
The report was prepared by 80 scientists from 18 countries and will be published in full later this year.
The findings contradicted a report published by the WHO in February, which said the risk of cancer for those living near the nuclear plant had risen.

This is the fundamentally transformed America...fascism

Cowboy-style cap gun gets 5-year-old suspended from school in Calvert County

A kindergartner who brought a cowboy-style cap gun onto his Calvert County school bus was suspended for 10 days after showing a friend the orange-tipped toy, which he had tucked inside his backpack on his way to school, according to his family and a lawyer.
The child was questioned for more than two hours before his mother was called, she said, adding that he uncharacteristically wet his pants during the episode. The boy is 5 — “all bugs and frogs and cowboys,” his mother said.
“I have no problem that he had a consequence to his behavior,” said the mother, who asked that her name be withheld to protect her son’s privacy.
“What I have a problem with is the severity,” she said, and the way it was handled.
The family’s attorney appealed the suspension late Thursday, asking that the action be reversed and the child’s record be expunged.
If the punishment stands, it would become part of the boy’s permanent school record and keep him out of classes the rest of the school year, the family said. He would miss his end-of-year kindergarten program at Dowell Elementary School in Lusby.
The issue will be examined at a disciplinary conference Friday.
Kim Roof, executive director of administration for Calvert schools, said she could not comment on the case but pointed out that such incidents are fully reviewed at disciplinary conferences to determine the most appropriate outcome.
The case comes at a time of heightened sensitivity about guns in schools across the country. Locally, children in first and second grade have been disciplined for pointing their fingers like guns and for chewing a Pop-Tart-like pastry into the shape of a gun. In Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old was suspended for talking about shooting a Hello Kitty bubble gun that blows soap bubbles.
In Calvert County, the trouble began Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on a 10-minute bus ride to school.
According to the family, the boy’s friend had brought a water gun on the bus a day earlier. On Wednesday, unbeknown to his parents, the boy stowed his cap gun — from Frontier Town near Ocean City — inside his backpack as he left for school.
He told his mother after the incident that he had “really, really” wanted to show his friend.
The mother was called by the principal at 10:50 a.m. and was told that her son had the cap gun and pretended to shoot someone on the bus. She said that both the kindergartner and his first-grade sister, sitting nearby on the bus, disputed that account.
The mother said the principal told her that if the cap gun had been loaded with caps, it would have been deemed an explosive and police would have been called in.
The child’s disciplinary referral said he was being suspended for possession of a look-alike gun.
The child’s mother is a high school teacher in Calvert who said she strongly supports the school system and loves the teachers at her son’s school. She and her husband, who coaches youth sports, are active community volunteers.
For the family, a major concern is the long period the 5-year-old was questioned without parental guidance or support. His sister was questioned, too, she said.
“The school was quite obviously taking it very seriously, and he’s 5 years old,” she said. “Why were we not immediately contacted?”
The family’s attorney, Robin Ficker, said that the age of the child is important and that the incident could have been used as a teachable moment.
“Kids play cowboys and Indians,” he said. “They play cops and robbers. You’re talking about a little 5-year-old here.”

    A prime example of liberal self righteousness. He should be in jail.

    'Liberal Activist' Admits to Bugging Mitch McConnell's Office

    This tells me there's more to this then meets the eye and they feel protected by the administration


    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) declined Friday afternoon to meet a Senate Finance Committee deadline for answering detailed questions about the origins of the IRS scandal. The questions had been submitted jointly nearly two weeks ago by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

    In a joint statement to Breitbart News, Baucus and Hatch said: 
    “It’s disappointing that the IRS failed to produce any of the documents requested by the Committee.  
    "This is an agency that revolves around making the American taxpayer meet hard deadlines each and every year when they file their taxes, oftentimes penalizing those that are late.

    “The IRS needs to do much better.”
    Baucus and Hatch wanted to know who at the IRS made the decision to target conservative organizations, as well as who was aware of the conduct, and what specific actions they took to address it once they found it. They demanded that the IRS respond to each of the forty-one questions asked "no later than May 31, 2013."
    The original letter from Baucus and Hatch, as reported by Breitbart News on May 20, is included below:
    (Follow link in headline to see documents)

     Flynn contributed to this report.

    Did you know is a 501 (4)? Are they political?

    IRS may have targeted conservatives more broadly

    Read more here:

    Obamacare meet reality. Just wait till the illegals get coverage...millions and millions

    GAO: HHS Already Rationing Enrollment in Obamacare’s Pre-Existing Condition Plan

    ( – A pre-existing condition health insurance program established by Obamacare is already straining its own budget and, to control costs, the administration’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has stopped enrolling any new people in the program, according to an audit by the General Accountability Office (GAO).
    In addition, to further control spending, HHS has directed the program to shift more of the costs onto the current enrollees, thus raising the out-of-pocket health care expenses for the people with pre-existing conditions.
    “Finally, due to growing concerns about the rate of PCIP [Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program] spending, in February 2013, CCIIO [under HHS] suspended PCIP enrollment to ensure the appropriated funding would be sufficient to cover claims for current enrollees through the end of the program,” states the GAO reportPatient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Enrollment and Spending in the Early Retiree Reinsurance and Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan Programs.
    The rationing or denial of health care coverage in the marketplace for people with pre-existing conditions, or insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions were among the reasons cited by President Barack Obama and most congressional Democrats for implementing Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
    “This year, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions, the parents of children who have a preexisting condition, will finally be able to purchase the coverage they need.  That happens this year,” said Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law on Mar. 23, 2010.
    “This year, insurance companies will no longer be able to drop people’s coverage when they get sick,” said the president.
    obama, sebelius
    President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (AP)
    As Obamacare went into effect, two temporary programs were established in March 2010, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program and the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) program.  Each program is supposed to operate through Dec. 31, 2013, after which their respective enrollees are supposed to transition into the health insurance Exchanges established by Obamacare.
    Each program was allotted $5 billion.
    Retirees and people with pre-existing conditions, said the GAO, “historically have faced challenges obtaining health insurance in the individual market due, among other things, to being charged higher premiums than younger or healthier individuals on the basis of age or health status, or to being denied coverage altogether.”
    The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is overseen by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is headed by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
    To be eligible for the PCIP, “individuals must have a pre-existing condition and have been without creditable coverage for at least 6 months prior to application,” explained the GAO. That limits “the program to individuals who likely have been unable to access insurance because of their pre-existing condition.”
    The $5 billion for the PCIP is distributed state-by-state based upon population, the number of uninsured people, and variations in the cost of care by location.
    The PCIP programs cannot impose waiting periods for coverage “based on the enrollee’s preexisting condition, and plan benefits must cover at least 65 percent of the total cost of coverage until enrollees hit a statutory out-of-pocket spending limit, at which point PCIP covers 100 percent of the cost,” said the GAO.
    obama, health care
    Under Obamacare, enrollment in the PCIP started in July 2010.  However, given that the program had a fixed $5 billion to operate, the costs of enrollment and how long funding would last were ongoing concerns, said the GAO.
    “For example, while enrollment in the PCIP program has been lower than initially projected, per member per month claim costs have been higher than expected, leading some to question whether spending could exhaust its $5 billion appropriation as enrollment continues to grow,” reported the GAO.
    Under the law, if HHS determines that spending for the PCIP is too much and it might run out of funds, it can make “adjustments as are necessary” and “stop PCIP enrollment.”
    The GAO audit found that enrollment in the PCIP was substantial: Between July 2010 and the end of December 2012, enrollment had hit 103,160, which was up more than 50,000 over the 2011 enrollment of 48,862.
    Enrollment varied widely. Vermont had 1 enrollee, for example, and California had 15,101.
    By the end of January 2013, the GAO found that PCIP spending had reached $2.6 billion, more than half of its $5 billion budget.
    (AP Photo)
    To control those costs, the HHS, through its Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), implemented changes. For example, in August 2012, reimbursement rates to the health care provider were lowered in some areas. In addition, some of the federally run PCIP hospital facility fees were renegotiated to match the same fee-rate as Medicare. About 25 percent of the hospitals approached agreed to this renegotiation, said the GAO.
    Further, the CCIIO “instituted benefit changes for the federally run PCIP that shifted more costs onto enrollees starting in January 2013,” reported the GAO. “For example, it increased enrollees’ out of pocket maximum for in-network services from $4,000 to $6,250 and for out-of-network services from $7,000 to $10,000.”
    The report concluded, “Finally, due to growing concerns about the rate of PCIP spending, in February 2013, CCIIO suspended PCIP enrollment to ensure the appropriated funding would be sufficient to cover claims for current enrollees through the end of the program.”
    The GAO noted that, according to HHS officials, if they think they will not run out of money as quickly as projected “they might reinstate PCIP enrollment to use remaining funds.”

    Another step on the slippery slope to censorship. I wonder if this would apply to Louis Farrakhan, nah.

    Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished

    A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.
    Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws.
    "We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected," Killian told the newspaper.
    Killian, along with the FBI special agent that runs the Knoxville office, are set to speak next week to a special meeting with the local Muslim community, informing them about their rights under federal law.
    "This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion," Killian said about the meeting. "This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are."
    Killian pointed to a recent controversy where a local Tennessee politician posted a photo of a man aiming a shotgun at the camera with the caption "How to wink at a Muslim."
    "If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?" Killian asked, according to the newspaper.
    The Department of Justice did not respond Friday to a question about what guidelines it draws concerning offensive speech and Islam, or whether the department believes that civil rights statutes could be used to stifle criticism of Islam.
    While threats directed at individuals or small groups can lead to punishment, First Amendment experts expressed doubt that the government has any power to stop offensive material about Islam from circulating.
    "He’s just wrong," said Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment attorneys. "The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion."
    "And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is," Abrams said.
    A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, accused the Obama administration of using federal law to specifically protect Muslims from criticism.
    "In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights," the group wrote in a blog post.
    In recent years, the federal government has faced difficult questions about how to respond to material posted about Islam and the Prophet Muhammed — especially when the content causes riots or attacks abroad.
    In 2010, a Florida pastor made international news when he threatened to burn 200 copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
    The federal government admitted it was powerless to stop Jones, though President Barack Obama condemned the idea. Jones backed off from his September attempt, but later burned a Koran in 2012.
    A similar controversy erupt when a Coptic Christian man posted the trailer for an anti-Muhammed film online — causing rioting and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
    The Obama administration condemned the attack, while blasting the filmmaker for religious intolerance.
    Conflating speech with actions

    Does this give you some perspective on government priorities?

    Walter Reed hospital workers receive furlough notices

    ABC7 has confirmed the region’s two military hospitals are furloughing more than 3,500 civilian employees who care for the nation’s wounded warriors, nearly their entire civilian staffs.
    The impacted employees are from departments across the board at both hospitals, including members of the trauma team, physical therapists and nurses. They will be forced to take 11 unpaid furlough days starting in July.
    Hospital officials say the furloughs affect 2,392 caregivers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. That’s 94% of the civilian staff there.
    Officials say 1,163 caregivers at Fort Belvoir’s hospital in Virginia are being furloughed, affecting 85% of its civilian staff.
    Officials promise patient care will not be compromised.
    “The assessment of over 2,500 civilian positions determined that 163 staff exemptions were necessary to maintain the highest levels of care for warrior inpatients and outpatients in rehabilitation and other critical areas,” Walter Reed said in a statement. “Fortunately, our wounded warrior census is significantly lower than experienced during the peak wartime period, yet our staffing remains consistent with peak levels.”
    Hospital officials refused ABC7’s repeated requests for an interview. But a staffer who spoke with ABC7 said employees were told not to speak with the media.
    The furloughs stem from the automatic budget cuts from sequestration.
    Out of the Department of Defense's 800,000 civilian workers, about 68,000 are exempt from the furloughs. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said furloughs will save the department $1.8 billion.

    Do you get the irony?

    Washington Post: The Justice Department has allowed us to say AG Holder supports press freedom

    Good for Leno a nice guy. Letterman on the other hand is a nasty, bitter liberal

    Ratings: Leno, Fallon Widen Leads in May Sweeps, but ABC Claims Most-Watched Status

    Funny how equal treatment only goes so far in this administration


    It wasn’t just the Tea Party: it has been widely reported that the IRS also has harassed and discriminated against pro-Israel charities, in particular those that support settlements in Judea and Samaria. In the Free Beacon, Alana Goodman pursues the story:
    A Washington Free Beacon investigation has identified at least five pro-Israel organizations that have been audited by the IRS in the wake of a coordinated campaign by White House-allied activist groups in 2009 and 2010.
    These organizations, some of which are too afraid of government reprisals to speak publicly, say in interviews with the Free Beacon that they now believe the IRS actions may have been coordinated by the Obama administration.
    I missed it at the time, but there was a campaign by anti-Israel forces to deprive these charities of their tax-exempt status because their aims conflicted with Obama administration policies:
    The media scrutiny began as early as March 26, 2009, when the Washington Post’s David Ignatius published a column questioning the groups’ tax-exempt status.
    Ignatius’s column is here. Ignatius displayed a remarkable obtuseness with regard to the First Amendment:
    For many years, the United States has had a policy against spending aid money to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive administrations have regarded as an obstacle to peace. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes.
    But the tax laws do not depend, obviously, on whether a charitable organization supports or opposes the policies of the current U.S. administration. Groups like the Sierra Club and the ACLU have often promoted policies at odds with administration policies, but no one has suggested that they should therefore lose their tax-exempt status. And, of course, you can contribute to tax-exempt organizations like the Free Gaza Movement. But somehow the idea took hold that charities lending support to Israeli settlements are somehow different. This idea was promoted by pro-Palestinian groups, who encouraged IRS scrutiny of such organizations:
    The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced the [day after the Ignatius column appeared] that it would begin a campaign of filing legal complaints with the IRS and the Treasury Department to investigate groups “allegedly raising funds for the development of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”
    ADC is closely tied to the Obama White House. The president recorded a video greeting to the group’s annual conference and sent two senior administration officials to attend.
    The ADC announced in October 2009 that it had expanded its legal campaign against pro-Israel charities and was “working with a number of coalition partners, both nationally and internationally, in conducting this ongoing campaign.”
    In July 2010, the New York Times chimed in with a long article titled Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank. The Times acknowledged that tax-exempt contributions to pro-Israel organizations are entirely legal, but advanced the idea that they are somehow suspect:
    The use of charities to promote a foreign policy goal is neither new nor unique — Americans also take tax breaks in giving to pro-Palestinian groups. But the donations to the settler movement stand out because of the centrality of the settlement issue in the current talks and the fact that Washington has consistently refused to allow Israel to spend American government aid in the settlements. Tax breaks for the donations remain largely unchallenged, and unexamined by the American government. The Internal Revenue Service declined to discuss donations for West Bank settlements. State Department officials would comment only generally, and on condition of anonymity.
    “It’s a problem,” a senior State Department official said, adding, “It’s unhelpful to the efforts that we’re trying to make.” …
    Palestinian officials expressed outrage at the tax breaks.
    The IRS appears to have taken complaints about pro-Israel charities to heart. The Free Beacon reports:
    One pro-Israel targets was HaYovel, which was featured prominently in the New York Times article. Six months after the article was published, the IRS audited the Nashville-based charity, which sends volunteers to work in vineyards across the Green Line.
    “We bookend that [New York Times] story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They really kind of focused on us,” said HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller. “Then six months later we had an audit.” …
    Two other organizations—the American arm of an educational institution that operates across the Green Line and the American arm of a well-known Israeli charity that was mentioned in the New York Times article—say they were also audited.
    Another organization that was criticized in multiple articles during 2009 and 2010 was audited last year. The organization, like many of the groups with whom the Free Beacon spoke, asked to remain anonymous out of fear of political retaliation and concern that exposure would harm fundraising efforts. …
    Concerns that the IRS was targeting pro-Israel groups were first raised publicly by Z Street, a pro-Israel organization run by Lori Lowenthal Marcus.
    Z Street filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 2010, alleging its application for tax-exempt status was delayed because it disagreed with the Obama administration’s Israel policy.
    The House committees that are looking into the IRS scandal should put this topic high on their agenda. Did President Obama or someone acting at his direction order the IRS to crack down on organizations that disagree with his Middle East policies? Was any similar scrutiny applied to pro-Palestinian groups? Or, perhaps, did IRS officials take their cue from the Washington Post, the New York Times and pro-Palestinian pressure groups and initiate discriminatory policies on their own initiative?
    Possibly an investigation will show that audits and delays to which pro-Israel groups have been subjected are random, and not the result of political animus. But given the impressive record of lawlessness that the Obama administration has compiled, no one will take that conclusion for granted.

    IRS Crosses Green Line

    Pro-Israel groups felt wrath of Obama IRS, WFB investigation reveals

    t's what happens when you stop being productive and making stuff people want. The socialist fantasy world

    Eurozone unemployment reaches new record high in April

    Unemployment in the eurozone has reached another record high, according to official figures.
    The seasonally-adjusted rate for April was 12.2%, up from 12.1% the month before.
    An extra 95,000 people were out of work in the 17 countries that use the euro, taking the total to 19.38 million.
    Both Greece and Spain have jobless rates above 25%. The lowest unemployment rate is in Austria at 4.9%.
    The European Commission's statistics office, Eurostat, said Germany had an unemployment rate of 5.4% while Luxembourg's was 5.6%.
    The highest jobless rates are in Greece (27.0% in February 2013), Spain (26.8%) and Portugal (17.8%).
    In France, Europe's second largest economy, the number of jobless people rose to a new record high in April.
    "We do not see a stabilisation in unemployment before the middle of next year," said Frederik Ducrozet, an economist at Credit Agricole in Paris. "The picture in France is still deteriorating."
    'Social crisis'
    Youth unemployment remains a particular concern. In April, 3.6 million people under the age of 25 were out of work in the eurozone, which translated to an unemployment rate of 24.4%.
    Figures from the Italian government showed 40.5% of young people in Italy are unemployed.


    Europe's already dismal jobs situation has deteriorated further. If we needed a reminder of the lingering effects of the eurozone financial crisis, it is to be seen in the jobs data.
    The general pattern is that the largest increases in unemployment over the last year were in countries at the centre of the crisis - Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal. There was also a sharp increase in Slovenia, a country seen as a possible future candidate for a financial rescue.
    The main exception to the pattern was Ireland, another country receiving a bailout, where unemployment nonetheless fell by almost one and half percentage points in twelve months.
    The figures also highlight the "lost generation" concern that is, or should be, causing some lost sleep for political leaders. Unemployment among young people is approaching one in four across the eurozone and it is 40% or higher in a few countries - Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
    "We have to deal with the social crisis, which is expressed particularly in spreading youth unemployment, and place it at the centre of political action," said Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.
    In the 12 months to April, 1.6 million people lost their jobs in the eurozone.
    While the jobless figure in the eurozone climbed for the 24th consecutive month, the unemployment rate for the full 27-member European Union remained at 11%.
    The eurozone is in its longest recession since it was created in 1999. At 1.4%, inflation is far below the 2% target set by the European Central Bank (ECB).
    Consumer spending remains subdued. Figures released on Friday showed that retail sales in Germany fell 0.4% in April compared with the previous month.
    Earlier this week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted that the eurozone economy would contract by 0.6% this year.
    According to Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING, in the past, the eurozone has needed economic growth of about 1.5% to create jobs.
    ECB action?
    Some consider that the ECB needs to do more than simply cutting interest rates to boost economic activity and create jobs.
    Earlier this month, the ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate to 0.50% from 0.75%, the first cut in 10 months, and said it was "ready to act if needed" if more measures were required to boost the eurozone's economic health.
    In its report earlier this week, the OECD hinted that the ECB might want to expand quantitative easing (QE) as a measure to encourage stronger growth.
    Nick Matthews, a senior economist at Nomura International, said: "We do not expect a strong recovery in the eurozone.
    "It puts pressure on the ECB to deliver even more conventional and non-conventional measures," he added.
    The European Central Bank is due to meet next week.