#Norwich please vote for @NorwichHEART’s #SHAPING24 cultural education programme in @europanostra Awards. Please RT.

The following is based (almost verbatim) on a press release from @NorwichHeart – it’s fairly self-explanatory – please read, vote and RT because it will help encourage people to #VisitNorwich and so support jobs and businesses in our vitally important tourism sector.

Norwich HEART’s #SHAPING24 project has just won a prestigious European Award, and we would love you to help us win the Public Choice Award too.

The SHAPING 24 cultural heritage tourism initiative recently won a prestigious EU prize for its work in education and awareness-raising. The pioneering project links the iconic ‘Norwich 12’ buildings with 12 heritage sites in Ghent, Belgium, and was led by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) in conjunction with Ghent City Council.

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have already named SHAPING 24 as a winner of the 2014 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. The project was selected from 160 nominated projects across 30 countries, and was a winner in the Education, Training and Awareness-Raising category.

Now @NorwichHeart needs your help to win another important prize. At the awards ceremony on 5 May in Vienna, six of the earlier winners will be named as Grand Prix laureates, receiving €10,000 each, and one will be chosen in an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra to receive the Public Choice Award.

So please support your fine city – Norwich – and vote for the SHAPING 24 project at http://vote.europanostra.org before 20th April.

This successful project has made a positive contribution to economic development, regeneration, education and learning, community engagement, and promotion and access in Norwich and Ghent, with initiatives such as the Culture Matters international cultural heritage conference, smartphone apps, games, publications, educational projects and public art installations.

You can find out more here: www.shaping24.eu.

Remember – please vote and share on twitter, G+, facebook and any other social media platforms you use – because it will help support your local community.

Thank you


What does Mrs Merkel mean when she calls for fiscal union?

My reply to this article http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a4271df0-2663-11e1-85fb-00144feabdc0.html#comment-1586251 in today’s FT:

Please can the FT go back and ask Frau Merkel what she really means by a fiscal union (or to use the phrase of choice from last week’s agreement – a ‘fiscal stability union’ see para 1 of this http://consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/126658.pdf).

I am pretty certain she means something very different to what most people mean, including officials in the US (which perhaps explains why Tim Geithner thought last week’s summit might come up with a workable solution – which it obviously did not).

When Merkel says fiscal union she in fact means enhanced stability and growth pact – read the summit agreement or read her proposal before the summit http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8941290/Fostering-fiscal-discipline-Angela-Merkel-and-Nicolas-Sarkozys-letter-to-Herman-Van-Rompuy-in-full.html.

She promises austerity yes, rules yes, punishment yes (as made clear in April by the way http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/120296.pdf ) – but not and never (if I have understood her previous comments correctly) what’s needed for a single currency to function effectively – and that is full fiscal (and political) union.

In other words, the euro needs a single treasury (logically controlled by a single executive, answerable to a single legislature, elected by a single demos), harmonised taxes, and a generous transfer union. As George Osborne rightly observed (like many before him, who were vilified for saying as much), that is ‘the inexorable logic of ever closer union’.

Full fiscal and political union was the dream of the founders of the EU – it is what Mr Delors admits he wanted (and regrets not getting) when he helped launch the single currency. However, Frau Merkel (and I suspect nearly every German) seems dead set against such a move.

No matter how much she might talk about the long game there is no serious attempt being made to sell this vision of unification to the voters in Germany or elsewhere in Europe – because none of the euro leaders appear to really share that ultimate vision either.

So please FT, for the sake of clarity – make sure nothing is being lost in translation – the future of the euro might depend on it.

Kind regards

Huw Sayer

Can the euro be saved?

Copy of my reply to an excellent post by Martin Wolf at the FT http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3085eb4-202d-11e1-9878-00144feabdc0.html#comment-1582226 :

Careful, Mr Wolf, with comments like this – “the initial design of the eurozone was defective, as most intelligent analysts then knew; it has also revealed – and, in the process, exacerbated – a fundamental lack of trust, let alone sense of shared identity.” (No matter that Mr Delors admitted as much only the other week.)

You risk being castigated as a euro-sceptic – told you simply don’t understand – worse still, vilified as a xenophobic little Englander – for daring to view the euro through anything other than rose-tinted spectacles.

In this febrile atmosphere it seems you are either a euro-fanatic or you are an enemy of the glorious project – there is apparently no middle ground – rational, logical, analysis routinely gets heckled as the enemy of vision. Shooting the messenger is the MO of EU Commission flunkies.

Naturally the only ‘real’ solution is to forge ahead with (as George Osborne rightly called it) ‘the inexorable logic of ever closer union’: full fiscal and political union, a single treasury (logically controlled by a single executive, answerable to a single legislature), harmonised taxes, and a generous transfer union. The dream of the founders must be realised at all costs – however painful or tragic.

I wish you luck with your words of advice but fear they are too little, too late – much as the cry of ‘Iceberg’ in 1912 could not save the Titanic – so the cry of ‘credit’ will not save the euro.

Kind regards

Huw Sayer