The Continental View by Theo Rebergen: 2013 - triple of quadruple recession?

I’m the blunt Dutchman trying to tell how the continentals see England and how we in Europe get on with life in these troublesome days.

WINTERTIME is a lousy time for columnists; nothing funny or exciting happens.

The politicians hibernate so they do less stupid things; most of the news is darker than a nun’s underwear and half the world seems to be depressed.

In 2012 I focussed my columns on my stay in East-Sussex and compared the living standards of ordinary British citizens and business people with the life across the channel. Not all the five UK readers liked that a foreigner writes in their newspaper and it is not easy to explain to Germans what a pothole is.

After my explanation that these were enormous holes in the English roads and that they caused damages to cars which again caused claims for compensation costing millions to the councils. I also explained that the holes are filled every year costing even more millions but that the tarmac filling washes out after the first winter rains or snowfall.

The German respond was: why do they not lay a resistant road surface in the first place?

Nobody in the UK could give me reasonable answer, so I gave my Continental View for the Eastbourne Herald a winter break and went hibernating myself. I even did not publish the 2012 review I started; if you still want to know what’s in it, just look at

However this morning I was woken up abruptly when I heard a new word which alerted my curiosity: “Triple Dip Recession” Holy smoke, this was right up my alley; especially when I found out it means that a lot of the predictions my simple economical mind produced in 2012 had been right on many occasions.

For example that we had entered a long period of consolidation without growth and that we (and our governments) have to do with little money, unless we start borrowing again as if there was no tomorrow. And I am right that no government has a magic wand to create that miracle growth and the jobs that should come with it.

And remember, I explained many times why the Germans were the exception because they took their Austerity 15 years ago. That’s why I developed a massive crush on Angela Merkel; I have sent her a new jacket for Xmas cause it looks that she always wears the same. Still, even the Germans will have hardly any growth in 2013.

I am over the moon that the farming sector is booming; the farmers got very little money for their produces in the last 15 years, so they reorganized and modernized in time and are doing great. Anyhow, with the rising food prices they all will become millionaires pretty soon. Another prediction was that the small businesses will keep the economy afloat; this also seems to be the case. Yeah, this all boosted my ego so much that I decided to continue my journalistic cyber route.

My clairvoyant view for 2013? Although it seems that the Euro survived, this will be the toughest year for Europe as a whole: markets are still saturated with consumables; food will continue to become more expensive so consumers will spend less. In general companies will have lower profits and will have to cut cost. The miracle word is consolidation but even more so innovation.

The turn will have to come organically from the industry and trade. It is crucial that we find total new technologies and brilliant inventions; they will kick start the cash flow.

And I don’t mean an iPhone 5 that is worse than number 3 and 4, a telly that automatically repeats the dreadful programs we could have done without, cars that still have only 4 wheels and crash into each other, airplanes that can still fall out of the sky and ships that still can sink.

No, we need brand new stuff which makes us feel sexy and go spending like mad. And the good news: we need millions of workers to make all these goodies. But it could take another 5 years before this all will happen.

You will not believe it but the most popular man in 2013 will be the British Prime Minister. His treasurer still has to borrow ship loads of money to fill the potholes I mentioned earlier, but he started cost cutting shortly after the election in 2010 so almost on time.

But it is more Cameron’s charge at the out-of-control European Union that will find him fans and followers in the many West-European countries. Already the Scandinavians show support; they also want to get rid of the hideous regulations and want more autonomy for the member states.

The men and women on the European streets have no understanding for the Brussels money grabbers and they secretly applauded when Mr. Cameron told the Euro parliamentarians to take a wage cut or a hike.

Thanks Dave. Only the European politicians seem to be deaf for their voter’s opinion and they should prepare for a shock in the next elections.

I am sitting on the edge of my seat to see which of the political leaders make a real move for the future and see if my predictions come true. If not, I am a pianist, so you can should at me.

Theo R. InterCultural Business Relations.

Views from across the Channel on Europe and England.

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