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Ecclestone hits out at "third world" Europe

NEWS STORY
05/11/2014

Bernie Ecclestone has launched a scathing attack on the economy in Europe which he says has become a "third world" place to do business according to an article in the Daily Telegraph by Christian Sylt.

The criticism is made all the more ominous by the fact that economic indicators show Europe is indeed heading in a downward direction and Ecclestone predicted this would happen precisely a decade ago as he proudly points out.

"Slowly but surely what I predicted about Europe is happening. What I said ten years ago is that it would soon become a third world economy," says Ecclestone. It is another provocative statement from the man who suggested that women should wear white to match domestic appliances and praised Adolf Hitler's ability to "get things done." However, his latest comments are very different as they have much more than just a ring of truth about them.

For starters, his prediction is no exaggeration as in January 2004 he said in an interview that "we will have to cancel some of the European races sooner or later. Our sponsors want us in growing markets - and Europe isn't a growing market. As I see it, Europe will be part of the third world in 10 years, while Asia and America will be dominating the world, We must be established there."

Formula One has not managed to add Grands Prix in America since then but it has gained more in Asia and lost them in Europe. In 2007 Germany lost one of its two races whilst the following year the Grand Prix in France was dropped and hasn't returned. Ten years ago 56% of F1's races were in Europe compared to 42% now.

Ecclestone has replaced the European races with ones in countries which are prepared to pay more for a prestigious slot on the F1 calendar where annual hosting fees rise to more than 40m.

This year's new addition is a Grand Prix in Russia which took place in the ski-resort of Sochi last month. Ecclestone signed the deal directly with Russia's president Vladimir Putin and was pictured with him at the race. He has been quoted praising Putin but is far less complimentary about politicians in Europe. "The trouble is that politicians have got policies that they would like to implement and they get into power and find that they can't."

Although F1's drive into emerging markets has mercurial motives, the reduction in the number of European races has also coincided with a downturn in the region's fortunes.

Germany's exports have hit the buffers leading to concerns that it may be teetering on the brink of recession. It is pointing the finger of blame elsewhere as one of the country's most highly regarded economists recently warned that France could "bring down" the Euro by refusing to get to grips with austerity.

In an interview last month Hans-Werner Sinn, the president of Germany's Institute for Economic Research think tank, said that "French industry has been dying for decades" and added that "hiding the unemployed in government offices is not a healthy solution."

A total of 3.4m people are out of work in France and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that economic growth in the country will come in at just 0.4% this year.

"Europe was built on Germany and France. That's how it all started. France is gone and Germany doesn't look good. Even with my help they are still in trouble," says Ecclestone.

He is referring to the record 60m he paid to a Munich court in August to settle charges that he bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to steer the sale of F1 to the private equity firm CVC in 2006.

F1 is of course based in London but, ironically, its contracts are paid in US Dollars which insulates the sport from the turmoil in Europe. Two years ago Ecclestone told Pitpass that he has always been opposed to the Euro because industries in European countries are too diverse to operate under a single currency.

"From the moment the Euro was introduced I said it was a mistake. It was a political decision where Germany and France thought they would be able to control Europe. You can't blame them for trying. At the time it seemed a good idea."

Ecclestone's latest critique echoes recent comments from Andy Street, the boss of British department store business John Lewis, who said that France was "finished." Street described the French nation as "sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat,' adding "I have never been to a country more ill at ease... nothing works and worse, nobody cares about it."

In a London speech he also described Paris' flagship train station Gare du Nord as the "squalor pit of Europe". Street was later forced to apologise for his views but, given the nature some of Ecclestone's previous comments, it is hard to imagine him following suit.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Aussie F1, 12/11/2014 10:50

"Our economy in Australia is purring along ok. It's not as wonderful as many make it out to be but we survived the GFC pretty much unscathed. Not bad for a bunch of convicts!"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by MKI, 10/11/2014 17:45

"Hondawho? makes a good point. Many countries in Europe and the west are industrially mature; in an effort to compete with emerging economies and natural resource-rich areas - and reduce the liklihood of wars in the region - Europe's then leaders saw fit to invent what has morphed over the years into 'the Eurozone'. One can't, surely, knock them for trying, though enough of the public here in the UK, Mr Ecclestone - and Switzerland - amongst them, at least saw what they perceived as a flaw in a common currency and opted out. So far so good. But if there is any suggestion that European 'weakness' is the cause of an inability to retain the region's Grands Prix it is wrong.

"

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3. Posted by Hondawho?, 10/11/2014 7:57

"Oil and the automobile (transport) are the two driving factors ( pun intended) of the worlds economy during the past 150-200 years. When they reach a peak, as they have done in certain areas of the world then, as in F1 the development show stalls; as is the economy, as is F1. Stimulation, in products and the show is required. Politics as several have said here is no place for sports promoters although everyone has an opinion of course. Let's keep political opinions to our own thoughts unless we are prepared as individuals to do something about it BUT in the right way. "

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4. Posted by mavra-j, 09/11/2014 11:18

"F1 is a major sport event it has to do with racing .But most of all is a SPORT. If mr Ecclestone wants to make political remarks and change the fate of Europe he can easily leave the F1 and run a campaign for a presidential seat in EU. To make remarks from a safe position as he has and not act on them is naive and it does not suit him nor his background and what he achieved all these years in the sport. He is an excellant businessman and history shows that , but he is not a politician and it is better for people with so much power and knowing that their words have so much authority to know exactly where they stand.
As for the EU and its currency , is well known that the euro is a 13year note and still trying to find its steps in the world economy . It not easy to coordinate 24 countries with different economies , culture and ways they see life in just so little time . US is still struggling and it has much more life then the EU.
The world is shifting to new places and to new ideas every day so people must know where they stand .
"

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5. Posted by yeyox, 08/11/2014 23:42

"Today, thanks to Mr Bernie Ecclestone I learned a little bit more about the current and real economic situation in Europe than of F1. I live in a third or fourth world country that has always been in economic crisis (not politicians) and with a lot of social problems so I know exactly what is that and how it feels. Europe, welcome to the real world."

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 07/11/2014 12:51

"@kiwi2wheels
Calm down dear, its only a sport......"

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7. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 06/11/2014 13:21

"I agree 100 % with BCE. Europe is turning into a third world cesspit, just look at Englandistan. Try having F1 in a Sharia run " state "
Their economic policies, combined with their destructive immigration policies of populating it with third world unassimilables, is the surefire recipe for third world status.

What is surprising is how he was able see the irrefutable logic in this, yet be so f******g blind to the ramifications of allowing such asinine regulations which go against the very culture of F1 and alienate all true motor sport enthusiasts ( and also employees ) and have contributed to its demise. He doesn't NEED any more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ !!"

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8. Posted by Dreadnaught, 05/11/2014 20:33 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 05/11/2014 20:36)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

9. Posted by scf1fan, 05/11/2014 20:04

"Thanks! (Forgot that . . . :-)"

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10. Posted by scf1fan, 05/11/2014 20:03 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 05/11/2014 20:36)

"Sort of wish the moderator/administrator would have corrected a few of my non-misspelled misspellings along the way . . . (Ewe no watt eye meant. :-) Any chance of us getting the ability to edit our posts post posting? :-D I know I tend to read mine a bit differently once I put them up and re-read them. It would also give people a chance to "self-moderate" if they had second thoughts."

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11. Posted by my tyres are going off, 05/11/2014 16:30 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 05/11/2014 16:45)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

12. Posted by Darvi, 05/11/2014 16:19

"It's good that Bernie clearly has the foresight and vision to be completely on top of world politics and economics. Such a shame he can't do the same for F1, 'cos that's what he's paid handsomely to do and, at the moment, you would have to say he is being rather less successful.

Indeed, he's in danger of presiding over a third rate sport........."

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13. Posted by Yaryman, 05/11/2014 15:52

"Bernie, don't all free market economies ebb and flow? Calling for a recession 10 years ago takes about as much insight as calling for a leap year every 4 years."

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14. Posted by Spindoctor, 05/11/2014 15:32 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 05/11/2014 20:36)

"@my tyres are going off
The term "3rd World" is not in and of itself offensive, and certainly not racist. I believe you are correct ascribing a derogatory, insulting and probably racist tinge to Bernie's comments.
The irony is that when the term "3rd World" was coined, one of the characteristics which identified a 3rd World country was that its economy was based on extractive, not productive processes.

Mr Ecclestone's new pal Vlad presides over just such an economy: take away the natural resources & Russia is broke.

Given the huge disparities in wealth between parts of the world, Bernie's comment about no "growth" in Europe is particularly stupid. 1% growth in UK, Germany, China would equate in money terms to 10, 20 or 30% growth in (say) Chad, or Liberia. If Liberia shows a 20% growth rate, will we see a GP there, despite that fact that average income will still be less than a tenth of that in the EU?

On a more general note the economists' Nirvana of continuous economic growth is a chimera. Planet Earth is a finite resource, and sooner or later "growth" would use that resource up. The extreme poverty we see in many places goes hand-in-glove with the excesses we see elsewhere. It has nothing to do with a lack of resources, but unequal distribution of them ("Let distribution undo excess.." as Shakespeare had it).
"

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15. Posted by my tyres are going off, 05/11/2014 14:34

"I take your point Chris and whilst I found Dreadnaught's comments amusing others may find them offensive hence you have removed them. However Bernie is intentionally using the term Third World in an offensive manner. It is racist and repeating it is a racist comment and is also offensive but you do not remove those messages, why?"

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