Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Battle for Greek Bondholders; European Stocks Soar; Optimism Back in ECB; Greece's Last Chance Saloon; US Markets Rising; European Commissioner Pushing for More Women in Tech Jobs; Millennials Take High-Tech Approach in Workforce; Meet the Millennials
Aired March 8, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: The swap shop is about to close, and who will be left holding the bonds when it's all over?
A standoff over carbon tax. EADS says a commercial war looms.
And stand up and be counted. The EU wants more women in tech.
I'm Richard Quest and, of course, I mean business.
Good evening. With precisely one hour to go, 60 minutes, and Greece has almost won its battle with its bondholders. Three quarters of them have been persuaded to go along with the PSI plan, the Private Sector Involvement, which should be enough to see the haircut go through.
It will save Greece hundreds of billions of dollars and will bring to a close, or at least be the close of a chapter in the long saga that has been the issues.
Join me in the library, and you will see the situation tonight. 75 percent of bondholders, roughly, have agreed, according to government numbers. Now, it may even reach 80 percent in the next hour or so. That's above the magic 66 percent threshold. It will trigger the CACs, the Collective Action Clauses.
This is the gun to the head, basically. This is the bit that says everyone else has agreed, you're going to agree, too. So, the CACs will come along and the holdouts will be forced to comply, at least the Greek law holdouts, slightly different for foreign ones.
But the markets have loved what they've seen today. The Athens market up 3 percent, Paris up 2.5, Xetra DAX up 2.5.
And all this despite the fact that many of the banks within these may suffer losses on their bonds and also on the CDSs that they may be the negative party towards.
The ECB is optimistic. The head of the ECB, the president has said, Mario Draghi, said today that the euro crisis as such was almost over as a result of the actions taken by the bank. They kept interest rates on hold and overall, with what was happening with Greek bonds, optimism was back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT: The LTRO that both operations, I would say, are an unquestionable success. The risk environment has improved enormously. Certainly, we see many signs of return of confidence in the euro. Real money -- so-called real money -- investors have, to some extent, come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Confidence in the euro, investors have come back. Jim Boulden is with me having a sup at the Last Chance Saloon as we get ready for tonight.
Let's look at the participants involved, and we start with the 75 percent participation by the bondholders.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
QUEST: This is the Greek bondholders.
QUEST: There are others involved, foreign bonds, as well. How significant?
BOULDEN: 75 percent really is the threshold that they were looking for, to get at least 75 percent so they could get on their way. It could actually be closer to 80, 85 percent, but we still have 55 minutes to go until the --
QUEST: Right. So -- because we are talking, now, about where we stand, who's got -- who's playing their last card.
QUEST: Does it seem as if the Greek government tonight has got the -- if you like, the full house?
BOULDEN: Yes. It's got the majority of bondholders have agreed to take this massive loss, because they know it's better than getting nothing.
QUEST: All right. So, that is the Greek position. But you also have those that have waited.
QUEST: Some of them are holding bonds under foreign law, some of them are just literally waiting for those CDSs. How many, do we believe, are still hedge funds gambling tonight?
BOULDEN: Well, there could be a few percentage points of hedge funds who've said, look, I'd rather hold them than fold them, because in the long run, either the Greek government will pay me out to go away, or I'll sue them, the way that a lot of hedge funds sued Argentina, or I might get insurance down the road.
QUEST: And that's the point, because the hold them or fold them -- those holdouts that are waiting for the last bit are waiting for the CDS jackpot. How much is this jackpot going to be?
BOULDEN: If it's decided that Greece has technically defaulted, and if these banks go to New York and get what's called a credit event agreed to, there's about $3.2 billion of this insurance out there to pay out. In the long run, that's not a lot of money.
QUEST: Right, it's not a lot. And exactly who will get it, how they'll get it, whether those who are holding and not?
But the difference now is -- and this is crucial -- we know where the liabilities are, different from Lehman Brothers.
BOULDEN: Yes, absolutely. And we know that the Greek government has said very clearly that anybody holds out, they will not pay them off, even if they try to get them to pay them off.
QUEST: So, they won't?
BOULDEN: They said that on Tuesday. They won't pay them off. So, they'll have to go to New York and get this group called ISDA to agree to pay out the insurance.
QUEST: And we've still got those other bonds to think about, too. Finally, we've got our old friend the house, Mario Draghi. He obviously said today things were doing very well, confidence was back. Whichever way this goes, is it fair to say he's played a blinder?
BOULDEN: The ECB doesn't lose a penny on their Greek debt, we know that, because that's part of the deal, that they could not lose. So, they get to swap it at 100 percent.
QUEST: Right. They're swapping out, ESFS will be involved, but they're not taking a --
BOULDEN: A haircut.
QUEST: They're not --
BOULDEN: No haircut.
QUEST: Ooh, there you go. Go on. He's not taking a haircut.
BOULDEN: No. Not at all.
QUEST: No haircut.
BOULDEN: He's come out of this looking very good.
QUEST: Many thanks, indeed. Jim, will you be glad it's over?
BOULDEN: It's not over. Because then we have another quarter, and another quarter, and another quarter. Every quarter, Greece has to say -- to do enough to get their tranche of aid. They might have done enough for the March tranche. Who knows?
QUEST: All right. The markets in New York, having been down quite heavily in recent days, worried about what was happening, now we're seeing a gain of up 66 points, still under 13,000, but not to worry. We are 12,903.
Coming up in just a moment, tackling a gender gap in the tech sector. Europe's commissioner for the Digital Agenda says quotas might be the answer.
QUEST: Wanted: more women to work in information, communication, technologies, ICT, they are called. It's a call from Europe's Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, and it comes on the day of International Women's Day.
And as you'll hear in a moment, she suggests on this program that quotas might be the answer if everything else fails. Have a look and see the current position for technology in the boardroom.
Now, if you look at women at the moment, women in technology in the boardroom, only 8 percent of women in tech companies are -- sorry, only 8 percent of board members in tech companies are women. That is less than the all-sector average of 11 percent.
Obviously, the mathematics clearly shows you that 92 percent -- that's an extraordinary difference, which is made even clearer on International Women's Day, when Europe's Commissioner for the Digital Agenda says young women know how to use the latest technology. They need to be more aware that it's a sector within which they can work.
NEELIE KROES, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR THE DIGITAL AGENDA: We should be quite active in not only explaining but also proving that the tech sector, and especially talking about the digital sector, is cool, so to say. It is "phat cool" to use the language of today.
QUEST: Are you thinking that if this doesn't happen organically, then quotas is a solution to get more females into the information communication technology sector?
KROES: Well, indeed I am in favor for, if it is not going the natural way, then there should be quotas. But by the way, then we should also act as we preach in the European Commission.
QUEST: The mere Q word, whether it's positive discrimination, whether it's gerrymandering, whether it's a quota system, you know it's obviously highly controversial, and there will be those that say if women don't want to work in these areas, if women don't like these careers, then so be it. That's the market.
KROES: I am absolutely agreeing on that line if they have taken their position with the right information and with the right background. And that is what I am mentioning earlier on. It is about awareness.
If you are aware that this is a great area to have your career in, if you are aware that this is giving you great opportunities and also taking into account that you are filling your backpack going for the life route, so to say, with your education, then I think that it is not a conclusion that women are not interested in this.
QUEST: OK. Hang on, hang on. One thing. Women -- you look at any bus, you look in any school, you look everywhere. Women -- girls are using computers. Girls are --
QUEST: Girls are using mobile phones, they are using SmartPhones, they are at the forefront of Facebook --
QUEST: -- and Twitter. So, Commissioner, how can you say they are not aware of the careers available in technology?
KROES: I'm saying that because they are using it, but they are not with a different mindset approaching their career path. That is all about. Though they are using it, they can do it, but if we are not communicating about the possibilities to be active in the sector itself, then we are missing quite a number of excellent people who could just push our economic situation in Europe.
QUEST: The European Commissioner for the digital environment. And when we come back in a moment, all this week, we've been talking about the world of the Millennials. They are young, they are bright, and they are better connected than any generation before them, in a moment.
QUEST: All this week on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we have been launching our new series, The Millennials. The young, motivated, highly educated generation. And like it or not, they are entering the workforce in their millions.
I promise you, Millennials are the future in the workforce. As Deborah Feyerick now reports, some of them are taking a high-tech approach to getting their foot in the door.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this hip Washington, DC cafe, connections are being made as fast as the lattes.
The event is called Network Roulette. Like speed dating, but online, it pairs Gen Y-ers with job recruiters, mentors, and peers offering advice.
RYAN HEALY, CO-FOUNDER, BRAZEN CAREERIST, INC.: Thanks for coming out.
FEYERICK: Twenty-seven-year-old entrepreneur Ryan Healy traded his job as a financial consultant to create BrazenCareerist.com. Billed as a job support website for high achievers, the site partners with business, some of them Fortune 500 companies, willing to shell out thousands of dollars to meet Millennials.
HEALY: We provide a community where people can ask questions, answer questions of each other. You'll have five minutes to chat with them. You can follow up with five or ten of then, and you can add them to your network. You can say, "Hey, I'm interested in this job opportunity."
FEYERICK: Citi recruiter Amy Ing is among 50 companies tapping into Gen Y online.
AMY ING, SENIOR VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES, CITI: It becomes a really efficient way for us to connect with a wide range of candidates that we might not otherwise meet.
SHANNON DONALDSON, JOB CANDIDATE: I'm Shannon Donaldson, I'm --
FEYERICK: Candidates like these, who brought their laptops and digital resumes to network and meet us in person.
FEYERICK (on camera): By a show of hands, how many of you are employed right now?
FEYERICK (voice-over): This group includes a project manager, e-mail marketing manager, and social media analyst. All good jobs, but not quite perfect.
SANDI FOX, 27 YEARS OLD: We'll try the private sector, and then we'll try nonprofit. We really want to put our mark on the world in multiple ways.
FEYERICK: That means holding onto a job about 18 months at a time.
TARICK WEST, 23 YEARS OLD: A lot of the jobs that our parents' generation worked won't exist anymore, but it's also exciting, because it means we get to invent new careers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that our generation is just trying to avoid losing control.
FEYERICK: Healy and his team say they've sponsored more than 75 of these events.
HEALY: People in Generation Y have been told that they can be whatever they want to be and they can do whatever they want to do since they were kids. That's awesome.
The goal is to be happy, to find meaning. And they're figuring that out as they go. You don't always get it right, you've got to try new things, and that's OK, because you're searching for that thing that you really want to do, and you'll know when you find it.
FEYERICK: Finding it before the responsibilities of family and a mortgage kick in.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Washington.
QUEST: You don't need to go to an event to meet Millennials. We've got them right here. Let's meet our Millennials for discussion tonight.
In New York, it's Jaclyn Gross, a professional organizer and founder and chief exec of Tip Top Organizing.
In London, it's Anthony Eskinz -- Eskinazi, my apologies, Anthony. Founder and chief exec of Parkatmyhouse.com, a start-up where people can pay to rent in other people's parking garages and driveways.
And in Paris, Clement Boisseau, the strategic planner at the advertising agency BETC. Good evening one and all.
Let's start with you, Jaclyn, in New York. When did you realize -- first of all, tell us how old you are, and secondly, when did you realize that your generation was different?
JACLYN GROSS, FOUNDER AND CEO, TIP TOP ORGANIZING: Hi. I'm 25, and I realized that my generation was different when I was probably about -- I'd say in high school. I started to really get into the entrepreneurial spirit, and I realized that we really need to make a difference.
Change is the only constant, and I really wanted to do something that I could grow with and that I could change with. I was always scared of --
GROSS: -- getting fired and having job security.
GROSS: So, this is a way of protecting myself.
QUEST: Clement in Paris. Your generation is also different because you are collaborative. You believe in working together. And yet, you all have this fierce ambition, don't you?
CLEMENT BOISSEAU, STRATEGIC PLANNER, BETC: Yes, it's true, but I think, I deeply believe that my generation is more collaborative. When I see how we work, we are -- we believe that it's better when we are all together.
And it changes a lot, out relationship to our manager, because we won't be involved with them on a lot of different tasks. And it's true that we believe that we are stronger when we are all together to do things, and we have no more kind of vertical relation, you know? And it's better when everything is horizontal and when we can collaborate and work together --
BOISSEAU: -- to make things happen.
QUEST: Anthony in London. So, you're different, you collaborate, but where does this sense of entitlement come from in your generation? That you believe that you're going to -- you want the top job and you want it now.
ANTHONY ESKINAZI, FOUNDER AND CEO, PARKATMYHOUSE.COM: That's a good question. We're -- we're probably the first generation where we've always been connected, and we're permanently connected. So, we know everything that's going on, and we know what everyone else is achieving.
We're also -- we've also got access to more information now, and more easily, than any previous generation. So, we know what's possible, and we see -- to us, we see people at Google, we see people at Facebook --
ESKINAZI: -- who are 23, 24 years old and becoming multimillionaires or billionaires at an early age. The very ambitious people, we see -- you don't -- it's not like old business.
QUEST: OK. Clement, I saw you smile. I saw you smile when Anthony mentioned the millionaires and billionaires. Is that what you want to be? A millionaire and a billionaire?
Clement is obviously having trouble hearing me in Paris. Let's go to Jaclyn Gross. Are you -- is this something that you aspire to? Where did this sense of entitlement come from?
GROSS: I think it just came from a sense of feeling like I -- if I wanted to do something and I put my mind to it, then I could do it. I always had the feeling of, if you can dream it up, then you can manifest it. And it's all about just connecting the right people with your ideas and working with what you do have. And --
QUEST: Right. But you two -- you two are both entrepreneurs. Clement, I hope you can hear me in Paris. You work in an organizational structure. Are you aware of how different you treat that organization to how people do it older? You look at your bosses, you look at your superiors in a different way than previous generations.
BOISSEAU: I think that I'm very lucky because in my organization, the managers take account of our new ways to work. But it's true that a lot of people and a lot of relatives and friends close to me won't become entrepreneurs.
I think I'm quite happy in my world because I have freedom. I have the freedom to organize myself as I want. I have the freedom to -- to influence my own goals, the goals I want to achieve. So, it's OK if the organization, the corporation allows you to invent and to conceptualize your own way to achieve your goals.
QUEST: Jaclyn, when we talk about Millennials, I know it's a mass exaggeration, but your generation, your entrepreneurship, you are the future, aren't you?
GROSS: Yes. We are. And with -- well, we're globally interconnected. We have friends all around the world, and with Facebook, we're able to track them and see what they're doing every single day.
And -- and I think that because of the social media and the blogging, and because of all these new forms of technology that are available to us, we're able to become more powerful, and we're able to do whatever we set our minds to.
QUEST: Do what -- you're nodding, there, Anthony. What I -- my final question is to you. Can you see that this attitude of we can do whatever we set our mind to is both your most attractive ability or quality and you Millennials' least attractive quality?
ESKINAZI: Definitely. We're go-getters, and we won't let anything get in our way. We know what we want to achieve, be it financial success or any other kind of success, and yes. We -- well, I don't think we're arrogant, but we're very focused, and we're -- to get what we want, we may be ruthless, as well.
But we are -- we want what -- we want to be rich, we want to be successful, and we're a generation that can go get it because we're in a globally connected world.
QUEST: Anthony in London, Clement in Paris, Jaclyn in New York. We thank you one and all, and we'll talk to you again in the future.
Now, this whole question of Millennials, you just heard -- you heard just then the description. "We're go-getters, we're not arrogant, we want what we want, we want to succeed, we're collaborative."
These are the attributes of the Millennials, and it's why we are covering it so much here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. And The Millennials. Tweet me what you think. It's @RichardQuest is the tweet address, or Quest@cnn.com.
Coming up next, the world's biggest play-maker says China is locking its Airbuses. The chief exec of EADS, Louis Gallois, in a moment.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. This is CNN and, on this network, the news always comes first.
AFP, the news agency, is reporting the arrest of suspects in the killing of two hostages in Nigeria. The hostages, Briton Chris McManus and the Italian Franco Lamolinara, died in a failed rescue operation. Nigeria's president says the men were killed by their captors as Nigerian authorities attempted to free them, with the help of British forces.
A Syrian opposition group says Syrian forces have opened fire this Thursday in several cities, killing at least 62 people. Video posted online shows a deserted area of Homs with buildings scarred by bullets and mortars. It all comes as the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Amman has warned against outside military intervention in the country, saying it could further destabilize the situation.
Greece will find out in half an hour if private creditors have agreed to pitch in to ensure the second bailout. International lenders are demanding a private write-down to reduce Greek debt before they'll release new funds. A government source says 75 percent of creditors have agreed to the deal.
Iran's ambassador to the IAEA has joined international nuclear talks in Vienna. He's told CNN Iran will allow international inspectors access to Iran's controversial Parchin military facility once procedures have been worked out. Six world powers are calling on Iran to engage in serious discussions about its nuclear program and to open all of its nuclear facilities to inspectors.
Apple is among five publishers that face a lawsuit over the reports of price fixing. The company allegedly colluded in 2010 to force Amazon to raise its discounted e-book prices. "The Wall Street Journal" says the US Justice Department plans to sue them over antitrust violations.
QUEST: The world's biggest plane maker ever says China is blocking sales of its Airbus aircraft. EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois says the Chinese government is hitting back at Europe over the E.U.'s carbon tax scheme, ETS. A parent company of Airbus announced better than expected results. Nina Dos Santos asked Mr. Gallois about the economic challenges he's now facing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIS GALLOIS, CEO, EADS: You have seen that our guidance for 2012 is ambitious. We wanted to -- we think that we are able to have an EBIT above 2.5 billion euros compared to 1.7 this year. It means that we are on the profitability track and we have good expectation that this track will be prolonged in the next years.
NINA DOS SANTOS, ANCHOR, CNN LONDON: Do you have good expectations that you're going to be able to maintain the dividend at this level to keep that, say, keep investors' appetite whet?
GALLOIS: We are -- we are very pleased to increase our dividend in a way which is more consistent with what our peers and industry is doing. And, clearly, (inaudible) is improving and we are, as I say, we want to converge with other companies like ours.
DOS SANTOS: There's also been reports that China is going to be curtailing or perhaps even canceling some of its orders from you, largely because of this spat brewing between the E.U. over the carbon tax in countries like China. Can you give us an update about that? Have they actually canceled any orders, or just said flat out they're not really buying any new planes?
GALLOIS: For the time being, in China, the Chinese government is not giving its approval to orders. I agreed with the -- with Chinese airlines. It's concerning 35 (inaudible) 30 and (inaudible), which are put on order.
And we are very concerned with that. We are -- we are worrying that there is a conflict on the emission tax, could be too -- could become a commercial war. And we could be the victim of this commercial war.
And we are seeing that very clearly through the European Union. We consider that now the discussion has to be in the (inaudible) frame to have world solution, worldwide solution and not only a European one, because Europe can't be isolated against all other countries, because at the last word in the ICAO (ph) council, all countries except Europe were voting against this kind of European tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, Gallois talking to Nina Dos Santos.
Coming up in a moment, one man versus perhaps the Bank of England. Dan Conaghan's (inaudible) at the bank's handling of the financial crisis.
QUEST: It's now three years to the day since the Bank of England cut interest rates to historic lows, and that is where they remain at the moment, a half of one percentage point.
Today the bank opted not to produce quantitative easing. The society of fed rees (ph) extra 50 billion pounds and just about $80 billion is enough for the moment. It brings the total amount to 325 billion pounds at QE. That's part of half a trillion dollars.
Now when you look at those sort of numbers, our next guest says we need an inquiry into the Bank of England's policy moves. His recently published book, Dan Conaghan claims the governor of the bank, Sir Mervyn King, made a number of errors because he failed to appreciate the seriousness of the financial crisis.
The book is called "Inside the Bank of England: The Bank (sic)." I spoke to Dan Conaghan and asked him to explain his fundamental objection to the way the Bank of England handled the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN CONAGHAN, AUTHOR: I think objection is a wrong word. What I'm really interested in pointing -- in pointing out in the book is that the bank needs to be held accountable for its actions. And we talked about the financial crisis, that's one element of it, and the other large interventions in terms of monetary policies, such as quantitative easing.
QUEST: It is the nature of central banks that they are Caesar's wife in one respect, and they are this mystique to one side, they answer to political masters occasionally. But they cannot have any interference.
CONAGHAN: It occasionally needs to be reminded that it is accountable to Parliament, not necessarily to politicians, and Sir Mervyn (ph) always says I'm accountable to Parliament, not to politicians. But it cannot --
QUEST: You're dancing `round the point here. You don't like the way the bank's behaving.
CONAGHAN: I take issue with the way the bank has behaved over certain matters, and in particular, as I say again, some elements of the financial crisis and QE.
QUEST: You don't think Mervyn King's (ph) a good governor?
CONAGHAN: Well, as --
QUEST: (Inaudible) a yes or a no.
CONAGHAN: No, as a very senior treasury official said -- put to me in his -- he summed it up better than I can, he said, Sir Mervyn's (ph) a brilliant economist, but he's not a central banker. And what they mean by that is he's a purist, not a pragmatist. He's a pure economist.
He -- Eddie George (ph) thought he might have won the Nobel Prize for economics. But in terms of pragmatic central banking in the 21st century, dealing with the markets, to what's happened in Europe, you know, Mervyn King has not always engaged with the markets as he should have done.
QUEST: If you had to rate the Bank of England as between the other big central banks, the Fed, the ECB, and we could throw in -- I would throw in the Swiss, but they're got their own problems, or the Bank of Japan, let's just go with the Fed and the ECB.
CONAGHAN: I do think that the -- that there is certainly more transparency, more accountabilities at a local level in the States, and I think that we have still this rather antiquated institution which, you know, unfortunately is shown to be out of step with the markets.
QUEST: (Inaudible). Grade the Bank of England on its handling of the crisis.
CONAGHAN: I think that it was actually a bit of disaster in terms of Northern Rock (ph). I would give that kind of a D. And really quite a low D. I think that --
CONAGHAN: Well, maybe an F. But in terms of what happened in October '08 and through to the spring of '09, you have to put the treasury back into the equation there. And I -- you know, the bank actually had a big problem about intervening at an equity level with the banks to recapitalize the banks.
And there was a -- there was a lot of to and fro and a lot of wrangling with the treasury about how to rescue the banks, because of this bete noir of the governors of moral hazard, among other things.
So I think collectively they managed to pull it off. But for the bank itself, the stubbornness -- and you only have to realize Sidoni's memoir (ph) said hear about that, I would say kind of a B or a C, to be honest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The book is called "The Bank" by Dan Conaghan.
I hope I'm not going to regret the next couple of minutes. Jenny Harrison is at the World Weather Center.
Good evening, ma'am.
JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Evening to you, Mr. Quest. Yes, forecast for Europe, that's what we need to talk about. It's been a rather stormy few days, actually, for the last 24 hours across Germany. My goodness, it's been quite a mix of rain and snow. Doesn't look too bad on the satellite, but look at it on the radar. That's really where we're seeing most of the weather.
Things have been a little bit quieter apart from that little area of weather. The wind's still quite strong across northern sections of Europe, 41 km now right now in (inaudible), sustained wind.
And they will stay pretty strong and blustery across the north, but we're also going to see an increase in the wind eventually further to the south, because as one area of low pressure exits the central Med another has that from northern Africa.
And with high pressures staying out towards the west, it means we'll get those very, very tightly packed isobars in between. So some pretty strong winds, particularly across the top of the Alps over the next few days. There's more snow in the forecast in the southeast, nothing really across central Europe.
The snow that does come down is fairly short-lived throughout the Alps, still some fairly heavy amounts of snow through much of Scandinavia. And when it comes to temperatures, looking and feeling pretty good, 12 Celsius in Paris on Friday, 13 in London, and there's some very nice sunny skies.
Friday, a fairly important day for our friend there, Mr. Quest, yes, yes, yes. I'm going to get straight to it, Richard, so prepare yourself -- look, he knows what's coming -- you realize, Richard, I've been doing this for a decade. I've aged pretty well.
You're not looking too good yourself, but, yes, (inaudible) now. I know. So come back to me, and I'm going to take you through it. Now then. I like the pictures, too. Do you like pictures?
His ailments are mounting, his retirement is looming, but his broker's busy counting as his portfolio is booming. His years of being thrifty have paid off now he's 50. Ah, yes. Now he's hit the five-oh, his evenings are spent at the club playing bingo. Then it's back home to bed and a mug of steaming cocoa.
Now, he's quick on his feet, some say quite nifty, even at the old age of 50. He's been spotted all aglow as he dances a quick tango, remarkable now he's whopping five-oh.
Now he still likes to travel, but only in style, in a big black limo, mile by mile. And then there's his planes, his love of which never wanes - - first class in a jumbo, flaunting the big five-oh.
QUEST: Thank you --
HARRISON: -- (inaudible) -- I haven't finished yet -- so many happy returns of the candle times 50 burns. No need to look shifty. You must celebrate turning 50.
Happy birthday, my 50-year-old friend, 50 you are tomorrow, 50, you will be 50.
QUEST: Thank you.
HARRISON: Happy birthday.
QUEST: Thank you, Ms. Harrison, a tradition continues. Just salt in the wounds. We thank you for that.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm 49, 364 days old. Richard Quest in London. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. "MARKETPLACE EUROPE" in next.
QUEST: This is MARKETPLACE EUROPE. I'm Richard Quest in Dublin. Ireland continues to feel the effects of the great recession, unemployment has tripled, property prices are 50 percent beneath their peak.
Soon there will be a referendum in this country on the euro fiscal compact, which many believe is a vote on euro membership itself. With so much happening here, it's not surprising people are finding fresh ways to express their ideas and new ideas for growth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: On this week's show, Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, one of Europe's largest airlines, talks to Juliet Mann. I meet Barry O'Leary, head of Ireland's industrial development agency, who has a new scheme to create jobs in Ireland. And the people of Dublin tell me how they feel on the referendum of the European fiscal pact.
If there's one place in Dublin that shows the mistakes of the past with the decisions to be taken in the future, it is here at this new but deserted office block, where the artist Frank Buckley has created an art installation made of shredded euro notes, called "The Billion Euro House."
FRANK BUCKLEY, CREATOR, BILLION EURO HOUSE: As you can see on the floor, we have shredded currency and euros, which is made up of five euros, 10 euros, 20s, 50s, and 200 notes that have been disregarded by the mint (inaudible) --
QUEST: -- shredded.
BUCKLEY: And shredded.
QUEST: You've literally either built walls with bricks or you've covered everything with it, haven't you? Show me some examples.
BUCKLEY: (Inaudible), yes. Well, what I did was I created a kitchen space, as you can see, with the sink and the units here. It's all court (ph). There's an oven here, actually, you know, cooking the money, you know, dishwasher --
QUEST: Laundering it.
BUCKLEY: -- laundering it, fridge storing it, freezing it. And a dishwasher, washing them.
What this represents is a debate about the currency, what is currency, who makes currency, who do they give it to, what do they do with it, who suffers, who gains? So it creates a whole debate around the euro. The euro is only a piece of paper, that ILU (ph) want.
QUEST: How much are we throwing backwards and forwards?
BUCKLEY: Fifty thousand, I mean, throw it away, you know. In the air, is like -- it's paper. It's (inaudible). Fifty grand.
BUCKLEY: (Inaudible) today. (Inaudible) Ireland (inaudible).
QUEST: Having seen the euros shredded, it was time to meet the people who use the currency, on the streets of Dublin, where I spoke to the Irish about the upcoming referendum on the fiscal pact.
How will they vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible), yes.
QUEST: Why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think here (inaudible) and we haven't really got much choice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely no. Absolutely no choice, no, no, no.
QUEST: Now do think about it for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've thought about it a lot.
QUEST: No? Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's a step too far. We don't (inaudible) fiscal union. We don't want to move towards a federalist Europe at this point, under the euro and I think Europe is (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree, no, definitely no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we have to go ahead. I do it because if we don't, we won't get any more money from Europe.
QUEST: But you're not happy about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, (inaudible) just have to go along with.
QUEST: Have to go -- so you'll probably vote yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, I mean, well, why can't we deal, (inaudible) very bad situation.
QUEST: Whatever the referendum result when it's finally called, the business of attracting jobs to Ireland rests with the IDA. They believe they've come up with a different and interesting way of getting new business here, and it applies to anyone in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY O'LEARY, CEO, INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: So the heart of this is to reach out initially the global Irish diaspora, but not restricted just to the Irish diaspora, is to reach out to small, medium enterprises around the world that could come and set up to Ireland.
And if somebody finds a company and they end up setting up in Ireland, recommended by that particular person, subject to the usual business plan checks, et cetera, they would be rewarded with up to 3,000 euro per head for each job that exists after two years.
QUEST: So you're prepared to pay up to 3,000 euros to anyone, anywhere in the world, who recommends a company that sets up jobs that last two years?
B. O'LEARY: Exactly, subject to the areas of business that the company would be proposing, are in line with what we want to attract to Ireland.
QUEST: Do you think you're going to get a lot of people trying it on, recommending jobs that they already know people are thinking of here?
B. O'LEARY: Yes, well, actually we -- time will only tell. Certainly, you know, the plan is to have 400 or 500 in the first year and then led up to a few thousand a year. I mean, it's very hard to know. This is a trial. We've a 12-month trial, so there will be a go/no-go after that period of time. But we're certainly prepared to give it a try to bring more economic activity to Ireland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Barry O'Leary of the IDA. And after the break, we meet Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair.
QUEST: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE EUROPE. I'm at Dublin airport, the headquarters of one of Ireland's most successful companies, Ryanair. The chief executive of Ryanair is this week's "Face Time" interview. Michael O'Leary met Juliet Mann and discussed what's next for this most successful of Irish exports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIET MANN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Michael, today you've announced a lot of new summer routes. What makes you think that you know what the customer really wants?
MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYANAIR: Because I've got 75 million that have told me last year that we have what they want, that is the lowest fares in Europe, on the youngest fleet of aircraft, with the most on-time flights, the fewest lost bags and the fewest complaints.
We are the world's largest international airline, and we're one of the great European success stories.
MANN: You're also cutting some of your routes, your acting routes from Edinburgh, for example, (inaudible) over costs. Are you sending a message to airport operators, and BA in particular?
M. O'LEARY: I've been sending messages to airport operators for about 25 years. Your costs are too high. You know, in the old regulated environment, where you had the flag carrier airlines charging high fares, the airports weren't very good on costs, and they just passed it on to the airlines.
Those days are over, and the problem is you still have some legacy issues with the BA airports here in the U.K., with some state-owned airports, as where in Europe, where they still think that they have the God-given right to charge in there around 25 pounds or euros for very little.
We think the way forward is much lower airport fees, and much more rapid traffic growth, much more tourism and job growth. And that's the wave of the future.
MANN: But you've often talked about your vision of an industry without any airports at all.
M. O'LEARY: Well, we -- I mean, if you look at it, we really don't need airports to do much anymore. We've got rid of the whole check-in process. There's no purpose. I mean, an airport terminal serves very few purposes any more except it's a kind of an international shopping center, owned and run by rich airports. And there's no reason why you can't take that model and break it down.
People getting through airport in Yorkshire (ph), be a much simpler process. Check in on the website, arrive at the airport, get through security very quickly and get on board your plane. People don't want to waste their lives at airports. They want to go, arrive, get on a plane and fly. They want to spend time at destinations, not waste it in airports.
MANN: But that's what you're doing, if it was such a good idea, though, and such a strong business plan, why aren't all the others doing it? Why are they all cutting capacity or folding?
M. O'LEARY: Because they can't compete with Ryanair's prices. I mean, you know, there's a big change in the industry in Europe coming. You're seeing the industry split into two. You'll undoubtedly finish up with the three high fare connecting carriers, BA, Lufthansa, Air France.
And then on the other hand, Ryanair would be the dominant point-to- point low fares carrier, in much the same way that Southwest is in the U.S. And I think you see the -- most of the other flight carriers recognizing that they cannot compete with Ryanair. We've had recent examples of that with the closure of Spanair in Barcelona, Malev in Budapest.
MANN: In this current economic climate, are you saying you're recession-proof?
M. O'LEARY: Nobody's recession-proof, I mean, because we're -- we will always be -- we will always be affected by recessions. There's no doubt that we, like every other airline in Europe, is affected by much higher oil prices.
But what happens in a recession, and what's happened in the last three downturns in Europe, is Ryanair has grown faster, because people don't stop flying in Europe during a recession. They tend to do that in the U.S., in a recession in Europe, people get much more price sensitive.
They switch to the lowest price operator. So if they're flying, they're flying Ryanair. If they're going shopping, it's to Liddell (ph) or the IKEA. And if they're, you know, and McDonald's does well in recessions. We are the McDonald's, the IKEA, of the airline business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Michael O'Leary of Ryanair with a sobering message for the industry.
And that's MARKETPLACE EUROPE for this week. I'm Richard Quest in Dublin. Whatever market you're in, I hope it's profitable, and I'll see you next week.