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Angela Merkel has essentially functioned as the defacto president of the EU for nearly a decade, and Germany has heavily influenced most key fiscal and monetary decisions. Merkel and her top aides, and the Bundesbank, have pushed the German agenda to help Germany remain the preeminent leader of the EU, and one of the top exporters in the world. Unfortunately, she also pushed her liberal social and foreign policy agenda, and that has resulted in a growing pushback from not only other EU nations, but within Germany itself. When Merkel forced the refugee program on the EU, the pushback began in Hungary and Poland, and has now encompassed many parts of Germany and other EU nations as well. The flood of refugees with no skills and no money was far too much for most other nations to handle, and has led to increases in crime in places like Stockholm and other major cites in Europe. Part of what is driving the politics of Italy is the refugee situation, and now the new government is planning to deport refugees. Muslims will be a majority, or a large voting bloc in some countries in ten years, and that will upend the politics and cultures of the region.

Joel Ross

Joel Ross began his career in Wall St as an investment banker in 1965, handling corporate advisory matters for a variety of clients. During the seventies he was CEO of North American operations for a UK based conglomerate, and sat on the parent company board. In 1981, he began his own firm handling leveraged buyouts, investment banking and real estate financing. In 1984 Ross began providing investment banking services and arranging financing for real estate transactions with his own firm, Ross Properties, Inc. In 1993 Ross and a partner, Lexington Mortgage, created the first Wall St hotel CMBS program in conjunction with Nomura. They went on to develop a similar CMBS program for another major Wall St investment bank and for five leading hotel companies. Lexington, in partnership with Mr. Ross established a hotel mortgage bank table funded by an investment bank, and making all CMBS hotel loans on their behalf. In 1999 he formed Citadel Realty Advisors as a successor to Ross Properties Corp., focusing on real estate investment banking in the US, UK and Paris. He has closed over $3.0 billion of financings for office, hotel, retail, land and multifamily projects. Ross is also a founder of Market Street Investors, a brownfield land development company, and has been involved in the acquisition of notes on defaulted loans and various REO assets in conjunction with several major investors. Ross was an adjunct professor in the graduate program at the NYU Hotel School. He is a member of Urban Land Institute and was a member of the leadership of his ULI council. In 1999, he conceived and co-authored with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Hotel Mortgage Performance Report, a major study of hotel mortgage default rates.

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