Friday, 19 October 2012

Et Voila. Summit Done. Dave's Out To Lunch..

That's it, it's over, done, dusted, almost, almost. There wasn't much dust to settle, there wasn't much of a mariachi band kicking about this time, it was almost beer and sandwiches, with a spot of brie for Dave Camembert, the big cheese from across the canal. Europe isn't as big a place as it used to be. 

As Dave said, bouncing off the podium, like Tigger, though Tigger would deny it: "There's another one [summit] in November and then December, we wont have time to miss each other..." And there's the truth of it before lunch, Dave is part of the team. He's playing goal keeper at the moment, the bit-part nobody else wants unless they're feeling a bit queasy or they forgot their trainers.

The detail if you want it, you can read a little later, but so as not to cause undue indigestion at this time of the day, here's the Euro-Summit Canape.

There will be a banking union, the details will be sorted by the end of the year and it'll roll out like a flat tortilla during 2013. Dave really, really supports the idea, he supports the Euro, the Eurozone, the banking union and will not stand in it's way. A few details to be sorted but nothing to worry about. Angela was in the room down the hall, they were all laughing as I passed by... Passos Coelho gave a good impression of a man in control - Best Actor.

And into the lifts we all trundled. To lunch. Keep the seats warm, it's the budget stuff next.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

George Soros - The current course is pushing euroland into a "lasting depression, and it is entirely self-created".

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes: 
The residual euro would fall to a level that better reflected economic fundamentals in Southern Europe. Competitiveness would largely be restored at a stroke, without the need for debt-deflation. There would be no further risk of large sovereign defaults.
Mr Soros said — as he has many times before — that the current course is pushing euroland into a "lasting depression, and it is entirely self-created".
Indeed. "Entirely self-created". Repeat that a hundred times. There is nothing seriously wrong with Europe's underlying economy. It has magnificent companies, great creative skills, a global current account surplus and relatively low debt. (That is not a misprint. Europe does not have a debt crisis. It has a political crisis. It is so badly structured and so badly run that moderate debt has been allowed to mushroom into a crisis).

Female Entrepreneurship In The USA

"Women entrepreneurs in the USA have come a long way over the last 40 years. Before 1974, banks could require women borrowers to guarantee their loans with co-signatures from husbands, fathers or male business partners," said a spokesperson for the 'Online Business Degree'.
"Today, women aren’t only starting small businesses faster than men, but they’re also creating more jobs. And the types of businesses and jobs they’re starting are diversifying workplaces in big ways. Women-owned firms are more likely to be smaller and also more likely to offer workers benefits like venture profit-sharing and tuition reimbursement. Making employee enrichment more of a priority is only one of many positive changes female leaders are bringing to business."
"Of course, the glass ceiling isn’t falling just yet. Women founders still receive very little of the annual seed capital handed over to investors each year. And the number of tech start-ups with female co-founders is still very low. Female-focused incubators and networking organizations are looking to change all this. Check out the graphic below to see how far women entrepreneurs have come and where they’re going next."
Source: Online Business Degrees

The Soft Landing Contines. German Confidence Unsteady

Soft landing continues. The German ZEW index increased in October on the back of fading short-term tensions in the euro crisis. Nevertheless, the ZEW index which measures investors' confidence still stands in negative territory, now -11.5, from -18.2 in September. At the same time, investors have become somewhat more negative on the current economic situation. The current assessment component dropped for the fifth consecutive month.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

New EU Human Rights Envoy Faces Big Expectations

The EU's new strategy for promoting human rights must be duly implemented, scrutinized and given proper visibility, Foreign Affairs and Human Rights MEPs told EU Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis on his first day in office on Monday.

"I am delighted that this new office has been introduced," said Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), underlining that the strategic framework for human rights, agreed by the Council over the summer, should provide its substance. The fact that Mr Lambrinidis, himself a former MEP and Vice-President of the Parliament, met MEPs on his first day in office raises hopes for "a demonstration of accountability of our human rights policy", he added.

The Bundesbank Doctrine. The End.

The ECB meets on Thursday, it will discuss the details of its new bond purchasing programme. For some, the new plan marks the final end of the Bundesbank doctrine; for others, it is a necessary evil to calm the crisis. It is obvious to us that Mario Draghi’s congeniality and some vague words alone will not have the same calming effect as in August. In our view, the ECB might eventually present targets for short-term bond yields linked to the refi rate.

However, not all the detail might be revealed this week, perhaps because there is not yet full agreement within the Governing Council, but maybe also to keep pressure on peripheral governments.


Friday, 13 July 2012

Female Entrepreneurs Needed Now, Says Matera

“Flexible job opportunities and new entrepreneurial ventures help single mothers and the young unemployed female population to regain economic independence,” said Barbara Matera, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. The Italian MEP, hosted over 100 participants from the European Parliament, government agencies and business stakeholders for a lunchtime debate on Female Entrepreneurship.

Speaking in the Parliament’s Members’ Salon, Madi Sharma, Member of the Economic & Social Committee, added: “It is not about social or gender arguments; the economic argument is the relevant one. To get us out of the crisis, women entrepreneurs can generate much economic development”. Read More...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

"Split" Screens America's Verbal Civil War

Where’s Kipling when we need him? The poet penning ‘If’ saw much of man’s political calalmity, distasterous distractions, and the turbulence wrought on a maturing empire. Rudyard Kipling’s view of “Split”, Kelly Nyks Red v. Blue political documentary, would surely chime with Britain’s wartime slogan ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, for Nyks brings to the screen a verbal civil war, and a sense that the enemy is within.

Dutch-born American Nyks unplugs the network news cycle, driving across America in pursuit of a clearer perspective on the root causes of America’s divided politcal culture. His youth, relative to Kipling, does not diminish an aversion to visceral politics and unreasonable behaviour. Though we know the themes, the rhetoric, the pomp of Red versus Blue, Nyks brings a narrowed focus to the screen; blurring hues of political difference, he reveals a degree of self-interest in American society easily recognisable to Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and perhaps even the unwashed wannabe proletarian, Marx.

Read Article, Click Here

by Brian Maguire, Brussels

Thursday, 24 May 2012

US - EU Partnership Must Tap Full Job Growth Potential

by Brian Maguire, Editor, Brussels, 24 May, 2012 2:30 AM GMT+0100

“The United States and the European Union face common economic challenges that require us to work even harder to enhance the competitiveness of our economies and workers and to support more and better jobs for our peoples,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Speaking at the London School of Economics, Kirk remarked: “As we continue to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, a consensus has emerged on both sides of the Atlantic that we can – and we should – do even more to tap the full potential of this extraordinary relationship to boost our growth, support more and better jobs, and to help meet the competitive challenges of the coming decades.”


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Germany - Europe's Comeback Kid!

The German economy has staged an impressive comeback in the first quarter. According to a first estimate of the statistical office, the Eurozone's biggest economy grew by 0.5% QoQ, from -0.2% in 4Q 2011. Compared with 1Q 2011, this is an increase of 1.7%.

The decomposition of growth will only be released at the end of the month but according to the press statement of the German statistical office and available monthly data, exports should have been the main growth driver. Consumption could have also added to growth, while investment should have been down. Read More...

Friday, 4 May 2012

European Online Recruitment Up 6%

Data released Friday from the Monster Employment Index (MEI) shows positive online recruitment growth in Europe, up 6 percent from this time last year, with notable increases in trade worker occupations.


US Needs 125,000 New Jobs Per Month

The Telegraph quotes figures quoted by AP - the US economy must create at least 125,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with population growth, with twice that number needed on a consistent basis to rapidly lower the unemployment rate.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Oil Prices Press EU Inflation Lower

Inflation rates in four states dropped to 2% and below. Only inflation in Brandenburg remained above 2% (with 2.1%). As a result, German headline inflation should have dropped in April. Last month, German headline inflation stood at 2.1% YoY based on the national definition and 2.3% YoY based on the harmonised European definition. The April figure looks likely to get close to the ECB's definition of price stability.

Looking at the available components at the regional levels shows that lower inflation is mainly a result of lower oil prices. In fact, most other prices in the economy increased compared with last month. Nevertheless, there are rather "normal" price increases in an economy without severe problems than signs of second-round effects.

With a renewed weakening of the Eurozone economy and waning inflationary pressure in the Eurozone's economic powerhouse, the ECB looks likely to drop warnings about upside risks to price stability in the near term. The ECB tribute to the Bundesbank could have been short-lived.

by Carsten Brzeski, Senior Economist, ING Belgium, Apr 27, 2012 10:15 AM GMT+0100

Monday, 23 April 2012

Needed: French Flair And Dutch Courage

The first round of the French presidential elections and political turmoil in the Netherlands could mark the beginning of new controversies on the Eurozone’s crisis management. François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are the two finalists of the French Presidentialelections with 28.5% and 27.1%. Negotiations between the losing candidates and the finalists are likely to be tense. Both Hollande and Sarkozy will now try to get as much support as possible from the losing candidates to win the runoff elections in two weeks. It looks as if François Hollande can probably obtain all support from the left wing without major problems...  READ MORE

by Carsten Brzeski, Senior Economist, ING Belgium, Apr 23, 2012 10:25 AM GMT+0100

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

German Confidence Drops On Higher Fuel Costs

German consumer confidence dropped for the first time since September last year, indicating that higher energy and particularly fuel prices are increasingly making German consumers anxious. Today's GfK indicator dropped to 5.9, from 6.0. Looking at the March details shows that consumers are still optimistic about the economic outlook but have lowered their income expectations and willingness to buy.

by Carsten Brzeski, Senior Economist, ING Belgium


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Sarkozy - The Crisis, Moment

"This week’s tragedy may well remind the French of an earlier episode in Sarkozy’s career that first brought him to public attention. In 1993, while mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France’s richest town, Sarkozy walked unarmed into a classroom and personally negotiated the release of children held hostage by a deranged man with an explosive belt, in what became known as the “human bomb” drama. It helped create the alpha male image that would eventually win Sarkozy massive popular support as France’s tough-talking interior minister in 2002-04 and 2005-07."

Full Article, The Telegraph 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Potočnik Visits Brasilia Eco Reserve

Janez Potočnik, Member of the EC in charge of the Environment, visits the IBGE Ecological reserve, Brasilia. The IBGE Ecological reserve, located 35 km from downtown Brasilia, is one of the core areas of the Cerrado Biosphere Reserve created by UNESCO

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Eurogroup Gets Serious, But Sensitive With Spain

Dutch Anti-Immigrant Website Faces European Parliament Vote

EU citizens' basic rights, such as free movement and non-discrimination, will be under the spotlight on Tuesday at 15.00, in a plenary debate sparked by the launch of a website inviting Dutch citizens to post complaints about central and eastern Europeans living in The Netherlands. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Friday, 9 March 2012

21 European Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Get Greener

Upscale Swiss hospitality firm, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, is on track to become the world’s most Green Globe certified hotel group. All 21 Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in Europe have achieved Green Globe certification. This latest eco-achievement puts the upscale Swiss hospitality company on target to become the most certified Green Globe hotel company in the world.

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts uses the framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, a proven science based model helping businesses to better understand and integrate sustainability in its strategy and operations. The framework was initiated by the Swedish born international NGO, The Natural Step; it contains logical guidelines to identify current challenges, future possibilities and smart step-wise approaches to move towards sustainability and to capitalize on a more refined way of sustainability driven markets.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

ECB's Draghi Not So Stressed. Europe Passing The Test?

Thursday's ECB meeting left interest rates unchanged. According to ECB president Draghi rate changes were not even discussed. While there was not much news from the ECB on the sovereign debt crisis and Greek PSI, the ECB's brought back some gentle anti-inflation rhetorics. It looks as if the ECB has lost this its sense of fear.

The macro-economic assessment changed quite significantly compared with the February meeting; very cautious language has been replaced by a moderately cautious language. Words like "tentative" and "high uncertainty" disappeared from the ECB's introductory statement. The recent improvement of confidence indicators seems to have comforted the ECB, while at the same time still stressing downside risks. Article by Carsten Brzeski, Senior Economist, ING Belgium

To Read More....

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Euro area and EU27 GDP down by 0.3%

Second estimates for the fourth quarter of 2011 Euro area and EU27 GDP down by 0.3% , +0.7% and +0.9% respectively compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

GDP decreased by 0.3% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

In the third quarter of 2011, growth rates were +0.1% in the euro area and +0.3% in the EU27. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27, after +1.3% and +1.4% respectively in the previous quarter.

US and Japanese GDP

In the United States GDP increased by 0.7% during the fourth quarter of 2011, after +0.5% in the third quarter of 2011. In Japan GDP dropped by 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2011, after +1.7% in the previous quarter. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, GDP gained 1.6% in the United States (after +1.5% in the previous quarter) and fell by 1.0% in Japan (after -0.6%)

Friday, 2 March 2012

EU Fiscal Compact Signed

Strengthened fiscal discipline and convergence in the euro area as twenty-five European leaders today signed the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance aimed at strengthening fiscal discipline and introducing stricter surveillance within the euro area, in particular by establishing a "balanced budget rule". The content of the treaty had been endorsed at the last European Council meeting in January. 

The main elements of the so-called fiscal compact include a requirement for national budgets to be in balance or in surplus, a criterion that would be met if the annual structural government deficit does not exceed 0.5% of GDP at market prices. This balanced budget rule must be incorporated into the member states' national legal systems, preferably at constitutional level, within one year after the entry into force of the treaty. In the event of deviation from this rule, an automatic correction mechanism will be triggered. It will be defined by each member state on the basis of principles proposed by the European Commission.

The EU Court of Justice will be able to verify national transposition of the balanced budget rule. Its decision is binding, and can be followed up with a penalty of up to 0.1% of GDP, payable to the European Stability Mechanism in the case of euro area member states.

The treaty signed today also reinforces fiscal rules for the euro area by incorporating a commitment on the part of the contracting parties whose currency is the euro to adopt Council decisions in the framework of the excessive deficit procedure unless opposed by a qualified majority

Serbia is granted EU candidate status

The European Council yesterday agreed to grant Serbia the status of candidate country, following a recommendation by the General Affairs Council on 28 February.

It endorsed the Council's conclusions, which confirmed that Serbia has continued to show credible commitment and achieved further progress in the implementation of agreements reached in the dialogue with Kosovo, including on integrated border management. The Council noted that an agreement has been reached on inclusive regional cooperation, and that Serbia has actively cooperated to enable the EU's EULEX and the UN's KFOR missions to execute their mandates. Serbia applied for EU membership in December 2009. The Commission delivered an opinion in October 2011.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Turkey, The EU & The Law Of Diminishing Returns

The EU and Turkey will gain from closer ties, given their mutual dependence, Turkey's economic potential and its role as a strategic player in the region, said the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, in a resolution adopted by a large majority on Thursday. However, it calls on Turkey to settle the Cyprus, Armenia and Kurdish issues and for progress with judicial reform and the protection of civil liberties.

MEPs support the fresh, new dynamic approach adopted by the Commission and aimed at moving Turkey closer to meeting the conditions for EU accession; an issue likely to polarise popular opinion across the EU.

European Parliament President, Martin Schultz, today underlined the critical need to underpin the accession process with an unwavering rule of law. Criticising the seemingly arbitrary approach taken with Romania and Bulgaria in implementing the Schengen agreement, Schultz, speaking at the European Council Summit, said if countries reach the thresholds required for accession, they should be allowed to progress unimpeded. He also used the Summit platform to emphasise the need for opposition to racism, in particular, opposition to the Dutch anti-immigration PVV's website.

Joining the dots, Europe has a migraine headache just waiting for the light of day. The choice, when the moment arrives, will be the accession of an increasingly Islamic Turkey to the European Union by compulsion of the rule of law; or the exclusion of Turkey from full EU membership for fear of popular revolt and a disengagement by more radical regions from the European project.

Schultz was repeatedly asked about the belligerence of the Hungarian government and its budgetary conundrum. Striking a conciliatory note, Schultz emphasised the need to think very carefully about the overall impact of withdrawing EU funds from Hungary as a means to force compliance with a new fiscal direction.

Migraine is usually preceded by the sight of small flashing white dots. Schultz will soon be reaching for political Nurofen as economic imperatives collide with cultural identity - Europe needs better trade relations with Turkey and its neighbours, but many Europeans see only as far as their back yard and the risk of yet more immigrants climbing over the fence; and if Europe cannot cajole a hardline Hungary, what prospect does it have to Westernise an East-looking Turkey?


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spain Still Feeling Unloved In Brussels

Spain looks likely to get a hug, but no second base, with the European Council tomorrow. At a pre-Summit briefing in Brussels, Council representatives seemed unwilling to commit to any form of solid review of Spain's deficit reduction plan. 

This morning, Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he would wait for budget data before deciding any further review of Spain's deficit reduction targets. The issue looks likely to embarrass Spanish premier, Rajoy, unless a fudged commitment is found which convinces the Spanish electorate that a softer form of austerity will be acceptable to the European head's of state. 

Failing to reconcile long-term budget austerity with immediate social needs risks isolating the Commission and weakening support for the European project. The likelihood is positive sounds but no promises just yet. Spain will continue to feel the pain; sweet talking won't diminish her embarrassed condition.

Friday, 17 February 2012

European Council Eases Myanmar Restrictions

Citing "...the remarkable programme of political reform undertaken by Myanmar..." the European Council today lifted certain restrictive measures against Myanmar. The Council called this "a first step in the EU's response to developments in Myanmar." 

The Council suspended admission restrictions concerning 87 people, comprised of the president, the vice presidents, cabinet members and the speakers of the two houses of parliament and their family members. Those individuals remain subject to a freeze of their assets within the EU.

Speaking of historic changes in Myanmar, Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: "We strongly encourage the authorities to continue this process. I have launched a full review of our policy towards

Myanmar, and today's decision to suspend certain restrictive measures is a reaction to the positive signs coming from the country. I will visit Myanmar in April after the by-elections, by which time I hope we will have had the chance to complete the review and to have made decisions at an EU level to respond to what I hope will be continued progress."

Today's decision gives legal effect to the Council conclusions of 23 January and does not alter the remainder of the EU's restrictive measures.  A review of all EU restrictive measures on Burma is ongoing, given that they are due to expire on 30 April 2012

Financial Tax, Not An Attack On London, says Semeta

Speaking in London, Algirdas Semeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation referred to the Financial Transaction Tax, he said: "I am well aware that there has been some controversy over this proposal in the UK, focused mainly within this Square Mile. Let me reassure you: the FTT is not an attack on the City of London."

He added: "As Europe's largest financial centre, the City is integral to the Single Market and it is in all our interests for it to be strong and stable. We have been extremely careful in the design of this tax. The competitiveness of Europe's financial sector will not be harmed."  Read Full Story

Monday, 13 February 2012

Hungary Devalues Its European Membership

Democracy, freedom and the rule of law in Hungary were the focus of a Civil Liberties Committee hearing on Thursday with representatives of the Hungarian media, civil society and government. Some MEPs called for a "fundamental rights check" to on whether there is a risk of a serious breach of EU values, while others suggested awaiting the outcome of the European Commission's dialogue with the Hungarian government... Read More and Watch The Report