Thursday, 15 December 2011

Medvedev Nears Visa Resolution

Russian President pushing for a conclusion to a 'short-term visa' waiver agreement with the European Union at today's EU-Russia Summit in Brussels.

- Posted by Brian Maguire, EBX, using iPhone

Friday, 9 December 2011

Dave Slays A Dragon, Gets Eaten By His Horse

How daring it must have felt, how brave and noble, but this was the work of a Freelance, not a Knight. David Cameron, in a single act of timidity dressed as authority, has decimated the UK's political and financial influence for a generation.

Cameron has focused on the small view of local politics and party unity, failing to grasp the future necessity to perform a volte face. When it comes to it, it will probably not be his face signing up to an inevitable new Treaty, and there is no conceivable way in which the other EU States will exempt the UK from financial services regulation at a later date. The City of London may rejoice today, but it will pay.

The deeper irony is the financial markets are more innovative than hamstrung prime ministers. Had Cameron accepted the unity of Europe and pulled back from a veto, the City would have found a way to innovate and grow. And the price? Already it is being paid, by the City of London. This was no confidence trick, though Cameron's strategy is founded on illusion.

Europe Advances, Slowly, Painfully

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Summit prep is underway, the trickle of press and officials this morning will become a flood this afternoon. Genteel lounge lamps at the work stations, Martha Stewart must be here...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Bad Russia, Bad, Bad Russia, Stop That Right Now!

The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today: "The High Representative expresses concern about the detention of hundreds of protesters demonstrating after Sunday's Duma elections, and about reports of police violence against activists, journalists and bystanders. She recalls the need to respect freedom of assembly and expression. The High Representative also reiterates her support for the work of the OSCE / ODIHR election observation mission and its preliminary assessment, and expects Russian authorities to act on their findings."

Well, that's nice. Hopefully the EU won't use the same overwhelming insults it dropped on the Ukranian thugs when they conveniently imprisoned Tymoshenko... yes, the same Tymoshenko the E.Parliament, Council and Commission were all so sure would be released within days of her sentencing. Next time, MEPs might like to keep their Foreign Minister entertained in the Parliament's Mickey Mouse Cafe (this is it's real name...) for a month or two?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

EPC EU-Brazil Post-Summit Briefing

I’ll start with a confession. I didn’t stay for the whole event, there was a conference on Catalan SME strategy across the street, it needed going to. Had there not been a Catalan SME conference across the street, I would have been tempted to cross the street anyway; I don’t do “can’t do” capitalism.

The Brussels-based European Policy Centre is a noble enterprise; they bring together great minds and deep experience. The EU-Brazil Business Summit, Post-Summit Briefing was as snappy as its title, and there was no coffee beforehand to keep pulses racing. The panellists were thoughtful, and their points were based on experience; but in an age when viable export opportunities are limited and every open market should be embraced, the panel just weren’t showing Brazil the love it deserves. 

Put simply, the panel weren’t American. They were largely Northern European, and oozing all the enthusiasm for change that a Saville Row tailor can muster for Mumbai sweat-shop factory fabrics. “Brazil,” went the sentiment, “if only they would fix everything first, then we could do business.”

The reality check came from Embraer’s President for Europe, Luiz Fernando Fuchs. Fuchs took the American approach and used the occasion to showcase his company, his products, and their incredible journey from corporate basket-case to quality-driven, ambitious, aircraft manufacturer. Thanks Luiz, you made my morning!

The complaints from the panel went along the lines of: the tax system, Brazil’s tax system, oh, the tax system…. Enough. Hire smarter people. Work the system. If you don’t, the Brazilians will, the Chinese will, the Indians will. They are more American.

Can do? Yes. Can do better Europe. Stretch or starve.

New EU-Brazil "Strategic Complicity"

New EU-Brazil "Strategic Complicity"

Merkel Is 'Rock of European Integration'

Merkel Is 'Rock of European Integration'

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Trichet Advocates New European Executive

Speaking at the European Parliament today, Jean Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, said he expects the European Union to establish a new executive.

Asserting democratic legitimacy as the underpinning principle of a future executive, Trichet, describing a future executive, emphasised his belief that it must include a finance ministry with strong fiscal surveillance and guardianship roles.

In one of his last appearances before Parliament, Trichet said the European Parliament is the "heart of the living democracy in Europe. We at the ECB are the guardians of the currency of our fellow citizens"


Europontex Launches Social Energy Solutions

Lisbon, Portugal. Europontex, the global construction supplier, is launching Social Energy Solutions, an innovative enterprise designed to offer off-grid energy production for isolated communities.

Europontex CEO, Fernando Azevedo, stated: “Social Energy Solutions will focus on energy production for isolated communities; in addition we are providing pre-fabricated housing for government social project, especially for disaster relief and refugee emergencies."

Friday, 16 September 2011

US Patent Law - Biggest Shift In A Generation

The most comprehensive reform of US patent law for a generation is due to take effect today, when the America Invents Act is made law. The changes bring US law into greater conformity with the laws in the rest of the industrialised world, according to Withers & Rogers.

Among the key legislative changes, US patent law is adopting the ‘first-inventor-to-file’ rule, which applies in Europe. Until now, any dispute about the ownership of a patent for an invention was decided in favour of the person able to prove that he or she came up with the invention first. 

This approach led to costly litigation to establish the dates of the invention. Instead, US law will mirror the legal position in Europe, with the right of ownership going to the first person to file a patent application. This change will take effect in 18 months’ time.

Top 100 Battle for European Business Awards

More than 100 companies have been awarded a ‘Ruban d’Honneur’ prize in the penultimate stage of the European Business Awards, sponsored by HSBC.

Successful companies include Software AG, Harrods, THY DO & CO A.Ş, Repsol, Solairedirect, Companeo, Sheffield Forgemasters, Eurocash and Amadeus IT Group, representing nations across Europe. 

Some of Europe’s most dynamic businesses have survived intensive and rigorous judging to make it onto the finalists list. With victory in their sights they now have a chance to be crowned as one of eleven overall category winners in the Awards.

Adrian Tripp, Chief Executive of the European Business Awards, said: “Receiving a Ruban d’Honneur is a major success. It promotes the fact that you’re up there with the best businesses across the European community. This year has been tough on the judging panel as we’re seeing businesses emerge from economic difficulties and come out fighting and delivering some great entries. The mood is confident, ebullient and highly competitive.”

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Could Europe's Political Project Go the Way of the US Confederacy?

Inflation's Killing Optimism - Europe When The Dust Settles

Most of this week's global economic overviews are finally bringing inflation into public view. UK house prices may edge up a little, but the inflationary impact will continue to erode any real gain. The housing market is still subdued because of limited access to finance, especially for first time buyers; the prospect of not making any real gain for 10 years, according to PWC report, is hardly an incentive to invest - even then, the gain is estimated at only a 53% chance. Better to rent and save in a bank if you want to be sure of a return?

In Brazil, consumer demand is pressing inflationary buttons, which risks export capacity and inward foreign investment.

Add a tumultuous European finance system and the risk of hyper-inflation following defaults, and all stoicism takes a tsunami still battering.

When the dust settles, Europe will look more like a nation state, a stronger, more stable federation. The alternative is a constant cycle of doom and bust.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Trichet Advocates A New European Confederation

Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, spoke Wednesday of the need for a new European confederation of sovereign states during an open session of the European Parliament’s Monetary Dialogue in Brussels. The outgoing ECB chief was praised by MEPs for his steady tenure and was received gracefully despite his refusal to answer many of their Greece-focused questions.

Trichet repeatedly asserted the ECB’s role is concerned principally with the Euro-Zone’s 17 members, and with clear consideration for the EU’s 27 Member States. It is the role of the ECB to deliver economic stability, but it is not the Bank’s role to interfere with the sovereign decisions of individual Member States.

His confidence in the ECB’s work to date was illustrated with comparisons vis-a-vis the United States. Trichet used the example of the USA as a means to explain some good models to follow, especially in relation to the transparency of Government data. He established that the US model of federation is not appropriate for Europe, but that changes to Europe’s economic and political governance will be needed to ensure future economic stability.

Full Article: Trichet Advocates A New European Confederation

Friday, 24 June 2011

Napolitano Lauds 'Program Global Shield' In Brussels

Over 33 metric tons of chemicals that could have been used to make thousands of explosive devices have been seized in 'Program Global Shield', an international operation to stop the trade in these bomb-making materials, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said June 23 in a speech in Brussels.

Napolitano joined World Customs Organization Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya and European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud Algirdas Šemeta at the WCO to announce the results of this program, which marks the first time that participating WCO members have joined forces to keep bomb-making chemicals out of the hands of organizations involved in terror and other transnational organized crime.

In 2010, approximately 50,000 people were killed or injured by terrorist attacks, and the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center says that more than half of these deaths and injuries were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that use certain chemicals - such as ammonium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide - as key ingredients.

While in Brussels, Secretary Napolitano also signed a joint statement with European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, and Commissioner Šemeta that aims to boost U.S.-EU cooperation on supply chain security.

Following her remarks to the WCO Council , Secretary Napolitano was joined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Alan Bersin, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton and National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Under Secretary Rand Beers to participate in an event hosted by the Transatlantic Policy Network, bringing together industry, policy makers and shapers, and legislators to discuss the importance of a secure and resilient supply chain to transatlantic and global security.

Earlier this week, Secretary Napolitano traveled to London she met with international counterparts to discuss global collaboration to ensure the security and resilience of the global supply chain against possible threats and disruptions, and the Netherlands where she toured operations at Schiphol Airport and the Port of Rotterdam and met with customs, maritime, airline, shipping and security leaders to discuss the importance of a resilient and secure global supply chain.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Parliament and Commission to launch new register for lobbyists

Parliament and the Commission will launch their joint "transparency register" for lobbyists and other interest groups on Thursday 23 June. This new register, which merges the two institutions' existing ones, will mean that lobbyists need register only once. It will also provide a "one-stop shop" for citizens seeking information on lobbyists.

The transparency register will provide more information than its predecessors, such as how many people are involved in any activities relating to the register, and any EU funding or support received by the registrant. It will also set out procedures for handling complaints and sanctions. Registration in the joint register will not be mandatory, but MEPs have decided that all lobbyists wishing to enter Parliament's premises will have to register.

Vice-President Diana Wallis, who led Parliament's negotiating team on the issue, said: "By launching this joint register for interest representatives between the Commission and the Parliament, I hope that we will help to instill a more solid culture of transparency in Brussels. Up until now, there may have been some confusion. Now there can be none: one register, one place to sign up."

Ms Wallis added: "For all those who want to take part in the EU policy-making process, this register will also demonstrate that our institutions are working together. This is why I am thrilled that the Council has now announced its willingness to take steps in joining us."

A joint press conference of Vice-President Wallis and Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič will take place on Thursday 23 June at 13.00h in the Commission.

Economic governance debate: ideological differences and a need for real change

MEPs from all parts of the spectrum also called on Member States to not shy away from decision-making systems which would end political back-scratching, this being the only way to achieve a truly revamped governance system.

The six MEPs responsible for shepherding the package through Parliament took the floor at the start of the debate.

According to Corien Wortmann-Kool (EPP, NL), "We need credible decision-making procedures for the new rules to work. If Member States do not undertake effective reforms we need to have measures which will truly kick in."

Diogo Feio (EPP, PT) argued "The new rules will place more attention on indebtedness and not only deficits. We will also be able to have an efficient system to reduce the debt which has piled up. Member States with their finances in shape see their economies grow."

In the view of Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT), "This package is not the response which the EU needs because it does not alter the excessive focus on austerity. On the other hand we have new tools to correct imbalances before they become real problems and that is to be welcomed."

Sylvie Goulard (ALDE, FR) maintained "We are pushing for discipline not for discipline's sake but to protect the Euro. Markets will not buy an agreement just because it is concluded quickly. They do not want superficial solutions. And the ECB is also backing our ambition."

According to Carl Haglund (ALDE, FI), "We are at a crossroads to change our past. We need automatic procedures because the last years have shown that when decisions were needed, they were not taken."

Vicky Ford (ECR, UK) believed that "Bad budget planning has contributed to the crisis we are in. The new standards we will have for drawing up national budgets will instil the necessary discipline."

Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE), shadow rapporteur for his group on all texts of the package, contended that "We do need fiscal discipline but also discipline to invest. The new rules being tabled are only about austerity. Citizens will prove us right in the election booths of France in 2012 and Germany in 2013."

Friday, 13 May 2011

Solar Plane Lands In Brussels

supporters program

European Solar Flights

In 2008, the European Commission decided to sponsor Bertrand Piccard's and André Borschberg's project even before the solar airplane existed. Now that Solar Impulse has succeeded in flying day and night without fuel, it is only natural that Brussels should be chosen as its first destination. The airplane will be displayed to the European institutions there from 23 to 29 May and will then fly on to the Paris International Air Show in Paris-Le Bourget, where it has been invited as the « Special Guest » from 20 to 26 June 2011.

Friday, 6 May 2011

European Parliament Kicks Off Festival of Europe

Biodiversity - winners & losers

MEPs Positive about Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen Bid

Hotel Verta - Review by Briege Clenaghan - European Business Express

Hotel Verta - Review by Briege Clenaghan - European Business Express

Tivoli Jardim Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal - European Business Express

Tivoli Jardim Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal - European Business Express

The Chedi Club, Bali - European Business Express

The Chedi Club, Bali - European Business Express

European Business Express Recommends

European Business Express Recommends

Aruna Seth - Shoes, Style - European Business Express

Aruna Seth - Shoes, Style - European Business Express

Cad and the Dandy - DNA Suit Range - European Business Express

Cad and the Dandy - DNA Suit Range - European Business Express

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ford's Mulally Preps Innovation Speech

Ford CEO Alan Mulally To Highlight European Introduction Of Ford SYNC™ With MyFord Touch

European Business Express

Thursday, 3 February 2011

MicroBank, Financing The Future Of Spain

HSBC, Looking East: The Changing Face of World Markets

Capgemini Global Trade Flow Index Reveals United States Regained First Place Ahead of China in Q4 2010

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Brent Crude Oil Hits $100 A Barrel

The price of Brent crude oil has hit $100 a barrel for the first time since October 2008 on concerns about the political unrest in Egypt.

Analyst David Hunter from M&C Energy Group, one of the largest purchasers of energy in the UK, commented.

"The Brent crude oil price has been inching towards the $100/barrel level for weeks now, and M&C predicted it would breach the target.  All traders needed was a specific reason, and the spreading of North African political unrest towards the Middle East has been the catalyst.

"There are concerns over possible disruption to supply from the Gulf states, particularly via Egypt's Suez canal, which sees as much as 4 million barrels pass through each day by tanker or pipeline.  Although unlikely, should this vital supply route be cut there would be major implications for European supply of oil, and potentially liquefied natural gas.

"In recent days and weeks, we have seen prices at the pump head towards record levels in the UK, and a scandal in domestic heating oil just before Christmas.  While OPEC and Saudi Arabia are moving to reassure Western consumers that supply is plentiful, the effects of the $30 gain in oil prices since the summer are being felt in the wallets of already stretched British consumers."