Showing posts with label UE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UE. Show all posts

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Spain’s constitutional court has moved to stop the Catalan government making a unilateral declaration of independence by suspending the regional parliament session in which the results of Sunday’s referendum were due to be discussed. On Thursday, the court upheld a challenge by Catalonia’s Socialist party – which opposes secession from Spain – ruling that allowing the Catalan parliament to meet on Monday and potentially declare independence would violate the rights of the party’s MPs. Catalonia's political turmoil prompting firms to consider relocating . Banks Sabadell and Caixa among first to respond amid fears about access to rest of Spain and EU if independence is declared  The court warned that any session carried out in defiance of its ban would be “null”, and added that the parliament’s leaders could face criminal action if they ignored the court order.  Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan parliament, said Monday’s session had not yet been formally convened, but that the court’s decision to suspend it “harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems.” The Catalan government is understood to be meeting to discuss its response to the latest move by the court. It has previously ignored the constitutional court’s rulings, not least its order to suspend the referendum itself.  In a television address on Wednesday evening, the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, repeated his calls for mediation and dialogue with the Spanish government, but said the results of the vote would be put before parliament. “On Sunday we had a referendum under the most difficult circumstances and set an example of who we are,” he said. “Peace and accord is part of who we are. We have to apply the results of the referendum. We have to present the results of the referendum to parliament.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

SPAIN - Police have sealed off more than half of the 2,315 schools in Catalonia designated as polling stations for a banned independence referendum as tensions rise ahead of the controversial ballot.  Tens of thousands of Catalans are expected to vote in the ballot, which will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain’s constitutional court. Madrid has sent thousands of police to the north-eastern region to stop it taking place.  A Spanish government source said 163 schools designated as voting centres had been occupied by families as images of families including children in sleeping bags have emerged. Although the polls say the independence side would not win a referendum, Catalans, watching Brexit, have seen how easy it is for polls to be wrong.  
People supporting the referendum have camped out overnight in schools in an effort to prevent an order by the head of the Catalan regional police to evacuate and close polling stations by 6am on Sunday. Voting is due to begin at 9am.  Catalan police have been instructed to empty the buildings by Sunday morning, but not to use violence to remove the people occupying schools.
The police in the region issued an ultimatum to the separatists, parents and children who are occupying schools to leave by 6am on Sunday – a deadline designed to prevent the vote from taking place, since the polls are supposed to open three hours later.  Spain’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said on Saturday the Catalan government’s plan was anti-democratic and runs “counter to the goals and ideals the European Union” is trying to advance. “What they are pushing is not democracy. It is a mockery of democracy, a travesty of democracy,” he added.

Monday, September 11, 2017

When Truls Gulowsen began campaigning in the 1990s, telling Norway it had both a moral obligation and an economic interest in phasing out the industry that has made it rich was not what might be called a vote winner.  But as Norwegians go to the polls on Monday, the future of their country’s giant oil and gas business is a major electoral issue – with parties that back curbs or even a shutdown of the industry set to play a key role in post-election coalition-building.
“The public mood has changed,” said Gulowsen, who heads Greenpeace Norway. “Something’s really happening. For the first time, our national dependency on oil, our responsibility as oil pushers to the rest of the world, are real questions.” With the ruling rightwing bloc of parties and the opposition neck and neck, smaller parties may find themselves kingmakers   “It looks like it’s going to be very, very close,” said the election analyst Svein Tore Marthinsen. “Both major parties are declining and the landscape is fragmenting – we could have nine parties in parliament, a record. The final outcome is wide open.”
Public opinion certainly is split. “I think the government’s done OK,” said Harald Bergh, 73, a retired engineer. “They’ve spent wisely, cut taxes, kept us afloat. And no one should touch the oil industry – it’s been our salvation.”

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Turkish government has accused Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz of practising the politics of populism and exclusion after the German election frontrunners agreed that the EU should break off negotiations over future Turkish membership. In a televised debate on Sunday evening, the German chancellor said she did not believe Turkey should become a member of the EU, and that she would take up with her EU partners the issue of ending accession talks with Ankara.  Schulz, her Social Democrat rival in elections on 24 September, said if he became the next chancellor, he would be much more candid than Merkel in his criticism of Turkey’s contravention of human rights under the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.   Turkey, he said, had “crossed all the red lines” and therefore it could no longer become a member of the EU. He added that as German chancellor he would break off EU accession talks with Ankara.  İbrahim Kalın, a spokesman for Erdoğa, said Merkel and Schulz had focused on Turkey in their television encounter – which was watched by between a third and a half of German voters – to divert attention from more pressing problems. “It is not a coincidence that our president, Erdoğan, was a main topic of the debate,” Kalın tweeted, criticising German politicians’ “indulgence in populism”. He continued: “Germany and Europe’s attacks on Turkey/Erdoğan, in ignoring necessary and pressing problems, are reflections of the narrowing of their horizons.  “We hope the problematic atmosphere that made Turkish-German relations the victim of this narrow political horizon will end.”  Merkel’s stance was more reserved than Schulz’s, largely because of her dependence on Ankara abiding by a deal to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants inside Turkey’s borders in return for financial aid, visa-free travel for Turks in Europe as well as the promise of faster EU membership talks.
   
Turkey, he said, had “crossed all the red lines” and therefore it could no longer become a member of the EU. He added that as German chancellor he would break off EU accession talks with Ankara.
İbrahim Kalın, a spokesman for Erdoğa, said Merkel and Schulz had focused on Turkey in their television encounter – which was watched by between a third and a half of German voters – to divert attention from more pressing problems.
“It is not a coincidence that our president, Erdoğan, was a main topic of the debate,” Kalın tweeted, criticising German politicians’ “indulgence in populism”.
He continued: “Germany and Europe’s attacks on Turkey/Erdoğan, in ignoring necessary and pressing problems, are reflections of the narrowing of their horizons.
“We hope the problematic atmosphere that made Turkish-German relations the victim of this narrow political horizon will end.”
Merkel’s stance was more reserved than Schulz’s, largely because of her dependence on Ankara abiding by a deal to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants inside Turkey’s borders in return for financial aid, visa-free travel for Turks in Europe as well as the promise of faster EU membership talks.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gerhard Schröder defied critics on Wednesday night, insisting that joining the board of Russian energy giant Rosneft was entirely up to him.
"I will do this. This is about my life and I decide – not the German press," he said in his usual candid manner. He was speaking at an election campaign event for the Social Democrats (SPD) in the northern town of Rotenburg on the Wümme. He added that he could not see a problem and that "I'm not going to allow anyone to make it into one."Schröder, who was German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, was harshly criticized for his decision by the media, but also – among others - by his successor Angela Merkel as well as Martin Schulz from his own SPD party.  Rosneft has been subject to EU sanctions due to Russia's unlawful annexation of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula.  Schröder, however, stressed that getting involved with the world's biggest oil company was in Germany's interest. "I stand by what I've said before – that it's not wise to isolate our big neighbor Russia both politically and economically," he said adding that his critics were apparently interested in a new Cold War with Russia.  He said he was "fed up" with the criticism of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, saying that compared to US President Donald Trump, Putin was "highly rational" and that "demonizing Russia" would get us nowhere.He emphasized that Rosneft was an international company and not "the extended arm of the Russian government." Russia owns just over 50 percent of Rosneft.  The former German chancellor is known for his connection to Russia – he once dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin a "flawless Democrat."  After he lost to Merkel in the 2005 election, he joined the Nordstream pipeline consortium, which is controlled by Russia's Gazprom. He has since switched to join an extension of the original pipeline, known as Nordstream 2. Schröder is due to be formally elected to Rosneft's supervisory board on September 29. It is not clear yet whether he will lead the board or just become a member.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The square, one block from Rome’s main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs.   Hung on the building was a sheet made into a banner saying: “We are refugees, not terrorists,” in Italian. A small fire burned on the pavement and a sheet hanging from a first-floor window was set alight by squatters inside.  Witnesses who arrived at the square after the clearance operation described a scene of carnage.  “When I arrived at about 9am trash was scattered all over. About 50 people were still in the square, which had been partially closed down to traffic in the meantime. They were sad, frustrated and with no idea where to go,” said Francesco Conte, founder of TerminiTv, an online channel based in Rome’s Termini train station.  About 100 people had occupied the square since Saturday, when most of about 800 squatters were evicted from an adjacent office building they had occupied for about five years.Police said the refugees had refused to accept lodging offered by the city and that the operation was also necessitated by the risk presented by the presence of cooking gas canisters and other flammable materials in the square, which is surrounded by apartment buildings.  Most of the squatters were Eritreans and Ethiopians who had been granted asylum. Many have been in the country for up to a decade. They ran the building as a self-regulating commune that outsiders were not permitted to enter.  The refugees have previously complained that the accommodation offered to them elsewhere is not of a permanent nature, and that moving would result in the community they have established being split up. The area around the square is full of shops owned by the refugees’ compatriots.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

President Donald Trump finally condemned the “evil” of “racist violence” in Charlottesville on Monday, two days after a white supremacist rally in the Virginia town that left three people dead. After mounting criticism at his failure to speak out against white supremacist groups, Mr Trump addressed the nation from the White House and warned those behind Saturday’s riots that they will be held criminally responsible. And, after widespread cross-party anger at his initial response – in which he condemned violence “on many sides” – the president on Monday delivered a more measured response, in which he called out neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. “To anyone who acted criminally at this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable.” He described the rally on Saturday as an “egregious display of hatred and violence” which, he said, “has no place in America.” He continued: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans “We are a nation founded on the premise that all are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator, we are equal under the law, and we are equal under our Constitution. "Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America. ” Mr Trump paid tribute to Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old who died when James Fields rammed his car into a group of anti-hate protesters. He also commended the two Virginia state troopers killed when their helicopter crashed on Saturday. “These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation. “In times such as these, America has always shown its true character.”Reading from a teleprompter, the president's remarks were seen as a belated condemnation of the white supremacists who politicians across the mainstream US political spectrum held responsible for the mayhem in Charlottesville.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The precursor to the EU was set up in 1958, as the continent’s leaders vowed to make another war between them all but impossible. The euro came in 1999, when a group of 11 countries jettisoned marks, francs and lire and turned control of interest rates over to a new central bank. The common currency’s scale provided exchange-rate stability and better access to world markets. It did not, however, impose uniform financial discipline; to avoid surrendering national sovereignty, politicians largely sidestepped a unified approach to bank regulation and government spending. To the extent that there were rules, they were flouted. The events that brought the euro to its knees came during the global rout in 2009, when Greece came clean and said its budget deficit was twice as wide as forecast. Investors started dumping assets of the most indebted nations and borrowing costs soared. The shared euro made it impossible to devalue individual currencies of weaker economies, limiting options for recovery. Politicians lurched through bailouts for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus plus a rescue of banks in Spain. The panic fueled fears of a breakup as fragile banks and their holdings of government bonds exposed the common currency’s vulnerabilities. The firestorm abated in July 2012, when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

Friday, July 14, 2017

PARIS - President Donald  Trump acknowledged that France and the US had “occasional disagreements” but said that would not disrupt a friendship that dates back to the American Revolution. Macron acknowledged sharp differences with Trump over climate change. But he said he and the US president were able to discuss how best to combat “a global threat with enemies who are trying to destabilise us”, with a focus on counter-terrorism. President Trump said that his recent meeting with Putin had led to a ceasefire in a part of southern Syria, and said that he was working on “a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria”. He suggested that other parties would become involved in the deal, saying “and all of a sudden you will have no bullets fired in Syria”.  As Trump began his 24-hour tour of Paris, the two leaders’ body language was under close scrutiny. Macron chose to move on from the aggressive handshake he offered the US leader at their initial meeting in May, instead styling himself as Trump’s new “straight-talking” best friend on the international stage. the invitation to the US president to attend this year’s Bastille Day celebrations was in the pipeline long before both Macron and Trump’s election because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry by the US into the first world war.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Italian Chamber of Deputies recently organized the conference called "Italy's public debt in the Eurozone", which saw experts in the restructuring of public debt, academics, journalists and investment fund managers.  In a participant's opinion, Jens Nordvig, head of department at Nomura Securities and former banker at Goldman Sachs, "Italy is now the most important country in Europe".  The reason is of course, not just the size of its economy, but also the very high level of its public debt, which nobody seems to be able to find a solution for. The latest official data, of April 2017, shows that public debt has reached 2.27 trillion Euros, a new record, after increasing 37.2 billion over last year's similar period. The aggregated budget deficit after the first six months of 2017 was 50.2 billion Euros, 22.5 billion Euros higher YOY, according to Reuters, as over half of the deficit of June 2017, of 8.2 billion Euros, was the "result" of the state's involvement in the liquidation of the two banks in the Veneto region.  A new record, once again a negative one, was seen when it comes to Italy's position within Target2 (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer), the real-time settlement system for payments in Euros.  ECB data of May 2017, shows that Italy's deficit within the Target2 system has reached 421.6 billion Euros, way above the level recorded during the sovereign debt crisis, a phenomenon which reflects the acceleration of capital outflows.  Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the European authorities have "allowed" Italy to violate the banking resolution regulations that recently came into effect, even though that represents a new factor "to divide Europe", according to Reuters.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Why HAMBURG for G 20...

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany (pop. 1.7 million), a major hub situated on the River Elbe, nestled between the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Although a major port, it lies 130km inland from the North Sea.
Why? As an outward-looking city, Hamburg is an ideal location, says Angela Merkel. It has maintained trading links around the world for centuries, and today is home to the headquarters of industrial heavyweights Airbus and Unilever, among others. It can also boast at being ranked 18th among world cities for its livability.
Famous for? A city of bridges (around 2,500), Hamburg boasts what was once the world’s tallest building, the 122-metre Church of St Nicholas. Bombed heavily by Allied forces in WW2, the city recovered to become once again an economic and cultural powerhouse, where the Beatles served their apprenticeship, and where museums and opera go hand in hand with sport and radical politics. And there’s the Reeperbahn.
Security? Some 20,000 officers have been drafted in from around Germany and beyond to address the twin challenges of potential terror attack and political protest. Temporary courtrooms and cells have been built alongside a mass holding facility for as many as 400 detainees at a time - at a cost of €750,000. A planned mass protest camp in the city’s main park has been banned.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The IMF – historically the world’s foremost cheerleader of austerity – admitted that it was based on a false prospectus: these policies do more harm than good. Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University said that the issue was not whether attempts to reduce the deficit had damaged the economy, but “how much GDP has been lost as a result”. Amartya Sen said that while austerity “deepened Europe’s economic problems, it did not help in the aimed objective of reducing the ratio of debt to GDP to any significant extent”. Richard Portes at London Business School says that even the UK’s sluggish growth under the Conservatives is down to the “semi-covert” backing away from George Osborne’s initially brutal plans, which would have done even more harm. Paul Krugman wrote that in the post-crisis economy “the government does everyone a service by running deficits and giving frustrated savers a chance to put their money to work … deficit spending that expands the economy is, if anything, likely to lead to higher private investment than would otherwise materialise”. All this has led Joseph Stiglitz to remark that it’s “remarkable there are still governments, including here in the UK, that still believe in austerity”.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Britain has continued to outrank other European countries as a technology investment hub despite last year’s Brexit vote.  Research from London & Partners, an arm of the mayor’s office designed to promote the city, said £2.4bn of venture capital funding had been put into British technology companies since last year’s referendum.  This was more than double the VC investment in Germany and three times what it was in France.
In London, which accounts for the majority of venture-led tech funding in the UK, funding rose to £1.8bn across 544 deals, against £775m for Berlin and £557m for Paris.
The figures appear to defy predictions made before the referendum that funding would dry up in the event of a Leave vote and that start-ups would flee for the continent.  The technology industry, which employs a disproportionate number of EU nationals, had campaigned heavily against Brexit, but has since focused on boosting the number of specialist tech workers who are granted visas since the vote.  London & Partners, which collated data from deal tracker Pitchbook, said the first half of 2017 had seen a record £1.1bn of venture capital funding into London start-ups. For the UK as a whole it was £1.4bn, the third biggest on record.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The European Central Bank has greenlit the liquidation of Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, after they have repeatedly violated the "they have repeatedly violated the capitalization requirements", according to a press release sent on Friday to the European institution. The ECB showed that the two European banks "are at risk of collapsing", and the Single Resolution Board (SRB) said that "the conditions for the resolution of the two banks have not been met", and "banks will be liquidated according to the Italian bankruptcy procedures".  The situation of Veneto and of Banca Popolare di Vicenza has been watched closely by the ECB since 2014, when significant capital deficits were uncovered.  The italian government will pay to Intesa Sanpaolo 5.2 billion Euros in order to acquire the good assets of Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Reuters announced, Sunday night, after the authorities in Rome have spent their entire weekend drafting an emergency ordinance concerning the procedure for the liquidation of the two banks.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Today, in Romania, all the significant transactions are calculated in Euros, even though some of them are paid in lei. And "homo economicus" is in every man; all they need is the freedom to make decisions. In the end, the entire economy can be reduced to four words: people respond to incentives! Let's remember the skill of currency dealers on the black market, I the first years of transition, when the currency exchanges were not yet fully liberalized. In order to take their profit, they would keep their dollars in packs, depending on the exchange rate they got them at. I don't think that Romanians will have "cultural shocks" if they were to only operate in Euros, given that the vegetables traders in markets watch the exchange rate to see whether or not they should raise their prices for carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. Of course, we are living on the outskirts of the East, where there is no rush. The president of the European Commission, who recently visited our country, when listening to the questions of some politicians, about how Romania didn't want a two-speed Europe, gave us an answer that is worth thinking on: the current treaties of the European Union stipulate the possibility of a 2-speed Europe and it is up to every member state on where it wants to find itself. The trends in the European Union indicate a desire of the member states in the Eurozone to move faster towards integration (there is talk of a common budget of the Eurozone and even of a parliament of the Eurozone...). Member states from outside the Eurozone can not oppose those trends.  Romania will have the presidency of the European Union, in the first half of 2019, but unfortunately, Romania's weight in the decision making process for the decisions that concern the Eurozone will be low, because we are not yet part of it. I wish that this once at least, the intention of drawing up a plan of action for the move to the Euro, as well as the switch of this plan to be taken seriously by every politician and institution of the state that are concerned. Let's not forget that Romania, when it was accepted in the European Union, made the commitment to take all the necessary steps to carry out the conditions needed for the adoption of the Euro!  (Source bursa.ro)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

U.K. - The home secretary, Amber Rudd, who will attend this morning’s emergency Cobra meeting, has added to the tributes to emergency services:  This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.   My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view.  I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively; they have done an excellent job.  Later on this morning I will be attending Cobra, chaired by the prime minister, to collect more information, to find out more, about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.  The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police.  But I have two further things to add. The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.  This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society. Its intention was to sow fear; its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

German industrialists have warned that British hopes of their support in Brexit negotiations are misplaced and could backfire with dangerous consequences for international trade. Business leaders in Europe’s biggest economy are instead calling on Conservatives to rethink their commitment to leaving the single market, even though the party has doubled down on this promise in its election manifesto.  David Davis and Boris Johnson have repeatedly cited likely pressure from German exporters, such as carmakers, as a reason for thinking they can persuade European negotiators to maintain free trade access after Britain leaves. But the theory is increasingly rejected by those whose support they need most – scepticism relayed most forcefully by Steffen Kampeter, the chief executive of the German employers’ federation, on a trip to the UK this week. “The top priority of European business is the integrity of the single market; the second priority is making good business with the UK. We will see if there is a conflict, but the message is: do not harm the single market by cherry-picking deals,” he told a conference of British business leaders in London this week. “It’s not the German carmakers that are directing the negotiations,” added Kampeter, who said he knew of no one who thought a trade deal within 18 months was possible and called for “rhetorical disarmament on all sides”.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The European Commission reacted on Tuesday, after the deputies of the Commission for Industries and Services have passed a series of amendments to the Natural Gas Law, according to which the gas producers will be required to fully trade their output on the OPCOM, with the Romanian Commodities Exchange being left out in the cold. Currently, they have licenses for the trading of natural gas on two entities: the Romanian Commodities Exchange, private company, and the OPCOM, a branch of Transelectrica, in which the state owns 58.68%. The amendments made in the Commission for Industries would leave the BRM without a license. On Tuesday, the European Commission wrote to Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission for Industries, that the proposal for the production of natural gas to be traded completely on the OPCOM is problematic.  The commission thinks that moving trading to the OPCOM is not recommended, as the BRM is currently a more liquid market, and granting exclusive rights to the OPCOM raises competition issues. Also, the Commission considers that the trading of 100% of the natural gas output on an exchange can be excessive. A warning letter concerning the "severe consequences" of the amendments to the Law of natural gas was recently received by the president of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, from the PEGAS European natural gas platform. That letter also arrived, among other places, at the Ministry of Energy, the ANRE and the European Commission. It is debatable whether the amendments are compatible with the competition laws of the European Union, since they limit the ability of offering trading services, amid the obligation of using only one platform, according to PEGAS, which also says that there is a risk that the platform used by the operator would not reflect the requirements of the market.  Furthermore, the measures proposed can raise an obstacle in the implementation of the EU package of energy, which would lead to an isolation of the Romanian gas market, says PEGAS, the trading platform of the German EEX Group, operated by Powernext, in France. PEGAS had 238 members and offers access to the trading of natural gas on contracts from Austria, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic and Great Britain.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Emmanuel Macron is the fourth French president to have been in office during Angela Merkel’s 12-year tenure as German chancellor, and so it was with a faintly indulgent smile that she greeted the Europe Union’s new young pretender as he arrived in Berlin on Monday.  The mismatch in experience was so apparently obvious that Mrs Merkel felt it necessary to say in advance that she would not behave like a “know-it-all” to the new occupant of the Elysee, but would listen carefully to his vision for France.  Such protestations of modesty on Mrs Merkel's part are to be expected, but they cannot conceal the reality that if France wants to rekindle its post-war partnership with Germany, it needs to demonstrate it is committed to reforms.