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.
Friday, July 14, 2017
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
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.