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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Guy Verhofstadt declared on Tuesday the European Parliament would fight to ensure that Northern Ireland remains subject to EU law after Brexit and heaped yet more pressure on Mrs May in a crunch week for the Prime Minister.
British MEPs accused the parliament’s Brexit coordinator of "intolerable interference" in UK affairs and of trying to topple Theresa May’s government.
Mr Verhofstadt, the parliament’s Brexit coordinator, told MEPs in the Constitutional Affairs Committee that it was the only way to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“It’s for us key that there will be in future, whatever the outcome of negotiations will be, no divergence in norms, rules or standards...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

European stocks make modest rebound after US shares end a wildly volatile session on the rise last night
  • Futures indicate that US stocks will slide back into the red when markets open in New York
  • FTSE 100 claws back 1pc while the DAX and CAC 40 nudge up 0.7pc and 0.5pc, respectively, in early trading
  • Asian markets rebound but run out of steam
  • European markets made a tentative recovery following yesterday's global stocks sell-off but futures contracts indicate that US stocks are set to tumble back into the red once again.
    After tumbling 2.6pc to a nine-month low in yesterday's global sell-off, the FTSE 100 has clawed...

    Thursday, February 1, 2018

    A cancer jab that can eliminate tumours even when they have spread throughout the body is about to start human trials.  Scientists at Stanford University in the US found that injecting tiny amounts of two drugs directly into a tumour not only kills the original cancer, but also triggers an ‘amazing bodywide’ reaction which destroys distant cancer cells.
    The drug combination works by switching on immune cells inside the tumours which have been deactivated by the cancer, then boosting them so they can go to work killing the disease.
    And once the immune cells have been reactivated, they recognise other cancer cells elsewhere in the body and set about clearing them out.
    Scientists said the therapy worked ‘startlingly well’ in mice. Nine out of 10 animals were cured of cancer after just one jab, and the rest after a second injection.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    With Brexit entering a critical phase, the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron in Britain tomorrow should give Theresa May a golden opportunity to begin work on building the new set of alliances Britain will need for life beyond the EU. Immigration issues are certain to dominate the agenda, as Mr Macron seeks to resolve the disruption caused by the hundreds of illegal migrants who have once again gathered in the Pas-de-Calais.   The French president has caused a degree of consternation in some circles with his suggestion that Britain should do more to resolve the seemingly perennial Calais issue by agreeing to take more migrants, as well as contributing more to the costs of cross-border security enshrined in the Le Touquet accords.  Such demands might appear presumptuous to committed Brexiteers, who take umbrage at the prospect of any foreign power telling the British government how...

    Friday, January 12, 2018

    Often, when a product is marketed as being 'for women', you can safely assume it will be a rip-off, covered in pink. See the ‘Bic for Her’ ballpoint pen, or women's razors. In fact, I have made it my policy to avoid anything that shouts about being made specially for us ladies.
    The once exception, though, just might be porn. PornHub, one of the world's genre’s biggest websites, has released a deep dive into the search terms entered by people all over the world, combined with their location and gender. It might sound a bit like Big Brother is watching you masturbate, but it's a fascinating insight. Interestingly, the year's top search term was 'porn for women'. Combine that with 359 per cent increase in female users and you are faced with an undeniable truth: women like porn. Women watch porn. But is this sweeping generalisation - ‘porn for women’ - really good enough? Is there really a consensus...

    Friday, December 8, 2017

    SPD members voted overwhelmingly to allow their party’s leadership to enter talks with the CDU. The vote means leaders can discuss options including a renewed “grand coalition”, an informal cooperation or a formal agreement to tolerate a conservative minority government by not voting down certain parliamentary motions.  Attempts to build Germany’s next government have been at a standstill since last month’s collapse of coalition talks between the CDU, the Free Democrats and the Greens. Other European states have expressed their growing impatience with Germany’s political paralysis. Leaders including the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, have called on Schulz to break the deadlock. The SPD leader acknowledged those appeals on Thursday when he warned that “the continent cannot afford four more years of German European policy a la Schäuble”, referring to the austerity measures of the country’s conservative former finance minister. Schulz told delegates that he wanted EU member states to sign off on a “constitutional treaty” that committed the bloc to take steps towards a federal Europe – a proposal likely to be met with some resistance from Merkel and other EU leaders.

    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    The management of OMV Petrom, namely Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, as well as the representatives of the Romanian state on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, Sevil Shhaideh and Radu-Spiridon Cojocaru will be invited to appear in the hearings on the Investigation Commission for the activity of the ANRE, the members of the Commission decided on Thursday.  This is the third invitation sent by the Chamber of Deputies to Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, who refused to show up twice for the hearings, and announced she would send in all the answers to the Comission in writing. Dumitru Costin, the president of the National Union Block (BNS- Blocul Naţional Sindical), yesterday said, in the Parliamentary commission concerning the activity of the ANRE, that OMV Petrom has caused the Romanian state a loss of 7 billion lei, according to some audits made by the Court of Auditors, and the money has yet to be recouped, even though the loss was uncovered in 2015. Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission, said: "Colleagues have requested extending the invitations again to the management of OMV Petrom. Personally, I don't have much hope. In fact, I had given up making any further invitations. But following the statements of Mr. Costin, I will resume the invitations addressed to Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe and to the members on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, who are the representatives of the Romanian state". Iulian Iancu also said: "Dumitru Costin, the head of the National Union Block (BNS), has presented to the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE a document which has also been submitted with the Romanian government, specifically to the General Secretariat of the Government, to the attention of the prime-minister, in which Costin says that, he has received from the Romanian authorities documents concerning OMV, which describe investigations at various stages concerning tax evasion when it comes to salaries, VAT, the modification of the formula and the incorrect payment of royalties by OMV, which, according to the presented data, resulted in a loss of over 1 billion Euros, data backed by the report of the Court of Auditors. That document states that the case has reached the court.

    Saturday, December 2, 2017

    ECB recommends dropping the guarantee of bank deposits. The Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive, which came into effect less than two years ago, explicitly states that the guaranteed deposits may not be frozen and may not be subject to suspension of payments.  With the recommendation to drop the guarantee of bank deposits, the ECB has included the central banks and the Bank of International Settlements in the list of institutions whose accounts and transactions may not be frozen. But we shouldn't be overly worried, because the ECB has proved "generous". "During the transition period, depositors will have access to an adequate quota of their guaranteed deposits to cover the cost of living within five days from submitting the request", the proposal of the ECB shows. But who sets the cost of living and which is the "competent authority" that decides on the withdrawal of the funds? The national institutions for the guarantee of bank deposits have been created precisely to stop or at least to temper massive bank deposit withdrawals. The new proposal of the ECB directly undermines this institutional framework. "If the collapse of a bank looks imminent, a substantial number of guaranteed deposits may be subject to massive withdrawals, because customers want to ensure direct access to their own resources or no longer trust the guarantee scheme", the ECB document further states.The true stake is presented thereafter: "Such a scenario is very likely especially in the case of major banks, where the volume of guaranteed deposits is extremely high and can lead to the erosion of the trust in the guarantee scheme".  In the opinion of the European Central Bank, "if the moratorium applied to deposits doesn't include the guaranteed ones as well, then that moratorium can alert the customers with guaranteed deposits that a bank is at imminent risk of collapse", and under these circumstances "the moratorium can prove counterproductive and can result in a deposit flight instead of preventing it". Such proposals aren't just simple prudential measures of authorities that want to show that they have learned the lessons of the crisis, but instead they represent, particularly in the case of the European Central Bank, a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that the monetary policy has failed.

    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.”

    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.