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.
Friday, December 8, 2017
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.”
Monday, October 2, 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Liviu Dragnea "swore", in December 2016, on the electoral program, which then became the governing program and the "Bible of the PSD": he guaranteed, in a TV Show, that he would abide by it or else he would resign. Liviu Dragnea did not abide by the electoral program.
Liviu Dragnea did not resign, instead he changed the government....Along with the government, he also replaced the "Bible of the PSD". The new proposals of the PSD, published on the night prior to the investiture, have overturned the business environment. All the companies in Romania will pay, starting with January 1st, 2018, a turnover tax instead of the profit tax, which will disappear, according to the new governing program of the PSD-ALDE coalition. Also, according to the new proposal, the minimum wage level in Romania in the coming years would be 2,000 lei in 2018, 2,200 lei in 2019 and 2,400 lei in 2020, and for those with higher education it would be 2,300 lei in 2018, 2,640 lei in 2019 and 3,000 lei in 2020. According to the governing program, the solidarity contribution will be introduced starting with January 1st, 2018, as well as an additional tax on consumer products whose consumption has a major negative impact on the health of the population. Analysts said that the government is blowing up the economy, businesspeople were shocked. The new ministers swore on the Bible to offer all their power for the material and spiritual progress of the Romanian people. So help them God!
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Theresa May told European leaders last night. The Prime Minister made a “fair and serious offer” to European leaders in Brussels as she pledged that all those who arrived in Britain before she triggered Article 50 in March will be entitled to stay.
May also said that she did not want to “break up families” in a clear indication that the spouses and children of EU nationals who live abroad will be eligible to join them in the UK. However she said it is “vital” that any deal will have to be “reciprocal” and based on the European Union granting the one million British citizens who live in the Europe the same rights. She also refused to meet EU demands that the “cut-off date”, after which EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to stay in the UK, should fall on the day that Britain leaves the European Union.
She instead said that it will be a matter for negotiation and could fall at any point between March 29 2017, the date that Article 50 was triggered, and the date that Britain leaves the European Union, which is expected to be in March 2019.
All those arriving after the “cut-off date” will be given a two year “grace period” after Britain Brexit and will be subsequently expected to obtain a work permit or return to their home countries. If the cut-off date falls in 2019, as the EU demands, it effectively means that freedom of movement will continue until 2021.
Mrs May also set up a further clash with the European Union by rejecting demands that the European Court of Justice should continue to oversee the rights of EU migrants after Brexit. She said: “The commitment that we make to EU citizens will be enshrined in EU law and enforced through our highly-respected
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 13, 2017
In a number of recent analyses, Patrick Artus, chief economist of investment bank Natixis, writes that France has all the premises for a high degree of unemployment, which includes high social security contributions, high employee protections, the low degree of workforce skills and the chronic budget deficit. "France's economic and social situation since the crisis that began in 2008, characterized through de-industrialization, high unemployment among youth, the low quality of new jobs and the erosion of purchasing power has led to the results of the current elections", Artus further writes, who expresses his skepticism over the ability to resolve these problems, regardless of who the new president will be. For the chief-economist of Natixis, "this perverse economic model has reached its limits and the structural adjustments have to begin". It is hard to believe, however, that Macron will be the "savior", when "his platform is typical for a bureaucrat, who offers a little something to everyone", according to Martin Armstrong. On the contrary, "a victory of Macron would sentence the EU to a complete collapse and a hard landing in 2018", is the verdict of the American analyst, because "Brussels will celebrate the end of populism and will continue down the same path, without reforms". The cynicism of another American, Bill Bonner, the author of the books "Empire of Debt" and "Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets" and former French resident in France for 18 years, is heading towards an aspect that more is closer to the daily concerns of the French. "It is not a matter of whether the voters will be robbed or not, the question is by whom", Bonner writes.