Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

The new Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, after his government got full approval from the country’s legislators in two days and two trips to Berlin and Paris, managed to confirm the reputation of Rome as the catalyst of historic European developments. The Treaty of the European Union was signed in the eternal city. In less […]

Eurozone: The cycle of deficits, debts and austerity revisited

A European Union Member State’s government budget deficit may not exceed -3 % of its gross domestic product (GDP), while its debt may not exceed 60 % of GDP. If a Member State does not respect these limits, the so-called excessive deficit procedure is triggered. The procedures against member states for excessive deficit or debt […]

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

After Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, questioned loudly last Monday the one-sided character of the severe austerity policies currently applied in a number of Eurozone countries, yesterday it was the turn of Commission’s vice President Ollie Rehn, directly responsible for this tough strategy, to argue openly and clearly in favour of a relaxation. […]

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

The statement that unemployment constantly increases in the European Union has become a banal observation during the past three crisis years. When however it comes to long-term unemployment, comprising workers without a job for more than one year, the end result can be that the labour force of this country or region is reduced by […]

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

IMF’s research department published yesterday its latest report on World Economic Outlook (WEO), with good news for the global economy and bad news for Eurozone. Actually, Olivier Blanchard, IMF’s chief economist and director of its Research Department, was quoted as saying that because of Eurozone’s problems, “We have moved from a two-speed recovery to a […]

The EU threatens to impose extra import duties on Chinese products

The powerful EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, announced yesterday its proposal for a new legislation targeted at strengthening the protection of home businesses and products from external competition. It’s a clear effort to help the Union’s economy overcome a deepening recession. The new legislations will be in force early in 2014, after being approved […]

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

At a time when the West on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean is consumed with its internal financial problems as in the European Union’s Eurozone or just exhausting the limits of government borrowing as the US does, the BRICS countries are expanding their presence in the world, taking advantage of their economic strength […]

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

The two Presidents of the EU, José Manuel Barroso of the Commission and Herman Van Rompuy of the Council couldn’t fly yesterday to Tokyo for the EU-Japan Summit, due to the ongoing developments around the Cyprus issue. This was not enough however to impede the beginning of negotiations for the conclusion of a Free Trade […]

No tears for Cyprus in Brussels and Moscow

One after the other Eurozone’s major players draw their red lines towards Cyprus, after the country’s Parliament rejected unanimously the agreement struck between the Nicosia government and the Eurogroup in the early hours of Saturday morning 16 March. The agreement was supposed to provide the Cypriot authorities with €5.8 billion from a haircut of 6.75% […]

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

The “Spring Summit” of the 27 EU leaders on 14-15 March unfolding currently amidst the Brussels winter scenery, will be forced to challenge the presently followed economic policy orientation of austerity, under the pressure of major developments. Obviously the Italian elections results and the ensuing political stalemate, set a new background for every political economy exercise […]

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Last Friday the Fitch rating agency downgraded Italy’s long term creditworthiness to “BBB+” from “A-“, with negative outlook. The American firm did that with a delay of many days after the Italian elections, citing as reason the unconventional results of the vote. It is important to note however that capital markets themselves, after the initial […]

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

The European Economic and Social Committee and other European civil society organisations and networks organised this year’s Civil Society Day on Wednesday 6 March at the EESC premises in Brussels. The main and burning conclusion from this event was that the EU decision-making procedures are taking place “in absentia” of any legitimisation by civil society […]

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

The European Commission launched today (Thursday 28 February), an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass from China. According to the relevant official announcement, “The initiation is based on a complaint lodged by the association European Union ProSun Glass, which claims solar glass from China is being dumped in the EU at prices below market […]

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

According to well-informed Brussels sources, the European Commission secured last week a non-binding authorisation by the EU member states, to impose anti-dumping measures on imports of solar panels and components originating from China. The same sources say, however, that the Commission denied that this will lead to an immediate imposition of such measures and characterised […]

The European Parliament floating over the South China Sea

A group of European Parliament members, representing the House Delegation for South East Asia and the ASEAN countries (DASE), while visiting the Philippines last week said, they support the country’s move to refer territorial differences over the South China Sea to United Nations. Those differences involve six countries of the region the Philippines, China, Vietnam, […]

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Driven by the stubbornness of the British PM David Cameron, who was effectively supported by the austerity loving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU Summit of 7-8 February agreed yesterday on the Union’s budget. Theoretically their decision binds EU spending for the seven year period of 2014-2020. The European Parliament however is of a completely […]

EU-China relations under investigation?

Out of the last ten ongoing European Union’s Trade Defence Investigations, pending a decision by the European Commission or the Council of the European Union, six of them have as a target products originating from the Peoples’ Republic of China imported in the EU. Most important of them are the Stainless steel fittings, the Solar […]

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

Last week the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the imposition of anti-dumping duties on two products originating from the EU and the US. Imports into China of the widely used solvents ethylene glycol monobutyl and diethylene glycol monobutyl ethers, produced by a number of European and American companies, will be penalised with anti-dumping duties ranging […]

The developing countries keep the world going

The developing countries, led by the industrialised nations of Asia, are playing a fast growing role in the world economy and may soon overshadow the developed triangle of US-EU-Japan. Actually they have already overtaken them in key sectors. According to the UNCTAD’s Handbook of Statistics 2012 the share of emerging countries in “the most heavily […]

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

An International Labour Office (ILO) report published today entitled “Global Employment Trends 2013: Recovering from a second jobs dip”, estimates that unemployment in all 185 member states of the organisation, will rise again this year by 5.1 million and by another 3 million in 2014. The ILO is the international organization responsible for drawing up […]

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

A statement by the head of the EU Mission in Beijing, Markus Ederer, that the EU is not looking to start a trade war with China over dumping pricing or illegal subsidies, does not make good sense. His comments are contradictory to the fact that the Commission has launched aggressive investigations on two very important […]

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Chinese economy is bound to resume in strength in 2013 and attain an enviable 8.5% growth rate, after a relatively slow year in 2012, when it marked its slowest yearly GDP increase for years at 7.5%. OECD insists however that the relative slow-down of […]

France: New labour laws for more competitiveness

Only hours had passed, after Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs early in the morning of Friday 11 January in Brussels had accused France  of doing little to regain its lost competitiveness, and in Paris during the same afternoon three labour unions agreed with employers on a package deal […]

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

The European Commission published an announcement on Thursday 10 January to inform us all, “Where the European Commission’s humanitarian aid will go in 2013”. A lot of people went through the text and what they got was just general information on how much money will go to a number of Sub Saharan African countries.Only one […]

The Chinese solar panels suddenly became too cheap for Europe

On 6 September 2012 the European Commission introduced an anti-dumping investigation on imports of solar panels and components originating from China. Understandably the present market conditions, including selling prices of solar panels in the European Union, have been there for many years. More than ten. That is, from the moment that a number of EU […]

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Two major Chinese providers of mobile phone equipment, Huawei Technologies Co. and the smaller ZTE Corporation, according to a Wall Street Journal report are under scrutiny by the European Commission, for allegedly offering their products at dumping prices. This report is still unconfirmed by the EU authorities. Its wording though is very carefully chosen by […]

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

South Korea or the Republic of Korea (RoK) is a privileged trading partner of the European Union. The Free Trade Agreement the two sides have concluded was signed on 6 October 2010 and entered into force in July 2011. This FTA was the first one the European Union penned down with an Asian nation and the […]

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

It took the Chinese maritime and port operator giant Cosco almost ten years, to sign and implement an agreement with the Greek authorities. The project was to realise a large investment for a container terminal in the port of Piraeus. Judged by Greek standards ten years to approve a major foreign investment might not be a […]

Do the EU policies on agro-food smell?

If we believe what is written in the Treaties, in the European Union everybody is equal and the same flag of democracy waves above the heads of all. But wait a moment. What was that, some English writer, one George Orwell, said in his novel, the Animal Farm? Ah yes, that some are more equal […]

Let your fingers do the walking

It was high time. The European Commission has prepared a proposal to make mandatory for all member states the creation of easily accessible government web sites to facilitate the lives of their citizens. According to the Commission’s announcement key beneficiaries of this proposal would be Europe’s 80 million citizens with disabilities and the 87 million […]

Who really cares for the environment?

The European Commission is famous for its practice to generously subsidise a large number of NGOs, which have been created almost exclusively for this purpose. That is, to swallow money from the European taxpayer and in return offer their tribune to Commissioners and other EU dignitaries to be exposed to media. This is a well-known […]

EU to negotiate an FTA with Japan

On 29 November 2012 the European Council decided to give the Commission ‘the green light’, to start trade negotiations with Japan, aiming at the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between the two sides. As Sting has already noticed the EU has embarked over the past few years on a huge operation, to conclude FTAs with […]

Free trade agreement between EU and India?

  After the World Trade Organisation talks over the Doha Round collapsed and the achievement of a major reform of the international trading system became a distant dream, the European Union introduced a package of talks to negotiate Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with its major trading partners in the developing world. A cornerstone in this […]