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 […]

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

 The women’s lib movement can be very proud nowadays. Suffragettes must be very happy. Their kind in a few decades managed not only to vote but to hold in their hands the fate of the globe. All that because this week became clear that Christine Lagarde, heading the International Monetary Fund and Angela Merkel, leader […]

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

As Henry Kissinger said, corrupt politicians are defamation for the rest 10%. It seems that Greece is a classical paradigm of this. Not to forget that the architect and contractor of the Athens Acropolis died in prison accused of stealing some of the gold used to construct the Goddess’s statute.  Today in this country, contrary […]

The three US financial war fleets

  The three American creditworthiness “musketeers”, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch are the modern times landing crafts that Washington employs whenever the US want to debark on the European financial shores. Over the past years every time that the Eurozone is about to make a crucial decision to solve or at least alleviate the […]

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

International politico-economic relations is a tricky field, with the major players constantly changing stance, according to their short term interests, putting aside whatever honourable principles are left in their decision making procedures. And all that being discussed and decided upon, by a handful of people behind closed doors. If those people were not playing with […]

On the euro but out of it?

The fact that Greece reached the exit of Eurozone more than once during the past months and a Grexit (exit of Greece from Eurozone) is still not excluded did not stop the European Central Bank from keeping the country on the euro. This time however for decorative reasons. The ECB used the most ancient depiction […]

Long live Eurozone’s bank supervisor down with the EU budget supremo

EU leaders in their last summit of mid-October appeared ready to make another systemic blunder. After creating a limping Eurozone, with a common currency but not common rules for sovereign debt issues, now they discuss the institutionalisation of a common EU budget and a Brussels “supremo of Finance”. And all that with no political legitimacy. […]

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

In June 2012 the 17 Euro-area leaders who made a giant step forward towards a closer Eurozone union, when back home, those on the giving side, namely Angela Merkel, pretended that nothing has changed, while the ‘winners’ made it look like a gift, which it was not. As for the 10 heads of states and […]