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Thu, 29th June 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “european commission” Tag

As US retreats, EU and China seek climate leadership at summit

China and the European Union will seek on Friday to save a global pact against climate change from which U.S. President Donald Trump said he will withdraw.

As China emerges as Europe’s unlikely global partner on areas from free trade to security, Premier Li Keqiang will meet top EU officials at a summit in Brussels that will also address North Korea’s missile tests and global steel overcapacity.

 Speaking in Berlin, Li underlined strong support for the 2015 Paris climate change accord from China, which overtook the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.

“China will stand by its responsibilities on climate change,” he told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and before flying on to Brussels.

In a statement backed by all 28 EU states, the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, EU and Chinese officials said.

The joint statement, the first between the China and the EU, commits to cutting back on fossil fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut their emissions.

YouTube and Twitter fall short on EU hate speech standards

YouTube and Twitter fell short of new EU standards on removing hate speech from their websites – a key part of a push by Brussels to make big internet companies more responsible for the content they host.

Major internet companies including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all pledged to review a majority of notifications flagging “illegal hate speech” within 24 hours when they signed up to European Commission’s “code of conduct” last year.

At the moment, only Facebook reaches this target, assessing 57.9 per cent of flagged cases within this time period. By contrast YouTube managed only 42.6 per cent of cases and Twitter 39 per cent, according to data put forward by the European Commission.

Karen White, Twitter’s head of public policy in Europe said: “Over the past six months, we’ve introduced a host of new tools and features to improve Twitter for everyone.”

“Our work will never be ‘done’.”

A spokesperson for YouTube said:

Europe Starts Freezing Britain Out Of EU Contracts

Diplomatic relations between the UK and EU are fast approaching zero degrees Kelvin.

One day after Theresa May not only cemented, but allowed herself Brexit negotiating breathing room with her stunning, yet cunning decision to announce snap elections which would only boost the leverage of her party, Brussles has retaliated and as the FT reports, Brussels is starting to “systematically shut out British groups from multibillion-euro contracts” while urging companies to migrate to one of the 27 remaining EU members.

The Brussels note suggests that tensions between the UK and EU mey deteriorate to the point where even Bremainers may turn on Brussels:

 In an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, top European Commission officials have told staff to avoid “unnecessary additional complications” with Britain before 2019, highlighting an administrative chill that is biting even before Britain leaves the bloc.

 It explicitly calls on EU staff to begin encouraging the UK-based private sector to prepare for the “legal repercussions” of Brexit and consider the need “to have an office in the EU” to maintain their operating permits. Agencies are also told to prepare to “disconnect” the UK from sensitive databases, potentially on the day of Brexit.

EU Brexit chief Barnier: ‘the devil will be in the detail’

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has dampened hopes for a speedy UK exit and trade deal, warning talks will be bedeviled by details over the next two years.

“Theresa May’s [Article 50] letter seeks a rapid agreement, but quite clearly the devil is going to be in the detail. The six months work I’ve done so far points to that”, said Mr Barnier, addressing MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The former French foreign minister, who will be carrying out Brexit negotiations on behalf of the EU, said Britain’s desire to carry out its divorce talks alongside arrangements for a free trade deal was a “very risky approach”.

Marine Le Pen stripped of parliamentary immunity by MEPs

The European Parliament has voted to strip Marine Le Pen, France’s far right presidential candidate, of her immunity from prosecution in a case relating to violent images she posted on Twitter.

Voting in Brussels on Thursday, parliamentarians concluded that the Front National leader’s posting of images of executions by ISIS was likely to have violated “human dignity.”

Ms Le Pen is under investigation by French authorities over the incident, which involves photos from 2015 showing the killing of three hostages.

The investigation is unrelated to a separate probe into Ms Le Pen concerning alleged use of EU money to pay FN party staff.

Who wants to know the latest European Commission economic forecasts?

what, you all do? Your luck is in boys and girls.

  • Eurozone 2017 GDP 1.6% vs 1.5% prior. 2018 1.8% vs 1.7% prior
  • Eurozone inflation 2017 1.7% vs 1.4% prior. 2018 1.4% unch
  • Eurozone unemployment 2017 9.6% vs 10.0% in 2016. 2018 9.1%
  • Eurozone aggregate budget deficit 2017 1.4% vs 1.7% in 2016. 2018 1.4%
  • Eurozone government debt 2017 90.4% vs 91.5% in 2016. 2018 89.2%

They see every EU member state growing in 2016/17 & 18.

For some reason Reuters has specifically noted that the EC see UK growth this year at 1.5% vs 2.0% last year, and at 1.2% in 2018. Official UK forecasts are 2.0% & 1.6% for those periods. Is the EC trying to say something? 😉

Other highlights;

  • German investment to slow to 2.1% in 2017 vs 2.5% in 2016. 2018 2.5%
  • France budget def 2.9% of GDP 2017 vs 3.3% 2016. To rise above EC target again in 2018
  • Spain budget def 3.5% 2017 vs 4.7% 2016. 2018 2.9%

Here’s the full report if you want to see the rest.

 

Cash No Longer King: Europe Accelerates Move To Begin Elimination Of Paper Money

In the shadow of Donald Trump’s spree of controversial actions, the European commission has quietly launched the next offensive in the war on cash. These unelected bureaucrats have boldly asserted their intention to crack down on paper transactions across the E.U. and solidify a trend that has been gaining momentum for years.

The financial uncertainty amplified by Brexit has incentivized governments throughout Europe to seize further control over their banking systems. France and Spain have already criminalized cash transactions above a certain limit, but now the commission has unilaterally established new regulations that will affect the entire union. The fear of physical money flowing out of the trade bloc has manifested a draconian response from the State.

The European Action Plan doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount for restrictions, but as expected, their reasoning for the move is to thwart money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Border checks between countries have already been bolstered to help implement these new standards on hard assets. Although these end goals are plausible, there are other clear motivations for governments to target paper money that aren’t as noble.

Beijing Blasts Washington for Plans to Launch High Taxes on Chinese Steel

On Friday, the US Commerce Department announced its plans to raise import tariffs for the Chinese stainless steel products from 63 percent to 190 percent citing a probe that found they were selling on US market at dumping-level price.

“China is disappointed that the United States continued to launch high taxes on Chinese steel export products and calls into question the unfair way the US conducted its investigation,” Wang said, as quoted by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The United States did not take into the account the evidence previously submitted by the Chinese steel manufacturers and avoided cooperation with the Chinese government, violating the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Chinese official underlined.

This is a second blow for the Chinese steel importers in the recent months. The European Commission imposed in January anti-dumping duties on Chinese stainless steel tubes and pipe butt-welding fittings to protect its industry from steel overcapacity.

According the European Commission, Chinese imports will be taxed with duties ranging from 30.7 to 64.9 as its investigation commission confirmed that Chinese stainless steel products had been sold in Europe at dumping prices.

‘Catastrophic Effect’: More Austerity Measures Could Force Greece to Exit the EU

Greec debtThe Greek government has just three weeks to secure a deal with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to avoid the possibility of a Greek exit from the EU and a fresh debt crisis. Radio Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Marina Prentoulis, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia.

When asked whether there was any chance of a compromise that would appease both creditors and Greece, Marina Prentoulis said that the situation hasn’t changed since the first round of negotiations.

“There are different political forces involved and the creditors insist on the implementation of additional austerity measures. One thing the IMF doesn’t want to understand is that these measures have already had a catastrophic effect on Greece and also on the future of the European Union,” she noted.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Greek government is taking advantage of the political instability in the EU to secure a better deal for itself, knowing that if the country enters another debt crisis it could destabilize the already fragile EU.

Italian Government Prepares To Nationalize Monte Paschi

The wait is almost over.

After two previous taxpayer funded bailouts, and nearly five months of foreplay since the third largest Italian bank failed the latest European stress test at the end of July, in which the Italian government in September vow that “bailout for Italian banks has been ‘absolutely’ ruled out”, a third bailout, as we previewed earlier today, is now imminent.

According to Reuters, which cites two sources, Italy is preparing to take a €2 billion controlling stake in Monte Paschi as the bank’s hopes of a private funding rescue have faded after a fruitless five month search to secure an anchor investor, following Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s decision to quit.

The government, which is already the ailing bank’s single largest shareholder with a four percent share, is planning do a debt-for-equity swap, and buy junior bonds held by ordinary Italians to take the stake up to 40%, the sources said. The bonds would then be equitized, converting the government’s bond stake into pure equity ownership, a troubling approach as it would effectively wipe out the existing equity tranche and position the bank for a potential bankruptcy fight in court where the government faces off with the equity committee.

This transaction would make the government by far the biggest shareholder, meaning the Treasury would be able to control Italy’s third biggest bank and its shareholder meetings, or in other words, the bank would be nationalized.

The sources said a government decree authorizing the deal, which would see the state buy the subordinated bonds from retail investors and convert them into shares, could be rushed through as early as this weekend. Italy’s treasury would buy the bonds held by around 40,000 retail investors at face value, the sources said.