Tag Archives: European Union

EU approves state bailout for Monte dei Paschi di Siena

The European Union has approved a state bailout of Italy’s fourth-largest lender, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI), taking the total amount of Italian taxpayer funds deployed to rescue banks over the past week to more than 20 billion euros ($23 billion).

Outside Greece, Europe has not seen such big state bailouts since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, raising political concerns about the continued use of public funds to mop up losses at badly run banks despite the introduction of new EU rules designed to prevent this.

In a statement on the EU confirmed aid regulators said Rome could inject 5.4 billion euros ($6 billion) into Monte dei Paschi after the bank agreed to a drastic overhaul, including the transfer of bad loans to a special vehicle and a salary cap for senior managers.

The bank’s overall capital shortfall is 8.1 billion euros, an Italian Treasury official said, down from the 8.8 billion euros previously calculated by the European Central Bank.

What you didn't know about Sweden ? #sweden #scandinavia

Sweden will celebrate its national day on June 6th.

When talking about Nordic countries, Sweeden is the one that has the largest population of 9,747,355 citizens according to SCB 2014 data. At the same time, it is the third largest country in the European Union with 438.575,8 km2 surface area.

It borders with countries as Norway in the west, where they are divided through the Scandinavian mountain chain; Finland to the northeast and to the east and south with the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia.

Sweden’s economy depends mainly on the international trade in order to maintain high productivity. Exports are around 50% of its GDP, which was of 420,849,000  euros in 2014.

The capital of Sweeden is Stockholm and its official language is swedish.

The political system in Sweden is the parliamentary monarchy and it celebrates its National Day on June 6th.


This day makes reference to two important historical events: On 1523, Gustav Vasa was elected king of the country and also in 1809, a new constitution restored the power of the Riksdag of states enacted.

The tradition of celebrating this date began 1916 and in 2005 it became an official Swedish public holiday.

Every year in Stockholm, the yellow and blue swedish flag is run up the mast.

Patricia Fernández Ruiz.



EU confirms Brazil as a strategic economic partner #eu #brazil #business "#economy

167318364_d8d5d8bbf2_oThe European Commission confirms Brazil as strategic economic partner in the new Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2015  about international trade, as well as Argentina, China, Russia, Japan, USA and India. The document highlights that, exactly because of this strategic condition, it is necessary to solve the concrete barriers to trade and investment opportunities of the EU companies that still exist in these countries.
The document stresses that the EU’s priority is the TTIP , Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States.
This fifth edition of this report published in March, indicates that Brazil remains a strategic partner despite keeping what the EU considers four major trade barriers:
– Media and communications, aviation, transportation and mining are subject to foreign ownership limitations, according to the report.
– Discriminatory taxes and subsidisation of domestic producers in Brazil. The EU demonstrates a special concern for the reintroduction of Reintegra- Special Regime for Reintegration of Tax Amounts for Exporting Companies- and mentions that it has already submitted a complaint to the WTO against Brazil on the subject.
– Brazil has adopted measures that aggravate the distortion of the conditions for participation in public procurement, through the establishment of preferential margins for certain domestic products, points the document.
– There are many sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) with regard to imports in Brazil of dairy products, pork and beef from the EU.
According to the report, Brazil constitutes an important alternative market further to the ban imposed by Russia on EU exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs, because Europe is not self-sufficient.
The EU has a number of tools to deal with the trade and investment barriers, among them, it prioritizes not only implement existing trade agreements but also put them into force, enforcing what has been established. These negotiations with Brazil are moving forward, but progress is still insufficient, it says.


In European Forest Week, Copa‐Cogeca  underlined that the EU forest sector is a key driver for growth and employment in EU rural areas. And EU rural development policy will play a crucial role in ensuring that the new EU forestry strategy is a success, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed.


Speaking at a press conference organised by Copa-Cogeca and chaired by COPA-COGECA press officer Amanda Cheesley, Pekka Pesonen welcomed the new EU forestry strategy, stressing it will provide coherent framework to ensure that we have a consistent approach across all policy areas and take into account the new challenges for forests and the forestry sector like climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, resource efficiency and the green economy.

The new EU Rural Development Policy will play a crucial role in successfully implementing the forest strategy and in helping the sector to face these new challenges and to benefit from the opportunities. Forests cover 40% of the EU area and are a key driver for growth and employment un EU rural areas at the same time as protecting ecosytems. The strategy recognises the vital contribution the forest sector makes to the Europe 2020 Strategy and promotes opportunities to further develop the bio-economy.

Outlining details of the strategy, Mr Pesonen said that one of the strategic orientations clearly states that Member States should make use of rural development funds to improve competitiveness, promote diversification of economic activity and quality of life as well as deliver specific environmental public goods. Competitiveness is a key objective for the forest sector in order to provide growth and ensure employment in rural areas.  The measure concerning investments in new forestry technologies and in the processing and marketing of forest products could meanwhile contribute to improving the production of wood, increase mobilisation and foster the efficiency of the activities in the forestry sector.

The ’’Setting up of producers groups’’ – a new measure for the forest sector that was introduced in the RDP – needs also to be promoted and included in the national/regional programmes. This measure could increase the market orientation, support forest holders to work together on harvesting and availability of their products and also enhance the development of business and marketing skills and facilitation of innovation process.

He went on to present measures that could help forest holders to adapt to and mitigate climate change and to better use the resources and support biodiversity. “As we all know, 30% of rural development funds should be dedicated to the environment and climate related measures.Forestry measures are also included under this provision. Support to investments to improve the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems, to promote afforestation and the creation of woodland are essential measures to support the ecological role of forests.. The forest sector is a vital source of biomass. These will impact positively on soil, water, air and biodiversity. “It is therefore crucial to boost the forest area”, he said.


EU food aid

EU food aid 

The fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in 2014-2020 will be maintained at €3.5 billion, the same figure as in 2007-2013, under an informal deal concluded by Parliament and Council negotiators.

“The fund is aimed at helping the most deprived in all Member States. Sadly, 40 million people across Europe cannot afford to put basic meal on their table every second day. Four million people are homeless. The fund will seek to alleviate the immediate effects of extreme deprivation and will support the process of bringing people in from the margins of society”, said Parliament’s rapporteur for the FEAD, Emer Costello.

The new programme for 2014 to 2020 is intended to replace the Food Distribution Programme, which was designed to use up food surpluses produced under the Common Agricultural Policy.

The fund’s scope will be expanded to include two operational programmes designed to provide food distribution aid and basic material assistance and also social inclusion measures for the EU’s most deoprived citizens.

FEAD will also support food donations and in particular the collection, transportation and distribution of food, thus helping to reduce food waste. It will also support measures contributing to a healthy diet.

Henry Borzi


English: topographic map of India

Since last saturday, an belgian economic mission takes place in India and will visit different cities in India to promote different areas of belgian business activities and strengthen the economic ties with India: diamond, dredging, ports, technology, construction,waste, water treatment, renewable energy ….

The mission is bringing 344 participants to India, of which 287 are businessmen and businesswomen. Its aim is to further promote bilateral ties between India and Belgium, Belgium being India’s second largest EU trading partner (with a value of over € 12 billion in 2012) after Germany but before the UK and France.

The mission is led by H.R.H. Princess Astrid and belgian minister of foreign affairs Didier Reynders.

New Delhi was the first visited city. Chenai is the second one and a long stay is foreseen in Mumbai till friday.

Let’s remember that India is the second economical partner of Belgium, far ahead of the united Kingdom, the former colonial power.

The Rashtrapati Bhawan which is the residence ...

The residence of the President Of India.



EIBEUR 550 million support for growth and employment in Greece: first ever “jobs for youth” SME funding in Greece

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a total of up to EUR 550 million for motorways, local authorities’ infrastructure and, for the first time in Greece, “jobs for youth” SME funding.

The four finance agreements were signed today in Athens in a public ceremony attended by the Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras, the Minister of the Interior, Giannis Michelakis, the Minister of Development and Competitiveness, Kostis Hatzidakis, and the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks,Michalis Chrysohoidis, as well as EIB President Werner Hoyer.

The finance agreements were signed on behalf of the EIB by Mihai Tanasescu, Vice-President responsible for Greece, with the Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras, concerning the motorways, and withAlexandros Antonopoulos, President of the Consignment Deposits and Loans Fund, for the local authorities, as well as with two major banks for SMEs, represented by Artemis Theodoridis, General Manager ALPHA Bank, and Ioannis Lembidakis, President of Pancretan Cooperative bank.

On this occasion, EIB President Werner Hoyer stated: “Only five months after the signature of the innovative trade finance agreements we designed especially for Greece, I am pleased to be back to sign a EUR 550 million package of finance for what Greece needs most: growth and employment. We are helping the Greek State to proceed with the construction of the country’s major motorways, the local authorities to realise investments to improve living conditions, and two major Greek banks and long-time partners to continue to provide loans to SMEs as well as to launch a new pilot finance product tailored to “jobs for youth”.

EUR 350 million in favour of the Hellenic Republic for the Greek motorway programme

The EIB loan will be supporting the State’s financial commitments in favour of the country’s main transport corridor (Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki), which is also a trans-European priority transport investment. The loan will finance the construction of 239 km of new motorways and smaller upgrades on 434 km of existing motorways located along this main axis. The EIB support of the Greek motorways is the first tangible step by a financial institution towards financing the resumption of construction works which, considering their strong impact on employment and GDP growth, play a special role in revitalising the Greek economy.

EUR 50 million with the Consignment Deposits and Loans Fund for local authorities

This is a framework facility that will provide financing to local authorities in Greece through the Consignment Deposits and Loan Fund (CDLF). The facility will enable the local authorities to invest in the fields of transport, educational infrastructure, cultural and historic heritage, rehabilitation of public buildings, environmental improvement, energy efficiency and tourism infrastructure. In view of the existing substantial investment requirements of local authorities combined with the current budgetary constraints, the EIB’s facility will help to improve living conditions of thousands of citizens all over the country.

EUR 150 million for SMEs in tandem with Greek partner banks

These funds, of which EUR 100 million will go to Alpha Bank and EUR 50 million to Pancretan Cooperative Bank, which are among the top banks in Greece with extensive branch networks and wide SME portfolios, are being provided under the Guarantee Fund for Greek SMEs specially established in 2012 to cater for the financing needs of SMEs in Greece. These new signatures bring the total under the SME Guarantee Fund to EUR 300 million since end-2012. The EIB funds are intended to finance projects promoted by small and medium-sized companies in the fields of industry, tourism and services in Greece.

In addition, the Pancretan loan will, as a pilot scheme, include a window for financing under the “jobs for youth” programme. This new EIB product is being provided for the first time in Greece, under the dedicated youth employment programme launched by the EIB in July 2013, as part of a larger initiative of Member States and the Commission to tackle youth unemployment, following the decision of the European Council in June 2013. This targeted product focuses on countries with difficult labour market situations for young people.

The funds will finance SMEs in the fields of industry, commercial services and tourism which fulfil one of the following youth employment eligibility criteria. They must:

• have employed at least one additional young person in the previous six months (or plans to employ an additional young person in the coming six months) calculated from the date of signature of the agreement with the partner bank,

• offer vocational training or internships/training programmes for young people,

• cooperate with a technical college/school/university to employ young people (e.g. during summer internships).


Fisherboat from Karlskrona at Hasslö, Sweden.

The European Commission has proposed fishing opportunities for 2014 for the Atlantic and the North Sea, as well as in international waters. This is the annual proposal for the amount of fish which can be caught by EU fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year. The proposal sets levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort both for stocks managed exclusively by the EU, and for stocks managed with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations across the world’s oceans.

International negotiations for many of the stocks concerned are still on-going. The proposal therefore only includes figures for about half of the TACs at this stage. It will be completed once negotiations with third parties and organisations have taken place.

For the stocks not shared with third countries, the Commission proposes to increase or maintain the TACs for 36 stocks, and reduce them for 36 stocks, in line with the scientific advice.

The Commission’s ultimate goal, and one of the pillars of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). Whenever possible, the scientists advise how to bring the stocks to MSY levels. This year, the so-called “MSY advice” could be issued for 22 EU stocks. This is a significant step forward as far as the availability and quality of scientific data are concerned.

Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “The Commission proposal contains good news for some stocks, while some cuts are required for others. Overall, our knowledge of many stocks has improved which enables sound management decisions to be made. For stocks where negotiations are on-going we will, as ever, make every effort to obtain the best outcome for our fishermen. We hope that our partners and the international community will mirror our commitment to sustainable fisheries.”

The present proposal shall be discussed by the Member States’ ministers at the December Fisheries Council and will apply from 1 January 2014.

Details of the proposal

For some EU stocks at MSY, such as herring in the Irish Sea, Northern hake, Megrims in Iberian waters or plaice in the Celtic Sea TACs can be raised.

At the same time, for some stocks in a poor state, the picture has unfortunately not greatly improved since last year. Cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Kattegat continue to be in a dire state, and the poor data hampers the management of these stocks. Sole in the Irish Sea is at extremely low levels. Advice for haddock in the Celtic Sea demands a considerable TAC cut, so that the stock can be brought to MSY levels. Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland, subject to extremely high rates of discarding, are at a risk of collapse.

For stocks where data is not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal reflects the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to adapt the TAC up or down by a maximum of 20%. Following a Council decision last year on precautionary reductions, TACS are proposed at the same level as in 2013 for 21 of these stocks.

For a limited number of EU stocks, the scientific advice has been received only recently, or it will be released later this month. For these stocks, the advice needs to be further analysed before a TAC figure will be proposed, later in the autumn.

For fish stocks shared with third countries (Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Russia), the European Commission, on behalf of the EU, negotiates towards the end of each year with these countries on the quantities of fish to be caught the following year, based on scientific advice.

For the stocks in international waters and for highly migratory species, such as tuna, the European Commission, representing the EU, negotiates fishing opportunities in the framework of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs). These must subsequently be transposed into EU law.


agriculture, a future which concerns all of us

agriculture, a future which concerns all of us

On 29 October 2013, the President of the European Council of Young Farmers, Matteo Bartolini, addressed a high-level conference organised by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), at the Residence Palace in Brussels. The conference, entitled “From a grey deal to a green implementation of the future CAP?” focused on the rolling out of the greening measures and recommendations for biodiversity-friendly Rural Development policy post 2013. The CEJA President spoke on the panel focusing on the final Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) deal, and underlined the importance of young farmers in the environmental sustainability debate in agriculture.

Mr Bartolini’s intervention followed that of EEB’s senior policy officer Faustine Defossez and DG AGRI’s Pierre Bascou, and outlined the importance of young farmers in securing a more sustainable future for European agriculture. Considering that young farmers are better-educated, more technologically-aware and more innovative than their older peers, there is a clear need to invest in young farmers and encourage generational renewal in the sector in order to achieve a more environmentally-conscious one.

The CEJA President advocated the importance of support for young farmers in the environmental context, stating that: “We need sustainability across the European agricultural sector. Not just an environmentally and economically sustainable sector, but also a demographically sustainable one which can provide us with an agricultural model which can increasingly deliver safe, high quality food.” Mr Bartolini ended his speech by welcoming the final agreement on CAP reform and looking towards the future, including the greening measures, saying: “The income support which will be provided to farmers in this new CAP, targeting environment, innovation, research and development will ensure a more balanced agricultural policy among Member States in future.”

The interventions were followed by a lively debate with the moderator, Alan Matthews from Trinity College and the audience concerning the implementation of the CAP’s greening measures, particularly in terms of the ‘equivalence’ concept.

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