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24th March 2017
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Eurostat announced yesterday morning that the Eurozone had posted poor growth figures for the end of 2012 - GDP fell by 0.6% in the final quarter of last year. The German economy contracted by 0.6%, Italy’s by 0.9% and Portugal’s by 1.8%. Elsewhere it is claimed that France’s public deficit is going to be close to 3% of GDP this year. The German statistics office suggested that a large contraction in demand for German exports around Europe was to blame for its poor growth (well surely that’s because so few of us have money to spend these days!).
In a speech given to an Open Europe and RUSI joint event on Wednesday, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Turkey's EU accession talks, Egemen Bagis, said: “I’m hoping that the recent statement of my Prime Minister and David Cameron will have an effect to put Europe back in business…it’s time for Europe to think about changing itself, its institutions and its decision-making processes.”
I’m with them all the way.
Looking further afield, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are to start negotiations for a free trade agreement designed to establish the largest economic alliance in the world, which already accounts for some €455bn in trade and millions of jobs. I’m wondering though whether the talks might be scuppered by the EU’s plans for a Financial Transaction Tax. The City of London is not alone in arguing against the introduction of this tax and yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reports that the US Treasury has announced that it opposes the tax, which will damage trade. I understand that a group of US business organisations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, has voiced its objections in a letter to the European Commission, claiming it overreaches borders, breaks international treaties and amounts to a unilateral imposition of a global FTT.
Interesting times, eh?
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15th February 2013