League Government will prioritize tax cuts over deficit

League Government will prioritize tax cuts over deficit

Italy’s ruling League party main economic spokesman, Claudio Borghi, has made clear that his party wants to pursue an ambitious tax cuts program, even if that means a surging deficit. “We need to pursue a tax cut and it is obvious that a small proportion will be funded with the deficit,” Borghi told RAI public TV on Monday. The League is leading in the polls, has withdrawn its confidence in the 14-months coalition government, and is calling for snap elections as soon as possible. The League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, filed…

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British Airways faces a record EU fine for serious breach of data

British Airways faces a record EU fine for serious breach of data

The European Commission is ready to impose a £183.4 million fine on British Airways for its failure to protect the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty for a perceived violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would set a new record; the UK’s Information Commissioner confirms that since June 2018 the company’s weak security allowed user traffic to be diverted from its website to a fraudulent page. The company that admitted the failure in September 2018 is planning to contest the fine. Under EU rules, any organization that…

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EU plans to reduce steel import quotas after industrial protests

EU plans to reduce steel import quotas after industrial protests

The European Commission has proposed boosting measures to protect against a rise in imports spurred by US tariffs after steel companies said the European industry was under threat. The Commission said in a statement on Wednesday (14 August) it planned to cut an increase in import quotas to 3% from 5% effective from 1 October. In June, senior steel executives including from Outokumpu, Salzgitter, and a division chief at ArcelorMittal, urged the Commission to scrap or postpone the 5% increase which took effect on 1 July. EU quotas had been…

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Ten thoughts about coal import parity pricing

Ten thoughts about coal import parity pricing

Some perspectives about the ‘Rotterdam plus’ formula and methods for calculating the wholesale market energy price. Media brought this subject to the surface again as the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) served notices of suspicion to several officials because of the import parity formula for coal pricing. The first emotional and political statements didn’t provide us an answer as to whether the NABU decision is solidly grounded and how the case can be resolved. Hence this matter requires pure economic pragmatism. First of all, let’s remember why Ukraine introduced the ‘Rotterdam…

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Patten thinks Chinese intervention in Hong Kong will be a “disaster”

Patten thinks Chinese intervention in Hong Kong will be a “disaster”

Hong Kong’s last British governor Chris Patten on Tuesday (13 August) cautioned that if China intervened in Hong Kong it would be a catastrophe and that Chinese President Xi Jinping should see the wisdom of trying to bring people together. Patten said it was counter productive of the Chinese to warn of “other methods” if the protests did not stop. “That would be a catastrophe for China and of course for Hong Kong,” Patten told BBC radio. “Since President Xi has been in office, there’s been a crackdown on dissent…

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Portugal forced to ration fuel due to strikes

Portugal forced to ration fuel due to strikes

The Portuguese government announced on Friday that refuelling will be rationed for as long as a strike by tanker drivers continues. The strike begins on Monday and rationing was introduced on Saturday evening. Rationing is scheduled to last until August 21. A similar strike in April exhausted supplies and prompted panic buying by drivers. Light vehicles till be able to pump a maximum of 25 litres and heavy vehicles 100 litres, to ensure the government can guarantee supplies to hospitals and airports. According to Environment Minister Joao-Matos Fernandes, fuel sales…

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Polish Parliament Speaker at the center of private flights scandal

Polish Parliament Speaker at the center of private flights scandal

Poland’s parliament speaker said on Thursday (8 August) he would resign after it was revealed that he used government aircraft for private trips, suggesting the ruling nationalists aimed to defuse a scandal that could affect their re-election campaign. With elections set for October, the affair has embarrassed the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has said it is cleaning up an alleged legacy of corruption and communist influence tolerated by previous governments. “I plan to submit my resignation tomorrow,” Marek Kuchcinski told a news conference alongside PiS leader Jaroslaw…

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The fall of the RMB worries world markets

The fall of the RMB worries world markets

European shares fell to two-month lows on Monday amid U.S.-China trade frictions and worries that drove the bloc’s investors shifting towards government bonds and other traditional market products. Following growing economic tensions between the USA and China and an overnight plunge on Wall Street, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average hit its lowest figure since January 2019 during the morning trading session. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 1% adding to a 2.5% fall on Friday, its worst day so far in 2019, after U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante…

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In Europe, split into two camps because of IMF leadership

In Europe, split into two camps because of IMF leadership

Divisions between the EU’s geographical blocs are complicating the process of picking a European candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the EU wants to agree on a nominee as soon as possible to retain the Fund’s chair. 31 July marks the end of the self-imposed deadline set by the Europeans to agree on their choice for the IMF Managing Director. However, the divisions between Northern and Southern member states and the difficulties that the bloc could face to clear the way for consensus candidates are complicating the…

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ECB to put non-conventional measures on table to regain growth

ECB to put non-conventional measures on table to regain growth

The ECB’s key interest rate remains at zero and is expected to remain at that level at least until summer 2020. However, ECB president Mario Draghi is suggesting that a decisive fiscal policy is far more important for the eurozone, especially for Germany and Italy. EURACTIV Germany reports. “We expect the key interest rate to remain at current or lower levels at least until mid-2020,” Draghi said after Thursday’s Governing Council’s meeting on monetary policy (25 July). Draghi announced that the rate would, in any case, be kept at these…

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