Belgian ports batten down the hatches for Brexit trade shock

Belgian ports batten down the hatches for Brexit trade shock

In Zeebrugge, which does 45% of its trade with the UK, there is growing concern about the impact of the worst-case scenario – no deal, and the resumption of WTO tariffs. Gridlock at the border, vast motorway car parks and jobs lost: British ports have been vocal about the risks of a hard Brexit. In case Conservative MPs missed the message, the Port of Dover advertised at the party conference, warning that an extra two minutes on lorry inspections could lead to queues of 17 miles at Dover and similar…

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Ministers of Wallonia-Brussels Federation will not reduce their salary

Ministers of Wallonia-Brussels Federation will not reduce their salary

The government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation has no intention of reducing ministerial salaries by 10%. This was indicated by the Minister-President, Rudy Demotte (PS). This is unlike the decision by the new majority coalition (MR-cdH) within the Wallonia region in this regard. Tabled by the cdH during the development of the 2018 budget, the proposal was, however, rejected by its Socialist partner. Questioned upon this point, on Wednesday, during a plenary session of the parliament by Gilles Mouyard (MR), Mr Demotte stated that no “consensus” had been found upon the…

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Brexit: France tells Britain “We want our money back”

Brexit: France tells Britain “We want our money back”

The United Kingdom must reach a financial agreement with Europe, before negotiating the other aspects of Brexit. The French Economic Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said this on Tuesday, reasoning, “We want our money back.” Speaking on the 24-hour news channel, CNews, Mr Le Maire levelled at Britain, “You started a number of initiatives, for which you promised to pay. Now you must pay.” Reiterating the famous words of Britain’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who “never stopped repeating ‘I want my money back,” the French minister stated, “We in Europe…

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Weakest eurozone economies on long road to recovery

Weakest eurozone economies on long road to recovery

Greece, Portugal and Ireland required bailouts during financial crisis, while Spain and Italy came close. How are they doing now? Jean-Claude Juncker’s hailing of Europe’s economic recovery came in terms that would have been unimaginable at the height of the eurozone debt crisis in 2010. Back then, the focus of concern was on a handful of countries that ultimately required bailouts – Greece, Portugal and Ireland – or hovered on the edge of needing rescue, in the case of Spain and Italy. Here is the current state of play with…

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Shadow banking totals 128 billion euros in Belgium

Shadow banking totals 128 billion euros in Belgium

Parallel banking activities, known as shadow banking, amounted to 128 billion euros in Belgium at the end of 2016, according to a report by the National Bank of Belgium, BNB, and the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA). Shadow banking refers to credit activities outside the traditional banking framework. The BNB and FSMA noted that these activities concern mainly monetary and placement funds that are not considered equity funds. Most of these funds come under the supervision of the Belgian authorities. The report was commissioned by Finance Minister Johan Van…

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The government extends the flexi-job scheme to retail trade and pensioners

The government extends the flexi-job scheme to retail trade and pensioners

The government has decided to extend the flexi-job scheme, which already existed for the catering sector, to retail trade. This was announced on Friday. On Thursday, the Constitutional Court decided to throw out the syndicate’s appeal against flexi-jobs, the “small” jobs the government is promoting for the catering sector. The syndicates asked the Court to get rid of the 2015 law that set up a flexi-job scheme for the catering sector. These jobs fall under a specific labour law, which means social security and tax are dealt with through a…

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EU imposes 880 million-euro fine upon Scania

EU imposes 880 million-euro fine upon Scania

The European Commission imposed a fine of €880 million upon the Swedish manufacturer, Scania, for its involvement in a cartel with six other lorry manufacturers. This thus put an end to a 14-year investigation into the matter. Scania was the last of the manufacturers identified not to have received a fine. The delay, compared to other manufacturers, occurred as it was contesting the accusations of the European Competition Commission. It has been the most harshly punished after the German company Daimler. The latter had been required, by law, to pay…

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Fingers pointed at Messi, Barcelona, during European Parliament tax evasion hearing

Fingers pointed at Messi, Barcelona, during European Parliament tax evasion hearing

A European Parliament session on tax evasion by footballers was turned on Tuesday into a trial of the support given by Barcelona FC to its Argentinian star Lionel Messi. While the International Federation of Football Associations, FIFA, felt the assembly had no right to call clubs or players to order for tax evasion, members of the Parliament’s Commission of Inquiry into the Panama Papers felt differently. Messi was found guilty of tax fraud in 2016 and ordered to pay a fine of 2.1 million euros for dodging the fisk through…

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How has the Brexit vote affected the UK economy? September verdict

How has the Brexit vote affected the UK economy? September verdict

How has the economy reacted to the vote to leave the EU? What effect the Brexit process has on growth, prosperity and trade in the UK. Pound jumps on rate hike talk … Over the past month, sterling has surged to its highest level since the day after the referendum following firm suggestions from the Bank of England that it could raise interest rates from as early as November in order to curb inflation. Although many economists now expect a rate hike in the coming months, some argue the Bank…

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The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government reached an agreement on the 2018 budget in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Minister-President Geert Bourgeois will give the Flemish Parliament a preview of the content during his annual September statement on Monday. The agreement is expected to include an alternative to the energy tax, which is better known as the Turteltaks. This tax of 100 euros per year, created to cover the cost of green certificates, was scrapped by the Constitutional Court. Just before the summer, Flemish Minister Bart Tommelein (Open Vld) said that…

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