Melissa Depraetere demands energy debts to be frozen

Melissa Depraetere demands energy debts to be frozen

The debts of families to energy suppliers should be temporarily frozen. That’s according to Vooruit group leader in the chamber Melissa Depraetere. “We need to give people time to seek help to pay off their debt,” she says. The high energy prices, which have risen to new record highs now that Russia has turned off the gas tap to Poland and Bulgaria, are no longer affordable for many families, the Socialists fear. “The Federation of Belgian energy companies sees an increase in the number of installment plans. Engie (energy supplier,…

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The new employment deal does not tackle ‘Belgium’s disease’, on the contrary

The new employment deal does not tackle ‘Belgium’s disease’, on the contrary

The employment deal is intended to get more people into the workplace. But the cure seems worse than the ailment. The big problem in our country is the large outages in the workplace. People work themselves crooked and fall out. This agreement does nothing about that and even aggravates that situation. On the night of 14 to 15 February, the federal government reached an agreement on the’labor deal’. This is a plan to reform the labour market. According to the government, more people need to work and the measures provide…

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EU Commission expects renewed growth in Spring

EU Commission expects renewed growth in Spring

The European Commission expects the economy to continue to grow following a slowdown in the final quarter of 2021. The EU economy hit pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2021, however it was followed by a 1.8% decline in growth in the fourth quarter. Despite this, it projects 4% growth in 2022 and 2.8% in 2023. “Multiple headwinds have chilled Europe’s economy this winter: the swift spread of Omicron, a further rise in inflation driven by soaring energy prices and persistent supply-chain disruptions,” Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy,…

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Agriculture: Notable growth in EU agri-food trade continues

Agriculture: Notable growth in EU agri-food trade continues

The latest EU agri-food trade figures published on 4 January show that the total value of EU agri-food trade (exports plus imports) for January-September 2021 amounts to €239.5 billion, a 6.1% increase compared to the corresponding period last year. Exports were 8% higher at €145.2 billion, with imports increasing by 3.5% to reach €94.2bn. This reflects an overall agri-food trade surplus of €51bn for the first nine months of the year, an increase of 17% compared to the same period in 2020. The largest increase in exports were those to the United…

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EU Central banks in the spotlight

EU Central banks in the spotlight

Inflation, pandemic, geopolitics, sustainable finance… Four chief economists of the financial market sat down around a table, at the invitation of Paperjam, and shared their prospective analysis for the year 2022. Apart from inflation, the other issue that worries investors is the extremely low policy rates applied by central banks, which have to play both sides of the fence. The maintenance of monetary and financial equilibrium will largely depend on their decisions. Regular columnists at Paperjam and used to the exercise, Olivier Goemans, portfolio manager, advisory coordinator and head of…

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Two decades on, euro can’t shake reputation as price driver

Two decades on, euro can’t shake reputation as price driver

Europeans have been living with euro banknotes and coins for 20 years now, but many still point the finger at the single currency for covertly driving up consumer prices — despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. “The euro is a catastrophe, it’s catastrophic,” says Maria Napolitano, a 65-year-old Italian living in Frankfurt. “With 100 deutschmarks, you could fill up your shopping trolley. Now, 100 euros aren’t enough to fill two bags.” A deutschmark is roughly 50 eurocents. It’s an impression that is shared by many across the eurozone, from…

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ECB plots stimulus exit as inflation looms

ECB plots stimulus exit as inflation looms

European Central Bank policymakers will gather on Thursday (16 December) for a crunch meeting, as soaring inflation heaps pressure on the bank to wind down its stimulus just as a new coronavirus variant threatens to derail the recovery. The Frankfurt-based institution is expected to confirm the planned end of its massive pandemic-era stimulus plan in March, currently hoovering up around €70 billion worth of assets every month. The €1.85 trillion pandemic emergency bond-buying programme (PEPP) is the ECB’s main crisis-fighting tool, aimed at keeping borrowing costs low to stoke economic…

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New Dutch government under Mark Rutte wants to spend more

New Dutch government under Mark Rutte wants to spend more

The coalition agreement of the new Dutch government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte foresees more spending on childcare, teacher salaries, and environmental issues, showing the increased influence of the centre-left, liberal party D66. Although the coalition agreement remains cautious on EU fiscal rules, the additional spending at home marks a shift away from the frugal image of the Dutch government. In the summer of 2020, the previous Rutte government was one of the staunchest opponents of the EU’s recovery fund, calling instead for fiscal restraint. Stronger D66 leads to more…

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London banking job exodus to EU slows despite Brexit

London banking job exodus to EU slows despite Brexit

The number of finance jobs shifting from Britain to the European Union due to Brexit is less than initially expected despite billions of euros in share trading moving to the bloc and London losing most of its access to EU capital markets, EY consultants said on Monday (20 December). After Britain voted in 2016 to exit the EU, analysts like Oliver Wyman estimated that up to 35,000 financial services jobs or more would leave Britain. Britain fully left the EU last December, ending the City of London’s unfettered access to…

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EU work with OECD to cancel tax benefits for coal-powered plants and equipment manufacturers

EU work with OECD to cancel tax benefits for coal-powered plants and equipment manufacturers

EU collaborates with other OECD countries to propose ban on export credits for coal-fired power projects Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries hold an extraordinary meeting today (15 September) and Thursday (16 September) to discuss a possible ban on export credits for international coal-fired power generation projects without measures compensation. Discussions will focus on a proposal presented by the EU and other countries (Canada, Republic of Korea, Norway, Switzerland, UK and US) earlier this month. The proposal supports the greening of the global economy and is an important…

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