The EU consumer authorities and the European Commission on September 7 sent a joint letter to the CEO of Volkswagen urging the group to swiftly repair all cars affected by the “dieselgate” scandal, the Commission said, adding this is part of a coordinated action by EU consumer authorities to make sure that the Volkswagen group respects consumer law in the aftermath of the scandal and is proactive towards the consumers concerned.
Switzerland should be reintegrated into the Erasmus+ student exchange programme from the beginning of 2018, and not in 2021 as the government wants, says the Swiss Student Union. On Monday a petition signed by 10,000 people was lodged with the federal government, demanding that Switzerland resume its negotiations with the EU on the subject so that Swiss students can be reintegrated in the programme by 2018 and to allocate sufficient financial resources to the scheme.
The U.K. will allow visa-free travel for EU citizens entering the country post Brexit, the Times reported Thursday, but would impose restrictions on their employment. According to the report, an anticipated plan by the Home Office on post-Brexit migration will add that there will be no extra curbs on EU citizens travelling to Britain through airports and ports. But prospective employers will have to sponsor EU applicants by applying for permits issued by the government. The number of available permits will vary according to the sector, and the government may charge companies a fee to issue them.
Eurozone inflation was stable in July and unemployment reached its lowest rate since February 2009. In your opinion, how that can impact the ECB's interest rates? I think that that the ECB might be happy about the growth outlook, but inflation is still looking really subdued. There is still some more slack in the economy, which would mean the European Central Bank is fairly patient and extremely gradual in its policy.
An opinion exists that London's euro-clearing hub works very efficiently and that making any alterations to current practices will hurt the EU economy. Therefore, it might be a purely political question rather than economic. What do you think on this matter? Why? I think London's clearing system does work pretty efficiently, but there are issues related to the clearing of euro-denominated securities taking place in the jurisdiction beyond the ECB's influence that will arise once the UK leaves the EU. A great concern is how the efficiency of the overall clearing system will be affected once euro-denominated clearing moves to somewhere in the EU, more precisely, in the Euro zone. Does it make sense for banks to have one part of their clearing infrastructure in London and another part somewhere in continental Europe? In my opinion, such system certainly becomes less efficient, but the issue is whether some banks and other institutions decide to move the entire clearing infrastructure to another part of Europe. I am not sure whether we have a complete parity over that yet, but it is certainly a problem that will come forward over the next two years
The Council of the EU has received bids from 23 cities to host the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, which will be relocated after Brexit. In total eight offers have been made to host the EBA, which regulates the European banking sector, assessing risks and vulnerabilities by carrying out EU-wide stress tests. Some 19 cities are bidding to host the EMA, which is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU and maintains the single market for medicines in the EU.
Freedom of movement for millions of British and EU citizens will end in 2019 when Brexit takes effect, the U.K. government insisted on Monday. The statement appeared to rule out transitional post-Brexit arrangements recently raised by a senior British minister. “There were reports last week that we were looking for an off-the-shelf model; we are not looking for an off-the-shelf model. Precisely what the implementation model will look like is up for negotiation,” a government spokesperson said, adding more confusion to Brexit affairs.
Some experts suggest that environmental regulations, such as the US decision to quit the Paris Climate Agreement, are likely to have a zero impact on the US economy. Do you share this point of view? Why? It depends on a period of time that you are talking about. I think that in the long run it has a negative impact. I believe that the energy sector, especially alternative energy sources, hold tremendous opportunities for economic growth. If the US is not going to push in that direction, then other counties will take that growth away. Thus, I think that within the next two years there may be no effect, but, going forward, it has a negative impact on the US economy.
Britain aims to stay in a good relationship with the European Union and continue cooperation on security and defence issues. What is your own opinion, will Britain be able to maintain a good partnership with the EU? This is obviously the key question at the moment. We all hope that relations between Britain, the European Union and, of course, individual EU countries will remain cordial, though the negotiations are likely to be extremely difficult and complex, while there is a chance of tensions being raised and disagreements being voiced strongly at various points in time. What is important is that once negotiations are finished, we have good trading arrangements between the UK on the one side and the 27 EU countries on the other. At this point in time, it is impossible to know exactly what these trading arrangements are going to be.
In a bold experiment in voluntary taxation, the Norwegian government launched an initiative in June that allowed those who thought their taxes to be too low to make contributions to the state. “The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in a comment emailed to Bloomberg reporters. “If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more.”
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