The European Parliament has approved a landmark free trade deal with Canada. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) has been seven years in the making and its ratification is set to eliminate almost all trade tariffs between the European Union and Canada. EU lawmakers backed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) by 408-254 votes despite crowds of protesters contesting the deal outside. All 28 governments will need to give their approval to finalise the process of ratifying the agreement. “The ratification in all the member states will start, there will be a long process and in most countries without any problems, in some, with more discussions: "We will try to be there, we will try the effects of the Canadian agreement, try to calm some of the concerns,” said EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
The European Union agreed Tuesday on new rules allowing subscribers of online services, as Netflix or Amazon Prime, in one E.U. country access to them while traveling in another. The new “portability” ruling is the first step of regulation under a drive by the European Commission to introduce a single digital market in Europe. Announced in May 2015 on the cusp of the Cannes Film Festival, the proposed Digital Single Market was met with full-throated opposition from Europe’s movie and TV industry, which viewed it as a threat to its territory-by-territory licensing of movies and TV shows.
The statistical office of the European Union has taken a survey of 440 comparable foods across Europe to create an index of food, beverage, and tobacco prices categorized by nation. According to purchasing power, their 2015 data concludes that Switzerland has Europe's most expensive food and drinks. They're followed closely by Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. For fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, Switzerland is the most expensive country in the EU, then Denmark and Ireland.
The European Union reached a deal early Wednesday morning that should pave the way for consumers to use their mobile phones throughout the 28-country region without paying roaming fees. Three-way negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission ended just after midnight with a pact on the pace of slashing rates telecom companies charge each other, according to the office of Parliament’s rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, a Finnish member of the Socialists & Democrats, who tweeted "Goodbye roaming,".
Benoit Hamon secured the French Socialist Party's presidential nomination on Sunday, beating rival Manuel Valls. Initial results gave Hamon 58 percent of the vote and Valls only 42. Hamon was the more left-wing choice of the two politicians. He supports a universal basic income and wants to reduce the traditional work week to 35 hours. He has also spoken in support of legalizing cannabis and increased investment in renewable energy. Valls, on the other hand, has called himself a more "Clintonite" leftist with a strong belief in pragmatism and individual responsibility.
Despite some concerns around the start of last year, and the political shocks that unfolded over the course of the past 12 months, 2016 actually turned out to be quite a good year for investors, with most asset classes rising in value. But what can we expect over 2017, and how should investors approach the coming year? In this short outlook document we outline what we expect over the year ahead and set out what we believe could be the best-performing asset classes in each of our main scenarios.
The European Environment Agency says the continent is facing rising sea levels and more extreme weather, such as more frequent and more intense heat waves, flooding, droughts and storms because of climate change. The document, called Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe, revealed the cost to the economy had soared by about 80% over the last 30 years. During the 1980s, the damages averaged about €7.6bn euro a year, but by the 2000s the figure had risen to €13.7bn, the report said. Overall between 1980 and 2013, the cost was nearly €393bn.
Parliament must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process, the Supreme Court has ruled. The most powerful court in the land has upheld a High Court decision that ruled it unconstitutional for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to formally trigger the process of leaving the EU without first consulting MPs. But the court ruled the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies did not need a say. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against an E.U. departure in the June vote.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Britain should look to Switzerland on how to handle relations with the European Union, for a post-Brexit model of "close co-operation", according to Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) on Sunday. "Britons should take as an example how cleverly Switzerland has linked national sovereignty and close cooperation with the European Union," he said, Britain needed a "wise political solution" to Brexit added. A series of bilateral deals have been struck between Switzerland and the EU meaning it accepts free movement of people and certain rules on trade.
George Soros, on the sideline of Davos Forum, gave his views on the state of the world. The EU, according to billionaire investor, is disintegrating following last year's Brexit vote and Italian referendum, a course that must be reversed. The trading bloc has become dysfunctional because it is governed by laws that are "not appropriate to the current circumstances" and not easily changed, he said. "If Europe breaks down, the consequences will be very dire," the investor said. "But I do see a way it could be saved, and this is also recognized by many of the people in Brussels. They can't say so publicly, but they know that Europe is not functioning."
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