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ECONOMY

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia | 03/09/2015

More supervision of Estonia's state companies

Following a corruption scandal at Tallinn's port and the publication of how much money has been wasted at the state-run energy company Eesti Energia, Estonia's Economic Affairs Minister Kristen Michal plans major changes on the supervisory boards of all state-owned enterprises. The liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht wants to see stricter supervision of all public companies: "The state-owned companies have long since turned into sources of funding for people who belong to the inner circle and who use them to finance political goals and gain advantages in the business world. Three years ago the minister for economic affairs at the time wanted to put all state-owned companies under one management. This was never put into practice. … But precisely now the parliament and the government must lay down new principles for how companies that belong to the state can function most effectively and fairly. At the same time they must review how many of them are actually needed." (03/09/2015)

Ethnos - Greece | 02/09/2015

Greeks pay more taxes and get less pay

Even though their incomes have gone down by 30 percent on average over the last five years, the Greeks will have to pay higher taxes this year, the centre-left daily To Ethnos calculates, finding this absurd: "This year the people are expected to pay taxes amounting to 8.74 billion euros while in 2011 they paid almost half a billion less! 8.29 billion to be precise. This absurdity is the result of the austerity memorandums that Papandreou, Samaras and Venizelos signed. It's clear that the third austerity memorandum which Alexis Tsipras agreed to by accepting Germany's terms will considerably worsen the situation. Companies, by contrast, will pay a little less in taxes than in 2011. Back then it was 2.76 billion euros while this year it's 2.74 billion euros." (02/09/2015)

Imerisia - Greece | 01/09/2015

Capital controls must be lifted

Thousands of small businesses are facing bankruptcy as a result of the capital controls that have applied in Greece since the end of June. In recent months their turnover has dipped by 70 percent. The liberal business daily Imerisia calls for the controls to be lifted: "Many people believe the controls will remain in place for months to come, and perhaps for the whole of 2016. That would be a very negative development that would hurt the economy and any healthy business still left in Greece. … The lifting of capital controls should be the top issue in the election campaign. … In addition to stability the country urgently needs the reform programme to be implemented. And at the same time trust in the economy and the banking system must be reinforced." (01/09/2015)

Irish Independent - Ireland | 31/08/2015

Irish can't accept recovery

Numerous indicators show that the Irish economy is recovering steadily after the major crisis in 2008, the conservative daily Irish Independent writes, complaining that no one in the country is willing to recognise that fact: "Just as there was a time where we became very adept at filtering out and ignoring any negative signs of the economy, now we seem to have developed the opposite trait, where we are able to ignore any good news. ... It is verboten in many circles to say anything good could be happening. This kind of groupthink is as corrosive in its own way as the kind of relentless positivity that got us in trouble the last time. We are all agreed that we should proceed cautiously, and we are all definitely agreed that we don't want to lose the run of ourselves again. But conducting our own psychological recession between real recessions is a grim way to proceed." (31/08/2015)

Contributors.ro - Romania | 31/08/2015

Romania needs immigrants

By the end of June only 700 people had applied for asylum in Romania this year. That is too little, writes migration researcher Andreia Ghimis on the blog portal Contributors: "According to the National Statistics Agency the country's population is ageing rapidly. This, coupled with the fact that Romania remains a country of emigration, could have very negative consequences for the Romanian pension and social welfare system. So we need foreign workers (which are hard to find because of the low wages). Asylum seekers are people who want to live normal lives after the traumas they have experienced; they want jobs and school places for their children. The 6,000 euros per refugee offered by the EU should be invested in helping them learn the Romanian language and integrating them on the job market. Everyone stands to gain from this policy. We can see this in Germany: its economic success and its more open immigration policy are no mere coincidence." (31/08/2015)

Handelsblatt - Germany | 31/08/2015

Save Greece without IMF

IMF chief Christine Lagarde considers debt restructuring measures to be adequate to ensure Greece's economic recovery. A debt write-down is not necessary, she said on Saturday. Europe should try to get by without IMF funding and replace IMF loans with other cheaper funding from the European Stability Mechanism or ESM, the liberal business daily Handelsblatt demands: "The ESM is de facto a European monetary fund. It doesn't have to take the interests of the US and the emerging economies China, Brazil, India or Indonesia into account. If the governments and parliaments of the euro countries are still convinced in 2015 that the problems of the member states, and above all Greece, can't be solved without the help of the IMF, the project of a politically integrated Europe must be deemed to have failed. … The upcoming third bailout programme is also more about reorienting Greece's regulatory policy than the previous ones. To call on the IMF to assist this process would testify to Europe's political failure." (31/08/2015)

ABC - Spain | 28/08/2015

Spaniards shouldn't vote for the left

Spain's gross domestic product rose by one percent in the second quarter, it was announced on Thursday. The economy's growth must not be jeopardised by a change in political leadership in the autumn, the conservative daily ABC warns: "Now that Spain can count on a solid basis for continued growth it must not deviate from its course. The main threat to recovery is no longer economic but political. The upcoming general election is crucial. It doesn't look like the Socialists, with their plans to increase spending and reverse reforms, will be able to maintain the right course. Not to mention Podemos, whose populism would translate into ruin and destruction if put into practice, as the disastrous examples of Greece and Venezuela show. Spain needs to maintain its current course of stability and reform in the next legislative period if it is to overcome the crisis once and for all." (28/08/2015)

Ilta-Sanomat - Finland | 28/08/2015

Adapt opening times to Internet era

The Finnish government wants to liberalise store opening times. It's about time, too, the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat believes: "Store hours have been liberalised step by step since the 1960s. The current situation is confusing for consumers because different rules apply for stores with a surface area of less than 400 square metres than for larger stores. ... In addition the law makes it possible for stores to apply for a special permit for holidays. But the bureaucratic hassle and the fee of 200 euros make that out of the question for hairdressers, for example. Fixed opening times no longer fit in with a society that relies more and more on e-commerce and in which work no longer takes place from 9 to 5." (28/08/2015)

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland | 28/08/2015

Stock market crash exposes China's power struggle

Weak growth or a speculation bubble? The West is trying to pinpoint the reasons for the Chinese stock market tumble. But for the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino the government's rather confused reaction reveals the real reason for the crash: "The apparent confusion is no mere coincidence but the product of a ruthless power struggle at the helm of China's Communist Party. … The role of the number one, [state and party leader] Xi Jinping is at stake here. … His financial policy is being criticised as too reformist, and above all his fight against corruption has lost support. The clan of former general secretary Jiang Zemin, which opposed Xi Jinpin's election to party leader three years ago and wanted Bo Xilai [who was convicted of corruption and abuse of power] as leader instead, is working against the new 'emperor'. … The result could be a change in leadership, the arrest of opponents or - the most likely scenario - a compromise in which Premier Li Keqiang and the chief of the central bank are sacrificed." (28/08/2015)

Deutschlandfunk - Germany | 27/08/2015

Germany needs workers from the Balkans

At the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna on Thursday the EU decided to spend 600 million euros on cross-border infrastructure projects. This sum is nowhere near enough to improve the economic situation in the region, criticises the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk: "The oft invoked process of rapprochement between the Western Balkans states and the EU is beginning to falter, also because the European Union, shaken by an identity crisis, doesn't want any more expansion right now. But what is stopping Germany from bringing out a new edition of the agreement for foreign workers of 1968, and thus opening up the EU labour market to all six Balkan states? That would be more than just words. It would help the countries and accelerate their integration into the EU. … It could also ease the strain on the European Union's asylum system because it would be foreign workers coming from the Western Balkans, not economic refugees." (27/08/2015)


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