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Jornal de Negócios - Portugal | 22/10/2014

Quantitative easing is the wrong weapon

The European Central Bank plans to combat the threat of recession and deflation with huge cash injections for banks and bond-buying programmes. But this easing of monetary policy is won't work in Europe, argues economist Daniel Gros in the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios: "The differences in the financial structure are decisive for efforts to prevent deflation. Although quantitative easing can work in a debtor economy with a flexible financial system like the US, in a creditor economy with a conservative financial system it could be a big mistake. This is the real argument against using quantitative easing in the Eurozone - not the fear that the ECB will buy too many bonds from unreliable governments." (22/10/2014)

Cinco Días - Spain | 24/10/2014

Spain should become Europe's energy supplier

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on the EU to press ahead with the search for alternatives to gas from Russia in a speech at the College of Europe in Bruges on Thursday. He proposed Spain as a new platform for energy supplies from North Africa. The launch of the new EU Commission is a good time for a reorientation, the left-liberal daily Cinco Días concurs: "The EU summit taking place yesterday and today in Brussels needs to reach a consensus on the Union's energy policy, and interconnecting energy networks should also play a role here. But it's not enough to put vague goals on paper. ... Brussels needs to provide the stimulus to launch the projects that can turn these necessary projects into reality. That would be the best possible start in office for the Juncker commission. Because each day that passes without starting construction on these projects puts the EU's political independence at risk." (24/10/2014)

Huffington Post Italia - Italy | 24/10/2014

Renzi takes sweet revenge on Barroso

In the row with the European Commission over the Italian budget Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi threatened on Thursday to make the costs of the EU institutions public. Prior to Renzi's threat outgoing EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso had expressed his annoyance that Rome published a strictly confidential warning letter from the Commission on Italy's draft budget. Revenge is sweet, the Huffington Post Italia comments with amusement: "Renzi is retaliating and enjoying it. ... Because he is convinced that the European bureaucrats still haven't understood that they must embark on a pro-growth course, not a pro-austerity one. ... The end of an era, in other words. With a leak as an epilogue overshadowing the Barosso commission's last days in office. Certainly nothing compared to the storm Julian Assange unleashed with his revelations. But the little Renzi leak won't leave Brussels unscathed." (24/10/2014)

ABC - Spain | 23/10/2014

Madrid must end communities' wastefulness

According to figures published by the Fedea economic research foundation on Tuesday, most of Spain's autonomous communities will exceed the prescribed deficit limits for 2014. The government in Madrid must toughen its stance, the conservative and centralist daily ABC demands: "The Finance Ministry must put an end to the communities' wasteful spending in order to adhere to the established deficit reduction goals. ... Moreover, despite the adjustments already made there are still many superfluous institutions and organisations whose dismantlement would save the taxpayer a lot of money without curtailing public services. Thanks to the legislation on budget stability the Finance Ministry has all the instruments it needs to put the accounts of the communities in order and bring the most unruly communities into line. All that is needed now is the political will to put an end to the communities' wasteful habits." (23/10/2014)

Karjalainen - Finland | 23/10/2014

Climate of fear paralyses economies

Current developments such as the Ebola epidemic, rising unemployment and climate change have created an atmosphere of fear that is crippling consumers and producers alike, the liberal daily Karjalainen complains: "The worst consequence of the fear is the fading away of entrepreneurial spirit. Even those with a secure job no longer make avail of the services or shopping facilities in their environment. Even necessary purchases are put off if consumers believe the product will be cheaper the next day. Entrepreneurs sense that customers are staying away, and throw in the towel. ... The climate of fear doesn't wall people in, but it does put up a wall in their heads that blocks all their activities and decisions. ... So the most productive thing we can do in looking to the future is to overcome our fears." (23/10/2014)

Slate - France | 22/10/2014

France can't hope for mercy on its deficit

France is the only country in the Eurozone whose budget plan for 2015 foresees new debts of more than three percent of GDP. By yet again failing to meet the EU budget deficit requirements, Paris cannot be sure that the EU Commission will give the budget its blessing, the online magazine Slate warns: "France stands every chance of passing its budget policy test in Brussels - provided it takes the matter seriously and doesn't take the lenience of the Commission and the other member states for granted. It's true that the economic situation is delicate, and that the ECB's very relaxed monetary policy is not sufficient to guarantee growth. But make no mistake: the Socialist Party is a little too inclined to think that everyone is on our side, including the IMF and the OECD, and that France will be defended if it fails to adopt an all-too rigorous policy. But this interpretation is wrong." (22/10/2014)

Der Standard - Austria | 23/10/2014

Annoying strikes by Germany's "elite workers"

The German train drivers and the Lufthansa pilots have again disrupted transport with strikes in recent days. The obstinacy of these groups is annoying, the left-liberal daily Der Standard writes: "Both consider themselves the elites in enterprises whose success depends not on them alone, but on many others - for example flight attendants and railway staff. But solidarity doesn't count for much. The pilots just want all they can get: costs can be cut elsewhere as far as they're concerned. And the unionised train drivers are striking mainly because they have a bone to pick with other railway employees [the train drivers' union wants to represent other occupational groups]. Of course that doesn't exactly make them everybody's darling, but since they and the pilots have barely any contact with the public, they couldn't care less. The only way out is for politicians to take the step that's been lacking in both trade disputes so far and call in arbitrators." (23/10/2014)

Heti Válasz - Hungary | 22/10/2014

Hungary's Internet tax will hurt users

Hungary's right-wing conservative government has announced plans to introduce an Internet tax in 2015. According to agency reports Internet providers will be made to pay just under 50 cents per gigabyte of called up data. The providers will only pass the bill on to Internet users, the conservative weekly Heti Válasz fears: "Minister for Economic Affairs Mihály Varga tried to reassure Internet users that the providers won't saddle them with the tax, but no one believes him. And that's understandable given that the banks passed the additional costs on to their customers after the bank tax was introduced. ... On top of that the Internet providers will refrain from modernising the Hungarian Internet structure. ... So the governing party Fidesz, which railed against the Internet tax from the opposition in 2008, should abandon the idea as quickly as possible." (22/10/2014)

Libération - France | 22/10/2014

Total boss was a unique business leader

The CEO of French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie, died on Monday night at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport when his private jet crashed into a snow plough. The left-liberal daily Libération praises de Margerie as an old-school type boss: "France, which has no particular love for its bosses and often for good reason, is truly bereaved at the death of Christophe de Margerie. ... This powerful boss had a clear idea of what that role comprises. He held himself accountable to his shareholders and distributed generous dividends in the process. He also sought compromises with his employees, took their interests into account along with his own, and was always willing to negotiate. Although rich, he saw his business not just as a money machine but as a social institution. His colleagues from the companies at the CAC 40 [stock market index] companies would do well to take inspiration from him." (22/10/2014)

Dienas Bizness - Latvia | 22/10/2014

Latvia needs alternative for transit trade

In the plans for its transportation strategy for the period until 2030 Russia is considering discontinuing oil transportation via the Baltic states and using only Russian ports instead. For many decades Lativa's ice-free ports have been an important trade hub for Russia. The business paper Dienas Bizness criticises Latvia's inactive politicians: "The Transport Ministry and the oil transport sector have nothing that could serve as a replacement if the oil passing through Latvia's ports decreases. According to the Russian plans this is going to happen sooner or later, and we have no means of influencing our neighbour's strategic decisions. The Latvian transport minister's statements that everything possible must be done to prevent the transit trade from ceasing are no consolation. ... In reality the situation is very different. The Latvian transport corridor is not as attractive as some politicians think. And if the politicians don't take action soon the hundred million euros invested in the rail and port infrastructure will have been in vain." (22/10/2014)

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