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The new ‘growth package’ from the EU

By Peter Lundgreen via Caixin | Last week, China’s biggest export destination, the European Union established a new growth package. The desired size of a new investment fund is 315 billion euros, and it will be called the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). During a period of three years, new investments financed by the fund are expected to lift annual GDP growth in the EU by 0.7 percentage points. The calculations from the EU show that the package can create between 1 million and 1.3 million new jobs.

In depth- Russia: sanctions for peace

BRUSSELS | By Jacobo de Regoyos | Europe’s 28 have unanimously requested at their recent summit to the Commission to prepare new economic sanctions against Russia, which will be triggered if the tension in Eastern Ukraine is not reduced. “Further significant steps,” is written on the statement. But nobody really knows how far can go the difficult consensus knitting machine that the European Union has become, divided between the dread to Russia felt by Eastern countries and the economic interests that grip the continental West. (Note from the editor: The cartoon above was published in Chinese official newspaper China Daily).

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Air pollution: Time for clean air lobbying

MADRID | The Corner | Around 400,000 people die prematurely in the EU due to air pollution-related problems, costing health systems around €330 billion and €940 billion. Brussels-based non profit EBB (European Biodiesel Board), lobbying for this type of fuel, measured air pollution levels in different areas of the city: they were between 60 and 120 times above considered clean standards. Schadenfreude fans: last year Beijing residents suffered 40 times the recommended maximum exposure limit set by the World Health Organization.


Merkel supports Luis de Guindos to be the next President of the Eurogroup

MADRID |The Corner | After a meeting between Mariano Rajoy and Angela Merkel in Santiago de Compostela, the German chancellor gave her support to the candidature of the Spanish Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, to succeed Jeroen Dijsselbloem as President of the Eurogroup. As Barclays analysts comment, “with Italy’s and France’s leftwing governments and UK in or out of the EU, Spain is now a more attractive partner.” Regarding Germany, Angela Merkel recognised that the crisis in Ukraine is damaging the German economy. Nevertheless, Merkel affirmed that she forecasts a good annual growth if nothing dramatic happens.

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Spain registers the highest EU construction growth in 2Q

MADRID | The Corner | Spain was the EU28 member state with the highest increase in the production in construction during the 2Q, with an increase by 7.0% YoY, according to first estimates from Eurostat. Moreover, Spain was the fourth country in the EU28 with the biggest increase in the production in June, with a growth of 6.8%. However, the construction experienced a decline of 2.9% in June in comparison to May, which represents the second biggest monthly decline of this variable among the EU28 member states. In June compared with May 2014, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector fell by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28.

Spanish Técnicas Reunidas awarded first contract by oil giant Petronas

MADRID | The Corner | Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) of Malaysia has awarded to Técnicas Reunidas a contract for the engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) of all hydrotreating units, interconnections and torch of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development Project (RAPID) in Pengerang.

Portugal rescues BES with €4.9bn coming from Troika’s bail-out

BERLIN | Alberto Lozano | The Portuguese government splits BES into two banks. On the one hand, it will inject €4.9 billion of capital in a new company called “Novo Banco”, which will get all the assets and employees from the crisis-hit bank. On the other hand, all toxic assets mostly related to its exposure to the Espirito Santo family will stay in the current Espirito Santo’s “bad bank”.

EU recovery… from data to the real thing

BRUSSELS | By Alexandre Mato | The last Eurobarometer after the european elections showed that the EU’s image is improving among its citizens. 35% of them have a positive image of communitarian institutions. Austerity measures to fight the economic crisis or the unresolved unemployment problem have not erased this ‘popular feeling’. But more than 40% think that in a national or European level the economy will remain “the same” for the coming 12 months. Only 24% see an improvement.

Juncker: 300bn to boost Europe’s growth

MADRID | The Corner | He praised budget contention and austerity, and yet his first announcement as the European Commission new president has to do with investment: Jean Claude Juncker called for a 300 bn euro public-private  investment reindustrialisation programme over the next three years.

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Subsidiaries say goodbye to EU’s tax loophole

MADRID | By The Corner | It was a tax loophole worth billions of euros. And finally the EU-28 finance ministers came to a political agreement on Friday to tighten it up. From now on, European tax rules will be tougher on those multinationals trying to avoid taxation. The compromise was possible after Malta dropped its objections to a deal on hybrid loan arrangements. “That is good news for public budgets, good news for honest businesses and good news for those who seek fair taxation in the EU,”  Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said.